Summer is the time for fun and sun, when we can remove excess layers and go ‘light’ with our wardrobe, including what wear on our feet. However, this can come at a cost since many sandals are sometimes too simple and lack good design, materials and features which can damage our feet. This is especially true when you throw into the mix a foot condition such as plantar fasciitis.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you know that your feet require supportive sandals or orthotic sandals to keep symptoms at check. Ordinary sandals are typically flat, thin and do not have much or any cushioning which can leave your feet in pain, tired and you not being able to enjoy the activities you love most. They will also undoubtedly exacerbate your plantar fasciitis. But don’t fret, we are here to help you find the best summer sandals for plantar fasciitis.
What special features do plantar fasciitis sandals need to have?
Helping the plantar fascia function, a band of tissue that connects the toes and heel, is key to maintaining a healthy foot and treating plantar fasciitis. Repetitive stress, excess body weight and shoes without support can increase tension on the fascia, cause it to overstretch, tear and become inflamed. Sandals for plantar fasciitis are designed to support the arch, absorb shock forces, and distribute pressure evenly to minimize pain and discomfort.
The best sandals for plantar fasciitis should be designed with:
Arch support: Sandals designed with built in arch support, or orthotic insoles, support the plantar fascia so it doesn’t over pull on the heel bone insertion. The insole reduces the arch drop that lengthens the foot which stretches the fascia. Orthotics also unlock a dysfunctional big toe joint by reducing the pronation that can cause it.
Heel cushioning: Heel pain and plantar fasciitis are closely related and often times misdiagnosed. However, today we know that plantar fasciitis causes the onset of heel pain. In addition, as we age and the more active we are, our natural fat pad located under the heel begins to wear out and thin. Plantar fasciitis sandals should have robust cushioning in the heel, such as gel or foam, to protect the area and alleviate the pain.
Ball-of-foot cushioning: Since the plantar fascia connects the heel to the toes, it can become damaged and inflamed at any part, including the ball-of-foot area. The best plantar fasciitis sandals will have thick padding in the toe area to offset pressure from the metatarsal heads.
Wide shaped forefoot: Sandals, especially if they are closed toe, need to have a wide and round shape in the front to give the toes plenty of space to move around. The space will prevent overlapping toes, promote biomechanical foot motion, as well as not put any extra pressure on the big toe joint. If the sandals are open toe, you need to make sure they are wide enough, and the shape accommodates the toes so they are not bulging out from the sides.
Ergonomic sole: Sandals for plantar fasciitis should be designed with a heel height that is close to the height of the front part of the shoe so that the heel and forefoot are on the same level. Sandals with significantly elevated heels pose a problem as they place excess pressure on the big toe joint which is one cause of plantar fasciitis.
Closed toe sandals for plantar fasciitis
Closed toe sandals, especially the fisherman styles are making a comeback these days. And it comes as no surprise since they have a lot to offer while still looking super cute on your feet.
Closed toe sandals are a great option if you are someone who doesn’t love showing off your toes or if you are more active with increased risk to injury in the forefoot and want that extra protection. Since the closed upper needs to work for hot temperatures, look for a design with cut outs and mesh materials to allow air to circulate and keep your feet cool and dry.
And because you are looking to soothe your plantar fasciitis pain, they need to include some form of arch support and shock absorbing cushioning.
Top closed toe women's sandals for plantar fasciitis
Our favorite closed toe sandal for women is Verona. It has been a best seller for several years and customers swear by its ability to eliminate plantar fasciitis pain as well as its comfort and quality. It is a versatile style that can be worn on a 3-mile walk, the beach, or a trip to the grocery store.
It features a state-of-the-art orthotic system to reduce a significant amount of tension on the fascia. The multi-layered soles with air pocket technology provide extra cushioning, reducing pain when standing and walking. The minimal heel to toe drop design ensures correct biomechanical movement dispersing pressure from heel strike to the toe lift, making every step easier. The orthotic is even removable for those that need to replace it with a custom one.
Verona is super comfortable with an open back, ventilated design, and partial fabric upper. A quick lace bungee cord allows you to adjust the fit according to your instep and the heel strap fully opens to easily slide your foot in.
Your feet will benefit from the wide toe box, extra depth and available wide widths, providing ample space for toe movement and a pressure free fit.
Looking for the men’s version of the Verona? Alpine has the exact features and design and is your best choice for a closed toe sandal.
Open toe sandals for plantar fasciitis
Nothing more says summer than when we can finally flaunt our manicured (or neatly cut nails) toes with open toe sandals. Upper coverage is minimal in open toe sandals but everything that comes below it should not be as it will compromise the health and wellness of our feet. Good open toe sandals should be constructed with anatomical arch support and lots of padding. Moreover, since there is not much material to cover our feet, it is important the design incorporate plenty of straps to hold the foot in place and provide customization.
