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TOPIC: Best Gym Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

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June 1, 2011 10:55 AM
I am in the market for some new gym shoes as I found out that nagging pain in my heel is plantar fasciitis and barefoot running/walking/working-out is no longer an option.

I understand everyone has different feet and different things work, but I don't want to go into the running store blind so I'd appreciate some tips on what works best for all of you out there.

Is there a certain style, brand, exact shoe that works for you?

I do about 55+ miles of walking and running a month. I'd use the shoes for walking, running, cross-training and maybe hiking. I have a women's 7-7.5 and I have a slightly more narrow foot. I tend to favor the outsides of my feet in my natural stride. I like gym shoes with funky/bright colors and contrasts, but ya know...I'll take anything that makes my foot feel better. My price cap is at around $120--ideally $75-100. I use super feet insoles every other time I run so I'd much prefer a removeable insole.

Bring on the thread.

P.S. I have everyday shoes for the problem and they work wonders! Buy KEENS--they are heaven in a shoe!

P.S.S. Not in the market for Shape-up/Toning shoes, as my podiatrist said to steer-clear of them.
Edited by TacoGibbons On June 1, 2011 11:24 AM
June 1, 2011 10:58 AM
i just bought the sketcher toners they are really good... but i would change them for nike anyday.. they have the best shoes.
June 1, 2011 11:02 AM
New Balance has running shoes designed specifically for your issues. Google New Balance and look at the options. I buy mine from now becasue they are much less expensive than buying from the New Balance store. Read all the reviews before you buy so you can adjust the size as needed. I cried the first time I put mine on because I could immediately tell the difference in the way they made my foot feel.
June 1, 2011 11:02 AM
Hey, I have recent experience in this department, and just as I didn't like the answer, you might not either. I spent 5 months studying abroad in asia and ran every day on the same shoes that got worn down, and then walked in flip flops the whole rest of the time. I went to see a podiatrist and he told me 3 things:

1) No more flip flops (I compromised by getting a special pair that actually had support).
2) 6 weeks off from running outside (this was a killer, although the elliptical was allowed).
3) Buy inserts for your normal shoes (flats, heels, whatever you're wearing around all day, I got them at schuler shoes, which has great support options).

I wasn't actually excited with these prospects, but he told me that I was seriously risking a tear in the plantar fascia, so I did as was told, and it worked really well for me; no more foot pain!

I'm not sure if you were as serious, but at the very least I would follow 1 and 3 to reduce strain on the connective tissue in day to day life.
June 1, 2011 11:03 AM
I'm glad someone asked this question. I also have plantar fasciitis and I need to know what some good shoes would be for me. I never even thought to ask on here. So thanks!!!
June 1, 2011 11:03 AM
I have to recommend the Sketchers Shape-Ups. I LOVE mine. I have no idea if they actually help me lose weight just from walking :P, but they are SO comfortable. I generally don't want to wear anything else now. :) My Dad has PF, and my mom has had severe foot problems, and both of them love them too (my dad is severely overweight and says his PF has all but disappeared, even with his weight, in the sketchers). Just my 2 cents :)
Edited by PrfctGdess On June 1, 2011 11:06 AM
June 1, 2011 11:04 AM
Taco, I have plantar fasciitis. Let me tell you I know the pain. I have lost 31 pounds and my pain has gone for a while. I buy the soles insoles. They are expensive arounddd 40.00 dollars but they are great and last along time. I have a pair of nikes, but I bought in the men's sizes because they seem to be more sturdy than the women's. I hope that you find a shoe. The pain is unbearable I know. The relief of not having the pain has been great. I do the stretching exercises and since I have been moving around more I don't have the pain. Foot doctor is pleased about that. I know it might come back but I buy most of my shoes like mephistos, chaco's that have real support. The chaco's are terrific for sandals. I paid a lot for them but they are great for summer. 2nd year in this pair. Hope this helps.
June 1, 2011 11:08 AM
I feel your pain....literally! I have suffered from severe, chronic plantar faciitis for 10+ years now. I have custom-made orthos from my foot doctor that I absolutely cannot live without. Recently, the best shoes I have found are from New Balance. I apologize that I don't know a brand name. We have a New Balance store where I live and I went looking for a solid black tennis shoe that I could wear as a dress shoe to work. They brought out a pair of shoes, I tried them on, and they worked great. They were about $130, if I remember correctly. They told me they also have them in all white. They are comfortable, offer great support, and I can wear them all day with little to no pain. I have a friend with the same condition who also wears them because she stands/walks all day at work and needs good support. Good luck in your search! Hope your feet feel better very soon! (Oh, and btw...icing and stretching are the best therapy for plantar faciitis. Nothing to mess with....I've tried inserts, night splints, cortizone shots, physical therapy, electric shock therapy, complete bed rest, tons of oral medicine, massage, and finally surgery. My feet are 90% better but I still suffer!)
Edited by pattybond1234 On June 1, 2011 11:16 AM
June 1, 2011 11:08 AM
I have been wearing New Balance for the last 10 years. My feet always feel great in them. I'm on my feet from the start of my shift till the end, I'm sure most of us are but at the end of the day my feet aren't hurting.Good Luck with your choices. I know that a podiatrist will recommend you buy new shoes every 3 months.happy
June 1, 2011 11:10 AM
I am not sure about the best brand of shoes. But what helped me a lot was a night splint, that kept my foot in a flexed position.
The best kind for me is the over-the counter one (Futuro, about $30 in Kroger and K-Mart).

