Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia Reviewed & Rated
There's a number of people who are avid runners, who never experience any discomfort and pain, regardless of the difficult fitness regime they go through. However, there are also those who suffer from conditions that make even walking an excruciatingly painful experience. Those who suffer from Metatarsalgia are too familiar with the sharp and burning pain in the ball of the foot, numbness and tingling, and the inability to walk or stand on hard surfaces.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Stretch Jacquard Mesh Upper
Padded Collar and Tongue
BioMoGo DNA & DNA Loft Technology
Blown & Carbon Rubber Outsole
Top 10 Shoes for Metatarsalgia
1. Brooks Ghost 11
Stretch Jacquard Mesh Upper
Padded Collar and Tongue
BioMoGo DNA & DNA Loft Technology
Blown & Carbon Rubber Outsole
The latest edition of one of the world’s best running shoes brings innovation and well-loved technology to provide you with a pair of running footwear that’s cushioning, comfortable, and looks great. Whether you wear it for training sessions or on a daily basis, you’ll enjoy the updated jacquard upper that’s highly breathable and ensures a great fit. Another awesome thing about Brooks shoes is that they come in a number of widths, so you can purchase the Ghost 11 in narrow, normal, wide and extra wide.
One of the best midsole materials in the market, the BioMoGo DNA is fully responsive, and customizes the level of cushioning and energy return to your personal style of running and walking. More force, for example that generated by heavier runners, will result in firmer cushioning.
The heel area will benefit from a DNA Loft shock absorbing system that disperses force of impact and prevents it from traveling up the legs. The front of the shoe, on the other hand, has traditional Crash Pads that allow landing impact on the front of the foot to be evenly distributed over the entire foot. Additionally, this technology ensures a more efficient toe off through the guidance lines that help put the foot in the correct position for the movement.
2. New Balance 990v4
Blown Rubber Outsole
High Arch Support
Padded Tongue and Collar
New Balance has been an industry staple for many decades. Buyers trust the reputation and value they are getting when buying New Balance. The 990v4 is highly developed with a blown rubber forefoot for lightweight cushioning but strong reinforcement of support. The shaft to arch measurement is 3 inches; thereby, providing more of the adequate cushioning and arch support buyers with metatarsalgia need. This, also, has a plush tongue, as well as, a thick collar to prevent chaffing around the ankle or on the top of the foot.
The midsoles of these are designed to support and cushion the arch and ball of the foot. This helps to alleviate the pressure on the ball of the foot which is where the pain originates from for metatarsalgia sufferers. Typically, shoes that are tailored made with extra padding in the sole would, usually, be heavy and dense. Footwear like the New Balance 990v4 that are made with blown rubber in the outsole, however, are lighter in weight, thanks to the technology of it. This makes a difference on tired feet and legs, plus they are easier to wear and walk in.
While the 990v4 is at a higher price range than some of the others shoes in the category, buyers can feel confident in their purchase. First, it is manufactured from a top company that has been in business for over 75 years. Second, they are durably constructed to prevent it from breaking down in a short amount of time; that is, they are made to last. While the price is higher, it balances out with a strong shoe that will last a long time and through many miles.
3. OOFOS Original Thong
Reinforced for Durability
Irritating Toe Strap
The OOFOS Original Thong will provide the ultimate comfort the moment you put your foot in it. The sandal thong is like walking on air and provides cushioning for the entire sole but, especially, in the ball of the foot where people that suffer from pressure-point pain will find relief. These are like massaging your feet upon every step. It is exactly what a person needs that has problems with pain in the ball of the foot.
By designing the footbed with texture points, it gently massages the foot with each step. Not only does it massage the foot but the textures help to distribute pressure from the weight of the body on each step, as well. Traditional shoes send reverse energy back into the foot. The OOFOS original thong does the opposite and it absorbs up to 37% more energy and forces it into the shoe, alleviating the stress and impact that is sent back into the body.
