Do you have plantar fasciitis?
You're not alone.
One in ten people will develop this condition in their lifetime; it is the most common cause of heel pain.
Aside from the pain, repeated stress can worsen the strain.
Fortunately, we have researched the best walking boots for plantar fasciitis so that you can protect your feet while still enjoying the trails.
Now then, let's get to it!
Leather and Textile
(Editor's Choice for Men)
Leather and Textile
Leather and Fabric
Leather and Textile
(Editor's Choice for Women)
Table of Contents
- What is Plantar Fasciitis?
- What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Are Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis the Same?
- What are the Best Types of Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis?
- Who Makes the Best Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis?
- Review: The Top Men's Plantar Fasciitis Walking Boots
- Review: The Top Women's Plantar Fasciitis Walking Boots
- Men's Winner of the Best Walking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Review
- Women's Winner of the Best Walking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Review
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot (known as the plantar fascia ligament) becomes weakened or inflamed. The condition causes stabbing pain in the first steps you take in the morning.
The area where the pain will be felt the most is about four centimeters forward from the back of the heel. While the pain will decrease with movement, it can return after standing for a long time or upon rising from sitting. Instep pain when you're walking may also be felt.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
A strained plantar fascia ligament results in plantar fasciitis; when the ligament is stressed over and over, very small tears can develop which will lead to more swelling and pain. The following can lead to stress on the ligament and the development of plantar fasciitis:
- Having either high arches or very flat feet
- Spending a lot of time on your feet, particularly on hard surfaces
- Your feet roll inward (pronate)
- Extreme tightness in your achilles tendon and/or calves
- Legs of two different lengths
- Wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly
- Wearing shoes that are worn out
Are Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis the Same?
Heel spurs are another cause of heel pain. Unfortunately, heel spurs can result from plantar fasciitis; when the plantar fascia ligament is damaged, in an attempt to support it, the body will develop little calcium deposits on the heel bone. These are called heel spurs.
If heel spurs are not treated, they can cause the fatty pad that supports your heel to deteriorate, causing further damage. Heels spurs don't always cause pain and are often found only when x-rays are taken for something else.
What are the Best Types of Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis?
The right footwear for plantar fasciitis will support the damaged plantar fascia ligament while it heals. When seeking the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis, there are multiple factors to look out for.
One is good arch support, which is a rigid support that will fit the arch of your foot and relieve strain on the foot muscles. Good arch support which will help your feet stay aligned when walking, regardless of the terrain.
Good arch support should be present in a quality hiking boot; if you have flat feet, special insoles may be helpful to provide additional support.
Look for hiking boots that offer removable insoles; should you find that the insole that comes with the boot does not offer the orthopedic support that you need, it will be easy to replace it with an insole that provides sufficient cushioning and support for your foot.
Here's a really helpful video with some practical advice from someone who has done a lot of hiking with plantar fasciitis:
Shock absorption, a thick padded midsole and a cushioned heel are other key elements in a hiking boot when dealing with plantar fasciitis. A thick, padded midsole will absorb shock; this is important so that you can avoid further damage to the ligament and surrounding tissue as you walk on rough and uneven terrain.
Additional cushioning in the heel will provide comfort for sore heels as well as keep your heel from sliding around, helping avoid further stress on the plantar fascia ligament.
Boots with a minimally elevated heel will position your foot so that it is slightly flexed, which will help ease the pressure on the ligament. Your toes having the ability to move around is beneficial with plantar fasciitis so look for boots with a wide toe box. The boot should bend a bit at the toe, but should have a rigid sole, which will minimize strain on your plantar fascia.
The ideal boots for plantar fasciitis will help prevent heel pain, offering cushioning while providing the optimal balance between stability and flexibility.
Who Makes the Best Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis?
When seeking a quality hiking boot for plantar fasciitis, there are a few brands in particular that stand out as providing the support needed for the condition.
In our research, we found that boots by KEEN (known for their wide toe box), Salomon and Merrell, among a few others, offer the features that are preferred for those seeking comfortable boots for walking with plantar fasciitis; for example, all three offer boots with a removable insole that provide the shock absorption you need to avoid further stressing the plantar fascia ligament.
