Best Ball of Foot Cushions & Metatarsal Pads Reviewed
Ball of foot cushions play an instrumental role in preventing an array of day to day foot related pains including bunions, blisters, flattened metatarsal arches, diabetic foot, burning pains, etc. These are normally treated by distributing the weight of the body evenly throughout the entirety of the foot, and in some cases even taking the weight off and cushioning the ball of the user’s foot.
Cushions designed for the balls of your feet can come in a variety of different form factors, including, adhesives that stick to the bottom of the user’s foot or even the inside of their shoe. Regardless of the type, each has their own advantages and disadvantages and most of the time it just comes down to preference.
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Works With Hosiery
Top 10 Picks
1. Compressx Cushion Set
Placement Can Be Difficult
Featuring gel cushions that attach to your feet, self-sticking shoe inserts, spandex covered gel pads, and a set of pads targeted for sore spots, this cushion set from Compressx aims to be a comprehensive solution to foot pain, not just metatarsal pain.
This set features two kinds of cushions that stick to your feet. One is a clear silicone cushion with a toe loop to keep it secure, while the other is a spandex-covered cushion with a thong-like design similar to flip flop sandals. Both of these cushions are reusable and washable. The silicone ones are great for wearing underneath socks, while the spandex ones are ideal for sandals and other open shoes.
Not only does this set come with a pair of metatarsal shoe inserts, but it also comes with four smaller inserts that can be used in specific areas of the shoe to target other pains and discomfort. These smaller inserts can be used in any part of the shoe, or can even be used as a lower profile cushion for the balls of your feet. There's a lot that can go into proper foot care, especially for those living with injuries or pain. So the treatments and supports we use for them should be comprehensive as well. Slightly less expensive than the other set on this list, this set is designed to treat pain and provide support in a variety of ways.
2. Foot Petals Tip Toes
Works With Hosiery
Difficult to Remove
For those who are looking for something a bit sturdier than gel or silicone, a pack of Tip Toes by Foot Petals can prove to be a go-to product for daily use. These inserts were developed out of a need to make ball of foot cushions for high heels that performed highly in terms of shock absorption, but that were still cute enough to be shown off.
In terms of construction, Tip Toes use the highest grade technology that is more often found in athletic footwear than heels. The material used for cushioning is Poron, a shock absorbing, highly durable foam material that returns to its original shape after every wear. It’s often used in sneakers, which should give you a good idea of what to expect.
The Poron foam is wrapped in a synthetic suede that is soft to the touch and can be worn with or without hosiery, and it won’t stick to your foot while wearing, even if your feet tend to swear. On the whole, these dry easily, so they can be worn as often as needed, and the strong adhesive ensures the Tip Toes stay in place all day (or night) long. A huge upside is that this is one of the rare products that comes in a multitude of prints, from simple blacks and nudes to zebra and leopard inspired designs.
3. Fancy Feet by Foot Petals
Single; Not A Pair
Designed primarily for women's shoes, the Fancy Feet metatarsal pads by Foot Petals are made for heels and other dressy styles. This gel pad will not only support the balls of your feet but will also keep your feet from slipping forward in shoes.
The majority of metatarsal pads are designed for comfort and support. Not many of them have their own traction methods. Sometimes your feet can start to slip forward when wearing heels. This can put extra pressure on your toes and easily become painful. The Fancy Feet gel pads are made to keep your feet secure in your shoes and prevent them from slipping forward.
The Fancy Feet pads have a slim and tapered design which will keep them from moving around within the shoe and becoming visible. These are specifically designed for use with heels and dress shoes, and are a bit more on the expensive side. However, they are still a good investment if you plan on wearing heels a lot or need something more discreet looking.
4. Brison Ball of Foot
Soothes Metatarsal Pain
Medical Grade SIlicone
Pack of 6
Fits All Shoes
While wearing high heels isn’t the best idea if you suffer from foot health issues, there may be instances where you can wear your favorite pair, as long as you take good care of yourself. This pack by Brison is the perfect choice in these cases, as it both cushions the front portion of the foot, but also helps achieve correct alignment, support and shock absorption in the metatarsal area.
