If you’re short on time, and want to know what the best work boots for plantar fasciitis are, then I would suggest the Danner Men’s Vicious 4.5 Inch Non Metallic Toe Work Boot.
Having to work when you have plantar fasciitis is tough. Really tough. It feels like a never ending bruise that gets worse over time.
Certain stretches and keeping off your feet helps a lot. But, it’s equally as important to wear footwear that helps with the healing process. Boots designed to help with heel pains, have extra support & shock absorption features embedded in them.
I’ll be reviewing the following boots for plantar fasciitis:
- Danner Men’s Vicious 4.5 Inch Non Metallic Toe Work Boot
- KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot
- Caterpillar Men’s Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot
- Wolverine Men’s Raider Steel-Toe 6″ Work Boot
- Timberland PRO Men’s Hyperion Waterproof Work Boot
Will Work Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Make a Difference?
The short answer is yes. But there’s a catch. Specialized work boots will help in a big way, but it’s only half of the solution. The other half involves daily foot stretches and changes to some of your footwear habits. Don’t worry, these are pretty simple to do and we’ll cover them later.
Before diving into why different work boots can help, let’s take a deeper look at the problem.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Your foot has a thick bundle of ligaments (plantar fascia) that stretches from your heel bone to your toes. These ligaments acts as a natural shock absorber and are responsible for supporting the arch of your foot. When you damage these ligaments you’ll start to feel pain in the bottom of your foot and/or arch.
There are many reasons why your plantar fascia may become damaged:
- Flat feet or high arches – faulty arch structures forces more pressure
- Walking on hard flat surfaces – causes higher impact on your feet
- Obesity – more weight means higher impact
- Over the age of 40 – your ligaments may naturally wear down as you get older
- Unusual walk gait or worn out footwear – forces your arches to work harder
Most of these problems boil down to either too much stress on your feet or not enough support. This is why a major part of your recovery relies on having proper footwear. You want to take off as much stress on these ligaments as possible.
How are Work Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Different?
Strong Arch Support
Weak or no arch support forces your plantar fascia ligament to absorb the brunt of the impact. On hard surfaces like concrete, or if you have faulty arch structures (flat feet/high arches), this impact feels worse .
Having work boots with strong arch support will correct your foot and reduce the concentration of the impact. This will distribute the impact more evenly across your foot. Your plantar fascia ligament will take less damage with each step and you should have less sore feet overtime.
But arch support will do you no good unless you wear the right arch height. Flat footed people won’t need as much arch support as someone that has naturally high arches to begin with. Nowadays, many manufacturers use a contoured footbed in their boots. This will mold to your foot shape while maintaining strong support. You can always change out the insole if the arch type isn’t fitting right.
The first thing you want is a stiff and structured heel to take some of the load off your foot. Usually these is achieved with a deep-molded heel cup. This will help to lock your heel in place in a comfortable but supportive manner. The heel region should not collapse when pressed down.
Low to Medium Heel Height
This one is a bit tricky. You’ll want your heels elevated but not too much. Too much height adds direct force on your heel and makes the pain worse. Too little height and you’re not providing enough support for the plantar fascia.
The right height will shift pressure away from your heel and distribute it more evenly along the rest of your foot.
Make sure your new boots come with shanks. This is a strip of material that usually sits underneath the arch of your foot. It’s there to improve arch support, secure your heel better, and protect from punctures.
Shanks usually come in either steel or a composite material. Steel is the sturdiest but also the heaviest. Composite material is a bit more flexible but is much lighter. Both are good choices and a matter of personal preference.
Reducing impact means less strain on your arches. A good pair of boots has shock absorption features embedded in the different layers of the boot. You will find these features built into the midsole, the inside cushioning of the shoe, and within the insole itself. In no case should you be able to feel the hardness of the ground.
I recommend lace-up over zipper or pull on boots. You want each step to feel like a whole unit.
Lace-up boots will give a tailored snug feeling at the different regions of your foot. This will provide better arch support and less heel slippage.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
Along with proper footwear, you should also stretch 2-3 times a day. At the very least, I would recommend when you wake up and when you come home from work. This will help target when it’s most painful and help relieve some of the pain.
