Plantar Fasciitis can cause agonizing pain in your arch, midfoot, and heel. The pain happens when the plantar fascia, a tissue in the bottom of your foot, becomes inflamed, overstretched, or torn.

One way to prevent Plantar Fasciitis is to wear the right shoes for your feet. Good arch support and lots of cushioning will allow you to walk through the day without pain while protecting your plantar fascia. Yet, sometimes shoes aren’t enough and you need a little extra support and cushioning, especially in the heel. This is where heel inserts come in.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis 

If you’re looking to treat plantar fasciitis without needing to purchase a new pair of shoes, we recommend you get a pair of Tread Labs Stride Insoles and use with your existing running shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and treat/prevent plantar fasciitis. Using the insoles is easy as pie: just remove the factory insole in your shoe and replace with the Stride insole. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz to find the right size/type of insole just for your foot and get THE BEST possible support in an insole.

These are full insoles, not heel cups, but we feel they are more comfortable…and supportive than a heel cup. So gives these a try FIRST.

#1 Best Support – Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


What Heel Inserts Do

Heel inserts are designed for different types of feet, so if you have flat feet or high arches, you should be able to find the right heel inserts that match the style of your feet.

Heel inserts, also called cups, help by correcting your gait as you walk. If you supinate or pronate, the heel cup will realign your feet and legs in the appropriate position.

When you walk in the appropriate position, the ligaments around your arch are less strained so it is easier for them to hold your arch in place. This keeps your arch from collapsing.  When your arch does collapse, the plantar fascia stretches and tears, which causes the pain from Plantar Fasciitis. By preventing the micro tears from happening, your plantar fascia will be able to heel and the stretching and tearing will be prevented in the future.

Another nice thing heel inserts do is provide extra cushioning for your heel. If you wake up in the morning and experience excruciating heel pain, heel cups will help relieve the pain as soon as you step into your shoes. The heel cups will also reduce your pain if you wear them on a regular basis.

The micro tears happen near your heel because that is where the smallest part of the plantar fascia attaches, making it more susceptible to tearing. By supporting your heel, the inserts prevent this tearing by giving you the support your feet need. Furthermore, they can be switched into different slippers, shoes, and boots so you can use them in a variety of situations.

When you use them on a steady basis, they will absorb the harsh impact your heel experiences to keep you more comfortable. This will ultimately keep your plantar fascia from becoming inflamed or overstretched, which causes the pain from Plantar Fasciitis.

Heel Inserts vs. Full Orthotics

Heel inserts sit in the back of your shoe and cover just under half of your foot. Full orthotics run the entire length of your shoe to provide your entire foot with support. If you need cushion and support in just the heel area, heel inserts are the best option. If you need more overall support, full orthotics are the better option.

A third option is ¾ length orthotics. These have a little more support that heel cups, but not as much as full orthotics. Some of the ¾ length insoles are covered in this guide. It is a good idea to get to know your feet so you know exactly what you need. You can read our guide to the best insoles for plantar fasciitis which give full insole recommendations.

Heel Inserts vs. Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Shoes designed specifically for Plantar Fasciitis are good to wear on a regular basis because they will support your entire foot while providing cushioning. The shoes also correct your gait as you walk in a similar way to heel inserts.

Sometimes wearing shoes designed for Plantar Fasciitis can be enough to take the pain away and prevent micro tears from occurring. Wearing the shoes on a regular basis can also provide you with arch support your feet naturally lack, so you don’t have to worry about heel inserts or orthotics.

Yet, other times you may need more cushioning in the heel area if you are still experiencing pain. A good sign that you do need heel inserts is

If you do have Plantar Fasciitis, wear shoes designed for this, and still have pain in this region, chances are you still have micro tears that are developing. These need to be prevented so the current micro tears can heal and can stop them from happening in the future.

If you are wearing shoes for Plantar Fasciitis and are not experiencing any pain, it may not be a good idea to add heel inserts. This can cause too much stability and undo the correction the shoes have already provided for you. These can also cause you to move unnaturally, not give your feet enough flexibility, and create more discomfort in other areas of your feet.

ALSO READ:  Best Socks for Plantar Fasciitis

Can You Wear Heel Inserts with Regular Running Shoes?

Heel inserts can be placed in your regular running shoes as well as your everyday shoes. For your running shoes, look for heel inserts that are more flexible so they move with your feet. The inserts should also offer you stability to keep your feet from pronating or supinating while you are running.

The stability will keep the ligaments around your arch in place to keep it from collapsing. It also prevents the windlass mechanism from becoming too much for your feet.

