Best Running Shoes for Heel Spurs in 2024

Updated:
 

Any condition that causes foot pain can be a nightmare for runners. Heel pain is especially difficult, especially for heel strikers.

One of the less common causes of heel pain is heel spurs. These are bony growths on the bottom of your heel bone caused by calcium deposits due to repetitive impact. Luckily, running in the best running shoes for heel spurs can make a big difference.

Our top pick is the Hoka Bondi 8. It’s got more than enough foam to protect the heel, a meta-rocker in the sole to help speed up the heel-to-toe transition, and it’s suitable for all types of runs.

But we’ve found many other great shoes for heel spurs. Whatever your brand preference or gait, something here will protect your feet and ease heel pain.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Hoka Bondi 8

 

  • Tons of heel cushioning
  • Supportive
  • Lightweight
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Hoka Rincon 3

 

  • Compression-molded EVA foam
  • Beveled heel and meta-rocker
  • Durable outsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

 

  • Very supportive
  • Wide toe box
  • Nice heel cushioning
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Hoka Bondi 8

The Hoka Bondi 8 is a natural choice for those with heel spurs. It’s got an impressive chunk of foam in the heel, and it works well as a daily trainer for a variety of different runs.

What We Like

In terms of heel cushioning, the Bondi 8 has plenty of it. Your heel will be well protected by 39 mm of foam, soft enough to be comfortable while sparing your heel some jarring. But firm enough to keep you moving and avoid being bogged down.

It’s also got a meta-rocker built into the sole, starting with a beveled heel that makes the heel-to-toe transition easy and lessens the initial impact on the heel.

There’s a 4 mm drop, which is straying towards the lower side and might take some getting used to. There’s also decent arch support for medium arches, although you can remove the insole and add a custom orthotic if you need more.

The upper is comfortable and plush, and the thick ankle collar and reinforcement around the heel help stabilize your feet. Your heel won’t move anywhere in these shoes, so you know that signature heel cushion is always in the right place to protect those spurs!

In typical Hoka fashion, there’s no full-length rubber on the outsole, but it does have strategically-placed rubber sections. They add durability and give you more shock absorption.

Why We Like It

The Hoka Bondi 8 has the cushioning every heel-spur-sufferer needs. The beveled heel, meta rocker design, and firm heel cup make the shoe comfortable and protective.

What to Consider

If you’ve got wide feet, you may find that the toe box of the Hoka Bondi 8 is a bit on the tight side. This is down to the shoe’s design, so going wider isn’t necessarily going to help here; it just has a narrower toe box than usual.

What’s New

The Bondi 8’s midsole is softer with more energy return than the previous version. There’s an impressive 6 mm of extra foam in this shoe, but it’s somehow managed to lose about half an ounce in weight since the 7.

There’s also more rubber on the outsole for extra protection and grip, and the base of the shoe has been widened a little. Lastly, the upper now includes sustainable recycled materials.

PROS:

  • 39 mm of soft, shock-absorbing foam underneath the heel protects your heel spurs from jarring impact
  • Beveled heel and meta-rocker ease foot fatigue and make the heel-to-toe transition easier and smoother
  • Good arch support but is also able to add a custom orthotic if you need more support than it offers
  • Strategically-placed rubber sections in the heel offer extra shock absorption and good grip on the roads

CONS:

  • The toe box is a little on the narrow side
 

Top Value

2. Hoka Rincon 3

The Hoka Rincon 3 is an excellent shoe for heel spurs, and as a bonus, it’s very well-priced. There’s great cushioning, a meta-rocker to take the strain off the feet, and it’s incredibly lightweight.

What We Like

The Rincon 3 may be one of Hoka’s value-priced shoes, but it’s perfect for runners with heel spurs and a tighter budget. As well as a nice price, it’s got a good bit of cushioning where you need it most; 29 mm in the heel on the men’s shoe, 26 mm on the women’s shoe.

It’s compression-molded EVA foam, which absorbs shock on each step, reducing impact on the heel. And with a 5 mm drop, it’s right in the comfortable zone for runners with heel spurs.

