Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (2024)

You and your feet have been suffering for too long. And now you’re reading this because you finally want to get help.

You desperately want to know what are some good shoes for heel pain when walking.

Are you working as a nurse who has to walk tirelessly back and forth along the hospital corridors?

Or are you an office lady who has to wear high heels to your workplace every single day?

In this article, we will guide you on what might be the cause of your heel pain, what to look for in shoes to avoid heel pain, and what are some of the best shoes for heel pain when walking.

We’ll be doing a bit of explaining before jumping into the list of shoes we recommend for heel pain.

But if you’re only here for the shoe recommendations, feel free to jump straight to section 5.

Table of Contents

What Is the Cause of My Heel Pain When Walking?

There are many reasons why you might experience heel pain, and the cause depends on where you feel the most pain.

1. Plantar fasciitis

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If you feel the pain most at the bottom of the heel (or at the bottom of the mid-foot), then this is most likely it.

The pain has a very special characteristic. It is a pulling type of pain and is most obvious early in the morning, right after you step out of bed.

How does plantar fasciitis happen?

At the bottom of your feet, there is a sheet of tissue called the “plantar fascia.”

In the simplest terms, overstretching of this tissue can cause inflammation, resulting in plantar fasciitis.

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis:

  • Standing for a long time
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a tight Achilles tendon
  • Excessive running
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit

2. Heel spur

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If your plantar fasciitis is left untreated, then the constant pulling from the plantar fascia will cause a new bony thing (also called a “spur”) to grow on your heel bone.

Compared to plantar fasciitis, this is more of a stabbing type of pain on the bottom of your heel, which hurts every time your feet touch the ground.

It can be difficulteven for doctorsto differentiate between these two just from your symptoms alone.

When in doubt, get yourself an X-ray appointment with a doctor near you.It is the only way to confirm that a heel spur is there.

Causes and risk factors of heel spurs are exactly the same as those of plantar fasciitis.

3. “Pump bump”

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Now, this is a slightly different type of heel pain. Itis also known as “Haglund’s deformity.”

If you notice a bump in the back of the heel, or experience pain in the area where the Achilles tendon meets the heel, then you are most likely dealing with “pump bump.”

This happens most frequently in individuals who wear tight shoes with a rigid ankle collar and a very hard back.

When walking or running, these parts of the shoes tend to rub and cause friction with the skin and the Achilles tendon, leading to inflammation.

Shoes that can cause “pump bump”:

  • Ice skates
  • High heels
  • Women’s pumps

Why Is Heel Pain More Common in Women Than Men?

We’re not making things up. We promise this is true!

In order to confirm our hypothesis, we did a (very) brief survey by asking our friends if they’ve ever experienced foot problems, and it was unbelievable how true this statement is.

It is undeniablewomen are more likely to have foot problems in general compared to men.

You wanna know why? The answer is unsurprising. Women’s footwear are not exactly built with comfort in mind.

We’ll explain why.

1. High heels

Beauty is pain. High heels carry not only a woman’s femininity but also her entire body weight.

The problem is, high heels put a woman’s feet in an unnatural position.

Other than putting you at risk of ankle injuries, they also tend to overstretch your feet.

Read Also: Pregnant Women Must Not Wear these 4 Shoes

One scientific study even showed that wearing high heels may lead to thickening of the plantar fascia, which can cause plantar fasciitis in the long run.

2. Pregnancy

Rapid weight gain during pregnancy can add strain to the heels.

Now we’re in no way suggesting any pregnant woman to lose weight to prevent experiencing heel pain!

It’s inevitable and, in fact, healthy for weight gain to happen during pregnancy.

But if you’re pregnant and wearing poorly fitted shoes, then heel pain is bound to happen.

While you can’t change anything about your baby bump, you can make changes to your choice of footwear.

Can Heel Pain Be Caused By My Shoes?

Yes. Definitely. Absolutely.

We have mentioned multiple times on our blog that prevention is always better than cure.