The windlass mechanism is naturally occurring when you move through the gait cycle, it is when your feet are bent like a bow. If too much of this happens, the plantar fascia becomes stretched and develop micro tears. By wearing heel inserts on a regular basis, they will keep your feet healthier and you will notice a decrease in pain and micro tears.

Top 10 Heel Inserts for Plantar Fasciitis

1. Stride Insoles

 

These are not heel cups / heel inserts, but full inserts that are customized for specific types of feet. However, we strongly feel these are the best inserts out on the market right now. They are designed for people with foot problems (like plantar fasciitis), and their easy quiz helps match your foot pronation, size, and type of shoe to the right insole.

If you have plantar fasciitis, or you just need insoles, try Tread Labs Stride Insoles.

2. Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

For Men

Custom Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis by Corefit® Orthotics - Fight Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur, Arch Pain, Pronation & Supination. (Handcrafted, Medical Grade, Custom Moldable, 3/4 Length Rigid Insoles) Men's 12

  Men’s Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Flat Women

Corefit Orthotics Firm Custom Plantar Fasciitis & High Arch Supports, Heel Spur & Back Pain Relief (Heat Moldable, Rigid 3/4 Length Orthotics) Women's 9

  Women’s Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Buy on Amazon

 

The Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis are a medical grade inserts that are designed to relieve heel pain, bunions, Plantar Fasciitis, and lower back pain. They also improve your posture and balance as you wear them. Furthermore, they align your feet in a natural position.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

These heel inserts will provide you stability in your arch, which also reduces the strain on the ligaments around your arch. This will help keep your arch in place and prevent it from collapsing. The inserts further relieve pain in your lower back because your legs and feet will be in alignment, which puts less strain on the rest of your body.

Our research into what people have been saying show that these offer lots of support and take heel pain away. These inserts may be too stiff for some people, so that is something to keep in mind. Yet, many people found relief with these heel inserts, it just depends on your type of feet.

Pros:  Realign body, offer support, and stability

Cons:  May be too stiff for some people, very expensive

3. Dr. JK-Heel Pads

DR JK- Heel Pads and Heel Grips PedPal Kit- 8 Piece Heel Cups, Heel Inserts, Plantar Fasciitis Insoles, Arch Support, Heel Spur, Heel Protectors, Foot Pads, Heel Support, Heel Care

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The Dr. JK-Heel Pads come with two pairs of heel inserts and two pairs of heel cushions. The heel cups are designed to help with pain from Plantar Fasciitis and painful heels. They also absorb impact from the ground by providing lots of cushioning. Another benefit of these heel insert is they are designed for more high impact activities, which is perfect if you do sports or lift heavy weights. The other  inserts are more for everyday use.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

Both of them cushion the heel to provide stability and support so the ligaments around your arch will hold it in place. This eases strain on the heel area of your foot and will prevent micro tears from happening.

Our research into what people are saying showed that this set has improved the health of many user’s feet. People said these help their feet stay comfortable throughout the day. Some say these did not fit in the heel of their shoe and the transition was not as soft as they would have liked.

Pros:  Absorb impact, reduce pain, can be used for high impact activities

Cons:  Sizing issues

4. ProFoot Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics

For Men

PROFOOT Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics, Men's 8-13, 2 Pairs

  Men’s ProFoot Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics

Flat Women

Profoot Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics, Women's Size 6-10, 2 Pairs

  Women’s ProFoot Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics

Buy on Amazon

 

The ProFoot Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics are accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). The foam is designed to conform to your feet for extra support. The foam also absorbs harsh impact from the ground. Along with foam cushioning, the ProFoot heel inserts also have arch support.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

The cushioning will protect your heel as well as the part of the plantar fascia that connects to your heel. The arch support is important if you have Plantar Fasciitis because it will help keep your foot in a neutral position. When your foot is in a neutral position, the ligaments work together with the arch so your foot can move smoothly without the arch collapsing. This will prevent micro tears from forming so you will be more comfortable.

There have been some comments we found through research that have said these heel inserts are comfortable to wear and work great. Some people said these broke down fast while they were on their feet for many hours a day on a regular basis. Most people said they did get relief from Plantar Fasciitis after wearing them.

5. Spenco Rx Heel Cushion

For Men

Spenco Rx Heel Cushions Size = Medium

  Men’s Spenco Rx Heel Cushion

Flat Women

Spenco Gel Heel Cushion, 1 Pair

  Women’s Spenco Rx Heel Cushion

Buy on Amazon

 

The Spenco Rx Heel Cushion is also accepted by the APMA. It will protect your heel from shock and impact that comes with walking or running every day. These heel cushions do not provide as much support as some of the other inserts, so that is something to keep in mind. However, if you are looking more for cushioning for your heels these will do the job.

