7 Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis (2022 Guide)
After reviewing 33 products, we found the Vionic Bond Jackson and Vionic Curran Rechelle to be the best shoes for achilles tendonitis.
We started by asking Dr. Ayesha Rehman, a doctor of physical therapy, for information. She wrote a buyer’s guide that explains key features a shoe needs to address Achilles tendonitis. You can find it later in this article.
We then spoke to our team of doctors and testers. We spent hours reading shoe reviews and Reddit, Quora and Facebook comments from consumers. This helped us come up with a shortlist of top shoes for the condition.
With this shortlist in hand, we started testing shoes. A few we even happened to own. For the rest, we did our best to find in-store. We specifically looked for heel cushioning. We also looked for features that reduce striking impact: arch support, rocker shoe soles, and uniform heels.
We also paid attention to the padding that protects the Achilles tendon from getting aggravated.
We chose the Vionic Bond Jackson (men) for a few reasons. First, it has excellent foot cushioning. Second, it has a rocker sole that makes walking and standing easy on the heel. Third, we liked the hidden orthotic support features. The midfoot elastic wrap that pulls the foot into the ergonomic footbed is ingenious. This is definitely the right shoe for heel pain.
We chose the Vionic Curran Rechelle (women) for similar reasons. It has an ergonomic rocker sole with an elevated heel for shock absorption. It corrects pronation and flat feet; two common causes of Achilles tendonitis. It’s also a light, comfortable shoe that our test team rated highly in terms of style.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all shoe model for tendonitis. If you have insertional Achilles tendonitis or lower leg pain, get the G-Defy Mighty Walk. If you need a running shoe, you’ll want the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon V3. We’ve never seen foam that’s so soft and yet supportive at the same time. It’s a good choice for running all distances; sprint to marathon.
To see our in-depth reviews and Dr. Rehman’s buyer guide, read on.
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Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes. It neither offers nor replaces medical advice. Learn more here.
Table of Contents
Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis (Men)
This shoe is the best men’s shoe for Achilles tendonitis. It has a relaxed ankle collar that makes it easy to put on, even with acute heel pain. It has a well-cushioned midsole with extra cushioning under the heel. The ergonomic footbed is made of EVA and covered with a soft microfiber lining.
It’s designed by a podiatrist to promote natural foot alignment, reduce pain and improve stability. It also supports the arch of the foot, and there’s a deep heel cup that keeps your heel aligned. The rocker shoe sole reduces striking impact, especially on the heel.
There are two elastic bands over the vamp instead of laces. They keep your foot in place as you walk without being too snug. They also “push” the foot and heel into the ergonomic insole. The pull tab makes the shoe easy to remove.
The outsole is made from a durable rubber that provides a good grip on smooth surfaces. Some customers have found that the shoe runs small, so consider buying half a size larger than your usual size.
- Designed by a podiatrist
- Reduces pain
- Improves stability
- Sizing tends to run small
Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis (Women)
This shoe has concealed orthotic support and a well-cushioned midsole. There’s extra cushioning in the heel. The heel drop is offset by the elevated toe box in the forefoot section. Together, these features minimize striking impact and give you a natural standing posture.
The cushioned midsole means you can walk and stand without heel or foot pain. The removable insole is designed by a podiatrist, with three-zone support that’s firm under the arch and softer under the heel. This stabilizes your heel, supports your arch, and cushions your metatarsals.
It corrects your gait and posture, reducing the likelihood of further Achilles injury. The durable, grippy rubber outsole is great for walking, and lasts for a long time. It has an easy heel-to-toe transition.
The shoe has a relaxed fit and a roomy toe box. Both mean there’s enough room for your toes and metatarsals to splay out. The eyelet section is designed in a way that “pushes” your foot into the orthotic insole.
This is exactly what we want in a shoe like this. It means you get the shoe’s full benefits at all times. The toe box has an asymmetrical design, and it leaves you with plenty of wiggle room without looking bulky.
The Curran Rechelle comes in either a leather upper or leather with nylon panels. It laces up and has a tab at the back to help with putting the shoe on and removing it. The ankle collar is nice and roomy, making it easy and pain-free to put on.
- Minimizes striking impact
- Promotes natural standing posture
- Designed by a podiatrist
- Reduces heel and foot pain
Best Running Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis
For running, our top Achilles tendonitis shoes are the Beacon V3s. They’re the latest entry in the Beacon running shoe series. For cushioning, they use Fresh Foam – which we think is the best foam on the market.
It’s soft enough to cushion the foot consistently during long runs. It’s also firm enough for sprints and shorter runs. It provides excellent, lightweight cushioning without being too spongy. It also has enough sensory feedback to stop you from hitting the ground too hard as you run.
The foam is thicker around the heel. It’s also wide, providing a stable base that prevents excessive pronation. Since overpronation causes and aggravates tendonitis, this is perfect.
The mesh upper on this shoe is breathable and lightweight. It’s stretchy, giving your metatarsals and toes the room they need to move freely. The unique Ultra heel cup is stretchy and supportive enough to keep your heel locked in place. This prevents supination and overpronation, both of which can stress the Achilles’ tendon. Moreover, it caters to wider feet.
