3 Best Sandals for Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Heel pain and plantar fasciitis is such a pervasive complaint at our clinic that we have created recommendations for home remedies for treating heel pain. One of the most important remedies is to keep the arches supported at all times by never going barefoot during treatment.

Never Go Without Arch Support

When you can’t wear shoes with supportive orthotics, we recommend wearing flip flops or sandals with built-in arch supports. An arch support keeps the foot from flattening while standing or walking and reduces tightness in the plantar fascia, allowing pain to subside. This is such as important part of treatment for heel pain that if it does not happen, it is likely that treatment will fail.

What Kind of Support is Needed in Sandals to Treat Heel Pain?

In order to reduce tension on the plantar fascia and to transfer pressure off of the heel the orthotic portion of the sandal must include these features:

  • Conform very close to the arch of the foot. By conforming close to the arch the flip-flop or sandal will stop collapse of the arch and act to decrease tension on the plantar fascia. This will also help to transfer pressure off of the heel and onto the arch.
  • Be as wide or wider than the foot. In order to transfer as much pressure as possible off of the heel, the orthotic portion of the sandal must at least as wide as the foot.
  • Deep heel cup. Deep heel cups help limit excessive rolling in of the heel. When the heel rolls in, the arch flattens and that increases tension on the plantar fascia.

With this type of support damaging tension and pressure on the heel is reduced significantly. Most people notice the difference immediately.

Recommended Sandals to Reduce Heel Pain

The sandals listed below contain these features. These are the sandals we recommend to our patients and they are also affiliate links so we may receive a small commission if your order from the link.

Vionic Flip-flops and Sandals: The Very Best Heel Pain Sandal (various models)

These are our go-to sandal for most of our patients with heel pain. I love these things and I wish I had invented them. These are the one item I recommend to essentially all of my heel pain patients.

Vionic sandals are designed by a podiatrist and have the best arch support on the market and they simply do an amazing job transferring pressure off of the heel and reducing tension on the plantar fascia. Prices range from $35 to $110 depending on the model. All have the same great arch support, however.

Pros: Exceptional arch support. Best job at reducing tension on the plantar fascia.  Attractive. Many model and color choices. Great reviews from our patients with heel pain. Not cheap, but a very good value. Very durable.

Cons: Higher arch may take some getting used to for some people. Most people adapt with no problem but rarely someone just does not tolerate the arch. We recommend wearing them around the house for a few days to make sure they work for you. Vionic sandals tend to be more expensive then other brands, but worth it.

Chaco EcoTread Flip-flop: Best if the Vionic Feels Too High

Some of our patients with heel pain find the Chaco Ecotread very comfortable.

The arch is not quite as high or supportive as the arch on the Vionic so this is not our first choice for most of our heel pain patients. If you have had trouble tolerating the arch height on the Vionic sandals, however, the Chaco EcoTread might be a good choice for you.

Because the higher arch of the Vionic sandals is superior at reducing the forces that lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis  we do recommend that patients with plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain try the Vionic first. But if you find the Vionic arch too high, return the Vionic sandals and try these Chaco.

Pros: Excellent choice for those who have flatter feet and don’t tolerate the higher arch of the Vionic sandals. Good arch support although not as supportive as Vionic.

Cons: Arch not quite as supportive as Vionic sandals so it will not be as effective at reducing tension on the plantar fascia or transferring pressure off of the heel.

Spenco Yumi: Best Lower Cost Heel Pain Sandal

This is a good value-priced arch support flip-flop for those with plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain. Of the sandals we reviewed, this has the lowest arch so it is less likely to reduce tension on the plantar fascia relative to the others we recommend. But it does have the best arch support available in the $40 range.

Pros: Best heel pain relief sandals in the $40 – $50 range. Attractive sandal. Many great color choices.

Cons: Not as supportive as other choices. May not be as durable as it has softer EVA foam in the arch.

That’s it. We could not find any other sandals or flip-flops that provide adequate arch support to reduce heel pain. If you know of other sandals that we should include in this list please reply to this post and let us know.

What Else Should You Do to Treat Heel Pain?

It is critical to keep in mind that while these sandals are the best we have found for our patients with heel pain, they are not a substitute for stable shoes and custom orthotics designed to treat heel pain. But for those times you want to wear sandals or flip-flops give these a try.

For a detailed explanation of the current recommended treatments for plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain read our Guide to Heel Pain Treatment.

You can learn the best self treatments for heel pain in our Guide to Home Treatment of Heel Pain.

See Us in Seattle for Heel Pain Relief

If you are in the Seattle area contact us for an appointment so we can provide you with a comprehensive plan to relieve your heel pain.

Dr. Larry Huppin
Follow me!

2023 Shoe Guide and Recommendations

Shoes recommended by our doctors - subscribe now

for shoe list and weekly foot health newsletter


Thank you! 

Check your email for your shoe guide 

You will also receive our weekly shoe recommendations and foot health newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.   


11 thoughts on “Best Flip Flops and Sandals for Heel Pain

  1. I was told by more than one doctor to NEVER EVER EVER EVER wear flip flops under any circumstances. I used to love them and wound up with stress fractures twice, so now am too fearful to consider them (I might add that I have had multiple foot injuries and will do anything to err on the side of caution to avoid that monster walking boot). I would love to hear more from you on why you are making flip flop recommendations at all — arch support or not.

    1. People are going to wear flip-flops regardless of what we say so we guide them to the healthiest flip-flops available. Also, many people can wear flip-flops without an issue. If your doctors have told you that you should not then you probably should listen to them. That doesn’t mean that others can’t wear arch support flip-flops – at least in moderation.

      1. I have a plantar fibroma in the arch of my foot. Any arch support causes more pain. What kind of shoes/sandals do you reccomend?

  2. I have purchased both shoes and sandles/flip flops by KURU and they both seem to help my PF symptoms. My heel pain was so bad that I could hardly walk without limping. My heel pain has virtually disappeared in about 2 1/2 mths. I actually walked 18 holes in the shoes last week! Are you familiar with these shoes? I will buy a pair of the Vionics to compare, as having a wider selection should be a good thing! Thanks for making all the info available!

  3. I had various foot/ankle/shin issues and starting wearing Olukai flip flops. They have a nice arch support and deep heel cup – they have helped tremendously! I used to go barefoot at home but the doc said to never do that – he was right. I feel so much better!

  4. Can you also consider adding regular sandals (other than the between the toe flip flops), as not everyone can wear the flip flop style comfortably, and they aren’t as supportive.
    I too have plantar fibromas under both arches, but need the arch support as well…it’s hard to get something with right support, but offloading the pressure on the fibroma areas, or at least having something like a memory foam to cushion the area.

  5. MBT has what they call a recovery sandal. it has a deep heel cup and arch support. it comes in my size, a 4, which is extremely hard to find. I have severe mid foot arthritis with a large bone spur. Is this a good shoe? Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *