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The Best Running Shoes for Bunions in 2022

 

Bunions and running don’t always go together – unless you find the right shoes. The wrong shoes cause pain during and after your run at best. At worst, ill-fitting shoes cause other foot problems and stop you from running at all.

If you want to find shoes that forgive your toes even after the miles rack up, then you’ll need a pair with a good size toe box or a loose upper around the toe area.

Running shoes do this two ways: some have a very wide toe box while others have soft mesh that stretches at spots that rub against bunions. Either way, the idea is to prevent pressure and rubbing on the areas of the feet with bunions.

Our top pick is the Altra Torin 6. This shoe features a wide toe box, a soft, cushioned midsole, and a zero-drop design that doesn’t exert any extra pressure on your bunions.

But we’ve got lots of other great options as well. Here are the best running shoes for runners with bunions.

How We Chose These Shoes

With bunions, the key feature to look for is a wide toe box. That’s why we love Altras and they are featured prominently in this article. If you can’t find a shoe with a wide toe box – or don’t like the look (because they do look funky!), then you want a shoe with a wide-ish toe area that has seamless, stretchy mesh. This will allow the bunion to not rub or be pushed against the upper of the shoe.

Other important features we looked at were support and durability. Because bunions can sometimes be caused by other underlying foot problems, you need a shoe that will support your foot. This will correct possible problems like under- or overpronation, plantar fasciitis, or other heel pain.

And as with many running shoes, they can be expensive so we chose shoes that will last so you can get your money’s worth.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Altra Torin 6

 

  • Great style and colors
  • Natural feel and stride
  • Wide toe box for bunions
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Asics GT-2000 10

 

  • Gel cushioning for a soft ride
  • Smooth transition from toe-to-heel
  • Lots of support
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Altra Timp Trail 4

 

  • Gender-specific fit
  • Moderately wide forefoot
  • Tacky MaxTrac outsole
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Best Overall

1. Altra Torin 6

Altra is one of the best brands for runners with bunions thanks to its spacious toe box. The Torin 6 is a neutral, max-cushioned shoe that works well for most runners.

What We Like

The generous FootShape toe box is excellent for runners who need more toe space due to a bunion. A soft and lightly stretchy upper allows for the front of the foot to flex comfortably and doesn’t present a huge risk of chafing.

A springy Altra EGO midsole provides a nice, light bounce as well as absorbing shock quite well. You’ll get decent arch support with this shoe, helping to keep the foot properly in alignment, which reduces the chance of injury, both to the bunion and to the rest of the foot.

Like all Altras, the Torin 6 has a zero-drop platform, which significantly reduces pressure on the forefoot. It also gives the wearer a really nice close-to-the-ground feel, despite the cushion, making the ride feel natural.

The upper is light and well-ventilated, with a reinforced heel collar that’s sturdy without being uncomfortable. FootPod outsole technology and InnerFlex flex grooves allow the sole to move with the foot, while providing excellent grip.

Why We Like It

The shoe offers more than enough space in the forefoot to not aggravate bunions but doesn’t have a sloppy fit.

We also quite like that the zero-drop platform takes a bit of pressure off the forefoot, which also has a positive effect, lowering pain and discomfort.

What’s New

The newest Torin’s mesh upper has been updated to increase breathability and flexibility.

It also has an extra half an inch of width over the previous version. A revamped Altra EGO midsole offers extra cushion and comfort.

PROS:

  • Soft mesh upper and roomy toe box
  • Lightweight, responsive EgoMax midsole cushioning
  • Extra plush heel counter
  • FootPod outsole

CONS:

  • The rigid-edge tongue may cause discomfort for some
 

Top Classic Running Shoe

2. Asics GT-2000 10

The ASICS GT-2000 10 is a stability shoe, so it’s best for overpronators but can work well for neutral runners.

The seamless mesh upper has the ideal amount of stretch for runners with bunions.

What We Like

If you aren’t a fan of the Altra’s zero-drop platform, the more classic ASICS GT-2000 10 is a great alternative with a more conventional 8mm drop.

