Whether you’re doing laps at your local gym or getting a tan at the beach, the question of your footwear is bound to arise when it’s time to go for a swim.
But you have plantar fasciitis, and the only shoes that don’t kill your feet are athletic trainers. You can’t exactly wear them into the surf.
What to do?
Best Flip Flops for Plantar Fasciitis
Believe it or not, there really are good flip flops out there for your painful heels.
You’d be surprised how much water-worthy, fascia-friendly footwear is available these days.
Here’s the best part:
In this article, I’ll show you how to find the best flip flops for plantar fasciitis so that you can join in when your friends go out for some fun in the sun.
1- Look for Arch Support. No Flats, Ever!
This should always be the first consideration when you look for shoes, and when you’re seeking the best flip flop for plantar fasciitis, that goes double.
Typically, flip flops are constructed like boards with straps: they’re flat and hard, more like tiny mobile platforms than supportive shoes. These will ruin your beach day. There’s no way that a standard flip flop will work for you if you have plantar fasciitis. However, there are flops with arch support, and these are what you need to look for.
The Orthaheel Tide Slide is one stellar example. Notice how high the arch on these flip flops rises, like a mountain that’s there just to stop your feet from pronating.
This point is related to the one about arch support. If your flip flop is flat, you’re going to be miserable. Look for a more interesting shoe. The flop should encourage your toes upward and have a heel that is just slightly higher than the ball of the foot. (This does not mean that you ought to wear a high heeled sandal, of course. If you’ve already spoken to your podiatrist, you’ll know that high heels can aggravate or even cause plantar fasciitis.)
The Crocs Capri V is a great example of the right kind of shoe. You may be asking yourself if I really just recommended a pair of Crocs. The answer is “yes.” Yes I did. I stand by it, too. You’ll know why when you try these flops on and experience the way this model molds to the natural curves of the bottom of your foot. The fit alone will do wonders for your pain.
3- Deep Heel Cup
One of the keys to walking pain-free when you have plantar fasciitis is the heel. You want to put your foot down in the right way every time you step so as to avoid stressing out your plantar fascia, and then you don’t want your heel to slide around and cause more tears in your tender ligament. A deep heel cup will help prevent the kind of shimmying that can worsen your condition.
Vionic is an Orthaheel brand that puts out some of the best men’s flip flops for plantar fasciitis. That said, if the shoe fits, wear it, even if you happen to like something a little more feminine. The Vionic Ryder Thong Sandal comes in plain black and is very classy, and you’ll notice that its heel cup cannot be beat.
4- Shock Absorption
In addition to heel cupping, you’ll definitely want a flip flop that absorbs the shock of your every step. This means looking for a thicker heel and testing it to make sure that it’s soft enough for your foot. The best flip flops for plantar fasciitis will combine firm support with just enough give.
The Crocs I discussed above are ideal examples of a good, supportive heel, but the Vionic Tide II, a thong flip flop, is definitely a more stylish option. The cushioned insole should take the worst of the pressure of a day walking on the beach off of your plantar fascia, and the multitude of styling options will make you forget that you’re actually wearing an orthotically optimized flip flop.
5- Nice, Snug Foot Straps
Remember how I mentioned that your foot should not slide around in the flip flop? It’s tricky to make that happen in a backless shoe, and, let’s be honest, any shoe without ankle support may be something of a challenge to walk in if your foot issues are extreme. However, if you choose a flip flop with a nice, tight foot strap, you’re going to have a great time walking around.
The brand Therafit makes dozens of cute flip flops that feature thick, cushioned straps. These aren’t necessarily pool shoes, but they aren’t necessarily not pool shoes, either. It depends on how fancy your pool is. Take a look at the Therafit Suzie Adjustable Leather Casual Sandals for a flip flop that you can snug down.
Plantar fasciitis is not a reason to wear bulky orthotic sneakers to the pool. In fact, giving your feet a little time to air out can help you avoid other medical problems, like foot fungus and odor caused by moisture-loving bacteria. Even without ankle support or foot-hugging sidewalls, flip flops really can be good for your feet.
Remember, if you want your plantar fasciitis to get better fast, you’ll need to commit to orthotics everywhere, including at the beach. The best flip flops are out there and waiting to give your feet the vacation they so richly deserve. Don’t deny yourself another minute of flip flop happiness. You, too, deserve a silly-looking foot tan this summer.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com.