This is very affordable and will last a long time. It is even machine washable to allow for easy cleaning. It can be worn every day, so buyers will get much use out of the sandal.
4. Birkenstock Arizona Soft
Lacks Heel Strap
Requires Breaking In
Almost everyone is familiar with Birkenstocks and the way they mold to your foot when you slip it on. The only complaint some people have had through the years is that the footbed is too rigid. Birkenstock listened to the complaints of customers and made their iconic shoe with a soft footbed to provide the ultimate in cushion and support in their famed sandal. Birkenstocks have been a staple in the industry since 1896, and have a reputation of some of the best and most supportive shoes in the business
Often imitated but never duplicated is the footbed of the Birkenstock Arizona. However, they improved their own design by making the footbed softer and suppler for those that craved support and cushion. Made of contoured cork and latex, the footbed conforms to each individual shape to provide the best cushion and stability throughout.
By putting dual adjustable straps on the footwear, wearers can tailor their fit on a daily basis. Some days the foot swells and it needs more room but typical shoes don't have a way to adjust the fit. If you want to wear socks with your Birks, you can simply adjust the buckles to give the foot more room to accommodate a sock.
5. Brooks Addiction 13
BioMoGo DNA Midsole
Progressive Diagonal Rollbar Technology
The Addiction 13 from Brooks is a stunningly responsive stability running shoe that balances strong support with a lightweight feel. The midsole is outfitted with a range of different features, such as the brand's own BioMoGo DNA material, and a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar for extra support. A foam insole also provides maximum cushioning, keeping your feet comfortable and well supported.
The BioMoGo DNA midsole is a signature part of Brooks running shoes and works together with the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar to provide support. The BioMoGo DNA material is incredibly responsive; the harder you push on the shoe, the firmer the midsole will be in response. The Progressive Diagonal Rollbar is where the stability really shines in the Addiction 13. This technology runs through the entire length of the shoe. It is designed to guide you through a proper gait, helping to gently correct issues with pronation.
The BioMoGo DNA material we mentioned earlier, in the midsole? It's also present in the foam insole. Similar to how it performs in the midsole, this material is designed to gently mold itself to the shape of your foot, similar to memory foam. This is designed to provide you with key points of cushioning, properly supporting your feet no matter how they change over time.
6. ASICS GEL-Venture 6
Rearfoot GEL Cushioned Footbed
Strong Traction Bottom
Lacks Forefoot Cushioning
ASICS products are known for being durable and supportive while maintaining their comfort level. The GEL-Venture 6 was redesigned to have a new midsole and upper to take its shock absorbency to the next level. This is exactly what metatarsalgia sufferers need for the feet. They are made with a one-piece outsole for ruggedness and finished on the bottom with multi-directional lugs for improved traction.
Adding an extra gel layer in the rear foot portion pads the sole to provide shock absorption into the heel upon strike, instead of it generating through the shoe and then into the foot. The ASICS Venture is so technologically advanced it can help relieve the problems and pains associated with metatarsalgia, because it prevents the pressure being placed on the ball of the foot.
ASICS knows that not every sockliner is going to mold exactly perfect to the foot. That is the reason behind the removable sockliner. This allows buyers to purchase customized inserts that provide support on the ball of the foot to the individual. ASICS comes in at the lower end of the price range, so they are a great buy. With the option of being able to replace the sockliner, it allows a buyer to splurge on more expensive orthotics. Also, the company has a great reputation for providing solid and durable footwear that will last for many uses.
7. Hoka One One Bondi 6
Breathable Mesh Upper
Durable Rubber Outsole
A modest update from its predecessor, the Bondi 6 is all about comfort. From the full-length EVA midsole to the brand’s own Meta-Rocker Technology, this sneaker is designed to give you a comfortable ride. Mesh panels on the upper promote breathability, while the rubber outsole provides strong traction and promotes the overall durability of the shoe.
