The 8 Best Flip Flops & Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis

best flip flops for plantar fasciitis

What is the plantar fascia really? Plantar means “bottom of foot”, and fascia is a band of connective tissue that starts at the heel, and runs along the bottom of the foot, helping to support the medial arch of the foot. Because the plantar fascia is not a tendon or a muscle, if too much stress is placed on it, it will get inflamed and start to hurt.

Fortunately, over 90% of plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia) can be treated with conservative therapy, which does not require surgery. Much of the conservative and natural treatment of plantar fasciitis consists of orthotics, and supportive foot wear. Having a supportive arch is vital in choosing the best flip flops for plantar fasciitis.

Do Flip Flops Help or Harm Plantar Fasciitis?​

plantar fasciitis sandals

Flip flops are generally not considered the best treatment modality for plantar fasciitis, however, a study in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders in 2016, Nov 11 did find that:

 a flip flop with a molded foot bed can have “a significant effect on foot pain, function, and foot health and might be a valuable adjunct therapy for people with foot pain.”

Some studies show the negative effects of wearing flip flops. A study done by Auburn University in Alabama showed that flip flop wearers take smaller steps than if those same people wore more supportive shoes, or sandals with a back strap around the heel. This smaller stride length can cause more instability in gait, causing increased tripping and stumbling while walking.

In the Ireland Journal of Med. Science, they found that wearing flip flops may “increase the risk of tripping over uneven ground” due to the change in the kinematics of the foot. In addition to shorter stride length, the strap of the flip flop is a cause for concern. The strap is the only thing that is holding the foot to the shoe; therefore, excessive walking can result in friction blisters, increased pain, and a great potential for infection.

Flip flops with no arch support can, and will change the posture of the person wearing it and can stretch out the Achilles tendon. Changing the posture for a period of time will put more stress on the back, leading to back pain, and continuous strain on the Achilles tendon, which can lead to Achilles tendonitis, or inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. A chronic plantar fasciitis can also lead to the development of painful heel spurs.

plantar fasciitis flip flops

Although there are many causes for concern with wearing flip flops, many people still enjoy the breathability of the flip flop sandal especially in warmer climates, and near the beach. Many people also enjoy the convenience of being able to slip the flip flop on and off with ease. Having a flip flop available is still better than walking barefoot, especially with plantar fasciitis.

Keeping this in mind, many companies have come up with flip flops that are more supportive, and ones that can be alleviate the pain on plantar fasciitis.

What to Look for in Choosing the Best Flip Flops:

1. Good arch support which is essential in unloading the heel, and distributing the body weight evenly across the whole plantar aspect of the foot.

2. Heel cup depth – This depends on the foot type, and the “feel” of the sandal on your foot. With a high arch foot type, too deep of a heel may put more pressure on the heel, causing more pain.

3. A comfortable foot strap that not only feels secure on your foot, but secures your foot to the flip flop. If the flip flop is not secure, and snug on your feet, they are liable to “flip” right off your foot while you are walking, especially if you increase your pace even a little. You may even hear the “flop” noise when you walk if your flip flop is not secure enough on your foot.

The Best Flip Flops for Plantar Fasciitis​

Some of the best flip flops and sandals for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are:

1. Clark's Women's Breeze Sea & Brinkley Keeley Flip Flops​

sandals for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs

Clark’s Women’s Sandals seem to do well across the board. The two that stand out the most are The Women’s Breeze Sea Flip Flops and the Women’s Brinkley Keeley Flip Flops. They both come in various colors. They have a 1.18” heel height, a rubber sole which makes it stable on most surfaces, and an adjustable thong strap with a hook and loop closure. This adjustable thong strap can make a huge difference with how secure the shoe is and feels on the foot.

2. Orthaheel​ Tide Thong Sandal

best flip flops with arch support

The Orthaheel Tide Thong Sandal for women are designed by Podiatrists, and have arch support, which helps with increasing knee and back support as well.

3. Sole Sport Flip Flops

SOLE Womens Sport Flip Flops

The Sole Sport Flip Flops for Men have a soft heel support, a forefoot cushion, as well as arch support. They are light weight and waterproof, which is good for all types of environments.

