Woman in Brooks running shoes and gear showcasing foot health tips for spring

The return of spring means the return of spring shoes: sandals, hiking shoes, trendy sneakers, and more are just around the corner! However, with a new set of shoes comes a new set of related foot health concerns. 

For those dealing with any kind of foot pain, whether in the arches, heels, ball, or toes, there are shoes that can alleviate its symptoms. Shoes may not be able to solve foot health concerns directly, but they can make a massive difference in day-to-day comfort while you’re on the road to recovery.

Read on to learn about which shoes are best for those dealing with various kinds of arch, heel, ball of foot, and toe pain. Check out our recommendations or website for shoes that fit the description, or visit us in person to speak with one of our Certified Fit Specialists. Relief is within reach!

Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis and Arch Pain

Plantar fasciitis is stretching or inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from heel to forefoot. Pain typically feels like a stabbing sensation around the heel area. Plantar fasciitis can lead to other foot health concerns, including arch pain and heel spurs. 

What to Look for in Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Shoes to support plantar fasciitis relief and recovery should include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Arch Support: Proper arch support prevents strain on the plantar fascia by lessening the pull that flat or high arches can have on the tissue. 
  • Sturdy Midsole: A firm midsole is key to determining a shoe’s overall level of support, which is an important complement to targeted arch support.
  • Ample Cushioning: Plantar fasciitis pain is especially noticeable when feet hit the ground. Well-cushioned shoes can absorb much of the shock of impact before it reaches the heel.

Plantar Fasciitis Shoes for Men and Women

Browse a list of best sneakers, sandals, and dress shoes for those dealing with plantar fasciitis on our blog “Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis.”

Best Shoes for Heel Pain, Heel Fissures, and Heel Spurs

The heel takes a lot of wear throughout a day and is consequentially the epicenter for much foot pain. General heel pain, heel fissures (deep cracked skin on the heel that may bleed), and heel spurs (an abnormal growth on the heel bone) are all foot health concerns that should be addressed as soon as possible.

What to Look for in Shoes for Heel Pain

Shoes to support heel pain, fissures, and spurs relief and recovery should include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • A Firm Heel Counter: The heel counter is the back of the shoe that wraps around your heel. This area should be firm to provide support, stability, and guidance for your heel and foot.
  • Shock Absorption: Your heel takes on the pressure of your body weight with each foot strike, worsening the strain put on it. Cushioned, shock-absorbing shoes can mitigate the impact that actually reaches your foot. 
  • Room for Custom Orthotics: Heel pain is often best treated by custom inserts and orthotics. Any pair of shoes you buy should have a removable insole so you can add your own specialized support instead. 
  • Closed-Back Heels (heel fissures only): Heel fissures are caused or worsened by constant exposure, especially to dry air. Closed-back shoes can help keep important moisture in and dry air out.

Heel Pain Shoes for Men and Women

One brand we’ll always recommend for heel pain is HOKA. Their thick layers of underfoot cushioning, well-constructed exoskeletons, and removable insoles are great solutions for heel pain of all kinds. The Bondi or Clifton athletic shoes come in both men’s and women’s styles and dozens of colorways so you can support your heel without sacrificing personal expression and style.

We also strongly recommend adding a pair of Aetrex insoles to any shoes you buy or wear. Choosing a pair of insoles can be challenging, so we’re happy to help! Stop by any of our stores to have your feet scanned by our Aetrex foot scanner, and get a recommendation tailored to you and your pain concerns.

Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia and Morton’s Neuroma

Pain in your metatarsal area, more commonly known as the ball of the foot, can take several forms.

Metatarsalgia is a general pain in the ball of the foot caused by inflammation in one or more metatarsal heads. This is often caused by ill-fitting footwear or lack of supportive footwear during high impact activities.

Morton’s neuroma is characterized by a squeezed, inflamed nerve between the third and fourth metatarsal head, which causes burning or sharp pain in addition to numbness in certain toes. It is also caused by constricting footwear such as high heels or shoes with pointed toes.

What to Look for in Shoes for Metatarsal Pain

Shoes to support metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma and recovery should include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • High, Wide Toe Boxes: Metatarsal pain is generally caused by shoes that are too tight around the ball of the foot; pain can be relieved by going the opposite direction and wearing shoes with roomy forefoot areas.
  • Rocker Soles: This type of sole is thicker than average and has a rounded heel, which reduces stress on the ball of the foot by making your gait roll faster and more smoothly off the heel.
  • Room to Install Metatarsal Pads: Adding extra cushioning to support your arch and metatarsals can be a huge pain reliever, so it’s best to buy shoes with high or flexible uppers so you have room to place a metatarsal pad properly.

