Good walking shoes available in Canada for someone with Plantar fasciitis

Was just diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis, Anyone who has this knows how painful it is. Doing my stretches and physio but I bought some Asics runners but I'd like some nicer looking walking shoes to break in for the trip. Anyone know. Please...only people that know what I'm talking about reply. Thanks.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

Shelley, I had to deal with that situation several years ago, and I doubt that stretches and physio will solve the problem completely (especially while travelling). I would highly recommend making an appointment with a good Podiatrist straight away (perhaps one in Sherwood Park if there are none locally). The solution that worked best for me was custom molded carbon fibre orthotic in-serts, which I use in whichever pair of shoes I'm wearing. I've done extensive walking in Europe since I started using them, and not even a twinge of pain. I also have a pair of orthotic Sandals that are manufactured by a local shoe maker here that specializes in medical footwear. I had those before the in-serts and wear them around the house. The day I bought the Sandals, I was suffering a lot of pain. An hour after wearing them, the pain was gone and I haven't had a problem since. There's a bit of a story about how I arrived at this solution, but that's a bit lengthy. Good luck!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

If cost is an issue for you, I've had really good success with the $50 Scholl's s you can get in drug stores (at least in the US)... sold as Dr Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Insoles. In fact, they work better (and fit more readily in shoes) than the very expensive custom ones I had made. Depending on when/where you're going, you might also consider hiking sandals. Chaco has the arch in the right place for me, but everyone's different; I can walk all day in them, for day after day, and have no pain. And if you find shoes that are not painful, I wouldn't worry about finding others that "nicer looking". No one will remember or care what your shoes look like, but you'll remember the pain if you bring the wrong shoes. You'll probably find you need to walk more than you considered possible; bring the shoes that will keep you comfortable. One other thing: have you been cautioned not to walk around barefoot? I was doing that because shoes hurt, but it just makes it worse. I keep the cheap flip flops around the house and if I'm not wearing shoes I'm wearing the flip flops. It really makes a difference. A few days without them, I start to feel some pain.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11065 posts

If the cause of the plantar fasciitis was flat feet, then I second the above advice. Make an appointment with a podiatrist so you can have a set of custom orthotics made. I had severe plantar fasciitis several years ago, but since getting inserts made, I have experienced zero recurrences. As long as the inserts fit in the shoes, you can wear just about anything. One important point about orthotics, though. You need to break them in over a period of about 1-2 weeks, and usually the pain increases while your feet adjust. So, make sure your feet have adjusted well before you travel.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
1113 posts

I feel your pain Shelley. What works for me is a quality shoe, tossing the factory inserts, and utilizing SUPERfeet insoles. Not a hint of a problem since. The product is available at numerous shops in Edmonton. Further, Chacos work well for me. The Dr. Scholl's machine mentioned above is, in my opinion, a great marketing gimmick but otherwise worthless.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1852 posts

First you must accept that your days of carefree shoe shopping are over. No more cute little flats or sandals. Remember when you were 20 and said you'd never wear old lady shoes? Well, yes, you will. I've never tried orthotics, mainly because when my problem started I couldn't afford them. I've found that the Propet brand works well for me. I use a slip on black walking shoe for work, and buy about 3-4 pairs a year. (I'm on my feet a lot at work.) I recently bought a $15 arch support that seems to help as well. I may try those Dr. Scholls ones mentioned above. I also like Clark's for sandals. I'd like to reiterate what someone else mentioned, that you should avoid going barefoot. I never wore shoes when I could help it, but now I wear them always.

Posted by Lo
1678 posts

Here's one more vote for those Dr. Scholl's orthotics. They are the ones that are identified by standing on a machine that analyzes your own feet and gives you a number of the product to buy. I also have had expensive custom made ones and they were not as good. Dr. Scholl's is not the only option like this, but that brand is probably the cheapest. You might also try Orthaheel for sandals and other types of footwear. I wear sandals most of the time, so orthotics won't work. Orthaheel has a wide variety of shoes based on the same excellent support sole, not just sandals. You can order them from many online sources, Zappos included, and they are available in many stores as well. This is the link to the Canadian ones. My plantar fasciitis was so bad my feet would stiffen up after sitting for awhile and I could barely walk right after getting up. Like others have said, my doc told me to never go barefoot again and gave me one particular stretching exercise to do with my legs up. Now, nearly 4 years later, I am about 99.9% pain free and rarely need to do the stretching exercises anymore. Recently I tried going barefoot again on our concrete floors. Big mistake. I'm back to wearing shoes in the house all the time. Crocs work for me for that.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3410 posts

I had plantar fascitis about 10 years ago, although the pain has now disappeared completely. For me, physical therapy and being more conscious about wearing the right shoes made all the difference. My physical therapist recommended that I replace the insoles in my athletic shoes with Spenco brand walker/runner insoles and those worked for me. You might look at that brand for some of your shoes. I like them better than the Dr Scholls brand. Other than that, I now tend to wear a lot of the European brands of shoes (Ecco, Mephisto, etc.) that tend to have sturdier soles and better support. I also often wear a pair of athletic sandals (Ecco Yucatan).

