Every active runner need to have a pair of comfortable shoes that fits his or her needs, such that does not leave your foot aching after a run, with blisters everywhere. It is very important to consult a specialist for that to make sure you are buying the right pair of shoes for your foot type, depending on the surface you are mostly like to run on. Here we will take a look at the conditions that require wearing shoes with heel support and offer some models for you to consider.
First of all, who needs running shoes that offer heel support?
People with flat feet or, on the contrary, very high arches, tend to be prone to developing a certain condition called plantar fasciitis. This is especially true when it comes to runners and overweight people who wear shoes that offer inadequate support. Having this condition means that the fibrous tissue connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes has been inflamed due to overuse. If you feel a stabbing pain near your heel, you may suffer from plantar fasciitis. When it comes to shoes, one of the ways of dealing with this condition is by buying the proper running shoes that will give your foot the support it needs. You should avoid high heels, running barefoot and remember to change your shoes before they have stopped cushioning and supporting your feet. You need good arch and ankle support, so buying such shoes is the best choice, even though you may find it somewhat beneficial wearing orthotic inserts while you train. Here is a list of options for men and women with plantar fasciitis:
Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis – men
- Asics GEL Nimbus 15
This model improves the cushion, fit and stability of previous models. It is very comfortable and durable and is perfect for people with high arches.
- Asics GT2000 2
This model has a history of being preferred by people with plantar fasciitis. It provides excellent midsole and heel support and overall stability.
- New Balance 990v3
This model is suitable for most foot types and requires EVA foam midsole to offer protection against shock. One of the best models you can choose if you have plantar fasciitis.
Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis – women
- Saucony Guide 7
This model is perfect for over-pronators and neutral runners. Offers maximum support cushion and has strategically placed stability zones.
- New Balance W1340
This model is a popular one among people who suffer from heel and foot pain. It has Stabilicore medial support system, is cushiony and is, overall, a great shoe for plantar fasciitis.
- New Balance W1540
This model is among the best shoes for motion control. It is designed to provide lots of heel and arch support and is a good choice for overweight people. All in all, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis should not be too light and flexible, as they will not offer enough support; should not be made with cheap material; and should have much foot and heel support.
Achilles tendonitis/injured calf muscles
People with injured calf muscles or Achilles tendonitis typically need heel lifts to take pressure off their calf or tendon. This could be achieved by buying a heel lift inserted in the shoe. You should fit them in both shoes to avoid imbalances, even though only one of your legs may be injured. You should know this will not heal your foot; it will only take some strain off your calf muscles or Achilles tendon until they are healthy again.
If you are a runner bothered with plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, you may also consider buying shoes with a heel counter (the rigid structure around the heel) that is supplemented with a heel wedge for more support and heel cushioning. When you buy shoes make sure to squeeze the counter to see if it will collapse under the pressure of your grip. If it does, then that model will not give you the heel support you need for your condition. Do not buy it and continue looking for a model that has heel counter reinforcements which will provide for stabilizing your heel and will minimize range of motion. Some great example of maximum support shoes are the Saucony GRIG Stabil, the Asics “Gel MC Pluss” and the Brooks “Beast”.
Heel lifts are also bought by people whose legs are different in length. They believe that if they raise the heel of the short leg, their stride will be more normal. However, this is not really the best approach and according to physical therapists it may even make things worse. Make sure to consult an expert so that they could make an accurate diagnosis before you assume that you have a leg-length discrepancy and waste money on heel lifts. Physical therapists advise on elevating the whole foot instead of only the heel.
Shoes that provide litte to no heel support
Here are some examples of shoes that provide little to no heel cushioning and support and are not suitable for you if you are looking for shoes that are provide medium to high levels of heel support:
- Shoes that are made for track and field runners: Such shoes are flexible and lightweight and are designed to provide medial arch support but when it comes to heels, they have little to no cushioning.
- Flat shoes – shoes that have no cushioned heels, they usually have no support anywhere, not in the arch, not in the toes, nowhere. Do not buy such shoes even if you do not suffer from a certain condition. You may actually develop conditions such as plantar fasciitis if you wear flat shoes. It is not recommended to run or even walk too much with flat shoes.
- Old, worn out shoes – even the best pair of shoes gets worn out if you do not change it once in a while. If you are a consistent runner, you should know that a shoe will last between 300 to 500 miles, or three to four months. If you do not feel like calculating how much time your shoes have left, you can instead do this experiment to see if the shoe is ready to go – press the midsole with your fingers. If the area feels weakened and the cushion is completely flattened, this indicates that you will need to buy a new pair. Visible cracks are also an indicator that your favorite kicks are long overdue.
- Barefoot shoes: This type of shoes provide the absolute minimum when it comes to protection your foot from potential hazards on the ground when you are running. The majority of models have no cushion in the heel pad and there is only a thin layer of shoe that separates your skin from the ground. All shoes that fall into the category “barefoot” are known for the “zero drop” from heel to toe (“drop” being the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe). To acknowledge the contrast, traditional running shoes have at least 10mm drop and provide for way more heel cushioning.
All in all, there are numerous types of shoes out there. Comfort is very important when it comes to both running and simple walking. A good shoe that provides enough support may protect you from getting your feet hurt and is also a good way to speed up your healing process if you have already damaged a muscle or tendon. It is good news that comfortable shoes can be stylish too, so you should not worry that you have you choose between beauty and practicality.