This traditional running shoe also has a wider-than-usual forefoot with a stretch upper, making it ideal for those who have bunions and want a classic-looking running shoe.

Although it’s a stability shoe, the guidance features are light and unobtrusive, so even those with a neutral foot can get away with wearing it. LiteTruss technology offers good structural support on the medial side of the shoe, stopping overpronators from injuring themselves but not poking uncomfortably into neutral feet.

A dual-density midsole provides spongy comfort, featuring both FlyteFoam and FlyteFoam Propel layers, which also adds a bit more bounce than the previous version.

The upper is plush and provides good cushioning around the ankle. It also stretches nicely to accommodate bunions easily and pain-free. A heel counter keeps the foot nicely locked down.

Why We Like It

It’s as classic as they come while providing ample space in the forefoot to prevent irritation of bunions. If you don’t want the unique look of an Altra, this shoe works well as a classic-style shoe.

What’s New

ASICS has switched to a new, dual-density midsole, made up of FlyteFoam and FlyteFoam Propel.

PROS:

  • Stretchy mesh upper
  • Soft Flytefoam Propel cushioning
  • LiteTruss system
  • 8mm heel-to-toe drop

CONS:

  • Non-gusseted tongue may move around too much
 

Best for Wide Feet

3. Brooks Ghost 15

The Brooks Ghost 15 is a plush shoe. From upper to midsole, it’s designed to provide extreme comfort, and the best part is, it’s absolutely suitable for feet of any width.

What We Like

The Brooks Ghost 15 has a naturally spacious fit and a wide platform, but it also comes in four different widths. No matter just how wide your feet are, chances are there’ll be a Ghost 15 that fits you nicely.

The plush upper not only features plenty of room in the toe box, but it’s also quite stretchy, so your toes and your bunion can stay as comfortable as possible inside the shoe (with less chafing, too).

It’s made even plusher by the addition of a chunky heel collar and a padded tongue. You should feel cushioned and pillowy on all sides, although the tongue isn’t gusseted and may move around a little annoyingly.

DNA Loft foam in the midsole delivers comfortable, shock-absorbing cushion. It’s soft and extremely comfortable, but take note that the midsole is notorious for stiffening up in cold weather.

The outsole is thick, durable rubber that offers good grip on many surfaces, keeping you safe and steady no matter where you run. Much less chance of aggravating your sore spots in these shoes!

Why We Like It

It offers an option for just about every foot, of any width. The Ghost 15 is a solid, dependable option that’s generally comfortable for runners with bunions.

What’s New

The 15 has scratched the blended midsole and now uses 100% DNA Loft foam, which makes it softer than previous shoes in this series. They’ve also moved over to flat laces, which allows you to get a tiger lockdown on the foot.

PROS:

  • Plush upper with a roomy toe box
  • DNA Loft cushioning puts pep in your step
  • Wide platform provides a stable ride
  • Thick, durable rubber outsole

CONS:

  • Midsole stiffens noticeably in cold weather
  • Non-gusseted tongue can slip to the side while running
 

Top Lightweight Running Shoe

4. Altra Escalante 3

You won’t feel weighed down at all with the Altra Escalante 3 on your feet. It’s light, comfy, and bunion-friendly, and you’ll hardly notice it there.

What We Like

At just 8.5 ounces, the Altra Escalante 3 is a lovely lightweight shoe, keeping your bunion safe from chafing and pressure, but also just keeping you light and bouncy.

The zero-drop platform and classic round, roomy toe box of the Escalante 3 make it an excellent choice for those struggling with bunions. Its lightness means you can move easily on your feet and the upper stretches with your feet, providing more than enough room for your bunion-affected forefoot.

There’s a lot of cushioning, with a midsole made of soft EGO foam. It’s marshmallowy soft, but not great at providing energy return. If want a faster shoe, you may prefer the Altra Escalante Race instead, although that comes at a price.

The upper is soft and stretchy, creating a sock-like fit on the foot. It’s important to note that the stitching has been revamped on the upper, with a view of stabilizing the upper on the foot.

However, it still doesn’t quite get a great lockdown, which, when combined with the soft midsole, makes the shoe extremely soft and comfy, but not speedy.

