By Rehan Iqbal
Sufferers of Plantar Fasciitis do not need to be told that they have a painful, chronic condition that affects their daily lives and choices of footwear but it is important that footwear manufacturers realize this and are able to create shoes that can alleviate the pain or perhaps even help wearers find more permanent relief.
A Guide To The Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis patients need walking and running and walking shoes that are designed to cushion the heel and provide adequate support and comfort across the whole foot but they also want shoes with style that really are reliable running shoes and not a compromise. The best running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis are the ones that take all of these needs on board and find that ideal balance of design and supportive features. The following running shoe guide highlights nine different shoes from various brands, some of which achieve this balance more effectively than others, and the aim is to help Plantar Fasciitis sufferers discover a new pair that can really help.
1. New Balance 1080
The newest shoe model to be mentioned in this introductory guide on Plantar Fasciitis shoes comes from the New Balance brand. This time is the New Balance 1080 Running Shoe being rated, fittingly enough, on its balance of style and comfort. Again this is an attractive shoe that really can offer a great performance for running instead of simply Plantar Fasciitis relief and this is because of the many features on-board, such as the asymmetrical heel counter to keep the foot locked into place, removable insole, breathable lining, lightweight frame, N2 heel cushioning, ABZORB crash pad, and “arch-securing” FantomFit quarter.
After all that there is little room for anything else. The claim is that the 1080 can “keep up, mile after mile” and buyers state that it provides comfort out of the box with very supportive, shock absorption – implying that they really can compete with the bigger brands.
2. ASICS Gel Nimbus Running Shoe
Because of the prestige and success of the Asics brand, they actually get two mentions in this comparison guide with the Asics Gel Nimbus Running Shoe being the first one. This is another model where comfort and and a great support system are the stars of the show. The key feature here that will stand out to Plantar Fasciitis sufferers is the idea of the heel clutching system, which suggests that it provides ultimate support in the area that needs it most, and there is high praise here for the amount of comfort offered for painful feet, with some saying that it is almost like “like walking on air”.
Add to this the great grip for all-weathers and the wide color range that stretches across the rainbow and it is easy to see why this is such a popular brand with great customer satisfaction ratings – 4.8 out of 5 at the time of writing. Again, sizing issues can be noted but this is a small flaw in a generally well-loved shoe.
3. Mizuno Wave Rider
As comfort and support are such a vital part of designing shoes for Plantar Fasciitis and other foot conditions, we have decided that the Mizuno Wave Rider is the ideal model to mention here after the cushioning features of the Asics model. This is because this shoe takes ideas of comfort to extreme levels.
The Wave Rider – which claims to be vegan – has a foam sole and tech inspired by Hado, a “vibrational life-force energy”. How Hado can help Plantar Fasciitis is uncertain but there are still plenty of interesting aspects in the specification like the “superb underfoot sensation”, which hopefully eases the heel pain and a harmonious fit. The shoe is, however, a bit narrow for some and the thick tongue is more of a hindrance than a help. There is also a nice range of colors with a bold Mizuno logo so other runners cannot miss who you are wearing. There are many more brands of Plantar Fasciitis -friendly shoes snapping at the heels of the big boys and trying to get noticed.
4. Saucony Women s ProGrid Integrity ST2
The last model to be considered here within this brand is the Saucony Women s ProGrid Integrity ST2 – the one where comfort and shape win out over style. There is a distinct shortage of color options compared to the other two models (you can either have black or white) but there is a host of features for supporting feet that will be welcomed by Plantar Fasciitis sufferers. These include the “Stretch Zone” sections, the Walk-Trac outsole and forefoot and rearfoot HRC Cushioning that apparently “pampers your heel strike area with responsive cushioning”.
All of these features ensure that buyers are supported as they walk and there is something to be said for the snug, fit that keeps Plantar Fasciitis-affected heels in place; however, this tougher, tighter feel does have its downsides as it is not as breathable. Also, the black option is stiffer than the white, which makes little sense but has been noticed by a few buyers that bought both.
5. ASICS Gel Kayano
Another well-known name in the world of sports shoes is Asics and a list of the best shoes for Plantar Fasciitis would not be complete without mentioning them. The Asics Gel Kayano Running Shoe initially stands out to prospective buyers because of the great color selection – some models being quite subtle and others definitely less so – but again it is this balance of style with fit that leads to the high customer ratings. The specification is extensive, with the FluidFit multi-directional upper, Impact Guidance System and the gel for shock absorption.
This offers great cushioning and support according to Plantar Fasciitis sufferers and for some their condition is improving. It is also interesting that it has gender-specific cushioning; there are male and female versions of most of the shoes highlighted in this guide but this mention suggests careful consideration by ASICS.
6. Altra Torin Running Shoe
Moving on to some of the other brands we come to the Altra Torin Running Shoe, which is notable for its promises about long distance running and its shape. The great starting point with this brand is that many reviewers have said in reviews that these shoes have helped them with Plantar Fasciitis. The color options on offer have been praised by wearers but most talk about the other features, like the zero drop platform for natural balance and AltraBound cushioning.
There is also a special mention for the wide, anatomical toe box as some buyers are talking about instant relief and say they are most comfortable running shoes they have found because of this wide toe box. This is a feature that sometimes gets overlooked in favor of heel support but it can make a surprising difference to Plantar Fasciitis relief.