Good luck with the recovery, I know you must be in considerable pain.
Edited by etjaneausten On June 1, 2011 11:15 AM
June 1, 2011 11:11 AM
I can't recommend shoes but I do highly recommend a heel hugger with magnets. ( Like this: ) I've been dealing with plantar fasciitis for a few years. My doctor gave me the gel heel inserts, heel/foot stretches/exercises and a few cortisone shots. The shots hurt and burn like a *bleep* but help for a month of so. The gel pads are ok. I didn't do a lot of the exercises so I can't tell you much there. My grandpa bought me a heel hugger, he ordered it out of one of his catalogs(with lots of home help items for the elderly). I wore it daily until i fell apart. It really helped! I was pain free for a while. Now I'm having heel issues again and looking to get a new heel hugger. Good luck and I feel your pain, literally!

Oh and find shoes that feel good on your feet and have a lot of support, you can always add inserts if you need to.
June 1, 2011 11:15 AM
I agree with the previous poster about New Balance shoes. I have sketchers shape-ups for every day wear, but they have worn out quite quickly and I'm actually looking to get new work shoes and casual tennis shoes to replace them. However, I absolutely LOVE my New Balance running shoes. Mine are kind of all-purpose exercise as opposed to strictly for running. They are very comfortable and the associate at the New Balance store helped me to pick out the best shoe for me based on my intended activities and foot shape. New Balance shoes are well made and last quite a while. Also, I think they make some of the most light weight running shoes (from what I've seen so far...not that I always go around comparing the weights of running shoes). Overall, I just think they are a good shoe and I think that their store staff is pretty helpful. Good luck! =)
June 1, 2011 11:17 AM
I had the WORST plantar fascitis in the world. It happened when I was pregnant with my son. It took me 4 years to cure it.

I went to the podiatrist. The best thing he did was make me a pair of custom inserts. My insurance paid for them, but I think they would have been $200 without insurance. They are worth their weight in gold.

I did not get the cortisone shot. It masks the pain, and can cause the PF to tear more! Plus, I was breastfeeding and my doctor said it was too dangerous for me (heart, etc) and the baby. He's a cautious man who said we should try other things first.

My podiatrist sent me to a physical therapist. This worked some, but not enough because I wasn't doing everything she wanted me to do. She wanted me to:

1) Stretch my calves and feet by leaning forward on a wall for several times a day.
2) Freeze a full, plastic water bottle. Roll my foot over the frozen bottle several minutes a day (breaks up scar tissue)
3) Wear this special type of sock made for PF that keeps your foot at a 90 degree angle while sleeping.

Here's what I did:

1) Yoga. Downward dog simulates the calf/foot stretch.
2) Flex & point my feet several times BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning. That burning feeling on the bottom of your foot when you put weight on it is reallly your PF tearing... I didn't sleep well with the sock, but you might so I wouldn't discount it.
3) Wear my inserts in my New Balance (doctor recommended) runing shoes. And, lay off all running for 8 weeks.
4) Everyday shoes,iInvest in really good walking shoes with firm arch support. Finn Shoes from Germany were what worked the best for me. They make sandals too. Mine are 3 years old, and look pretty close to new. Total quality. Also, Japanese massage sandals for an hour a day also help alot. Throw out any shoe that has no arch support. And, any over-the-counter arch support that you can squash down with your hands is not strong enough. Your weight on these flimsy arch supports equals no support. Better to wear a small heel, then totally flat shoes too.
5) Don't pound your feet while they are healing. It's summer, try swimming, bike riding, eliptical (yes, it works), and YOGA. Yoga is what helped me the most. Stretching and downward dog.
Edited by skatingisfun1 On June 1, 2011 11:19 AM
June 1, 2011 11:22 AM
Keep 'em coming!

Thanks for all the additional advice, too. I've got insoles I love, night splint, stretches and routines I do daily, amazing everyday shoes etc. I hardly feel the pain anymore thanks so all my new precautions. Yay! Hope you all find relief, too!!