The material used in constructing these cushions by Brison is medical grade silicone gel which is eco friendly and highly durable. It can easily be cleaned after wearing, and it retains its shock absorbing properties, no matter how often you use it, which means that you won’t have to purchase new items as often as with other products of this kind.
The design of these inserts includes a raised portion that falls right in the middle of the metatarsal area, and it is this portion which is crucial for treating and preventing pain that’s connected to Plantar Fasciitis, Morton’s Neuroma, bunions, and other issues. The package includes 6 items, for three pairs of footwear, and although slightly more expensive than other listed products, the price per item is still pretty low.
5. Ballotte Metatarsal Pads
Silicone And Gel Build
May Be Too Thick For Particular Shoes
Placing first on our list is one of the best selling Metatarsal Pads on Amazon created by Ballotte. These ball of foot pads are designed specifically for use in high heels in order to prevent calluses and create a more comfortable overall experience.
These pads are described as walking on marshmallows, as they provide silicone and gel padding in order to prevent any injury or pain caused by excessive shock. In addition to shock, these double down on the amount of materials used and results in a pad that is extra thick. This thicker build provides the wearer with much more cushion, preventing blisters on both the heel and ball of the foot.
They're absolutely no-slip thanks to the two bands that help secure them to your foot. Every pack comes with two pairs at a very affordable price, making these a perfect "bang for your buck" purchase. Additionally, the added cushioning and thick materials make these a great choice for preventing heel and ball of foot pain.
6. Dr. Eagle Metatarsal Pads
Skin Tone Available
Placement Can Be Difficult
It's not a common thing to see metatarsal supports come in different colors, even if it is just two. The Dr. Eagle silicone cushions come in either clear or beige, allowing them to easily blend into any situation. They are also easy to clean, and long-lasting.
Washable cushions are both more value-conscious and more eco-friendly than their non-washable counterparts. Washing a metatarsal cushion allows it to be used for longer, meaning you get more time out of it before having to get a new pair, which can also mean less waste. A washable cushion is also more resilient to germs, reducing the potential for odor.
There are two adhesion methods used in metatarsal cushions: one type sticks to your foot, while the other type sticks to the inside of your shoe. The latter is a better choice, as you won't have to worry about the adhesive wearing off as a result of sweating, or potential irritation and allergic reactions to the adhesive. This can make placement more difficult, so take your time. Two pairs for under $10 is slightly below the average price we see for metatarsal cushions. Thanks to their antimicrobial and washable design, you can expect that this purchase will be a solid investment for a while.
7. ZenToes Gel
Placement Can Be Difficult
The ZenToes metatarsal pads are made of medical grade silicone gel. This sort of gel does not absorb dirt or odors, making the pads easy to clean. These cushions have a self-sticking adhesive on the outside, so it sticks to the shoe instead of your foot, and they are all washable and reusable.
The high-quality silicone gel used in the ZenToes cushions does not absorb dirt and odors, and the nonporous surface resists bacteria and germs. This means that these won't start to smell after a few uses.
A good indicator of value is how many uses you can get out of it, similar to replayability when it comes to video games. The ZenToes silicone pads are a medical-grade material that stays cleaner longer, and can easily be washed with soap and warm water, allowing you to get more use out of each pair. With a unit cost of about $5 per pair, the ZenToes cushions are a solid investment. The design and materials make it both odor-resistant and easy to clean while being reusable. The adhesive is self-sticking and doesn't stick to your foot or cause irritation.
8. Ballotte Ball of Foot Cushions
Medical Grade PU Gel
Multiple Items in Pack
May Make Shoes Tight
Difficult to Install
This item by Ballotte is one of the simplest ones on our list, which is the secret behind its success. Intended to be used with high heeled footwear, but appropriate for almost any other type of shoe, this clear insert is an invisible way of making your favorite pair of heels more comfortable, increasing shock absorption in the part of your foot which often suffers the most.