Poor footwear is one of the main reasons why many people are experiencing heel pain.

So don’t be one of those people who still wear their worn-out sneakers their parents gave as a birthday present from 10 years back!

While we totally understand the value of nostalgia, the cost it brings to your feet health in the long run is simply not worth the risk.

Here are some ways your shoes are causing you heel pain:

1. Poor arch support

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When we talk about poor arch support, what we mean is the shape of the shoe arch does not fit the shape of your own foot arch.

If you have high foot arch (like me):

  • Your ligaments are strong.
  • Arch support – You don’t need very rigid or high-arched shoes.
  • Cushioning – You need good cushioning. This is to minimize impact to the other parts of your feet. (Softer insoles are perfect for this, because your weight is being distributed to your heels and the balls of your feet instead.)

If you have low foot arch (also known as flat feet):

  • Your ligaments are weak.
  • Arch support – You need to be supported by a stronger and more rigid arch. This is to prevent the inside of your soles from further collapsing.
  • Cushioning– You don’t need soft cushioning. What you need is a hard and rigid insole. But do take care, because jumping or running in hard insoles can lead to knee problems in the long run.

2. Narrow toe box

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One example of footwear with a narrow toe box would beyou guessed ithigh heels!

Here’s what happens to you if you wear shoes with a narrow toe box all the time:

  • They will suffocate your feet in the short term.
  • Wearing them in the long run can cause increased pressure to the rest of your foot, including your heels.
  • In turn, this can lead to a change in the way your foot looks.

You may have been surprised that the toe box can affect your heel health as well, but it’s true.

Since all of the structures in your foot are closely related to one another, when one thing is affected, everything else gets affected in one way or another.

3. Rigid back

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Like we mentioned earlier, rigid back can lead to “pump bump.”

I used to skate a lot in rental skate shoes, which gave me so much pain and redness at the back of my heels.

This is not to say you should never ever go skating again. But the next time you go, try and put in some soft cushioning between your Achilles and the back of the shoes.

What To Look For In Walking Shoes For Heel Pain?

1. Shoe type and occasion

Have you ever walked in the mall for hours in sandals? After an hour of walking and shopping, you already start to feel some discomfort in the bottom of your feet.

Why does this happen?

That’s because sandals are not meant for long-distance walking in the first place!

Start dressing for the occasion:

  • Wear sandals at home or at the beach.
  • Wear walking shoes for long-duration walking.
  • Wear running shoes for casual or professional jogging/running.

Stop walking for long hours in sandals!

2. Good cushioning

If you are experiencing pain in your heel, it is a good idea to look for something softer to take the impact away temporarily.

However, if you have flat feet, you will still need a pair of shoes with stronger cushioning to prevent further collapsing of your inner arch.

3. Good arch support

The cause of plantar fasciitis is the overstretching and flattening of the bottom of the feet.

In order to prevent this, wearing shoes with a higher arch can help with relieving the pain and discomfort.

4. Fitting toe box

Like we mentioned earlier, every single part of your feet is related to the other. Injuries to the toes can cause pain in the heel and vice versa.

So if your toes feel too tight or too loose, it could lead to heel pain.

Find a pair of kicks that feel just right. Shoes with a rounded toe box usually are the best.

Now if you want to know more about how to test whether or not your shoes are good for heel pain, then this video is perfect for you:

What Are the Best Shoes for Heel Pain for Women?

1. Sandals

OUR #1 CHOICE – Oofos Original

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The plush foam offers excellent cushioning in the heel. It feels soft when you walk, which is why this is one of the most comfortable flip-flops out there and why it is so different from the rest.

Our score: 10/10


Strong arch support is one of the most unique features you can find in a pair of sandals, and the Oofos original can offer you that. Not only is this good for plantar fasciitis patients, it is also good for those with flat feet.

Our score: 9/10

OUR #2 CHOICE – Skechers Reggae Trailway

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With a semirigid cushioning, the Skechers Reggae promises a comfortable landing every time you walk.

