10 Best Hiking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis 2020

If you want to try out hiking but have plantar fasciitis, it’s not game over yet – with the right footwear, you may hike just fine without harm to your health. You might not be able to hike as long as a healthy hiker, but you’ll still be able to do something.

In today’s material, we want to help those of our readers who suffer from plantar fasciitis pick the right hiking shoes. Our post consists of two main parts – our hiking shoe recommendations, and our hiking shoe buyer’s guide. Let’s get started with the former part right now!

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10 Best Hiking Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis Reviewed

Below are our picks of the best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
These shoes will work for healthy buyers as well, but they appear to be nice for those who have plantar fasciitis. All of our picks have been purchased by hikers with this condition – we encourage you to check their feedback in the review sections on Amazon.
As for us, we’ll provide you with some insight into what makes these shoes good for hiking – both in general and plantar fasciitis terms.

1

Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Suede leather & mesh.
  • Midsole material: EVA with zonal arch support.
  • Outsole material: Vibram TC5+ rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Merrell’s Moab 2 Vent hiking shoe is a good pick if you want a cool experience during the hot season. The upper of the Moab 2 shoe is comprised of suede leather plus mesh in some areas. The mesh is abundantly used in this shoe, allowing for pretty nice breathability.
When it comes to foot support, Moab 2 Vent appears to be nice for wearers with plantar fasciitis. This shoe has added support in the heel area thanks to the firm heel cup. Moab 2s also offer great arch support.
For added comfort, Moab 2 vent has good cushioning too, with the heel portion especially targeted. The toe cap is nice and reinforced too, so it should protect your feet from impact.

what we like

  • Breathable.

  • Firm heel area.
  • Protective toe cap design.
  • Excellent arch support.

what we don't like

  • The included insoles seem not to grip the foot too well.

2

Vasque Men’s Grand Traverse

  • Upper material: Suede leather & PU overmolded mesh.
  • Midsole material: Dual-density EVA.
  • Outsole material: Rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

The Vasque Grand Traverse offers similar performance to Moab 2, but it’s not as popular. But although user feedback is scarce, it appears to be good for plantar fasciitis.

In terms of support, this shoe is dramatically different from Moab 2. First and foremost, it doesn’t have as strong arch support, which might be a downside for some buyers. But if you have flat feet or are going to use your own shoe inserts with good arch support, Grand Traverse should work fine.

When it comes to the sole, Grand Traverse offers support on the firmer side. The dual-density EVA footbed offers increased stiffness for off-road protection, and it also delivers a good amount of cushioning for shock absorption.

what we like

  • Rather breathable.
  • Abrasion-resistant toe cap.
  • Firm yet rather cushy midsole.

what we don't like

  • Narrow toe box.

3

Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Suede leather & mesh w/ M Select DRY treatment.
  • Midsole material: EVA with zonal arch support.
  • Outsole material: Vibram TC5+ rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

In terms of the overall design, the Moab 2 Waterproof hiking shoe is not much different from Moab 2 Vent. But as the shoe name suggests, there’s one big difference – water protection. The M Select DRY upper is designed to seal out water and let moisture escape from inside, keeping your feet dry.
Now, these shoes don’t seem to be fully waterproof – if you submerge your feet, they’ll get wet. However, the water protection in this shoe should work well against splashes or rain.
When it comes to overall comfort and feel, there isn’t much new to talk about – Moab 2 Waterproof is similar to Moab 2 Vent in this field. So what we’ve talked about in the Moab 2 Vent review applies here too.

what we like

  • Solid water protection.
  • Firm heel.
  • Protective toe cap.
  • Great arch support.

what we don't like

  • Slide-y insoles.

4

KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Waterproof nubuck leather.
  • Midsole material: Dual-density EVA.
  • Outsole material: Rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

The KEEN Targhee II Mid waterproof hiking shoe is a good pick if you want ankle support. With their boot-like design, these hiking shoes offer added protection in the ankle area. This increased protection is especially nice for rocky surfaces. The arch support in Targhee II is very nice too.

We like the reinforced toe cap area of Targhee II as well. It’s covered with a pretty thick layer of rubber, so you shouldn’t hurt your feet if you bump them accidentally during the trip.

Targhee II Mid also excels in the water protection department thanks to the nubuck leather upper. Thanks to the probiotic-infused footbed, odors aren’t a problem for this hiking boot too, which is nice for those hikers who sweat a lot.

Grip-wise, this hiking boot model is also rather nice. The sole tread pattern is pretty deep and aggressive, so it should grab onto the trail securely.