ALSO READ:  Best Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

Since these inserts do have a lot of cushioning, you will experience a decrease in pain. The heel area where the plantar fascia is connected will be well protected with each step you take.  This will reduce inflammation in the area, which will cut down on heel pain.

Our research into what people are saying found that these help heel pain and some people’s doctors even recommended this brand. Some people said they did not think these were thick enough to keep their heel pain away for the long term.

Pros:  Shock absorption, cushioning

Cons:  May not be thick enough

6. HealthyNees Medical Grade Heel Pads

HealthyNees® Medical Grade Gel Heel Pad Silicone Cups Ankle Heel Pain Relief Cushion Shock Absorb Support (Blue)

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The HealthyNees Heel Pads are designed for Plantar Fasciitis. The cushioning system has a gel spot where your heel goes for extra comfort. The cushioning will also support your ankles to help the overall health of your feet. The heel pads are made with silicone and are hypoallergenic. This also helps to keep odor away so you can wear them on a regular basis without having your feet smell bad.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

The gel spot in the heel absorbs impact and shock as you move through your gait. This will protect the area where your plantar fascia connects to your heel. The cushioning will also work to prevent micro tears because there will not be as much strain in this area. The silicone also distributes the impact from the ground to further reduce the overall strain that your plantar fascia experiences.

There have been some comments we found through our research that have said these heel pads take the pain from Plantar Fasciitis away. People have also said it keeps their shoes in better condition for longer periods of time. Other people commented these slide around and don’t stay put in your shoes.

Pros:  Cushion, absorb shock, hypoallergenic

Cons:  May not stay in place

7. Powerstep Slimtech Shoe Insert

For Men

Powerstep SlimTech 3/4 Length Orthotics (D - Men's 10-10.5/Women's 12-12.5 Shoe)

  Men’s Powerstep Slimtech Shoe Insert

Flat Women

Powerstep Unisex SlimTech 3/4 BlueMen's 9-9.5, Women's 11-11.5

  Women’s Powerstep Slimtech Shoe Insert

Buy on Amazon

 

The Powerstep Slimtech shoe inserts will give you good arch support with a heel cradle to provide you with greater stability. The inserts also have cushioning to provide your heel with comfort while absorbing shock. The heel insert has a no slip pad to keep it securely in place while it is in your shoe. It also has microbial fabric that will reduce heat as you wear them. The insert is thin so it fits into most shoes.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

The stability these inserts offer will help you if you have Plantar Fasciitis because it will keep your feet in a neutral position and keep your gait aligned as you walk. This reduces the strain on your ligaments and will keep your arch from collapsing. The cushioning will further help reduce stress on your plantar fascia, especially at the heel where the two come together.

There have been some comments we found through our research that have said these are comfortable inserts that work just as well as custom orthotics. They have helped relieve pain according to other comments as well. Some people have said that the inserts do not last as long as they would have liked.

Pros:  Good arch support, heel cup, no slip pad

Cons:  Not as durable as some would like

8. Spenco Gel Heel Cup

Spenco Gel Heel Cups MEDIUM/LARGE

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The Spenco Gel Heel cups have a deep heel cup that will provide you with stability as you walk. Inside of the heel cup is a honeycomb design that will absorb impact. These can also be used for high impact activities, which is another benefit if you are active and like to play a variety of sports.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

The deep heel cup will decrease inflammation where your heel and plantar fascia come together. This reduces the chances of micro tears so you will experience less heel pain as you walk. The honeycomb design will cushion your heel, which will further reduce the pain associated with Plant

ar Fasciitis because your heel with be thoroughly protected from harsh impact from walking on unnatural surfaces.

Our research shows that people are saying these heel cups fit well in their shoes and help to relieve the agony of painful heels. Some people have used these for sports, or other high impact activities and said they worked great. One complaint people had was they moved around throughout the day and had to be repositioned.

Pros:  Deep heel cup, honeycomb cushioning, fit well in variety of shoes

Cons:  May move around during the day

9. Tulis Heel Cups with Arch Supports

Large Tuli Heel Cups, Over 175Lbs.

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If you need a little extra arch support in your heel inserts, the Tulis Heel Cups with Arch Supports are for you. They have a waffle design in the heel to absorb impact as you walk or run. The heel cup extends a little further than other ones heel cups for extra arch support. Another nice feature of the heel cups are bacterial growth inhibitors to keep them fresh and your feet healthy.

