The Best Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis

The Best Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis in 2022

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With so many options available these days, it can be difficult to find the best shoes for Achilles Tendonitis.

As a physiotherapist, my job is to inform people about the evidence and provide advice on how to find the best fit for them.

It may come as no surprise that there is no clear winner when it comes to Achilles pain.

Everyone is unique, and their needs will differ slightly depending on the type and severity of their Achilles Tendonitis, as well as lifestyle factors such as how active they are. Not to mention their foot type and walking style.

Although finding a good shoe is important for Achilles Tendonitis, research suggests that load management is the best thing for recovery.

If you’re not sure where to begin with your Achilles rehabilitation, try our free Achilles Ultimate Guide. Calf raises are also always recommended in the treatment of Achilles Tendonitis.

To determine which shoe is best for Achilles Tendonitis, it is necessary to first understand some fundamental concepts about the condition.

First, let me explain what Achilles Tendonitis is:

Achilles Tendonitis (now known as Achilles Tendinopathy) is a term used to describe a degenerative process that occurs within your tendon. The process is complicated, and new information about what happens is constantly being revealed.

Achilles Tendonitis is defined by changes in the structure of your tendon, where previously parallel fibers become tangled. This frequently causes a visible lump in the Achilles.

Most importantly, we know Achilles Tendonitis is caused by a sudden change in tendon loading. This process can also be partially reversed by varying the load applied to the tendon. What exactly do we mean by “loading the tendon”?

Increased load on the Achilles can refer to any situation in which you use the Achilles more than usual. Some simple examples include going on a weekend hike on uneven terrain, participating in a social sport for the first time in a long time, or simply doing some backyard renovations.

Tendonitis comes in several varieties:

There are two types of Achilles Tendonitis, and both have an impact on the shoes that should be worn.

Insertional Tendinopathy is the first type. Achilles tendon pain in the area where the tendon inserts into the heel characterizes this condition. This can also be combined with a bony spur known as Haglund’s Deformity.

The pain will be at the back of your heel, which is important because certain shoes may rub on the sore spot, irritating your Achilles Tendon. (It’s also important to distinguish this from other causes of heel pain.) So, for this condition, it might be best to start with open footwear, but we’ll get there soon.

The second type of tendinopathy is Mid-Substance Tendinopathy. The pain will be higher up in the tendon, in the middle. There will usually be a noticeable lump in the tendon when compared to the other side, and the pain will be more severe than on the other side. Different shoes can still aggravate this type of tendinopathy if they rub against the swollen area.

Do running shoes aid in the treatment of Achilles tendonitis?

runner_achilles_tendon

I was prepared to list all of the benefits that closed in shoes, such as runners, would have on Achilles Tendinopathies when writing this article. It was fascinating to investigate the most recent research and discover some hard truths, which I will now share.

The majority of studies that have measured tendon strain with and without shoes conclude that running will INCREASE the load on your Achilles Tendon.

Allow for an explanation before you stop reading.

People who wear cushioned shoes take longer strides and have more heel impact. This also causes the ankle to bend more as the foot makes contact with the ground. Bending before lifting the heel causes more Achilles strain.

Shoes will continue to be important in managing Achilles pain because they provide stability in other directions, such as preventing your foot from caving in – the technical term for this is pronation.

Some advice would be to take smaller steps to help reduce the strain on the Achilles.

There are some other ways to modify the load on your Achilles while wearing running shoes.

Can heel lifts aid in the reduction of Achilles strain?

Heel lifts and orthotics, on the other hand, can help to relieve some of the pressure caused by wearing shoes in the first place. To have any effect, they must be at least 1cm tall. Most studies would suggest going even higher; however, this becomes impractical because the heel can slip out of the shoe.

Please see our blog for more information on heel lifts, but the bottom line is that if you have Achilles Tendonitis, it is always a good idea to try heel lifts.

This is because they are inexpensive and may provide some short-term pain relief, such as massage of the Achilles tendon. In the long run, it is always best to prioritize load management and exercises.

Another option for reducing the strain on your Achilles tendon in the short term is to wear a walking boot for a short period of time.

Do all shoes put more strain on the Achilles Tendon?

Not all shoes are created equal, and studies have shown that rocker bottom shoes can help to reduce the load on the Achilles tendon.