Our score: 9/10


Not only do they have good arch support, there is also a decent depth in the heel area. Other than functioning as stylish add-ons, the suede straps also provide more stability, so your heels will always be cradled in.

Our score: 9/10

Speaking of Skechers, we have previously writtenan article about some good Skechers walking shoeswhich may be helpful for you to get further guidance.

OUR #3 CHOICE – Vionic Tide Toe Post

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Shock absorption is maximal in the Vionic Tide Toe Post, because it is made of plastic-like EVA. This may help reduce stress on both the feet and the knees.

Our score: 9/10


Strapped with woven leather with padded neoprene liner, it is both stylish and stable.

Its high arch support guarantees a stable stride. However, for those with flat feet, you may need to give yourself a few days to get used to the high arch.

Our score: 8/10

Other than sandals, Vionic also has a lot of walking shoes which are suitable for plantar fasciitis.We have an article about thiswhich you might find helpful.

2. Walking shoes

OUR #1 CHOICE – Brooks Addiction

Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (10)


Brooks’ very own BioMoGo DNA Foam promises maximal walking comfort. The stocking inserts allow some flexibility but still embraces your arch perfectly.

Our score: 10/10


It feels flexible and semirigid at the same time. Not only does it have a deep heel cup, its arch also allows for very strong support, which is especially good those with pronation or flat feet issues.

Our score: 10/10

OUR #2 CHOICE – Vionic Walker Classic

Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (11)


Their Active Motion System (AMS) is designed to provide comfortable cushioning, which is good for anyone struggling with plantar fasciitis.

However, their cushioning is a little on the thin side for those with high arches, who require more flexibility.

Our score: 9/10


The midsole is made of EVA material, which is a little flexible but mostly firm. With the removable orthotic, you can be confident that your archno matter the typewould be well supported.

Our score: 9/10

OUR #3 CHOICE – Merrell Jungle Moc

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Its soft insole padding, coupled with the tight uppers, provide the stability that make this goodnot only for casual walking but for mountaineering as well.

However, it may not have the best heel collar if you’re looking for something soft around your Achilles.

Our score: 8/10


The Jungle Moc can provide sufficient arch support for those with already well-supported feet, such as those with normal to high arch. But it may not be good enough for those with flat feet.

The good news is, its insoles can be removed, so you can change it to one with better arch support if that’s what you need.

Our score: 9/10

3. Running shoes

OUR #1 CHOICE – Brooks Ariel 20

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The Ariel 20 from Brooks provide perfect cushioning. Not only is it good at absorbing impact, it also evenly distributes impact so that not a single part of your feet would feel strained.

With a 12mm heel-to-toe drop, your weight would be more distributed to the toe, which can provide relief to your heel pain.

Our score: 10/10


This is probably the perfect running shoes for those with a low arch or flat feet. Brooks Ariel 20 has the GuideRails technology, which aims to align your knees with your ankles.

However, it is important for us to remind you that if your feet tend to roll outward (i.e., you have a very high inner arch), then this is not for you.

Our score: 9/10

OUR #2 CHOICE – Brooks Ghost 14

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An 8.1mm thick ankle collar, compared to a regular 5.5mm collar, should be the first sign that tells you this shoe will be super comfy on your ankles and Achilles.

Brooks also managed to find a perfect balance between a soft and firm cushioning, making your run feel comfortable and supported at the same time.

Our score: 9/10


Good for any arch type, the Brooks Ghost 14 provides both flexibility and strength where it needs to. Couple this with a 12mm drop, you can see how this is the perfect choice for those with plantar fasciitis.

Read Also: Hey Dude Sparkling Gold - Full Review

Our score: 9/10

OUR #3 CHOICE – ASICS Gel Nimbus 24

=Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (15)


Its midsole has been described to be “nice and soft,” which should not come as a surprise for regular ASICS wearers. This is perfectly comfortable for those with heel pain.

There are concerns, however, that it might not be as durable as their other shoes.