4. Chaco Flip Eco Tread​

Chaco mens flip flops

Chaco is another great brand for men, specifically the Chaco Flip Eco Tread. This company calls their flip flops, “The Flips without the Flop”. Their foot bed is polyurethane, and they provide good arch support, so they are great for taking long extensive walks. They are also slip resistant. The downside is that they are not water resistant, and they do not do well in water.

5. Olukai Ohana for Men and Women

Olukai Ohana

The Olukai Ohana is a good flip flop for men and women. They provide good arch support, and have an EVA midsole. These flip flops also have a lifetime warranty on some parts. They also use 0% animal products, a unique feature that is a great selling point for this company.

6. Unisex Oofos Sandals​

Unisex Oofos Sandals​

Unisex Oofos Sandals come is various colors, and have a 1” heel which limits pronation. It has the Oofoam, which absorbs 37% more shock than the normal foam material. It decreases stress on the feet, helps with sore feet, and decreases pain in the knees and lower back, with its medial arch support. The company markets the sandal as a post-work out recovery shoe. Having arch support and the 1” heel is a big advantage.

7. Dawgs Women's and Men's

Dawgs men and women flip flops

Dawgs women’s and men’s, which offers “fun and funky” patterns, and variations in style and design. They have an arch support, with a comfortable massaging foot bed. They are also light weight and easy to clean, even if they get wet. The Dawgs are durable and resilient, and nice option for warm weather.

8. Birkenstock Arizona vs Birkenstock EVA (Unisex)​

Birkenstock arizona

These sandals have done well for many years. The original Birkenstock, the Arizona, Mayani is one of the many types that is made from cork and latex, as opposed to the EVA style which is made from EVA. The main difference is that the Birkenstock EVA can get wet, versus the other types of Birkenstock that cannot get wet, or the cork and leather will not last. However, a benefit of the cork material, is that it shapes to your foot over time, and gets more and more comfortable as you start to break it in.

Birkenstock EVA

The German made Birkenstocks are comfortable and are very popular. They all have a Metatarsal Ridge (also see the best sandals for metatarsalgia), at the front of the shoe, which is an elevated area or a ridge that slightly elevates the toes, engaging the foot muscles and promoting a natural gait pattern. They all also have a deep heel cup and stable arch support, and provide for good traction, as they have a rubber outsole.


While choosing the best flip flops for plantar fasciitis, keep in mind that you still need to try the flip flops on, and really feel the sandal on your foot. It should feel good on your feet while you are walking, and should alleviate the pain in your heel. By choosing a flip flop with a good arch support, a heel cup that is soft, and a foot strap that is snug, you may be able to alleviate your heel pain, and still have a stylish sandal to wear in warm weather. Don't forget to also check out the top rated shoes for plantar fasciitis.








7.  DeMaio, M., Paine, R., Mangine, R. E., & Drez, D. (1993). Plantar fasciitis. Orthopedics, 16(10), 1153-1163.

8. Buchbinder, R. (2004). Plantar Fasciitis. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(21), 2159-2166. doi:10.1056/nejmcp032745.

9. Wolgin, M., Cook, C., Graham, C., & Mauldin, D. (1994). Conservative Treatment of Plantar Heel Pain: Long-Term Follow-Up. Foot & Ankle International, 15(3), 97-102. doi:10.1177/107110079401500303.

Dr. Sharon Joag

Dr. Sharon Joag

As a full-time Mom, Dr. Sharon Joag loves spending time with her daughter and watching her grow. Dr. Joag works as a part-time Podiatrist at East Brunswick Foot Care, LLC, which she founded and is currently the sole owner. She loves to read, write, paint, and play with her 2 cats, Poofy and Minnie, in her spare time. Growing up in many different places, including India; Stillwater, Oklahoma; Mankato, Minnesota, and in Bayside, Queens, she often found herself spending a large part of her time in her early years reading fairy tales, mysteries, and making up stories with her younger brother. Her creative energy has led her to write poems in a book called, “A Collection of Poems”, and she frequently writes in the local paper, and publications online, including

Deepshikha - June 22, 2018

So proud of you dear Sharon. Keep up your great work. Love you loads ♥️♥️

Shaguna - August 1, 2018

I found your article very informative as I have a flatfoot. Thank you

Noble - August 2, 2018

Interesting read!

Who would have thought of how a small tweak in the casual footwear we wear, can lead to avoiding this painful foot malady.

Comments are closed