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Every year or so I'll end up with plantar fasciitis after periods of time where I've walked a lot. In general my walking shoes are fine and have arch support but occasionally I'll need to use sturdier boots or sometimes walking sandals with no support. It's usually not long after that that the pain starts.

What methods or items of equipment are there to prevent this? Are there good quality shoes/boots/sandals with arch support? Does anyone have experience of extended walks with inserts?

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I got some OluKai sandals from REI, and they are by far the most comfortable sandals I have ever had. They are not flat like most sandals, and actually have arch support. That being said, I don't do any extended walking in them, and cannot attest to how they would stand up to miles at a time. –  Timothy Strimple Jan 27 '12 at 7:58

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If there was a magic solution to preventing plantar fasciitis, then no one would have it anymore! Different things work for different people. It's important to find out what works for you. This can be done with experimentation or the help of a specialist.

One thing I would caution against is just throwing more padding at it! There is something wrong with your stride and the padding may hide it for while, but it will eventually come back. I say pay particular attention to how you're walking while wearing your walking shoes that do not give you any problems. Then walk around in your sandals or your boots. Pay attention to how your feet land in the different footwear, and how you transition to your next stride.

Find the stride that works best for you and practice it. I know it's strange to have to think about walking again, it's supposed to be something we just do, but I find it helps me.

When I'm hiking with my thin soled trail running shoes, I have a tendency to step and land on the front of my foot and I take quicker, smaller steps. While in heavy boots, I'm definitely a heel striker with longer strides.

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There are lots of easy non-magical preventions for various conditions that for some reason many people remain ignorant of. Washing your hands often and not touching eyes and nose help greatly preventing the common cold, yet people continue to believe it's due to exposure to low temperatures. So I think you're opening sentence is not necessary. –  hippietrail Nov 29 '14 at 5:03

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