• Dr. Gary D. Prant, DPM

Sandals for Heel Pain

Best Sandals for Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Never Go Without Arch Support

When you can’t wear shoes with supportive orthotics, we recommend wearing flip flops or sanHeel pain and plantar fasciitis is the number one problem we treat at our office. Since Albuquerque is so warm in the summer we have created a list of recommended sandals for plantar fasciitis and heel pain. One of the most important things is to keep the arches supported at all times by never going barefoot during treatment.

dals with built-in arch supports. An arch support keeps the foot from flattening while standing or walking and reduces tightness in the plantar fascia, allowing pain to subside. This is such as important part of treatment for heel pain that if it does not happen, it is likely that treatment will fail.

What Kind of Support is Needed in Sandals to Treat Heel Pain?

In order to reduce tension on the plantar fascia and to transfer pressure off of the heel the orthotic portion of the sandal must include these features:

  • Conform very close to the arch of the foot. By conforming close to the arch the flip-flop or sandal will stop collapse of the arch and act to decrease tension on the plantar fascia. This will also help to transfer pressure off of the heel and onto the arch.

  • Be as wide or wider than the foot. In order to transfer as much pressure as possible off of the heel, the orthotic portion of the sandal must at least as wide as the foot.

  • Deep heel cup. Deep heel cups help limit excessive rolling in of the heel. When the heel rolls in, the arch flattens and that increases tension on the plantar fascia.

With this type of support damaging tension and pressure on the heel is reduced significantly. Most people notice the difference immediately.

Recommended Sandals to Reduce Heel Pain

The sandals listed below contain these features. These are the sandals we recommend to our patients. Please note that we received no financial compensation from any of the sandal companies.

Tellic Flip Flops - combine cushioning and support

My all time favorite sandal for heel pain is the Tellic sandal which costs less than $50. They were It was rated the number one comfort shoe by the New York Times in 2016. It combines an incredible amount of cushioning with an excellent arch support. I believe that cushioning and support are both important to reducing heel pain and plantar fasciitis. I find that many people do not have quite enough cushioning under their heel and even with a very supportive shoe their heel still hurts. The Tellic sandal addresses both of these issues quite economically.

Pros: Tellic sandals combine a good amount of support within excellent amount of cushioning. Economical. Various styles including the Z strap which eliminates the piece between the toes. Made in the U.S.A.

Cons: some people find the cushioning too much and they are unstable with it. Doesn’t really cup the heel. Styling leaves a little to be desired.

Vionic Flip-Flops and Sandals: The most supportive sandals on the market .

Some people absolutely love the sandals and do very well with them. I have a flat foot and developed plantar fasciitis myself. The arch on these sandals was absolutely impossible for me to tolerate. Those who can tolerate these shoes do very well in them and love the support.

Vionic sandals are designed by a podiatrist and because of the extremely high arch support they do an amazing job transferring pressure off of the heel and reducing tension on the plantar fascia. Prices range from $35 to $110 depending on the model. All have the same great arch support, however.

Pros: Exceptional arch support. Best job at reducing tension on the plantar fascia. Attractive. Many model and color choices. Great reviews from our patients with heel pain. Not cheap, but a very good value. Very durable.

Cons: Higher arch may take some getting used to for some people. Most people adapt with no problem some people (like me ) can just not tolerate the arch. We recommend wearing them around the house for a few days to make sure they work for you. Vionic sandals tend to be more expensive then other brands, but worth it.

Chaco EcoTread Flip-Flop: Good if the Vionic Feels Too High and you don’t need a lot of cushioning

Some of our patients with heel pain find the Chaco Ecotread very comfortable.

The arch is not quite as high or supportive as the arch on the Vionic so this is not our first choice for most of our heel pain patients. If you have had trouble tolerating the arch height on the Vionic sandals and do not need – or like the cushiony feel of the Tellic, the Chaco EcoTread might be a good choice for you.

Pros: Excellent choice for those who have flatter feet and don’t tolerate the higher arch of the Vionic sandals. Good arch support although not as supportive as Vionic.

Cons: Arch not quite as supportive as Vionic sandals so it will not be as effective at reducing tension on the plantar fascia or transferring pressure off of the heel.

Spenco Yumi: Best Lower Cost Heel Pain Sandal

This is a good value-priced arch support flip-flop for those with plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain. Of the sandals we reviewed, this has the lowest arch so it is less likely to reduce tension on the plantar fascia relative to the others we recommend. But it does have the best arch support available in the $40 range. I have a pair of these sandals and find they are amazingly comfortable.

Pros: Best heel pain relief sandals in the $40 – $50 range. Attractive sandal. Many great color choices.

Cons: Not as supportive as other choices. May not be as durable as it has softer EVA foam in the arch.

Many times people ask about Birkenstock sandals. They are excellent for arch support and they cup the heel very well. Some people do very well with these but I find that people have a tight Achilles tendon do not do well in Birkenstock because the heel sits very low.

That’s it. We could not find any other sandals or flip-flops that provide adequate arch support to reduce heel pain. If you know of other sandals that we should include in this list please reply to this post and let us know.

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