Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Do you enjoy running but lately it’s become a real pain in the foot? Chances are, your pain is due to plantar fasciitis, commonly called “runner’s heel” because so many runners are affected by it but what are the best running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are a runner who is currently suffering from plantar fasciitis or has had the condition in the past, the advice from medical sources, including Patient.info, is to pay close attention to your choice of running shoes.
There are certain criteria your running shoes should fit and while it may take some checking around, there are many options for you to choose from.
Why is Plantar Fasciitis Common among Runners?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia - a thick band of connective tissue leading from your heel to the underside of each toe. The inflammation arises when the plantar fascia is damaged, usually from overuse or repetitive motion as in running.
The condition can become intensified when this overuse is coupled with several other factors. These factors, as listed on runnerclick.com, include
- Over pronation, that is your foot rolls inwards when you stride
- Standing on hard surfaces for a prolonged period of time
- Being flat-footed or having a high instep
- Being overweight or experiencing sudden weight gain
- Having tight calf muscles or tight Achilles tendons
Another common factor is wearing worn out shoes or ones which offer inadequate support to the areas of your feet. While professional runners are aware of the seriousness of selecting proper shoes, casual runners are not usually as discerning.
In an article on Podiatry Today, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Tim Dutra, reveals that running is often used as a form of conditioning by athletes. “Accordingly,” he says “they may not be accustomed to the demands of running as well as the proper footwear.”
What Should You Look For In Running Shoes?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides the following general tips for selecting the right athletic shoes.
- Buy from a store that specializes in your sport (in this case - running).
- Go shoe shopping at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest. No joke – feet naturally swell during the day.
- Be prepared – go armed with a pair of the same type of socks you’ll be using with the shoes.
- Try out the shoes on different surfaces (tile, carpet, etc.) inside the store.
- Put the shoes on completely, ensuring that you also tighten the laces.
The AAOS also suggests tying the laces in different patterns to see which gives your feet the best support where you need it. More specific to the choice of shoes, the Academy says
- The inside back of the shoe (or heel counter) should provide sufficient grip and stability to your heel
- you should be able to wiggle your toes in the shoe’s toe box (the inside front part), with your longest toe being at least a half inch from the tip of the shoe
Physiotherapist Tom Goom of RunningPhysio cites several pieces of research to make recommendations on the particular shoe features runners should look for to prevent plantar fasciitis or to alleviate its symptoms.
He summarizes that your shoe should have a “good heel section with at least 10 mm heel-toe drop”. This he says will reduce dorsiflexion or the backward bending of the foot so you experience less load on both your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon.
Secondly, he points out that the mid-section of the shoe should have “firm but well cushioned arch support”. He does suggest the need for a middle ground here, as too firm support can lead to greater plantar fasciitis pain.
For the toe section of the shoe, Mr. Goom, says it should “reduce great toe extension which can increase load on the plantar fascia”. Consequently, you need a pair of running shoes with a moderately firm toe section that will not bend excessively.
Now, that’s a lot of information to bear in mind when you go shoe shopping. The list that follows takes it all into consideration, however, giving you a heads-up on which shoes you should be reaching for in the store.
A Look at the Top 10 Shoes for Runners with Plantar Fasciitis
Asics Gel Exhalt
The Asics Gel Exalt is a popular choice among runners with problematic arches. This shoe gets high marks for comfort and shock dispersion due to it generous amount of cushioning.
Asics Gel Nimbus 15
With the Asics Gel Nimbus 15, you get a nice roomy toe box and extra cushioning. This durable shoe does the trick for runners with high arches or who tend to suffer from knee and back pain.
Asics Gel Keyano
This highly breathable shoe is lightweight and durable, making it ideal for high-mileage use. A bit on the expensive side, the Asics Gel Kayano is still well-liked by runners looking for a great fit and extra comfort.
The forefoot and heel of the Asics GT-2000 are designed with larger gel units to give you greater comfort. Its forefoot also has a firmer feel and the mid-foot section gives runners of varying foot shape improved support.
Brooks Addiction 11
The Brooks Addiction 11 is an admirable upgrade to the earlier Brooks Addiction 10. It offers wonderful support to flat-footed runners and those with a moderate tendency to over pronate.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15
A true favourite among runners, the Brooks Adrenaline is a comfortable blend of stability and cushioning. This shoe is often rated as highly durable at high mileage and a good choice for fast running.
New Balance 1540
Proprietary Absorb mid-foot cushioning and Rollbar supports help the New Balance 1540 offer runners superior motion control. It provides ample arch and heel support, and is a good choice if you are on the heavy side.
New Balance 990V3
The New Balance 990V3 is a good selection for big runners. It offers enviable fit and comfort, plus plenty of shock absorbency with its EVA foam midsole. This reliable shoe easily fits many different foot shapes.
Saucony Guide 7
The functionality of the Saucony Guide 7 is enhanced by strategically placed stability zones. This shoe offers runners maximum flexibility and cushioning with wonderful support for moderate over pronators.
Saucony Kinvara 4
This lightweight shoe gives runners a very supportive fit and is a good choice for high-mileage running. Saucony Kinvara 4’s roomy toe box and low heel-to-toe drop are commendable features, but it is a bit lacking in cushioning.