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8729 posts

I normally agree with Karen, but not this time. (Sorry, Karen!) Your days of cute little flats and sandals are NOT over. I wear orthotics, too, because of plantar fasciitis. It does take time and money to get them, and they are the best option. But once you get through the break-in period and the problem improves, you can go back to your flats and sandals without pain. I have worn them for several years now, and I would say that at least 50% of the time, I wear shoes and sandals with no orthotics. For women, they make both regular and dress shoe versions. If I am going to be walking a lot, I will make sure that I do wear shoes that can fit them. For your purposes, the Dr Scholls ones might be a good alternative if you aren't going into regular orthotics.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

@Lo, "They are the ones that are identified by standing on a machine that analyzes your own feet and gives you a number of the product to buy." I was told by a Podiatrist that the ONLY accurate way of measuring feet is when the weight is off (ie: sitting down). That's the way he measured my feet to build the custom orthotics. I tried those goofy measuring machines on several occasions and that may be one reason that none of the "off the shelf" solutions worked for me. Cheers!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8729 posts

Contrary to what Ken said, when my orthotics were made, my feet were analyzed by walking across a computerized pad. They took several of these measurements, and made the orthotics based on that. Obviously, since I was walking, they were measuring with weight on my feet. I would guess that the Dr Scholls tool works in a similar fashion.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

@Nancy, The information on the measuring machine was not what I said, but rather what the Podiatrist said. He had eight (or more) years of medical school and University training and 30 years of experience, so I trusted what he was telling me. Cheers!

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
1290 posts

Ah, Plantar Fascitis. It started for me about ten years ago. I was fortunate to find an orthopedic podiatrist at Vanderbilt Hospital here. The first thing he did was to give me the stretching exercises. The one that worked the best was similar to doing a push-up against the wall, stretching the affected leg out behind me. He also had me wear a boot on my foot at night to keep the heel in a stretched position. Both of these things helped. The only shoes I am supposed to wear are New Balance. These have worked very well for me. The doctor's instructions: no flip flops or going barefoot. No sandals UNLESS I come back to him and get orthotics. No high heels. No crocs. I highly recommend New Balance. It has the support I need, and my doctor says that is the only brand he and his wife wear.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3134 posts

You might want to try Sketchers brand shoes. They have really helped me- though my problem was a bunion removal and toe joint fussion. They have a larger toe box and good support.

Posted by Carole
San Francisco, California, USA
98 posts

Hi Shelley, When I was younger, I got by with the same recommendations everyone posted here.
When I got older, they no longer worked for me. I saw a podiatrist, had to get custom molded orthotics and wear them daily with Brooks Ariel shoes, the only shoes where the orthotics fit OK without squeaking. If I have to go somewhere dressier but will stand and walk a lot, I put the orthotics in my black Keen lace up shoes. I wear Merrell slip on sandals at home for slippers. If I'm traveling, these sandals are absolutely essential after a full day of sightseeing, but they make traveling light a challenge. Next challenge: Finding dress up shoes for a family wedding where I'll be standing and walking the entire day. No luck so far. Does anyone have a suggestion? It's true what another poster said once: Happy feet = happy travels (But it's not cheap for people like us!) Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by Kim
San Francisco
561 posts

I second Orthaheel. Just got my second pair and they are great. Cute too! Kim

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
1113 posts

A little talcum powder between orthotics and the shoe beds eliminated squeaking shoes for me.

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Oh My goodness. I am overwhelmed at the response. Thank you everyone. I have had the orthotic s made by walking on the pad and those are terrible. My feet hurt so much from them. I just stopped wearing them. I tried and they cost a lot. I did get some Dr. Schols s but they are not the machine type. I guess I just need to keep trying to find the right shoes. I was always wearing slippers around the house and the Physiotherapist said...not enough support and sent me out to buy some shoes. I bought two pairs of Asics and they work great but not totally no pain. I'm very concerned with the trip coming up this fall that I'll be able to enjoy all the walking. Right now as I write this my heel is hurting. :( Maybe time for more stretches. I'll write down all your shoe suggestions and Ken, and others I'll look for a Dr. in Sherwood Park. My only concern... how do you know they will be good?

