"Women are more vulnerable to certain foot problems than men, mainly from years of walking in narrow-fitting shoes," according to The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. In the past, if you had heel problems your only options were unattractive shoes or sticking orthotics in your sneakers; but women with heel problems can now find stylish and comfortable options without breaking the bank. Proper arch support, stability and shock absorption are important features when considering sneakers that will help with heel pain.
According to the online library service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), if you have heel problems, its likely the issue was not caused by "any single injury, such as a fall or twist, but rather the result of repetitive or excessive pounding." To alleviate heel pain choose sneakers with arch support and a raised heel. Use your sneakers for the activity they were designed for and replace shoes every few months when they are worn down, as worn down shoes are common causes of heel pain.
What to Look for in a Sneaker
Look for sneakers that have shock-absorbent soles and supportive heel counters. These shoes should fit well around your foot, with a 3/8- to 1/2-inch space from your big toe to the end of the shoe when standing up. Do not buy sneakers based on the size on the tag, and stick to rounded-toe styles that let you wiggle your toes.
The American Podiatric Medical Association offers a "buyers guide" for buying sneakers for heel and other foot problems. You can also find specialist dealers that will provide you with information to help you find the correct sneaker for your particular problem.
Buying specialized sneakers for heel pain doesn't have to be any more expensive than buying any other pair of sneakers. The top of the line leather sneakers will run as high as $150, but if you are simply using the shoe for walking, there are options that cost around $70 to $100, which will provide plenty of support, stability and protection during most activities.