Those who suffer from plantar fasciitis understand how difficult it can be to find a comfortable pair of shoes or boots that offer just the right amount of arch support and cushion.
While many hiking boots are either too stiff or not structured enough to provide heel support, there are a handful of hiking boots, both for men and women, that help those with plantar fasciitis avoid excessive pain.
If you’re outdoorsy but find yourself with heel or foot pain because of a swollen, irritated or sensitive plantar fascia, here are our recommendations for the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis. We’ve looked specifically for hiking boots that plantar fasciitis sufferers have reviewed, and each of these models has had positive feedback from these users.
These are also excellent options for those who may have only minor plantar fasciitis pain, but find that heel pain develops due to high arches, flat arches, obesity or other common problems related to painful weight and pressure on your feet.
What to Look for in Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
- Support, with flexibility: having solid arch support and overall foot and ankle support is key to handling plantar fasciitis pain. Hiking boots that are too unstructured or low may not offer enough stability to your feet, and those that are too high and stiff may make your pain worse by not allowing your feet to move enough.
- Breathable footbed features: a soft, breathable footbed is key to relieving plantar fascia pain. Although the hiking boots listed here have good footbed features, you may want to also consider insoles that are made specifically for plantar fasciitis symptoms.
- Built for your terrain needs: not every hiking boot is made for the same trail, so consider what kind of land you’ll be traversing before shopping. The casual trail shoe is built much different than the rugged backpacking boot built to endure all the elements, and finding the right shoe for your general outdoor needs may make it easier to find the right boot for you.
- Heel support: a low or mildly cupped heel offers support without taking away balance or stability while hiking. Too little heel support can feel hard and painful on your foot, while too much cupping can cause discomfort after long stretches of hiking.
Based on these factors, we found the Timberland Chocorua to be one of the best hiking boots for men with plantar fasciitis, and the Ahnu Montara II to be one of the best for women with the condition. Here’s a look at some of the top hiking boot options for 2016.
Buyer’s Guide Overview
- Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot
- KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
- Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
- Merrell Men’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
- Ahnu Women’s Montara II Hiking Shoe
- KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
- Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
- Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot
- Merrell Women’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Best Men’s Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot
The Chocorua mid hiking boot from Timberland has just about everything you need to tackle any terrain. They’re big, cut for great foot support and offer the sort of waterproof protection and breathability that comes in handy out in the wild.
Timberland’s anti-fatigue support and construction helps relieve stress and discomfort where many hiking boots fail, and with its synthetic sole and leather/textile body, this boot feels better than most. They’re easy to break in, so you don’t need months of training before a big hike, hunt or camping trip. They’re great for long trips out in the field, or everyday use around the house.
Most users that had a positive experience with the Chocorua noted that they’re extremely durable, especially for how lightweight they are. These boots also happen to be one of the better value buys that we found, so you won’t have to break the bank to find a solid hiking boot for plantar fasciitis.
Users that had plantar fasciitis claimed that the boots were comfortable enough to avoid massive pain, and several users noted buying multiple pairs because they worked so well.
Because of their support, durability and affordability, the Timberland Chocorua gets our Editor’s Choice for 2016.
Read customer reviews
KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
The Targhee II from KEEN is what you’d expect from one the Portland-based shoemaker. Sporting the company’s signature black rubber toe, these hiking boots are ideal for those with plantar fasciitis and don’t want something too big and bulky.
The Targhee IIs come with a contoured heel lock that offers stability without sacrificing comfort. The structure of the boot is solid while being extremely movable and flexible: offering just enough support to prevent foot pain but without feeling constricting in other areas.
For hikers who traverse intense terrain, the directional rubber lugs that grip to just about anything, and when traction is an issue in adverse weather, these boots pull through with the best of them.
One user with plantar fasciitis noted that this was his fourth pair of the boot, and when combined with the right insoles, he found these to be the most comfortable hiking shoes he’d ever used. Another plantar fasciitis user said that after suffering for more than 20 years with foot pain, he found the foot bed of the Targhee to be extremely solid and ideal for plantar pain.
