While not an ultimate cure, heel cups can help relieve heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis and Sever’s disease. These handy inserts, which are often worn inside shoes, are designed to stabilize the heel to promote proper alignment of the foot, knees and back, and thus alleviate painful pressure. They also typically feature targeted cushioning for amped-up support. From traditional cup styles you can wear in everyday shoes to wrapped options that work well for barefoot gymnasts and dancers, we’ve rounded up some of the best heel cups money can buy. They’re available in sizes for men, women and kids, so they can work for the whole family.
For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the shoe authority. Our coverage spans top industry news, retail trends, head-to-toe fashion, athletic and outdoor analysis and more. Footwear News’ global network of editors has carefully curated all product selections featured using our expansive brand knowledge and thorough research to find quality, long-lasting items. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
1. Heel That Pain Heel Cups
These sleek inserts help stabilize the heel to provide pressure relief, while offering a boost of cushioning under the natural fat pad of the foot for optimal comfort. The style also includes a built-in fascia bar designed to apply acupressure to the plantar fascia ligament while you walk.
Pros: These come in three rubber and gel designs in varying levels of firmness to suit your preference. They feature an all-around anti-slip surface, which helps repel sweat and moisture and prevent the inserts from sliding around in your shoe.
Cons: These feel somewhat tacky; lint from socks may easily get stuck on them.
2. Tuli's Gel Heel Cup
Tuli’s heel cups feature a special multi-layer waffle design to absorb impact, optimize energy return and promote proper alignment of the feet, knees, back and hips.
Pros: The gel is durable and can comfortably be worn with or without socks. It’s also latex-free.
Cons: These are on the thicker side, so may not fit inside slimmer shoe styles (they’re best worn in work boots and athletic sneakers). Your bare heel may slip atop these.
3. Tuli's Cheetah Heel Cup
Skip the taping and strapping with this fitted slip-on style, which features a shock-absorbing heel cup and attached stabilizing sleeve for support and compression.
Pros: The heel cup includes Tuli’s signature waffle design to reduce impact underfoot. This look is sold individually and in pairs for more buying options.
Cons: These tend to show wear over time.