Now that we have a good idea of what to look for in a hiking boot when dealing with planter fasciitis, let’s review three top-rated options for both men and women.
Review: The Top Men's Plantar Fasciitis Walking Boots
1) KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot - Good arch support
In this review of the best boots for plantar fasciitis, we will first take a look at the KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot. KEEN’s are known for having a wide toe box, which will allow your toes room to move so that your feet remain comfortable.
Offering a dual density compression molded EVA midsole, these boots by KEEN will keep your foot in place and provide shock absorption during long treks on uneven terrain. This will help you avoid further damage to the plantar fascia ligament.
While it provides good arch support, the midsole is removable, so if it is not a fit for your foot you can easily replace it with one that is.
The rubber sole, 4mm multi-directional lugs and contoured locks on the heels will provide traction so that your feet are not sliding around when walking, further stressing the plantar fascia.
- Offering an ESS shank (the supportive structure between the insole and outsole), these boots deliver torsional stability, which will keep the sole from twisting at the middle of the foot
- The boots offer a waterproof membrane and water resistant mesh lining, helping keep your feet dry during your adventures
- Some have found that these boots are not as durable as other options, meaning these may not be the best choice for those that are extra hard on their boots
2) Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot - Cushioned and sturdy
Let’s take a look at the Salomon Men’s Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot. Heel foam in these boots will cushion your heel and the removable, molded EVA midsole will provide cushioning for your entire foot.
The midsole works in conjunction with the 4D Advanced Chassis to keep your feet stable and your arch supported, which will help you avoid developing tears in your plantar fascia.
A heel cup and the high shaft (6.75 inches) these boots offer will deliver even greater stability as you traverse all types of terrain. Traction is important in a hiking boot in general and particularly important for those with plantar fasciitis. These hiking boots from Salomon have a Contragrip sole that includes multidirectional lugs that provide above average traction.
- These boots are very sturdy and should hold up in rough outdoor conditions, including through hikes
- The 4D Advanced Chassis offers the right balance of stability and flexibility for those struggling with plantar fasciitis
- It takes little to no time to break these in
- Some have expressed that these boots run a bit narrow, so depending on the width of your feet make sure that you adjust your size accordingly
3) Vasque Men's Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Boot - Comfortable for long distances
Finally, we will take a look at is the Vasque Men’s Breeze 2.0. To start, the one and a quarter inch heel will position your foot so that it is slightly flexed, eliminating some of the pressure on your plantar fascia ligament when walking.
A dual density EVA footbed and molded EVA midsole will provide support and keep your heel and foot cushioned. A thermoplastic urethane plate will also deliver stability and support.
These boots from Vasque have thick soles that will not only provide arch support, they will comfort your heel. A waterproof design with wicking nylon will eliminate moisture and keep your feet dry. The boots have a gusseted and padded tongue that will keep stones and other debri out of your boots, allowing you to walk without stopping to empty your boots.
- The high shaft (six inches from the arch) will make sure that your foot and ankle are held in place as you trek across uneven terrain
- A Vibram contact sole, developed with Vasqye’s XSTrek Compound will keep you from sliding no matter the terrain
- Inner lining and padding of these boots will take on the natural shape of your foot
- These boots tend to run narrow
- There have been complaints that the sole of the boots is not as durable as it has been in the past
Review: The Top Women's Plantar Fasciitis Walking Boots
1) Merrell Women's Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot - Absorbs shock
The Merrell Women’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is a durable option that will hold up in a myriad of conditions. A specialized tongue will keep small items from entering your boots as you hike. This is helpful when thinking about plantar fasciitis as each time you stop to get something out of your shoe, resuming walking may bring pain in the plantar fascia.
The removable EVA foot bed and ortholite anatomical midsole provide arch support and stability, keeping your foot in place and avoiding further stress to the plantar fascia ligament.