Waterproof nubuck leather and plenty of durable features make the Targhee II a go-to boot for nearly everyone, but especially those suffering from plantar fasciitis pain.
Read customer reviews
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Living up to its name, the Renegade from Lowa is a beast of a hiking boot. With its “climate control” footbed, the Renegade offers great breathability for those who need support, but perhaps more importantly, circulation and comfort.
The moisture-wicking footbed features comfort “perforations” that make it easier to conform to your foot and offer the pain-reducing positioning needed for those with plantar fasciitis. As far as protection goes, these boots have the sort of waterproof, durable nubuck that will hold up with the best of them, and its black, durable body is complemented by a strong Vibram outsole.
Its GORE-TEX lining prevents your feet or shoes from overheating in one area or another, and spreads the weight of your body in a way that prevents soreness, even after many miles of use. A nylon shank helps provide export support and stabilization while moving over tough terrain, and for all its size and durability, the Renegade doesn’t weigh much due to its efficient frame and construction.
Those with plantar fasciitis noted that these boots offer support and comfort for those with heel and foot pain, and one user claimed that he is one his sixth pair at the time of this review. Others noted the boots allow you to move over hard and flat terrain very easily and without discomfort.
Read customer reviews
Merrell Men’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
When Backpacker Magazine calls your footwear “the most comfortable and functional boots in North America,” people tend to take notice. And that’s what happened with Merrell, which begin in 1981 as a small operation for a few outdoorsy type friends.
Today, Merrell is one of the outdoor industry’s leading footwear companies, and although they still make some heavy duty boots, they also make a good amount of flexible, versatile boots with modern comforts and features.
Such is the Moab Mid boot: a versatile, flexible boot that provides its wearers with plenty of structure and just enough comfort to keep things light and pain-free. It’s sporty, offers plenty of traction and has the sort of athletic handle to keep you going on trails, roads and everything in between.
Wearers with plantar fasciitis find that the Moab offers a great combination of support and structure – yielding without being all over the place. One user noted that the lightweight and durability makes them great all-around shoes, not necessarily just for hiking and camping. That particular user wore these with inserts to make for a plantar fasciitis-approved experience.
Another user, who considered himself a longtime Timberland customer, found that the Merrell Moabs provided more support and comfort, and he now wears the same shoe in multiple styles. While one user noted that the shoe wasn’t great for his plantar fasciia pain, the overwhelming majority of users found the shoe to be as comfortable and supportive as possible.
The breathable mesh outside, mixed with synthetic materials, makes this a great shoe for long treks, short trips and all sorts of adventures over all types of terrain. Vibram lugs on the outer sole and a breathable footbed make this shoe comfortable in nearly all elements, and for that it’s considered one of the best overall hiking shoes on the market.
Read customer reviews
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
If the Moab Mid boot seems too restrictive, you may want to consider the Moab Ventilator shoe, a low-top hiking shoe that offers all the durable, comfortable features of the above boot, but in a more freeing, lightweight model.
The Moab Ventilator has rave reviews for those with plantar fasciitis: of 12 reviews that specifically mention the condition for this product, 10 have 5 stars, and 2 have 4 stars. These review emphasize how comfortable the shoe is, and that plantar fasciia pain that existed with other hiking shoes did not exist with these.
One particular wearer noted that he wore these as his everyday office shoes, and they helped get rid of his heel pain in a matter of weeks. While these results may be exceptional, it’s clear that this model has been extremely helpful for those suffering from plantar fasciitis pain.
With its lower profile and athletic frame, this is a great alternative to the bulkier hiking boots that may constrict some travelers of the land.
Read customer reviews
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
Salomon makes an excellent high-top hiking boot in the Quest 4D 2 GTX, a leather and synthetic styled boot that offers plenty of support and structure for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. Durable, built to last and endure the elements with GORE-TEX waterproof protection.
Timberland White Ledge
While not as popular as the Chocorua, the White Ledge model from Timberland offers excellent durability and waterproof protection for the elements. Plantar fasciitis users noted that these boots typically caused no plantar pain, where older boots they used might have.