There’s also a slightly beveled heel and a meta-rocker in the sole, which reduces foot fatigue and can contribute to heel pain.

Although the foam is on the firmer side, the fact that this shoe is the lightest one in Hoka’s collection means you can up the pace when you want to. That makes it a versatile option for everyday training.

The shoe is finished off by a sleek, well-ventilated upper and rubber in high-wear areas of the outsole.

Why We Like It

With the Rincon 3, you’ll get a versatile shoe with great heel protection at a friendly price. It’s an excellent option for runners on a budget.

What to Consider

The Rincon 3 is excellent value for money, but if you tend to run on abrasive surfaces, it can wear down faster than other shoes. Expect them to last less time than your other shoes!

What’s New

The shoe’s upper features minor design changes, including a thinner tongue and pull-tab to save some weight and streamline the look. Plus, it now has extra vents in the forefoot to make the shoe more breathable.

The heel counter has also received an update, and the shoe weighs about ⅓-ounce less than the previous version.

PROS:

  • 29 mm (men) or 26 mm (women) of compression-molded EVA foam protects the heel and absorbs shock
  • Beveled heel and meta-rocker reduced fatigue in the foot muscles, lowering your chance of developing heel pain
  • Early-stage meta-rocker provides smooth, fast transitions with a bit of snap as you pick up the pace without losing ground contact feel
  • Durable outsole with strategically-placed rubber in high-wear areas, which offers excellent grip

CONS:

  • Not as durable as other shoes, especially in the outsole
 

Best for Flat Feet

3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Overpronators need a little more stability to reduce stress on the heel, and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is the perfect choice. It has a cushioned heel, unobtrusive GuideRails for support, and a stable heel counter to add to the shoe’s security.

What We Like

Overpronators will appreciate Brooks’ GuideRails, which keeps your foot in position without being intrusive. This stability system consists of two sturdy foam strips, one on either side of the heel, which hold it in place and make it virtually impossible for your arch to collapse.

Add the firm heel cup to the mix, and your foot will stay cupped in a neutral position as long as you’re wearing the shoe. It’s a light and hardly noticeable system that does the job as well as classic medial posts.

As for heel spur protection, there’s a 36 mm of foam in the heel. Brooks’ DNA LOFT V2 is lightweight and soft, softening the blow of impact on the heel.

With 24 mm in the forefoot, this shoe features a more traditional 12 mm heel-to-toe drop. It’s great for offloading the Achilles, so if plantar fasciitis is part of your heel pain, you should notice a difference quickly.

You’ll get a great lockdown on your foot thanks to the flexible air mesh upper, 3D Fit Print technology that hugs your foot, and flat laces. It’s also well-ventilated, keeping your feet cool, dry, and comfy.

Why We Like It

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 offers excellent support and great heel cushioning. It’s the ideal mix of shock absorption and support.

What to Consider

The upper is a little less durable than other shoes. While this may be part of why it’s so breathable, it can be a downside for those who are hard on their uppers.

What’s New

The Adrenaline GTS 23 now features DNA LOFT V2 foam in the midsole. The upper has also been streamlined with upgraded 3D Fit Print technology.

PROS:

  • Unobtrusive GuideRails and a firm heel cup keep your foot safely in a neutral position and prevent it from overpronating
  • 36 mm of DNA LOFT V2 foam in the heel does a good job of absorbing shock and protecting your heel when you run
  • 12 mm heel drop takes a load off the Achilles and may help reduce heel pain
  • 36 mm of foam in the heel and 24 mm in the forefoot means there’s plenty of cushioning to help absorb shock

CONS:

  • Less durable upper than many others
 

Top for High Arches

4. Brooks Glycerin 21

Runners with high arches will enjoy the fit and feel of the Brooks Glycerin 21. It’s a max-cushioned shoe with great arch support, luxurious cushioning, and it comes in a GTS version as well if you need a more support.

What We Like

The Brooks Glycerin 21 is supportive and well-cushioned, so those with high arches will be comfortable. Underneath the arch, you’ll find the brand’s nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT V3 foam, which is soft, comfortable, and shock-absorbing.

