If you’ve felt a sharp, excruciating pain at the ball of your foot, then you might have what’s known as metatarsalgia pain. Metatarsalgia is a foot condition that affects the bottom of the feet. The pain is so bad that it can restrict your motion.
In a Hurry? Check out our recommendation for the best shoes for metatarsalgia pain: Brooks Ghost 11 Shoes
There’s no cure, but you can reduce the discomfort by choosing the right shoes. To help you make the best buying decision we’ve reviewed and researched the following 5 products. Here are the 5 best shoes for metatarsalgia pain.
Here are the 5 best shoes for metatarsalgia pain:
- Saucony Zealot ISO Running Shoes
- Brooks Ghost 11 Shoes
- Hoka One Bondi 5 Shoes
- Skechers Shape Ups Metabolize Fitness Shoes
- New Balance MW928 Walking Shoes
What is Metatarsalgia?
Besides being a mouthful, metatarsalgia is a condition where the ball of your foot is painful and inflamed. What is inflammation? Inflammation is your body’s response to injury. It usually shows up as physical symptoms like pain, redness, or swelling.
The Anatomy of Metatarsalgia
The foot is made up of three main parts: the forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot . The forefoot is where your toes are located (also known as the little piggies). The bones that connect the toes to the rest of the feet are called metatarsals. These bones are responsible for giving the foot its arch. Between the metatarsals and the toes is a joint called the metatarsal head. This is more commonly known as the “ball of the foot.”
What Does Metatarsalgia Feel Like?
The pain in the ball of the foot is described as “sharp” or “burning.” It can spread from the ball of the foot to the entire sole. It increases in intensity when you flex, walk, or run. It can especially hurt when you step on hard surfaces barefoot!
This condition may also cause numbness in the toes or- my personal pet peeve- that feeling of a pebble stuck between your foot and shoe. Argh!
What Causes Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is typically caused by overuse. It often occurs due to the poor distribution of body weight on the forefoot. While one single reason might lead to it, it’s also possible that several triggers cause the pain.
Here are some of them:
- Having a certain foot shape (like high arches) that puts stress on the metatarsals
- Intense activities like distance running. These force the forefoot to absorb more force than it can handle
- Excessive body weight which puts pressure on the metatarsals
- Stress fractures on the bones which shift weight ineffectively to the forefoot
- Ill-fitting shoes like those without cushion and support contribute to metatarsalgia
How Can Appropriate Footwear Help Metatarsalgia Pain?
Simply wearing shoes that fit just right can go a long way in relieving metatarsalgia. Foot swelling and pain lessen when the shoe has proper cushioning and arch support.
The right metatarsalgia footwear provides more room for the bones to flex and move. This in turn eases the nerves and joints from pressure caused by tight-fitting shoes.
Finding a well-fitting shoe is half the task. You should also be aware of things like insoles and platforms. It’s important to find the best design for your foot and activity.
Last but not least, comfort is a big factor in alleviating metatarsalgia pain.
What Types Of Shoes Should I Avoid?
Stay away from narrow, flat shoes that feel stiff to wear. Joints need to have space to flex and straighten. Shoes that pinch and restrict this worsens metatarsalgia.
Heels that are too high shift the body weight onto the forefoot. This can cause excruciating pain in the balls of the feet, so avoid wearing them. Look for properly elevated heel lifts that evenly distribute your weight across the foot.
What Shoes Should I Look For If I Have Metatarsalgia Pain?
To make sure you buy the right shoes, take care in examining these design characteristics:
Arch supports relieve pressure when walking, so it’s a good idea to take a look at this feature before buying. We often ignore the arch of our feet and just buy whatever shoe looks good. But it’s actually very important to take note of a footwear’s ability to support the arch. In fact, a shoe that has good arch support can effectively prevent metatarsalgia.
For people with high arches, choosing the right shoe will align your feet with the body to be symmetrical. This in turns improves balance and eliminates pain on the foot, knee, and back.
The upper (part of the shoe that cover the toes, top of the foot, sides of the foot, and the back of the heel) can create a restrictive feel on the foot. This is especially true if it’s made out of heavy fabric. Look for shoes that use mesh or knit textile. These promote flexibility and rarely pinch the foot.
Also, lace up shoes can be too tight if the tongue is narrow, so avoid these and choose ones with a roomy toe box instead.
Metatarsalgia pain worsens when the ball of the foot hits the concrete. So a shoe with shock absorption is important in absorbing the force generated on impact.
The midsole is often modified to integrate shock absorption, so it’s best to choose footwear with a well-cushioned midsole.
Insoles are the protective parts of a shoe that help manage discomfort felt in the ball of the foot. A shoe with zonal cushions on the insoles is a safe way to treat metatarsalgia pain.
Custom-made insole pads are an inexpensive alternative to treating metatarsalgia. I’d definitely recommend customizing your insole to one that best suits your needs.
The 5 Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia Pain
The best time to use shoes for metatarsalgia pain is when you are in rehab or recovery from it. For your reference, here are 5 shoes for metatarsalgia pain that take all the considerations I mentioned above.
