7 Best Shoes for People With Heel Spurs
If you suffer from heel spurs, a bony growth between your heel and arch, try these podiatrist-recommended shoes to help ease symptoms.
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What are heel spurs?
When your feet hurt, you get reminded with every single step.
Foot pain can be quite uncomfortable and can interfere with your day-to-day activities. This can be especially true for some people who have what’s known as a heel spur. A heel spur is a small bony growth that develops over time from the pulling of the soft tissue on the bottom of the heel bone, also known as the calcaneus.
Heel spur syndrome is a common term used to describe heel pain in general, explains Jacqueline Prevete, DPM, reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon based in New York City.
“Contrary to popular belief, the presence of an actual bony heel spur does not cause the majority of heel pain, but rather the pain is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia or soft tissue attachment on the heel bone,” she says.
There are shoes for heel spurs that can help ease pain and provide comfort. Here’s what to know about heel spurs and treatment, as well as what to look for in a shoe, and podiatrist-recommended picks. (These are the most common foot problems.)
What causes heel spurs?
Heel spurs can happen when muscles, tendons, and fascia pull on the bone. That causes strain that leads to the bone extending to form a new bone, according to podiatrist Zahava Robinson, DPM, at Bondi Podiatry in Sydney, Australia.
“This occurs over time and is usually in response to untreated conditions like plantar fasciitis which can cause heel pain, as well as excessively pronated foot types, repetitive strain from walking, and ill-fitting shoes,” she says.
Women, people over the age of 40, as well as those who are overweight are most susceptible to getting heel spurs, says Dr. Robinson.
“Men, teenagers, and those with high-arched feet can develop the condition too. Heel spurs are treatable and the cause may be treated with the appropriate evidence-based interventions,” she adds.
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Treating heel spurs
There are several over-the-counter pain solutions for treating heel spurs, including cold compresses, pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and stretches. One of the best solutions is to switch up your footwear.
To manage the symptoms while heel pain is present, Dr. Prevete recommends wearing supportive shoes with a slight lift or wedge at the heel.
“A small heel or wedge for women would work to decrease the heel pain, while a small lift (1/4 inch felt or something similar) helps to decrease the pull of the calf muscles and thereby reduce the pain,” she says.
“For preventative measures, it’s best to choose shoes that offer a lot of support around the heel and arch regions as this would also aid in shock absorption and decrease the pull of the plantar fascia within the arch.”
(These are the best walking shoes for your feet.)
What to look for in shoes for heel spurs
A supportive heel cup
A shoe with a supportive heel cup can reduce the strain on your heel when walking, according to Dr. Robinson.
“A supportive heel cup is when the fabric on the back of your heel is firm, holds the bottom of your heel, and reduces the shoe slipping off your foot.”
A firm rearfoot
The rearfoot is the very back part of your foot or shoe, including your heel. When a shoe has a firm rearfoot, it won’t bend easily under your heel. If the shoe is flexible in the back part of the bottom of your shoe, Dr. Robinson warns that it can cause extra strain.
A flexible forefoot
“The front of your shoes should be more flexible and bend at the toes. This helps you to propel forward smoothly and without applying extra strain,” says Dr. Robinson.
Having some cushioning in the sole of the shoe is ideal, according to Dr. Robinson. “If the cushioning is too soft it may cause extra strain,” she says. “It is important to get a sole which is responsive (bounces a bit) and cushioned so that it can help you propel forward.”
Whether or not you have a foot condition such as a heel spur, comfort should take top priority. Fit is also important, as this helps ensure you are stable during movement.
(These are the ways podiatrists say you are killing your feet.)
The best shoes for heel spurs
Here are the best shoes foot doctors recommend for patients with heel spurs, plus a podiatrist-recommended insert for pain relief. (Find out if toe separators can help with foot pain.)
New Balance Women’s W980V1 Fresh Foam
$50-$60, depending on size and color
Dr. Prevete specifically loves these sneakers from New Balance, as they have a lot of cushion and shock absorption built into the sole. This shock absorption, she explains, helps relieve pain and tension during movement.
They come in several different color schemes and designs, all of which feature the same cushion and shock absorption.
Asics Gel-Kayanos 26
$96-$279, depending on size and color
These shoes from Asics have a foam bottom that provides cushion and shock absorption to reduce pain.
“These shoes are great for a pronated foot type which is commonly the population affected by plantar fasciitis and heel spurs,” says Dr. Robinson. “This is because it has added support along the bottom of the shoe.”
(For comfort at home, try these best slippers for your feet.)
Brooks Women’s Revel 4
$80-$300, depending on size and color
If you’re an avid runner or frequent walker, but feel that your heel spur constantly gets in the way of enjoying those active endeavors, these shoes from Brooks might be helpful.
“In addition to this shoe being quite cost-effective, it fits all the qualities listed above that as a podiatrist I like to see in a shoe including a supportive heel cup, firm rearfoot, cushioning, and comfort,” adds Dr. Robinson.
Hoka Bondi 6
$189-$316, depending on size and color
Just by looking at this Hoka Bondi shoe, you can see that the large bottom provides support and shock absorption—two features that are important when selecting a shoe for someone with a heel spur.
“This is a maximalist runner and is designed with ultra-soft memory foam and has a slight rocker-bottom which can help as you move forward,” says Dr. Robinson.
(For more arch support and proper heel cushioning, try the best slip-on sneakers for women.)
Gravity Defyer Women’s G-Defy Mighty Walk
$124-$155, depending on size and color
These shoes from Gravity Defyer were designed with pain relief in mind. They feature technology that absorbs shock from the ground up, as well as removable insoles in order to easily accommodate orthotics.
If you suffer from any diabetic neuropathy, you’ll appreciate that the seamless interior is designed to prevent irritation on sensitive feet.
Slow Man: Women’s Walking Shoes
$24-$36, depending on size and color
It’s easy to tell by the 74,000-plus ratings that these shoes from Slow Man are a hit among people with foot conditions such as heel spurs. They are lightweight, breathable, and feature an air-cushioned out-sole and a rubber sole that is non-slip and wear-resistant.
The perforated arch allows for ventilation and breathability, which can especially come in handy during the warmer months of the year.
(Here’s why flip-flops are bad for your feet.)
Kuru Atom Women’s Shoe
These slim athletic-fit shoes with arch support from Kuru are ideal for those dealing with a variety of foot problems—from heel pain to plantar fasciitis—who want a workout shoe. The patented KuruSole offers support and comfort while helping improve alignment and posture. The thick KuruCloud midsole gives added height with cushioning.
The Atom has a soft and padded heel collar, plus, an exoskeleton heat molded mesh to help keep your foot in place.
Bonus: Superfeet Everyday Pain Relief
Finally, Dr. Prevete points out that a great over-the-counter orthotic goes a long way to help control motion around the heel and ankle region. Her recommendation for a pre-fabricated device (i.e. not a custom orthotic) based on shoe size is Superfeet, which are sculpted and naturally supportive for pain relief.
“These inserts are great for impact-related activities especially if you go with the green or blue color,” she adds.
Next, these are the foot symptoms that can reveal disease.
- Jacqueline Prevete, DPM, reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon based in New York City
- Zahava Robinson, DPM, podiatrist at Bondi Podiatry in Sydney, Australia