In the heel, 34 mm of foam provides good impact absorption to save the heel bone and any bone spurs from being jarred. There’s also 24 mm in the forefoot of this max-cushioned shoe, so you’ll be protected from heel to toe.

A plush ankle collar and light overlays on the heel help to keep your heel snugly in place while feeling luxurious at the same time. There’s also an almost full-length layer of rubber on the outsole, adding to the safety and durability of the shoe.

The upper is flexible and light, and it’s available in both regular and StealthFit designs. StealthFit is a one-piece, sock-like fit with a bit more flex. It’s also available in GTS for those who might need a bit more support!

Why We Like It

This shoe has ideal arch support for those with high arches, soft, comfortable cushioning to protect your feet, and enough variation in the support and upper to suit almost anyone.

What to Consider

The Glycerin 21 has a good chunk of foam in it, which means it’s a little on the heavy side. It’s also not a very bouncy shoe, making it unsuitable for fast runs.

What’s New

The midsole now features DNA LOFT V3 foam, which is softer than before. The outsole and upper have also received minor updates.

PROS:

  • Excellent arch support for high arches, reducing strain on the plantar fascia that can contribute to heel pain
  • Soft, deluxe DNA LOFT V3 foam provides a comfortable and smooth ride, especially for longer runs
  • Plush tongue, a thick heel collar, and a flexible upper keep your foot held in place throughout your run
  • Available in neutral, GTS, and StealthFit

CONS:

  • Weight and lack of responsiveness make it unsuitable for speed
 

Best for Wide Feet

5. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

Runners with wide feet who need a shoe for heel spurs will appreciate the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12. It’s available in multiple widths, features great cushioning, and has an updated heel cup for better heel stability.

What We Like

New Balance shoes are naturally comfortable for wider feet, and the fact that the Fresh Foam X 1080v12 comes in multiple widths makes it easy for runners with wide feet to find the right fit.

A thick slab of Fresh Foam X in the midsole offers 34 mm under the heel and 26 mm in the forefoot for robust shock absorption throughout the shoe. It’s protective but also very comfortable!

It also features an excellent rocker sole, which can help reduce shock and smooth your heel-to-toe transition. A sturdy heel cup has been updated to remove heel slippage issues from the previous version.

You’ll also find a generous layer of rubber on the outsole, in two different densities, to be a good shock absorber and grippy enough to help propel you forward on the toe-off.

Why We Like It

The Fresh Foam X 1080v12 offers multiple width options so every runner with wide feet can find their perfect fit. It’s also got excellent shock absorption thanks to the cushioning and the outsole rubber, so your heels are well-protected.

What to Consider

This isn’t a very responsive shoe, so while it’s excellent for cushioning on long runs, you might be disappointed if you’re looking for something with a bit more bounce and speed.

What’s New

The upper has been upgraded, the midsole foam is softer, and the heel collar has been redesigned. Aside from that, the shoe remains the same.

PROS:

  • Available in multiple widths so every runner with wide feet can find their ideal fit
  • Pronounced rocker in the sole makes for a smooth stride and reduces fatigue in the foot muscles and tissues
  • Revamped heel counter now hugs the heel comfortably and keeps your foot stable
  • Excellent rubber coverage on the outsole for both grip and shock absorption

CONS:

  • Not very responsive, so not the best for speed
 

Top for Overpronation

6. Hoka Arahi 7

Overpronators will appreciate everything about the Hoka Arahi 7. It has robust support, a decent stack of cushioning that’s both comfortable and responsive, and it’s very lightweight.

What We Like

The Arahi 7 features Hoka’s J-Frame technology – it’s a firm, J-shaped section of foam in the medial midsole designed to stop the foot from falling inwards. It does a good job of preventing overpronation without being too intrusive.

It’s got a slab of Hoka’s usual EVA foam in the midsole, with 30 mm in the heel for effective protection against the shock of impact. Although it’s not a fast shoe, it has a nice bit of bounce.