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
891 posts

I have a set of custom insoles but have had better luck with Powerstep insoles (also provided by my podiatrist, but I've bought more on Amazon). I couple them with separate arch inserts that I put under the full inserts. This works better than the custom insoles and is much less expensive.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
951 posts

I am a physical therapist with heel,pain due to plantar fasciitis. It started after I was wearing sketchers casual slip ons with a small strap to secure. It was awful. Nothing I did physical therapy wise was helping. I purchased dr scholls tri comfort s; they helped some. I bought a pair of merrell brio Mary Janes; they helped me some more. I then learned about kt tape, a stretchy mildly compressive but insanely supportive tape; bingo, I had found a winner. I had to be taped for 2 months, applying it every other day or when it unraveled. It was my miracle. I no longer have to wear orthotics, tape. I still have to be particular with shoes; those cute ballet flats are a huge no arch support, pain returns. No flip flops for any longer than 5 min shower at the gym. The tape can be ordered online or at your local sporting goods store. The website will search the closest seller for you if you enter zip code. I now tape anything that hurts and the tape works miraculously. Below is a link to you tube of a person being taped. Website is I go to Europe in the winter so I wear a lite merrell city boot. I don't even have to bring supports or tape my feet anymore. My keen boots killed my feet in Europe.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
908 posts

Wow, what great info! I have Plantar fascitis and a bone spur problem on my heel, that was making it impossible for me to walk. My first stop was a great podiatrist. His reccomendations eliminated the need for surgery on my Achilles Tendon for the bone spur, and totally eliminated the PF. In fact, one month after his perscriptions I was out exploring Paris and France, and had no problems. The first thing he had me do was the same thing as Rebecca; wear a boot at night. The next thing he did was give me a list of shoes that I was allowed to wear. I walked all over France in Dansco clogs. When I got back I bought some of the tennis shoes he recommended (Asics, Saucony,etc. with a sole that does not flex, Vasque Breeze hiking boots, Brooks waterproof lo-top walking shoes, etc.) Now I am able to walk barefoot around the house, and can work on the farm in "lousy" shoes, as long as they have a good sole/, and do not flex too much under the arch (I particularly like the Sole brand s.) I still wear that boot every nite, and take it with me to the EU, and everywhere else that I travel, and I don't wear an orthodic.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24137 posts

Shelley, "and Ken, and others I'll look for a Dr. in Sherwood Park. My only concern... how do you know they will be good?" Ask your family Physician for a referral to a reliable Podiatrist. You could also check the website for the College of Podiatric Physicians of Alberta (I'm assuming that's also the regulating body). They have a "Find a Podiatrist" link at the top. There don't appear to be any in Ardrossan, so Sherwood Park looks like your best bet. Good luck and happy walking!

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
916 posts

I was told by my physical therapist not to ever wear Sketchers. They have no arch support. I suggest you go to a podiatrist also. It is always better to get a professional's opinion and not try to fix the problem yourself. New Balance shoes are highly recommended for all feet tough. I doubt they alone would solve your problem.

Posted by Tania
Halton, Ontario, Canada
108 posts

HI, my doctor told me to wear Birkenstocks around the house. Good luck, can be very painful. I found filling a plastic water bottle up and freezing it and rolling under my arch helped.

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Thanks again all. I use the water bottle filled with water. it helps. thanks again, Ken, Yes, that's a good idea i'll do a search but might need the Dr. to do a referral. I've got some work to do. I also liked the tape idea. Anything to relieve the pain.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
1037 posts

I have the same troubles - but no longer since I started using Sole custom food beds (Canadian site: They come in multiple thickness so you should be able to find one that fits in your shoe (though perhaps not "cute" flats - for that I use Birkenstock inserts). I find that it doesn't really matter what brand of shoe I wear, as long as the inserts fit and the shoe is comfortable otherwise. On long trips I have worn Keen, Naot, and Sketchers and had equal success. For summer I wear Chaco sandals.

Posted by Ez
Tel Aviv
2 posts

Probably you will get answers from people who want you to buy their favorite kind of shoes but you should know that good shoes for one individual can also be bad for the other. I have plantar fasciitis and I have been through a long journey looking for a good shoe. A good shoe for one is not always good for the other. An expensive shoe is not necessarily good for heel pain. You should find your kind of shoe, one that feels comfortable and give you support. It depends on many factors such as wide or narrow foot, high or low arch, your favorite kind of sport etc. You should try to use good cushioning shoe which has motion control and is not flexible in the middle. There is a good website that I use to take a look at from time to time. Many good ideas that I took from there -

Posted by Claudette
huntington beach, ca, usa
518 posts

I have suffered from plantar fasciitis as well and I know how painful it could be. Doing the recommended stretches is a good start and getting the right shoe. I am a big fan of orthaheel shoes. I have 4 pairs and I'm telling you I have not had the heel pain since I started using them. I'm also an RN and work 12 hour shifts so I wear them to work as well. is the best place to buy them because shipping is free and it's so easy to return them if they don't work out for you.

Posted by Maggie
Boscombe, Dorset, UK
961 posts

Another sufferer here. I've found Merrils work for me (the ones with a cushion pad under the insert, you have to raise the insert and look), but it seems everyone is different. The one thing that really helped me, and of course you MUST check with your doctor, was a two week course of Ibuprofen, 500mg three times a day, on the advice of my doctor. But I stress again, check with your doctor first.
It's now much better. Thank Heavens!

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Thank you everyone again. I think like Ez says I have to go on a journey to find out what will work for me. I do you use the Ibprofen too when needed, the Merrells won't work for me, I have a wide foot. I'll just have to go shopping and try to find something great for me. Thank you for the websites to check out and all the many types of shoes that have worked for all of you. Appreciated! Shelley