Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia 2021

by | Updated on August 27, 2021

Our top choices among the best shoes for metatarsalgia this year are:

  • Neutral shoe: Brooks Ghost 14, a running shoe with a soft midsole material designed to take care of soft landings and smooth transitions.
  • Support shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21, a go-to support shoe with stability control that can align the foot and take the pressure off the ball of the foot during weight-bearing.
  • Shoe insert: Spenco Total Support, an insole that offers total support through a Semi-Rigid Stability Cradle, with a Metatarsal Arch Support that offloads pressure from the ball-of-foot to help relieve forefoot pain.
foot with metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia (also known as stone bruise) is a painful condition caused by a compromised balance in the metatarsal bones. There is swelling in the ball of the foot that causes shooting pain in the forefoot and numbness in the toe.

Metatarsalgia is a common malady that affects athletes who play high-impact sports that involve a lot of running and jumping. The quick take-off and change of direction in sports can cause a sudden transfer of force to the front of the foot causing it to be more prone to injury.

But non-athletes can have metatarsalgia also when they often wear ill-fitting and high-heeled shoes. These shoes can put stress on the ball of your foot, causing harm to the metatarsals. Other factors that may add up are weight gain, aging, high arches, stress fractures, bunions, arthritis, and Morton’s neuroma.

Even though metatarsalgia is not a serious problem, this pain affecting the ball of the foot can take away your balance. But treatments like good rest, use of ice, and putting on supportive shoes can ease or get rid of the pain.

What are the Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia?

The best shoes for metatarsalgia are comfortable shoes with stabilizing features because they take the weight off the ball of the foot.

Here’s what to look for in a shoe:

  • Enough cushioning in the ball of the foot.
  • Support that can reduce stress on the metatarsal head and joint.
  • Support that can help bring back the balance of your metatarsal bones so they can work together to help support your body.

If you have metatarsalgia, you may need to use metatarsal pads and orthotic shoe inserts for added cushion.

Note: There are plenty of shoes for metatarsalgia but in this article, we will focus on athletic shoes.

How We Choose an Athletic Shoe

We spend many hours testing new athletic shoes and reading discoveries, expert advice, and consumer testimonials on various foot conditions. And we choose the best athletic shoes for a specific foot problem.

Disclosure: We provide links to shoes mentioned in this article and use our affiliate links to earn commission income from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. This website is an associate of Amazon, Zappos, and Spenco.

Best Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia

– Brooks Ghost 14 –

brooks ghost 14
Image source: Zappos.com

Brooks Ghost 14 has a full-length DNA LOFT foam cushioning, which now extends from the heel all the way to the forefoot. This technology offers the softest midsole material, which takes care of soft landings and smooth transitions.

People admire Brooks Ghost 14 for its roomy and very comfortable toe box, which allows your toes to splay and generate power when pushing off to complete your step. This shoe now has a new engineered Air Mesh upper, which offers breathability and hugs your foot for a secure, locked-in fit.

Shop Ghost 14 »

– Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 –

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Image source: Zappos.com

The Adrenaline GTS 21 is Brooks’ flagship support running shoe. Although it doesn’t have the widest toe box, it has stability features that can take the pressure off the ball of the foot during weight-bearing.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 has GuideRails holistic support system, which are bumpers on both sides of the midsole designed to prevent unnatural calcaneal shifting and too much roll of the foot. It has a soft full-length DNA LOFT midsole foam, which delivers soft landings and smooth transitions.

Shop Adrenaline GTS 21 »

– Hoka One One Bondi 7 –

hoka one one bondi 7
Image source: Zappos.com

The Bondi 7 is Hoka’s most cushioned neutral running shoe. And it has more stabilizing features than the Clifton models.

Hoka One One Bondi 7 has a comfortable, wide toe bed with good cushioning and shock absorption. It has a low heel-to-toe drop (only 4 mm), which offers more stability to your stride.

This running shoe has an early-stage Meta-Rocker, which offers a smooth ride and prevents too much bending of the forefoot at toe-off.

Shop Bondi 7 »

– New Balance 990v5 –

New Balance 990v5
Image source: Zappos.com

New Balance 990v5 is very comfortable and gives plenty of stability. It has an ENCAP PU ring with an EVA core, which wraps the lateral mid-foot through the heel and around the medial midfoot for enhanced stability. It uses a long-lasting Ortholite premium footbed, which provides cushioning and arch support.

Shop 990v5 »

– Altra Torin 4.5 Plush –

altra footwear torin 4.5 plush
Image source: Zappos.com

Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is arguably the most comfortable zero offset running shoe. It has a wider Footshape toe box, which offers plush cushioning. It has a new ultra-breathable engineered knit upper, which hugs your foot for a secure fit.