Rocker bottoms are simply shoes with a curve built into the sole that are designed to propel the foot forward during gait.

These shoes are not for everyone, but if you have severe Achilles Tendonitis, it may be worth trying these to relieve some of the strain on the tendon.

Guide to Shoe Fitting for Different Foot Types

When purchasing a shoe for Achilles Tendonitis, keep your foot type in mind. To achieve the best results, different foot types will necessitate varying levels of support.

Your foot can pronate or supinate as you walk. Both of these are normal, and people will pronate or supinate to varying degrees.

Pronators will notice that the arches of their feet cave in when they walk. They might have been told they have ‘flat arches.’ It is normal to have some pronation, and it is nothing to be concerned about.

Supination is the inverse of pronation; the foot will turn outwards slightly and the arch may even rise as you walk.

Both the high arch and the normal arch will necessitate the use of a neutral shoe that is not built up on the inside. The main difference for this group is that they will require a lot of cushioning to reduce shock transmission through the lower legs while walking.

Pronating feet will require shoes with more arch support to help maintain their arch while walking. The graphic below depicts some running shoe brands that offer models tailored to specific foot types. These specific brands can be found in the Joggers section of this article.

What are the best Achilles tendonitis shoes?

Remember that there are thousands of possible shoes on the market. We provided evidence-based advice, but you must still decide which shoe feels best for you. The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some different Achilles Tendonitis running and walking shoes.

We’ve provided a list of shoes that we’ll go over here:

1. Rocker Bottom Shoes

2. Open Shoes

3. Joggers

4. Boots

5. Work Shoes

6. Crowd Favorites

1. Achilles Tendonitis Rocker Bottom Shoes for Men and Women

With research indicating that these shoes can reduce achilles tendon strain while running and walking, they are an obvious choice for number one on our list.

Rocker bottom shoes have a lower plantarflexion moment, which means the Achilles tendon does not have to work as hard while running or walking.

Rocker bottom shoes have been the only shoes studied to reduce tendon load, so they are a clear favorite when deciding on the best running shoe for Achilles tendonitis.

You must ensure that no pressure is applied to the sore spot on your Achilles tendon. Tendinopathies despise compression, so any rubbing or pressure on the tendon may result in an increase in symptoms.

MBT:

Purchase Motives:

  • Rocker bottom design – excellent for relieving pressure on the Achilles Tendon.
  • The shoes have a deep toe box and appear to fit most feet.
  • Built-in orthotics provide arch support for flatter feet.

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Because of the rocker bottoms, balance can be difficult – not for everyone.
  • According to some reviews, the soles of these shoes wear out quickly.
  • High-priced +

MBT is a brand that focuses on the rocker bottom design. As previously stated, the rocker bottom assists in propelling you without putting undue strain on the Achilles tendon. The disadvantage of this is that rocker bottoms can be difficult to adjust to if the user isn’t used to the sensation.

Most people will adjust, but rocker bottoms aren’t for everyone, and some people will simply dislike the sensation of their feet rocking on the ground.

They have a nice heel support and a cushioned sole to absorb impact. Although the built-in orthotic appears to be adequate, we would still recommend purchasing an off-the-shelf orthotic to replace the factory one.

The shoe fit appears to be adequate for most feet – however, wide feet may have some difficulty.

You can see some MBT variations by clicking on the following link:

MBT shoes for women:

MBT shoes for men:

HOKA ONE ONE:

Purchase Motives:

  •  Rocker bottom design – excellent for relieving pressure on the Achilles Tendon.
  • Extra padding and sole height make this a very comfortable shoe.

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Customer feedback on Achilles pain has been mixed.
  • Designs aren’t for everyone because they use a lot of bright colors.
  • High-priced++

Hoka shoes use a similar rocker bottom technology to propel you through gait.

They’ve grown in popularity, and they take pride in being a maximally cushioned running shoe, which one would assume is good for relieving aches and pains.

These shoes are designed with extra cushioning at the heel strike and help propel the foot during the running toe-off phase.

Customers have mixed feelings about how well Hokas perform for Achilles Tendonitis. Some people like the shoes, but others don’t like how the heel cushioning puts extra pressure on the Achilles tendon.