In terms of cushioning and support, Targhee II shoes are on the firmer side. They will therefore offer good protection while off-road. At the same time, the dual-density EVA should provide a good amount of cushioning for impact alleviation.

what we like

  • Excellent ankle and arch support.
  • Great water protection.
  • Added protection in the toe area.
  • Resists odors.

what we don't like

  • Heavy and bulky.
  • Some quality control issues in the soles.

5

Columbia Men’s Redmond Low Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Suede and mesh.
  • Midsole material: Techlite.
  • Outsole material: Omni-Grip rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

At the heart of the Columbia Redmond low hiking shoe’s comfort and support is the Techlite midsole technology. Techlite midsoles offer solid cushioning along with high energy return to protect the wearer’s feet and keep them comfortable during longer hikes.
The arch support in Redmond shoes is also pretty nice. It seems not to be as high as in Merrell Moab 2 shoes too, so it should work well for most people. The upper is breathable and will keep you cool on hot days as well.
Note that the Redmond shoes appear not to be the best for hard trails – they are not stiff enough for that. Judging by some reviews, the Redmond shoe doesn’t provide sufficient support and protection to reduce stress on rocky surfaces.
Additionally, this shoe runs small and narrow, so you may want to get yourself a size larger.

what we like

  • Breathable.
  • Pretty nice arch support.
  • Good cushioning.

what we don't like

  • Narrow fit.
  • Non-removable insoles.

6

KEEN Men’s Targhee Vent Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Nubuck leather.
  • Midsole material: Dual-density EVA.
  • Outsole material: Rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

KEEN’s Targhee Vent is similar to Targhee II Mid in basic features – though, of course, you aren’t getting the same amount of support since this is a low-top model. Targhee Vent is lighter and offers a less stiff midsole, so it’s a better pick for light day hikes.
Like Targhee II Mid, Vent offers odor protection thanks to the probiotic-infused footbed. The arch support in Targhee is great as well, and the same applies to heel support thanks to the stiff TPU capture system.
Unlike Targhee II Mid, Targhee also offers breathability with a touch of water protection – the nubuck areas on the upper are oiled for some water resistance.

what we like

  • Breathable yet provides some water protection.
  • Stiff and supportive heel area.
  • Great arch support.
  • Removable anti-odor footbed.

what we don't like

  • Pricey.

7

Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Mesh infused with M Select Fresh for odor treatment.
  • Midsole material: UniFly.
  • Outsole material: Vibram TC5+ rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

The Merrell All Out Blaze Aero is a good alternative to Moab 2s if you want a lightweight shoe. Although All Out Blaze Aero has many similarities with Moab 2, it offers a lighter and perhaps comfier design.
Of course, the lightness comes at a cost. Particularly, the arch support is a little weaker, and you also cannot remove the insoles to add your own ones. We’d also expect this shoe to provide weaker support and cushioning than Moab 2, but this won’t be a problem for lighter trips.
The heel is still pretty supportive in All Out Blaze though thanks to the TPU heel counter. What we also like is the Omni-Fit lacing system that provides a snugger fit. The breathable mesh lining here is treated with odor-fighting M Select FRESH coating as well.
One thing to keep in mind with these shoes is that they run quite large. So you may want to go 1/2 or one size down on what you usually wear.

what we like

  • Breathable mesh lining with anti-odor properties.
  • Lightweight.
  • Snug fit thanks to the Omni-Fit lacing system.
  • Firm TPU heel counter.
  • Good arch support.

what we don't like

  • May run large.
  • Non-removable insoles.

8

Columbia Men’s Granite Ridge Mid Waterproof Boot

  • Upper material: Leather & textile.
  • Midsole material: Techlite.
  • Outsole material: Omni-Grip rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Columbia’s Granite Ridge Mid waterproof boot offers perhaps the best foot support on our list.
The added support in this model is mainly thanks to the mid-top design. These shoes provide added support in the ankle area, which should allow you to safely cover rougher terrain.
Bottom support is great as well – the sole here uses the same technology as in the Columbia Redmond shoe but is thicker, firmer, and better-cushioned.
Granite Ridge Mid is rather strong in the grip department too. This model has a rather deep and aggressive tread pattern (which seems to be better than in KEEN Targhee II Mid), so it should grip well onto any surface. Thanks to the thick sole, you should feel comfortable on rough, rocky terrain as well
The arch support in Granite Ridge Mid, however, is on the weaker side. You may thus want to add your own shoe inserts to make the hiking experience more comfortable.
What we also like about this model is the microfleece lining. This fabric is moisture-wicking and therefore should keep your feet sweat-free during long hiking trips. The upper is highly water-resistant too, so rain or splashes should be no challenge for it.
Keep in mind that Granite Ridge Mid seems to run small and narrow – just like the Columbia Redmond model reviewed earlier. So all in all, it seems that Columbia shoes run smaller than shoes from other brands for many people.

what we like

  • Added ankle support.
  • Great water protection.
  • Really supportive and comfy.
  • Moisture-wicking microfleece lining.
  • Excellent grip.

what we don't like

  • Runs small.
  • Heavy and bulky.

