By Paul Freary
Plantar fasciitis can be a very painful condition so the choice of footwear is important. Cushioning, support and comfort are important considerations when selecting shoes to help when suffering from the condition.
HOKA Footwear Choices
Hoka has a wide selection of running shoes that each provide varying degrees of both cushioning and control. Here we’ll look at a selection of Hoka running shoes that could help you with plantar fasciitis.
Known for the higher stack height shoes, the brand has fans on the road and trail and especially in the world of Ultra running thanks to the deep cushioning and lower heel drops.
It’s this deep, soft cushioning that can help provide some relief for those with Plantar fasciitis. They also have a roomy toe box.
Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Plantar fascia pain is usually most noticeable first thing in the morning. After spending the night in bed with the foot plantar flexed (pointing down), the tendon is relaxed and shortened. On standing the tendon is stretched out and the pain quickly becomes apparent. This pain can become a little less as you walk on it (depending on the severity).
The causes of plantar fasciitis are not very clear but several risk factors are associated with the condition. These include obesity, an increase in exercise (or general workload) and over-pronation.
Research now shows that inflammation plays little role in the condition and many believe the condition would be better described as plantar fasciosis.
Best HOKA's for Plantar Fasciitis
1. Bondi 8 - Most Cushioned Hoka Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Most sufferers of plantar fasciitis are simply looking for comfortable shoes to help alleviate foot and heel pain.
While many footwear types are often described as orthopaedic shoes, they often are simply very heavy and bulky shoes that often have no specific features to help deal with foot pain.
Several shoes with the Hoka range have recently been recognised by the Royal College of Podiatry (RCPod) in the UK as being beneficial to foot health.
The Bondi 8 is a shoe that’s recommended for both runners and walkers and is Hoka’s ultra-cushioned model. The Bondi is a stable neutral shoe offering maximal levels of cushioning.
With a 33mm stack of cushioning in the heel the shoe simply soaks up impact and feels soft and welcoming under the foot offering all-day comfort.
An engineered mesh upper with partially gusseted tongue provides a great fit around the foot and being available in both regular and a wide fitting option helps to accommodate many foot shapes and sizes.
A pull-on heel tab helps getting in and out of the shoe for those with other foot or health considerations and an Ortholite sock liner provides step-in comfort.
When it comes to impact absorption the Hoka Bondi 8 is one of the best athletics shoes around for plantar fasciitis sufferers.
2. Gaviota 5 - Most Supportive Hoka Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Many studies on the subject of plantar fasciitis mention pronation and foot control as being factors in both the cause and treatment of the condition.
Overpronation; the flexibility and inward roll of the foot can put additional strain on the plantar fascia tendon and this strain cause pain both under the heel and base of the foot.
Controlling overpronation is one of the most important factors in treating plantar fasciitis should this be occurring in your feet.
Both cushioning and control in footwear are important and Hoka offers several options here.
The Gaviota 5 offers both great cushioning and control for overpronation, with 36mm of cushioning and a new H-frame design for support. It’s classified as a highly supportive shoe with maximal levels of cushioning.
A combination of dual densities of CM-EVA cushioning allows both the foot to sink into the plush cushioning and at the same time be stabilised by the H-frame. The new H-frame support system cups either side of the foot while a central bar controls any inward roll.
3. Stinson 7 - Best Hoka Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Sufferers
It’s not just athletes and runners that can fall victim to plantar fasciitis, in fact, it is often day-to-day activities that are the biggest contributors to the cause of the condition.
If we were to look at the activities of the average person, most would be spending around 8 hours a day on their feet. Ok, they may not be covering many miles, but just by going about their daily business, their feet take a lot of pounding. This daily pounding is often in poorly supported shoes.
The Stinson 7 is a versatile shoe from Hoka that offers the brand's highest volume of cushioning as well as being great for use on a variety of surfaces.
With 4mm lugs on the outsole, the grip offers enough traction for most surfaces one might encounter on a daily basis, but it’s the great big volume of cushioning that provides fantastic comfort.
At 37mm deep the cushioning stack simply soaks up any impact, mile after mile, day after day, wherever you venture.
A broad midsole provides an accommodating fit and the rocker shape makes for a smooth toe-off, again helping to relieve some of the strain on the tendon.