It’s also got a nice meta-rocker, speeding up the heel-to-toe transition so you feel faster but use less energy on each stride. One of the most noticeable things about this shoe is how light it is. Stability shoes are often heavy, but this one sits between 7 and 9 ounces, depending on shoe size.

The shoe features a typical Hoka wide base, which distributes your weight equally across the shoe, preventing too much stress on the heel and worsening heel spurs.

Why We Like It

The Hoka Arahi 7 provides excellent support for overpronators, as well as great cushion and shock absorption to prevent heel spurs from getting worse.

What to Consider

The Arahi has a bit of a cramped toe box, so those who need more space in the forefoot might be disappointed and may find the shoe a little uncomfortable.

What’s New

The upper now uses recycled materials and has been upgraded to be lighter. There’s more meat in the tongue to reduce pressure on the top of the foot.

PROS:

  • J-Frame in the medial midsole prevents the foot from rolling and keeps it in a neutral position throughout your run
  • 30 mm of foam in the heel protects heel spurs and offers some energy return for a bit of bounce
  • Lighter than the average stability shoe so your feet fatigue more slowly
  • Wide base distributes weight evenly, working with the rubber outsole to reduce shock and protect the tissues, bones, and joints of the foot

CONS:

  • A bit of a cramped toebox
 

Best for Walking

7. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26

The ASICS Gel-Nimbus has superb cushioning in the heel. It’s shock-absorbing but not very responsive, which makes it excellent for walking rather than running. It’s also comfortable, has a substantial heel bevel and meta-rocker, and features shock-absorbing rubber on the outsole.

What We Like

We love the cushioning in the Gel-Nimbus 26. The PureGel insert in the heel gives it impressive shock-absorbing properties, perfect for anyone with heel spurs.

Built around the gel is a chunky heel of 41.5 mm in the men’s and 40.5 mm in the women’s shoes—ideal protection against bumps or pressure under the heel. The foam is ASICS’ FF Blast+, soft where it matters but with a slight spring in the forefoot.

Good arch support, a forefoot rocker, and a noticeable heel bevel work together to keep the feet supported and take stress off the tissues of the feet. A uniquely designed ankle collar features thick, plush fabric that holds the foot comfortably but firmly in place, helping these features to do their jobs.

Good rubber coverage on the outsole adds to the shock absorption and keeps you safe on several different surfaces. You’ll find AHAR rubber in the forefoot, softer and sticker, and AHAR+ in the heel, which is harder and more impact-absorbing.

Why We Like It

The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 is an excellent walking shoe with superb support and protection in the heel. Walkers with heel spurs should feel comfortable and pain-free in these shoes.

What to Consider

The upper of this shoe is quite thick, which makes it a little less breathable. If you live somewhere with hot, humid weather, your feet may get a little warm in these shoes!

What’s New

There’s now a PureGel cushion in the heel, which makes the shoe a tiny bit heavier. The upper has been redesigned slightly, and there’s now an extra 6 mm of foam in the forefoot and an extra 4 mm in the heel, so the heel drop is lower than before.

PROS:

  • PureGel Technology in the heel absorbs shock upon impact and takes pressure of the heel, reducing pain and discomfort
  • Thick layer of FF Blast+ foam that’s soft but retains a slight bit of energy return perfect for picking up the pace
  • Robust ankle collar helps to add stability and support, keeping the heel in the right place throughout your run
  • AHAR rubber in the forefoot for a grippy toe-off, and AHAR+ rubber in the heel for extra shock absorption

CONS:

  • The upper is thick and not very breathable
 

Top for Heavy Runners

8. Brooks Dyad 11

The Brooks Dyad has an APMA Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health. The stability features, the strong heel counter, and the adaptive cushioning make it a great choice for heavier runners with heel spurs.

What We Like

We love the adaptive cushioning in the Dyad. BioMoGo DNA foam adapts to your unique stride, so as you walk or run, it distributes your weight evenly, providing support in all the right places.

There’s a good chunk of it with 34 mm under the heel and 24 mm under the forefoot. Heavier runners, especially those with a heavier heel strike, can rest assured that the foam will absorb shock and spare your feet from heel spur-related pain.

