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Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis – Why You Need One

by Jeff Adam

If you are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, or know someone diagnosed with this terrible pain in the heel, I literally share your pain. I have been pledged with it, but now recovering. Runners and joggers are generally worse off with this condition because they land more heavily on their feet, and the shooting pains for sufferers can be very severe, unless they have picked the best running shoe that will cushion the shocks as their feet make contact with the ground.

ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running Shoe

ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running Shoe – #1

Shooting pains in my heel were my first observation, and I initially thought it will go away with a dose of regular pain killers. But a couple of weeks later, the pains have grown progressively worse.

By now, I dreaded taking the first step out of bed, my heel pain in the morning was the most excruciating. The sole, around my spur was noticeably inflamed, and the pain more persistent with hardly any more relieves from my regular pain killers. That was the time I booked an appointment too see my doctor.

It took a few minutes to pronounce that I have Plantar Fasciitis. I was asked the type of shoes I normally wore, my exercise routine, the shape of my foot was examined; and then the slight squeeze and pock at my heel that sent pain shooting up my feet. The doctor looked at me at this point, and said the word I heard for the first time – Plantar Fasciitis, which I now know many refer to as just PF, and which gave me severe pains for many months after.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe – #2

I was prescribed higher strength pain killers, which helped with longer intervals without pain. I rested my foot as much as I can, and used gel inserts in my shoes to cushion and support my heel. The key to healing though, were a choice of exercises that strengthen my sore heel ligament. My doctor explained it could take months for full recovery. That was over a year now, and I still feel pains in my heel, now and again.

The agony and discomfort from my Plantar Fasciitis meant I could not jog or run any more, and that is when I started learning more about the ailment, and my quest for the best running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis pains really took root.

Before I share my recommendations for the top ten running shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, I would like to quickly explain the condition, common symptoms and possible causes.  

Table of Contents (Jump ahead!)

So What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the long webby ligament that is attached to your heel bone, and stretches through the sole, to the middle foot bones. This stretchy ligament that acts like a spring supporting the arch, is your Planta Fascia. The inflammation is usually accompanied with pains, caused by repeated small injuries or tears. As we walk, jog or run, in order to move one foot forward, we lift our body weight on the other foot, and at this point, the full weight rest on the Planta Fascia.

This repetitive weight bearing process in walking, jogging or running can damage or rupture the stretchy ligament in our feet, lead to an inflamed Plantar Fascia tissue. And believe me, you don’t want to wish the pain it can cause on your worst enemy.

I found that inserts, and some of the best shoes for Plantar Fasciitis sufferers can help you heal quicker, otherwise, the damage ligament can take months to heal, putting you out of jogging or running.

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The Symptoms of My Plantar Fasciitis

After visiting my doctor, and a bit of research, I could actually trace the source of my pain to about 4 cm from my heel, towards the centre of your sole. This spot felt tender when I touch it, and more painful to the the slightest poke with my finger.

The pain from my Planta Fasciitis was often more excruciating when I wake up in the morning, and take the first step out of bed. I also felt more pain after seating down, or resting for long periods in a position where there is no weight on my feet. People around me noticed that I am walking with a limp, leaning to the left, as I try to shift my weight away from my hurting right foot.

Simple exercises, inserts with good arch support for my old shoes, and a very good running shoe that proved its worth for Planta Fasciitis helped alleviate the pains, as I worked through the healing process.

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What Could Have Caused My Plantar Fasciitis?

The explanations of possible causes of Planta Fasciitis I received were quite clear and simple, and I could see why any of the following could lead to pains in the heel:

  • If your job require you to be on your feet for long periods, or you do a lot of standing, walking, or running and have not been trained on how to handle your situation properly.
  • If you have changed the type of surface you exercise, like switching from running on soft trails to harder tracks which would put more strain on your feet.
  • If you are overweight, which will add load on your Planta Fascia.
  • Sudden stretching of the sole, or overuse can also lead to damage to your Planta Fascia. Think of athletes with poor techniques sprinting off the block, and potentially damaging their heel ligament.
  • Those with tight Achilles tendon can loose the ability to flex their ankle which can lead to damage to the Fascia tissue
  • Shoes with poor cushioning, or poor arch support are also common causes of Planta Fasciitis.

