April 21, 2018

10 Best Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis: Tested And Rated

best shoes for achilles tendonitis

Any foot pain limits our mobility but there’s no doubt that choosing the correct footwear can have beneficial effects on many chronic conditions. Achilles tendonitis is no exception.

The better news for sufferers of this mobility-limiting condition is that there are plenty of options out there in the marketplace if you’re looking for the best shoes for Achilles tendon pain.

It can be a confusing place to negotiate, though, so we’ve done the research for you. We’ve trawled through the options and come up with suggestions for the best shoes for running, walking, hiking and even dress shoes for men and women suffering the pain of Achilles tendonitis.

Finding the right footwear will make all the difference and help you to keep on the move.

Image 
Product Name
Shoe Style
Men’s/Women’s
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
ASICS Men’s GEL Nimbus 17 Running Shoe

ASICS Men’s GEL Nimbus 17 Running Shoe

Running Shoes

Men’s

$

adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Vs City Running Shoe

adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Vs City Running Shoe

Running Shoes

Men’s

$

ASICS Women's Gel Contend 4 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe

Running Shoes

Women’s

$

Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe

Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe

Running Shoes

Women’s

$

Skechers Sport Men's Shape UPS XT All Day Comfort Sneaker

Skechers Sport Men's Shape UPS XT All Day Comfort Sneaker

Sneaker

Men’s

$$$$

Skechers Women's Shape Ups Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker

Skechers Women's Shape Ups Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker

Sneaker

Women’s

$

Dr. Comfort Ranger Men’s Hiking Boot

Dr. Comfort Ranger Men’s Hiking Boot

Hiking Boot

Men’s

$$

Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace

Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace

Hiking Boot

Women’s

$$

Clarks Men's Portland 2 Tie Casual Shoe

Clarks Men's Portland 2 Tie Casual Shoe

Casual Shoe

Men’s

$

CLARKS Women's Wendy Leehi Heeled Sandal

CLARKS Women's Wendy Leehi Heeled Sandal

Heeled Sandal

Women’s

$

What is Achilles tendonitis?

Essentially, this debilitating and painful condition is the result of the wear and tear of daily life, though it’s more related to exertion than to age, since it can affect the young as much as older folk.


That said, people who don’t play sports and are not particularly active can still develop Achilles tendonitis, so it’s not restricted to Action Man/Woman!


Some people are lucky enough to escape its effects completely but others find themselves crippled with pain which restricts them in their daily lives, both at work and at play.


This condition manifests itself in the tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, in fact the largest tendon in the human anatomy. The tendon becomes inflamed, warm to the touch and painful so, although formal diagnosis is done by X-ray, MRI or ultrasound scan, the symptoms tell their own story.


Runners are particularly vulnerable, as are basketball and volleyball players where the bursts of speed and lightning-fast changes of direction take their toll on limbs.


Different Types of Achilles Tendonitis


Insertional Achilles Tendonitis

Insertional Achilles Tendonitis affects the area where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, so it’s the lower part of the tendon which is affected.

Non-insertional Achilles Tendonitis

Non-insertional Achilles Tendonitis is identified by a thickening and swelling in the middle section of the tendon. This is due to deterioration in the tendon and is more likely to be associated with athletes.


What causes Achilles tendonitis?


Athletes, especially runners and those who play court-based sports, are particularly vulnerable to this debilitating and painful condition. The rapid acceleration and fast changes of direction needed in these sports puts the Achilles tendon under maximum strain.

One way to reduce the chance of becoming a statistic, though, is to make sure that your training regime is carefully planned so your body becomes used to the particular demands of the activity. As with so much in life, preparation is all!

But it’s not only particularly strenuous physical activity which is the trigger: wearing high heel shoes, inherited conformation problems like flat feet and fallen arches and even taking some prescription drugs (particularly glucocorticoid and fluoroquiolone medications) can all lead to tendonitis.


How the Best Shoes Can Help Achilles Tendonitis


If you find that you’re suffering from this painful and mobility-limiting condition and you’ve begun to get the symptoms under control, then having a look in your shoe cupboard is the best place to start.

Do your injured tendons a favour by throwing out any shoes which are worn and don’t fit properly because these factors will put undue strain on the very part you’re trying to protect. Flat shoes, with no structure or support, such as flip-flops and moccasins, will be your worst enemy.

The best shoes for Achilles tendonitis, be they running, walking, hiking or dress shoes, typically have a built-up heel, which takes the pressure off your tendons as you go about your daily routine.

Depending on the activity you have in mind, features like breathability, traction and shock absorption may need consideration too.


Features to Look for in Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis


Heel Cushioning

 

Shoes which will give relief and support for Achilles tendon injuries need to have enhanced cushioning in the heel area.


Some products provide extra comfort with gel pad inserts which aid shock absorption as you exercise and these are found as a standard feature in many sports shoes.

Heel Height

 

Shoes with a built-up heel can lessen the tension on your Achilles tendon as you move through the gaits.