Why We Like It

It’s light, it’s roomy, and it’s soft and cushioned. Runners with bunions won’t have to worry about their feet aching or being chafed.

You can run for many comfy miles in this shoe, with or without bunions!

What’s New

The 3’s upper is the best of the previous ones mixed into a stretchy, but not overly flexible upper. It also has new stitching patterns which are meant to increase the stability of the upper.

PROS:

  • Broad, rounded toe box
  • Stretchy, sock-like mesh upper
  • Lightweight, soft midsole cushioning
  • Flexible rubber outsole

CONS:

  • Not a great lockdown on the foot
  • Not for speedwork
 

Best Wide Toe Box with Raised Heel

5. Topo UltraFly 4

Topo is a lesser-known brand, but they’re also wonderful for those who need a wider toe box but need some heel height for your running style.

What We Like

The UltraFly’s toe box is generous and nicely-shaped, giving your toes and your bunion more than enough space to be comfortable. A stretchy engineered mesh upper works with you to prevent rubbing and move with your foot as you flex it, without pain.

An external heel counter helps to keep the heel properly in place without any slippage, which also helps to prevent unnecessary movement in the forefoot, which helps to reduce pain and discomfort in the area of the bunion.

A Zipfoam midsole offers a good combo of softness and springiness. The comfort is amplified by the new Ortholite insole, and the bounce is boosted by the addition of a Pebax propulsion plate in the forefoot.

One of the features that sets the Topo apart from the Altras is the 5mm heel-to-toe drop. For those who don’t like a zero-drop platform, this raised-heel shoe would be a super choice.

There’s an EVA medial post in the midsole, but it’s light and not as intrusive as you’d find on a serious stability shoe. Also, highly durable rubber covers most of the forefoot, providing excellent traction.

Why We Like It

The Topo UltraFly 4 is an excellent alternative to the Altras, featuring a similar shaped and equally generous toe box, but with a more pronounced heel-to-toe drop.

If you want a shoe that offers space and comfort but still has a slight heel raise, we recommend it.

What’s New

The UltraFly 4 has undergone an outsole revamp, now featuring more cutouts to decrease the weight and improve the grip. The midsole now features dual-density foam, topped by an Ortholite footbed.

In terms of support, the shoe has been given a robust heel counter and a medial post. So the shoe now offers mild support against overpronation. However, it’s subtle, so neutral runners should still feel comfortable in this shoe.

PROS:

  • Zipfoam midsole cushioning offers higher rebound
  • Stretchy engineered mesh upper
  • EVA medial post provides support
  • Pebax propulsion plate in forefoot

CONS:

  • Slightly heavy, at 9.5 ounces
 

Top for Bunions and Hammertoes

6. Brooks Dyad 11

The Brooks Dyad 11 has plenty of space in the forefoot but has a more conventional shape and plenty of volume inside the shoe. Bunions and hammertoes will have space and be protected.

What We Like

Spacious in the toe box with volume in the entire upper, the Dyad 11 works well for people who have both bunions and hammertoes.

The shoe runs true to length and has a naturally wider-than-average fit on a straight last, making it ideal for those who need some extra room on both the sides and the front of the upper.

As a bonus, the naturally wide shoe comes in both normal and wide widths, so no matter how wide your foot is, there should be a shoe to fit you comfortably.

The midsole uses BioMoGo DNA cushioning, which adapts to the wearer’s weight and stride to offer an almost-custom ride. However, it’s a bit of a dull ride without any real pep to it.

The Dyad is perfect for those who use orthotics, so if that’s you, you should definitely be paying close attention to this shoe.

A comfy upper and a stable heel counter also work to keep your foot as stable and safe as possible, preventing movement that could aggravate bunions or hammertoes.

Why We Like It

It offers a really decent amount of space for all the sore spots, without being loose. It also provides light stability, without being chunky and uncomfortable.

What’s New

There’s not much new on the 11, apart from a slightly lighter upper. Other than that, the midsole, outsole, and stability features remain the same.