Extra padding is at the heart of the Saucony Zealot ISO, and that’s why it’s chosen as one of the best metatarsalgia shoes. The ankles and midfoot’s excellent cushion prevents pain in the ball of the foot.The ISOfit and PWRGRID+ technology give the shoe a unique and comfortable fit while making it breathable and stretchable. This secures the heel platform, stabilizing the heel and making it symmetrical to the body.
The outsole is made of durable rubber to protect your feet from the force of hitting the concrete. It’s a firm yet pliable shoe that reduces the incidence of metatarsalgia.
- ISOFIT sleeve offers well-fitting coverage
- Stretchable and breathable upper keeps feet dry and comfortable
- Moderately lightweight, which reduces fatigue when walking
- Durable and responsive cushioning with the PWRGRID+ feature
- Excellent heel support frame that stabilizes the heel
- The outsole has a durable rubber that provides enough traction
- Stylish design that comes in many colors
- The Upper easily ripped for some users
- More expensive than other competitors
- The firmness requires a break in period
- Not suitable for narrow-footed people
An award-winning shoe model, the Brooks Ghost 11 is the 7-time top selection for Runner’s World Editor’s Choice. It’s best selling point is its lightweight and supportive design, providing excellent comfort to the wearer.These shoes are equipped with Brooks’ BioMoGo Shock Absorption. This gives the shoe a responsive feel and custom support depending on the style of the user.
The Brooks Ghost 11 is cushioned enough to enable smooth transitions from standing to walking. It has enough bounce to support the feet. It is also more flexible and is overall a good choice for people with metatarsalgia.
- Well-cushioned and roomy interior for an excellent fit
- Extremely lightweight and easy to use
- Has ample arch support for a neutral shoe to reduce ball on foot pain
- Supports feet with little to no strain at all
- Responsive feel while walking or running
- Fits true to size
- High heel to toe drop and a bulky exterior
- Can stretch at the seams over time
Hoka Bondi 5 is praised for its rocker sole design. Why? Because this design reduces the pressure and stress on the metatarsal heads. It’s perfect to use for demanding physical activities.Another advantage to people with metatarsalgia is Bondi 5’s protective sole. This stabilizes the ankle, alleviating pain on the metatarsals. It also has an EVA midsole which is an important feature that protects your foot from injuries.
The sole is curved, offering great arch support. The tongue is also padded for total coverage and adds to the uniqueness of the product.
- Moderate heel elevation for a smooth heel to toe transition
- EVA midsole provides comfort and shock absorption
- Durable outsole made of rubber
- Stabilizes the ankle joints to reduce unwanted movement
- Rocker sole offers a smooth ride
- Plush cushioning reduces metatarsalgia pain
- The midsole is stiff and bears pressure during long runs
- Bondi 5 is more expensive than its other competitors
- The tongue part may cause irritation or rubbing
The Skechers Shape Up line is a popular choice not only for metatarsalgia pain but as an all-around pair of sneakers.It’s a lace up type shoe with a leather upper for sturdy coverage. It also simulates barefoot walking, but without the force of your metatarsals hitting the ground. It’s equipped with a padded tongue and ankle collar for stability.
The interior is lined with fabric and the insole is well-cushioned to protect the foot from pain on impact. Its Kinetic Wedge foam on the midsole is a good shock absorber.
Its rocker sole supports an easy heel-to-toe transition. Which is great for those who spend long hours on their feet.
- Mid-range price and has value for money
- Commendable arch support with its padded rocker sole
- Breathable leather material on the upper
- Shape Ups have great heel elevation for pain reduction
- Sizes run smaller than true fit
- Needs to be broken in to get used to the shape and instability
- Heavy and bulky
New Balance is loved by athletes for their commitment to active lifestyle footwear. It’s designed as a walking shoe and is one of the top selections for metatarsalgia pain.The MW928 is a classic walking shoe equipped with rollbar stabilizing technology. This feature provides good balance and stability regardless of uneven terrain. The rubber outsoles are thick and offer great traction.
It also has the Abzorb technology on the heel to protect the feet from shock, cushioning the sole from pain due to the metatarsal hitting the ground.
This product is extremely responsive. It adapts to the shape and style of the foot, creating a supportive interior with stabilized exterior.
- Forefoot rocker sole alleviates discomfort when walking
- Stabilizes the ankle and bottom of the foot to prevent extra painful motion
- Wide and the extra wide sizes are available for roomy toe box
- Breathable leather uppers for durability and airy feel
- Extremely responsive and adaptive to a foot condition
- Mid-range price power-packed useful features
- The tongue is too short for its overall look
- Narrow on the sides
- Support is not as excellent as other brands
The clear winner is the Brooks Ghost 11 Shoes
With all the characteristics considered, I would have to give the crown to the Brooks Ghost 11 Shoes. It’s light on the feet and very responsive to movement.
Unlike other companies, Brooks understands the importance of custom arch shape in relieving stress and pressure.
It has all the things to look for in metatarsalgia shoes: excellent support, lightweight, roomy toe box, BioMogo shock absorption and a breathable upper.
Check Price: Brooks Ghost 11 Shoes
Choosing the best shoes wisely is the next best step towards managing metatarsalgia. To ensure that you are getting the right pair, consider fitting them in person to find out which one works for you.