I learnt also that though people with sedentary lifestyle are prone to develop this condition, often there is no apparent cause, particularly in older people. I can definitely say that in my case, it was ill fitting shoes that I wore over the years that damaged my Fascia.

I love smart fitting dress shoes, and in my younger years, preferred shoes that are one or half a size under my normal size because they look smarter. What a mistake, and a very painful one. You should never stuff your feet in shoes that are either too tight or loose, as the they will leave you with potentially lasting damage to your feet. 

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My Heel Pains Relieve and Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

I followed a sequence and combination of treatments which were very effective in relieving the pains in my heel, healed the inflammation and gradually straightened my weakened ligament. My healing process was slow but steady, and at times when I have gone back to jogging too soon, the pains did actually come back with more intensity.

  • Stronger Painkiller – This was the immediate treatment I started with since my pain was already so severe before I saw a doctor. It gave me longer periods to walk around without pain.
  • The next thing I did, was buy some really good gel insole for my shoes. They provided the shock absorption and even pressure distribution needed in my old shoes. This helped to cushion my heel and provide support for my arch. My old shoes felt a lot more comfortable with the gel pads.
  • I rested my foot as often as I can, and stopped jogging or running, and avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces, until I bought my first running shoe for Planta Fasciitis.
  • I was given several exercises to try that helped quicken the treatment and healing of my Pantar Fasciitis, but I will just share one that I found more convenient to carry out, which also turned out to be very effective for me.
  • => Seating on a chair, with my knees bent at right angles, and heels flat on the floor. I would then lift my forefoot upwards, until I feel a stretch in my arch. Holding this position for a few seconds, I would relax my foot, and repeat the exercise for about 10 times at a go. I performed this about six times a day, or even more when I can. If you work long hours in an office like I do, and suffering from heel pains, give this exercise a try; it was very effective in relieving the pains I experienced from Plantar Fasciitis.

If not treated early, heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis may cause you to limp, walk on toes, change and alter your strides while jogging or running which may lead to damage to your healthy foot 

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My Top 10 Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Tight footwear, loose, worn out, or run down sneakers, throw them away. If you are still wearing the type of shoes I just mentioned, you are putting yourself at risk of suffering from Plantar Fascitis. While mine may have been caused by poor fitting shoes that I have worn for many years, Planta Fasciitis is also known to strike people with flaws in the structure of their feet. Such flaws may include tight Achilles tendon, flat or high arched feet and excessive pronation.

Pads and gel insoles in your old good fitting shoes may help when you have developed heel pains, but insoles do move around inside shoes and if they are not properly fitted, may even cause you more damage than benefit. In my experience, inserts for Planta Fasciitis are no match for shoes that have been well designed to provide the necessary cushion for heels, and give good arch and toe support for your feet.

The best running shoes for Planta Fasciitis in my top 10 selection are based on the following benefits the shoes provide to runners, joggers, and even those that enjoy brisk walks as part of their healthy lifestyle :-

  • Good heel and arch support to cushion the tenderness. The back of the shoes snugly, but firmly wrap around the heel.
  • Great cushioning that will absorb the shocks of running and jogging
  • A good shoe for Planta Fasciitis should be flexible, but only bending in the front half, and firm at the rear to your heel. Exceptions are minimalist shoes that are designed to give barefoot running experience.

Customer reviews of the running shoes on Amazon, comments about the pros and cons of a shoes, and the overall customer satisfaction ratings are major factors in my selections. To get a valid statistical sample of customer satisfaction rating, a running shoe must have received at least 100 reviews, and rated 4.5 Star or above to make my top 10 running shoe list.