In fact, most specifically-designed running or walking shoes have heels which are elevated enough to give relief for tendonitis. Even men’s dress shoes have slightly raised heels, which will be beneficial.


Using the additional heel lifts/pads which you can easily find on the market may give temporary relief and aid recovery if used in the short term.


Long term use, though, will cause the shortening of the calf muscle so, over time, the range of motion will be reduced and then Achilles tendon stiffness will increase.


To stop that happening, be sure to reduce the amount of elevation gradually as the injury heals until no heel lifts/pads are used at all.

Good Arch Support

 

Take care to match the support to the arch of your foot. People with flat feet (low arches) and their opposites, high-arched feet, both have a higher chance of developing Achilles tendonitis.


The arch support can be part of the shoe itself or inserted but the key is to make sure that support for the arches is adequate to lessen the chance of injury.

Bend at Ball of Foot

 

Make sure that your shoes bend precisely where your foot bends, that’s at the ball of your feet. It’s easy enough to understand that shoes that bend elsewhere might cause problems such as tendonitis and other painful foot conditions.


Really flexible shoes, such as flip-flops, moccasins and sandals, don’t give your foot the support it needs at the point of flexion. Once again, this can ultimately lead to unnecessary strain on the tendons, so they’re best avoided.


10 Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis Reviewed



Mens


1. ASICS Men’s GEL Nimbus 17 Running Shoe

This shoe was designed for running but has many features which have also earned it a reputation for being one of the best walking shoes for Achilles tendonitis.

The special ASICS FluidFit technology gives support and comfort if you’re suffering from this painful condition, backed up by the gel cushioning for shock absorption.

ASICS Men’s GEL Nimbus 17 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

89%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Superior breathability
  • Shock absorption during both toe-off and impact
  • Heel area benefits from bounce-back of the gel cushioning

Cons

  • Fit tends to be on the narrow side
  • Some reviewers mention the toe box is on the small side
adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Vs City Running Shoe

Our Rating

2. adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Vs City Running Shoe

If you’re looking for flexibility and breathability along with maximum comfort and performance to relieve the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, then the Adidas Performance Men’s Cloudfoam could be the one for you.

An extra feature of this shoe is the durable rubber outsole which ensures excellent traction and grip.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

87%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good breathability
  • Good breathability
  • Cloudfoam midsole comfort

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Insole is not removable

3. Skechers Sport Men's Shape UPS XT All Day Comfort Sneaker

The ‘rocker’ sole and leather/synthetic upper of these shoes give all day comfort, even if you suffer from Achilles tendonitis.

The rocker sole transfers the weight more to the cushioned midsole and away from the painful tendon area but at the same time the back of the shoe supports and cushions the tendon.

You’ll find that the memory foam insert will mold itself around the sole of your foot.

Skechers Sport Men's Shape UPS XT All Day Comfort Sneaker

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

82%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Smart enough to wear with dress pants at work
  • Memory foam insert for improved comfort
  • Rocker sole helps to relieve painful tendons

Cons

  • Rather heavy-looking shoe and not particularly stylish
  • Not suitable for running
Dr. Comfort Ranger Men’s Hiking Boot

Our Rating

4. Dr. Comfort Ranger Men’s Hiking Boot

Specially designed as a therapeutic shoe, this classic product from Dr Comfort will give you the support and comfort that you need to relieve the painful symptoms of Achilles tendonitis.

The Velcro strap compresses the tendon, which can help to limit inflammation, and the padded lining and Dr Comfort gel insert makes them really comfortable to wear.

Compared to many hiking boots, these are lightweight and, what’s more, they’re stylish enough for daily use.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

87%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Available in 2 colours: chestnut and black
  • Lightweight
  • Elastic lace closure with Velcro strap
  • Crafted from leather for durability

Cons

  • Not suitable for running
  • Leather construction makes them less breathable than synthetic options

5. Clarks Men's Portland 2 Tie Casual Shoe

If you need to dress smartly while you manage the discomfort of Achilles tendonitis, this smart casual shoe from Clarks may be the answer.

The Ortholite insoles help to relieve the stress from your Achilles tendon and cushion your foot to maximise comfort when you have to spend long hours on your feet. The breathable lining will keep your feet cool.

Clarks Men's Portland 2 Tie Casual Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

80%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Choice of shoe width
  • Classic styling for dress shoes
  • Leather upper with synthetic breathable lining
  • Designed with comfort in mind

Cons

  • Conservative style might not suit everyone’s taste
  • Textured leather finish, rather than smooth

Womens


ASICS Women's Gel Contend 4 Running Shoe

Our Rating

1. ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe

The special feature which makes this running shoe so helpful in easing the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis is the Rearfoot GEL cushioning system.

But this brand isn’t all about functionality so, if you’re looking for style as well as comfort, the Women’s Gel-Contend 4 comes in a range of stunning colours.

