If you’re a runner, then plantar fasciitis is the worst. As if it’s not bad…
Your life is the trail. A summer without a good hike is a summer wasted, but plantar fasciitis can lay you up for up to six months. You’ve already lost your ability to walk. Now you might lose your sanity, too.
But luckily, there are hiking boots out there that will let you walk comfortably. Heel cushioning, where the shoe cups your heel and prevents it from sliding around, and arch support are the primary factors in the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis. Though you should look for those factors in any shoe once you know that you have an issue, it’s particularly important in a hiking boot.
Remember, plantar fasciitis is a repetitive stress injury. If you’ve had it once, you could develop it again. A good pair of boots is key to preventing a repeat of your chronic heel pain. Remember to give your boots about a 50-mile break-in period. During this time, the boot should still help with your plantar fasciitis - just make sure and have some Moleskin on hand for those early blisters.
Well, first of all, it’s waterproof. No need to Sno-Seal these babies - or, at least, less need. After all, is any hiking boot really waterproof right out of the box?
That said, these shoes come pretty close to being completely moisture-tight. This gives them the advantage of lasting a very, very long time. They’re also very comfortable to walk in, featuring a nice, soft footbed made of foam and EVA, which stands for ethyl vinyl acetate. The result is a combination of firm support and cushiony impact absorption. The women’s model also features an ankle-supporting collar that can help with other foot issues.
GORE-TEX is just the best. Water-resistant but breathable, hip and yet oh so practical. Every shoe on this list that includes a GTX in its name includes GORE-TEX as a component. The St. Elias is a fine, well-rounded hiking shoe that has earned a place in many a hiker’s heart. A fitting is definitely a good idea, though.
This model can be a bit small, or even a little wide, in comparison to other hiking boots. Backpackers in particular will love how light this boot is, and the low weight can itself help with some of your foot issues. Many winter hikers also find that this boot keeps their feet nice and warm. Excellent traction means you’ll keep your place on snow and ice without further aggravating your plantar fascia.
These boots are made with the serious hiker in mind. The sole is notable for its excellent traction, which will not only improve your trail experience, but will take a lot of pressure off your plantar fascia when you need to ascend a steep trail.
In addition to being grippy, these shoes are both light and flexible, and though they’ll require a standard break-in period, they may suit you unusually well right out of the box. Their flexibility alone will give your aching ligament one less thing to do, which adds up to one less ache for you.
Believe it or not, the uppers of the Quest 4D are actually made of suede. Elvis, were he an outdoorsman, would probably approve. Even if he weren’t into the material, he’s probably go nuts over the unparallelled ankle support. Seriously, this is a great hiking boot.
One of the many nice things about this Moab boot is that insoles usually fit easily inside the shoe, atop the ones that actually come with the boot. However, even people who suffer from severe plantar fasciitis sometimes find that the included insoles are enough to relieve their foot pain.
The shoe is also specifically designed to keep debris out as you tromp through the woods, meaning you’ll have to stop and pick gravel out of your foot less. An all-around fine model, there’s no question that the Merrell deserves its place on lists of the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis. However, while they claim to be waterproof, don’t test them in a submersion situation until you’ve treated them with Sno-Seal or a similar waterproofing product.
How do you feel about GORE-TEX? If you’re as into it as I am, then you’ll love these durable, high-quality boots. They’re nicely put together and take full advantage of GORE-TEX’s waterproof, but breathable, properties.
In addition to its excellent component materials - the foot bed is Ortholite, by the way - this shoe features molded arch support that will please both sufferers of plantar fasciitis and overpronators. It may not be the cheapest boot on the market, but the price is worthwhile for one of the best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Another suede boot, this model has a locking lace system that will serve you well on steep downhills. They’re narrow, though, so be sure to try them on before you commit.
Whether you come down with plantar fasciitis at the beginning of the season or in the middle of winter, good boots are key to keeping your feet happy. There are other things that you can do to alleviate your foot pain, of course: lightening your load is a big one, and getting custom orthotics might help, too. Obviously, you should also talk to a podiatrist before you undertake any major backpacking expeditions. An ounce of prevention goes far. You’ll go even further if you use the right gear for your feet.
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