The numbers used were at the time of writing these reviews, and may change as more customers buy the shoes and come back to leave a feedback Amazon.

My Top 10 Best Running Shoes Selection Criteria:

  • At least 100 reviews
  • Average customer satisfaction rating of 4.5 Star and above.
  • Pros and cons of a shoe

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#1 – ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running ShoeASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running Shoe

The ASICS Noosa Tri 8 is looked on as the top dog of running shoes by avid runners and pro athletes. The unique impact guidance system is deigned to deliver support and cushioning at exactly the spots on your feet that enhance natural gait and movement, and the Propulsion Trustic system creates the tension that help lift your feet off the ground.

Combined with the GEL cushioning, it is a shoe with maximum flexibility that absorbs front and rear landing force for runners recovering ,or trying to prevent developing Planta Fasciitis. Others benefits of the ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running Shoe include:

4.7 Star Customer Satisfaction Rating

ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • Rubber sole- Provide stable support with Lightweight Midsole System 
  • Perforated sockliner and open mesh upper – Drains moisture from your feet and prevent odor
  • WET GRIP Outsole – Has great traction control that helps when running on wet surfaces
  • DuoMax Support System – Designed with material that has different densities in the heel and forefoot areas for a comfortable feel when walking, jogging or running.
  • Elastic laces- Offer firm, flexible, yet comfortable fit
  • Personalized Fit with Vivid Colors – The shoe is available in 4 different combinations of vivid and vibrant colors
  • The GEL-Noosa Tri 8 can be purchased in male and female designs

Cons:

Users have observed that the Noosa Tri 8 tend to be half a size smaller. I would advice stepping up 1/2 size your normal shoe size when placing your order. 

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#2 – Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe in 4 Colors

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 running shoe is the footwear I finally purchased that really helped ease my heel pains, and got me back to jogging and running. I may have gone for my #1, but I have made my purchase before writing this review and I am very satisfied with my Brook GTS 12.

I would highly recommend it to anyone battling with heel pains. Adrenaline GTS 13 is now available and is as good as the GTS 12 from customers’ reviews. Other benefits of the shoe include:

4.5 Star Customer Satisfaction Rating

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

Brooks DNA Cushioning Technology – Allows stability and support for slight-to-moderate overpronators, plus great cushioning and overpronation control that prevents damage to Planta Fascia, and help with the healing and recovery from heel pains. Cushioning that the Brooks GTS 12 and 13 provide automatically and physically adapts with each of your foot foot strike, and gives you the stability and balance you require to maintain proper gait will you jog or run.

  • Brooks Biodegradeable running shoe midsole – Eco-friendly Non-toxic and natural additive in the midsole the shoe to biodegrade 50x faster than other midsoles, and this does not affect life time performance of the shoe.
  • Brooks Biomechanically engineered midsole – Allows for progressive pronation control that creates smoother and stress free mid-foot to forefoot transition while jogging or running
  • Abrasion-resistant rubber outsole – highly durable, abrasion-resistant rubber outsole compound that extends the life of the tread
  • Available in male and female sizes
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 is available in 4 eye popping colors
  • There are male and female versions of the shoe

Cons:

Just like the ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 8, some users have found that the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 can be about 1/2 size smaller than their normal shoe size. You may want to consider buying the size that is 1/2 bigger than your normal size for running sneakers. 