Best Women’s Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
Ahnu Women’s Montara II Hiking Shoe
Founded in 2006, Ahnu is a socially conscious footwear company that’s donated more than $300,000 to organizations like The Wilderness Land Trust, 1% for the Planet and Team Farsight. But they’re not just a charitable company: they make some of the best and most athletic hiking shoes on the market.
The Montara offers lightweight, balanced support that makes traversing any kind of rocky land swift and easy. Their Numentum® Hike technology provides anti-fatigue features that make it easier to keep going all day, so no matter where you’re going, you’ll be able to keep pace with the best of them.
An anti-stone bruising plate and forefoot technology makes the Montara extremely balanced and versatile: you’ll be surprised how flexible it is going over rocks and rough terrain, but you’ll be more surprised by how little that affects your feet’s comfort level. A dense support system on the footbed and supportive heel area make the Montara ideal for those suffering from plantar fasciitis pain.
With a Vibram outsole and a slimmed down, breathable profile, the Montara looks less bulky and clunky than most hiking shoes, something that more fashion-focused users appreciate.
Of 6 Amazon reviews from users who specifically mentioned having plantar fasciitis, 5 gave the Montara 5 stars, and noted that the shoe allowed “lots of walking, without pain.” Others noted that the shoe was extremely lightweight for how much support it offers, so for those hikers who want something that doesn’t feel like a burden on your feet, the Montara can get the job done.
Read customer reviews
KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
Where the Montara feels slim and athletic, the Targhee II from KEEN feels more boot-like: structured, durable and ready to the trails. With KEEN’s signature rubber toe and chunky outsole, the Targhee II has many of the same waterproof and element-proof features that the men’s model offers.
It stands up against almost anything you can throw at it, and although it’s largers and heavier than the Montara, it doesn’t necessarily feel too constricting. In fact, for those who need more ankle support, this can be a solid option because of the traction and structure offered.
If you know that you’re going to be using these on more harsh terrain, they may be a better option than something lightweight and low-cut. The Targhee II has the same contoured heel lock and traction lugs that make the men’s model so popular, but this model is designed for the specific needs of women hikers.
Of 12 Amazon reviews from those with plantar fasciitis, only one person did not give the Targhee II 4 or 5 stars. Most users noted that it provided excellent comfort, especially in the heel area, that made it easy to walk for miles without feeling the pressure and discomfort of plantar fasciitis.
It is worth noting that many users recommend ordering a half size larger than you’d normally wear, and when combined with the insole of your choice, the Targhee can be an extremely comfortable hiking shoe for everyday or infrequent use.
Read customer reviews
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
When you need a classic hiking boot, consider the Newton Ridge Plus from Columbia. While it may not be setting any fashion trends, it gets the job done with waterproof protection and a breathable body that offers a good combination of structure and flexibility.
The Newton Ridge Plus is made with Columbia’s signature Techlite™ lightweight cushioned midsole that offers responsive cushioning. That’s not just a bunch of jargon: for those with heel pain, that means the Newton Ridge Plus offers just what plantar fasciitis pain requires.
These boots aren’t particularly lightweight, but they’re also not too heavy. With the structure and frame of a boot, they have a profile and frame that resembles more of a heavy-duty walking shoe, and for that reason it’s ideal for heavy hiking, trail running or anything in between.
More than 70 percent of all reviews gave the boot 5 stars, and those with plantar fasciitis found them particularly effective in curbing foot pain. All three users who mentioned having the condition gave the boot 5 stars, noting that its structure and fit are what make the boot so helpful for those with heel pain.
One user claimed that she no longer experiences pain with these boots, and another said that after 6 hours of hiking and walking, she still felt no foot pain. If the more unique looking Ahnu shoes aren’t for you, the classic styling and comfort of these Columbia boots might do the trick.
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Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot
Ahnu may be changing the hiking footwear game with their technology and athletic builds, and the Sugarpine is no exception. Though it’s taller and more structured than the Montara, it has the same lightweight ruggedness that makes the lower profile shoe so effective.