You don’t have to sacrifice looks for utility because ASICS have both covered with this product.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

82%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Removable sock liner combining cushioning and moisture wicking for cooler feet
  • Rearfoot GEL cushioning
  • Great range of styles to choose from
  • Tongue and collar well padded for comfort

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the toe box to be a little small
  • Mesh material means not waterproof

2. Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe

Arguably, this is one of the best shoes for Achilles tendonitis sufferers, featuring Mizuno’s unique Dynomotion Fit Technology, Infinity Wave heel and Smoothride Engineering sole.

All these features combine to make this shoe particularly helpful in relieving the discomfort of tendonitis, giving comfort and support where it’s needed most.

Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Superior traction and stability
  • Special features to relieve symptoms of Achilles tendonitis
  • Wide range of colour combinations
  • Designed to cope with high-mileage

Cons

  • Narrow toe box
  • Some reviewers complain about insufficient arch support
  • More expensive than many running shoes
Skechers Women's Shape Ups Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker

Our Rating

3. Skechers Women's Shape Ups Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker

These specially designed walking shoes could be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re on your feet all day and are suffering from Achilles tendonitis.

The soft ‘Kinetic Wedge’ which forms part of the sole transfers the weight from the heel to the front in a rolling effect as you move and shifts the weight to the midsole which in turn alleviates the pain of tendonitis.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

86%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Specially designed sole maximises shock absorption
  • Also recommended for relieving knee and lower back pain
  • Breathable mesh for keeping feet ventilated
  • Partial leather upper for durability

Cons

  • Higher price tag
  • ‘Rocker’ motion not suited to all

4. Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace

Dr. Comfort’s hiking boots for women, designed with in-built therapeutic features, will give you the support and comfort that you’re looking for. The soft leather uppers and seamless padded lining will cushion your foot.

The Velcro strap is designed to apply compression to the Achilles tendon, giving support and stability at the same time as helping to reduce inflammation.

Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Removable gel inserts to adjust depth
  • Lightweight
  • Made from soft leather for flexibility

Cons

  • Not recommended for construction type work
  • Leather upper is less breathable than synthetic material
  • Not really a fashion statement
CLARKS Women's Wendy Leehi Heeled Sandal

Our Rating

5. CLARKS Women's Wendy Leehi Heeled Sandal

Look no further than these smart Mary Jane-style leather shoes if you need dress shoes for work or social occasions and you’re trying to manage the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis.

With a low heel which still looks feminine, they combine classic style with practicality and comfort. The slightly raised heel lessens the tension on sore tendons and the Ortholite foam footbed cushions the sole of the foot.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

73%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Smart, feminine and comfortable
  • Look just as good paired with a suit for work or jeans for leisure
  • Flexible
  • 3 colourways: pewter/brown+multi/black

Cons

  • Strap over instep may not suit all foot shapes
  • Not suitable for colder temperatures due to sandal styling
  • List Element

How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis

As with any inflammation, icing for 20 minutes at a time on a regular basis may relieve your symptoms. Wrapping with athletic tape may also give you some relief and elevating the limb is another time-honoured way to reduce the inflammation and pain.

Rest and recuperation is essential to give your hard-working body a chance to heal itself.

When you consult your physician for confirmation of the diagnosis, this will typically be with an MRI or ultrasound scan. Prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common method for controlling the pain and swelling.

Surgery may even be necessary in the most extreme cases but, whatever happens, careful rehabilitation is crucial.

And that’s where having the best shoes for Achilles tendon pain will come in, since your physician will quite possibly advise you to look for footwear which will help the rehab process and hasten you down the road to recovery.

question

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Achilles tendonitis take to heal?


This will depend on how long you’ve been suffering before you take steps to resolve it. If you listen to your body in the early stages, the healing process will usually be quicker.


More acute symptoms will naturally take longer to ease, so you may need to be patient and restrict your exercise regime for 4 to 6 weeks.

Should I consult my doctor about Achilles tendonitis?


There are plenty of options for simple remedies to relieve the symptoms, including choosing the right footwear.


If they don’t work, then it’s essential to consult your physician since the condition is likely to become more and more debilitating and then take longer to heal once you’re actually on the road to recovery.


In the worst case, particularly if left untreated, the condition can become chronic or even rupture, which would mean surgical repair of the tendon.

Is it safe to exercise with Achilles tendonitis?


Rest is the best solution to the condition so it goes without saying that continuing your regular exercise regime, which quite possibly caused the condition in the first place, doesn’t make much sense.


You don’t have to stay completely immobile, of course, and seeking out the best shoes for Achilles tendon pain will help to manage the symptoms while your injury heals.


Conclusion


Does the name Achilles ring any bells? Yes, it’s from those Greek myths you learnt about in school!

Legend has it that a poisoned arrow pierced Achilles’ heel, the only part of him which wasn’t magically protected by a spell cast by his mother. Sadly, that was the end of our hero but his memory lives on in the body part which was his undoing.

It’s one of the hardest-working body parts we have. Since we don’t have any mythical, magical protection available to us, a diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis can really slow us down.

If you want to keep on the move, even if you do have to take a break from more strenuous activity, then use the guide we’ve put together to help you find the best shoes for Achilles tendonitis.

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