7. Hoka One One M Bondi
The Hoka One One M Bondi Running Shoe is a great model to follow the ISO Triumph in this guide to the best running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis because of this issue with toe boxes. Here it is the toe box that comes in for the most criticism, as buyers feel that their toes get cramped and sore, and this means they are less therapeutic in their shape.
Despite this, they still offer a good level of comfort with their oversized mid-sole, cushioning and lycra comfort frame upper and they have similarities with the Altra Torin in the promise to be“versatile enough for on and off road use”. The selection of designs is fair, although once again big on branding, and although the lack of customer reviews suggests it is not as popular or well-known a brand as some of the others highlighted here today, those that have tried it have been fairly impressed.
8. Saucony Hurricane
Saucony is one of the leading names in running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis sufferers as they have style, clever features and high customer satisfaction. There are many different shoes in the Saucony range to appeal to wearers of different styles and needs but the Saucony Hurricane Running Shoe is definitely worth starting this buying guide with because of its instant appeal to runners and the promises for comfort and support. The former is seen in the wide range of color choices and the reflective detailing for walking or running at night; the latter is seen in the “redesigned” support frame around the heel, PWRGRID+ cushioning, 8mm heel-to-toe offset for even distribution, and light weight.
There is a clear balance of therapeutic shoe and running shoe here and some Plantar Fasciitis sufferers are even using these shoes to run Ironman competitions – a feat most would never expect to achieve. This Hurricane clearly offers an impressive benchmark to compare other shoes against but the other models in the Saucony range show that this really is a brand to watch.
9. Saucony Triumph
Another good option, the Saucony Triumph ISO Running Shoe shows that a bold design is clearly important to the brand’s creative team as the designs for both women and men are some of the most extreme to be found in the best athletic shoes for Plantar Fasciitis. It also shows their sense of humor with the lurid green number being labelled as “slime” color. This claims to be their “most cushioned trainer”, which will automatically appeal to Plantar Fasciitis patients, and buyers say that it feels lighter than it actually is and“hugs” their feet.
It has the same 8mm heel-to-toe offset as the Hurricane and high end cushioning with an ISOFIT upper that adapts to the shape of feet for greater, personalized comfort and support. There are a few sizing issues knocking down some ratings as well as concerns about longevity because of the structure of the lightweight sole, but generally the response is good. Comfort is the number one aim with these supportive running shoes and different models approach this in different ways.
What to Expect from the Perfect Plantar Fasciitis Running Shoes
If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, then you know all too well that you simply can’t ignore the pain, no matter how hard you try. For those unfamiliar with the condition, here’s a quick recap. The Plantar Fascia connects the arch in your foot and acts as a shock absorber; stretching and tightening to compensate for any pressure on the foot arch. However, if these supportive ligaments either stretch out or collapse, the foot flattens out, and you now have flat feet or what is medically known as Plantar Fasciitis.
After that, anything from walking to the grocery shop or jogging with your loyal canine quickly becomes a living hell for your feet. As you can imagine, this is very devastating for fitness enthusiasts and people who love to run and maybe whose careers depend on it. Fortunately, technology has caught up with us and now, individuals with the condition have a myriad of solutions to choose from. From support sleeves and compression socks to orthotic inserts, the remedies and possibilities today are limitless. But in the end, it alll boils down to one fact; you will end up wearing a shoe anyway. Why not take out all the middle men and get straight to the root of the problem. If you love running without all the incessant aches or uncomfortable accessories, here’s all you need to know about getting the right running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis or Flat Feet.
The Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis Should Provide
Maximum Arch Support
If you suffer from any form of Plantar Fasciitis, this is the most vital element to look out for in a running shoe. It does not matter what features the shoe has or how inexpensive it is; without proper arch support, your already abused Plantar Fascia will continue stretching and compressing. This will only contribute to further aggravating the situation and make each day more painful than the previous. With an appropriate pair of plantar fasciitis running shoes, not only do you experience better performance, but you do not have to deal with the pain anymore. Depending on the severity of your condition, arch support comes in different levels. For people with extreme plantar fasciitis, avoid low arches and go for shoes with good arch support.
Better Shock Absorption
Absorbing shock and impact while walking or running is the primary job of the arch in your foot. Once the arch flattens out, so does all its entire functionality. Runners can really feel this when running since instead of getting a normal spring to your step, you get a horrible, uncoordinated slump. The worst part is the pain associated with it since you have nothing to absorb the impact, all the shock is directed to your heel and sole. A reliable pair of running shoes for plantar fasciitis should offer superior shock absorption that will take on all the force when your foot strikes the ground. This ensures your feet do not suffer the full brunt of the ordeal.
Firm Midsole, Robust Heel Counters, and Flexible Toe Box
The goal of plantar fasciitis shoes is to relieve the pain in your feet while training them to become stronger and develop natural arches. As such, a flexible toe box and robust heel counters ensure that the shoe bends nicely at the front while still retaining rock solid rigidity at the rear. These shoes ensure that your arch is always maintained at the proper angle so as to avoid overworking the already collapsing ligaments. These are just a tip of the features that make a winning plantar fasciitis running shoe.
So, there you have it; that’s all the essential feature that make up the ideal running shoe for people with plantar fasciitis. Now, while these shoes offer relief, there is no such thing as the perfect shoe, so make sure you exercise your foot muscles every day and oh yeah, one more thing- Tight shoes, worn-out, run-down, loose or beat up sneakers all need to go. Just throw them all away right now and grab yourself a few pairs of the best Plantar Fasciitis running shoes today. Trust me; your feet will definitely thank you later.