There are many different stretches you can do. You don’t have to do all of them. Test out which ones seems to help you best. Here’s a video of the toe stretch – one of the best stretches you can do:
Avoid going barefoot. I know it’s tempting, but going barefoot is the exact opposite of providing support and reducing impact. It’s one of the worst things you can do to help cure heal pains.
Does this mean wearing your plantar fasciitis work boots 24/7? Absolutely not! First of all, that’s a recipe for stinky boots. A better method is to switch out to a more comfortable, but equally supportive pair of shoes or sandals. This way you continue to support your feet giving the ligament a better chance to heal.
It’s also just as important to avoid wearing worn out shoes. If you go to the gym or go running, you’ll need footwear that is going to provide support. Even after working hours you want to support your foot’s ligaments as much as possible.
Amount of Time for Recovery
The good news about plantar fasciitis, if there is good news, is that 97% of the time you don’t need surgery to cure it. People are generally able to heal their feet within 6 to 18 months. If you’re following good footwear and stretching habits, you’re statistically likely to make a full recovery!
What If My Heel Still Hurts?
If your stock boot insoles aren’t cutting it, you can try after-market insoles or custom orthotics.
- After-market Insoles – These generally come in two types. Comfort or support. For plantar fasciitis you want support insoles that matches your arch height. Quality wise, after-market insoles tend to be of higher caliber than the stock insoles. They tend to fit well, but will not be a perfect fit like custom orthotics.
- Custom Orthotics – You’ll need to see your podiatrist or a specialist to have them make a custom set for you. Fit wise, these are made as a perfect match to your foot and shaped to give the proper support. The main drawback is that they are very expensive. An average pair often runs $400-$600 for a single set.
Trial & Error
I know it’s frustrating but not every model & brand is going to fit you right. Sometimes it’ll take a few different tries to finally find a boot and will feel comfortable to you. Many times it’s not the boot hat is uncomfortable, as much as the insole itself.
For an insole to be comfortable, the arch height must be properly synced up. What one brand calls a low, normal, or high arch can be a very different definition for another brand.
If none of the methods above help to reduce the pain, it’s time to seek your local podiatrist (foot doctor). You’re specific case may be too severe for the typical treatment methods. There are other non-invasive and invasive methods that your doctor may recommend.
Will Replacing Just The Insoles Work?
Replacing the insoles in your old boots may help temporarily. But I’d recommend against it, at least while your feet are healing. Otherwise you’ll be taking a gamble:
- Your current boots aren’t equipped for it – Most likely your current pair doesn’t have the appropriate support & shock absorption you need. While they may be fine when your feet aren’t damaged, you need more support & comfort during the healing process.
- Takes a long time to heal – It takes about 6-18 months to make a full recovery. During this time you want to reduce the burden on the plantar fascia as much as possible. Having good insoles and mediocre boots aren’t going to make for a speedy recovery. At best you’ll heal slow and at worst you damage your ligaments even more.
So what should you do with your current set of steel toe work boots? If they’re still in good condition, I’d save them for when you’ve made a full recovery from heel pains. Be sure you swap out the insoles with a quality pair. This upgrade may give enough support & shock absorption for an undamaged and healthy foot.
Work Boots for Plantar Fasciitis Reviews
These are my top picks for making work bearable when you have plantar fasciitis. All of these boots have safety toes, multiple layers of shock absorption, and plenty of support. I’ve also included a range of boots with different budgets in mind.
The stock insoles these they come with are generally good. But, if you have the budget I’d recommend going with an aftermarket insole. They tend to provide better support making for a more comfortable feel .
If the boot feels uncomfortable make sure that the insole arch height is correct for you. This small change can save you from having to replace the entire boot.
What I like about the Danner Vicious Work boots is the extra features they’ve added to make it feel more comfortable.
It comes with a dual density EVA(Eva Propeleyn foam) midsole which adds more shock absorption. The heel cup is also designed differently. It comes with more padding and narrower. This helps to better locks your heel in place giving more support.