With its Vibram outsole, super durable midsole and comfortable footbed, the Sugarpine feels less like a hiking boot and more like a cross-trainer or running shoe. It has above-average waterproof capabilities that make it perfect for any weather, and though it puts up with everything, its breathable and flexible enough to not make your feet feel trapped and suffocated.
It has the same Numentum™ Hike technology that pushes neutral positioning and anti-fatigue conditions, and that makes this athletic boot one of the sleeker looking – and comfortable – higher profile boots around.
Every Amazon review that specifically mentions plantar fasciitis gave the Sugarpine 5 stars, noting that they were worn in all kinds of conditions, from Iceland to creeks and regular trails. One plantar fasciitis user claimed that they needed no break-in time, which is good for those who need to get something ready to go right away.
Another user noted that she no longer has to use special insoles with these boots, that they relieve her heel and foot pain without any extra support. If you’re looking for something a little funky and leading the way for future hiking shoes, the Sugarpine is an excellent option.
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Merrell Women’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
The Merrell Moab Mid boots for women have much the same reputation and feedback that the men’s model has: durable, built to last and backed by the quality and craftsmanship that has made Merrell a leading outdoor footwear brand.
The Moab features Merrell’s M Select DRY technology that keeps away outside moisture while letting inside moisture and air exit and breath, allowing your feet to stay dry while you battle the elements. The Vibram outsole offers traction and durability typical of that brand, so you’re getting inside and outside protection that’s hard to beat.
This particular mid-model offers a great compromise between higher-profile boots and lower hiking shoes: just enough support to keep the ankle and heel in place, but so much to make long hikes and backpacking trips uncomfortable and stiff.
More than 70 percent of this shoe’s reviews are 5 stars, and all users that mentioned having plantar fasciitis gave the boot 5 stars. One user noted that her plantar fasciitis due to flat feet is no problem with these boots, and another mentioned there being just enough arch support and cupping to offer comfort in the spots it matters most.
Because of their waterproof protection, nice profile and frame, the Moab is a great option for women who love to hike and minimize pain from plantar fasciitis.
Read customer reviews
Ariat Women’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
With classic styling, excellent support and solid protection, the Women’s Terrain H20 from Ariat are great hiking boots for those with plantar fasciitis. One user with the condition said that these are the boots she wears to avoid PF pain.
Timberland Women’s Chocorua Trail Boot
The women’s Chocorua hiking boots have the same reputation and performance as the men’s do, and many users with plantar fasciitis found these boots to be comfortable and supportive while still offering the support needed to hike over mild and intense terrain.
New Balance Women’s WW1400V1 Walking Trail Boot
If you’re more of a shoe person than stiff boot person, consider the New Balance WW1400V1 trail boots. They’re lightweight, easy to maneuver in but still offer great support for those with plantar pain. One user noted that although she struggles with plantar fasciitis, she has not had any problems since using these boots.
Ways to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain Before and After Hiking
In most cases, those who suffer from a painful plantar fascia simply learn how to best move and live in a way that minimizes the amount of pain and discomfort on the heel. Athletes and others who are constantly on their feet may find this more challenging, but there are ways you can try to avoid or minimize the pain from an inflamed plantar fascia, including:
- Doing foot and leg exercises that allow you to stretch your foot and loosen the muscles and ligaments
- Keeping a healthy weight on and avoiding too little activity or too much weight gain
- Icing your heel and foot after excessive use (at the end of the day after hiking)
- Massaging your foot or soaking in warm water after hiking
- Take anti-inflammatory pills in order to reduce inflammation during and after exercise
To learn more about treating plantar fasciitis pain, visit this resource.
Plantar Fasciitis News and Updates
- Live Well: yoga can help heal plantar fasciitis (The Gazette)
- Air Force Vet Treating Plantar Fasciitis One Pair of Flip Flops at a Time (Competitor.com)
- Knicks’ Lance Thomas also dealing with plantar fasciitis in both feet (NY Daily News)
- Which Supplements, if Any, May Be Worth Your Money (New York Times)