You’ll also get impressive arch support in the Dyad. It features dual arch pods, one right underneath the arch, to bolster it up and ensure the support is always in the right place. Pair this with the 10 mm heel drop; your heel pain should reduce as your Achilles is deloaded.

You can also remove the insole and add a custom orthotic thanks to ample volume in the shoe. This is ideal for those with specific support requirements to alleviate their heel pain.

A tight heel counter and thick, shock-absorbing rubber outsole both ease heel spur pain.

Why We Like It

The Dyad 11 is a robust stability shoe with plenty of cushion to handle heavy impact without extra damage. We also love that the heel drop takes strain off the Achilles and the dual arch pods take strain off the plantar fascia, so other factors that could contribute to heel pain are removed completely.

What to Consider

The sole of the Dyad is quite stiff, which might be uncomfortable for some. Runners who need tough stability features will likely appreciate it, but those who like more flexibility might find it restrictive.

What’s New

Only the upper has changed on this shoe. Whereas the previous version had seams running across the upper, the new one is a seamless, smooth, and more comfortable upper.

PROS:

  • Thick layer of BioMoGo DNA foam adapts to your stride and absorbs shock, keeping the foot supported and heel protected
  • Dual arch pods provide great arch support and stability, taking strain off the plantar fascia and reducing pain
  • Able to remove the insole and add your own custom-made orthotic if you need a different kind of support
  • Highly durable rubber underneath the shoe not only lasts for hundreds of miles, but also absorbs impact and protects the heel

CONS:

  • The sole is stiff and may feel restrictive to some
 

Most Comfortable

9. Brooks Ghost Max

The Ghost Max is one of the most comfortable shoes, and it has enough cushioning and shock absorption to be a good option for heel spurs. It’s also light for its amount of cushion.

What We Like

This new shoe uses DNA LOFT V2 foam, infused with nitrogen to give it the best softness and bounciness. As well as being comfortable, the 39 mm of foam in the heel means you can heel strike as hard as you want but it’ll keep your heel safe and pain-free.

Another thing that makes running in this shoe comfortable is the GlideRoll rocker, which speeds up the heel-to-toe transition and makes running feel a lot more effortless.

A decoupled heel adds a lot of extra shock absorption power to this shoe. Plus, the substantial layer of rubber on the outsole does the same, as well as gripping almost any surface. You’ll hardly feel your painful heels with the Ghost Max on your feet!

Why We Like It

The Ghost Max is, as it sounds like, a max cushioned shoe with exceptional comfort. It’s also got multiple shock-absorbing properties, which add to the comfort and help reduce the pain of heel spurs.

What to Consider

The 6 mm heel drop is great for heel spurs, but those who wore the Ghost before might struggle to adapt to it, as it’s half of what the classic Ghost heel drop is.

PROS:

  • DNA LOFT V2 foam provides the best of both softness and springiness for the highest level of comfort
  • 39 mm of foam in the heel allows you to land without any worry about hurting your heels
  • Decoupled heel and thick rubber layer on the outsole optimize shock absorption and save the heel from jarring
  • GlideRoll rocker smooths the heel-to-toe transition and makes running seem easy as well as comfortable

CONS:

  • 6 mm drop may take some getting to for previous Ghost wearers
 

Best for Trail Running

10. Hoka Challenger 7

Trail runners will appreciate the protective stack height, the shock-reducing rubber lugs, and the stable heel cup of the Hoka Challenger 7. It’s comfortable and effective at keeping the heels safe and pain-free.

What We Like

The Challenger 7 is a fun and comfortable trail shoe. You’ll find a decent bit of foam in the midsole—29 mm in the heel of the ladies’ shoe, 31 mm in the men’s. It’s not so much that it feels unstable, but enough to reduce pressure on heel spurs.

The 5 mm heel drop is in the sweet spot for reducing heel pressure, and it’s helped by a handy rocker, which transitions you over the forefoot pretty quickly, even if you’re a heel striker.