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#3 – ASICS GT 2170 Running Shoe

ASICS GT 2170 Running Shoe

ASICS GT 2170 Running Shoe in 5 Colors

Another popular running shoe from ASICS that continued in the high quality of the GT 2000 series. The GT 2170 could easily be at the top of my list with its GEL impact cushioning and full length guidance line that. help runners keep proper feet alignment and gait which reduces the risk of developing heel pain. The sole has a good grip for running on smooth and wet surfaces. Other features of the ASICS GT-2170 include:

4.5 Star Customer Satisfaction Rating

ASICS GT 2170 Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • light weight Synthetic material that gives runners a close and comfortable fit like minimalist shoes
  • Durable manmade sole
  • Breathable upper mesh with discrete eyelets that lets out moisture and prevent odor.
  • A DuoMax support system with varying density that gives stability, balance and support throughout the midsole of the shoe. Great arch support.
  • Available in a combination of 5 different colors that will appeal to many with active outdoor lifestyle
  • ASICS GT-2170 can be purchased in designs for male and female

Cons:

Some fans of the GT 2000 series have commented that GT 2170 did not last them as long as earlier versions, though runners with Planta Fasciitis were thrilled with how comfortable it is to run, jog or walk with the shoe.

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#4 – New Balance MR & WR993 Running Shoe

New Balance MR993 Running Shoe

New Balance WR993 Running Shoe in 5 Colors

Avid runners that have tried New Balance running shoes keep coming back to it, particularly heavy weight runners, and the 993 is no except. It is enjoying rave reviews from ordinary to professional runners with heel and spur pains. With a mixture of upper leather and mesh, it is a shoe that provides superior cushioning and support for arch with its Dupont Engage and Isoprene rubber sole. You will also find these other benefits with the New Balance 993 running shoe:

4.5 Star Customer Satisfaction Rating

New Balance MR & WR 993 Running Shoe
Men’s MR933       Women’s WR993
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Pros:

Leather and Synthetic mesh upper that offer long lasting comfort and is breathable for fresh and odorless inner sole.
Midsole foam with DuPont Engage system that is exceptional durability, and is 12% lighter than standard midsoles

  • Single density polyurethane that provide comfortable heel support.
  • Cushioning in the heel and forefoot that support your feet, and allow maximum strides without pain
  • Ndurance outsole provide great, reliable traction for any terrain. Hard wearing sole.
  • Available in 3 colors – Grey, Navy and Olive
  • Can be be purchased in female design as WR993, and male as MR993designs

Cons:

Heavy weight users love how the shoe can withstand punishing usage, though a small number has commented that 993 does not seem to last as long as earlier models of the New Balance 900 Series of running shoes.

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#5 – ASICS Kinsei 4 Running Shoe

ASICS Kinsei 4 Running Shoe

ASICS Kinsei 4 Running Shoe – Up to 8 Colors

The Kinsei 4 followed in ASICS designs of brightly colored impact guidance running shoe designs, with heel clutching system that provide exceptional support and encourage proper gait for runners. It is the choice for serious runners and professional athletes. The chunky looking, though lightweight DuraSponge rubber outsole is very durable, and provide excellent traction on smooth and rough surface.s Other benefits of the shoe include:

4.7 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

ASICS Kinsei 4 Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • Breathable Synthetic Mesh upper that is stretchy for a comfortable fit that prevents chaffing
  • Lightweight DuraSponge rubber outsole for durability and traction control.
  • ASICS unique Heel Clutching System and exoskeletal heel counter promote improved fit and increase heel support.
  • The shoe has Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning that absorbs shock ,enhances comfort and provide arch support necessary to relieve and prevent heel pains that may lead to Planta Fasciitis.
  • Natural Foot gait enhancement with an Impact Guidance System design
  • Incorporates metallic film that retains heat in cold weather and releases heat in warm weather
  • It is available in a good choice of 7 vibrant rainbow-like colors
  • The ASICS Kinsei 4 Running Shoes can be purchased in female and male designs

Cons:

How many times have you heard this about any product? They don’t make them like that anymore. Just like the top shoes on my list, some user think older versions of these running shoes are more durable. We can possible say the same for most things these days, but overwhelming majority gave the Kinsei 4 a 5 star rating, and you can read their reviews on Amazon. 

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#6 – Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS Athletic Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS – Up to 17 Colors!

