What is the correct shoe for Metatarsalgia?

A reader asks:

Now I have a condition known as Metatarsalgia. Looking for a reasonably priced walking/running athletic shoe. I am an umpire for High School Baseball and REF for Football. So I am on my feet for a few hours at a time. I have not found relief for my foot pain and by the end of a game it is really noticeable with me walking/ running. But I do more walking though. Anyway I NEED a shoe to relieve my foot pain from feeling like I am walking on stones. I have looked at all kinds of athletic shoes but getting confused. Please help or my days on the field is limited. Ron


Hi Ron,

Thank you for reaching out. If you do more walking but sometimes run, you need a running shoe with level 4 to 5 cushion to help with Metatarsalgia. An athletic shoe with a rocker sole may help because it will prepare your foot for a smoother take-off and will reduce bending on the front when pushing off to complete your step. This will redirect pressure/friction away from the ball of the foot and toes.

With that said, if you have neutral pronation up to supination (high arches), Hoka One One Bondi 6 and Clifton 7 may work well with you. But if you have overpronation (and flat feet), you can choose the Hoka One One Arahi 4. These are running shoes with rocker soles. But their heel-toe drop is between 4 mm and 5 mm which will require more calf flexibility and ankle mobility.

If you have issues with your calf and ankle, a running shoe with a higher heel-toe drop can solve the problem. For neutral pronation up to supination (high arches), you can choose Brooks Ghost 13, Brooks Glycerin 18, New Balance 1080v10, and New Balance 840v4. These running shoes have 8 mm to 12 mm heel-toe drop.

For overpronation (and flat feet), you can choose Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20, ASICS GEL-Kayano 27, ASICS GT-1000 9, Mizuno Wave Inspire 16, and Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7. These shoes have 8 mm to 12 mm heel-toe drop. The more affordable shoes on the list are ASICS GT-1000 9 and Nike Winflo 7.

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.

But running shoes give most of their support on the forward propulsion with lesser support for lateral movements. Do you also move from side to side when you run? If so, your best shoe could be a cross-training shoe. And we can also give a list of shoes for that.

You can forward this information to your podiatrist or physical therapist to get his thoughts.

I hope this helps. May you find the perfect one.

A Follow-up

My feet has been a big issue for me for such a long time that WHEN I buy a new pair of shoes I want them to be, well lets say, almost a perfect fit and no more sore or tired feet. I don’t do a lot of running.

I am 70 years old a little over weight, 6 foot and fit. I umpire baseball and ref football for Michigan High Schools. So when I am on the field and not behind the plate I just want something that fits me and helps with my foot condition.

o after all that, HOW do I get the correct size of my foot length and width for a proper fit. Then the issue with the arch in my foot. Do I have a High ARCH or just a natural arch?

Do I take a ruler or do I go to a foot store and have them measure it for me? If one foot is bigger than the other how do I order then?

And I can come back and order as needed. Ron.

Our Response

Thank you for the follow up. Yeah, (in your case) it’s best to try the shoe on before buying. Although online stores also have size charts, measuring tools, and knowledgeable customer service. But only at a foot store is where you’ll get an immediate assessment on what shoe is the most comfortable. But you need a knowledgeable store personnel to assist you in finding the right shoe.

If you can see your arch, you may have a natural arch (up to high arch) – so, you’ll need a comfortable neutral shoe because they are flexible and supportive (Hoka One One Bondi 6, Hoka One One Clifton 7, Brooks Ghost 13, Brooks Glycerin 18, New Balance 1080v10, and New Balance 840v4). You can read our articles for supination here: Best Shoes for Supination and neutral pronation here: Best Neutral Running Shoes.

But if your arch collapses (almost touching the ground), you have flat feet (or overpronation) – so, you’ll need a support shoe for stability and balance (Hoka One One Arahi 4, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20, ASICS GEL-Kayano 27, ASICS GT-1000 9, Mizuno Wave Inspire 16, and Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7). You can read our article for overpronation here: Best Shoes for Overpronation.

We can see that you are a strong 70 year old because you can still officiate baseball and football. But you have to consider the speed of high school athletes. So take extra care and position your body first before changing direction especially if there’s a need to run. This will save your metatarsals from further damage. Although metatarsalgia is not a serious problem and treatments such as good rest and ice can ease or get rid of the metatarsal pain.