In Greek myth, the mighty warrior Achilles is felled by his one weakness – the vulnerable spot on his heel. The story inspired the name for the Achilles tendon, one of the most crucial tendons in your body. It controls every step, and if anything happens to it, you will have a difficult time walking at all. This key tendon can suffer all sorts of damage, but one of the most insidious causes of walking pain is Achilles tendonitis. However, using the best shoes for achilles tendonitis can help overcome some of these issues. We review the best shoes in this article.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Although your Achilles tendon takes a lot of stress on a daily basis, it can become inflamed from over-use or damage, even if you are not an athlete of any kind. You use your Achilles tendon every time you walk, run, or jump; essentially any activity that has you moving on your feet uses your Achilles. The tendon links your calf muscle with the bone in your heel, so most sufferers of Achilles tendonitis feel pain in the lower back of their leg and the heel.
Any number of things can cause Achilles tendonitis purely because the Achilles tendon is used in so many activities. Over-use means different things for different people, and it isn’t easy to predict what will irritate your Achilles tendon. There are some key risk factors, however, that you should be aware of.
- Weekend-only intensive exercise
- Change in running habits
- Running in old shoes
- Certain medicines
Although you should always see a doctor for any medical condition, many treatments for Achilles tendonitis do not involve prescription medication or surgery. Many of these treatments have a common theme: reducing swelling and taking the weight off your injured tendon so it can recover.
- Aspirin or ibuprofen
- Applying an ice pack to the area
- Alternative exercise (such as swimming or biking in low gear)
As you recover, you can begin stretching exercises to loosen the tendon. It’s a good idea to continue these exercises even after you’ve recovered to prevent future cases of Achilles tendonitis.
Finding the Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis
Since footwear can be a major cause of Achilles tendonitis, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when buying shoes to help recover from inflammation or to prevent inflammation in the future. A lot goes into finding the right shoes, and a lot is specific to your feet. You may already know if you need wide shoes, and you certainly know what size you wear. But do you know what kind of arch support you need? Improper arch support can add strain to the Achilles tendon. Heel height is vital. It’s important for your heel to be slightly higher than the ball of your foot, which means cushioning shouldn’t be too soft, and shoes like ballet flats and flip flops are out.
Below are some of the best shoes for those suffering from achilles tendonitis.
AVIVA Women’s Volante Country Walking Shoe Review
These leather and textile walking shoes feature strong arch support and a specialized heel designed to support your step with a trampoline effect. This helps absorb impact, protecting your feet. The arch rocker outsole creates a high midcourt and a natural stride. A removable insole makes the shoe ideal for both those who need special orthotic inserts and those who do not. The design helps overall to take weight stress off your feet.
Although there is some debate over sizing, this is inevitable with shoes. No two pairs of feet are the same, and while companies have tried to create sizes to fit everyone, not every shoe will fit in the size you think it should. Previous customers praise the shoes’ comfort and the length of time they could stand and walk without pain while wearing them. A few former buyers pointed out that the shoes degrade faster than they had expected, however the shoes are set firmly in the mid-price range, and few shoes in this price bracket last for very long, especially when subjected to strenuous activity.
- Removable insole
- Arch support
- Raised heel
- Reduces strain on feet
- Wear out quickly
- Some sizing discrepancies
Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Review
If you are looking for good heel support, this is the shoe for you. Hydroflow in the rear and forefoot provides shock absorption, and the award winning MOGO midsole prevents even more shock from ever reaching your foot. These leather shoes have special support for low arches and help control pronation.
Although a number of previous buyers swapped out the insoles for other supports, they have left glowing praise for the footwear. Some even found the shoes through their doctors’ recommendations. The shoes also appear to last significantly longer than the majority of their competition. Again, however, there seems to be some trouble with sizing, and quite a few previous buyers suggest buying shoes a half size larger than you would normally purchase.
Check out the more detailed review of the Brooks Addiction Walker here.
- Excellent heel and arch support
- Layers of shock-absorption
- Recommended by doctors
- More expensive than some competitors
- Inaccurate sizing
Finding the right shoe is never easy. Finding the best shoes for achilles tendonitis, in order to protect and support the largest tendon in your body is even trickier. It’s important to keep in mind that good shoes for achilles tendonitis are more than just comfortable in the short term.
Anything with enough padding feels great for the first hour or so. Those recovering from or hoping to prevent achilles tendonitis must remember to look at the heel of the shoe. Is it too cushy? Is it cushy enough? Is there any kind of shock absorption to protect your tendon? Normal concerns like price are still factors, of course, and you should consider whether you want to invest in shoes that will last for a long time, but cost a lot in the short term, or if you want to spend less today and replace your shoes in the next few months.