A reinforced TPU toe bumper provides additional protection and durability while the anatomical support wings incorporated into the lacing give a secure lockdown around the foot.
4. Challenger 7 GTex - Best Trail Walking Hoka Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
If you are venturing a little off the beaten track, you’ll still require a shoe that provides great cushioning and support as well as additional protection from the elements.
The Hoka Challenger 7 Gore-Tex provides all these features for a go-anywhere shoe endorsed by the Royal College of Podiatry. The Challenger offers moderate to maximal levels of cushioning in a neutral cushioned ride.
The Gore-Tex invisible fit upper provides water-proof protection while being lightweight and without adding additional bulk to the fit. This upper allows you to tackle the trails you might otherwise avoid, all the time keeping your feet dry and warm.
The lightweight midsole offers 31mm of cushioning which while providing great comfort when on the move for extended periods of time, keeps the foot stable on uneven ground.
With 4mm lugs making up the outsole, it provides great traction on a variety of trail surfaces and gives a reassured footing on the trails.
The Challenge 7 Gore-Tex is a go-anywhere, in any weather shoe that provides lightweight protection and support.
5. Arahi 6 - Most Versatile Hoka Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Being surprisingly light for a stability-type shoe, the Hoka Arahi 6 is an update to the brand’s popular support category model. It’s a shoe that offers moderate levels of support alongside a moderate to high degree of cushioning.
The stabilising J-frame is retained from previous versions and is a firmer section of the midsole that wraps around the rear of the foot. With soft compression moulded EVA foam sitting in the centre section of the frame, the foot sinks into the cushioning and is cradled by the J-shaped frame.
This combination of cushioning and support provides the key ingredients that can help those suffering from plantar fasciitis.
The lightest shoe in this selection of Hoka running shoes, the Arahi 6 makes a great, versatile option not just for runners but for anyone wanting a shoe that offers cushioning and support in a light package.
The breathable mesh upper makes use of recycled materials and with a plush tongue and extended heel pull is a very comfortable shoe for plantar fasciitis sufferers.
6. Clifton 9 - Best All-Around Hoka Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Being Hoka’s best-selling model, the Clifton has always proved popular for both runners and walkers. Now in its ninth iteration, the latest model goes from strength to strength. The Clifton 9 is a stable neutral shoe with a moderate to high degree of cushioning
Available in width fittings as well as a wide range of colours broadens the shoe's appeal to a great range of people, but it’s the overall comfort of the shoe that gives it the edge.
Now endorsed by the Royal College of Podiatry in the UK, the shoe has been recognised as being beneficial to foot health.
The latest update to the Hoka Clifton sees an additional 3mm of cushioning in the compression moulded EVA foam midsole. This sees what a high stack of cushioning was already upgraded to 32mm in the rear of the foot.
Despite the additional cushioning, the overall weight of the shoe remains very similar to previous versions thanks to improvements and weight savings made elsewhere.
A new engineered mesh upper lifts the overall design of the new model, giving it a breathable fit and premium feel. It fits the foot well and lifts the shoe's overall design.
The upper, as well as other parts of the Clifton 9 use recycled polyester content in their manufacture and the shoe is also Vegan.
Even with a high stack of cushioning, the shoe is inherently stable thanks to its overall geometry which includes an early-stage MetaRocker, Hoka’s trademark term for the curved rocker-shaped design of the midsole cushioning.
The MetaRocker helps the foot roll forward, through the gait cycle smoothly and efficiently and can also reduce the strain on the foot's joints and muscles as well as the plantar fascia tendon.
The new Hoka Clifton 9 is a great choice for those not only suffering from plantar fasciitis but also other general foot pain and conditions thanks to its high levels of cushioning and comfort.
HOKA Shoes Summary
Men / Women
Men / Women
33mm / 31mm
307g / 10.8oz
252g / 8.9oz
Max Cushion & Support
36mm / 34mm
310g / 10.9oz
251g / 8.8oz
37mm / 35mm
332g / 11.7oz
278g / 9.8oz
31mm / 29mm
275g / 9.7oz
198g / 7oz
29mm / 27mm
269g / 9.5oz
216g / 7.6oz
32mm / 29mm
248g / 8.7oz
205g / 7.3oz