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Best Walking Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis in 2021

 

Foot pain can be a factor that stops many people from walking. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis, even walking through a store or around the house can be painful.

There are two types of Achilles tendonitis. One affects the lower part of the heel, and the other is further up the tendon and may present with a noticeable and painful lump.

Choosing the best walking shoes for Achilles tendonitis depends on which type you have and how severe it is. Generally, we recommend supportive shoes with a heel raised higher than your toes.

Our top pick is the Brooks Ghost 14. It’s a comfortable, neutral shoe with good support and a raised heel.

But browse through the full list to find something that suits both your feet and your style!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Brooks Ghost 14

 

  • 12 mm heel-to-toe offset
  • 3D Fit Print technology upper
  • Flex grooves in the forefoot
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Hoka One One Bondi 7

 

  • Beveled heel design
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker
  • Memory foam heel cap
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Brooks Addiction 14

 

  • Heel-Segmented Crash Pad
  • Adaptive cushioning
  • Removable insole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Brooks Ghost 14

The Brook Ghost is one of the brand’s best-selling models, and the 14 is built for comfort. Upfront, the soft and plush midsole is very noticeable, and it’s made up of two different compounds for an ideal mix of soft comfort and energy return.

That cushioning (a mix of DNA LOFT and BioMoGo foam) is important to absorb shock when walking. This defers impact from the heel, reducing the effects of every step on the tendon.

It’s not the most responsive shoe on the market, but it’s made for protection and comfort rather than speed.

Apart from the well-cushioned midsole, the Ghost 14 has a few other features that make it an excellent choice for those with Achilles tendonitis. Some may feel that the heel-to-toe drop of 12mm is somewhat high, but it’s the perfect height to take pressure off the Achilles.

The 3D Fit Print upper hugs the foot tightly but not uncomfortably, keeping the foot in the right position and preventing misalignment of the joints that can cause extra strain on the heel tendon.

The traditional lacing system assists with retaining a snug fit, and a removable insole allows you to add an insole to get just the right amount of arch support.

A plush ankle collar provides extra support, with some reinforcing just under the ankle on the upper. This offers extra stability around the ankle and keeps the Achilles tendon in proper alignment.

Underneath, the blown-rubber outsole is grippy but wears away fairly quickly. Extra flexibility in the forefoot is created by the presence of flex grooves, for a more natural foot movement.

PROS:

  • DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • 12 mm heel-to-toe offset
  • 3D Fit Print technology upper
  • Flex grooves in the forefoot

CONS:

  • May feel slightly heavy on the foot
 

Most Cushioned

2. Hoka One One Bondi 7

If cushioning is your main priority, the Hoka One One Bondi 7 is the king of cushion! This chunky-looking shoe may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to beat the plush, soft cushion in the midsole.

A full-length EVA midsole provides the comfort you need to walk without pain. It also has an early-stage meta-rocker within it, which creates a rocking effect that helps you transition easily from heel to toe, without needing any extra effort.

The slightly beveled heel also helps with a faster heel-to-toe transition, encouraging a forward movement that takes pressure off the heel.

One of the best features of this shoe for Achilles tendonitis sufferers is the heel cap. It’s made of soft memory foam, and comfortably cradles the heel and Achilles, giving it a combination of support and comfort.

An internal heel counter adds even more structure and support, preventing heel slippage and lateral movement within the shoe that could chafe or aggravate the Achilles.

Engineered mesh uppers make these shoes breathable but they remain firm and supportive thanks to synthetic overlays around the base of the shoe and wraps around the heel.

Oh, and they’re vegan!

PROS:

  • Beveled heel design
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker
  • Memory foam heel cap
  • Internal heel counter

CONS:

  • Chunky design not for everyone
 

Best Support And Stability

3. Brooks Addiction 14

Walkers who need extra support on the inside of the foot but still need features that cater for Achilles tendonitis would like the Brooks Addiction 14.

It’s designed to counter overpronation (mild to severe). This is thanks to the inclusion of an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar. This support technology is built into the shoe and runs from the heel to the forefoot, effectively supporting your foot where it needs it most – the arch.

The insole is removable. If by chance this shoe doesn’t offer quite the right amount of arch support for you, you can still buy it and simply use an insert to support your foot adequately.

Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA midsole is well-cushioned but still fairly responsive, and it’s also environmentally friendly! This soft cushion adapts to the wearer’s stride and weight, creating an almost-ideal fit and feel.

With a heel drop of 12mm, the pressure is removed from the Achilles thanks to the slight forward lean. A padded ankle collar reduces any chance of chafing in the area and provides a little extra structure.

On the outsole, HPR Plus technology in the rubber makes it durable and protects your feet from the ground. For improved flexibility, the forefoot features flex grooves and a heel-segmented crash pad.