Having said that, they are still an excellent choice, especially for people who pronate excessively or runners who land with a heel strike.

Check out the following variations on the Hoka one:

Our HOKA ONE ONE Model of choice:

Men's HOKA ONE ONE Shoes

Women's HOKA ONE ONE Shoes

2. Achilles Tendonitis open shoes for men and women

The advantage of open-toed shoes is that they relieve pressure on the back of your heel. This is especially important for insertional Achilles tendonitis, but some closed-in shoes will still aggravate mid-substance tendonitis.

We still recommend open shoes with arch support to prevent the foot from caving in or pronating. This will help to alleviate any torsional forces that may be present in the Achilles tendon.

Some of our suggestions for open shoes are as follows:

CROCS:

Purchase Motives:

  • Reasonably priced and easily accessible
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • A shoe with an open back that is ideal for insertional achilles tendonitis.

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Not everyone is interested in design.
  • They tend to wear out quickly.

These shoes aren’t going to win any fashion awards, but they’re surprisingly comfortable. They have sole support and are extremely light-weight.

The clog design also allows you to avoid putting direct pressure on your Achilles tendon. Crocs are thus the ideal walking shoe for Achilles Tendonitis.

Crocs are also very easy to clean.

They are a low-cost show, and as a result, some will wear out faster. There has been some feedback about the outer designs wearing quickly.

Customer service has been mentioned as another source of contention, but we have had no issues with this.

The following is an example of a unisex croc shoe:

Crocs shoes for both sexes

Birkenstock:

Purchase Motives:

  • Outstanding professional designs
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • A shoe with an open back that is ideal for insertional achilles tendonitis.

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • A moderately heavy shoe
  • The straps tend to wear out quickly.

These are high-quality shoes with custom soles that will mold to your feet over time.

They are much more fashionable than the crocs mentioned above, but they still have many of the beneficial features needed to help with Achilles tendonitis.

The only disadvantage of these shoes over crocs is that they are not as light. Having said that, they are still comfortable to wear and are not a burden on the foot.

Here are some Birkenstock designs:

Men's Birkenstock Shoes

Women's Birkenstock Shoes

3. Achilles Tendonitis Joggers for Men and Women

Although research does not support the use of traditional joggers for Achilles Tendonitis, not everyone will want to wear clogs or rocker bottoms.

If you need regular joggers, we recommend thinking about taking smaller steps and using a heel wedge to elevate the heel.

Having said that, it is critical for runners to keep some load going through the tendon. It is recommended that you use a running trainer when jogging.

If you have Achilles Tendonitis, here are some jogging shoes recommended for you:

Asics:

Purchase Motives:

  • A wide range of products are available.
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Shoe that is lightweight

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Expensive at the highest level
  • The narrower profile is not ideal for a wide foot.

Asics is a well-designed shoe that has been around for a long time. They provide good heel support as well as adequate mid-foot support. Most of their shoes have a flexible toe end, which aids in foot mechanics.

These shoes are designed for running and provide excellent cushioning on heel strike, which may be beneficial for Achilles Tendinopathy.

Some customers complain that the shoe lacks firmness in the mid-foot and that the mid-foot section is a little tight for wider feet.

Here are some examples of ASICS designs:

Asics Jogger Shoes For Men

Asics Jogger Shoes For Women

Brooks:

Purchase Motives:

  • A crowd favorite – especially popular among Achilles Tendonitis patients.
  • They are extremely comfortable and have a low heel drop of 12mm in both the women’s and men’s lines.

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • According to some reports, later models are slightly narrower.
  • Can be reasonably priced

Brooks has a devoted following among Achilles Tendonitis patients. They make excellent joggers that are both supportive and comfortable.

In some cases, the shoe may hug the foot tightly and may not be a perfect fit for all people with insertional Achilles Tendonitis. On the other hand, this hindfoot support may be exactly what some people with mid-tendon Achilles Tendonitis require.

Brooks Adrenaline and Ghost models have a 12mm heel drop, which is ideal for people who suffer from Achilles Tendonitis. The reason for this is that a higher heel drop can function as a heel wedge, providing some support.