One of the benefits of this Ballotte product is the fact that it’s completely clear, which means that you can wear it with strappy sandals without having to worry about unsightly inserts showing beneath your feet. Overall, it’s a durable item which can be washed with lukewarm water and mild soap after every wear, and be used in multiple pairs of footwear.
The composition of this item is medical grade PU gel which is hypoallergenic, while the upper features small protrusions that massage the bottom of your foot while standing, increasing blood flow and helping stave off pain. The pack contains four items to be used on two different pairs of shoes, but, as already mentioned, they can easily be moved from one pair to the other. Depending on the pack size you opt for, these can rank between average and well below average per unit.
9. Dr. Jill's Felt Pads
High Quality Adheasive
Wide And Long
Lacks Curvature And Thickness
Dr. Jill's Metatarsal Pads have been in the foot cushion business for quite a while and for a very good reason. These pads in particular stick to the bottom of the users foot and can be trimmed to smaller sizes ultimately making these one of the best available on the market.
As mentioned above, one of the main draws to these metatarsal pads, and really why they're so popular is the fact that they can be trimmed. This is a result of the rather thin and flexible build that allows for easy customization.
The other quality that makes these pads so unique is the fact that there really quite wide, which is most likely a result of the trimmable design. Dr. Jill pads in particular measure in at 2.25 inches wide and 2.75 inches in length giving the user plenty of space to work with. Dr. Jill Metatarsal Pads aren't that bad of a deal considering they come in a pack of ten and feature high-quality adhesive suitable for every type of shoe on the market. The customization available on these is also a plus and definitely puts them above many other popular options available on the market.
10. MARS Wellness Metatarsal Felt Foot Pad
Easy To Use
Soft Felt Material
One Size Fits All
The MARS Wellness Metatarsal felt pads are self-adhesive to ensure you won't worry about them shifting as you walk. These pads help to eliminate foot pain and give maximum comfort. They're easy to use, and an overall great product to have in your arsenal when you need quick comfort adjustments, even on the go.
The MARS Wellness Felt Foot pads will easily fit a multitude of foot sizes. You won't have to worry about the pads fitting your feet shoe. If needed, they can be trimmed, and won't drastically change the fit of your footwear.
These inexpensive pads won't break the bank by any means. You can buy multiple pairs for a fair price, and reap the benefits of shock absorption and soft tissue protection that can be a real benefit for those who suffer from Morton's Neuroma. They even come with placement instructions for the best possible results.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When creating a list of the best ball of foot cushions, the type of material used has to be taken into account in order to provide the buyer with a variety of options. Different materials can mean completely different effects on the foot, therefore, changing how it’s used.
Materials can range from gels all the way to felts, and the benefits of each are particular to what condition you may be suffering from. Below are a list of popular materials and how they affect pain relief in the foot.
Ball of foot cushions utilize a variety of methods in order to keep the device on the user’s foot. These methods obviously have to have a quality design in addition to being effective at what they do.
These designs can range from velcro to adhesive, which all have their own advantages and disadvantages. All of the most popular methods of “staying in place” are listed and explained below.
Any kind of insert- be it a cushion or a custom orthotic- will impact the breathability of a shoe. Some will have more of an impact that others, and is typically dependent on the material used in the cushion. Let’s take a look at some common materials and how they can affect breathability.
The breathability of these cushions is important, as it can either help or hurt how well-ventilated the shoes are. Something with little breathability will quickly become uncomfortable as your feet become hot and sweaty, conditions which can be breeding grounds for odor-causing germs.
Problems with the balls of your feet can come from a variety of sources, such as wearing shoes that don't fit properly, and medical conditions such as arthritis or gout. Metatarsal issues can quickly become very painful, and this can be exacerbated unless you use the correct support.