PROS:

  • Heel-Segmented Crash Pad
  • Adaptive cushioning
  • Removable insole
  • 12 mm heel-to-toe drop

CONS:

  • Slightly heavy
 

Top Nike

4. Nike React Miler 2

Nike is one of our favorite brands, not only for their style but also for their super cushioning. Walkers with Achilles tendonitis who like Nike shoes should consider investing in a pair of the React Miler 2s.

Full-length Nike React cushion absorbs shock effectively and reduces the jarring impact on the Achilles. This foam is considered to be one of the best you can get, packing both soft comfort and relaxed energy return into it.

It’s not made to be a speed shoe, so it’s perfect for walkers. It has a rocker-shaped sole to provide some extra, effortless forward propulsion, and a midfoot cage to keep the foot locked in and safe.

A stiff TPU heel cap around the heel where the upper meets the sole provides structure and support to the Achilles, while the well-padded heel collar keeps it comfortable.

A large, curved groove in the sole helps the shoe to remain flexible. Strategically-placed rubber also makes it grippy on most surfaces.

PROS:

  • Stiff TPU heel cap
  • Full-length Nike React cushioning
  • Rocker-shaped sole
  • Midfoot cage

CONS:

  • Runs a little small
 

Best Lightweight Shoes

5. Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Waveknit

Do you feel like your current shoes are heavy on your feet? If you’re looking for a lighter pair of shoes that still caters to your Achilles tendonitis, the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Waveknit could be the right one for you.

Weighing just 10.3 ounces for a men’s shoe, the Wave Rider packs a lot of good tech into a lightweight package. Mizuno has broken out a new foam in this shoe, ENERZY, which is combined with their classic U4ic foam to create a light, responsive, and comfy experience.

ENERZY is lighter than their usual foam. It’s found in the heel of this shoe, effectively reducing jarring that could aggravate the Achilles.

It’s also quite a bit lighter than the U4ic, which is found in the forefoot of this shoe. Along with the 12mm drop, this front-heavy design is helpful for reducing Achilles strain.

The Waveknit upper provides a sock-like fit, which stretches to accommodate the foot’s natural movement but still offers adequate support. In the midsole, a Wave plate creates an easy rocker effect for easy propulsion.

A groove in the outsole promotes foot flexibility, with X10 carbon rubber on the outsole giving the shoe a good bit of durability.

PROS:

  • ENERZY & U4ic foam in midsole
  • Wave technology
  • WaveKnit upper
  • Padded tongue and collar

CONS:

  • Runs small
 

Top Off-Road Shoes

6. New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6

If you’re the adventurous type who enjoys going for walks off-road, the New Balance Hierro v6 may be the best shoe to support your Achilles on rough terrain.

It’s a less rugged trail shoe than usual, which makes it just right for walkers. It’s slightly heavy, at 11.9 ounces, but it won’t be as noticeable walking as it would be running.

For Achilles cushioning, an unusually thick and well-padded ankle collar both supports and comforts the heel. Underneath, a slab of NB’s signature Fresh Foam provides shock-absorbing cushioning.

The 8mm heel drop is a great number for almost all wearers, and gives the walker a slightly forward-heavy gait, taking pressure off the back of the heel.

The upper is more flexible than the previous version, and has a padded tongue and traditional lacing system to get the best fit and feel on your foot. An internal heel counter keeps the foot from moving too much in the shoe.

A reinforced toe means you can stop worrying about your toes being prone to injury on rough trails. The sole sports a waffle-patterned Vibram Megagrip outsole, which is truly one of the best and safest around.

PROS:

  • Full-length Fresh Foam midsole
  • 8mm heel drop
  • Internal heel counter
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole

CONS:

  • Although this shoe is lighter than the previous version, it’s still unusually and noticeably heavy on the foot
 

Most Breathable

7. New Balance 840v4

If your feet tend to overheat when you’re walking, a breathable shoe is what you need.

New Balance’s 840v4 is what we suggest if breathabilty is your top priority (apart from being Achilles-friendly).

The upper is made of a soft, cloth-textured mesh that’s very well-ventilated thanks to multiple perforations. Light printed overlays reinforce and stabilize the foot while walking, but don’t interfere with the breathability of the shoe.

A padded tongue and ankle collar provide support for the back of the heel, and in conjunction with the external heel counter, prevent the foot from moving in the shoe, which could aggravate the Achilles.

The midsole uses ABZORB foam, running from heel to toe. It’s shock-absorbing and easy underfoot, and has good energy return, reducing fatigue in the legs that can cause pain in the back of the heel.

Flex grooves in the sole and a spongy rubber forefoot promote flexibility and natural movement for the feet.

PROS:

  • Full-length ABZORB cushioning
  • External heel counter
  • Forefoot flex grooves
  • Well-ventilated mesh upper

CONS:

  • May not accommodate custom orthotics
 

Best Heel Support

8. ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 23

Pain and tenderness from Achilles tendonitis can feel worse if your heel isn’t well supported and cushioned in your shoe. Excessive heel movement can aggravate the problem, fatiguing your foot faster and putting pressure on the Achilles.

