Probably the most difficult footwear problem that people with plantar fasciitis have to deal with is the lack of options when it comes to plantar fasciitis shoes that are designed with the office in mind. Truth be told, there’s not a lot of manufacturers that have gone into the dress shoes for PF market. This is simply because it’s challenging to reconcile the aesthetic of dress shoes and the comfort required for individuals with plantar fasciitis.
Fortunately however, the search isn’t a dead end. We dove into the market and explored any and every viable dress shoe for individuals with plantar fasciitis, and were pleased to find that there are actually quite a few that are worth purchasing. Sure, they’re not all that easy to find, but they are right on the money.
So if you’re still struggling to find the best dress shoes for plantar fasciitis, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help ease your search and narrow down your options.
Why You Need Proper Dress Shoes if You Have Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is painful and, when severe, immobilizing. But just because you’ve got it, life won’t hold still and wait for you to feel better before moving on. So if you’re working an office job, if you’re frequently invited to posh, social gatherings, or if you simply enjoy dressing to impress, then a pair of comfortable dress shoes that don’t sacrifice your style is something you shouldn’t be without.
So, what exactly makes it difficult to find suitable dress shoes for PF? If you take a look at the typical dress shoe anatomy, you’ll find that they’re often made of stiff uppers, unlined leather interiors, leather insoles, and even leather outsoles. Without any rubber, foam, or soft material, they don’t offer the same rebound, responsiveness, or comfort that most other shoes do.
If you were to force your foot into a typical dress shoe, you’d find that pain would exceed your threshold and possibly even keep you from walking at all. But because it would be inappropriate to wear a pair of comfy athletic shoes or comfort sandals to the office or a formal event, it’s important that you have a comfortable pair of dress shoes at the ready.
What You Should Look for in Plantar Fasciitis Dress Shoes
What makes a good pair of dress shoes for people with plantar fasciitis? These major considerations should help you sift your choices and land a suitable pick.
1. Comfort Insoles
Insoles are some of the biggest contributors to plantar fasciitis pain because they make direct contact with the affected area of the feet. Dress shoes usually don’t add too much cushioning along the footbed because it tends to take away from the sleek aesthetic that works best with shoes of this kind. But if you have plantar fasciitis, you’ll find that any standard dress shoe will feel too stiff throughout the gait cycle, pressing hard against your soles, and adding pressure to your inflamed plantar fascia.
If you can’t find a dress shoe that at least has an orthotic footbed, find one that has enough vertical space for you to insert your own plantar fasciitis insoles to amp up comfort.
2. Cushioned Soles
The purpose of a cushioned sole is to store momentum when your heel strikes the ground, so that your next toe off isn’t too demanding on your energy. Usually, shoe manufacturers see a cushioned sole as a feature that’s exclusive to athletic footwear because it’s most necessary during sports.
But if you’ve got plantar fasciitis, you’ll find that dress shoes lacking cushioned soles can feel stiff, hard, and painful to move in. Fortunately, some manufacturers have responded to this need, coming out with a variety of dress shoes options that switch out thin, stiff leather outsoles for comfortable rubber alternatives.
3. Flexible Uppers
Leather is often the material of choice for any sort of dress shoe because it works best to achieve that sophisticated, formal aesthetic. But even the most expensive types of leather can feel stiff when they’re fresh out of the box. Most dress shoes require a break-in period, during which frequent use softens them up and makes them fit your feet much more ideally.
But if a pair of dress shoes is too stiff at the start, you might not be able to muster the endurance to keep wearing them in order to completely break them in. Be sure to check the uppers before you make your purchase. Soft leather that’s more pliable and breathable is going to be much more comfortable to use even when you take them out on a spin for the very first time.
4. Roomy Toe Box
The last major consideration you need to make when in search of the best work shoes for plantar fasciitis is the space offered by its toe box. Usually, dress shoes feature a pointed forefoot which adds a touch of sophistication and class to its overall appearance. But this can take a toll on fit, causing your toes to bunch together and adding strain on your already injured plantar fascia.