PROS:

  • Available in normal and wide widths
  • Structured, supportive mesh upper
  • Dual Arch Pods provide stability and support
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning

CONS:

  • Somewhat heavy, at 11.9 ounces
 

Best for Bunions and Flat Feet

7. Altra Provision 6

The Provision 6 is a stability shoe featuring Altra’s wide toe box. So runners who happen to have bunions and flat feet will appreciate the comfort and support of these trainers.

What We Like

The Altra Provision 6 has two particular features that make it ideal for flat-footed runners with bunions. One, a nice, wide toe box, typical of Altra shoes, which allows for space and comfort of the forefoot.

Two, InnovArch technology. This unique arch support feature uses strips of fabric within the structure of the shoe to provide adjustable arch support, depending on how tight you cinch down with your laces.

Also, while it’s technically a stability shoe, the latest updates have tweaked the GuideRails a little so they really only activate when your foot needs them. That means neutral-footed runners can run in comfort, while overpronators get the stability they need.

EGO foam underfoot is shock-absorbing and comfortable, ideal for long distance runs or recovery runs. Not the most responsive, though.

Why We Like It

The Provision 6 offers everything a runner with bunions needs. A wide, comfortable toe box, a flat platform, and a soft, stretchable upper. InnovArch support and GuideRails make it perfect for those with flat feet, too.

What’s New

The Provision 6 features EGO midsole foam, which improves both the cushioning and the bounciness of the shoes. Slight updates to the InnovArch provide more robust support.

Underfoot, the InnerFlex grooves in the outsole have also been redesigned for better flexibility. There’s a bit more depth in the shoe and a higher instep than the 5, too.

PROS:

  • InnovArch technology supports the foot
  • GuideRail system engages when needed
  • Responsive EGO foam cushioning
  • Surprisingly light on the foot

CONS:

  • Non-gusseted tongue may cause irritation
 

Top Trail Running Shoe

8. Altra Timp Trail 4

Trail running can be harder on the feet than road running, because of the unpredictable ground. But the Altra Timp Trail 4 is an excellent choice to accommodate and protect feet with bunions.

What We Like

The Timp Trail 4 has a wider-than-average forefoot and the comfortable, pressure-easing zero-drop platform that Altras are known for.

A rubber toe protector keeps the front of the foot safe from being hit by hazards on the trail.

The Quantic midsole is slightly firmer than the others on this list, offering a touch more responsiveness than cushion, although the 29mm underfoot does absorb shock pretty well.

One of the things that’s really nice about the Timp Trail 4 is that it offers gender-specific fits, which means the shoes are designed ever so slightly differently for the men’s and the women’s versions.

This allows for the best fit possible, and support in all the right places based on the average men’s and women’s feet.

To keep your footing on the trails, the MaxTrac outsole offers multidirectional lugs, tacky rubber, and flexible flex grooves for superb traction.

Why We Like It

It’s spacious, protective, and has excellent traction. All of these things are great for bunions, as it allows them plenty of space, prevents harsh knocks from external stuff, and also stops slips and slides on the trail that could tweak your sore spots.

What’s New

The only real update to this model is the upper, which now has thicker, more protective mesh and extra overlays for light support. Apart from that, everything is the same as the previous version.

PROS:

  • Gender-specific fit
  • Lightweight, responsive Quantic EVA midsole
  • Moderately wide forefoot
  • Tacky MaxTrac outsole

CONS:

  • Not a very responsive ride
 

Best New Balance Running Shoes for Bunions

9. New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11

New Balance is known for having a comfortable wide fit. The 860v11 is a great choice for overpronators who struggle with the pain and discomfort of bunions.

What We Like

New Balance fans with bunions will enjoy this version of the 860. The generous forefoot provides space to move comfortably, and the excellent arch support keeps the foot from shifting out of alignment, possibly causing pain or pressure points.

For cushioning, you’ll find a dual-density, layered midsole. A layer of Fresh Foam makes up the base, and a piece of Fresh Foam X lies on top of it. This combo provides the best of both comfort and responsiveness, with the foundation layer providing the softness and the X adding the bounce.