Our score: 8/10


Perfect for those with neutral heels, this is built for runners who wish to be supported on both a sprint and a marathon alike.

There is also a good 13mm heel-to-toe drop for those looking to relieve their heel pain.

Our score: 9/10

What Are the Worst Shoes for Heel Pain for Women?

Where there is yin, there is always yang.

Now that we’ve discussed the best shoes for heel pain for women, it’s time to talk about the total opposite.

1. High heels

These put your feet in unnatural positions.

Wearing it for an occasion once in a while is fine, but it should not be worn all the time.


Use lower heels.

2. Ballet flats

Without any arch support, ballet flats will put you at high risk of getting plantar fasciitis.


Use orthotic inserts.

3. Flip-flops

Same reason as ballet flats, flip-flops also do not provide any arch support.


Use orthotic inserts.

4. Ice skates

These can cause “pump bumps.”


Insert heel cushions to the back of the skates.

Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (16)

What Are Other Ways to Prevent Heel Pain?

Stretch your feet daily

One of the causes of plantar fasciitis is a tight Achilles and a tight calf muscle.

By stretching your calf muscles regularly, you are less likely to get plantar fasciitis.

Another stretch that you can do is the rolling stretch. Put a rolling object under your feet and roll your feet on it. This relaxes the small muscles in the feet and relieves tension.

Weight loss

One of the main reasons for foot problem in the first place is being overweight or obese.

Excessive pressure on the joints and the bottom of the feetand especially the balls and the heels of the feetcan cause pain.

Lose weight by seeking help from your local dietitians and exercise therapists.

Avoid walking barefoot

Walking barefoot means you are walking without any arch support. This is the same as wearing flip-flops or ballet shoes that simply do not provide any support whatsoever.

Always cover your feet up with a pair of shoes. This also protects you from stepping on anything sharp!

Do I Have High Arch or Flat Feet?

How can you tell if you have high arch or flat feet?

Follow these simple (and fun) steps to find out:

1. Prepare a basin of clean water as well as colored paper.

2. Dip one of your feet into the water.

3. Step onto the colored paper with your damp feet.

If you have normal feet, this is what it will probably look like:

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If you havehigh-arched feet, this is what it will probably look like:

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If you haveflat feet, this is what it will probably look like:

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What Are Some Misconceptions about Plantar Fasciitis?

MYTH #1: You need to take strong painkillers.

FACT #1: You should not always take strong painkillers.

Strong painkillers, when taken in the long run, can lead to kidney injuries.

You can try to relieve your plantar fasciitis with simple stretch exercises, or go to a trained therapist who can help you with the pain.

MYTH #2: You should avoid walking altogether.

FACT #2: You can’t avoid walking all your life.

You should only avoid walking if you’re in the early phase of the pain.

Once the redness or swelling subsides, you can gradually start doing some gentle stretches.

MYTH 3: You should walk on tiptoe more often to avoid putting pressure on your heel.

FACT 3: You need to stretch your Achilles tendon as it is one of the reason why you have plantar fasciitis.

Just because your heels are in pain doesn’t mean you should torture your toes and the balls of your feet. This will lead to new injuries altogether.

Do some calf stretches instead.


All in all, it is safe to say that women are more likely to experience heel pain than men.

This is because of many reasons.

One of the main reasons isill-fitting shoes. For example, high heels, ballet flats, flip-flops, and many other shoes that do not provide proper arch support and cushioning.

We have recommended above some good shoes for heel pain when walking.

In addition to that, we hope that we have given you a good guide to understand your own foot shape a bit better than before.

You should now be able to make a better decision on your next purchase.

Hopefully, our guide and suggestions can provide relief for those of you who are suffering from plantar fasciitis or other foot conditions.

Best Shoes for Heel Pain When Walking (For Women) | Shoe Habour (2024)


What is the best walking shoe for heel pain women's? ›

Our overall pick for best shoes for plantar fasciitis is the Asics Gel-Venture 9 running shoes, thanks to the arch support and extra heel cushioning. For a more stylish option, we love the Superskate Leather Loafers, which relived pain even while standing all day.

