Best Tennis Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
Tennis has a reputation as an easy-going gentleman's game played on the lawn with strawberries and cream and cucumber sandwiches, with the roar of the Wimbledon crowd in your ears as you score that critical break-point serve.
But Tennis is a very physical sport and despite being to be played by you from a young age until right into later life, it can cause common foot injuries and lower-body problems such as muscle cramps and strains, ankle problems, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
Here is a list of the recommended tennis shoes for heel pain or plantar fasciitis. We review them individually further down the page too if you need more information.
** Our choice ** Vionic Walker Classic
Why does tennis cause plantar fasciitis?
The constant change in direction that playing tennis demands, sudden movements and keeping on the balls of your feet or toes can place immense stress on the feet and ankles and as confirmed by Eric Feit, DPM in his article on Podiatry Today, Podiatrists are seeing tennis players in their offices on a regular basis to treat foot problems.
These sudden or bursts of activity and stress on the fascia ligament on the underside of the foot can easily cause Plantar Fasciitis, where the fascia tears near to where it joins the heel bone which then becomes very sore and inflamed, leading to heel pain and problems walking or standing for long periods.
It is not uncommon for athletes and tennis players to be suspended from training due to plantar fasciitis, so it is important to make sure you are giving your feet proper support when playing. In some cases, it can be bad enough to prevent you from playing any sport ever again - unless you are prepared to undergo painful surgery.
Like playing any sport, it is important to warm up properly before playing and wear the right gear, including choosing the right kind of shoes. Tennis shoes are not that different from a training or running shoe (which you can wear when playing tennis) apart from the fact that they need a specific grip on the sole to cope with clay, grass or carpet courts.
I am sure the groundsman would not be too pleased if you carved up his lawn with a pair of chunky trail running shoes, or that you might leave black marks all over an indoor court.
Tennis shoe reviews:
With these points in mind, we have created a list of the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers and have tried to cover a good cross section of brands too, so hopefully, you will find a shoe that is suitable to keep you playing.
K-Swiss Grancourt II
The first shoe on our list is the K-Swiss Grancourt, a simple looking sports trainer available in plain black or white - no flashy luminous colouring here!
The K-Swiss brand is a very popular recommendation from Podiatrists because they have good support in the arch area and are very comfortable and the Grancourt fits this bill too.
The rest of the shoe is made from leather, making it hard wearing and the sole is designed to be non-slip, so great for playing tennis or for wearing all day.
These shoes also seem to be a popular choice for you if you are on your feet all day, which is a great sign if you are suffering from foot pain.
Pros: Great arch support, moisture wicking fabric keeps your feet dry, good EVA mid-sole to prevent impact injuries, padded inner and collar area.
Cons: Some buyers have indicated that the shoes are narrow, so the Grancourt II's may not be ideal for you if you have wide or flat feet.
Another popular branded sports shoe, the Barricade range of tennis and training shoes feature good arch support, lightweight materials and ADIPRENE foam for extra cushioning inside the whole shoe.
If you like bright tennis shoes, the Barricade 2015 is available in a range of colours but looks good in plain black and white, which is possibly more suited to playing tennis.
As with most tennis shoes, these have a non-marking sole meaning that you won't leave black streaks on an indoor hard-court. Some tennis clubs require that you wear this sort of shoe - so these would be a good buy for that feature.
Adidas have also kept the tennis player in mind and ensured that the shoes are designed to give maximum shock absorption for your feet and knees when playing high intensity and impact sports such as tennis.
Pros: Good cushioning inside the shoe and firm arch support, trusted brand, made from lightweight synthetic materials.
Cons: Other reviewers have mentioned that the shoe comes up short compared to their normal size, so order an additional half size to compensate for this. There are reports from buyers that the Barricade can be a little narrow in the toe-box area too.
Vionic Orthaheel Walker Classic
The Vionic brand feature highly in our review of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis and are work as a normal walking or training shoe by many people - who simply love them because they are supportive and comfortable - ideal for painful feet!
Vionic is made by Orthaheel, a shoe company where the products are designed by podiatrists, so you know you are in safe hands (feet?) with anything they make. The Walker Classic is a good all round sports shoe that are ideal for playing tennis with too.
As well as featuring good arch support, the Walker Classic also has a specially designed heel cup area that helps reduce impact and shock, which will be perfect for tennis players.
One point to note about these shoes (and probably any others you buy) is that you need to give your body time to adjust to them. These shoes are great for correcting pronation, knee alignment issues and back pain too - but the recommendation is that you only wear them for a few hours, to begin with.