There are some pretty decent options that do without the pointed forefoot, and offer a square toe instead. Although they’re not quite as dapper, they still get the job done and offer much greater comfort all together.
5 of the Best Dress Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Reviewed
The following 5 dress shoes are our top picks for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Probably the most popular dress shoes for men suffering from PF are the Gramercy Dress Shoes from Orthofeet. These simple leather dress shoes use clean lines and a square toe to create a subtle aesthetic that can work for both corporate and formal occasions. They also use soft leather uppers to make the much more forgiving of movement.
But aside from their pliable uppers, the Gramercy Dress Shoes have a lot of other features that make them ideal for plantar fasciitis. These include their Easy-Gait Ortho Cushion System, designed to soften your step, their orthotic insoles that provide ample support for anatomical arches, and their seam-free interior lining that prevents friction and pressure points from developing as you walk.
A close runner-up on our list of the most ideal dress shoes for plantar fasciitis is the Brogues Oxford Wingtip Dress Shoes from Laoks. These stylish shoes are definitely some of the best looking on our list, putting a contemporary twist on an otherwise classic silhouette. Coming in both black and brown colorways, these Laoks can make a suitable footwear choice for both work and play.
The uppers are made from premium soft leather that permits freedom of movement. They also sport some intricate brogue details that make them look exceptionally sophisticated. What really makes them ideal for PF though is the fact that they use soft, durable, rubber outsoles that are impressively flexible. Capable of absorbing quite a bit of shock, they make each step much less painful so you can get around in comfort and style.
Equipped with a cushioned footbed for better shock absorption, the Oxford Dress Shoes from Go Golaiman are impressively comfortable. This, in combination with their ribbed rubber outsoles, makes for a smooth and easy ride that doesn’t put too much pressure on an injured plantar fascia.
Personally though, we found that the leather uppers on the Go Golaiman weren’t as soft as the previous two. But because they’re not exactly unforgiving, and because they can break-in easily after one or two uses, they do make a suitable choice for someone with PF, especially if pain is mild to moderate. Plus, price-wise, the Go Golaiman Oxford Dress Shoes are insanely affordable. Considering their comfort and durability, it’s not hard to see they’re a viable choice particularly for buyers on a budget.
Boasting a timeless silhouette perfect for both corporate and formal gatherings, the Dr. Comfort Classic Therapeutic Dress Shoe’s aesthetic is one that you can take virtually anywhere. The clean, elongated lines and borders look sophisticated and stylish, intuitively incorporating features to give you comfort without losing appeal.
Uppers on the shoe – despite being made from premium leather – are soft and easy to move in. They break-in easily, and hardly crease even along high-wear areas. The shoes also come bundled with Dr. Comfort brand gel inserts, letting you adjust softness to better meet your preferences. On top of that, the shoe boasts built-in padding, incorporated into the lining along the interior. This makes it much more comfortable not only for the heel, but even for the dorsum of the feet.
The best women’s dress shoes for plantar fasciitis that we could find came in the form of the Gold Toe Amrbosia Perforated Ballet Flats. These comfortable, classy, and subtle shoes feature the classic ballet flats silhouette, and boast intricate perforated detail that add a touch of style and improve breathability.
Unlike other ballet flats on the market, these specific ones from Gold Toe boast a slightly wider fit so your toes don’t bunch together. Another reason why they make such a good choice is the fact that they are exceptionally comfortable. The pliable materials make it so that your feet aren’t restricted by the shoes. They freely accommodate movement, letting you get around without the burden of stubborn shoes on your feet.
Finding the best dress shoes for plantar fasciitis can be tough because the options are so slim. But we’ve done the research to help make the process a little easier for you. So if you’re still on the fence about which shoes to get, consider the:
These two designs have proven to be the most suitable choices based on our research and the thousands of reviews they’ve received from verified buyers. With that, we can guarantee that every penny you spend for these shoes will be money well spent.