It can be quite difficult finding the right pair of shoes, especially once someone starts experiencing any signs of pain in feet. Heel pain is one of the most prevalent injuries anyone can get in the feet, whether you are a runner, stand all day for work or just running errands.

Heel pain can come as a variety of presenting complaints, mostly consistent of conditions such as: plantar fasciitis, achilles pain, sever’s disease, bruised heel pad and more. Common risk factors that lead to this are:

  • increase in activity

  • poor footwear – very flat or unsupportive

  • injury

  • ageing

  • tight calves

  • flat feet

Therefore, when looking into finding the right pair of shoes for your feet, it is important to consider these tips in order to avoid or help treat your heel pain.

Tip 1

Heel Height

  • Shoes with a heel height differential (HHD) of 10-12 mm – height of the cushioning on the heel compared to the height if the cushioning under the ball of the foot – is most suitable
  • Higher HHD helps alleviate pressure placed on the plantar fascia and bottom of the heel and offloads the affected area
  • Shoes that are too flat i.e. converse, will put further strain on the structures such as the calf, Achilles and the plantar fascia.

The best shoes to relieve heel pain!

Tip 2

Heel Counter

  • Shoes with a stiff heel counter are preferred as they help stabilise and support your ankle when active
  • The more rigid the heel counter is, the more support will be applied to the ankle and surrounding ligaments and tendons, easing the tension places of these structures

Tip 3

Midsole stiffness

  • Stiffness throughout the whole shoes, from heel-to-toe is essential in maintaining support for the arch and heel during your gait cycle (walk pattern)
  • Some flex in the forefoot is suitable as to maintain adequate propulsion during the take off phase
  • Walking/running is a straight forward motion, therefore a shoe that accommodates for that rather than a side to side flexible shoe is more appropriate

Shoes that incorporate all things previously mentioned are (all shoes below are available in wide fittings):

Runners – 

  • Brooks Ghost
  • New Balance 880
  • Mizuno Wave Rider/Sky

Non-slip leather shoes – 

  • Brooks Addiction Walker Neutral (comes in Velcro)
  • Saucony Echelon Walker
  • Hoka Bondi SR
  • Rockport Prowalker

Work safety boots – 

  • Ascent Alpha Apex
  • New Balance Contour

It is imperative to try the appropriate shoes on before purchasing as comfort maintains essential to wearing a shoe. Getting them fitted properly at shop like Active Feet or The Athlete’s Foot is recommended due to the training and experience staff are provided on a daily basis.