Insoles function a bit like a mattress topper for your shoes: You can slip them into any unsupportive pair to add arch support and cushion to an otherwise flat shoe. “Better ankle alignment leads to better walking mechanics, better knee alignment, and just better mechanics of the whole chain,” says Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, owner of Marko Physical Therapy. Additionally, many shoes are flimsy and bendable, and these inserts provide rigidity, so you’re more supported as you walk and have something firm to push off with each step.
What to Avoid When Buying Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Dr. Gamez says to avoid flat, non-supportive shoes or sandals. Those cute flip-flops that sell for $1? Probably not the best plantar fasciitis shoes. Same goes for sneakers without arch support, like Converse or Vans (unless you add orthotics, heel cups, or insoles), and flats.
Speaking of flats, most are low-profile with minimal or no arch support, and they don’t have room to accommodate inserts. If you are shopping for flats, however, look for a slight heel (at least a half inch) to minimize stretching on the plantar fascia, as well as a shoe that stays on your foot without toe gripping (i.e., that has elastic or other straps to secure the shoe to your foot), plus a cushioned insole with some arch support. “Flat shoes by nature will be less supportive, so this is a category where personal comfort is most important,” Eby says.
Best Plantar Fasciitis Shoes
Below, we asked physical therapists and podiatrists what they consider the best shoes for plantar fasciitis (including workout shoes, dress shoes, flats, clogs, sandals, and slippers) along with their recommendations for removable insoles to make any shoe more plantar fascia friendly. You’ll find stylish options from brands such as Teva, Dansko, Hoka One One, Clarks, Oofos, and Superfeet from retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, REI, and more.
Dress Shoes and Heels
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