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Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Picking the best running shoes for you can be difficult, but it becomes even more difficult if you have to take into account issues that you may have with your feet. Thankfully, there are a myriad of choices for those who suffer foot, ankle, and leg afflictions, even those who are suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Here is a list of the Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

What is plantar fasciitis? It’s a common affliction which causes sharp pain in the foot, most commonly on the heel and the bottom of the foot. There are a number of manageable risk factors such as obesity (70 percent of people suffering from PF are obese) flat feet, and leg length inequality (having one leg that is longer than another). Incidentally, wearing the wrong kind of footwear has also been tied to PF, and may even make it worse.

Why is it Important to Choose the Right Running Shoe?

If you have issues with plantar fasciitis, or you have had such issues in the past, it is all the more important that you spend a lot of time and effort in finding the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis or for those who have suffered from it. The wrong shoes can mean that you are damaging your foot more and more with each step you take and each mile you jog, or they can make taking a run or a walk so painful that you never want to get off of your couch again. Finding the right shoe can make all the difference in the world, and if you find a shoe that is good for your particular PF issues, you may even be able to set yourself on the road toward improving the pain in your foot when you run!

Of course, there is more to picking the right running shoes for you than just making sure you find shoes that are good for PF. Running shoes tend to have different shapes, and not all shapes are right for all feet. For example, if I wear Adidas running shoes, or most Nike lines, it hurts the inside of my foot and will eventually cause pain when I run. On the other hand, New Balance shoes are properly designed for my feet and their shape, so I can wear them and run for miles without any problem. You need to be sure that when you’re picking shoes, you pick shoes that conform well to your feet. Failing to do so can lead to discomfort and pain, so no matter how cool the shoes look or what slick new features they have, you need to pick based on comfort and feeling, not based on color or looks.

Benefits to Choosing the Right Running Shoe

Picking the right running shoe for the shape of your foot will have a number of benefits. In the short term, the right running shoe for your foot and their shape can make you run faster and with more pep in your step, as well as cutting down on the amount of energy you’re burning through with each step. Yes, believe it or not, if you’re not wearing the right shoes for your foot, you are going to find that you’re burning a bit more energy with every single step that you take while you’re walking or jogging. While this may not matter if you’re just walking around your yard, if you’re running a marathon, you will definitely begin to notice the effect of having the wrong running shoes.

When it comes to plantar fasciitis, the right running shoe will help to prevent the issue from ever forming, or, if you already suffer from it, they will help to ensure that your feet will not suffer from it as much. One of the best things that a running shoe can do for your feet is to make sure that the force from the step is better spread out. This means less stress on your foot, less stress on your tendons, less stress on your ankle, and less stress on your knee, and that keeps your body in better shape and allows you to run further distances without feeling the effects of your run as much.

Finding the right shoe can make your running and exercise so much more comfortable. But now the question is what do you not want in a running shoe?

Common Complaints in Running Shoes

  • Poor shock absorption
    • ​When you’re looking for a running shoe, you must remember that you are looking for a shoe that will be able to absorb the shock of your step while you are walking or running. When you take a step, almost all of your foot and leg is involved in absorbing the shock, and the less your shoe is able to absorb that shock, the more you are going to feel the shock.
    • ​A running shoe that does not properly absorb shock is going to cause damage over the long-term in your foot, your tendons and ligaments, your ankle, your joints, and even your knee. In some extreme cases, it can even cause damage to the hip!
    • A good running shoe will have a sole that absorbs shock, as well as a design that will help you to be able to disperse the shock properly across the entirety of your foot.
  • ​Poor grip
    • ​In the last few years, it became popular for people to buy these weird shoes that allowed the toes to still act as individual toes because they were said to have better grip and better shock absorption. The truth is that there was no benefit to these at all; in fact, the grip was worse than in most shoes, even though you could now grip with your toes while running.
    • A good grip will prevent injury due to slipping. Just keep in mind that most running shoes are not going to be able to prevent you from slipping on ice, but they can make sure you don’t slip on wet asphalt and other common surfaces.
  • Poor shape
    • ​Good shoes should conform naturally to the shape of your foot. A failure to do so means that they’re going to be uncomfortable as long as you’re wearing them.
    • ​That discomfort can manifest in issues with the tendons in your foot, as well as with discomfort in the ankle. In some cases, it has even been linked to issues like shin splints.
    • In other words, it is much easier to pick a shoe that properly conforms to the contours of your foot in the first place than it is to wear a shoe in the hopes that it will conform after wear and tear.

Common Features and Distinguishing Factors of the Best Running Shoes

If this guide doesn’t show you a shoe that you think is right for your feet and that will help you deal with your plantar fasciitis, here are just a few things that you should look for in a running shoe that can meet these goals.