For minimalist and barefoot running, Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS Athletic Shoe is hard to beat with its anatomical human foot structure. It is a design. that allows all the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and sensors in your feet to be exercised as nature intends, and so prevent weaknesses in feet that many believed are caused by the normal shoes we are used to wearing.

The Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS could easily have been my number one for running shoes, but it had just over 100 reviews compared with triple that number for shoes I have placed above it. Also many people are not comfortable with the idea of minimalist running shoes, and the funny looks they attract from onlookers. Other benefits of the shoe include:

4.6 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS Athletic Shoes
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • 4mm Vibram TC-1 Rubber Outsole that is anatomically designed to give maximum close protection where you need it most – heel, arch, and toes
  • A coconut Active Carbon Fibre Upper that is highly flexible for improved comfort, and is breathable to reduce odor resistant.
  • The Vibram Lacing System allows runners a wider tongue opening that makes it easy step-in and out of the shoe, and the adjustable elastic forms a natural fit around the shape of your foot, which many minimalist runners find extremely comfortable.
  • A Single Hook and Loop Closure is used to pull the upper side of the shoe tight round the contours of your feet, giving the feeling of a second skin
  • The Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS has a 3mm Polyurethane Footbed with Dri-Lex Sock that offer great cushioning for the heel, and entire sole. The footbed is thickest in the zone of your feet where you land with the greatest force while running.
  • Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS is available in in an array of 9 different vibrant colors that many joggers and runners will find appealing.
  • This minimalist shoe is available in designs for male and female

Cons:

As you would expect with many minimalist shoes by design, if you are a heavy user, and depending on the type of your running surface, the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS though extremely comfortable, may not last as long as normal running shoes. 

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#7 – ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 Running Shoe

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 Running Shoe

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 Running Shoe – in 4 Colors

If you are thinking ASICS shoes are all over my top ten list of running shoes, that is because more has made the selections criteria and people like you are buying and recommending the ASICS, the Gel-Nimbus 14 yet again as a running with great heel cushioning, good arch support and comfortable fit that those with heel pains have come to expect in ASICS running shoes. The Gel-Nimbus 14 is sleek, lightweight with front and rear GEL cushioning, stability, and helps with proper gait when running or jogging. You will also find these benefits with the shoe:

4.5 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • The Forefoot cushioning is gender specific, which adds to stability and comfort ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 provides to male or female runners
  • A full-length Guidance Line helps smooth transitioning, and makes you run more efficiently without straining your muscles.
  • The upper fits comfortably, wrapping around the natural contour of your feet
  • A collar memory foam that molds around the heel, providing great pain relieve if you are already suffering from Planta Fasciitis, or prevents you from damaging your Fascia tissue.
  • The shoe is available in 4 different combinations of dark to bright colors that many runners would like.
  • It can be purchased in a female or male design

Cons:

Some runners have commented that the Gel-Nimbus 14 is narrower at the front than earlier versions, but that may be users with really wide feet, as majority did not see this as an issue with the shoe. 

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#8 – New Balance 990 Heritage Running Shoe

New Balance 990 Heritage Running Shoe

New Balance 990 Heritage Running Shoe – in 5 Colors

I picked a New Balance running shoe as my #4, and another in the 990 Heritage has made my #8, an good indication of the popularity of New Balances running shoes amongst runners, joggers, and those out only for brisk walks. Designed to help moderate over-pronators, the underfoot has foam insole and a polyurethane midsole with New Balance unique ABZORB at the midfoot, and blown rubber at the forefoot, all working together to provide exceptional shock absorption whether you are walking, jogging or running.

