At its core, the best shoes for metatarsalgia have excellent support in the ball of the foot.
Metatarsalgia (or 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 a shooting pain in the forefoot and numbness in the toe area.
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 swift transfer of force to the front of the foot causing it to be prone to injury.
Non-athletes can have metatarsalgia by wearing ill-fitting or high-heeled shoes. These shoes can put stress on the ball of the 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 such as good rest, ice, and putting on supportive shoes can ease or get rid of the metatarsal pain.
Since running can make your feet receive a heavier impact of at least three times your body weight, the best solution for metatarsalgia is to put on your most supportive shoes when you run.
What are the Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia?
The best shoes for metatarsalgia are comfortable shoes with the following features:
- They offer enough cushioning and support in the ball of the foot.
- They can reduce stress on the metatarsal head and joint.
- They 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 a shoe with a rocker sole (for pain relief) to reduce bending of forefoot when pushing off to complete your step. For an added cushion, you may use metatarsal pads and orthotic shoe inserts.
Important: If your support type is neutral to supination (and high arches), your best shoes are neutral shoes because they are flexible and supportive. Neutral shoes can give support up to mild overpronation with no foot problems. But if you have issues with overpronation and flat feet, your best shoes are stability shoes because they have the most overpronation correction.
Plus, if you have tight calves and an aggressive heel strike, you may need a shoe with a higher heel-toe drop (8-12 mm) to stay comfortable on your foot, ankle, Achilles, and calf. But having a higher drop shoe may direct more stress to your knee and hip. So if you also have knee and hip issues, you may choose a heel-toe drop between 4 mm and 8 mm. Although the lower the shoe differential, the more calf flexibility and ankle mobility you need.
Note: The foot is a complex unit, but the right shoe feels good right away. If the shoes you are using aren’t comfortable and you experience pain while running, you should try a different pair.
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40 Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia
Here’s a list of the best shoes for metatarsalgia (in no particular order):
1. New Balance 990v5
2. New Balance FF Beacon v3 – High energy return, RW
3. New Balance 1340v3
4. New Balance FF More – Best maximalist, RW
5. New Balance 840v4
6. New Balance FF 1080v10 – Editor’s choice, RW
7. Brooks Addiction 14
8. Brooks Levitate 4
9. Brooks Ghost 13 – Best for long runs, RW
10. Brooks Glycerin 18 – Editor’s choice, OutdoorGearLab
The best New Balance running shoes have ROLLBAR technology which prevents rearfoot movement and enhances the smooth transition from heel-strike through toe-off, plush and soft Fresh Foam which delivers optimal cushioning, ABZORB technology which disperses the forces out from the point of impact reducing the shock, and dual-density ENCAP midsole which gives long-lasting comfort.
11. Brooks Ricochet 2
12. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
13. Brooks Ariel ’20
14. Brooks Beast ’20 – Cushion for days, RW
15. Brooks Ravenna 11
16. ASICS GEL-Contend 6
17. ASICS GEL-Venture 7
18. ASICS GEL-Cumulus 22 – Best for marathon training, RW
19. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23
20. ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 – Best for stability, RW
Brooks’ best walking shoe for metatarsalgia is the Addiction Walker 2.
The best Brooks running shoes have full-length Segmented Crash Pad and Plush Transition Zone technology for smoother landings and enhanced heel-to-toe movements, Progressive Diagonal Rollbar and Deeper V-groove in the outsole for better release and smoother transition, and HydroFlow technology which enhances cushioning and shock absorption.
The best ASICS running shoes have Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Systems which reduce impact from heel-strike through toe-off, DURASPONGE and AHAR outsole which deliver greater cushioning in the forefoot, Dynamic DuoMax technology which improves stability and support for overpronators, and I.G.S. system which enhances natural gait.
21. ASICS GT-2000 9
22. ASICS GT-1000 9 – Affordable stability, RW
23. On Cloud X – Editor’s choice, OutdoorGearLab
24. On Cloudsurfer – The ultimate ride, On Running
25. Saucony Kinvara 11 – Most versatile, RW
26. Saucony Omni ISO 2 – Best stability shoe, RW
27. Saucony Hurricane ISO 5
28. Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
29. Mizuno Wave Rider 24 – Responsive and durable, RW
30. Altra Torin 4 Plush – Best for long runs, OUTSIDE
The best On running shoes have CloudTec cushioning which offers zero impact on the body, 16 Cloud-pods which allows the sole to adapt to your foot, and Deep flex grooves which maximizes flexibility without sacrificing support and comfort.
The best Saucony running shoes have Forefoot HRC technology which optimizes cushioning in the forefoot, EVERUN topsole which provides smoother landings in the heel and reduces pressure in the forefoot, seamless toe box which reduces irritation, and extended SRC Impact Zone technology which delivers smoother transitions.
The best Altra running shoes have FootShape toe box which allows the toes to relax and splay naturally. This design helps deliver optimal comfort. These shoes also have a fully-cushioned Zero Drop platform, a famous technology which provides low-impact landing.
31. Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5
32. Hoka One One Stinson ATR 6
33. Hoka One One Arahi 4 – Most stability, RW
34. Hoka One One Bondi 7 – Best for long runs, RW
35. Hoka One One Clifton 7 – Best for recovery runs, RW
36. Newton Running Gravity 8
37. Newton Distance 8
38. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 – For everyday training, RW
39. Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7 – Most affordable, RW
40. Nike Revolution 5
The best Hoka One One running shoes have Meta-Rocker geometry which helps alleviate pain in the ball of the foot. Meta-Rocker supports your natural running gait and gives a smooth roll from impact to toe-off.
The best Newton running shoes have four-way stretch mesh metatarsal panels and prominent lugs which deliver optimal feedback. These innovative designs help relieve pain in the ball of the foot.
The best Nike running shoes have phylon foam in the midsole which delivers exceptional cushioning, Cushlon ST and soft Cushlon midsole for superior support, Cushlon crash rail on the lateral outsole which cushions transitions, and EVA Strobel which delivers a softer underfoot feeling.
RELATED: Best Shoes for Morton’s Neuroma
Most of these brands stay away from any orthopedic claim, but we have included their shoes in the list because of consumer reviews and testimonials. We hope that these shoes will work for you.
20 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
The best New Balance shoe inserts for metatarsalgia have Abzorb technology which breaks up and drives off shock during foot landing until toe-off giving the runner soft and protective ride, arch shape features which move warm air out and cold air in, and extra deep heel cup which provides maximum support and natural shock absorption.
The best Powerstep shoe inserts for metatarsalgia have contoured heel cup which provides stability and effective relief for heel and arch pain.
The best Spenco shoe inserts for metatarsalgia have advanced arch support and deep heel cup which absorb shock and control pronation, as well as, extra cushioning under the ball of the foot which provides smoother transition.
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
The best SOLE metatarsalgia insoles have heat and wear moldable feature which provides a customized fit, cushioned support which cradles the plantar fascia, improves balance and natural foot alignment, and Polygiene odor control technology which helps create a healthy foot.
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.
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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 forefoot at toe-off. Best examples of such shoes are Hoka One One Bondi 6, Hoka One One Clifton 6, Hoka One One Gaviota 2, 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.