Shopping for shoes when you have a painful foot condition is, well, a real pain. The trial-and-error process is especially frustrating when you suffer from plantar fasciitis, which causes heel pain.
Dr. Gary Evans, a podiatrist based in New York City, explained that this condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs from the bottom of your heel to the base of your toes, gets overused, leading to inflammation.
“The plantar fascia’s job is to help support the arch and your foot structure with every step you take. Overuse can be due to a variety of causes, such as an imbalance in foot structure, tight muscles, high or low arched foot type, ill-fitting shoes, excessive activities or direct injury,” Evans said. “Instead of stretching and supporting, functioning smoothly when standing and walking, the inflamed fascia pulls from the heel area, causing pain and discomfort.”
This pain can make walking and running almost unbearable, even in shoes that were super comfortable for you before you developed the condition. And when summertime rolls around and you’re longing for sandals that let your toes breathe and give your feet some sun, it can be hard to find a pair that provides actual support and aren’t too flat. But all hope is not lost for finding sandals that will work.
“The ultimate shoe or sandal for someone who is dealing with plantar fasciitis would be one that is biomechanically designed to hug your heel and support your arches,” Evans said.
When looking for a supportive sandal, Evans recommended finding a model that has a heel cup for your heel to sit in and a heel that’s elevated in general compared to the toe area.
“The arch area of the sandal should be firm with some cushioning,” Evans added. “Too cushiony can lead to too much instability, so not too firm, not too soft. The goal is to promote proper foot alignment, thus reducing the workload of the plantar fascia.”
To make your sandal journey a bit easier, we asked Evans to provide his picks for the best sandals to wear if you have plantar fasciitis. Check them out below.
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