If you suffer from calf pain as a runner, you know the right shoes can make all of the difference. What you are looking for in shoes to alleviate calf discomfort is a high heel-to-toe drop to take pressure off of the legs and put it back on the feet.
Extra cushioning throughout the shoe helps to alleviate the pain from the extra strain on your feet, creating a comfortable and dynamic ride that doesn’t add to your calf pain, even after a long distance run.
We have compiled a list of the 10 best running shoes for calf pain to give you a great start on finding the right shoes for you. We will give you a brief summary of each shoe’s features, followed by some pros and cons to help you find the right fit.
Each shoe in this list has been hand chosen for its unique features that support this issue, so trust that you will find some excellent contenders for your newest pair somewhere within this list. The next step will simply be to make your decision!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Ghost 12
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Mizuno Wave Rider 23
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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
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1. Brooks Ghost 12
The newest Ghost model from Brooks is already making a splash in the running world. This classic neutral running shoe is bringing a more comfortable feel with the same durability and responsiveness as past model.
The biggest upgrade to the Ghost 12 is the addition of DNA Loft foam in the heel. Older versions of the Ghost had a BioMoGo DNA midsole for a soft landing. The addition of the DNA Loft foam is a great partner for a smoother ride.
The outsole is now more durable, which is a positive for long distance runners. The upper features an engineered mesh with targeted stretch zones and less overall elastic, making this an extremely comfortable shoe.
The Ghost 12 has a 12mm heel-to-toe drop to really take the stress off of your legs and place it where it belongs in the legs. Expect a smooth, even stride that should help with runners suffering from calf issues.
- Responsive ride
- Light and airy cushion on landing
- Custom feel to fit
- Not a lightweight shoe
- Best for runners with high arches
Top Nike Running Shoe for Calf Pain
2. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Exciting colors and a dynamic running experience is what you’ll get in the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37. This shoe was designed to encourage a soft landing and smooth transition with an energized feel that propels you forward.
The upper on this shoe is breathable for even the hottest weather conditions, and the out-turned collar benefits those who suffer from Achilles pain or are just looking for a little more comfort in that area.
This model has updated cushioning with a more Zoom Air foam in the forefoot. The results is a springy, responsive ride. The shoe is versatile and made for all skill levels, from beginners to experienced runners.
The 10mm heel-to-toe drop is less aggressive than other models, but still gives you solid height in the heel to help alleviate calf pain on impact and through your transition.
The outsole features excellent grip, making these shoes perfect for multiple surfaces, even in poor weather conditions.
- Engineered mesh for comfort and durability
- Nice aesthetic
- Zoom Air throughout forefoot for responsive ride
- Versatile shoe
- Wide upper, doesn’t fit snuggly
- Long tongue can cause painful rubbing
Softest Running Shoe for Calf Pain
3. Mizuno Wave Creation 20
The Wave Creation models have a longstanding tradition as being some of the most comfortable, versatile, and durable shoes offered by Mizuno, and the Wave Creation 20 is no exception.
This shoe has been upgraded with a new Infiniti Wave for extra cushion and maximum shock absorption. With allows for a comfortable transition through the midsole. The added cushion can be a bit much for runners with a narrow foot, however, so these shoes are best for runners with wider feet.
The Wave Creation 20 is best for runners with a neutral gait, and do not offer the stability that those who overpronate. But for neutral runners they offer a secure fit and are extremely comfortable.
Finally, INTERCOOL technology keeps your feet cool and dry regardless of temperature or weather, without sacrificing breathability. The AIRmesh upper adds to this breathability, but helps to keep your foot snuggly in place during all types of runs.
- Extra comfort from U4icX midsole, outsole, and lasting board
- Durable carbon rubber outsole
- Cooling and drying technology
- Reliable traction
- Narrow toe-box
- Lower heel-to-toe drop than most
Most Cushioned Brooks Shoe for Calf Pain
4. Brooks Glycerin 18
If you want a cloudlike experience during your runs, look no further than the Brooks Glycerin 18. This shoe features a full-length DNA LOFT midsole that gives it an ultra-plush softness and ride.
You can feel like you’re wearing a custom shoe when you lace up your Glycerin 18s. They feature a two-way stretch bootie that fits to your foot for stability during distance runs and interval training.
As with most newer Brooks models, these are covered in engineered mesh for breathability and support. The upper has 3D Fit Print Technology attached to the mesh top for a better overall fit for the shoe as well.
The HPR Plus and blown rubber outsole is durable, while adding to your traction on many surfaces. The outsole doesn’t lack in flexibility either, it has a soft bounce that only adds to the underfoot cushion.
The 10mm heel-to-toe drop is fairly standard for this type of shoe, but when coupled with the cushion and the nearly custom fit of these shoes, you will not be disappointed when you strap on a pair and head out for your first trial run.
- Full-length midsole cushion
- 3D Fit Print mesh and internal stretch bootie
- Outsole durability
- Solid traction and transition control
- Not for runners who overpronate
- Heavier shoe
Lightest Shoe for Calf Pain
5. Mizuno Wave Rider 23
This is by far the best Wave Rider we’ve seen come out of Mizuno. The 23rd installment of this model features support, breathability, and comfort like no other Wave Rider has before.
The upper on this shoe is made from Air Mesh for breathability and comfort. Coupled with the INTERCOOL technology, your feel are sure to remain cool and dry even on the hottest or most humid days.
The DYNAMOTION FIT makes the upper move with your foot so well that you may forget you’re even wearing a shoe.
The midsole helps to ensure a smooth transition from heel to toe, while U4ic technology provides shock attenuation and a superior ride. Another midsole layer features U4icX, an even lighter and more cushioned version of the U4ic, for added softness underfoot.
