I need recommendations for shoes for plantar fasciitis
July 22, 2008 7:21 PM   Subscribe

I need some shoe recommendations to help with my plantar fasciitis. Issue: a lot of sneakers/tennis shoes make my feet too hot.

I have flat feet. I had orthotics briefly in high school due to foot pain - I hated them. For a short distance, they felt great, but by the time I walked across the school in them, they hurt so bad I cried. I stopped wearing them.

Cut to 10 years (of no foot pain) later... I've just been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in my right foot. The pain is actually more in my arch than my heel, and my arch has a small swollen area. The podiatrist gave me a foot brace and told me not to go barefoot, and to wear sturdier shoes. (I've been wearing canvas shoes from walmart, which he said are too flimsy.)

I have a pair of New Balance shoes that I wore when I worked on my feet all the time - the problem is, they make my feet way too hot. What kind of shoes should I look for that will be supportive enough, yet cooler? If I must wear socks in the summertime with the shoes, I'd like to wear the really thin kind... will this be a problem?

Also, previous questions mention not going without shoes even around the house, to the point of wearing them in the shower. Any recommendations for shower shoes made for this purpose? What about a good around-the-house, only-worn-inside shoe?
posted by IndigoRain to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You basically want to wear shoes with arch support.

DO NOT wear flip flops or mules. They will exacerbate the problem.

I have running shoes with mesh canvas type uppers-they work pretty well. And thin socks should be just fine.

Finally, I hope your doc recommended doing calf muscle stretches.
posted by konolia at 7:52 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about a Stegman type of clog for the house? I wore these for years, even to the point of having an extra pair at work for snowy days. (disclaimer: I'm always cold, wool clogs may be too hot for you). Or Birkenstock type shoes (not just for hippies anymore!)...they have great arches which in my experience with plantar fasciitis helped quite a bit. Also my doctor recommended gel heel cups that I still wear today in shoes that have little or no support.
posted by sisflit at 8:01 PM on July 22, 2008

The Asics GT2130 or other similar running shoe from Brooks, Mizuno or Saucony will provide excellent cushioning and support for your flat feet, as well as having a mesh upper that should keep your feet from getting hot.

Hopefully your doctor gave you exercises to help with the fasciitis. When I had it, I kept a can of soup in the freezer that I would then roll back and forth under my foot. The cold from the frozen can helped with inflammation and the rolling motion stretched the tendon.

I can sympathize. It is a very painful injury that seemingly only gets better with rest. But if you get the right shoes, do your exercises, and rest your feet as much as possible, it will get better eventually.
posted by netbros at 8:05 PM on July 22, 2008

I feel your pain (in my left foot at the moment). My problems were caused by wearing shoes just a wee bit too big for my feet.

I've had good success with Clarks shoes, Brooks sneakers, and some Dr. Martens (they sell some fuguly sandals that might work). Make sure you try them on before you buy, and find a good shoe-shop that know feet (and not just selling about sellling shoes).

I've got to wear a shoe with a good defined hard arch and I've found insoles at CVS that have a hard metal support that work well (I forget the brand, but they're blue with a black metal metallic strip). Good insoles are bloody expensive! Try and find a good shoe shop and get your feet measured, it's easy to wear the wrong size, plus they can point you towards shoes with good arch support.

Avoid flip-flops at all cost, and gel-insoles as they don't provide enough support. It seems counter-intuitive, but a hard firm sole helps a lot that a soft cushioning sole. And stretching helps, especially before I get out of bed. And I keep a couple of tennis balls under my desk at work so I can massage my foot with them, it helps a lot.

I often walk around the house barefoot and sometimes on my tippy-toes. But maybe this depends on how bad the plantar fasciitis is?

I also found this thread helpful.
posted by zaphod at 8:10 PM on July 22, 2008

One thing my foot doctor told me about testing shoes to see if they were sturdy enough to wear when I was dealing with plantar fasciitis was to hold a shoe in both hands, one hand on the heel and one on the toe, and then bend the shoe upwards. If the sole bent anywhere else than in the toe area, the shoe was not sturdy enough. That ruled out several of my favorite pairs of athletic and casual shoes but it was worth it to get rid of the foot pain, and now I can wear those shoes again as long as it's not every day.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:11 PM on July 22, 2008

Check out specialty vendors like Footsmart.com. They've got shoes (and other products) for a variety of different foot conditions. That's probably your best chance for finding shoes that support your feet the right way, and aren't too terribly hot at the same time.

Good luck.
posted by Sublimity at 8:15 PM on July 22, 2008

Definitely no backless shoes. I'm comfortable in crocs, but I think they're exacerbating the problem a little.

Seconding konolia: did your doc give you calf stretches to do? Doing them helped reduce my pain by around 95%. I don't worry about the shoes too much.

(I totally owe you an email! Sorry I'm such a flake!)
posted by sugarfish at 8:49 PM on July 22, 2008

Even with good shoes you are going to need inserts, footbeds etc. Get your arches up. If it is really bad then you will need custom orthotics, but most people with occasional plantar fasciitis can get by with a good solid arch support. Dr. Sholls makes a blue one (not gel) that works pretty well. Sporting goods stores will tend to have something a step up, like SuperFeet. Next you need to stretch your Achilles tendons. That's right stretch the tendon in the back of your ankle and make your arch pain disappear. A simple google will tell you how and hopefully you have already started.

