Whether you're hiking, going for a jog or just strolling around town, plantar fasciitis doesn't make physical activity any easier.
While it's important to treat the cause of plantar fasciitis, Massachusetts-based podiatrist Alissa Kuizinas, DPM, tells LIVESTRONG.com that wearing the proper footwear can help. Sandals aren't always the best choice because they tend to lack support, so finding the right pair is key.
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"Sandals with arch support are helpful during an acute episode of plantar fasciitis, as they will decrease the load placed on the plantar fascia while walking," Dr. Kuizinas says. She suggests avoiding designs like flat flip-flops, as they can make plantar fasciitis symptoms worse.
With that in mind, here are the best sandals to buy (and be sure to check out our roundup of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis, too).
The Best Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis
- Best Overall: Birkenstock Arizona ($145, Birkenstock)
- Best Runner-Up: Alegria Henna Blast Off Sandal ($49.50, AlegriaShoes)
- Best on a Budget: UTENAG Arch Support Sandals (From $38.98, Amazon)
- Best for Walking: Clark’s Amanda Step Flat Sandal (From $34.85, Amazon)
- Best for Hiking: KEEN Rose Sandal (From $119.95, REI)
- Best for Recovery: OOFOS OOahh Slide Sandal ($59.95, OOFOS)
- Best Strappy Sandal: NAOT Kayla Sandal ($139.95, NAOT)
- Best Water-Resistant: BNJ Sandal (From $39.88, Amazon)
- Best Thong: Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal ($74.95, VionicShoes)
- Best Dressy Sandal: ABEO Devyn Metatarsal Sandal ($139.95, ABEOFootwear)
How We Chose
We chatted with podiatrists to learn what attributes make a good sandal for plantar fasciitis. In addition to their input, we selected the following pairs based on:
- Arch support
- Quality sole
1. Best Overall: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed
Birkenstocks are classic for a reason. The Arizona style has the brand's signature anatomically shaped footbed with an extra layer of foam for additional comfort and support. The footbed molds to your unique foot shape over time, so keep in mind that it may take a bit to fully break in these sandals.
The style's double straps are also adjustable, which help you achieve the proper fit for your foot, and the sandals come in two different widths for an even more customized feel. This is important because a better fit helps keep your foot aligned properly and reduces any strain on your soles.
These sandals are on the pricier side, but they're made with the kind of quality, durable materials that make them a smart investment.
2. Best Runner-Up: Alegria Henna Blast Off Sandal
The Alegria Henna Blast Off is a comfortable, fun and adjustable sandal, earning it a top spot on our list.
"These sandals have firm soles with arch support and straps securing the sandal to your foot, which are all important features to look for when you have plantar fasciitis," Dr. Kuizinas says.
Having adjustable hook-and-loop closures allows for a more contoured fit, and the footbed aligns to the natural shape of your foot.
Beyond being comfy to wear, they're also easy to clean: All you have to do is take a wipe and rub.
3. Best on a Budget: UTENAG Arch Support Sandals
Whether you're going for a walk or heading to the mall, UTENAG's Arch Support Sandals have got you covered. Designed with an ergonomic footbed, these highly rated sandals support the natural alignment of your foot and reduce heel pain.
Because the sandals come with arch support and a textured sole, "your feet don't have to grasp to keep them on," Dr. Kuizinas says.
Even better: The straps are padded to prevent skin irritation.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $38.98
4. Best for Walking: Clark’s Amanda Step Flat Sandal
If you're going for a walk, you can't go wrong with these comfy and supportive sandals. Two key features of Clark's Amanda Step Flat Sandal are the added arch support and cushion, which are designed to relieve pressure on the ball and heel of your feet.
The outsole is made of a grippy and flexible material, making it ideal for all types of terrain. Another notable feature: The lightweight EVA midsole absorbs shock, so your joints and feet don't have to.
Overall, these sandals "have a comfortable footbed, arch support and an ankle strap to keep the shoe in place for long walks," Dr. Kuizinas says.
5. Best for Hiking: KEEN Rose Sandal
KEENs are pretty much synonymous with hiking, and the KEEN Rose Sandals are no exception.
They're lightweight and breathable, making them a great alternative to hiking boots when you're trekking around in warmer weather. And they're a good pick for people with plantar fasciitis because of their comfy and supportive footbed, grippy outsole, secure heel strap and adjustable top strap.
Unlike some other hiking sandals, these have a closed-toe design, which protects your tootsies from rocks and other hazards along the trail.
6. Best for Recovery: OOFOS OOahh Slide Sandal
Like all OOFOS shoes, the OOahh Slide Sandal have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)'s Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health, so you know your dogs are in good hands.
The foam technology used in these sandals absorbs 37 percent more impact than traditional footwear, and the unique footbed is specifically designed to reduce stress on your feet and joints. All together, they cradle and support your arches, making them a great sandal for plantar fasciitis.
A few additional perks: These sandals are machine-washable and they come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
7. Best Strappy Sandal: NAOT Kayla Sandal
Both the top and heel straps help secure your feet when walking, and the cork and latex footbed create a more comfortable base for your feet.
Plus, the shoe has the APMA's Seal of Acceptance.
Buy it: NAOT.com; Price: $139.95
8. Best Water-Resistant: BNJ Sandal
Made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, this BNJ Sandal absorbs shock, is lightweight and dries quickly, making it an ideal shoe for "hiking and water activities, while providing arch support for those with plantar fasciitis," Dr. Kuizinas says.
The sole was ergonomically designed to provide arch support and prevent plantar injury for people with PF. And the sandal has a textured footbed to increase traction and grip for when conditions get slippery or wet.
From leopard print to coral orange, you get to choose from 10 fun prints and colors.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $39.88
9. Best Thong: Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal
If you've got bunions along with plantar fasciitis, this is the best sandal for you.
The Vionic Tide II features a unique footbed designed by a podiatrist that provides arch support and promotes healthy foot alignment to keep you comfortable throughout the day. Its open design also means it won't rub or put pressure on bunions.
They're easy to love, since they come in 12 different colors, and easy to clean, too — all you have to do is wipe them with a damp cloth.
10. Best Dressy Sandal: ABEO Devyn Metatarsal Sandal
Fashionable and supportive shoes are hard to come by these days, but the ABEO Devyn Sandal ticks both of those boxes.
"They have a more dressy look while still providing arch support, slip-resistant soles and an ankle strap to keep the shoe in place on the foot," Dr. Kuizinas says.
This pair features a neutral footbed to accommodate most foot types, and the lightweight EVA midsole is made of memory foam. This allows the shoe to conform to the shape of your foot and equally distribute pressure.
You know you're in good hands with this shoe because it has been approved by the APMA for supporting good foot health.
Buy it: ABEOFootwear.com; Price: $139.95
What to Look for in a Sandal for Plantar Fasciitis
1. Semi-Rigid Soles
One feature that's needed in a sandal for plantar fasciitis is a semi-rigid sole, which offers support and stability and can greatly reduce pain among people experiencing plantar fasciitis.
"You can test this by holding a shoe by the toe and the heel and lightly twisting each end in the opposite way," Dr. Sayed says. "How far you can twist loosely tells you how much support it has."
2. Arch Support
Having arch support can make a big difference when it comes to plantar fasciitis. That's because the midsole absorbs the shock, offering much-needed relief to the arches and reducing pressure on your plantar fascia.
Look for midsoles made of memory foam, like the ABEO Devyn Sandal.
3. Wider Toe Box
Dr. Kuizinas recommends looking for sandals with a wider toe box. Having a sandal with a wider toe box can provide extra stability and allow the toes to spread out and rest in a natural way.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.