Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis are, then we recommend the Asics Men Gel-solution Speed 3 as the best pair for men and the ASICS Women’s Gel-Kahana 8 as the best pair for women.

Person serving

Heel pain can pull you out of your passions and get you down mentally and physically. If every bout of exercise causes stabbing pains, it’s tempting to quit completely. 

I’ve researched the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis that should help you stay on the court with no pain afterward.

Here are the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis of 2020:

Why Plantar Fasciitis Warrants Special Shoes

Plantar fasciitis is incredibly painful. It’s the most common cause of heel pain and is sometimes worse after exercise. Some exercises help plantar fasciitis, but tennis isn’t one of them.

Shoes with the right qualities can help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis. Once your physical pain eases, your mentality should improve. That’ll get you back beating your opponents in no time.

Shoe Qualities for Plantar Fasciitis

Since plantar fasciitis is caused by strain injuries to the ligaments, support is key. Support and comfort are important in any shoe, but even more so when you suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Support

Look for a rigid shoe that fits well.

Tennis shoes should be flexible, as the sport involves lots of footwork. But with plantar fasciitis, try to keep the flexibility in the toe area. A firm heel will minimize stretching of your ligaments, reducing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Arch support is also an important factor. Keeping your arch in the correct, supported position helps prevent foot misalignments that can worsen your heel pain. Proper support throughout the shoe can also reduce the risk of heel spurs and other foot injuries.

Cushioning

Comfort comes after support. A thick, padded midsole aids comfort and absorbs shock. Keeping the shock away from your heel is important in staying pain-free.

A thicker sole is also ideal, further shielding your heels from impact with the hard ground. However, a rock-solid sole isn’t ideal—it should have enough give so a solid stomp shouldn’t shake the senses. You want your heel to be as still and un-impacted as possible.

What to Look for in Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

When catering to your plantar fasciitis, remember that tennis shoes are still a shoe category of their own. The best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis also have to be some of the best tennis shoes themselves.

So, holding onto that, what else do you look for?

Cushioning

The three main courts for tennis are hard courts, grass courts, and clay courts. Hard courts are—unsurprisingly—the hardest. Therefore, hard court shoes will have the most padding.

You could consider wearing hard court shoes on all courts. You may also consider shoes that aren’t tennis-specific. They work perfectly on tennis courts but are intended for use off them too. Plenty of non-tennis shoes offer extreme cushioning.

The right shoes should have enough padding to make hard courts feel soft. Padding is what you need in general, no matter how hard the court, so it’s better to go for the shoes with the most.

Traction

Be aware that the traction needed for the three courts is different. Hard courts need the least, and clay courts need the most.

I’ve advised you to consider hard court shoes for all courts, or non-tennis-specific shoes. But make sure there’s enough traction first. You don’t want to slip and add a sprained ankle and bruised tailbone to the plantar fasciitis. 

Any shoe worth the time will have the appropriate traction to keep you standing. In any case, look out for:

A Busy Tread Pattern

I don’t mean busy as in juggling six kids, business meetings, and lunchtime tennis matches (as much as I’d like to see shoes do that). I mean, look for a tread pattern that visibly has a lot going on.

If your shoes lack a smooth sole, you won’t be able to slip like socks on wooden floors. An interrupted pattern full of lumps, bumps, and grooves stops you sliding.

Busier tread patterns cause friction and grip the ground rather than slide along it. That’s what you want to keep accidents at bay.

A Rubber Sole

A rubber sole is great for traction. Rubber is often a grippy material that you can see examples of in erasers and car tires. It’s not perfectly smooth to the touch, so there’s automatically friction there.

Rubber soles are also excellent for support and shock absorption.

Support

As well as sturdy support around your heels, you need lateral support. Tennis has you moving side to side a lot, so shoes that don’t support that can lead to injury.

Generally, shoes offer back-and-forth motion support, but tennis shoes need it on the sides. If you trip when prancing sideways, your shoes keep your ankles steady, reducing the risk of sprains or worse.

This omnidirectional support can also help support the heel. Your ankle sits above the side of your heel. If the entire back end of the shoe is rigid and supportive, you’re getting both areas at once. 

Support-wise, the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis do all that’s needed of them without extra special features. If they’re already supporting your ankles and lateral movements, they’re protecting your heels too.

The Five Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

I’m assuming you’d rather spend your day practicing your backhand or doing exercises that soothe your plantar fasciitis. That’s why I’ve done the research for you, letting you worry less about finding the perfect shoes. 

If today’s tennis practice is painful, next week’s with new shoes shouldn’t be. Here are what I think are the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis.

1. Asics Men’s Gel-Solution Speed 3 Tennis Shoe

The Men’s Gel-Solution Speed 3 Tennis Shoe from Asics is a great option for men suffering from plantar fasciitis. These shoes have a rubber sole with excellent shock absorption upon contact.

They have a cushioning system that manages shock as your feet touch the ground, and they make a nice transition as you walk. The midsole is a comfortable material, and the upper material is comfortable and supportive.