The medial post is fairly light and not intrusive, so runners with a neutral foot could get away with wearing these shoes. Those with more sensitive feet may find them a touch uncomfortable, though.

An updated heel counter with a flared elf ear design adds to the good lockdown of the shoe, as well as increasing the comfort as the heel hugs the back of your foot.

Why We Like It

The toe box is spacious enough for most runners to find relief from bunion pain, and the sculpted heel counter keeps the foot from moving in the shoe and causing chafing.

A subtle medial post in the midsole provides excellent stability for overpronators without being too hard for neutral runners to wear.

What’s New

The midsole has been given a facelift, and now consists of Fresh Foam X and Fresh Foam. A flared heel collar is also a new look, and a medial post provides the necessary stability.

PROS:

  • Great arch support
  • Dual-density, layered midsole
  • Firm medial post
  • Flared, sculpted heel counter

CONS:

  • Runs slightly small
 

Most Cushioned Shoe for Bunions

10. Altra Paradigm 6

The Paradigm 6 is a stability shoe, but it’s perfect for neural feet and overpronators. It offers a variety of features that keep your feet cushioned, aligned, and supported.

What We Like

EGO Max foam in the midsole offers a nicely cushioned ride in the Paradigm 6. It has a bit of energy return, but works best for long runs or recovery runs, thanks to its softness.

Altra’s trademark FootShape toe box gives bunion-afflicted feet space to breathe and stretch, especially when working with the stretchable mesh upper. The typical zero-drop platform also reduces stress on the forefoot.

It’s technically a stability shoe, but the great thing about it is that it’s actually pretty customizable to your foot. Firstly, the InnovArch arch support can work well for flat feet and high arches alike, as the amount of support is determined by how tightly you cinch down.

Secondly, the GuideRails system holds the rearfoot in place and prevents sideways movement. However, their effects only kick in when your foot actually needs it, so the support is practically invisible and unfelt until it’s absolutely necessary.

Why We Like It

The Paradigm 6 is wide, cushioned enough for shock-absorbing protection, and provides support when you need and comfort when you don’t. The perfect mix for runners with any type of foot!

What’s New

The Paradigm 6 features quite a few upgrades from the 5. Firstly, the midsole has been given more bounce, using Altra EGO foam to add a touch more bounce. InnovArch technology has also been added to improve arch support.

Some tweaks have been made to the GuideRails. Instead of being constantly engaged, they only come into play when the foot moves laterally now, which makes the shoe much comfier for neutral feet.

PROS:

  • Highly cushioned zero-drop shoe
  • Features GuideRail guidance system
  • 5mm thick contoured insoles
  • Wide outsole platform provides stability

CONS:

  • Non-gusseted tongue may move around while you’re running
 

Buyers Guide – Running Shoes for Bunions

When shopping for the best running shoes for bunions, there are certain factors you should pay more attention to.

Wide Toe Box

As bunions affect the side of the forefoot, it makes sense that a shoe with a wide toe box would be the most comfortable. It allows plenty of space for your forefoot to rest comfortably in the shoe, and your toes can splay naturally too.

Altra and Topo shoes are known for their wide toe boxes, so they’re well worth looking into if space in the forefoot is your primary concern.

Stretchy Seamless Mesh Uppers

The upper of the shoe you choose should have some stretch to it. That way, when the bunion presses against it, there’s a bit of give instead of being restricting. This can go a long way towards easing pain and improving comfort.

There’s nothing wrong with stiffer, more supportive material in the rearfoot. However, the forefoot (in particular, the area around the bunion) should be light, soft, and stretchable.

Support

Whenever you buy a pair of shoes, no matter what foot conditions you may have, you should make sure they provide the proper support for your feet. That means that if you overpronate (roll your feet inwards when you walk), you’ll need a stability shoe.

If you don’t overpronate, you can choose a neutral shoe. In this case, stability shoes may be uncomfortable as they actually provide support where you don’t need it.

Having the right support means your foot will be properly aligned, preventing it from falling over and putting pressure on the bunions.

Durability

The bunion is likely to push on the side of the upper, more so than feet without bunions. This could result in the upper wearing away more quickly, so choosing a shoe made of durable material is important.

