If you have plantar fasciitis, sneakers with good arch support, plush cushioning, shock absorption, and a chunky heel are what you want.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common triggers for heel pain, especially among runners. Regularly stretching is a good start, but you may also want to invest in a running sneaker that helps alleviate foot pain. Below, explore the best running shoes that won’t aggravate plantar fasciitis, plus podiatrist-recommended tips for finding the right fit.
The 9 best running shoes for plantar fasciitis to buy
- Best Overall: Asics Gel-Cumulus 22 Running Shoe
- Best for Short Distances: On Cloud 2.0 Running Shoe
- Best for Long Distances: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Running Shoe
- Best for Road Running: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoe
- Best for Trail Running: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
- Best for High Arches: Brooks Ghost 13 Running Shoe
- Best for Flat Feet: Asics Gel Kayano 28 Lite-Show Running Shoe
- Best for Wide Feet: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 Running Shoe
- Most Supportive: Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe
What is plantar fasciitis?
“The plantar fascia is a shock-absorbing bowstring-like thick ligament that connects your heel to your toes,” explains New York City-based podiatrist Dr. Miguel Cunha, DPM. “When you stand your arch collapses, causing this bowstring to stretch out leading to the formation of micro-tears in the ligament that can result in weakness, swelling, and irritation of the plantar fascia.”
As for the key symptoms to look out for, he continues, “The most common sign of plantar fasciitis is stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot when you get out of bed in the morning, after standing for prolonged periods of time, or when you stand up after sitting for a while. It’s also common to experience pain after you exercise, not during your workout.”
While supportive footwear is always recommended for alleviating pain, Dr. Grant Duong stresses that a new pair of shoes won’t fully heal your plantar fasciitis. “The truth is, shoes won't really help with plantar fasciitis,” the Australia-based podiatrist tells Health. “The problem lies within the actual foot posture and foot and calf muscles.” It’s best to consult with an expert to determine the root of your foot pain and learn the proper posture and footwear that supports your arch and gait pattern.
What to look for when shopping for running shoes
While there aren't plantar fasciitis-specific running shoes, there are some smart features to look for when shopping. Experts recommend choosing sneakers with good arch support, supportive cushioning, shock-absorbing soles, a deep heel cup, and a spacious toe box to keep plantar fasciitis symptoms at bay.
“A well-cushioned footbed and anatomical arch support to hold the plantar fascia and prevent it from collapsing to minimize fatigue and pain,” Dr. Cunha shares. “Increased rigidity of the heel cup can help maintain proper foot realignment and maintain pressure relief of the plantar fascia by withstanding the impact of each heel strike.” He adds, “A bio-mechanically engineered shoe with superior cushioning and a durable rubber sole with maximum shock-absorbing properties to maximize motion control, minimize fatigue of the plantar fascia, and ultimately allow for a smoother and more natural motion.”
It's generally smart to choose a heavier shoe, since lightweight sneakers don't deliver much support, says New York-based podiatrist Hillary Brenner, DPM. "You don’t want to bend the shoe in half like a burrito," she explains.
Here are the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis you should add to your workout wardrobe if you're suffering from this foot condition.