9

Merrell Moab Adventure Lace Waterproof Hiking Shoe

  • Upper material: Nubuck leather + a little mesh.
  • Midsole material: EVA with odor control.
  • Outsole material: Vibram rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Moab Adventure uses sole technology similar to that in Moab 2 shoe models reviewed earlier. However, there are some small details that set Adventure shoes apart.
First up, although the arch support in Adventure is rather good, it seems to be not as strong as in Moab 2 shoes. The same goes for the heel area – though the support in Moab Adventure is solid, Moab 2s are better in this regard. The toe cap in Adventures might be weaker too.
Secondly, the water protection in Moab Adventure appears to be better than in Moab 2 Waterproof. Adventure has very little mesh on the upper, which should noticeably improve water protection. But, of course, better water protection translates to worse breathability.
What’s also nice about Adventure is that its footbed has anti-odor capabilities, which is nice for those hikers who tend to sweat a lot.
Finally, note that the sizing of Adventures seems to run smaller than in Moab 2s. Though most people have liked the shoe, more people have complained about small sizing than with Moab 2 hiking shoes.

what we like

  • Great water protection.
  • Good arch support.
  • Footbed with odor control.

what we don't like

  • May run small.

10

Columbia Men’s Granite Ridge Waterproof Boot

  • Upper material: Leather & textile.
  • Midsole material: Techlite.
  • Outsole material: Omni-Grip rubber.
best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Finally, we have Columbia’s Granite Ridge waterproof boot. This model is essentially a low-top variant of the Granite Ridge Mid reviewed earlier.
With a lower top, Granite Ridge will not provide as good ankle support and protection as its mid-height counterpart. But not everybody needs protection in that area – if you’d rather prefer added mobility, then this Granite Ridge will work better.
Still, Granite Ridge is in many ways similar to Granite Ridge Mid. More specifically, it retains the thick & supportive sole and the water protection. So in these areas, there isn’t much new to add.
With that said, keep in mind that Granite Ridge doesn’t have any microfleece linings, so it may have worse moisture-wicking capabilities. And again, remember that Columbia shoes tend to run rather small and narrow, so you may want to go a bit larger than usual.

what we like

  • Great water protection.
  • Really supportive and comfy.
  • Excellent grip.

what we don't like

  • Seems to run small.
  • Heavier than most of our other picks.

What To Look For In A Hiking Shoe If You Have Plantar Fasciitis

Needless to say, it’s one thing to shop for footwear when you don’t have any feet conditions. But when you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, you have to be much pickier when choosing hiking shoes.
With that in mind, we will now cover the main features that you should be looking for in hiking shoes to alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Arch and heel support

To allow the weight of your body to be distributed more evenly, your hiking shoes should have added arch and heel support. 

With that said, if you have flat feet, you would want to have footwear with a lower arch. All in all, the arch should be just right for your foot to minimize the amount of stress exerted on your foot.

Extra support and cushioning in the midfoot area

Since the main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel area, your footwear should be able to protect your heel. To this end, shoemakers employ stronger, more rigid soles with cushioning in the midfoot area.

Hiking shoes are generally made on the firmer side, so you should be fine here. Although a stiff shoe may sound counterintuitive, it’s actually a must for longer hikes on rocky terrain. An overly soft shoe would allow your foot to wrap around every unevenness, fatiguing and wearing it out.

Firm heel counter

To minimize the stretching of the plantar fascia and therefore reduce pain and inflammation, your hiking shoe should also have a firm heel counter. Fortunately, finding a hiking shoe with this feature isn’t too difficult.

Shock absorption

Your hiking footwear should minimize shock as well to protect your feet from impact. Hiking shoes are aimed at cushioning feet to protect them during long hiking trips anyway, but people with plantar fasciitis may need some extra protection.

Extra depth

Extra wide or long shoes are a good idea if you are considering wearing custom orthotics. Leaving some room for orthotics is a good idea since it allows for more room for error. Orthotics allow you to adjust the fit and comfort of the shoe without having to replace the shoe itself.


What Else To Consider In Hiking Shoes

Aside from plantar fasciitis-specific things, you should also pay attention to more general features – features that make a shoe good for hiking. Let’s talk about those in this section.