  • Quality construction
    • Any running shoe should be well-made to stand up to the stresses of running. It doesn’t do you any good to find a shoe that you like and that helps you to run to the best of your ability, only for it to break apart after a couple of miles. If you’re running on blacktop, cement, grass, asphalt, and rubber, a running shoe should last you at least a hundred miles and closer to a hundred and twenty miles before it needs replacing.​
  • ​Proper support
    • A shoe designed to help with plantar fasciitis needs to be sure that it has considerable support. Support not only makes sure that you’re comfortable when taking a step in the shoe, but also helps to ensure that you won’t suffer a flare-up of plantar fasciitis. A shoe with proper support will be much more comfortable over the long run than a shoe without it.
  • Proper shape
    • With more expensive shoes that are meant to last longer, like leather shoes, it is true that over time you can break in your shoe and it will better conform to your foot. However, with running shoes, you are not going to keep it that long, and the materials it is made of are not as prone to changing their shape.​
    • ​This being the case, you need to make sure that when you are shopping for running shoes, you find ones with the proper shape for absorbing and distributing forces when you are running.
    • Chances are you will find that one brand or another is best for you, but if you’re having trouble finding the right running shoe, stores specializing in running apparel often have equipment or experience to help you find the right shape for you.
  • ​Heel support
    • Heel support is often a function of shock absorption, and the two are related. A good heel support system will greatly reduce the felt shock of the striking of the foot upon the ground.​
  • Arch support
    • Arch support protects the foot from flattening under even the most strenuous activity on the toughest surfaces. Maximum arch support is a good thing for anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis issues.​
  • Midsole stability
    • Stability is always best for ensuring an even footfall consistently, and for preventing injury to your feet.

Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Without further ado, here are the best running shoes for those looking to fix their plantar fasciitis issues, or those looking to prevent such issues from occurring.

 1.  Vionic Men’s Contest Active Lace Up Shoe

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0

Vionic is an Australian business that was begun by a podiatrist named Phillip Vasyli. Vasyli looked at human evolution and noticed that our body had evolved to be able to work nominally on softer surfaces; grass, mud, dirt, sand, and that with our insistence on paving everything, we were seeing a rise in issues that arise from increased forces in walking on such hard surfaces. Vasyli realized that if he could soften the blow substantially, and then better disperse the forces, it would reduce stress to the foot, as well as injuries like plantar fasciitis.

The Vionic Men’s Contest Active Lace Up Shoe employs Orthaheel technology, which is designed to help prevent the flattening of the foot and to preserve the natural shape of the foot. As mentioned above, a flat foot is one of those known risk factors that contributes to plantar fasciitis issues, and that means that anything you can do to prevent your foot from flattening out is going to be likely to help you avoid suffering from such affliction.

The shoe is made of synthetic fabrics, along with a mesh upper that allows for breathability. This means that his shoe is not just one of the more comfortable shoes on the list, but that it keeps your feet cooler and less likely to be sweaty, which also helps to keep your feet healthy in its own way. It has a removable dual density EVA insole, which is there to help not only with dispersing the forces of your footfall, but also with making sure that you have padding to soften the strike of your foot upon the ground. It also includes the Orthaheel Contest, which is made to acclimate the normal shape of your foot while preventing that shape from flattening out, as well as reducing the forces felt when you take a step. Together, this can help with any PF issues you may be facing.

For the women who are interested in a Vionic shoe, they also offer shoes for women that are very similar, such as the Vionic Women’s Motion Venture Active Lace Up

 2.  New Balance 990v3

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

New Balance is a shoe maker that has been making running shoes for quite some time, and they’re a well-respected name in the market. The company was founded over a century ago, and originally went by the name ‘The New Balance Arch Support Company’. Their shoes can be a little bit more expensive than their competition, but in exchange you get a shoe that is much better on your feet and often has other technical features, like blended gel inserts, that are meant to keep your feet healthy and happy while you’re running or working out however you like to do so.

Now, I have to be honest here; I may be a bit biased. I have found that New Balance shoes are the brand best suited to my feet, and have been using New Balance and only New Balance running shoes for the last ten years. Plus, most of them are pretty awesome-looking.

The New Balance 990v3 Running Shoe has a classic look to it, somewhat reminiscent of some of the older Adidas shoes. The top of the shoe is made of a mixture of leather (which is tough and hard to damage, even in extreme conditions, hard use, and water) and mesh, which means that it is going to be both sturdy and breathable. It has a dual-density collar and tongue, which really just serves to keep the shoe better sealed against the elements and more comfortable when it is up against your ankle and the top of your foot. It has a rubber sole, as is standard in the industry, and it also comes with a blown-rubber forefoot. Blown rubber basically creates a cushion that is softer than most other rubber products that you can put together. All these features, when combined together, help to lessen the strike of your foot upon the ground, and help to prevent plantar fasciitis issues.