The waffle design reduces tension on your plantar fascia, absorbs impact, and protects the area where your heel and plantar fascia comes together. This helps heal and prevent micro tears from occurring in the future. The extra extension will also help with your Plantar Fasciitis as well because it gives you more stability in your feet. The arch support will ensure the ligaments in your foot do not get strained and will properly protect you against the windlass mechanism. Since your arch will not collapse, your plantar fascia has less chance of stretching or tearing.

ALSO READ:  How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Last

Our research shows that people have said that these inserts are supportive and reduce pain. They also liked the arch support the heel cups offer. Other people said these did not offer enough support for their specific condition.

Pros:  Arch support, absorb impact, bacterial growth inhibitors

Cons:  Some did not find relief because they needed more support

10. Corefit Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis 

For Men

Custom Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis by Corefit® Orthotics - Fight Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur, Arch Pain, Pronation & Supination. (Handcrafted, Medical Grade, Custom Moldable, 3/4 Length Rigid Insoles) Men's 12

  Men’s Corefit Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Flat Women

Corefit Orthotics Firm Custom Plantar Fasciitis & High Arch Supports, Heel Spur & Back Pain Relief (Heat Moldable, Rigid 3/4 Length Orthotics) Women's 9

  Women’s Corefit Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Buy on Amazon

The Corefit Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis are ¾ length insoles. They are a little longer than traditional heel cups, but not custom length orthotics as they fall somewhere in the middle. These inserts are customized to your feet by simply dipping them in hot water. Once they have been molded to your feet, they will correct pronation to ensure you walk with a natural gait.

Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

Along with correcting pronation, they will improve your posture, cradle your heel, and support your arch. Together this combination will keep the ligaments around your arch in place to provide your arch with the support it needs. This keeps it from collapsing and prevents micro tears from occurring in your plantar fascia. These inserts are specifically designed for those with Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs, and high arches.

There have been some comments we found through research that have said these inserts took away their foot and back pain. People also said they are comfortable to have in their shoes and wear on a regular basis. Some say they do not provide enough cushion, so that is something to keep in mind.

Pros:  ¾ length, customizable, correct posture, made for Plantar Fasciitis

Cons:  May not have enough cushioning

11. LifeLux Arch Support

LifeLux Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Pain Relief Value Pack. 1 Pair 3/4 Length Arch Support Insoles, Heel Cushion For Plantar Fasciitis Treatment, Back Pain; 2 Self Adhesive Gel Arch Support Shoe Inserts For Flat Feet, Knee Pain; 2 Arch Support Bandages To Soothe Your Sore Feet, Relieve Foot Pain; 2 Gel Arch Cushion Sleeves for Ankle Pain Relief, Satisfaction GUARANTEED.

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The LifeLux Arch Support is designed for those with Plantar Fasciitis. This pack comes with a gel cushion and bandage for extra support. The insert helps those who overpronate and who have heel pain. The inserts are ¾ length, so they provide you with arch support. The set comes with spandex arch sleeves that ease the pain in your arch as well.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


Why They are Effective for Plantar Fasciitis

The support these inserts offer will protect the ligament around your arch. It will also protect the area where the plantar fascia and heel come together to prevent micro tears. The shock absorption and stability this insert offers makes a great combination for those who have Plantar Fasciitis.

Our research into what people are saying shoes that these inserts help their feet and give them good arch support. People also said it took their pain away. Some have said these inserts were a little stiff for their feet.

Pros:  Multiple inserts in a pack, arch support, designed for Plantar Fasciitis

Cons:  May be a little stiff

Heel inserts are an easy way to relieve stress and inflammation on your plantar fascia. If you do not need full support along the length of your feet, heel inserts can do the job. If you need a little more support than heel inserts, try some of the ¾ length inserts listed above. All of the inserts have shock absorbers in the heel that keep you comfortable with every step you take and protect the area where your plantar fascia connects to your heel. Some inserts also come with arch support, which is important if you need extra stability to keep your heel from collapsing. Compare the different kinds so you can find one that is perfect for your foot type.

The Final Word

Also take a good look at full sized orthotics (insoles). Some people (myself included) find the full insole more comfortable to wear and more supportive than half insoles / heel cups.

My recommendation is you first try the Tread Labs Stride Insoles, which we feel are the best insoles you can get and can really help cure/treat plantar fasciitis, without you having to invest in a new pair of shoes. They are far more comfortable than heel cups as well.

If you do find heel cups or inserts do NOT help your plantar fasciitis condition (i.e. the condition gets worse or you still suffer debilitating pain in your heel area when wearing the shoes with the inserts inside), then you’ll need to look at replacing your shoes completely with shoes that are plantar fasciitis friendly.

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