The rocker shape of the sole propels you forward as you run while reducing strain to your tendon and midfoot. The outsole has rubber pods located in key high-impact areas like the toe and the heel. This adds durability where it’s needed most.
- Prevents excessive pronation and supination
Best Walking Shoe for Achilles Tendonitis
Orthofeet are a brand best known for ergonomic shoes. This specific sneaker model is perfect for Achilles tendonitis. It does three things to protect the heel and Achilles tendon. First, it has a thick, well-cushioned midsole.
The midsole has multiple layers; it’s firmer around the midfoot and softer around the heel and forefoot. It’s extra thick around the heel, giving you plenty of cushioning there. One reviewer even wrote about walking with a bone spur and feeling no pain.
In addition to this, the shoe is built to give you an easy walking gait. The supportive insole stabilizes the foot, preventing excessive pronation. Since overpronation causes and aggravates plantar fasciitis, this protects the inflamed tendon.
The shoe also has a rocker sole design that’s most pronounced in the front. This means the shoe rolls from heel strike to toe-off with minimal effort. This means the heel and Achilles tendon don’t have to absorb as much impact.
The outsole is durable, slip-resistant rubber, and it has an arch frame built in for extra support. The knit upper is stretchy and doesn’t constrict your feet. It also has a wide toe box with lots of wiggle room.
The collar is extra padded to avoid putting pressure on the ankle area. It won’t cause Achilles pain by rubbing or knocking against the heel. The rest of the interior is seamless and covered with foam padding, so there’s no friction against your foot. The shoe is very light too, which testers liked.
- Promotes stability
Best Shoes for Insertional Achilles Tendonitis
With insertional Achilles tendonitis, you need to be extra careful. You need cushioning that reduces heel pain and prevents re-injury. This is why we like the G-Defy Mighty Walk.
They’re also good if you have a bone spur. You can immediately see the thick cushioning in the midsole. This is patented VersoShock cushioning that provides shock absorption and support. It’s perfect for conditions that cause strong heel pain.
The orthotic insoles have foam cushioning with a polyurethane core and perforations for breathability. They make walking easy on the foot and prevent excessive pronation. The insoles are removable. If you need to replace them, you can do so easily.
What we like about these shoes is the high degree of support and gait correction that they offer. The midsole and insole both have soft arch support. The outsole has a rocker element in front. These features correct your arch and let the foot carry through easily.
This minimizes the load on your heel, which you really want with insertional tendonitis. This is basically a supportive shoe with extra-thick cushioning. It’s perfect for insertional Achilles tendonitis and heel spur-related conditions.
The G-Defy has a relaxed fit and wide toe box that allows for comfortable, proper foot movement. It uses a fabric and synthetic upper and is reinforced at key, high-stress areas. The interior is seamless to avoid aggravating sensitive feet.
The laces extend high up on the shoe for a secure fit that keeps your foot in place. The shoe is available in wide and extra-wide sizes. The extra-wide sizes are enough to accommodate most bunions, hammer toes, swollen feet, and high-volume orthotics.
- Gait correction
Best Clogs for Achilles Tendonitis
Surprised we picked this minimalist shoe instead of a Croc model with thick heel cushioning? Don’t be. The Tokyo helps Achilles tendonitis by improving foot posture and taking the load off the heel.
It’s a corrective shoe that fixes the problems causing tendonitis in the first place. The footbed is made from a cork and latex material for light shock absorption and strong foot support.
It supports both longitudinal and transverse arches. This gives your foot strong arch support and elevates the heel. All of this minimizes the work your heel has to do.
These have a raised toe bar for your toes to grip. There’s also a small metatarsal bump so your forefoot is spread out comfortably. Under the forefoot is a rocker foot sole that lets the foot carry through easily when you walk. It also helps distribute weight evenly when you stand.
Under the cork footbed is a thin EVA midsole that adds more cushioning and shock absorption. The super-grip outsole has lots of tread, and it’s resistant to grease and oil.
These clogs have a natural leather upper and a comfortable leather lining. The lining is breathable and the upper is sturdy. The buckle closures keep the shoe on your foot without adding pressure to the sensitive ankle area.
From our own experience as well as reviews we’ve read, the cork-and-latex footbed stays odor-free for most people.
- Improves foot posture
Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis
If you have Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, you need a stable, supportive shoe. Both conditions can be caused by overpronation, a strong heel strike, and/or flat feet. That’s why the Propét is our top choice in this category.
First off, it has good cushioning throughout the entire sole, but especially in the heel. It has an ergonomic, orthotic shoe insert out of the box. This insole is well-cushioned, supportive and stabilizing. It has a gel heel pad and cushioning ridges that reduce impact through the whole foot.
The midsole is extra-wide. This stabilizes the shoe. The arch frame in the midsole area elevates the arch and improves foot posture. This helps corrects flat feet. The shoe upper features a heel counter; something you usually find in a running shoe.