We talk about EVA pretty often, as this foam is the most common type of material used in midsoles. The midsole is essentially the “heart” of the shoe, and EVA foam provides support for a wide range of foot shapes and conditions. It also features a minimal long-term compression rate, allowing it to retain the proper shape for longer.
The Meta-Rocker technology used in the Bondi 6 is a signature feature of Hoka One One shoes, though rocker outsoles have been used by other companies as well. This type of outsole is designed to guide your feet into a proper gait, as well as provide additional metatarsal support.
8. Skechers Go Walk 4
Narrow Toe Box
Skechers is synonymous with comfort. Their footwear is designed with every possible way to ensure the foot is secure and comfortable. The Go Walk was made to encourage wearers to get out and walk. The midsole cushion is made to absorb the impact from the ground contact and prevent it from reaching the ball of the foot. The mesh upper gives extra room for expansion and prevents the foot from being cramped inside. That is one of the main causes of metatarsalgia, shoes fitting too tightly.
Using bamboo in the construction, as it is known for its antimicrobial properties, is second in line to being used for cooling comfort. Bamboo does not retain heat or moisture; therefore, it prevents a hotbed of bacteria from growing inside. The sockliner is constructed of what feels like air. It is so soft under the feet and gives strong support of the arch and ball of the foot because it molds to the foot.
Skechers is an excellent value for the money. They are budget-friendly and the best buy for the price. It makes a great choice that fits within everyone's budget. Furthermore, Skechers have developed a name for dependability and comfort.
9. Alegria Debra
Easy On and Off
Typically, worn by healthcare professionals (as they stand on their feet most of the time), these shoes are great for other individuals with foot pain. These have many features that make it a great choice for metatarsalgia sufferers. They are designed to redistribute energy throughout the foot, instead of it staying in the ball of the foot upon each step. They are, also, very secure and will hold the foot in place without crowding the foot or toes.
The portion where the foot lies is made from soft but firm foam that initiates a reflective spring action while stepping. They help to alleviate the pain and pressure from the ball of the foot, which is where the issues from metatarsalgia originate from.
The designers took into consideration the appeal of having footwear that supports the foot and enclose the heel, all while being easy to take on and off. The Debra is made to slip easily on and off, so it is a great option for those individuals perhaps with limited mobility that needs things a bit easier.
10. Orthofeet Verve
Easy Gait - Ortho-Cushion System
Wide Toe Box
An absolute delight, the Orthofeet Verve have a non-binding upper, wide toe box, seam-free lining, and utilizes Easy Gate (Ortho-Cushion System). This footwear helps to relieve foot pain by providing an environment of satisfying comfort. Moreover, these are friendly to orthotics and give you plenty of room to accommodate. This pair is a must-have for those suffering from foot pain.
Sometimes a little room can go a long way and this pair gives you a wide toe box. This is perfect for those in need of the room to relax the forefoot area; as well as, those who may need additional orthotics, as these provide orthotic support.
The non-binding upper helps to reduce stress while walking, as the upper gives you fluidity in motion. Furthermore, accent overlays help provide you with the correct amount of stability and support.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The main aspect you should be looking from our next pair of footwear, whether you are looking to purchase running sneakers or an everyday model, is shock absorption. Crucial in both treating and preventing pain in the metatarsal area, a good pair of shoes will absorb the shock that’s generated when landing on your feet (whether from walking, running or jumping). Lessening the force that hits your bone structure, this type of technology will help the body cope with the pain and discomfort, lessening neural sensitivity, as well as any possible inflammation.