What I *really* need most are running/walking/cross-training shoe recommendations--as that is the only thing that aggrevates my PF. I'm looking forward to my next paycheck and a trip to the PF-Friednly shoe store in town!
Edited by TacoGibbons On June 1, 2011 11:33 AM
June 1, 2011 11:28 AM
For cross training AND running, I would say ASICS are the best. My plantars went away when I bought Asics, yes went away, but I pronate quite a bit. I do step classes as well and find they work wonders.
June 1, 2011 2:47 PM
I'm not sure if you're gym allows it, and I know it won't work for running/jogging, but since finding out I have PF I have been wearing FitFlops. My Dr. made me custom orthodics, but they don't work as well as these FitFlops do. I'd highly recommend buying them and wearing them at all times. I found them on sale at The more popular colors are $60/each but I found a pair of light purple for $12 on sale. About a year into my PF my feet are finally starting to feel better, I'm not sure if it's the 25lb weight loss, or all the FitFlop wearing I've been doing. I wear these shoes on the elliptical that I have at home and when my wife and I go for our nightly walks. I don't think they have done a darn thing to help my legs look better, but the support has really helped my feet.
June 1, 2011 5:20 PM
I have just found the most wonderful shoe for problems with your feet.. whether flat footed, overpronater or plantars..
the brand is ABEO and so far the only place I have found them is a store called The Walking Company. They do have a website with free shipping.
they have a built in orthodic support. Some of their shoes come in 3 styles, regular, metatarsal or post (which is for the overpronater). I have alot of problems with my feet and these have been by far the most comfortable. Not alot of styles to chose from but try them out.. you won't be sorry
June 2, 2011 8:54 AM
Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions! I have a pair of NB right now, but I think I will check out more when I head to the shoe store as well.

Also wanted to share something: I just woke up COMPLETELY pain free in my heel for the first time in months. I even stood up out of bed and walked without an ounce of pain. I think I owe this all to Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown Level 1--I did it last night before bed. I am SO adding this to my w/o routine 3x a week! If you are tight all over or you have Plantar Fasciitis DO THIS WORKOUT NOW! o__O
June 4, 2011 1:54 PM
I agree that Yoga is so great for PF. It's also good for Multiple Scleroris, muscle tone, etc. Excited to see you trying yoga. It's hard. If it was any easier, it would be called hockey. You will tumble. You will fall. But, live in the moment and breathe. You will be so much stronger and flexible for it.
June 4, 2011 2:19 PM
My mum suffers with this and she has a purpose bought wedge in the heel of all her shoes now. She's on her feet most of the day as she works in a garden centre and she just wouldn't survive without them!
April 8, 2012 9:39 PM
I, too, have PF. I bought some 25.00 inserts called PowerStep. You can get them on ebay for that price; otherwise they are around 40. I use those for my "cute" shoes that I know have no support. I also bought a pair of Dansko from the walking company. It has helped tremendously. They run between 80-150 depending on the style, but will last you 3-5 years. The fit is awkward, and takes a little while getting used to, but I have to say I am 80% pain free. I was also recommend ABEO or Orthaheel flip flops, as I refuse to stop wearing flip flops in the summer. They will run around 85 per pair. As far as running shoes..............NEW BALANCE for sure! Also, I found freezing water bottles and rolling them under my feet in the evenings helped, along with the stretching. I had a hard time paying what I did for my Dansko's, but I had to just tell myself it is my feet, what I used for I have to take care of them. No matter what the cost!. The Dansko shoe is worn by almost every nurse, dr, etc that is on their feet constantly. They will all tell you it is the best shoe out there. Just remember..............they take a while to get used to. The Walking Company will give you 30 days to wear them indoors only, and return them if you dont like them. Good luck! it is a very painful condition! I feel your pain!
June 1, 2012 8:30 AM
June 1, 2012 8:31 AM
I've had good results with Asics Gel. I have the same problem, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad with the Asics compared to other shoes.
June 1, 2012 10:39 AM
I'm going through a bought of PF right now also. It has been absolutely awful. Chronic pain is so draining and depressing.

One thing I did notice that has seemed to really help, is to take 800 mg (four) Advil RIGHT before I go to bed. I am crossing my fingers, but I have noticed a dramatic decrease in the pain.

New Balance are the best for the gym. I like Dansko and Born dress shoes - super comfy. I am definitely more comfortable in a bit of a heel. Flats are killers. I have a huge arch.

Good luck to getting pain-free soon - all of you smile
June 1, 2012 11:44 AM
I didn't read through everyone else's responses but I had problems with shin to knee pain (not shin splints). I also got plantar fasciitis when I was doing a fitness boot camp!! I went on a week long journey to finding the perfect shoes...

Come to find out Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok... All the popular shoes with "cute" styles are the worst for your feet!! Nike is supposedly redesigning their shoe to compete with Brooks (which are amazing shoes).

I ended up getting the Brooks 10. Which are a running shoe, but I bought them for the awesome side support for the side to side movement I do with Turbo Fire or any other high intensity workout... Basically the sales lady told me they could be used for cross-training/running/walking/whatever I needed them for. I have had them for a year and they are still amazing and in awesome condition. They also came with a 2 week "test-drive". So if within two weeks of wearing them they didn't work I could return or exchange them for another style.

Brooks has a different shoe for everything. Also, since I live in AZ I wear mostly flip flops..this has caused me to walk on the inside of my feet. The brooks shoes help correct that for me. I can really tell a difference! With the 10's I love the arch support, and there's air cushion pockets in the sole so it's like walking on clouds!

Sorry my response was so long!


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