Together with the high eyelets, it stabilizes the foot and prevents overpronation. The midsole is moderately soft, with extra cushioning in the back and a rocker sole in the front. This reduces heel strike impact and lets the foot roll through naturally. Perfect for both Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
The leather upper on this shoe is breathable and durable. A suede option is also available. The D-ring speed lacing system keeps your foot firmly in place without constricting it.
The rubber outsole is thick and protects the midsole from wear. The women’s shoe is ergonomically different from the male model, which our testers quite liked.
- Improves foot posture
Buying Guide: Best shoes for Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles. The following features will help relieve pain and protect the tendon from further damage.
These features will also normalize your gait and foot posture, reducing the striking impact that usually causes tendonitis.
Achilles tendon pain can be mild or severe. Either way, you need some cushioning to make walking, standing and running easy on the feet. Cushioning will also reduce striking impact, stopping the inflammation from getting worse.
A moderately thick, foamy outsole or midsole is good. A gel or air heel pad is also good. Insoles that are foamy and well-cushioned, especially around the heel, are good too.
In terms of brands, I really like Asics’ GEL tech and New Balance Fresh Foam. Most brands have products with quality cushioning, though.
Achilles tendonitis is often caused by high or collapsed arches. The latter, for example, can cause overpronation, flat feet and/or a strong heel strike.
All of this can increase Achilles tendon load, causing inflammation. Strong arch support can help us manage these problems.
Insoles should have a stable heel cup, an elevated mid-foot secetion and – in some cases – a toe ridge. In the midsole, look for strong arch support in the mid-foot. Rigid arch frames in the outsole and midsole are also good.
As far as materials go, I like EVA memory foam and other semi-rigid materials. They’re soft enough to provide some cushioning but supportive at the same time. They’re also flexible enough for most sports.
A Rocker Shoe Sole
A rocker sole rocks back to front when you walk, usually around the forefoot. By letting your foot roll through naturally, it reduces striking impact.
This takes the load off the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. It also encourages better walking habits.
Another benefit is that a rocker sole almost always has an elevated toe box. This means the manufacturer can give you a thicker heel sole while keeping the sole uniform overall. Since we don’t want a high heel drop, this is good.
A Relaxed Fit with a Wide Toe Box
Tight, constricting shoes reduce the foot’s range of motion. They can make us strike hard with the heel and mid-foot. In the short term, this can cause or aggravate Achilles tendonitis. In the long term, it can cause enough stress to produce a heel spur.
To prevent this, you want shoes that feel roomy and offer some wiggle room. I recommend a wide toe box and a relaxed-fit upper. Softer materials like mesh are best. Shoes with stretch inserts that adjust to the shape and volume of the foot are good too.
No Heel Lift
Many modern shoes have a heel drop. This may look like a good option for achilles tendinitis. It provides extra cushioning for the heel area, after all. But the truth is that a heel lift shoe puts the foot in an unnatural position. It shortens the Achilles tendon, leading to more problems down the line. We want a minimal heel drop. For a walking shoe, look for a uniform heel. For a running shoe, look for a drop of no more than 0.5″.
A flexible shoe will let the foot move naturally. It will give you an easy heel to toe-off transition. This will reduce stress on the Achilles tendon, preventing heel pain and inflammation. It will also give you good biomechanics in the long run.
What is the Achilles tendon?
The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. It’s thick and tough, which makes it good at handling heavy, repeated impact.
How is Achilles tendonitis different from other foot conditions?
Unlike other inflammations, Achilles Tendonitis can sneak up on you. The tendon is thick and tough; it’s good at handling heavy, repeated impact. It can take a while to notice that the tendon is overloaded and in pain.
Why is Achilles tendonitis dangerous?
The Achilles tendon plays a key role in our biomechanics. It’s very thick and tough. If it ruptures or tears, even partially, it takes a long time to heal. In many cases, full function is never restored.
What’s the difference between Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendinopathy?
Achilles tendinopathy is an Achilles condition that doesn’t heal properly. Achilles tendonitis is an Achilles tendon inflammation. If tendonitis becomes chronic through re-injury and a lack of rest, it can turn into tendinopathy. Tendinopathy can be a permanent degeneration of the tendon’s collagen.
What’s the difference between mid-section and insertional Achilles tendonitis?
Insertional Achilles tendonitis happens where the tendon inserts into the foot. It’s more common with the elderly and can take longer to heel. Mid-section tendonitis happens in the middle area of a tendon, closer to the calf muscle. It affects individuals of all ages but tends to heal faster.
What’s the difference between Achilles tendinosis and tendonitis?
In tendonitis, muscle fibers become inflamed. In tendinosis, they become disorganized and scarred. This can result in permanent scarring and a loss of long-term tendon function. Tendonosis can cause permanent fibre degeneration.
Which is the best one?
Both of these shoes are from the Vionic brand and have the Vio-Motion footbed. This is designed to cradle each part of your foot, offering great arch support. These shoes have cushioning, rocker soles, and flexibility to support someone with Achilles tendonitis. The Vionic Curran Rechelle shoe has a wide toe box.
These shoes both have orthotics designed by a podiatrist to support feet and align them to their natural positions, improving your gait and reducing pain.