Metatarsalgia is pain or inflammation in the ball of the foot resulting from impact to one of the metatarsal bones. This injury is common for athletes who engage in high impact sports. It can be a regular issue for runners, since we put so much strain on our feet.
Foot pain of any type can make running very unpleasant. Choosing the right shoe can help minimize pain and discomfort if you find yourself affected by metatarsalgia.
The following running shoes are designed to help offset foot pain by easing certain pressure points with extra cushioning. We’ll share their pros and cons with you here.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Brooks Ghost 12
Brooks is one of the top-selling brands for running shoes. The latest model of one of their most popular shoes, the Ghost 12, has met expectations of runners at all levels. It has also garnered industry acclaim; the prior model, the Ghost 11, was named 7th Editor’s Choice in 2018 on runnersworld.com.
The Ghost 12 has a midsole foam that keeps the shoe very lightweight yet provides great shock absorption and improved bounce. This midsole foam disperses the impact on the foot more evenly so that each foot strike is easily transitioned right into the next. This feature was appreciated especially by heel-strike runners, who benefit the most from extra cushioning.
The traction on the Ghost 12 is also a great feature. The outsole grips well on a variety of terrains, including gravel and mud, and also performs well in the rain.
An improved upper mesh wraps the foot to support the heel and midfoot better. At the same time, the forefoot mesh is left a little looser to allow more room in the toe box and improve breathability.
- Great cushion and support for long runs
- Great traction
- Lightweight and breathable
- Roomy toe box for wider feet
- Toe box too roomy for narrow feet
- Not as responsive for speed runs
2. New Balance 1080v9
The New Balance 1080v9 has raised the bar on superior cushioning with its laser-engraved fresh foam midsole. The toe box is also nice and roomy for those with wider feet. However, it has been noted by some that the 1080v9 may be narrower than previous versions.
The mesh on 1080v9 has been improved, minimizing the amount of mesh overlay to make it lighter and improve its appearance. The redesigned jacquard upper mesh, however, has been developed to provide improved support, comfort, and an airier feel.
The outsole of the 1080v9 is made of a very durable blown rubber, and has extra grooves throughout to help it flex and improve responsiveness. The design of the sole shows the different areas of impact during running, increasing support to those areas impacted the most.
The 1080v9 has been improved from its previous version by using bootie construction inside the shoe, rather than New Balance’s traditional separate puffy tongue and heel. This has made the inside of the shoe much more comfortable.
- Bootie construction
- Jacquard upper mesh for support
- Sole grooves create improved responsiveness
- Superior cushioning in the midsole
- Not as comfortable for those with low arches
- Low heel has been reported to be uncomfortable for some
3. Altra Escalante 1.5
The Escalante 1.5 keeps the comfortable dual-nature midsole cushioning of its previous model, but improves some other areas that make this shoe appeal to even more runners. However, it does fall into the minimalist category, so it might not be for everyone.
Improvements to the Escalante 1.5 are found in the upper knitting, which provides better airflow and flexibility. It also has reflective 360-degree striping for better visibility during dark runs.
The heel cup is improved in the Escalante 1.5, which gives runners better ankle support and feels more secure. The Zero-Drop Platform in these shoes is also designed to minimize impact during your run by coaxing you toward a forefoot-striking stride.
The outsole of the Escalnate 1.5 has a footprint design with extra grip and support where you need it. This also make the shoe respond nicely and provides good traction on wet roads. The toe box provides a good amount of room, so your toes aren’t cramped.
- Very lightweight
- Cushioning in the midsole for comfort
- Upper mesh keeps the shoe flexible and airy
- Reflective knitting for better visibility during dark runs
- Minimalist outsole may not last as long due to being thinner
- Can feel more like barefoot running, which isn’t for everyone
4. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
One of the biggest upgrades to the Adrenaline GTS in this 19th version is the GuideRails holistic support system. This type of system is supposed to help minimize impact on the knees while running.
