Best Running Shoes for Heel Pain in 2018
Hoka One One Bondi 5
The Hoka One One Bondi 5 is one of the most cushioned shoes on the market. It has a full-length midsole for maximum support and comfort along your whole foot. A lot of running shoes only offer support for a specific part of the midsole. There is a moderate heel bevel, which is the curvature of the shoe as it transitions from the back to the sole. The moderate bevel helps to disperse the force of each step you take.
Another thing we like about the Hoka One One Bondi 5 is the use of a 3D printed puff frame. The use of this frame promotes breathability in the shoe that isn’t always present with other materials. Running is a sweaty, tiring activity and it’s good to feel fresh breeze on your feet.
The tread on the Bondi 5 is also moderately pronounced. Although it looks like a shoe used for running primarily on concrete or asphalt, it can keep you going at a decent clip on light dirt trails as well.
Finally, the Hoka One One Bondi 5 is made for durability. The thick rubber outer soles are designed to take as much abuse as you can give them. We don’t know what the lifetime of the shoe is, but good running shoes should last you at least three years. The Hoka One Ones are a good starter shoe for a variety of needs.
- Breathable shoe
- Tons of cushioning, especially in the heel
- Can be expensive
- Funky look
Adidas Energy Boost
The Adidas Energy Boost is designed to take the majority of energy from your stride and use the specially formulated gel cushioning to propel you forward. This shoe works best when you’re running at moderate speeds, but it can keep up when you break into a sprint. The outsoles and midsoles are made of hardened rubber designed to absorb your weight.
The toe box could be a bit roomier, but we do like the comfort of the material. The arch support and upper provide ample support, with the upper being made of a sock-like material that helps to cushion the Achilles tendon against repeated rubbing. Without cushioning, you can easily get blisters on your heels.
The biggest downside to the Adidas Energy Boost is that it’s one of the heaviest shoes we’ve found. It protects your foot but does so at the expense of weighing you down. If the shoe were lighter than it is, we could justify wearing it for sprinting, but the extra weight makes it harder. Another detriment is the heat of the material around your arch and midsole.
Your foot just doesn’t have enough breathing room, and you’ll notice the difference when you take the shoes off after a run.
- Efficient ride
- Toe box tight for some runners
Asics Gel-Kayano 24
If you’ve previously had problems getting a running shoe to fit well, you can rest easy when you lace up the Gel-Kayano 24. The upper mesh construction, combined with the cushioned heels and insoles, all do an excellent job at conforming to the contours of your foot. The midsole, made of FlyteFoam material, works with the forefoot and rear-foot gel inserts to keep your feet cushioned with every step you take.
One thing we like about this shoe is the support it offers runners who tend to overpronate on each stride. Overpronation can injure your tendons and muscles over time. The sock liner prevents the shoe from rubbing against the Achilles, just like the Adidas Energy Boost. Also, the sock liner is made of natural moisture-wicking materials, preventing the discomfort that comes from excess sweating.
Odor control technology is present, but we aren’t sure how well it holds up for repeat wearings. It’s probably a good idea to let your shoes air out after each run. The Gel Kayano gives you a larger toebox than other shoes, which keeps your toes from getting cramped up.
The only downsides to this shoe are the weight and price. It can be too heavy to run a full-speed race, so it’s better to use for casual practice.
- Conforms to foot easily
- Discourages moisture development
- May not be as durable
Saucony Redeemer ISO 2
If comfort rather than raw performance is your priority in a running shoe, the Saucony Redeemer ISO is your best bet. It includes a sock-like upper that offers your ankles and legs plenty of support. Without proper support, it’s easy to roll your ankle and cause injury. The shoe is versatile enough to be a casual walking shoe or one used for running.
The breathable fabric lining and removable mesh insole allow you to customize how your shoe feels when you wear it while providing the most comfort and stability possible. It seems to adhere to the foot reasonably well but isn’t without its flaws.
The biggest problem we have with this shoe is the heel slippage. The heel seems to be sized a little larger than it should be, so wearing insoles or extra heel support is necessary to keep the shoe from rubbing against the heel and causing blisters.
The other issue we have is the relatively bland design of the shoe. Granted, this may not be an issue for you, but we like to see a little splash of color in our shoes. It’s especially important if you’re already running in low visibility; bright colors can add an extra element of safety.
- Ankle Support
- Ergonomic design
- Heel may be too large
Brooks Transcend 5
The Brooks Transcend 5 is another model of running shoe from the Brooks line. It keeps many of the features of previous models in this line. This version, however, has an upgraded upper mesh and a guide rail to give the foot more support than it would have had with other shoes. We noticed a more streamlined motion during our stride that comes from this support, making it a more comfortable shoe that enables running without excess strain.
The highest impact zones, including the heel and forefoot, receive protection from the greater layers of cushioning that disperse force throughout the shoe rather than at one specific point. The heel of the shoe has more roundness to it, making it smoother to transition your stride from one foot to the next during running.