Our recommendation for an open toe sandal for plantar fasciitis is Malibu. This has a classic quarter strap upper design but with many other bells and whistles that will make it your go to sandal for when you are out and about.
There are three places you can adjust the fit of the sandal. The main strap across the instep is very innovative and opens on either side of the sandal. Some of us who struggle to bend down and reach the outer part of the shoe will find it easier to reach the inner side to open, close and adjust the hook and loop strap. This feature also offers more flexibility in the adjustment, enabling a tighter or looser fit than if the strap opening was only on one side. There are also straps in the heel and toe area that are nicely padded and include stretch to conform to your foot shape and provide comfort.
What sets apart this sandal from most brands is the contoured arch support that sits comfortably inside the sole to offer relief for plantar fasciitis. The curve of the insole fills the space under the arch and ensures the tendon is not strained and stretched when you walk. The deep heel cup cradles the heel and disperses shock under the fat pad with heel strike.
The sole has a unique rocker bottom shape that ergonomically moves your foot with little effort and less joint movement. Those suffering from arthritis will enjoy a smoother and easier walk with Malibu sandals. And as an added bonus, the sole is slip resistant providing excellent grip and traction when you walk on wet surfaces.
Malibu will pair with any outfit since it is available in cream, black, pewter, and brown.
If you are interested in a men’s quarter strap sandal, Cambria is our top pick and is the equivalent of the Malibu.
Stretch sandals for plantar fasciitis
For extra comfort and a pressure free fit, Laguna is a popular choice since it has a stretch fabric upper that conforms to your specific foot shape and feels like a custom-made shoe just for your feet. If you have odd shaped feet with a bunion or any other bump, this style will fit like a glove. We love this style because of the knit fabric which makes it extremely breathable and lightweight, perfect for scorching days.
Plantar fasciitis will no longer be an issue as Laguna is designed with the Ortho-Cushion System which includes an orthotic insole and ergonomic sole to reduce pressure under the heel, add spring to your step and work wonders to alleviate heel and plantar fasciitis pain. The sole design transfers forces from the heel to toe in an equal manner and propels the foot forward, making walking easier.
There are several ways to adjust the fit of the shoe, starting with the bungee cord across the instep, as well as the strap along the heel which also allows you easily get in and out of the sandal.
The seam free interior will feel super gentle against bare skin and will not irritate sensitive feet with arthritis, diabetes, and neuropathy. We guarantee you will practically live in these all summer!
Laguna is available in light heathered blue in medium, wide and extra wide widths.
Heeled sandals for plantar fasciitis
Heels have a bad reputation and are associated with causing pain and damaging our feet due to their design. However, more often than not, we seem to ignore these facts and wear them knowing they will leave us hobbling in pain after just an hour or two.
We are excited to share that not all heels are bad for you! In fact, some are actually good for you. Camille is a 2” heeled sandal that was carefully designed to support and cushion your feet so that you can dance the night away without pain.
Their unique design includes an anatomical shaped arch to keep the plantar fascia supported, align our feet to reduce overpronation, improve stability and relieve ball of foot pain. The innovative design of the heel does not place any extra pressure on forefoot, in contrast to other heels, and ensures a smooth and even foot strike that makes it feel as though you are walking in a pair of sneakers.
The footbed is soft and padded with foam and the lining of the straps are smooth and will not irritate the skin.
Camille boasts three adjustable straps to achieve a perfect fit. The forefoot strap incorporates elastic stretch to fit over a bunion, hammertoe, or swollen feet. The heel strap has extra padding and can be adjusted to accommodate any size heel to prevent slippage and secure the foot. The middle strap is the most distinctive as it incorporates a two-way strap system with tabs on both sides of the sandal. This enables you to open/close and adjust them from either side, which is convenient if you have difficulty bending down and reaching outside of the shoe. You can adjust the length of the strap by moving the middle tab up to make it shorter, or by moving it down to make it longer.
The black glossy snake pattern gives it an elegant look and will be your favorite go to shoe for any occasion.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects many but luckily, can be treated rather easily over time. When choosing summer footwear for plantar fasciitis, make sure you take a close look at how the sandals are constructed and what features they have. Brands that allow you to wear test shoes, such as Orthofeet who happen to have a 60-day wear test even outside of the house, are you best option since you can actually use them in real conditions and activities. This ensures they fit you best and offer the needed support and pain relief for plantar fasciitis.