New Balance 990v3 Video Review

A final nice added bonus is that parts of the shoe, including the trademark ‘N’ logo, are made of reflective materials. This is nice for those of us who may enjoy running later in the day or at night, as well as those who like to run even if it is raining out. These New Balance shoes may be on the more expensive side, but they are fantastic running shoes, and they last for quite a few miles. New Balance makes their 990v3 in both Men’s and Women’s shoes, and they come in a wide variety of sizes and widths suitable to any foot.

 3.  Asics GT-2000 2

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0

Asics is another shoe maker that has been making running shoes for quite some time. They’re a Japanese company that was formed shortly after World War II, in 1949. And before people wonder what the name means, no, it is not Japanese, or any other language. Asics is an acronym for the Latin phrase ‘anima sana in corporesano’, which roughly translates into ‘a healthy soul in a healthy body’. You can often tell an Asics shoe at a distance because of its distinctive ‘crossed stripes’, which became a constant for the brand with their Mexico 66 design.

The GT-2000 2 line features a couple of things that make it a great shoe for anyone who has ever suffered through issues with plantar fasciitis. It is based on the popular Asics GT-2170, which has been a best-selling line for years, now, and features improvements like the Impact Guidance System, which helps to naturally guide your foot to the ground from the point of strike and enhances your natural gait from point of contact to toe-off from the ground.

Asics GT-2000 2 Video Review

The shoe is made mostly of mesh, with some synthetic material to hold it all together. This allows the shoe to help keep your feet cool even in the most terrible of running conditions, as well as ensuring that they stay dry by providing a decent crosswind. The shoe comes with a FluiRide midsole, which helps to ensure the proper amount of flexibility while also providing stability and proper dispersion of pressures. It also features the Dynamic DuoMax Support System, which is designed to provide heel and arch support to ensure that your feet feels even less of the footfall forces.

If you’re looking for a great shoe that is more affordable than a New Balance, this may be the one for you. It also comes in Men’s and Women’s sizes.

 4.  Saucony Kinvara 4

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0

One of the oldest makers of what we would consider ‘running shoes’, Saucony has been making running shoes in America since 1898, almost a hundred and twenty years, moving from a starting in Pennsylvania to its current headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts. The name comes from the name of the Saucony creek, and they are very popular and well-known running shoes that are in wide use around the world. They offer shoes for running, hiking, racing, walking, and even for collegiate sports.

The Kinvara 4 Running Shoe is a Saucony running shoe that is great for anyone with plantar fasciitis issues. The upper construction is the usual synthetic and mesh construction, which, as always, allows for good breathability and for a nice crosswind through the shoe to keep your feet cool and dry. It has the usual rubber sole, of course. It features a Flex Film welded upper sole which provides better dispersion of the forces of the striking of your foot. It features HydraMAX moisture-wicking collar lining, which is nice for moving moisture out of the shoe and away from your foot, which can help to prevent rashes.

Saucony Kinvara 4 Video Review

For those suffering from plantar fasciitis issues, though, the best thing that the shoe has to offer is the PowerGrid technology and the high-abrasion EVA+ midsole. The PowerGrid technology is designed to center your foot when you are stepping or running, and the midsole is designed to disperse the pressures and forces of your footfall properly and well. Combined, they make a powerful technology for ensuring that you don’t cause any damage to your ligaments or muscles, helping to protect your feet from issues like plantar fasciitis and other afflictions of the foot.

Saucony’sKinvara 4 is available in Men’s and Women’s sizes, and they are much more affordable than the other shoes thus far reviewed.

 5.  Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

Brooks is another company that has been in the shoe market for quite some time. They first opened in 1914, 103 years ago, and since then Brooks Sports, Inc. Their entire business model has been built, since the beginning, around making sure that they are going to be able to provide runners with the shoes that they want.

So what makes the Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe such a great product for those who are suffering from plantar fasciitis? As usual, it comes with a synthetic and mesh upper construction that allows for comfort and keeps the feet drier. This allows a lot more air in, as I’ve said before, and that means that your feet stay cooler and drier than they would otherwise, which is important in a running shoe.

Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe Video Review

When it comes to aspects that will help those with foot issues, though, there are two that really stand out. Brooks DNA Cushioning Technology and Brooks BioMogo midsoles. The DNA Cushioning Technology adapts to each foot strike, in order to ensure that each step is stable and the pressures are being properly dispersed from each step you take. On the other hand, the BioMogo midsole is a fantastic midsole that is also biodegradeable, so not only does it provide support for your foot, but it also will not end up clogging up a landfill somewhere after you’re done with the shoes. For those with PF issues, the midsole cushions the foot suitably to prevent injury, while the cushioning offers even further protection.

Brooks makes their Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe in both Men’s and Women’s sizes, and if you’re looking for a shoe that is closer to the mid-range in price, this is the one that you should be looking into.

If you are still looking for a shoe that might be good for your feet, and you don’t like what any of these shoes have to offer, just make sure you get shoes that are right for your plantar fasciitis issues.

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