If you’re acquainted with the pain from plantar fasciitis, you understand the importance of choosing appropriate footwear.
In this post, we’ve covered some different types of tennis shoes that might help alleviate this horrible, persistent, stabbing pain in your heel you’re most likely all too familiar with.
Some of the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis are actual tennis shoes (meaning they’re designed for actually playing tennis) because they are built to provide a lot of cushion from impact.
We’ve also included a more general list of the best everyday “tennis” shoes for plantar fasciitis, for those who don’t care how the shoe performs on a tennis court.
Reviews – Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
We’ve split our reviews into 2 lists:
Best Shoes for Everyday Wear
- OrthoFeet Stretchable
- Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk
- Xero Shoes Prio
- ASICS Gel-Venture 7
- ASICS Gel-Venture 5
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Best Shoes for Playing Tennis
- New Balance MC806
- Nike Flare (Women’s Only)
- Adidas Solecourt Boost
- Nike Court Air Zoom Vapor X
- Asics Gel-Challenger 12
Before we jump into the reviews, let’s go over some things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a shoe to help with plantar fasciitis pain.
What to Look for in a Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
There are at least two competing (or complementary, depending on your perspective) schools of thought when it comes to choosing footwear for plantar fasciitis.
- School of Thought #1: Wear cushioned, supportive shoes.
- School of Thought #2: Wear minimalist, natural shoes.
Most experts are hesitant to recommend a shoe for plantar fasciitis without an evaluation, since each person’s situation is unique. We recommend you consult with a physician to help you decide which type of shoe you want to try.
Let’s break down the thinking behind these two philosophies.
Cushioned, Supportive Shoes
The first school of thought says that you should use shoes that have great arch support, provide a lot of cushion on the sole and heel especially, use supportive orthotics.
It’s easy to understand the logic here. If you are experiencing pain in your heel, you should cushion it to help alleviate that pain. Like in the video below by OrthoFeet, our top pick for cushioned tennis shoes for everyday wear.
There are a lot of tennis shoes that offer this level of support and cushioning, since the stop-and-go movements on a hard court can be very hard on your feet. There are also a lot of “tennis” shoes that aren’t specifically designed for tennis, but which offer excellent support and cushioning for everyday wear.
Many experts who recommend wearing supportive, cushioned shoes will also agree that this may only treat the symptom. You should address the cause of your pain, or you else you will constantly be treating its effects.
You can also add your own custom orthotics to whatever shoes you want, which can help provide the right cushioning for your foot.
Minimalist, Natural Shoes
Minimalist shoes allow your foot to move more naturally, strengthen your feet and calves, and let your toes stretch out. They are meant to reacquaint yourself with your feet’s natural sense of motion that you were born with.
This video helps explain this philosophy.
Minimalist, zero drop shoes are becoming increasingly popular as running shoes and everyday wear shoes, with many saying they correct some feet problems like plantar fasciitis.
Playing Tennis in Minimalist Shoes
That said, there are some key differences between running shoes and tennis shoes. Frequent and sudden changes in speed and lateral movements make playing tennis a very different activity than running. The hard court surface feels especially hard when you stomp on it barefoot or in a pair of minimalist shoes.
Tennis shoes tend to have more ankle support for lateral movements, and a much tougher sole for repeated impact and sliding on a hard court.
However, some tennis shoes are moving in this direction (ironically enough to help provide better ankle support), like the Nike Flare, which we review later in this post. And one big player in the minimalist shoe movement was actually founded by a tennis player.
You can read our post on the best shoes for tennis players to learn more about the differences between running shoes and tennis shoes.
And now, let’s jump into our reviews. We’ve split our list into the Best Shoes for Everyday Wear and the Best Shoes for Playing Tennis.
Best Shoes for Everyday Wear
The first half of our reviews are the best “tennis” shoes (read athletic shoes in general) for everyday wear.
Best Shoes for Playing Tennis
And now, here are our top picks for the best shoes for playing tennis with plantar fasciitis.
Our recommendation: The New Balance MC806 is an excellent shoe for tennis players with plantar fasciitis who still need excellent support and stability for tennis play.
The Nike Flare was designed with the help of Serena Williams, who wanted a shoe that was lower to the ground to help prevent ankle rolling. This is one of the few shoes designed for tennis that could be considered more minimalist or zero drop.
Because of it’s design that’s similar to a zero drop design, it’s a great option for players with plantar fasciitis who are trying to use more minimalist shoes.
Our recommendation: The Nike Flare is an excellent choice if you’re a female tennis player looking for a minimalist, lightweight shoe that still provides excellent cushioning.
The Adidas Solecourt Boost is extremely well cushioned, especially in the heel. This makes it a great option for tennis players with plantar fasciitis. It also has a wider toebox, so you could use toe spacers, which many find help with foot pain.
The Nike Air Zoom Vapor X is a very lightweight and responsive shoe, built for speed. That said, it’s also also surprisingly stable.
It’s very well cushioned and comfortable, making it a great choice for players with foot pain.
The Asics Gel-Challenger 12 is an all-around excellent performance tennis shoe, at a slightly lower price point. Some find the Gel-Challenger 12 to be just as good as the more expensive Gel-Resolution 7.
Summary & Recommendations
If you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, we sincerely wish you the best and hope you can manage to alleviate and eventually eliminate the pain. We hope you found the information in this post helpful.
If you’re looking for a shoe to play tennis in, we recommend the New Balance MC806.
If you’re looking for a cushioned shoe for everyday wear, we recommend the OrthoFeet Stretchable.
And if you’re looking for a minimalist shoe to help address the root cause of your pain, we recommend the Xero Shoes Prio.
There are several other great shoe options in this post, and we hope you’re able to find the right tennis shoe for you.