Checklist of What to Look for in Footwear When You Have Plantar Fasciitis

What is appropriate footwear for a sufferer of plantar fasciitis? Basically, it must satisfy two requirements: Footwear must provide support to both your heel and arch to order to relieve pain, and also to allow the affected foot to heal.

Features to look for in shoes when you suffer from plantar fasciitis include:

  • Firm heel counters. The heel counter is a small, plastic insert that reinforces the heel cup of a shoe. A heel counter that is thick and firm cradles the arch and heel, which helps decrease overpronation.
  • Minimal midsole torquing. The shoe should be sufficiently rigid to not bend and/or twist in its midsole section.
  • Strong arch support.
  • A slightly elevated heel.
  • A removable foot bed. A removable footbed can be very helpful if you need to use custom orthotics or insoles. You can also try to remove the original insole and substitute an insole such as one by Superfeet.

Participants in high-impact sports should be sure to look the following essential features in footwear:

  • Correct arch support.
  • Adequate flexibility.
  • Sufficient shock absorption.

The type of arch support you require in your athletic shoes will depend on two related factors:

  • What type of foot arch you have (i.e. flat, normal or high).
  • Whether you are an "overpronator" or an "underpronator" (i.e. supinator). If you "overpronate," your foot turns inward when you walk. You likely have low arches and therefore your arch collapses as you walk. This situation increases your risk for injuries. By comparison, if your feet "supinate" when you walk, your foot turns outward. Typically, those who have high arches "underpronate" and excessive shock travels up your legs. Your arches do not collapse enough in order to absorb this shock. This is the least common type of arch.

A foot specialist and/or podiatrist can determine what kind of arch you have, whether you overpronate or supinate and/or if you have an irregular stride.

For brands that specifically cater to plantar fasciitis, check out Vionic with Orthaheel Technology and Dansko.

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