The stretch mesh does a decent job at molding to the shape of your foot but isn’t perfect. Another big drawback is that this shoe only comes in standard sizes. If you have narrow or wide feet relative to their length, you may have to go up or down a size and lessen some of the benefits from a good fit. These shoes are around middle-grade quality, in our opinion.
- Support creates more efficient stride
- Extra cushioning
- No real variance in size
New Balance 1080v8
This shoe is suited for the long haul. It has a robust rubber outsole with pronounced tread, and it’s wider than previous entries in the New Balance line, which all seem to be narrow. If you have a narrow foot, you might want to make adjustments, so the shoe fits you properly. If you’re someone who likes to run in cold weather, then wearing multiple layers of thin socks will shore up this weakness nicely.
All the standard features of comfort can be found in this shoe: the full-length midsole, the mesh upper for maximum breathability, and the large tongue for plenty of ankle support.
The New Balance 1080v8s don’t seem to be as flexible as other shoes on the market even after we broke them in, but for such a robust model it might be an expected flaw. What the shoe lacks in flexibility, it certainly makes up in traction. You should still be careful if you plan on going for a run in snow or ice, but the rubber tread will give you a little more traction than otherwise.
- Full-length support in the midsole
- Not as flexible as other models
Brooks Beast (men) Ariel (women) 16
The Brooks Beast 16 caters to people who are either just starting out or are recovering from an injury. This shoe has superior arch support and more cushioning than usual. The forefoot and heel have extra rubber on the outsoles and extra cushioning inside to add to the traction. It’s a perfect show for a variety of running surfaces: asphalt, concrete, light dirt, and wet conditions.
Another aspect in which the Brooks Beast excels is its breathability. The cage esh and the upper are both made of fabric specifically designed to wick away moisture and alleviate excessive sweating.
The rigidity of the shoe doesn’t make it suited for sprinting. However, it’s serviceable for distance running or a light jog.
You might have a problem fitting in the toe box, so it’s best to go up half a size to allow your foot extra room. Overall, we noticed that the shoe seemed to be too narrow, but this is likely an attempt to increase support and prevent overpronation. Good intentions, we’re sure, but if the shoe doesn’t fit properly, it doesn’t help that much. We would sacrifice a little of the cushioning in return for a proper fit.
- Offers excellent support for injured feet
- Highly breathable
- Very heavy and stiff – not appropriate for neutral runners
A big problem we have with a lot of the Hoka One One shoes is the weight. Many of the shoes are too heavy to allow you to take off at full speed. The Hoka One One Gaviota, from our experience, seems to change that. It’s a far more lightweight model, but it lacks some of the durability.
One thing that makes the Gaviota suited for speed as opposed to other models is the specially-designed sole. The outsole is curved in such a way as to propel you forward when your foot contacts the ground. Meanwhile, the wide forefoot provides plenty of support and stability on the ground. The cushioned and narrower heel gives the heel protection and support as well, so you aren’t hurting your heels every time you take a step.
The color scheme of the Gaviota might be offputting to some people at first. Orange and other secondary colors are less soothing than primary colors like red, yellow, or blue.
The hardened rubber outsoles of this shoe let it work best on hard surfaces. Hand-packed dirt and asphalt are your best bets.
- More lightweight than other models
- One of Hoka’s most cushioned shoes
- Stiff – not a good choice for neutral runners
- Not the most aesthetically pleasing design
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
Here’s yet another model from the Hoka One One line. The Speedgoat 2 aims to address the problems of its predecessor like the excessive width in the forefoot. Overall, the Speedgoat 2 seems to have a balance of traction, comfort, and stability. The mesh upper hasn’t changed from previous models, so the shoe still has the breathability and cooling you would expect of this material.
This shoe, based on our observations, seems a little lacking in durability. It is lightweight and has few if any seams to break, but the basic material is weaker.
You can get some speed when you’re wearing these shoes, but they are equally suited to basic daily running or warming up. Also, they lack in style. Drab colors just don’t suit us that well.
As for the price point, they’re more expensive than similar shoes. We aren’t sure if the quality justifies the price.
- Great for hiking and trail running
- Grippy on rocks
- Only appropriate for trails and off road
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13
The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13 promises to be high quality. It’s biggest selling point is the air cushioning in the heel. As we’ve said, the heel takes the most punishment, so you want to have as much softness as you can.
The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13 tries a new design with its upper. Rather than a mesh knit, it’s a circular knit that is supposed to increase breathability. It does, but only after a while. In the meantime, we got some blisters on our feet. This shoe seems like it takes longer to break in than it should.
Once the break-in happens, we can say the shoes have some quality, but the time beforehand offsets it. There are other shoes on our list that offer similar quality without taking as long to ensure user comfort. For the cost, we’d expect a quicker return on investment.
- Air cushioning in heel provide extra support and comfort
- Many users claim the shoes take too long to break in and say they can be a bit stiff