There are two portions of any pair of footwear in charge of shock absorption. In athletic footwear, it’s the midsole which is often specially developed to provide the highest level of cushioning. All manufacturers will have their own shock absorbing tech, and all can be effective, depending on your personal preferences. ASICS, for example, incorporates GEL cushions in their sneakers, but make sure you invest in a pair that has both Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL cushioning. Brooks uses a BioMoGo DNA midsole that are not just environmentally friendly, but provide a personalized level of softness and firmness. New Balance incorporates double density EVA foam, while Nike often incorporates Air cushioning. There are alternatives as well, and for some people, as simple blown rubber outsole can feel soft and cushy enough. The best way to shop is to try a few of the models mentioned above, and see what works best for you.
On the other hand, you want to get a pair of footwear with the right insole, which will cradle the foot, and can add an extra layer of softness. If you require custom orthotics, or just appreciate fresh and clean footwear, definitely opt for a removable insole. If not available in your chosen style, you’ll have to pay closer attention to how it feels in contact with your foot. Lately, a lot of manufacturers have started including Memory Foam insoles in their products, namely adidas and Skechers, and these may be one of the best options for metatarsalgia out there.
Some inner soles have perforations placed in them and this is to add to the moisture-wicking ability. Moisture is, of course, going to build up in between the foot and sole of the shoe. Having perforations promotes air circulation under the foot and helps to not have moisture trapped against the bottom of the foot. Blisters and fungus are only two problems faced by individuals with wet feet.
The second most important aspect of your next pair of sneakers should definitely be the amount of support they offer. Oftentimes, metatarsalgia is caused by inadequate support to the arch, or pronation issues that place too much pressure on the forefoot, leading to the burning pain that is the most common symptom of this illness. The right pair of shoes will hug the arch portion of the foot, aiding the foot in its natural shock absorbing motions, but without impacting the gait cycle too much.
A number of models on this list is made with neutral support. This means that it’ll be most appropriate for those with a medium arch who do not over or underpronate. If you have any known issues - such as flat feet or really high arches - you can still purchase these models. You’ll just have to remove the insoles and insert your own orthotics that’ll provide you with the correct fit underneath the foot.
Other models, however, such as the Birkenstock Arizona, New Balance 990v4 and Brooks Addiction Walker, feature a higher level of support in this area, making them great options for those with known issues. These will even offer a higher level of heel stability, which contributes to proper body alignment, which will help lower the level of pain you feel at the end of the day in the knees, hips and back.
The outer sole is the part of the shoe that is visible. It encompasses the entire bottom of the shoe. Typically, the soles of almost all shoes are made of rubber. Rubber has been heralded to be one of the lightest weight materials to use as a sole. It is, also, very durable and shock absorbing. Rubber outer soles have traction grooves that make them slip resistant.
Rubber soles are, virtually, indestructible. They are made to take a beating and go the mile for mile, especially for runners. That is the main purpose of rubber: to be a shock absorber and last for years. Rubber soles are excellent shock absorbers and take the brunt of force upon impact whether running or walking and, then, disperse the energy through the foot. This prevents one part of the foot from taking all of the impacts. Typically, the ball of the foot is where all of the energy gathers and the end of a step. This is, also, the part of the foot that is the instigator of the pains from metatarsalgia. By reducing the amount of stress, the ball of the foot will not pinch the nerves in the foot.
Because this is an issue that is often caused by tight fitting footwear, you should really pay attention to the way the upper of the footwear feels when you put it on. While you may be tempted to go with pointed toe heels to look your best, you would do much better with adequately designed footwear that allows a good amount of room in the forefoot so that the toes and metatarsal joints aren’t squeezed together.
Luckily, you can choose from a huge variety of footwear in terms of upper materials, as long as you go with a sufficiently wide design with a round toe. You can opt for leather if you’re after something that looks classy and can stand up to the test of time. Most dress and casual shoes will come in leather options, both genuine and synthetic, and you’ll have an easy time cleaning and making them look presentable.
For something more flexible, opt for mesh or knit materials that are most often found in athletic footwear. Some manufacturers have even started incorporating stretch fibres in these uppers, giving them a much better ability to adapt to your foot, without constricting or squeezing it too tight. Models such as the Brooks Ghost 11 or the Nike Free RN 2018 include these innovations, yet still provide a great level of stability in the midfoot to ensure an injury-free training session, no matter which sport you participate in.