Check out some of the Brooks shoes listed below:

Brooks model recommendation:

Brooks Jogger Shoes For Men

Brooks Jogger Shoes For Women

New Balance:

Purchase Motives:

  • Extra wide for larger feet
  • Design features that are conservative

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Some conflicting customer feedback on Achilles Tendonitis support.

New Balance makes some excellent Achilles Tendonitis shoes. They made the list this year due to the shoe’s durability and wider fit for those with larger feet.

 The New Balance  exterior is fairly straightforward, with mostly neutral colors. The range varies depending on the model, but the majority are reasonably cushioned and comfortable.

Because of the wide fit, many Achilles Tendonitis patients prefer this shoe as an alternative. They are available in widths ranging from 2E for men to 2D for women.

Some of the new balance models are listed below:

New Balance Jogging Shoes for Men

New Balance Jogging Shoes for Women

4. Achilles Tendonitis Boots

Finding the right boots for Achilles Tendinopathy can be difficult. Especially if you have insertional tendinopathy.

It is always best to avoid putting pressure directly on the heel, but if boots are required for work, here is a brand that might work for you.

Gravity Defyer:

This company creates shoes that are specifically designed to relieve heel and foot pain.

They’re a good choice because of the heel cushioning, ankle support, and plenty of space in the front of the shoe.

You can see some examples of designs here:

Gravity Defying Boots for Men

Gravity Defying Boots for Women

5. Achilles Tendonitis Work Shoes

Work shoes are essential because you will be wearing them the majority of the time. It can be difficult to find a good supportive shoe that also looks good.

The most important aspect of a work shoe is its comfort for you. A slight heel raise may help to reduce the load in the heel.

Soft padding around the heel cushions and reduces the impact of ground reaction forces.

Here’s a suggestion for a brand that might work for you:

Dr Comfort:

Purchase Motives:

  • Shoes that appear professional
  • Provides adequate support through the arch of the foot
  • Well-made and long-lasting

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • A more substantial shoe
  • There is no return policy

Dr. Comfort has a large selection of work shoes that are well-made. They provide depth and removable insoles for inserting a custom or pre-fabricated orthotic.

Throughout the day, they provide adequate heel cushioning and good mid-sole support.

These shoes are well-made, but they can be difficult to break in. They are typically a heavier shoe, so depending on what you are used to walking in, they may take some getting used to.

You can see some examples of designs here:

Dr Comfort Shoes for Women

Dr Comfort Shoes for Men

6. Other People's Favorite Brands

Although we have discussed some of the most popular shoe brands, there are many other shoes that people adore. These will be briefly mentioned below as additional options to consider.

Remember that every foot is unique and will react differently to different shoes. Examine each of these and see which one works best for you.

Vionics:

Vionic has a large selection of heel pain shoes. These shoes provide both style and some heel and arch support. They are unquestionably a brand worth investigating.

Below are some Vionic shoe examples:

Vionic Shoes For Women

Vionic Shoes For Men

Sketchers:

Skechers are yet another brand that Achilles Tendonitis patients adore! Although they aren’t specifically designed for heel pain, they do have a number of options, including a wide fit for those with a wider foot.

You can find some Skecher shoes below:

Sketchers Shoes For Women

Sketchers Shoes For Men

Gravity Defyer:

Purchase Motives:

  • Designed specifically for heel pain
  • Exceptionally comfortable

Avoid for the following reasons:

  • Reportedly poor customer service
  • Shoes tend to wear out quickly

Gravity Defyers are shoes designed specifically to alleviate heel pain. They accomplish this through a variety of means.

The insole is removable, allowing for the use of custom or pre-fabricated orthotics instead. The mid-to-front sole is rocker-shaped to reduce breaking load while running.

There is also more space at the toes for those with wider feet.

Some customers have complained about the poor customer service and the fact that some of the shoes wear out quickly. Having said that, they are still an excellent choice for Achilles pain.

Consider the following alternatives:

Gravity Defyer Shoes For Men

Gravity Defyer Shoes For Women

Finally, consider the following:

The best shoes for Achilles Tendonitis will differ from person to person. Joggers put more strain on the Achilles Tendon, so rocker bottom shoes and open shoes like clogs are preferable to regular joggers.

If anyone has purchased shoes to aid in Achilles Tendonitis and they helped, please leave a comment in the comment section. You could be helping a fellow reader.

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