Between the EVA cushion in the 3.5 mm lugs on the outsole, this shoe’s plenty of shock-absorbing material. Thanks to this, your heels won’t have to worry about being jarred on each step.

Those lugs also do a good job of gripping to moderate trail terrain and keeping you safe on your feet.

Why We Like It

The Hoka Challenger 7 is a great trail shoe with excellent shock absorption. Most of its features fall into the heel spur “sweet spot,” so we highly recommend it for hitting the trails safely and with less pain.

What to Consider

The Challenger 7 is an excellent general trail shoe but not the greatest for technical trails. Choose carefully depending on the trails you’re going to be running!

What’s New

The 7 features an upgraded midsole with a softer feeling, a more breathable upper, and a new pattern of lugs on the outsole. It’s also lost about an ounce of weight since the 6.

PROS:

  • 29mm (women)/31mm (men) of EVA foam in the heel to take pressure off heel spurs and lower pain
  • 5 mm heel drop significantly reduces pressure on the heel when running, easing pain from heel spurs and other conditions
  • Substantial rocker design helps to roll the foot quickly onto the forefoot, reducing strain on the heel as you run
  • 3.5 mm rubber lugs not only provide brilliant traction on trail terrain, but also go a long way toward absorbing vibrations

CONS:

  • Not the best for technical terrain
 

Buyer’s Guide – Running Shoes for Heel Spurs

Support

Having the right arch support in your shoe takes strain off the plantar fascia, which can significantly reduce heel pain. Choosing a shoe with the right arch support for your foot will also reduce your risk of injury as it keeps your foot in the right position.

Make sure the arch support suits your arch—high, medium, or low—as well as your pronation type—neutral, underpronator, overpronator. Even if you have a central foot that doesn’t need stability features, opt for a shoe that’s on the supportive side.

Cushioning

The best shoes for heel spurs have a good wedge of cushioning in the heel. This helps to absorb shock on every step so it doesn’t jar the heel spurs, which goes a long way towards reducing pain.

Heel Counter

The back of the upper that surrounds your heel should be firm and stable. Your heel shouldn’t be able to move from side to side—it should be firmly held in position by the heel of the shoe.

Make sure it’s still comfortable, breathable, and doesn’t rub on the back of your heel. The fit should still be right, without extra wiggle room in the heel.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Some runners with heel spurs find that shoes with a shorter heel-to-toe drop—4 to 8 mm—reduces pain in the heel. A moderate heel drop doesn’t place too much pressure on the heel so it’s a sweet spot.

A higher heel drop—10 to 12 mm—can be great for reducing Achilles pain, so it might help lower heel pain from plantar fasciitis, which can be mistaken for heel spurs. Avoid zero-drop shoes as they place too much pressure on the heel.

FAQs

Is It OK to Run With Heel Spurs?

If your heel spurs cause no pain, you can continue running through them. However, we recommend addressing the condition at the root of the heel spur before they get worse.

For heel spurs that hurt when you run or walk, we recommend taking some time off to address the issue. It may be as simple as changing your running shoes, or you may need to consider surgery to get back to running safely and without pain.

What Aggravates a Heel Spur?

The pain of heel spurs can be aggravated by repetitive impact on the feet, jogging or running on unforgiving surfaces, and gait abnormalities that place excess pressure on the heel bone.

Shoes that lack the right arch support can also make a heel spur feel worse, as the falling of the arch can place strain on the heel.

How Long Does It Take for a Heel Spur to Go Away?

Heel spurs won’t go away on their own. However, if you treat the condition that caused the heel spur in the first place, you can expect the pain to start diminishing in 3 to 4 weeks. If you end up having surgery for your heel spurs, it can take 3 to 4 months to heal.

What Is a Runner’s Heel?

Runners heel is another term for the heel pain runner’s get as a result of plantar fasciitis. It usually happens first thing in the morning and may be more noticeable or more severe the day after a long or intense run.

In most cases, runners heel results from plantar fasciitis and NOT heel spurs, but you may need to compare the symptoms of each to find out what’s causing yours.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.