The Outsole is created from durable carbon rubber to allow for longer wear and durability. The 12mm heel to toe drop is hardly noticeable when you strap on the shoes, but when you’re a few miles in, you’ll notice the lack of calf pain it is causing.
- Near perfect cushioning for shock attenuation and foot comfort
- Support along with the built-in comfort
- Responsive midsole
- Strong ventilation
- Not as cushioned as other models
Top Stability Shoe for Calf Pain
6. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
Another Brooks model makes our list for excellent running shoes for calf pain. This brand truly knows how to achieve optimal comfort and support for runners of all shapes and sizes.
The engineered mesh upper on the Adrenaline GTS 20 is no surprise for Brooks fans. It provides a great fit in modern designs. The enhanced color selection is also a nice feature for those who want a clean aesthetic along with performance.
This shoe has a 12mm midsole drop to ensure your calves are protected during your run. Added cushioning in the midsole from previous models also helps to attenuate shock and keep pain and discomfort at bay.
The Adrenaline GTS 20 has incredible support and stability for runners who overpronate. The lightweight shoe is able to remain snug against your foot without irritation as well, which only adds to this model’s already immaculate reputation.
This shoe is excellent for recovery runs and is comfortable right out of the box, with very little break in time, if any, needed for most runners.
- Comfortable and supportive throughout
- Snug fit and firm hold without irritation
- Dry quickly; good for rain or extreme conditions
- Added cushioning in this model for increasingly soft feel
- Flexible where it counts
- Heel not as secure as mid and front of shoe
Lightest Stability Shoe
7. Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
This shoe is built with stability and guidance in mind. From its conception, the Wave Inspire has been all about helping runners to correct their stance and move with ease and comfort, even if leg or back pain has been an issue in the past.
Just like the other Mizuno models we have reviewed here, these shoes are sure to stay cool and dry with excellent ventilation technology and a high-quality partially mesh upper.
The 12mm heel-to-toe drop along with the midsole cushion helps to alleviate calf and knee pain in a way few other shoes can achieve. The Wave Inspire 16 delivers a light and cushioned mid-foot transition and optimal shock attenuation.
The durability of this shoe is not a question either, despite the increased focus on comfort and pain-free technologies inside. These shoes offer strong performance and will last for a long time, regardless of how many miles you put on them.
If you are looking for the best comfort and technology in the business, you’ve found it in this shoe.
- Excellent shock attenuation
- Stability that can correct stance
- Midsole technology keeps pain at bay
- Lightweight shoe
- High-quality materials and technologies
- Can run a bit narrow
- Variety of colors not up to par
Best Motion Control Running Shoe
8. Brooks Addiction 14
The BioMoGo DNA midsole on the Brooks Addiction 14 perfectly adapts to your stride to help you feel more in control of your run regardless of your speed. Combined with the added stability you get in this shoe, you’ve never felt more in control of your run.
Brook’s extended progressive diagonal rollbar is there to guide you back into your body’s natural motion without discomfort. Your stance will begin to correct without you ever noticing.
This design was made with low arches, flat and wide feet in mind. It has a generous amount of room inside to allow your foot the space it needs to feel comfortable after hours of running.
This shoe features a heel-segmented crash pad to take some of the shock from your landing and offer a smooth transition into mid-stance. The comfort and control you will get from the Addiction 13, especially for those with voluminous feet, is unprecedented.
- Comfortable without need for breaking in
- Accurate sizing
- Extremely plush cushioning
- Corrects over-pronation
- Stability is solid throughout stride
- Quite heavy
- Toe-box not large enough
- Not much difference from previous version
Top Walking Shoe for Calf Pain
9. New Balance 1340 v3
The engineered mesh upper is just the beginning of the excellent features in the New Balance 1340 v3. This shoe is made for support and stability with some of the best technology New Balance has to offer.
The 1340 v3 has ABZORB midsole foam so you won’t feel the impact and transitions as you take on the road ahead. The T-Beam insert in the midsole assists in stability and support to give you more control over your stance and stride.
The arch support in this shoe is provided by a center beam design that is not a common feature. It gives great motion control as you run. The heel-to-toe drop on this shoe is only 10mm, though, so it is on the lower side in terms of comfort.
The look of this shoe is something that has people talking. It is designed to have an impact on the eye as well as the comfort and stability of your feet and legs.
Over-pronators will love this shoe for its extended web technology that adds support mid-foot. In addition, runners looking for a wider toe-box will be pleased with this model and the room it allows to spread your toes out wide.
- Blown rubber outsole provides excellent grip
- Durability is high
- Pronation control
- Wide toe-box
- Great new look and feel
- Breathability is lacking
Best Trail Shoe for Calf Pain
10. Salomon Speedcross 5
The final shoe on our list is made for trail running, and has excellent grip and traction on its outsole. The arch support on this one is neutral, so those who over or under pronate may want to look elsewhere, but the comfort is worth that loss.
This shoe is perfect for all weather conditions, but excels in mud and soft ground. It is lightweight and made for both training and racing. Don’t be afraid to get this shoe dirty, and know that you can do so without added strain on your already sensitive calves.
The midsole features both molded and injected EVA for cushioning and stability that is doesn’t add weight, but will give you shock attenuation and keep your body in the best possible shape.
The Speedcross 5 also has a sockliner made from molded EVA for even more cushion and an EVA shaped footbed for anatomically designed support. Finally the OrthoLite layer creates a cool, dry, and extra cushioned underfoot environment.
This shoe is durable and is sure to remain comfortable for a long time. The support and multi-layer cushioning allows for a smooth ride through and through.
- Ultra-comfortable cushioning
- Extreme traction even in mud and snow
- Durable and long lasting
- Endofit inner sleeve provides support and keeps feet in place
- Breathability is an issue
- 10mm heel-to-toe drop can create issues on uneven ground