A large contributor to the pains of metatarsalgia is wearing improper fitting shoes. This is footwear that is not wide enough, too wide, too small, or too large. Wearing shoes that are too large (either in width or length) means the foot is sliding around and moving inside the shoe. The foot is not landing properly because it is not secure. Added stress is being placed on the foot to try and adapt to every step. A shoe that is too tight crunches the foot up inside, adds stress to the foot and pinches nerves.
Having correct fitting footwear is what will hold the foot in place inside and keep it from moving around inside. Be careful to avoid one that is too tight and thinking it will stretch out over time. If a shoe has that much elasticity in it, the shoe is not going to hold up its shape for long and will not secure the foot for long.
The width and toe box is vital to making sure the toes and feet are not cramped. This will keep stress off of the bones of the foot and, then, the nerves will not suffer from being pinched.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While metatarsalgia is a painful condition, there are some treatments and supports out there to help minimize pressure placed on the forefoot. Metatarsal pads will provide extra cushion under the affected area, and a simple insole with proper arch support can also help.
Restrictive footwear, like pointed toed heels or flats, can be quite fashionable at times, but also can damage your feet if worn for daily use.
Take time to treat your feet right, and get the right fit for your foot. If you're a fan of fashionable shoes that may restrict your toes, size up if possible to accomodate a wider toe box, and more room for your toes.
Other Factors to Consider
The weight of a shoe is, usually, not too much of a concern, as modern technology has provided shoemakers with the ability to produce footwear with the lightest materials possible. Having a lightweight shoe is important because it adds to the enjoyment of wearing them. It, also, prevents the wearer from feeling fatigued from picking up heavy shoes all day or during the time being worn. For shoes that have special reinforcements, the shoe is sometimes heavier. Again, this does not just wear feet down but it can, also, tire the legs. If a runner does races competitively, it is pertinent that the footwear is lightweight because a heavier and bulkier shoe can, actually, slow a runner down. That would help to contribute to the longer time during a race. Even if the wearer is competing against his or her self, beating their own personal time cannot be done with heavy shoes.
The times that a lightweight shoe is not a good idea, is if the shoe buyer is heavy set. That person would need a shoe that is denser (i.e. heavy, so that it can withstand the weight of the person upon impact). Otherwise, the shoe will bend under the pressure and then not provide adequate support of the foot and runner.
Also, footwear that is lightweight is, generally, made of mesh or a material very similar to mesh. The mesh is known for its high breathability. Having a light shoe with a high breathability prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus inside from the moisture build up over time; thereby, adding to the life of the shoe. Also, the bacteria and fungus can be transferred to the foot, so it is vital to keep the foot as dry as possible. Dry feet equal healthy and happy feet.
Durability does not have to just do with how long the shoe will last. A durable shoe is one that is going to hold up every day under the conditions it is subjected to. That means can it withstand the force of walking or running and keep the foot supported. Is the construction of the footwear too soft to provide stability? Is the sole too weak and it does not stay underfoot? Do the footbeds stay in place inside the shoe? These are all questions that are important to research when looking at the durability of a shoe. These factors will add to the overall life of the shoe. However, they are important for day-to-day wear, as well.
Comfort factors cannot be stressed enough. If your footwear is uncomfortable, then, not only will you not heal in a timely fashion (or at all) but you will, also, gain a chance of adding to any pre-existing medical condition(s). Toughing it out, as it were, is not a wise choice, as this applies to your overall well-being and fitness health. This is why you need footwear that will make you ooh and ah, so to speak. Metatarsalgia is a painful infliction and, thus, you must always choose comfort above all else. After all, if your shoes are not comfortable, then chances are one or more of the aforementioned criteria have, probably, not been met. When choosing the correct footwear, please keep in mind that comfort is the answer that you just might have the right pair on those precious feet. In this, you can allow your comfortability factor to help guide your decision, as to whether or not your footwear meets the mandatory criteria for metatarsalgia.
