Here is a completely different take on the subject:
Research the new popular wave of barefoot shoes. I have 3 pairs of the merrell barefoot shoes. These shoes have zero drop (they don't angle down from the heel to the toe) and less support than traditional shoes. They encourage the wearer to put more weight on the ball of the foot. This lets the foot, ankle, achilles, calf, etc work the way it was designed. It also streches the achilles and calf out during your normal activities.
I am very impressed with these shoes. I no longer have achilles pain (I think I was on my way to serious problems) and they are the most comfortable shoes I own. I can also run much further now without discomfort. But, I will throw out a couple cautions.
Don't buy these shoes if you intend to keep putting most of the impact weight on your heels. They won't work and your feet will hurt. You need to land with your weight on the ball of your foot when running.
Work into these slowly. It took me several months of wearing them before I could run without my achilles hurting (only my bad one hurt). Follow the instructions that Merrell gives on their website. If you run in them your calves will be sore at first.
I recommend starting with these:
and then working up to something like this:
The 1st ones have some cushioning and more arch support. The 2nd ones feel almost like you are really barefoot. I wear the 1st pair for basketball and pavement. The 2nd pair is great for running or walking on trails.