Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Plantar Fasciitis

Posted by Sheryl M on 4/16/03 at 15:53 (116329)

I have just been diagnosed with PF by my podiatrist. He said I MUST get into some different shoes. I have terrible feet & in 1998, I had an implant put in my left foot (same foot now diagnosed with PF) due to missing a bone in my foot which helps hold up my arch. I've worn orthotics for years, but, of course, they do not fit in stylish shoes like we women like to wear, and I am NOT including high heels or anything like that. I gave those up years ago. So now I'm feeling very sorry for myself trying to figure out how I can find a shoe that will look decent with work clothes & yet be kind to my feet. He gave me (well, I bought them for $40) a softer orthotic as my old ones were the hard kind, but, so far the only shoe they will fit into is an athletic shoe. I read with interest about the inserts described on this website. Any help out there for me?


Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Carole C in NOLA on 4/16/03 at 16:46 (116334)

It's a tough question, and one that a lot of us working women here have struggled with. Whatever you end up with, will probably be a compromise of some sort. Some alternatives that have been reasonably OK for some of us, are SAS Free Times and Birkenstocks.

Free Times, made by SAS, are a ladies tie-up leather shoe and they come in several colors and finishes of leather. Mine are black nubuck. They are well made and 'PF friendly' shoes. Orthotics that fit in athletic shoes will probably fit in them. SAS shoes are difficult to find. You will not find them advertised online. I'd suggest looking in your phone book yellow pages, and in the Yahoo yellow pages, for a SAS shoe store near you. Then take your orthotics with you when you go there, to see if they fit in the shoe. The 'Free Time' model has good support, but some other SAS shoes do not. So, be sure to ask for that model.

Birkenstock makes some shoes that are reasonably OK. You probably will be better off if you look for the ones with the orthotic footbed, (the 'classic footbed') and don't wear your orthotics with them. Suzanne wears the Birkenstock Annapolis sometimes (as well as the SAS Free Time with a Birkenstock blue insert). Some people feel that the Birkenstock Boston clog is all right for work. At present, I often wear Birkenstock sandals to work with 'fancy' socks, and leave my custom orthotics at home. With summer coming, I may ditch the socks as well.

I hope this helps! From time to time, I too have been aghast at my lack of reasonably work-like but PF-friendly shoe choices.

Carole C

Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Suzanne D on 4/16/03 at 17:27 (116337)

Carole is so right, Sheryl. It IS a compromise situation when it comes to shoes for PF, and I think most, if not all, of us have despaired at times finding shoes that will look presentable for work.

Here is a link to the Annapolis shoes Carole mentioned that I wear. I am a first grade teacher which requires me to be on my feet a great deal. I find these shoes to be supportive and comfortable. They have removable insoles which allow for othotics. I wouldn't suggest your ordering them over the internet; you would want to try them first if at all possible. But at least you can see a picture and read about them. They are not the most fashionable, but they are dressier than lace-up shoes and provide a reasonable alternative for me.


Wow; that's a long link! I just highlighted what I saw at the top but didn't see all of that. I hope it works!

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Suzanne D on 4/16/03 at 17:31 (116338)

I checked, and that long link in my last post worked. Here you can see (hopefully)the shoes on the German Birkenstock site. You will notice that a camel color is available from there. After wearing my black pair for a year and knowing they worked for me, I ordered the camel color, too.


Suzanne :)

Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Nan D on 4/24/03 at 20:42 (117037)

I am on my feet all the time in sales and have the same problem with shoes and work that you described. I highly second the SAS recommendation as they are the best looking, stylish sandals I've found.(see more about SAS info on my post under Birkenstocks,PS.Shoes)But the most important thing you need to know about are the orthotics. Your best solution for a more rapid recovery and to get orthotics to fit in regular shoes are the orthotics called EZ Runner or SDO's which are both custom fit to your feet. They are a 2 part shoe insert with a cover over the custom designed gel center. In closed shoes or 'sneaks' you can wear the whole thing, but in flats or sandals you can take the cover off and just use the custom gel part. I wasted 4 months of pain & agony w/ podiartists before finding these orthotics. My problem is morton's neuroma, but have been told these orthotics work as well for PF too. If you'd like any more info on these, let me know.

Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Carole C in NOLA on 4/25/03 at 08:50 (117064)

Nan, thanks but I definitely wasn't talking about SAS sandals, or my 'non-PF friendly' SAS Adios shoes, which only have two holes for the laces and are more comfy than supportive. These styles of SAS shoes do not have the support that most of us with PF need. In fact, I had been wearing SAS Adios shoes daily for years before getting PF and had to stop wearing them when I got PF.

The supportive lace-up SAS styles of SAS shoes that seem to have have helped me and Suzanne with PF, are SAS Free Times. The men's version of them are SAS Time Out's, and my C.Ped fitted my orthotics to these initially, since I have pretty big feet for a woman. Later I switched to Free Times.

I'm really glad that another style helped your Morton's neuroma, though! That just goes to show you that our feet are so individual.

Carole C

Re: Plantar Fasciitis

Aly R. on 5/23/03 at 15:38 (119761)

I discovered 'Ambulators', which are actually shoes for diabetics who suffer from painful foot ailments. They're made for men and women, and they come with 3 insoles (two of which are really thin but do something for shock absorption, and one that's super cushiony. You can customize by choosing how many you want / need to use. The cushiony ones are APEX Anti-Shox sport inserts.) The handy thing with this shoe is it's extra deep to allow your orthotics, and they come in wide and extra-wide widths too. It's got great reinforcement and support - my podiatrist said they're about the best shoes I could have stumbled across.

When I first got them the leather was too tight & firm, especially around the heel, but I worked it with my hands and they softened up considerably.

Anyway, the shoe itself is called the 'Ambulator Biomechanical Women's Diabetic Shoe - Black Lace-up' or there's also the ' Ambulator BIO Black Boot'; Ambulator makes plenty of really ugly shoes, so it's important to look at the right one! They're a basic oxford-type shoe and aren't as dorky or unfashionable as many of the orthopedic shoes out there.
Of course, they're not cheap - I've seen them online ranging from $94 to $130, so you need to shop around. I get mine at http://www.medical-supplies-equipment.net (do a search for Ambulator) for $94, which is by far the cheapest I've found, but the annoying thing with this company is that if you have to return them for a reason other than defect, there's a 15% restock charge.

In any case, this was the first shoe I could find that my feet would tolerate; it cleared up my metatarsal pain completely, and was better than sneakers for my PF. And it was so nice to wear real shoes to the office & not sneakers!