I also like that the Danner Vicious line comes with a composite toe and nylon shanks. The non-steel material is very strong but a much lighter alternative.
There are a few features that need improvement though. The big one is the toe box. For some people it will feel a bit cramped and might need a half size bigger. I’ve also noticed that the boots tend to squeak when you first put them on. And finally, I’m not a huge fan laces either. These are rather weak and will not stand up to tough conditions.
- Dual density EVA midsole – more shock absorption
- Enhanced heel cup – more padding and better heel locking design
- Composite safety toe and nylon shanks – much lighter work boot
- Built tough – good craftsmanship
- Toe box may feel cramped – might need half a size bigger
- Tends to squeak when you first use them
- Laces tend to break
The Pittsburgh line is a great budget work boot for plantar fasciitis. Like most Keen work boots these are comfortable out of the box. There is very little break in period and they feel almost like sturdier hiking boots.
One of my favorite features is the asymmetrical steel toe box. The toe box is shifted off center towards your big toe. This makes the toe box feel roomier without having to physically enlarge the toe region.
My biggest complaint is the lifespan of these boots. Compared to the other work boots, they aren’t that durable. If you won’t be in the trenches often, so to speak, they might be a good option for you.
- Great budget work boot
- Comfortable out of the box
- Designed with asymmetrical steel toe box – should feel roomier without having to enlarge toe box
- Not extremely durable – shorter lifespan compared to other boots
The Diagnostic series is a comfortable work boot that provides good support. It comes with good heel support and the steel shank also give more stability.
My biggest gripe is with the durability of these shoes. For the price I’d want something that lasts a bit longer. I’d recommend different boots if you need something that’ll stand up to tough work.
- Good heel support
- Comes with steel shanks – stiffer support
- Feels comfortable even with plantar fasciitis
- Not durable – short lifespan
A solid pair of comfortable steel toe work boots. These have ample cushioning and will feel supportive right off the bat. The nylon shanks make for a bit of a lighter feel too.
What makes the Raider’s feel so comfortable is the extra emphasis on the outsole. They’ve added shock absorbing compression pads not found in other boots. This feature works well with the ankle support to downplay any pains felt.
The biggest drawbacks are twofold. The first is the toe region. It runs a bit skinny and may feel cramped. My other concern is the durability. While durable, in my opinion it’s only mediocre at best. If you’re not working in the trenches day in and day out, they should hold up fine.
- Extra cushioning and shock absorption
- Good ankle support
- Comes with nylon shanks
- Toe Box runs skinny – may feel cramped
- Durability is mediocre – not built for daily tough work
Although Timberland makes many comfortable boots, the Hyperion series are better equipped for fighting plantar fasciitis. I like the fact that these come with alloy safety toes and fiberglass shanks. This lightweight construction means less force with each step.
No complaints on the comfort or support. The lightweight EVA midsole and Timberland’s anti-fatigue technology absorbs most of the shocks. Combined with the unique tongue construction of the boot, your feet will feel more snug & supportive in this series.
For some the toe box may feel a bit cramped. These don’t run as skinny as the wolverines, but aren’t as roomy as other Timberland models. Depending on your foot shape, these will work great or feel terrible on you. Either way you’ll know right away.
- Lightweight construction – alloy safety toes & fiberglass shanks
- Lightweight EVA Midsole & anti-fatigue technology – absorbs most of shock
- Unique tongue construction – more snug and supportive feeling
- Toe box may feel a bit cramped – may need half size bigger
- Design doesn’t work on everybody – will feel comfortable or uncomfortable right away
- Durability is mediocre
I’d be happy with any one of these boots to help with plantar fasciitis. They all have extra shock absorption and come with better arch support.
For my friends and family my go to recommendation is the Danner Men’s Vicious 4.5 Inch Non Metallic Toe Work Boot. I like that these in particular can stand up to tough working conditions without compromising on comfort. If you can afford it, I would also recommend trading up to an aftermarket insole. Think of it as another layer of defense in helping with the healing process.