As for specific shoes if your feet are too hot, Birkenstocks. You'll look like a hippy, but your feet will thank you.
posted by caddis at 8:58 PM on July 22, 2008

My doctor recommended these green Superfeet inserts and they worked for my plantar fascitis... http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441769009
posted by maloon at 9:23 PM on July 22, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah I have the exercises and I've seen the insert recommendations in previous threads. Thanks. :) Any more suggestions on shoes?
posted by IndigoRain at 9:47 PM on July 22, 2008

Followup to my previous comment, and since you asked for more shoes:

Brooks Adrenaline
Mizuno Wave Inspire
Saucony ProGrid Hurricane
posted by netbros at 10:00 PM on July 22, 2008

My doctor recommended the Superfeet inserts for flat arches. My daughter has not turned her ankle since she started using them. (In California, you can also find them at REI)
posted by metahawk at 10:59 PM on July 22, 2008

Take a look at Geox Respira (warning: crappy site with flash and popup). Geox is an Italian brand of shoes with a patented breathing mechanism. They are mostly mesh on the top / front, and they have small holes in the soles that allow the shoe to "breathe", but don't let water in. They're pretty popular here in Austria.

I bought a pair earlier this summer, and they're very airy. My feet are much cooler (I do a lot of walking) and hardly sweat at all when I have them on.

Geox sells sneakers, sandals and dressier shoes. There are several stores in the States (see the map on the site linked above).
posted by syzygy at 11:42 PM on July 22, 2008

I am never ever ever without shoes, since I have teh flat feet along with some other (related) foot problems. This arch support is serious business! Here is what I wear:

For sandals, I have had lots of luck with KEEN. These shoes vary in attractiveness, but they are really the best I have found as far as arch support AND summer coolness goes.

For around the house, I wear Merrell Clogs. These are decent, but do feel a little warm in the summer.

Not sure if you run, but for running, I use the New Balance 768 with their stability inserts. This is classified as a stability shoe. If you have really flat feet, you might want to go with a "motion control" shoe. I would strongly caution against just running in any old shoe, and you should probably go to a running store at first to get yourself a pair that works for you.

And I also use superfeet insoles for pretty much everything else (in boots and regular shoes, as well as in my snowboard and cycling shoes). If those won't fit in my regular shoes, then I will use Dr. Scholl's Tri-Comfort as a last resort.
posted by smalls at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2008

Find a local running shop, they will be able to give you advice on all your options and surprisingly enough the shoes really are not that expensive (of course some are but i was really surprised to get a great pair of shoes for $80).
posted by doorsfan at 6:41 AM on July 23, 2008

Salomon makes these sort of hybrid hiking/water shoes that I love. They are comfortable and the fabric of the shoe is actually a mesh type fabric that is very breathable. You will probably still need some sort of insert to support your arch, but they're worth checking out.
posted by jerryg99 at 8:08 AM on July 23, 2008

I have the same issues, and I will second the Brooks Adrenaline offered up by netbros. I have been wearing them with an Orthaheel Sports insert and my feet feel GREAT.

The Brooks shoe upper is a mesh material (it's a running shoe, designed to be very light), so it breathes fantastically, but it has the architecture to provide the support needed. You should lace up the shoe appropriately and find socks that will wick moisture away from your feet.

But, again, because everyone has different foot needs, the best thing you can do for yourself is to go to a running shoe store and ask lots of questions and try on as many shoes as necessary. The key for me is to keep a well fitting shoe snug on my foot as much as possible.

I also haven't found a flip-flop that I can wear, but I have had really good luck with high-arch models of Birkenstock Arizona sandals, if you don't mind the crunchy-granola look. I just wear them around the house, so I don't mind them. I also have a pair of clogs for winter-time. The arch support of the foot bed really helps.

One other recent find that I have made are Wolky shoes, Jewel model. They are Dutch and designed very well. They are as comfortable as my Brooks runners and have a strap across the arch area which keeps the shoe snug. If only shoes that are good for our feet were attractive!
posted by inquisitrix at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2008

I've had some good results from Finn Comfort shoes. They have a cork footbed like Birkenstocks but without the raised bar under the toes. I bought mine at a place that could reshape the footbed if it was necessary (it wasn't).
posted by PatoPata at 10:31 AM on July 23, 2008

Plantar fasciitis and TMS
posted by Zambrano at 10:34 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm going to caution against the Crocs recomendation - I wore Crocs for a long time and /loved/ them - but they don't seem to have any arch support and caused me alot of pain. Since switching to shoes with decent arch support, I haven't had the arch pain return. And they get kinda warm wearing them around, even with socks. Here's an article on slate that has some cautions about Crocs. Most relevant passage:

What is more certain is that some podiatrists are alarmed by their patients' fanatical embrace of Crocs; most Crocs, doctors point out, provide only moderate support. "I'll get people with strained arches because they've been running around in Crocs for five days," said Arnold Ravick, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Washington, D.C., and a spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association. "When it comes to shoes, people mistake comfort for support. Comfort is fool's gold—a soft gushy shoe that makes your arches collapse," he told me. "Crocs are popular because they're inexpensive and interchangeable. For people with certain problems, they can be a good shoe. Are they good for your foot, in general? No."

posted by Drama Penguin at 8:47 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Woops, this is a correctly formated link to the article.
posted by Drama Penguin at 8:49 PM on July 23, 2008

I found a few things to be helpful with plantar fasciitis. First, doing proper stretches of the arch and foot has helped a lot to alleviate pain. I stretch my arches on the edges of stairs. I also roll my foot on something round such as a cold can of soda, which seems to help. Just don't put too much weight on the can, you don't want it to explode!

For shoes, I have a pair of Kuru shoes that are very supportive and stable. They have good arch support. They're kind of like multi-function shoes, which makes them versatile. Good for walking and look good with slacks.
posted by marinade at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2009

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