Metatarsal Pain Shoes for Men and Women

A brand that’s great for treating a variety of foot health issues, including those related to metatarsal pain, is Vionic. Dozens of Vionic’s styles are certified by the American Medical Podiatric Association (APMA) as good for your feet due to their signature guarantee of cushioning, arch support, stability, and flexibility.

The top Vionic style we’d recommend for both men and women is the Vionic Walk Max. This shoe features a rocker sole and a breathable mesh upper, both of which are key to relieving metatarsal pain. This shoe also has super critical foam in the midsole for an energetic rebound with every step and a Vio Flex insole that improves moisture control. 

Other good choices for alleviating metatarsal pain include Hartjes shoes and sandals, HOKA athletic shoes, Finn Comfort closed-toe shoes, and Birkenstock sandals. All have wide toe boxes (or wide open toe areas in the case of sandals), which is the most important factor for comfort and for being able to add metatarsal adaptations to the shoe. Finn Comfort and Birkenstock both have metatarsal pads built in, which provides more immediate comfort than adding in an extra pad or insert. On the athletic shoe side, HOKA shoes have a meta-rocker that decreases pressure on the ball of the foot, while New Balance styles 1540 and 928 have an amazing rocker bottom to relieve pain.

All of these styles and more can be found in store or online at stansfootwear.com.

Best Shoes for Claw Toes and Hammer Toes

The toes are an often overlooked part of the foot when it comes to health concerns, but treating toe issues has important repercussions for the whole foot.

Claw toes, mallet toes, and hammer toes occur when tightened ligaments and tendons cause the toe to curl downwards, causing pressure and pain throughout the forefoot. Claw toes affect the middle and end joints of the toe, while mallet toes just affect the joint nearest the end of the toe and hammer toes just the middle joint.These conditions can occur in any toe except the big toe.

What to Look for in Shoes for Toe Pain

Shoes to support claw, heel, and mallet toes and recovery should include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Wide Toe Box: Similar to metatarsal pain, toe pain can be relieved by providing extra space for the toes to spread out and breathe.
  • High, Flexible Uppers: To avoid the tops of toes rubbing against the upper of the shoe, it’s important that the uppers be tall or flexible to accommodate bent toes.
  • Open-Toed, Supportive Sandals: Sandals also can give toes friction-free space, but they must be chosen carefully. The sandal needs to be supportive and stay on your foot easily; sandals like flip-flops, which require toes to bend and grip to keep the shoe on, are not recommended.

Toe Pain Shoes for Men and Women

Birkenstock sandals are a great choice for an open-toed sandal that is supportive and helpful to recover from toe concerns. Birkenstocks have a raised toe bar, which places toes in a better position and reduces the need to use toes to grip the sandal. The forefoot is also designed to be roomy, so toes can spread out without hanging over the edge of the shoe.

Birkenstock carries dozens of styles good for treating toe concerns. The most important note when choosing which is right for you is to avoid any design that features a thong or toe strap, since this can irritate toes further. Go for strapd styles instead, like the classic Arizona or Franca.

Non-sandal choices for alleviating toe pain include athletic shoes and sneakers like the New Balance 990 and 840, the Brooks Beast and Ariel, and the Drew Quest. These shoes are created with plenty of flexibility and roominess in the upper and forefoot so your toes have room to spread out and heal. Another option is to add pressure relief inserts into whatever pair of shoes you want to adapt to accommodate toe pain.

All of these styles and more can be found in store or online at stansfootwear.com.

Shop Shoes for Foot Health Concerns at Stan’s

No matter what foot health concern is challenging you, Stan’s has solutions to help relieve pain. From heel to toe, you’ll have dozens of shoes that meet your needs to choose from. You can shop our full collection online 24/7 or visit any of our three Greater Milwaukee locations to get recommendations from a specialist in person.

Stan’s is more than just a shoe store; it’s a place where every step matters and where your footwear journey begins. Stan’s curated collection of shoes offers high-quality styles from the most respected brands from around the world. Stan’s helps make your mark on the world.  Stan’s promise is simple: you’ll find shoes you love and some you didn’t know you were looking for.  

Since its inception in 1950, Stan’s Bootery Inc. has reliably sourced stylish and comfortable footwear for the greater Milwaukee area. Today, under the stewardship of its third-generation family owners, Stan’s Bootery Inc. is recognized as one of the nation’s top independent shoe retailers.  With 7 Midwest brick-and-mortar locations under 4 distinct retail brands – Stan’s, Goodmiles Running Company, The Vionic Store Milwaukee, and Waxberg’s Walk Shoppe in Niles, IL, and a thriving, national e-commerce business, Stan’s Bootery Inc. proudly serves a diverse clientele from all walks of life.  

For more information, please visit Stansfootwear.com or email [email protected]

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