What Shoe Would Help Both Plantar Fasciitis and Underpronation?

A reader asks:

I have planter fasciitis on my left foot and underpronation on my right foot. I walk 2 miles a day and never run. Can you give me some good men’s options for both New Balance shoes and other brands of shoes that would help both the planter fasciitis and underpronation. Mark.

Answer

Hi Mark,

The best shoes for underpronation (or supination) are well-cushioned neutral shoes because they are flexible enough to adjust to the supinated foot motion, which is rigid in different phases of the gait cycle. Because you walk only and not run, you need a neutral shoe that is excellent for any walking activities. Since there is also the presence of plantar fasciitis on your left foot, you’ll need a shoe with excellent heel cushioning. In our view, your best shoes for New Balance are 1080v10, MW840v2, MW577, and 411. Other excellent options would be Hoka One One shoes (Bondi Leather, Bondi 7, and Cliftorn 7) and Saucony Echelon Walker 3. It’s best to try the shoe on before buying.

If you have tight calves and an aggressive heel strike, you may need a shoe with a higher heel-toe drop (8-12 mm) to stay comfortable on your foot, ankle, Achilles, and calf. But having a higher drop shoe may direct more stress to your knee and hip. So if you also have knee and hip issues, you may choose a heel-toe drop between 4 mm and 8 mm. Although the lower the shoe differential, the more calf flexibility and ankle mobility you need.

A follow-up

Thank you for taking the time to reply back to me. I talked with several people at New Balance Customer Service, a Supervisor at New Balance Corporate, and about 10 Managers at New Balance stores across the country. Most of these people have suggested either the 928v3 or the M1540v3. They say it has the New Balance roll technology and would be good for both supination and planter fasciitis. The MW 840v4 is sometimes also recommended but does not have the roll technology. The 1080 also looks good but with the foam looks weird, does not have the roll technology for supination and I only walk not run. I am so confused. Is the MW 840v4 just a more current shoe than the MW 840V2 you recommended? Can you comment on the 928, 1540, and also the 840 and 1080 again to help me decide. It is hard trying to get one shoe that is good for both planter fasciitis and supination.

Our Response

The ROLLBAR technology is highly recommended for plantar fasciitis because it reduces rearfoot movement, therefore, limits inversion and eversion of the sole. But this technology is usually present in stability shoes like the NB 928v3 and M1540v3 because it has overpronation control and most people with plantar fasciitis have flat feet and overpronation. We haven’t seen ROLLBAR technology in a neutral shoe yet. Since the New Balance customer service says that their ROLLBAR technology works for both supination and plantar fasciitis, you can try the shoes on but make sure they have the flexibility to support your foot as it rolls outward during the gait cycle. And you’ll feel comfortable and supported. But since you walk only and not run, the ROLLBAR technology and stability shoes may indeed work for you. Although neutral shoes are excellent in encouraging your natural stride, which is more suitable for supination.

The New Balance 840v4 is a neutral running shoe, while the MW840v2 is a neutral walking shoe. There is an advantage if you wear a walking shoe for walking because it has the strike path of walking in mind. Although a walking shoe may be a little heavier than a running shoe. But even though the 840 and 1080 don’t have the ROLLBAR technology, if they have the heel support that can relieve heel pain and heel counter that can hug the back of your foot for a locked-in fit, we believe they’ll also work well with plantar fasciitis. Plus, these neutral shoes also have good testimonials from people who suffer from plantar fasciitis and found comfort wearing them.

A follow-up

I looked up if the roll bar helps both over pronation and under pronation or supination. See below and comment please.

Rollbar is a posting system designed to reduce rear-foot movement. It consists of a molded plate placed under the heel, connected to postings on the inner and outer edges of the shoe.* Rollbar prevents the foot from rolling inward, providing excellent support for those with severe overpronation. Severe supination (rolling outward) is also controlled *All current shoes with Rollbar technology feature both postings. Some older styles did not include the posting on the outer edge; these styles did not support against supination.

Our Response

Yeah, the current shoes with Rollbar technology reduces inversion and eversion of the sole. We think the NB 928v3 (walking shoe) and M1540v3 (running shoe) will work for you in terms of protecting your heel so that plantar fasciitis will not become progressively worse. And it’s a priority. These stability shoes have arch-side supports, which can reduce pain caused by common foot problems like plantar fasciitis. One thing we’d like to point out is that both the 928v3 and M1540v3 have motion control features, which are supported by rigid devices, therefore, the shoes might be less flexible to your liking. But if you try the 928v3 and M1540v3 and find them comfortable and supportive, they might be the right shoes for you. Another thing that stability shoes have, which works well with underpronation, is forefoot flexibility because they can adjust to the outward roll of your foot during the toe-off phase.

A follow-up

New Balance Customer Service tonight suggested the 847v4 for the combination issues of planter fasciitis in my left foot and underpronation in my left foot. I forgot to mention also that I wear a custom made orthotic (from my podiatrist for Morton’s neuroma in my right foot which makes my toes feel brussy. It has helped a lot). Now I am confused again. I thought my final decision was the 928v3. Would you pick the 928v3 or the 847v4 and why? They both have the new Rollbar that has both postings on the inner and outer edges of the shoe to help both overpronation and underpronation (like I have).

Our Response

The New Balance 847v4 walking shoe will also be a great choice. In fact, it’s one of our recommended walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. It’s a little lighter than the 928v3, but the 928v3 has an option for all leather, which is generally more comfortable than synthetic.

A follow-up

Also I found out the 608v5 I wear now weighs 13.4 ounces. The 928v3 weighs 15.4 ounces. I am 5’ 11” and weigh 225 pounds. Do you think I will notice much difference walking the 2 miles?

It looks like they are both equally as good for the underpronation. If I chose the 928v3 I would get the 100% leather. Is the 928v3 also recommended as a walking shoe for fasciitis like the 847v4?

Our Response

The New Balance 608v5 is a neutral cross trainer so it must be lighter than a walking shoe like the 928v3. Cross-training shoes have excellent support for lateral movement as well because they can allow the athlete to perform various workout routines. The NB 928v3 is our top recommended walking shoe for plantar fasciitis. A 100% leather option would be great although the weight will go up to 1 lb 2 oz, which is fine since leather is the most comfortable. The leather material has an excellent locked-in and custom fit because it will conform to the shape of your foot better than synthetic. You won’t feel much of a difference in weight after walking 2 miles. But because of your injuries, don’t walk and stand over 8 hours.

You’ve also mentioned that your right foot has Morton’s neuroma and that your custom made orthotic has helped a lot. You have to continue using it to protect the injury in the ball of your foot. There is a technology that can give the best forefoot relief – the toe-only rocker. This technology is usually present in stability shoes and it reduces bending in the forefoot. As of now, your orthotic will do that for you. But if you can find a shoe with both ROLLBAR and rocker sole technologies, it would be awesome. But we haven’t seen one yet in the long line of athletic shoes.

A follow-up

You are so knowledgeable and beyond helpful! I will talk to my podiatrist this Friday and go over all that we have talked about. I forgot to tell you I went to a New Balance store and my left foot measured 10” and my right 10.5”. I am wearing the 608v5 size 12 4E (x-wide. The manager said I need to go down to 11 4E and wearing the 12 could have also aggravated either the planter fasciitis and/or the underpronation. What do you think? The size 11 4E of the 100% leather 928v3 felt pretty good but a little weird. It is hard to describe but it felt like the top and bottom part of the shoe but not the middle was touching the ground when I was walking in the store. I did not buy them yet. I probably will buy them on Saturday after I see my podiatrist this Friday. By the way according to New Balance the 847v4 only weigh 11.8 ounces. Are light shoes better for my issues meaning would the 847v4 be better for my issues than the 928v3 in 100% leather which weighs 50% more?

Our Response

Thank you. The shoe must be snug on your foot to make cushioning and support work perfectly – comfortable/secure heel support is a priority to protect your injured heel. We think the 928v3 will feel a little weird (at first) because it’s a stability shoe and you have underpronation. The 608v5 will have a better fit because it’s a neutral shoe and more suitable for underpronation. But it doesn’t have the ROLLBAR technology so it’s inferior in terms of heel support compared to the 928v3 and 847v4. But if the stability shoes are comfortable on your heel, it will give protection and help your plantar fasciitis heal (naturally) over time. The weight of the shoe will definitely matter after longer walks/standing. That’s the reason why footwear companies invest a lot on new materials/technologies that are much lighter but more supportive.

A follow-up

I bought the 928v3 size 11 4E today. The manager said this shoe (847v4 does not have this)has a rocker sole that rolls you through your stride which takes pressure off your joints.

Our Response

I’m glad to hear the 928v3 has a rocker sole, which will help you even out your gait and give you a normal one. The technology is not found in their product description but actual consumer reviews say they are rocker bottom shoes. There are at least 6 standard variations of rocker soles and the most popular variations can deliver smoother transition from heel-strike through toe-off, and give you a more stable base. This is helpful for your Morton’s neuroma.

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