The design of the shoe also helps with a healthy natural gait, which is important for proper body weight distribution when running. Other benefits of the New Balance 990 Heritage include:

4.5 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

New Balance 990 Heritage Running Shoe
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • A Dual-density Collar that uses a combination of softer density foam against the foot for cushioning, and a firmer density foam for support
  • An upper Pigskin/Mesh that provides your foot with a lightweight and supportive feel
  • Reflective detailing that enhances your visibility when running, or jogging in low lights.
  • Blown rubber forefoot offers lightweight cushioning as you shift your weight to the toes when running, or walking.
  • The shoe is available in 4 simple colors that are pleasing to the eyes.
  • The 990 Heritage Running Shoe can be purchased for female and male
  • All New Balance running shoes are proudly made in ‘Made in the USA’

Cons:

Some users have expressed that the quality of New Balance running shoes may have gone down a bit, as the 990 Heritage did not last as long as they expected. But then how long a running shoe will last depends on many variable – how often it is used, weight of user, running surface and care for the shoe. 

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#9 – Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove – in 11 Colors

My #9 and indeed #10 on my top ten running shoes for Planta Fasciitis are minimalist running shoes, and they are not at the bottom two because they offer less comfort and support for heel pains, but because I decided to bunch them close to each other for close comparison. They have similar customer satisfaction ratings as the top standard shaped shoes, and have been reviewed by as many users.

With over 450 reviews for Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, it is a runners shoe that attracts large number loyal followers. Flexible plate in the forefoot, 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions, and lightweight upper with a leather foot sling for stability fits the shoe like a glove around your foot. It is a shoes that is Merrell has proudly describes as less is more. You will find the following other features in this barefoot running shoe:

4.5 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove
Men       Women
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Pros:

  • Microfiber and breathable air mesh upper that keeps your feet cool, and help prevent shoe odor.
  • Extended toe protects your forefoot against roots and rocks when you go off-road running.
  • Compression molded midsole provides cushioning and good arch support
  • The shoe has a sleek and comfortable fit that allows all areas of your feet to be exercised naturally, without the over protection you find in normal running shoes. Many believe that minimalist running shoe’s close fitting around the feet helps to speed up relieve and recovery from Planta Fasciitis, faster than you will get from other types of shoes.
  • It is available in an amazing collection of 16 different combination of vibrant colors. Color preference for runners must have been thoughtfully considered.
  • The Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove can be purchased in male and female designs

Cons:

Some runners find Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove running shoe a too narrow, others find it too wide; and I hope you are one like me that find it nothing but comfortable with close contact fit that will not rub against your feet. 

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#10 – New Balance WT10 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

New Balance WT10 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

New Balance MT10 Minimus Trail Running Shoe – 7 Colors

Another New Balance running shoe made my top 10 list yet again, but this time the Minimus Trail is a popular minimalist running shoe with considerable number of followings . It simply shows that whether it is a normal or minimalist shoe, runners and joggers love the quality and comfort in New Balance running shoes.

The Minimus WT10 for women, or MT10V1 for men provide very comfortable support for the sole, heel and toes, and gives a fitting around your foot that is close to the way nature intends us to run, jog or walk – barefoot. Here are other benefits you will find with the Minimus Trail running shoe:

4.5 Stars Customer Satisfaction Rating

New Balance MT10 & WT10  Minimus Trail Running Shoe
Men’s MT10v1    Women WT10
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Pros:

  • Vibram sole that is sleek, very supportive and responds to strides, and the contours of the running trails without feeling the weight of a shoe
  • It has flexible overlays in optimal areas of your feet – heel, midsole and toe areas
  • Internal construction with 4mm drop that is Barefoot friendly.
  • Durable 75% Synthetic, 25% breathable Mesh that allows for ventilation of your feet, letting moisture to escape and preventing shoe odor
  • The WT10 Minimus is available in 7 different colorful designs
  • The shoes can be purchased for male and female
  • It is a running shoe that helps to exercise the heel and toe areas more naturally, preventing and speeding up recovering from Planta Fasciitis heel pains.

Cons:

One user commented that she does not like the bright colors, but you have a choice of 7 different colors. If the color you picked is the only problem with a running shoe, I think it is an indication of a good shoe, particularly with a choice of 7 colors. 

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Dr. Metzl Video Explanation of Planta Fasciitis

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