This is where these cushions come in. They provide much-needed support to the balls of your feet, helping to relieve pain and prevent any damage from getting worse. These are typically recommended when other self-treatment methods have not been effective. Your doctor may suggest you see a physical therapist, who will help you get properly fitted for supports.
Gel cushions are often considered the most effective in terms of support and pain relief, though they are not as breathable as mesh cushions. Gel cushions are ideal for open-style shoes such as sandals, or those who have found that other cushions have not helped their pain.
The only way to know for sure if a cushion will be effective for you is to try it. Before making a purchase, however, it's a good idea to look at consumer reviews of each product, as this will give you a determination of their overall effectiveness. Reviews will also touch on other aspects of the cushions, such as durability and size options.
While these inserts are mainly made to provide shock absorption, they can, in fact offer some support as well, which is crucial for those who suffer from foot health issues such as Plantar Fasciitis or bunions. If you happen to need a product that will help with these conditions, you will need to invest in a product that has the right properties to alleviate and prevent pain.
First and foremost, it may be a good idea to choose a full insole instead of a metatarsal pad, as these include the required arch support, as well as a heel cushion, all of which will work together to ensure the health of your feet. If, however, your footwear allows no space for full inserts, you will need to opt for metatarsal pads developed specifically for your issue.
A good place to start are those products that feature supportive raised parts, either at the very ball of the foot, or at the toe area - these can help put the foot in the correct position, preventing it from collapsing on itself and damaging the bones, nerves and soft tissues in the area. The Brison Ball of Foot is an excellent product of this type, and it has been proven to help those who suffer from Morton’s Neuroma, making it a good item to check out for your next purchase.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
For some of our fancier footwear, like high heels, metatarsal pads are quite suited to adding additional comfort for longer days on your feet. They allow for less pressure to be placed directly on the ball of the foot, and will help your feet to feel less achy at the end of the day.
Many varieties of metatarsal pads exist on the market, and while each is effective in it's own right, it's up to you to decide which is most comfortable for your use of them, and the sensitivity of your feet.
Gel pads are great for those who just need extra cushion, while some pads that wrap the toes help the foot's placement in your shoes become more accommodating to relieve pressure.
Try a few different versions before settling on one particular style to give you the utmost comfort!
Other Factors to Consider
If you’re looking for an easy way to make your high heels (or flats) more comfortable in the metatarsal area, then investing in some ball of foot cushions is a good start. These can really be a lifesaver for those who are expecting to spend long hours standing, walking or dancing, and want to protect their bones and muscles from the force and shock that is generated with each step.
The right product of this type can reduce foot pain, joint and muscle discomfort, and even help minimize back pain. But, it is important to note that simple cushion isn’t going to fix a bad fit or a poorly built shoe. Depending on the style of your footwear, you can go with clear, silicone, models that won’t show as much in open sandals, or, if you’re going to be wearing a simple pair of pumps, you can choose to wear something with a bit more cushioning, and even support for the arch of the foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I throw these cushions in the laundry?
This varies from cushion to cushion. Generally, the answer is yes, however its always best to check the included instructions, company website, or product page before doing so.
q: What materials are best for comfort and pain relief?
This can sometimes be a preference based question but, typically, a gel is probably your best bet if you want something that’s both comfortable and great at treating pain.
q: How long to metatarsal cushions last?
Pads that come in packs or ten or twenty normally are only one time use, but for those that are of high quality can usually last for about a month depending on how you take care of them.
q: How do I prevent my cushions from smelling?
Most ball of foot cushions that are built to be re-used have some sort of anti-microbial feature to prevent this from even developing in the first place, however, if you find your cushions smelling, go ahead and rinse them in lukewarm water while scrubbing thoroughly with soap.
q: Can I run in these cushions?
Of course! However, make sure that you purchase a ball of foot cushion that has some sort of shock absorbing quality to prevent pain or injury.