It’s also important to know that holes will probably form anyway. But the longer the shoe can last before those holes form, the better.

FAQs

Wondering about the best way to run or choose running shoes when you have bunions? Here’s our best advice.

Should I Put Anything on Bunions While Running?

Yes! Your bunion is sensitive in many ways. Not only is it prone to pain from vibration every time your foot hits the ground, but it’s also susceptible to friction from the upper.

Covering your bunion with tape or a pad can help to prevent chafing and absorb a bit of shock that may cause pain.

How Does Bunion Surgery Affect My Running?

Bunion surgery is a last resort and only performed on bunions that are painful and can’t be relieved by medication or are beginning to hamper everyday living and everyday tasks.

But it’s important to know that if you do have bunion surgery, you won’t be able to return to your normal activity levels for 3 to 4 months. You’ll have to spend around 8 weeks after the surgery avoiding weight-bearing activities, so definitely no running.

After 8 weeks, you can go back to wearing normal shoes instead of special bunion surgery shoes. You should be able to do things like driving and walking around the house.

But it can take up to 4 months for the bones in your foot to heal. If you have no pain when bearing weight on your foot, that’s when you can return to training. Note that you’ll need to start slow and work your way up in small steps to avoid reinjuring the bones.

It’s incredibly tempting to leap right back into your running schedule after just a few weeks, right where you left off. But this can be extremely damaging.

Rather wait for the required amount of time and instead of running, spend your time doing cross-training that doesn’t affect your foot. That way, you can stay fit without re-injuring your foot, until it’s at the point where you can carry on with normal activity.

Is There a Way to Lace My Shoes With Bunions?

There are multiple ways to lace your shoes that can ease pressure on the forefoot while you’re running. The easiest way is to unlace your shoe and re-lace it, but start from the second row of eyelets instead of the bottom ones.

You can also simply leave out the eyelet closest to the bunion, but still use the outer eyelet on the non-bunion side. This will remove pressure on the area of the bunion.

Are Running Shoes Bad for Bunions?

Running shoes aren’t bad for bunions if you buy the right ones. If you just slip on the shoes you already have, they may not be great for your feet with bunions. But if you choose a pair of running shoes for bunions specifically, they’ll be just fine.

Running shoes that have a narrow toe box or a non-stretchable upper are more likely to work against you when you have a bunion!

How Do Runners Deal With Bunions?

Firstly, change your footwear to something more appropriate for bunions! Secondly, you can tape the bunion to provide more support and prevent rubbing while you’re running.

There should also be a degree of care when you aren’t running. Taking precautions in everyday life will slow down the progression of the bunion.

Should I put anything on bunions while running?

If you’re in the early stages of a bunion, bunion taping can be particularly helpful. You need to stretch your big toe and make it straight. Then with the help of a KT tape, keep the big toe straight by tying it with your other toes in the opposite direction. This will not correct the bunion, but it may make running more comfortable.

How does bunion surgery affect my running?

A 2003 survey performed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons found that 90 percent of patients who had bunion surgery experienced significant reduction in pain and increased physical activity.

There is a good chance that you may be able to run even more after bunion surgery. The smaller the bunion, the faster you’ll be able to return to physical activity after your surgery.

Is there a way to lace my shoes with bunions?

Yes, there is! And you may be able to alleviate or completely remove pain from running with bunions by lacing your shoes differently. The technique is known as “Bunion Step-Over,” and you can watch a YouTube video about how to do it.

Why Trust Us

Shanna Powell is a runner and fitness enthusiast who has used many different types of shoes. She’s written extensively for us and others, and used her knowledge of running and running shoes to bring you the best shoes for bunions. Additionally, Ben Drew reviewed every shoe in this article to ensure it’s the best for runners with bunions. Ben previously owned a running store and dealt with many customers with bunions who were happily fitted for running shoes. Learn more about our full review and evaluation process here.

Shanna Powell

Shanna Powell

Shanna is a writer who runs... And cycles, jumps rope, and lifts weights. She lives in beautiful South Africa and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with other avid athletes.

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