Plantar Faciitis sandals – which are the best? See Kirsten’s recommendations to a reader’s request…
I have been reading your blog for a few months now. Your blog has helped me on my never-ending search for shoes. I have been living with plantar fasciitis for 2 1/2 years. After 1 1/2 years of treatment I finally gave up and had surgery. It has now been a year since my bone spur removal and heel resection. I still have pain. I have tried 3 different custom orthotics which lead to new pain in my knees, hips and lower back. I gave up on them.
Your blog lead me 2 months ago to Alegria Paloma. A welcome relief. I still have pain when the shoes are off but at least I can walk now without pain. I can not tell you how much I appreciate you for helping me find these shoes. I need to know what other brands of plantar faciitis sandals might help me? I think I should have a rocker bottom as well as a very stiff sole, no flex seems to help, but I think the key is the cushioning to keep my knees and hips from aching. Thanks so much for you and your blog!
I am very sorry to hear about your post-surgical heel pain. Yet, I’m happy to hear you’ve found temporary relief while wearing certain styles of plantar fasciitis shoes from Alegria footwear–a godsend to many with PF, over-pronation problems and other foot maladies. Since you’re well into sandal season in California, let me recommend five styles that won’t over-flex while providing good cushioning and support. Alegria sandals are a great place to start, but I’d like to show you a variety of styles from reputable comfort brands.
A sandal with built-in orthotic support? Aetrex does it best. Their Jillian quarter-strap sandal is one of Aetrex’s best-selling cork footbed sandals and for good reason–the list of comfort features is extensive: cork midsole for support, enhanced arch and metatarsal support, memory foam cushioning, and adjustable straps to name a few. The Aetrex Jillian carries the prestigious APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) seal of acceptance. Kara, a Zappos customer, raves about her Aetrex Jillian sandals:
I love these shoes! In August I had my first encounter with plantar fasciitis and was in nonstop pain for 9 months until I got these a few weeks ago. The orthopedic surgeon had me in a boot for five months after that it was sneakers with orthotics. Complete waste of time, totally useless and not a good look for the office. Then I found these. I have been pain free ever since. I recently found a wonderful foot doctor who was willing to listen and treat me properly – even he had wonderful things to say about how these are very well structured. He did say these are better made than the orthotics this company makes. I now have six pairs of these shoes to rotate.
Podiatrists recommend a back strap on plantar fasciitis sandals as it provides motion control for the heel. The Earth Maui fits the bill nicely. Three adjustable straps allow for a customized fit, while a multi-density cushioned footbed with arch support keeps your feet happy all day long. Take it from Zappos customer Anne who found relief from plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions in her Earth Mauis…
“In an attempt to find sandals that my crazy feet would be happy in, I ordered almost $3K of shoes from Zappos to try on. These were the winners. I have plantar fasciitis, and the excellent arch support kept my feet happy walking around San Diego Zoo Safari Park for an entire weekend, with no more break-in period than the 2 hours I wore them in my house to be sure they were “the ones”. I have hallux limitus (degenerative arthritis in the big toe joint), and while these are flexible enough in the sole that they won’t be ideal for hiking on rough terrain (I’d probably put closed shoes on for that anyway), the strap arrangement on the toe does not hurt my tender big toe joint at all (why I had to give up Chaco sandals). I have “low volume” feet with a narrow heel and somewhat wide toe area, and the adjustments on these sandals along with the sueded insole allow for a very secure feeling fit. Plus, they are pretty cute even in my big size 11!”
For all Haflinger wool clog fans, did you even know they make sandals? This is excellent news for plantar fasciitis sufferers–we can get that incredible Haflinger support all year long! They’re just harder to find here in the United States, but we found a few retailers. The Haflinger cork-latex footbed is similar to Birkenstock without the raised metatarsal bar and runs similar in size to Birk’s regular width (like a C width). Find Haflinger sandals at Amazon, Nordstrom, German-Slippers.com (wonderful variety including the multi-color Gina sandal above) and Shoes.com.
The Vionic Tide is a long-time favorite option for women with PF, but it’s refreshing to see updated styles coming from Vionic–take the low profile, feminine Kirra sandal for example. Not only do your feet get the trademark Vionic arch support that prevents over-pronation, a back strap offers a more secure fit than flip-flops. A happy Zappos customer reports:
I now have three pairs of this style. Vionics have been my go to for my plantar fasciitis for several years. These sandals are just as good as the other Vionics I’ve purchased. So flattering on my feet. I love these shoes!
The Vionic Kirra best fits a high volume foot (thicker from top to bottom). Customers with low volume feet report that the upper strap doesn’t fit well against the top of their feet. If that’s the case for you, give the Vionic Samoa a try–both upper straps are adjustable. Find the Vionic Kirra in sizes 5-11 for $99.95 from Zappos, DSW, and Amazon.
Birkenstocks are back in a big way, and not just the ubiquitous two-strap Arizona. The Lola ankle-strap wedge provides the signature Birkenstock comfort cork/latex footbed in a dressed-up silhouette. I love it! The Lola does run a little long and wider than most Birkenstocks, so you may do well to order down a size (not for narrow feet). Find the Lola in sizes 36-42 for $139.95 from Zappos, Nordstrom and Amazon.
Honorable mention: Aetrex Lynco flip flops (affordable, waterproof with awesome support), Taos New Wave sports sandal, and ONO sandals for dressier occasions. Check out our recent update on Vionic sandals–terrific support with on-trend design.
Now for even more ideas! I asked my Facebook fans about their favorite plantar fasciitis sandals and shoes. They went above and beyond with recommendations. See the thread here.