How can I stop my heels from hurting when I walk? ›

Treat Your Heel Pain With These 6 Methods
  1. Rest, rest, rest. The best thing you can do for your heel pain is to rest as much as you can. ...
  2. Stretch Your Feet. Stretching your muscles and tendons promotes blood flow to the areas being stretched. ...
  3. Ice to Reduce Inflammation. ...
  4. Use Pain Relievers. ...
  5. Shoe Inserts. ...
  6. Avoid Painful Shoes.

What can I wear to help with heel pain? ›

Wear shoes with good arch support. Athletic shoes or shoes with a well-cushioned sole are good choices. Try a heel lift, heel cup or shoe insert (orthotic) to help cushion your heel. You can buy these at many shoe stores.

Why does my heel hurt every time I walk? ›

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain. Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain.

What is it called when your heel hurts when you walk? ›

Many conditions, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, cause heel pain. A sore heel is a common foot and ankle complaint.

Are Hokas good for heel pain? ›

Suffering from heel pain can be uncomfortable and painful if you are on your feet all day. We've teamed up with The Royal College of Podiatry who have recommended selected HOKA products to help aid rehabilitation.

What is the difference between heel pain and plantar fasciitis? ›

Defining Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis

Heel spurs are bony growths on the heel bone, which may or may not cause pain depending on their size and location. On the other hand, plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament, which often results in sharp pain in the heel.

What do podiatrists think of Skechers? ›

But Mr Macaulay said he doesn't like Skechers. 'These slip on ones are made tighter to hold onto your feet, so can squeeze your toes and cause problems like neuromas. ' Neuromas is a thickening of tissue around a nerve in the foot that's been irritated or damaged.

What heel pain is not plantar fasciitis? ›

There are actually many different causes of heel pain including but not limited to: plantar fasciitis, insertional Achilles tendinitis, peripheral neuropathy, fat pad atrophy, stress fracture in the heel, tarsal tunnel syndrome and bone tumor.

What deficiency causes heel pain? ›

Chronic heel pain on rotation, flexion and extension, with aggravation of the heel pain by overstrain or standing for too long, alleviation by rest, weakness of the knees and ankle, muscular atrophy, lower back pain, and a weak pulse on the Kidney position, is usually caused by deficiency of Essence of the Liver and ...

What not to do with heel pain? ›

Rest. If possible, don't do anything that puts stress on your heels, such as running, standing for long periods or walking on hard surfaces.

What shoes should you not wear with plantar fasciitis? ›

Shoes which often make plantar fasciitis worse are flat slip on shoes or pumps. Ugg boots are also very bad. Flip flops are bad yet remain a popular choice of footwear for many people, particularly those that live in warmer climate.

Is walking barefoot better for plantar fasciitis? ›

While it may seem appealing to walk barefoot when dealing with plantar fasciitis, it is crucial to prioritize the health and healing of your feet. Going barefoot exacerbates strain, increases risk of injury, disrupts gait and alignment, and lacks the necessary support and shock absorption.

What shoes do podiatrist recommend for walking? ›

Cushion Neutral
  • TOPO. Ultrafly 5mm drop.
  • New Balance. 890. 990. 1080.
  • Saucony. Ride.
  • Mizuno. Wave Rider. Wave Creation.
  • Nike. Pegasus. Vomero. React Infinity Flyknit.
  • HOKA. Bondi. Stinson. Speedgoat.

Are Skechers good if you have plantar fasciitis? ›

Skechers shoes offer a practical solution for individuals with plantar fasciitis. Their specialized features, such as cushioning, arch support, and lightweight design, can alleviate pain, promote healing, and enhance overall foot comfort.

Should you walk with heel pain? ›

General exercise and specific strengthening exercises can improve the load tolerance of the plantar fascia. Initially you may need to reduce activities such as running, walking and jumping activities if they are causing increased pain until you have improved your load tolerance.


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