The pain of Plantar Fasciitis can leave a person wondering if they’ll ever be able to wear a stylish shoe that isn’t agony on the feet. If your idea of “stylish” is stiletto heels or flat Italian leather pumps, then probably no, you’re not going to find something appropriate for an evening at the White House.
But most of us need to “dress up” at least a little for work, and want something fun and kicky to wear for the occasional wedding or stroll on the town. If that’s the kind of shoe you’re looking for, there are lots of choices in dress shoes for plantar fasciitis.
First, though, it’s important to understand what Plantar Fasciitis is, and how the shoes you wear affect healing and the potential for recurrence.
You probably already know that Plantar Fasciitis (PLAN-ter Fash-ee-EYE-tis) is a pain in the bottom of your foot, usually at the front of the heel or somewhere along the arch. People feel different levels or kinds of pain: a hot poker, or stabbing, or like walking on glass, or maybe just a dull ache. It’s generally worst or sharpest immediately upon getting out of bed, then might diminish a bit, then might return worse than ever after some period of inactivity during the day.
The pain is a result of small tears in the plantar fascia, the broad band of ligament-like tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. The fascia may even have torn loose a little bit from your heel bone. It’s a very common problem in this modern era of office work and city life: generally inactive lifestyles and lots of hard surfaces for walking and recreating. Fortunately, most cases are easily resolved within a few months of proper care.
What to Look for in a Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
If you already know that you have this condition, you’ve probably looked into how to reduce the pain on your own, or maybe you’ve even visited your doctor.
Either way, you found out that wearing proper footwear is one of the highest-recommended “treatments” for most cases of Plantar Fasciitis. Maybe it should be the highest on the list, since aside from reducing inflammation with ice and pain relievers, all of the other conservative treatments are brought together in a well-suited shoe: stretching and massage, taping and orthotics.
A pair of good dress shoes for Plantar Fasciitis will:
- Facilitate a gentle, controlled stretch of the plantar fascia, Achilles tendons, and calf muscles with each step
- Provide soft support for the arch and heel, with lots of shock protection
- Fit snugly, keeping the heel in place and not allowing the foot to slip into an over-extended position as you rise up on the toe.
The features to look for to get those benefits are:
- Arch Support
- Lots of cushioning to absorb shock
- Flexible toe box, allowing toes to bend back easily
- A slightly raised heel
Plantar Fasciitis Dress Shoe Suggestions
A Mary Jane dresses up any suit and slacks combo. This one is available in 8 colors and has all the features recommended above. The two padded insoles are removable, leaving plenty of room to add your own over-the-counter or custom orthotic if they don’t already conform perfectly to your feet.
The breathable lining has a microbe shield to keep your feet feeling fresh and your shoes clean.
Velcro closures ensure a snug fit, and the rocker bottom beneath layers of pampering soft material will help you walk comfortably with natural motion. The 1″ heel provides superior support, while the collar around the ankle is foam-backed for a comfortable, no-rub grip.
For a dressier choice, these open-heel sandals from Merrell will go as well with skirts and dresses as they will with slacks. Twelve colors make it easy to match them to your favorite outfits, whether for work or for walking on the beach.
Lightweight yet durable, these sandals have neoprene-lined leather uppers for a smooth, comfortable ride on the top of your foot, while the plush microfiber footbed pampers your sore spots.
The patented AirCushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability. Good arch support make these sandals an exception to the old rule that sleek-looking sandals are not good for problem feet.
This style, called Lori, has a cute flower embellishment that makes it perfect for garden parties, weddings, and casual picnic outings. Five spring-timey colors and a faux-straw footbed belie the seriously rehabilitative design of these sandals.
A podiatrist from Australia invented this brand for heel-pain sufferers, and that concern is reflected in the contoured arch support and deep heel cup of this model. Not only will this shoe take care not to worsen your Plantar Fasciitis, but it will encourage proper alignment of feet, ankles and legs for more efficient, effective mobility.
The wide strap has an elastic insert for comfortable flexibility, and the toe-post is carefully designed not to irritate or chafe.
You might want to look at our Orthaheel shoe review post for more information about this brand of shoe for plantar fasciitis treatment.
And finally, the infamous flip-flop. For years, doctors have been warning that people with foot problems (actually, all people) should avoid flips because they have zero arch support and your toes are always clutching.
But here’s a flip-flip in six colors that addresses those flaws. Over time, the continuous-contact sole molds to the shape of your foot providing just the right arch and heel support that you need to maintain sensible activity with comfort and style. Customers have reported that the sizes run large, so take the time to make sure you’ll get a good, snug fit.
Sealing the Deal
Now that you have some information and examples of good dress shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, it’s time to go shopping! A lot of people are buying online these days, both for the convenience and the lower prices, but if you have problem feet you don’t want to rush into anything. Take the time to search out the shoes you want in a store near you and actually try them on.
If that’s not possible, get all the information you can relating to a proper fit. Many people with Plantar Fasciitis have trouble finding shoes that “perform as advertised”, and a lot of the time it’s because they end up with the wrong size. Order from a site that offers free returns for the best chance of a satisfactory experience.