Hiking shoe height

On our list, we’ve had low- and mid-top shoes. There is actually a third type as well – high-top shoes/boots. These three heights differ from each other dramatically, so we should talk about them more in-depth:

  • Low-cut shoes. Low-cut shoes are usually lighter-duty models intended for day hiking. These shoes are the lightest and most compact out there. However, they offer little to no ankle protection.
  • Mid-cut shoes. Mid-cut shoes can also be used for day hikes, though some tougher models may be used on short multiday trips. These shoes offer better ankle and overall support than low-cut shoes.
  • High-cut shoes. The typical high-cut shoe is intended for heavy multiday hikes. These shoes provide the best ankle protection, and they also have the stiffest midsoles you can find in hiking shoes. Although high-cut shoes are heavy and bulky, they provide the best outdoor support and protection.

Also note that the stiffer the shoe, the longer it will take to break in. Due to this, high-cut shoes are the most difficult to break in.

If you have plantar fasciitis, any of these styles could work as long as your shoe complies with the points outlined in the previous section.

Plantar fasciitis aside, choose a shoe style based on your hiking needs. Hikers with plantar fasciitis probably will not hike long, so low-cut or light-duty mid-cut shoes will probably work the best for them. 

Upper material

Impacting the durability, comfort, breathability, and water protection of the shoe, the upper material is important to consider as well. Modern-day hiking shoes typically use the following materials in their uppers:

  • Full-grain leather. This kind of leather is highly durable to general wear and tear, abrasion, and water. Thanks to its qualities, full-grain leather is often used in hiking shoes intended for heavy use. However, this material is stiff, requires a long time to break in, and isn’t very breathable.
  • Split-grain leather. Split-grain leather offers way better breathability than full-grain leather. Aside from that, split-grain leather is also cheaper. With that said, this leather type is less resistant to wear and water.
  • Nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is full-grain leather that has been processed to look and feel like suede. Since full-grain leather is at the base of this material, its qualities are similar to those of standard full-grain leather.
  • Synthetics. Synthetics are a cheaper, lighter, and softer alternative to leathers. Materials like nylon or polyester break in quickly and are great for light use, but they aren’t as resilient as genuine leather.

Some hiking shoes may combine the listed materials with mesh for increased breathability. For summer hiking, a hiking shoe with a mesh upper is an ideal choice.

If you want water resistance, then look for shoes that offer little to no mesh on the upper. Materials like leather offer great water protection, though some shoemakers may use proprietary water-resistant fabrics instead.

Modern hiking shoes that are waterproof usually are also breathable, but not as breathable as non-waterproof shoes.

Internal support

Internal support in hiking shoes is important, whether or not you have foot conditions. Support-wise, there are three things to pay attention to:

  • Midsole. All the cushioning and impact protection in shoes comes from the midsole. Midsoles in hiking shoes are usually rather stiff, but they also provide a decent amount of impact protection. These days, EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is perhaps the most popular midsole material. Hiking shoes usually have double-density EVA to make the midsole stiffer. More expensive shoes may use polyurethane (PU) midsoles instead – PU is more durable but less soft.
  • Shanks. Situated between the midsole and outsole, a shank adds additional stiffness to a hiking shoe. Thicker shanks allow for better impact and stress protection. Know that in some shoes, shanks cover only half of the shoe length.
  • Plates. If a shoe has plates, they are inserted below the shank. Plates provide added protection against bruises and punctures.

Outsoles

Hiking shoes typically use rubber outsoles – these are durable and provide adequate grip for most needs.

Outsoles can be hard or soft. Soft outsoles are less durable, but they provide better grip, especially on off-trail surfaces.

Aside from hardness, what also impacts grip is the lug pattern. Deeper and thicker lugs provide better grip, but they aren’t a must if the trail conditions are light.

For added grip (especially when there is a risk of sliding), some hiking shoes also have an area called heel brake. This brake has a different tread pattern from the rest of the shoe, so it’s easily recognizable.

Fit

Last but not least, consider fit as well. To adequately protect your feet, your hiking shoes should fit snugly (but not tightly) against your foot, and the toe area should be wide enough to allow you to spread your toes out.


Final Words

Finding the best hiking shoe for plantar fasciitis can be tough or even close to impossible. The main thing that adds to the challenge is that the condition of every hiker is different, so there is no universal formula that will work for everyone.

If you can’t wait for your condition to improve and just have to hike, then we suggest that you consult a podiatrist first. They will be able to give tips and guidelines specific to your condition.

But ideally, you should treat plantar fasciitis first and only then hike. You probably will not be able to 100% protect your feet while hiking, so you will most likely do more harm than good by forcing yourself to hike through discomfort.


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