The Altra women’s shoes have Fit4Her technology, which caters to the specific form of the female foot. Having a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop, this shoe offers a balanced cushioning, which encourages a low-impact landing.

Shop Torin 4.5 Plush »

RELATED: Best Shoes for Morton’s Neuroma

blue insole

Best Shoe Inserts for Metatarsalgia

If the support of metatarsalgia shoes aren’t enough, put on these metatarsalgia insoles:

1. New Balance 3720 Arch Stability
2. New Balance 3030 Pressure Relief Metatarsal Pad
3. New Balance 3810 Ultra Support
4. Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx
5. Powerstep Pinnacle Plus
6. Powerstep ComfortLast
7. Powerstep Memory Foam
8. Spenco PolySorb Heavy Duty
9. Spenco Total Support Max
10. Spenco Total Support Original

Some metatarsalgia insoles are arch support insoles designed to prevent the arch from collapsing during foot landing. An arch support insole is a deep heeled cup insole that can cradle the heel, provide stability, promote a fair distribution of body weight, and prevent the ankle from rolling/moving.

11. Spenco Total Support Thin
12. SOLE Active Medium
13. SOLE Active Thick + Met Pad
14. SOLE Active Thick
15. SOLE Active Thin + Met Pad
16. Birkenstock Birko Sport Insole
17. Birkenstock Birko Natural Arch Support
18. Sof Sole AIRR Orthotic
19. Sof Sole AIRR Performance
20. Sof Sole Athlete

See also: Best Shoes for Sesamoiditis

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best metatarsalgia shoes?

The best shoes for metatarsalgia are the ones that can protect the injured area, reduce stress on the metatarsal head and joint, provide enough cushioning and support in the ball of the foot, and help bring back the balance of your metatarsal bones so they can work together to help support your body during any walking and running activity. You may need a shoe with a low heel-toe midsole differential for low-impact landing and a rocker sole to reduce bending of the forefoot at toe-off. Best examples of such shoes are Hoka One One Bondi 6, Hoka One One Clifton 6, Hoka One One Gaviota 3, Altra Paradigm 4.5, and Altra Timp 2.

What are the best metatarsalgia insoles?

The best metatarsalgia insoles have metatarsal support that can absorb shock and help keep the pressure off the injured area.

15 thoughts on “Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia 2021”

  1. A neutral-cushioned shoe can also give sufficient support up to mild overpronation. So, if you overpronate slightly but are still very comfortable wearing a neutral shoe, you still have all the support you need to stay safe.

  2. Hi there, I’m having real trouble finding a women’s walking (power walking) shoe that has both great metatarsal support and is also provides for over-pronation? I’m going to invest in some good orthotics shortly, but I still need a good shoe regardless.

    • Hi Jacqui. You can choose either Brooks Addiction Walker or Saucony Omni Walker. Both are famous walking shoes for overpronators. But if you only have mild overpronation, ASICS GEL-Tech Neo 4 will be great.

    • Hi Beth. If you stand up to 10 hours a day, you’ll need an excellent walking shoe. A walking shoe is designed with the strike path of walking in mind. If you overpronate, your best walking shoes for metatarsalgia are New Balance 847v3, New Balance 928v3, Brooks Addiction Walker, and Saucony Grid Omni Walker. If you supinate, your best neutral-cushioned walking shoes for metatarsalgia are ASICS GEL-Tech Walker Neo 4 and Saucony Progrid Integrity ST 2. Neutral shoes have excellent support up to mild overpronation.

  3. What is the very best walking shoe for metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma? I have both. I am not a runner anymore, but I would buy a tennis shoe if that’s the answer. I have tried Keen’s, expensive custom orthotics, etc., with NO relief. What are the very best shoes on the market for my foot pain?

    • Hi Todd. We think your best walking shoe is a Hoka One One shoe because it has a solid/stable footing to ease pressure in the ball of the foot. Hoka One One has a rocker sole technology that doesn’t bend on the front. Therefore the ball of the foot and toes won’t receive pressure/friction at takeoff. It worked with one of our readers who went for a vacation and walked 8+ miles daily to see the beautiful places of Japan. We hope it will work for you.

      If you have neutral pronation to supination, we recommend the Bondi leather, Bondi 6, and Clifton 6. If you overpronate, you should try a stability shoe like the Gaviota leather, Gaviota 2, or Arahi 4. These are athletic shoes with maximum cushioning. In your particular situation, it’s best to try the shoe on before buying. Just remember that the right shoe feels good right away.