These shoes feature a unique toe protector to help make the toes more durable. The low profile design of the shoes makes them comfortable but not intrusive. You can complete daily activities easily.

One significant downside is that air doesn’t circulate well in these shoes. On the one hand, this makes them great for cold weather, but your feet might get hot in the summer. 

These shoes are low-top, so they don’t cover your ankles. The shoes come in different sizes with some half-sizes and some wide sizes available. They come in a neutral white color, so they look great on and off the court.

Pros

  • Good cushioning
  • Not too bulky or heavy
  • Durable
  • Fits as expected
  • Shock-absorbing

Cons

  • Discoloration and staining
  • Not for wide feet

2. Asics Women’s Gel-Kahana 8

A gel cushioning system is one deluxe way to do comfort. That’s what the Kahana 8 offers for comfort and support. It’s also durable, stable, shock-absorbing, and strong—excellent for an array of activities.

These aren’t specifically tennis shoes but were made for walking and hiking. Because of this, the rubber sole was designed for traction on every surface. It should work well on all the common courts, and if you decide to go for an impromptu hike after a stray ball. 

They include a synthetic and mesh upper for breathability in the game. Plus, there’s a ton of tech included in the shoes to make them perform at their best. 

For example, the DuoMax support system to reduce the risk of overpronation and the Trusstic system to stop your shoes twisting with odd movements. The latter also helps reduce the weight of the shoe while staying structurally sound.

Pros

  • All-terrain sole.
  • Gel cushioning system.
  • Absorbs shock, especially in the heel.

Cons

  • They may run a size small.
  • Narrow.

3. Gravity Defyer G-Defy

The last two pairs were slightly bulky, but these are a sleeker form of stability and pain relief. The simple, tasteful design still manages to hide VeroShock Technology inside. This absorbs shock, keeping you safe from pain and injury.

They’re also extra roomy in the toe box without looking clunky. This keeps you protected from bunions and blisters. But the shoes take it a step further with pain prevention, with a midsole designed specifically to relieve and prevent plantar fasciitis.

If you need further help with pain prevention, the insoles are removable. This lets you place custom orthotics inside and use them to aid you. Ideal for all sorts of ailments.

Plus, the interior is seamless, which is great for sensitive feet. The shoes should cause no irritation. 

Overall, these shoes were made with foot problems in mind. Plantar fasciitis, arthritis, diabetes, bunions, and more. I find that to be excellent, inclusive thinking.

Pros

  • Made with relieving pain in mind.
  • Rocker sole, helping reduce pressure on the heels.
  • Removable insoles.

Cons

  • The stability they offer is borderline too stiff.
  • Not great for low arches.

4. Asics Men’s GEL-Resolution 6

If you like the idea of a gel cushioning system, but you’re a man, this shoe should be more suitable for you. Not only are they for men, but they’re wide to accommodate people with broader feet.

They’re simple shoes but feature Flexion Fit construction and PGuard toe bumpers. These pieces of shoe tech are there to keep you stable while the Solyte and gel midsole absorbs shock and provides comfort.

Like a lot of shoes I’ve reviewed, you might notice the sole is thicker in the heel than the toes. This is excellent, pointing to a flexible toe area but a stationary heel. Perfect for keeping your heel in place to avoid doing further damage to the ligaments.

There are also two layers of memory foam around the heel, which create a personalized  fit with no break-in period. 

The arch support is also excellent, making sure the rest of your feet aren’t neglected either. Customers found they’re especially wonderful for high arches.

On top of it all, this pair might be the most durable shoes of the lot. They were designed with durability in mind, using an extra durable AHAR abrasive rubber outsole to back it up.

Pros

  • Personalized heel fit.
  • Ultra-durable.
  • Gel cushioning for ultimate shock absorption.

Cons

  • Wide main body of the shoe, but narrow toe box.
  • Heavier than similar shoes.

5. K-Swiss Men’s Grancourt II 

Here’s an all-court tennis shoe clad in rubber and leather. It’s simple and features a thick heel area to keep your problem part off the ground. Meanwhile, the molded foam insole supports and cushions your heels.

There’s extra cushioning in the heel, for all degrees of plantar fasciitis. The tongue and collar are also plush to keep you comfortable while supported. The midsole is K-EVA for added shock absorption and cushy benefits..

These shoes feature some small holes to keep your feet breathing on the court. Great for maintaining a sweat and odor-free shoe.

Pros

  • Extra heel padding.
  • Plush tongue and collar.
  • Breathable.

Cons

  • Narrow.
  • Their durability is questionable.

The Painless Ending

Woman playing tennis

My pick for the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis is the ASICS Men’s Gel-Solution Speed 3. They have everything you need without being over the top. Traction, cushioning, and your feet are safe from shock no matter what you do.

I like how they keep out debris, too. Debris in shoes is a pain of a whole other type. Plus, it can damage the inner lining if you’re not careful.

For women, I have to say the best shoes are the ASICS Women’s Gel-Kahana 8. The gel cushioning is a feature I wish all my shoes had. It’ll mold to your foot and stay that way, keeping you supported and in place through every game.

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