Metatarsalgia seems to worsen when an individual stands or moves. This condition has readily been diagnosed in a wide scope of people. However, those that are more at risk for the condition tend to be those that apply too much strain and pressure on the foot. Those might be classified as people that are overweight, older individuals because of the bones thinning out as we age, and high-impact fitness lovers. Moreover, those that wear too tight of shoes, have had stress fractures in the foot, and persons with a second toe longer than the first are at higher risk than their counterparts because of the way more pressure is applied to the foot, thereby causing the painful condition known as Metatarsalgia. One last thing to point out about people with this type of foot pain is it can be a sign of other health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Always consult with your doctor should you feel that your condition can't be simplified into routine foot pain.
There are a few ways to treat Metatarsalgia, with the most extreme being surgery. However, before going that route, symptoms can be lessened by the types of shoes being worn. The most positive side effect of a properly fitting shoe is prolonging surgery for years and, possibly, indefinitely. When picking shoes to help alleviate the symptoms of metatarsalgia, it is important to look for shoes that cushion and support the ball of the foot. The goal is to lessen the stress that is placed on the ball to reduce the pinching of the nerves in the foot. This is achieved by providing adequate support and cushion under the metatarsal arch. Once supported, it alleviates the pinched nerves.
If you can be proactive in finding the proper fitting shoes, it might help to reduce or annihilate the pain and symptoms of what metatarsalgia causes. Properly fitting shoes that are made to help metatarsalgia can potentially eradicate the need for surgery or other drastic measures that can sometimes be a result of requirement after years of dealing with the diagnosis. It is important to find a shoe that meets the specifications to counter metatarsalgia symptoms. You should select a shoe that does not pinch the toes (a wider toe box), has a thick arch support that doesn't overextend your personal arch, has a reinforced sole that provides excellent padding, has a strong shaft to support the durability and design of the footwear, and one that has the most breathability.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What causes metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is caused by pressure that is applied to the foot in the wrong manner and places. It results in the bone plates rubbing against each other and, then, the nerves inside the foot get pinched. This can be caused by too tight of a shoe, high-heels, and shoes that do not support the ball of the foot properly, as this is where the pain comes from with metatarsalgia.
q: What are the symptoms?
Metatarsalgia has been described as having shooting pains in the ball of the foot that can extend up into the toes. It, sometimes, presents itself as numbness and tingling. Some would describe it as similar discomfort to a stone bruise. However, metatarsalgia becomes a routine pain, unlike a stone bruise that would, eventually, go away. However, some medical conditions start with foot pain, so please seek medical attention if the pain is worrisome or does not alleviate with proper care.
q: Are there any remedies to help?
There are exercises that can help stretch the nerves and bones of the foot back into place. One thing is placing both hands on either side of the foot and stretching the outer portions up by placing pressure on the foot. The goal is to open the stance of the foot up. Some people use a frozen water bottle and roll it underfoot when pain flares up. Some individuals might need orthopedic inserts specially designed for the curvature of their foot. This will help cradle the foot to exact precision. The most serious route to fix metatarsalgia is surgery. Often times, symptoms can be manageable with proper shoes. However, after a long duration of the condition, it would be wise to consult with a surgeon to see if a surgery can improve your quality of life.
q: Who suffers from this condition?
Metatarsalgia is a condition that can affect anyone. However, those that wear high heels frequently or shoes that are too small are at higher risk. People that are overweight have a higher prevalence of developing metatarsalgia because of the weight that is constantly applied to the feet, in order to support the body. The bones of the foot are fragile; but at the same time, are the only shock absorbers we have. It is imperative to cushion and assist these bones.