Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia tissue of your foot gets inflamed. The plantar fascia is a tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. I’ve never had this condition myself, but I can only imagine how demoralizing it could be to anyone trying to reach their fitness goals.
Getting yourself to workout when you have zero motivation is hard enough. How much more so when every step you take stings with agonizing pain?
While no particular shoes can cure or treat plantar fasciitis, the right pair can greatly reduce the symptoms. They can give your feet a level of comfort that just might be enough to get you working out again.
In this article, we’ll discuss what causes plantar fasciitis, the role shoes play, and give our recommendations for the best running shoes for this condition.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX (Men | Women)
- Brooks Levitate (Men | Women)
- Mizuno Wave Rider 19 (Men | Women)
- ASICS GEL Venture 5 (Men | Women)
- Hoka Bondi 5 Women’s Running Shoes
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. The plantar fascia kind of looks like a bunch of rubber bands stretched out. But actually, it’s made of collagen- a rigid and inflexible protein. You can imagine that if something inflexible like this gets inflamed, it won’t feel very good.
According to Jordan Metzl, M.D., plantar fasciitis sufferers say they feel a “sharp stab” in the heel or arch of the foot.
Besides sharp stabbing pains, other symptoms include:
- Sudden strain on the bottom of your foot on the first step out of bed
- Sudden pain after long spells of sitting
- Pain during a push off while running
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Overpronation (when the arches of your foot roll inward or downward; aka flat feet)
- Drastic or sudden increase in the miles you run in a short amount of time
- Poor foot structure
- Neglecting to stretch calf muscles
- Overdoing hill work and speed work
- Switching from high heels all day to flat running shoes
- Running on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete
Any of these stressors can rip tiny tears into the plantar fascia tissue, causing heel pain and inflammation.
Can Shoes Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes. Picking the wrong shoes and running in worn out ones are the main ways your shoes can cause plantar fasciitis. It’s important to not only take careful consideration in picking shoes, but to replace them in a timely fashion.
How often should you replace your shoes? This depends, but Men’s Journal offers a rule of thumb: “replace your shoes when they stop feeling good.” When you put your shoes on ask yourself, “do these still feel comfortable?” If the answer is not a resounding ‘yes,’ or if you’re not sure, then it’s probably time to pick up a new pair.
Can I Still Work Out If I have Plantar Fasciitis?
Usually plantar fasciitis resolves within 6-18 months without treatment.
According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, people who undergo 6 months of consistent, non-operative treatment, “will recover 97 percent of the time.” If you’re an avid runner, 6 months might seem like an eternity. Does this mean running is out of the picture completely?
It depends on your situation. For example, if you notice your first step out of bed hurts but goes away after a few more steps, don’t stop running at all. If you have pain at the start of a run but it quickly goes away, keep running. If you’re running and the pain lasts for a few minutes, cut back by 25%. Any longer than a few minutes, then you should cut back by 50%.
There are two things you can do to alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis:
- Stretch (i. e.calf muscles)
- Pick the right shoes
Here are some stretches you can watch and use if you have plantar fasciitis:
What Do The Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis Have In Common?
There are some key features you should be looking for in a plantar fasciitis shoe:
- Arch support
- Shock absorption
- Cushioning in the forefront
- A flexible toe box
- A robust heel counter
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, look for a shoe that offers ample arch support. This is the most vital. Why?
According to Jennifer Gerres, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, your body “places about three to four times your bodyweight in each step.” Ample arch support transfers this stress from your plantar fascia to the shoe.
Without arch support, the plantar fascia continues to stretch and compress. Arch support minimizes this pain and improves your performance.
The shoe should also have good shock absorption. The primary job of your arch is to absorb shock and impact. Plantar fasciitis feet have arches that flatten out, making it less effective at doing that. It can really hurt when you don’t have good shock absorption. Because then the pain goes directly to your heel and sole.
Cushioning in the forefront reduces the shock transferred from the shoe to the leg and body.
A flexible toe box allows your shoe to bend at the front. A robust heel counter at the back makes sure the rear is rock solid and rigid. This configuration makes sure your arch is always maintained at the proper angle.
To sum it up, an ideal shoe transfers the pressure from your foot to the shoe, keeping your foot stable and secure.
The 5 Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
If you’re unsure whether you’re in the right shoe or not, seek advice from a medical professional. These shoe recommendations are not to be taken as medical advice.
