Best Running Shoes For Heel Pain

WARNING! If you have heel pain and are desperate to run, you are not going to like this introduction.

If you’ve had heel pain and you’ve given it time to recover. Or a doctor has given you the green light to start running again. The information in this article will help you choose the best running shoes for heel pain prevention.

If your heels hurt when you run, stop running and find the root cause. If you can run for a few miles before your heels begin to hurt, back off running for a short time. You need time to let heel whatever is causing the problem.

You cant run your way through heel pain and no running shoe is going to fix it.

That’s the bad news out of the way.

Best Support


New Balance 990v5

The New Balance 990v5 is an iconic running shoe that has all the characteristics required to make it ideal for runners who suffer from heel pain. In addition to that the collar around the heel has been engineered with two types of materials to give extra support.

The midsole of 990v5 has been designed to be extremely durable, so they may be able to put more miles into them than other shoes. With over 5000 massively positive reviews on Amazon, you know you cant go wrong with these shoes.

Best Overall


Hoka Bondi 7

This short list of three running shoes for runners with heel pain could have been a list of three Types of Hoka running shoe. Hoka are known for their maximalist cushioning and clever design features.

Of all the Hoka’s the Bondi 7 is has the most cushioning and support of all. Making the Bondi 7 the ideal shoe for heel pain sufferers. This is why the Bondi 7 gets a rational rating of 5 stars!

Best Support


Brooks Beast 20

The Brooks Beast 20 has a 12mm heel drop. This takes the pressure off the achilles tendon by pointing the toes down slightly more than other shoes mentioned here. The heel counter is external to the shoes and is visible in the picture above this gives excellent support

The BioMoGo DNA midsole is soft and gives a smooth ride. The Brooks Beast 20 has nearly 3000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, take a look for yourself..

Buyers Guide

Heel pain is a very general term that is used to describe a number of different issues. All of which can impact the same or different parts of the heel.

You should understanding what caused your heel pain. Knowing that will help guide what running shoe characteristics will help prevent a return of the problem.

Your new running shoes have to be comfortable and share the normal characteristics you need in a running shoe. The following points are specifically for those coming back from heel pain.

Heel Cushioning

Protect the heel as much as possible. Kinda common sense really and I’ll say no more about. The shoes recommended all have good cushioning for the heel.

Heel Counter

The heel counter provides the stability by holding the heel in place. It stops the foot from moving around laterally. I don’t think I’ve had a running shoe that didn’t do this but its something to consider.

Arch Support

Ensure your feet have the right amount of arch support from your running shoes will help prevent the return of your heel pain.

For Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve had plantar fasciitis keeping the Achilles tendon flexible and stretched will help prevent its return. Shoes with a lower heel to toe drop will help with this. I’ll put another warning here.  Don’t transition to zero drop or barefoot running shoes. If you like the idea of trying them out, take it very slowly and take time to recover between runs.

For Achilles Tendonitis

Shoes that do not fit properly or apply pressure to the Achilles tendon can cause Achilles tendonitis. Apply the normal rules around comfort and fit when selecting a running shoe. And in addition to that make sure the shoe doesn’t rub the Achilles when you put it on.

Heel pain is more about understanding the source of the pain and alleviating the symptoms. Once you’ve done that, you can apply common sense and return to running (with new shoes) slowly but surely.  

Types Of Heel Pain and Symptoms

Here’s a sample of things that can cause heel pain. As you’ll see some of them are quite similar so it can be hard to establish exactly what could be causing your pain. If your pain lasts for more than a few days, go see a doctor.

Plantar Fasciitis

This may be the most common form of heel pain. Its caused when the tissue on the base of the foot called  the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. This can happen when its been damaged or stressed beyond what it can cope with. For example too much running or landing on your feet from height. Its common with runners as we like to run, often too much!

The pain under the foot will be worst in the morning. I know from personal experience it can be very painful indeed. It can go away a bit during the day as you move around but while you’ve got it, you’ll know its there.. Research has been carried out into shock treatment for plantar fasciitis, If I’d been offer this when I had it, I would definatley have said yes.


Bursas are a bag like structure that help muscles and tendons move. If you have bursitis in the foot you will feel it on the underside or at the back of the heel. Can be caused by a biomechanical issue or your gait.

Bursitis gets worse if you stand for a long time. If you try to point your foot up or down it will get worse.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs can affect the best of us and Donald Trump. It’s a growth of bone where the plantar fascia joins the heel bone. Runners are prone to heel spurs as they are caused over a period time. If you are a bigger runner you are more prone to getting them.  

If you’ve noticed a pain on the underside of your heel getting worse over a period of time, you may have heel spurs.

Calcaneal Apophysitis

Calcaneal apophysitis occurs at the back in the middle of the heel bone. I can be caused by increasing your miles too quickly or a pair of new running shoes that are very much not for you.

You’ll have a tender rear of the heel if you have Calcaneal apophysitis.


You may bruise your heel after too much running. Or you may have hit it relatively lightly but still caused a bruise.

The a look at your heel for signs of bruising. It should go away relatively quickly after a few days.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis in runners is caused by too much running. The tendon can become warn down or inflamed.

Pain will be felt at the back of the heel. The pain gets worse when you go for a run and will feel stiff after.

Trapped Nerves

As in any part of the body a trapped nerve will cause pain, a tingling or numbness in the heel. Often comes when returning to running after a sprain or fracture.

As mentioned, you’ll feel numbness, pain or a tingle in your heel or any part of your foot for that matter.

Conclusion: Best Running Shoes For Heel Pain

There are multiple causes heel pain, find out what caused yours before returning to running.

Buy correct fitting, comfortable running shoes that have plenty of cushioning and support for the heel.

Try to prevent the return of your heel pain by buying new shoes and implementing one or two strategies to prevent its return.  

Best Running Shoes For Heel Pain

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to recover from plantar fasciitis?

Most people recover within 9 weeks.

Can recovery from plantar fasciitis be speeded up?

A lot of people use a night sock brace to help quicken recovery.

Will I need surgery to recover from plantar fasciitis?

Only a small percentage of people need to have surgery to recover from plantar fasciitis.

If I switch from a heel striker to a forefoot striker will that prevent heel pain?

It might help but will take a long time to retrain yourself. You need to resolve your heel pain first then implement strategies to ensure it does not return.

Will losing weight help prevent heel pain?


Will replacing my old running shoes help make sure my heel pain doesn’t return?




Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.