  4. Hi,
    I have Freiberg Infraction in my right foot; I went through so many different types of therapy that didn’t help. I have prescription shoe inserts that I didn’t use cause they are so bulky (ridiculous). Anyway, after buying so many pairs of shoes, I only have one pair that works the best, but I still don’t have enough cushion under the ball of the foot. Therefore, I am in pain every day. I’m size 10.5-11; I was told that I need to wear wide shoes (not much to choose from women’s shoes), so the pair I currently wear is men’s size 10W. Please help!!! Which shoes would you recommend for me? I really appreciate any help you can provide.

    • Hi Urszula. It would help if you had a shoe with a smaller differential to reduce your metatarsal head and joint pressure. The shoe with a low heel-to-toe midsole differential provides a low-impact landing. If you’ve tried a Zero Drop platform before, here are Altra maximalist shoes with spacious toe boxes which may work well with Freiberg Infraction: Paradigm 4.5, Timp 2, Duo 1.5, and Olympus 3.5. The shoe must be comfortable in every foot area, so you can choose a wide width (D) for women because men’s shoes might not give you the perfect fit.

      A shoe with a rocker sole will also help because a rocker sole doesn’t bend on the front. Therefore, the ball of the foot and toes won’t receive pressure/friction at takeoff. Here’s a list of Hoka One One maximalist shoes with the famous rocker sole and smaller heel-toe differential: Clifton 6, Bondi leather, Bondi 6, Arahi 4, Gaviota leather, and Gaviota 2. Hoka One One has an early-stage and late-stage Meta-Rocker, and we think the late-stage Meta-Rocker is best for you because it provides a more stable base of forefoot support. But only a few Hokas have late-stage Meta-Rocker, so try the early-stage technology to see if it will work for you.

      If you have neutral to supination, your best shoes are neutral-cushioned shoes. For overpronation or fallen arches, your best shoes are stability shoes.

  5. I have Freiberg of the 3rd metatarsal with some flattening in the head. I have found that I cannot have any type of strap across the forefoot area. The actual post-op shoe boot that placed me in irritated it even more. So no sandals or a lower it more. Now I am trying to find a shoe and an insole that I can wear. Need something more solid in the toe and forefoot area. The only shoe I have now I can wear is a New Balance 645 that is suede, so the forefoot area is not very flexible, but it is not as comfortable. I tried a full turf liner, but it is too hard and hurts the bottom of my upper foot area. Any suggestion in shoes and an insole, please.
    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Susan. The New Balance shoes similar in cushioning to the 645 are 840v2 and 577. These walking shoes have premium leather options, which are excellent in giving comfort and support. Suede and leather are among the most comfortable materials in footwear. And they can conform to the shape of your foot, giving you a custom fit while helping to lock your foot in through every change of direction. New Balance 840v2 and 577 have removable insoles, which easily accommodate orthotics. Another excellent choice is a leather/suede shoe with a toe-only rocker or double rocker sole. A rocker sole shoe can help prevent bending of the forefoot during the toe-off phase so it won’t irritate your metatarsals. You can continue using the New Balance 645 as long as it’s available. Just limit your activity if you experience pain.

    • Thank you for your suggestions. Do you have any recommendations for an over-the-counter insole also? Any shoes that you know, whether is, be a sneaker or a regular shoe that is a toe rocker? I am desperately trying to find shoes and an over counter insole that will work.
      Thank you.

      • We have included in the above list the 20 best shoe inserts for Metatarsalgia. I hope they are available in your location. I have found shoes with toe-only rockers, but they are either stability shoes or trail shoes. Your current shoe (the NB 645) is a neutral shoe, so I guess neutral shoes will work best for you. With that said, I recommend Hoka One One Bondi Leather, a neutral walking shoe with a rocker sole.

  6. Hi,

    Appreciate this site. I have been running with a stability shoe NB 860v10 but in past 5 months have noticed pain in ball of left foot like a deep bruise. My thinking is v10 reduced the padding in front of foot or that cushion is wearing out faster. Either way am ready for a new stability shoe that better protects. the ball of foot. Does hocks have a stability shoe? I’ve been looking into brooks glycerin hrs v20 as well. Appreciate any thoughts—tnx

    • Hi. Yes, Brooks Glycerin will be an excellent option for your new running shoes because it offers plush cushioning through DNA LOFT technology. It also has the same heel-to-toe drop as the NB 860v10 (i.e. 10mm). Since you want a support shoe, go for Brooks Glycerin GTS 19, the model with a GuideRails system. It prevents the foot from rolling inward or outward at an increased angle. GuideRails also helps protect your knee from injury by positioning the foot in the proper alignment. However, Glycerin models are most suitable for narrow-footed runners. So if you have wider feet and if Glycerin feels narrow, go for Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21, a go-to stable running shoe.

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