The Vibram rubber sole of these boots by Merrell will provide shock absorption that will help you avoid putting additional stress on your plantar fascia when walking long distances.
Rubber lugs at the bottom of the sole will provide the good traction so that you remain upright when making your way down a rocky hillside.
- Additional protection for your feet is offered in these boots with a molded nylon arch shank, synthetic leather toecap and a heel counter
- An air cushion in the heel provides shock absorption, helping you avoid further damage and pain when walking
- Trademark M select dry technology will keep moisture from entering the boot. The leather-reinforced breathable mesh upper will ensure your feet remain dry and comfortable
- These boots tend to run small; it is recommended that you order at least a half size above your usual size
- Some customers have said the waterproofing isn't as good as it could be
2) Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot - Stylish and functional
The Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot offers a stylish look in a functional boot. These boots by Ahnu include Numentum Technology, which is a neutral positioning system that has been developed to facilitate the natural biomechanics of your foot, keeping it centered and stable as you traverse a variety of terrain.
A one-inch heel offers the slight elevation that will keep your foot slightly flexed, easing the pressure on the plantar fascia ligament. With a shaft measuring 5.75 inches from the arch and a dual density EVA midsole, these boots by Ahnu will cushion your foot while keeping it in place, avoiding additional stress on the plantar fascia.
A Vibram outsole includes self-cleaning lugs, keeping you from slipping on a smooth or rocky trail.
- A padded, gusseted tongue and padded collar offer additional comfort
- Nylon and fiberglass arch shanks combine with EVA shock plates to offer additional stability and support
- These boots offer a unique style in a variety of fun colors, offering the support needed for plantar fasciitis as well as the ability to express yourself
- Like the Women's Moab by Merrell, these boots tend to run small; it is recommended that you order a half size larger than your usual size
- Some found that there is a seem that presses into the ankle bone, leading to discomfort. This is a rare issue, most don't notice it at all
3) KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot - Heel lock prevents sore heels
The KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot, like the men’s version, offers a wide toe box, providing your toes room to move around, helping your feet stay comfortable over the course of a long walk.
A one-and-a-half inch heel will deliver an elevated position so that your foot is slightly flexed, minimizing the stress on your plantar fascia.
The EVA foot bed and removable compression molded foam midsole will cradle your foot for stability as well as provide shock absorption during your walks, helping to avoid further damage to your plantar fascia ligament.
Like the men’s version, these women’s boots by KEEN include an ESS shank that provides torsional stability, keeping the sole from twisting in the middle of the foot.
- A rubber sole and 4mm direction lugs ensure that you have traction no matter how challenging your walk; this is helpful because instability on the surface where you are walking can lead to further stress on the planter fascia.
- A heel lock prevents surprise jolts from uneven terrain that could further inflame the plantar fascia ligament
- The KEEN Dry waterproof breathable membrane and water resistant mesh lining keep your feet dry from moisture and the elements
- Like the boots by Merrell and Ahnu, these run about a half size small; keep this in mind when ordering
Men's Winner of the Best Walking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Review
Our top choice for men is the Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot.
The combination of the molded EVA midsole and the 4D Advanced Chassis will cushion your foot and provide the arch support and stability that you need to keep minimize the pain of plantar fasciitis and avoid further stress on the ligament.
What sets these boots by Salomon apart from the others is their durability. Whether taking a short hike on a rocky trail or a months-long through hike, these boots are made to last.
Women's Winner of the Best Walking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Review
Our top choice for Women is the KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot.
The wide toe box offers additional comfort and the one-and-a-half inch heel will place your foot in such a position that it is slightly flexed; reducing stress on the plantar fascia ligament.
These boots from KEEN offer torsional stability with an ESS shank and the EVA foot bed and molded foam insole will keep your foot in place, delivering additional stability and shock absorption.
The heel lock is a bonus feature of these boots; we appreciate avoiding surprising jolts that could lead to additional stress on the plantar fascia ligament, along with heel pain.
Wearing the KEEN Targhee II will allow you to do what you love without causing further damage.