The ASICS Gel-Cumulus is what we recommend for heel support. Just looking at the shoe reveals the heel support, which is evident in the rear of the shoe. Here, you’ll find the GEL unit that this shoe is named for, which does wonders for shock-absorption in the heel, minimizing jarring to the Achilles.

The rest of the midsole features FLYTEFOAM, a light and comfortable cushion that offers a good mix of softness and responsiveness.

Also found hiding in the midsole is ASICS’ gender-specific 3D Space Construction technology. This tech uses strategically-placed pillars in the midsole which alters the compression of the foam, allowing for a good mix of firmness where needed and softness underfoot.

It’s slightly differently designed in the men’s and women’s shoes. In the men’s, the pillars are only found in the heel. For the women, they’re in both the heel and the forefoot. These compression pillars add an extra element of heel support to this shoe.

An engineered mesh upper offers the optimal combination of breathability, structure, and flexibility.

PROS:

  • FLYTEFOAM midsole cushioning
  • Gender-specific 3D Space Construction
  • GEL technology unit in the heel
  • Engineered mesh upper

CONS:

  • The midsole isn’t as soft as the previous iterations, so some may not find it comfortable
 

Top Stability

9. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

Severe pronators who need a stability shoe that also relieves the pain and discomfort of Achilles tendonitis should consider the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21.

A combination of BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT foam in the midsole provide the best of all worlds – softness, support, durability, and responsiveness.

There are two particular stability features on this shoe that make it the ideal choice for overpronators with Achilles tendonitis.

The main support feature is their GuideRails. These are two inconspicuous, supportive panels that run alongside the heel on the outside of the shoe. Their function is to provide structure and support and prevent sideways movement of the heel.

Apart from this, it has a 3D Fit Print upper, which secures the midfoot along with the lacing system, removable insoles which can accommodate orthotics, and a segmented crash pad that helps with flexibility.

On the outsole, Flextra rubber offers a certain degree of support which differs slightly from the men’s to the women’s shoe, designed to adapt to gender and weight. A V-groove in the outsole promotes natural foot movement and flexibility.

PROS:

  • Progressive Diagonal Rollbar support
  • BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning
  • Segmented crash pad
  • GuideRails support

CONS:

  • They may run both large and wide
 

Best For Standing All Day

10. Saucony Ride 14

Do you work on your feet all day? Does it make your Achilles tendonitis worse? We suggest trying a pair of Saucony Ride 14s to alleviate pressure on the heel and keep your feet feeling good.

The 8mm heel drop isn’t severe enough to be intimidated by it, but it still allows some pressure to be taken off the heel simply by its slight forward lean. At the same time, it doesn’t add any pressure to the toes or forefoot, thanks to a sufficiently wide toe box.

Saucony’s PWRRUN cushion offers softness and shock-absorption, but remains responsive enough for a comfortable and easy walk. A padded tongue and comfortable, supportive ankle collar serves the dual purpose of adding more support and keeping you comfortable for hours on end.

They look as good as they feel, with a clean-looking FORMFIT upper paired with synthetic overlays for added structure.

PROS:

  • FORMFIT mesh upper
  • PWRRUN cushioning
  • 8mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Padded tongue and collar

CONS:

  • The midsole is stiffer than others
 

FAQs

Looking for the best walking shoes for Achilles tendonitis? Here’s what you should be considering.

What is The Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon sits at the back of your heel. It’s a long band of tissue (tendon) that connects your calf muscles at the bottom to the heel bone. When this tendon becomes irritated or inflamed, it’s called Achilles tendonitis.

Features to Look for in a Good Shoe for Achilles Protection

The best shoes for Achilles tendonitis should tick certain boxes. Here’s what to look for:

Arch Support

Adequate arch support will ensure that your foot is in the proper alignment. Overpronators (or those with flat feet) will need a stability shoe, while people with a normal, medium arch will be fine with a neutral shoe.

The right arch support is important as it helps keep the foot properly aligned, preventing it from rolling over and compromising the joints, ligaments, and tendons.

It also helps to disperse your own weight evenly across the foot, and disperse shock from the impact of your foot strike.

Cushioning

Good cushioning absorbs shock when your foot hits the ground. It also just makes for a comfier experience!

For Achilles tendonitis, the cushioning should be excellent in the heel as well as the midsole.

Flexibility

While a firm and stable heel (possibly including a heel counter) will help keep your Achilles from moving excessively and feeling extra strain, a flexible forefoot is necessary to allow for the natural and comfortable movement of the foot.

Ankle Support

There’s no use keeping your arch supported and your heel in place if the ankle isn’t also well-supported! A comfortable and padded ankle collar is another essential element that can help reduce the effects of Achilles tendonitis by keeping your foot in the right position.

The Wired Runner