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.
Women’s Suomi sandal
With built-in premium arch support designed specifically for those with foot pain due to conditions like plantar fasciitis and fallen arches, these make the perfect beach or vacation shoes. They’re made of soft, milled leather and come in four colors: black, brown, white and blue. It comes in women’s 5-12.
Women’s Skechers Arch Fit City Catch sandals
These slip-on sandals will give you all-day comfort, and they’re machine-washable! These are made of a breathable, stretchy knit fabric and a podiatrist-designed cushioned, contoured footbed for targeted arch support. They come in black, slate blue, brown, navy and black and white, in women’s 5-11.
Men’s and women’s Teva Hurricane Xlt2 sandal
These versatile sandals come in 22 colors and prints including mustard, red, olive, black and multicolor diamonds. The lightweight midsole has extra cushioning for maximum support and comfort. You can also adjust the fit to your liking thanks to the hook-and-loop closure at the back of the heel. Men’s sizes range from 5 to 17, while women’s sizes range from 5 to 14.
Men’s and women’s Vionic Tide II toe post sandal
You can’t go wrong with sandals that have a podiatrist-designed footbed. These have targeted comfort zones that promote stability and alignment and provide relief for plantar fasciitis, flat feet, high arches, bunions and heel spurs. The contoured arch, cushioned insole and deep-seated heel cup will keep your feet supported and comfortable all day. Get it in multiple colors, including purple, orange, black, white, red, charcoal and tan in women’s 5-12 or men’s 7-14.