Jul 25, 2023
5 Best Hoka Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, Doctor
Shopping for shoes when you suffer from plantar fasciitis is no easy feat, no pun intended. All piercing, stabbing pain in the heel and swelling throughout the foot require sneakers that won't
Shopping for shoes when you suffer from plantar fasciitis is no easy feat, no pun intended. All piercing, stabbing pain in the heel and swelling throughout the foot require sneakers that won't exacerbate symptoms even worse, particularly during activities that deliver higher impact to the foot and joints, such as walking, running, and hiking. Instead, sneakers with a thick, cushioned midsole that absorbs shock, built-in arch support, and a "rocker" shape can help alleviate these symptoms. Luckily, Hoka—the popular footwear brand approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association—has just the thing. Below are the best Hoka shoes for plantar fasciitis, all podiatrist approved.
“Plantar fasciitis, or fasciosis, involves tearing and scarring of a band of tissue in the arch of the foot,” says Nelya Lobkova, DPM, Podiatrist at Step Up Footcare in New York City. “It begins to tear at the insertion of the plantar fascia into the heel bone.” In other words… ouch. Dr. Lobkova says the symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain in the heels (which can happen either when walking or standing after a period of rest), mild swelling, and redness. “Chronic tearing of the plantar fascia causes a build-up of abnormal or scarred fascia or tendon that can cause prolonged pain and discomfort,” she says.
“Many things can cause the ligament to become inflamed,” adds board-certified podiatrist and surgeon, David J. Liss, DPM, of Airport Podiatry Group in Los Angeles. The main culprits of plantar fasciitis are tight calf muscles, a very low or high arch, an increase or change in activities, and poor shoe choice. Liss says you should avoid shoes that “are too flat, flexible, and that lack proper support for the foot.”
There are a few doctor-recommended ways to treat the pain accompanied by plantar fasciitis.
“The best way to relieve plantar fasciitis is to stretch, stretch, stretch,” says Lobkova. Anne Sharkey, DPM, podiatrist at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute, agrees, and recommends doing daily calf muscle stretches to avoid straining the muscles that attach the heel bone to the plantar fascia.
Although some podiatrists do recommend going barefoot or wearing barefoot sandals to allow the feet muscles to move freely and naturally, those with plantar fasciitis should wear supportive shoes. Dr. Sharkey says going barefoot can lead to plantar fasciitis pain, and says you should avoid extended periods where you’re going barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.
One way to help relieve the pain and pressure in your heel is by ice rolling. “An ice roller can be used under the foot to stretch and reduce pain and inflammation,” says podiatrist Marion Yau, aka, Miss Foot Fixer. Don’t have an ice roller at the ready? Don’t fret. “A bottle of water can be frozen and turned into an ice roller,” she recommends.
Be sure to take care of your arches, especially if you have fallen arches or high arches. “Wear shoes with cushioned arch supports and cushioned soles when walking to provide support and shock absorption,” says Yau.
Wearing high heels can—gasp!—lead to more than just an evening of pinched toes and aching soles. If you truly want to avoid plantar fasciitis, it might be time to ditch those sky-high stilettos in favor of more comfortable flats. “Consistent use of high heels may exacerbate naturally tight calves,” says Dr. Liss.
Proper support is key to coping with and combating plantar fasciitis flare-ups. When you’re looking for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis, avoid flat-soled shoes with no arch support or cushioning—”think flimsy, cheap flip-flops and ballet flats,” Dr. Sharkey says. Additionally, Dr. Sharkey recommends eschewing flexible, casual tennis shoes with no support in favor of—you guessed it—more supportive styles, since the former “places excess stretch and strain on the plantar fascia, which exacerbates pain.”
With so many sneakers on the market, it's important to shop from a trustworthy source. “Choose a shoe company that focuses on product development, scientific testing, and proper shoe construction,” recommends Dr. Liss.
From there, follow these tips from Dr. Sharkey:
Hoka is a shoe brand dedicated to advancing good foot mechanics and health, so its styles are a great place to start. This is due to a variety of factors, including their marshmallow-like cushioning, stability, and a rocker-like bottom that propels you forward during walks and runs. “Designed with extra cushioning, a wide midsole, and a low heel-to-toe drop, Hoka shoes are ideal for those suffering from plantar fasciitis,” says Yau.
Below are the six best Hoka shoes for plantar fasciitis, ready to keep your heels happy and healthy.
Available sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths
According to Dr. Sharkey, the Hoka Arahi 6 is a must for added stability throughout the foot. “It’s my most recommended shoe for those with flat feet or overpronation,” she says. Dr. Liss concurs, saying it’s “a great option for people who need maximal stability to prevent any excessive inward rolling of the ankle.” In addition to its stabilizing frame, the Arahi 6 is beloved for its combination of cushioning, lightweight design, and mesh upper with zones of breathability.
Weight: 7.6oz Heel-to-toe drop: 5mm
Available sizes: 6-11, in half sizes and two widths
Dr. Liss says the Bondi 8 is a great choice for “everyday wear, walkers, or runners who prefer a more cushioned, bouncy feel.” He also recommends this style for his senior patients, as it provides more cushioning. “As we age, we tend to lose some of the fat-padding on the bottom of our foot, and harder surfaces can cause pain,” he says. With a rear crash pad that offers a balanced ride from heel-strike to forefoot transition, this Hoka sneaker is an ideal option (and a more stylish alternative to some other orthopedic shoes on the market).
Weight: 8.9oz Heel-to-toe drop: 4mm
Originally $170, on sale for $136
Available sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths
Dr. Lobkova loves the Gaviota because of its cushioning. “Great cushioning for the concrete streets of NYC, especially for distance walking,” she says. It features the brand’s J-Frame™-enhanced support, a plush collar and tongue, and offers premium stability—so when you’re looking for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis, this Hoka sneaker is a great one to try.
Weight: 9.3oz Heel-to-toe drop: 5mm
Sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths
One of Dr. Liss’s favorite Hoka shoes for plantar fasciitis is the Clifton 9, which he says is one of the brand’s more well-rounded and neutral options. “It’s a bit more lightweight than the others, but still quite supportive,” he says. He recommends this style specifically for younger athletes who aren’t flat-footed and don’t need as much cushion.
Weight: 7.3oz Heel-to-toe drop: 5mm
Available sizes: 5-16
When you have plantar fasciitis—or if you’re trying to avoid it altogether—walking barefoot, especially on hard surfaces, is a no-no. One way to do that is by wearing recovery sandals and slides during downtime at home. “I recommend avoidance of barefoot walking and use of recovery sandals around the house—instead of house slippers, which often offer no support,” says Dr. Sharkey. She loves the Ora Recovery Slide 3 by Hoka, which features four air-flow channels for breathability, a wide, stable base, and an earth-friendly sugarcane footbed.
Weight: 7.8oz Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm
Cons:Available sizes:Weight:Heel-to-toe drop:Colors:Pros:Cons:Available sizes:Weight:Heel-to-toe drop:Colors:Pros:Cons:Originally $170, on sale for $136Available sizes:Weight:Heel-to-toe drop:Colors:Pros:Cons:Sizes:Weight:Heel-to-toe drop:Colors: Pros:Cons:Available sizes:Weight:Heel-to-toe drop: Colors: Pros:Cons: