The 7 Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fascitis

You know the tell-tale signs: sharp, searing heel pain upon the first few steps in the morning, tenderness while standing and walking, worsening pain in the evening. Plantar fasciitis happens to the best of us, the most well-intentioned of us. Running on hard surfaces (tennis courts, check), making repeated, explosive movements, and wearing shoes with insufficient cushioning or support are the main causes of the aggravating injury.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common lower body injuries experienced by tennis players. Ankle sprains, Achilles tendon flare-ups, and plantar fasciitis are ailments that are born from the very things that make tennis your favorite sport: explosive movements, side to side rallies, and hours spent on the court all contribute to wear and tear on the lower limbs. Combine that with the stresses (and various footwear) of daily life off the court, and it’s easy to understand how the delicate plantar fascia can become overloaded.

It’s not terribly uncommon

Plantar fasciitis occurs when a strain to the plantar fascia, the thin ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes, causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. The first signifier of plantar fasciitis is usually an intense pain at the heel. It’s a fairly common injury, especially among runners and tennis players (hello again, hard surfaces).

One in 10 people will experience plantar fasciitis at some point during their lives, and the affliction isn’t limited to athletes. High heels are a common culprit of plantar fasciitis, and so are broken-down shoes that have lost any semblance of arch support. However, the pain and suffering can be (relatively) short-lived. About 80% of patients with plantar fasciitis improve within 12 months when they are aided by consistent stretching, deliberate rehabilitation, and rest.

Fear not

The trickiest thing about the ailment is in the pain management; it can be painful when standing, but not debilitating during activity. Meaning, you DON’T have to give up your beloved activities but you DO have to take care of the injury properly, with thorough stretching, rest, anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation, and most importantly, footwear.

What to look for in a tennis shoe

We’ve chosen seven of the best tennis shoes on the market right now that will keep you on the court. What do they all have in common? A few characteristics that comprise a quality tennis shoe for someone suffering with plantar fasciitis are:

  • Stability: The shoe should fit closely around the foot, eliminating any shifting from side to side or front to back.
  • Cushion: A shoe with a cushioned heel will absorb impact and relieve pain caused by the inflamed ligament. This may feel like more cushioning than what you’re used to, but remember, we have an injury to rehabilitate.
  • Comfort: Each of the shoes we recommend balances comfort and support. A light yet structured fit is what we’re after.
  • Arch support: Aim to keep the arch in place throughout all movement.

The 7 Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

NikeCourt Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa

We don’t know if Rafa has suffered from plantar fasciitis, but we do know that this shoe is an excellent option for anyone who is. Supportive, dynamic, compact, the Nike Vapor Cage 4 is as durable as it gets. A favorite among many professionals on tour, the Nike Vapor model is engineered specifically for the hard courts. The structure can stand up to a harsh surface and doesn’t allow for slipping or sliding inside the shoe, as you hustle from alley to alley.

Head Revolt Pro 4.0

A highly underrated model, Head’s Revolt Pro is shockingly light and breathable for all of its support. You’ll fly around the court in these kicks, but the lightweight material doesn’t mean that they won’t hold up. Lockdown straps positioned along the midfoot provide added insurance in keeping your soles in place. Head offers a six month outsole warranty on the Revolt Pro, which provides a good trial period during your recovery.

KSwiss Ultrashot 3

The brand’s most durable and stable shoe, the Ultrashot 3 encourages aggressive movement and supports it with a durable outsole that has impressive grip and traction. The 360 Plantar Chassis Support will help you to feel confident in your lateral movement, while protecting your arches and heel. Soft interior heel cups ensure that your feet aren’t going anywhere — a key feature for anyone with plantar fasciitis.

Asics Gel Resolution 8

In our humble opinion, Asics has cornered the market on supportive, appropriately cushioned shoes for tennis and running. Take their latest iteration of the Asics Gel Resolution as a shining example. A firm, cushioned shoe, the Gel Resolution 8 offers a tighter fit in the midfoot and toe box. As with most Asics models, various widths are available to accommodate your foot and ensure an exact fit. The shoe is best for those who do most of their battling on the baseline, and can handle the wear and tear of chasing from side to side. Don’t believe us? Take it from top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who has sported the Gel Resolution 8 throughout her record-breaking grand slam season.

Wilson Rush Pro 4.0

Comfort and support reign supreme in Wilson’s Rush Pro. Complete with Wilson’s patented 4D Support Chassis 2.0, the shoe rides with you each step of the way. The Support Chassis is dual purpose; one piece runs under the foot, and one runs laterally for additional support and control. The combination works in concert for one smooth ride. The shoe benefits those players who partake in clinics and classes that emphasize agility, speed, and footwork — outside of typical match play.

Fila Speed Serve Energized

New to the Fila lineup, the Speed Serve is best for those who prefer a light, dynamic shoe. The swift shoe features molded midfoot support and heel clip, keeping your foot in place and any tendon pain at bay. The shoe also has a six month outsole warranty, so you can ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Lotto Mirage 100 SPD

Designed for fast courts, the Lotto Mirage 100 SPD was engineered to the specifications of top professionals Matteo Berrettini, John Millman, Elise Mertens, and Ons Jabeur. Lotto’s Syn Pulse technology gives the shoe its trademark lightness, while the foot cage provides support in every direction. The Mirage makes the most of cushioning and shock absorption to increase comfort and reduce the chance of injury.

Bonus: Post-play support sandal

Your plantar fasciitis recovery goes beyond the court. Post-play, have a comfortable shoe at the ready to slip into for running errands or the drive home. A few standouts:

  • Birkenstocks are a popular option, since the cork adds high, firm arch support.
  • The Hoka Ora is an amped-up sandal that provides extra cushion. You’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds in this on-trend slide.
  • Oofos are newer to the sandal scene, and offer a variety of supportive styles with patented foam technology.

Now, get back out there

With patience, persistence, and consistent rehabilitation, you’ll be able to manage the pain caused by plantar fasciitis without sacrificing your favorite sport. Recovery doesn’t have to be complicated. Some tried and true methods are simple ones, like rolling your foot on a tennis ball when you sit or stand to massage through the arch and release pressure on the tendon. Better yet, freeze a water bottle, and roll your foot out on that. The ice will aid in taming the inflammation, and provides easy, quick relief.

As you shop for the shoe that best meets your needs and comfort, just remember: aim for cushion, stability, comfort, and arch support. Try as many shoes on as you can to determine which is best for you. Consider consulting a footwear specialist or podiatrist when it comes to orthotics, and how they can complement your new shoes and offer even greater support. Post-play, have a comfortable shoe at the ready to slip into for your drive home.

Now that you’re armed with information on how to treat your plantar fasciitis, reduce pain, and maintain your sport, it’s time to get back out there!

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