Users report that these shoes exceeded their expectations for the price.Particularly those who had plantar fasciitis for years, this was the first shoe they were able to wear without pain. This allowed them to lose weight for the first time since other shoes were too painful to workout in.
Working professionals reported they could be on their feet all day long in these. Yet, there were mixed reviews on how long the Gel-Venture 6 could last. Some reported they lasted for 18 months, others reported 5-6. Obviously this varies greatly depending on how often you use them, work, and body composition.
- Many different colorway options to match your style
- Extra heel support and cushioning for comfort
- The toe box is wide so your toes aren’t cramped together
- Many users with plantar fasciitis reported these shoes helped ease the pain
- Insoles are removable for customization
- Company sizing may not be true to size. Users complained that the shoe did not fit
- Users complained about the poor quality and short length of the laces
Brooks Levitate (Men | Women)
The general consensus among Brooks Levitate users? It’s damn comfortable.
Our research suggest that this shoe is best for the casual runner, not the competitive one. Why? They aren’t as lightweight and supportive as other shoes. These two traits are vital for shaving off running seconds.
They’re slightly heavier than the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX, but again the Brooks beats them in comfort.
- A wide variety of colours
- Made of quality material that is soft and highly comfortable
- Fits securely around the ankle due to padding
- Stable for people with flat feet
- Has been reported to last for a large amount of time by many users
- The soft and flexible material aren’t very supportive or stable
- Not as lightweight as other selections
Unlike other shoes mentioned in this review, these shoes won’t feel like your feet are on clouds.But users report that the shoes make up for this with its efficiency. And by efficient, we mean its ability to transfer your effort into forward motion. For users, this resulted in faster run times.
The weight is minimal and compared to other competitors, tends to hold up better over time. There’s not as big a range of styles to choose from as the Brooks Levitate or the Asics Gel-Venture. But the Mizuno Wave Rider is highly recommended by those with high arches.
- Gives added support for people with high arches that may relieve shin splints and pain in the feet
- Has a wide toe box
- Lightweight and has a longer lifespan than other shoes
- Removable insoles
- Design of shoe efficiently transfers energy into forward motion for faster times
- Some users commented that the Mizuno Wave Rider 19 didn’t have as much cushioning as previous versions
- Few colors to choose from relative to other brands reviewed
- Users reported the shoe was noisy in motion
Before the Gel-Venture 6 MX, there was the ASICS Gel Venture 5.
It’s praised by users for its superior performance on the trail. But reviews also stated that it wasn’t ideal for the street/blacktop. The shoe is light and stable, weighing in at about 300 grams. With that said, it’s also less durable than previous iterations. It’s also slippery on certain surfaces.
- Offers great arch support that transfers impact to the shoe instead of foot
- Great for trail running workouts
- Very stable sole that has lateral stability to keep your foot secure in place
- Many reviewers stated that the soles don’t last long
- It’s suggested that you use your own insoles since the stock ones don’t offer enough support
- Doesn’t have as much durability as the Gel Venture MX 6
Hoka is a company that designs shoes specifically for running uphill and downhill as quickly as possible.With its EVA Midsole, this shoe provides a lot of relief for people suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Many users with plantar fasciitis reported that these shoes were effective at alleviating foot pain. Yet, a common thread among reviews was that this shoes tended to squeak.
- Breathable mesh is effective at keeping the foot dry
- The insole is removable so you can customize it with your own orthodontic
- Many people with plantar fasciitis said this shoe is comfortable and helped reduce pain (nurses in particular)
- It has a snug and comfortable fit with ample toe box room
- Some users said these shoes squeak too much
- Reportedly didn’t have enough lateral support for some
- Very bulky shoe that may be off putting to some
The clear winner is the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX.
The ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX is made for durability: with proper care, it lasts a long time. Users raved about the extra heel support and how comfortable it was. While the toe box has ample room for your foot so it doesn’t feel cramped up, this feature doesn’t take away from the performance of this shoe.
The only downfall is it’s heavier than the Gel-Venture 5. But it’s still lighter than some other selections on this list. With its shock absorbing cushioning and the ability to customize the insole, this shoe has many health benefits for those with plantar fasciitis.
Check Price: ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX
Brook’s Levitate came in at a close second due to its high level of comfort, but in our opinion the longevity of the Gel-Venture outweighed that.