This is because your body feet, ankles and legs will need to get used to operating how they are supposed to, which may cause you some tension and discomfort initially.
** Our top choice! **
Pros: Great brand designed by Podiatrists, available in 3 different width sizes (A=regular, C & D are wider sizes), great arch support, removable orthotic insert.
Cons: Some reviewers have mentioned that their pair wore out quite quickly on the sole, but others have pointed out that those people are walking a long way every day and such wear-and-tear is to be expected. Other reviewers say that the shoes do not offer any relief from their plantar fasciitis, but they may not have worn them in gradually which is recommended.
Z-CoiL Tennis Shoe
OK, I will say it - the Z-CoiL shoes have to be the strangest looking tennis shoes I have ever seen! I know you were thinking it too. However, there is some sense in this madness too though and a lot of thought has gone into their design.
The idea is that in addition to the built in orthotic to give good foot and arch support, the spring heel acts as suspension or as a shock-absorber, preventing you from impacting your heels, therefore reducing pain. They are being sold as a way to help with Plantar Fasciitis as well as other foot problems such as Mortons Neuroma, heel spurs or arthritis.
Apart from the odd look, the Z-CoiL tennis shoes are well made and are ideal for playing any sort of sports in as well as being great for walking too. The leather uppers and padded tongue help with the styling and fit and the rubber soles help to prevent slipping, so you won't miss that backhand return shot.
Pros: Designed to help you with lots of different types of foot, leg and back pain. Arch support built in, EVA cushioning in the wide toe-box area helps prevent impact to the ball of the foot and reduces possible fascia stretching.
Cons: They look a bit odd (one reviewer described them as "ugly"), they are not available in half sizes but the manufacturer advises to order a size above and they provide a shoe insert that will allow them to fit correctly. Some buyers have reported that the shoes are quite heavy.
Orthofeet Whitney Comfort Sneakers
As well as Orthaheel, Orthofeet also specialises in engineering and designing shoes for a wide array of foot problems. If you have sciatica, bunions, hammer toes, diabetes or arthritis then Orthofeet have got you covered!
Their Whitney sneaker is perfect for playing tennis and the shoe offers a lot of features for your plantar fasciitis.
The shoe comes with a well-designed gel orthotic insole that has been created to reduce heel pain and provide padded support to your arch, which will help reduce plantar fasciitis pain. The heel pad is also supported with gel, which helps reduce shock when you are dashing around the court.
This shoe also ticks all of the boxes in my buyers guide above, giving good mid-sole and toe-box support and space too - so they are also possibly the best tennis shoes for you if you have any sort of foot problem.
Pros: Good design (available in black or white styling), specifically designed to help you with plantar fasciitis or foot problems, lightweight.
Cons: Some buyers have reported that despite the shoe coming in a variety of widths, even the extra-wide is still quite narrow and therefore the fit can be tight - make sure to order the correct size or go a half size up.
Plantar Fasciitis Tennis shoe buyers guide:
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis or heel pain and are looking to buy a pair of shoes to help manage the pain, there are a few general rules of thumb to consider:
- The shoes must have good arch support. This is critical if you have plantar fasciitis as a shoe that does not prevent the fascia ligament from over-stretching will just make the problem worse.
- The shoe needs to be firm in the mid-sole. This is to prevent the shoe from twisting too much, which can allow your foot and ankle to pronate or supinate (roll to either side).
- The shoes need a supportive heel. As plantar fasciitis sufferers have painful heels, the shoe needs to be cushioned or padded around the heel, whilst also providing good support too.
- You can use your own orthotics - If you need to wear a pair of shoe inserts, heel cups or orthotics to help manage your plantar fasciitis, the shoes must be able to handle them. A good pair will have an orthotic insole in already, but it needs to be removable.
** Our choice ** Vionic Walker Classic
Our list of the best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis does cover a few different brands and designs for you to choose from, but as with some of the other reviews we have done, Orthaheel wins this one again. I am not sure you will be able to buy a better shoe than one that has been designed specifically by a team of podiatrists!
One more thing for me to mention is that you need to ensure you seek treatment as soon as you see the signs of plantar fasciitis. No tennis sneaker is going to cure you of this painful affliction, so seeing a doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible is very important.
I left my diagnosis for too long, leading to more pain, a more lengthy recovery and probably making it almost impossible to be completely cured. So make sure you get that appointment before you start shopping for tennis shoes.