While the weight of the Adrenaline GTS 19 is on the higher end, the shoe still feels lightweight during a run. The moderate cushioning is enough for heavier and lighter runners alike.
Brooks has added the new DNA Loft crash pad to the Adrenaline GTS 19. The ingredients combined in this padding have improved durability and minimized the cushion’s deterioration over longer use. This cushioning, however, does seem to be firmer than the previous version.
The durable rubber outsole is great on any terrain, including wet surfaces. The upper mesh has been improved to provide better comfort and sleeker style.
- Support system intended to decrease knee injury
- Best for those with a flat or medium arch
- Soft, yet responsive cushioning with the Loft crash pad
- Outer mesh allows excess water in during a wet or rainy run
- Toe box not as roomy
5. Brooks Glycerin 17
The Brooks Glycerin 17 is all about comfort. This is accomplished by adding a DNA Loft full-length midsole to this model. The Glycerin 17 has been called the Cadillac of Brooks’ cushioned running shoes by Runnersworld.com’s runner-in-chief.
The midsole was also developed differently, to disperse support to where it is needed most. No matter how your foot strikes the ground, the Glycerin 17 will make transitions in your gait cycle feel more natural.
Even with the increased cushioning, the Glycerin 17 is still a very responsive shoe. The wider platform on this model improves the landing as well.
Brooks kept the same outsole on this Glycerin 17 as the previous model. The deep-tread sole responds very well to a variety of terrain, including wet surfaces and trails. Praise was also given to the Glycerin 17 for its durability. These are shoes that will last through many long runs.
- Cushioning provides the most luxurious-feeling runs
- Breathable, flexible mesh support
- Good for medium and high arches
- Very durable and long-lasting construction
- Too much cushioning for minimalist runners
- Less stability than previous version
6. Saucony Omni ISO
The primary intent of the Saucony Omni ISO is delivering support and stability to all types of runners. This is accomplished by adding ISOFit construction to the upper. This makes the shoe easy to lace up and improves how the shoe adapts to the foot’s natural movement.
The added support in the Omni ISO will help minimize foot movement within the shoe. This helps lower the chances of blisters or hot spots developing on the feet during the run. The upper also gives plenty of room through the mid and forefoot, making it a good option even for wide feet.
The Omni ISO keeps the same support that Saucony is well known for, but improves the foam in the midsole, which adds more cushioning to the shoe. The Omni ISO also received high marks for stability, with a solid heel structure and more pronation control.
The tread on the Omni ISO is great for all running surfaces. The soles are durable enough to last many runs and still provide great responsiveness.
- Extreme stability and control
- Superior cushioning
- Roomy enough for even wide feet
- Support that helps minimize foot movement inside the shoe
- The shoe is on the heavier side
- Upper lacing doesn’t work as well for narrow or flatter feet
7. Hoka One One Bondi 6
The Bondi 6 is Hoka One One’s most-cushioned shoe. The plush midsole is made to be durable, so that even heavy runners are supported by the cushioning.
A large improvement to the Bondi 6 compared to its previous version is the rubber outsole. It is now made to be much lighter, reducing the weigh of the shoe, and made to be more durable. The smooth shape of the outsole is designed for improved heel-to-toe transition.
The Bondi 6 also has a full-length EVA midsole. This helps with balance during your run, not to mention that it’s super soft and cushioned. Some runners have noted that the support from the midsole seemed to provide more bounce.
There is also added support in the Bondi 6 with an internal heel counter. This also helps the shoe feel more secure. It’s available in a large number of widths as well, making it more practical for those with wide feet.
- Exceptional comfort with a plush midsole
- Durable and light weight outsole
- Great support and responsiveness
- Wide width options
- Some runners didn’t like the width of the shoe
- The extra stability has made the shoe feel stiffer for some
8. Altra Paradigm 4.5
The Altra Paradigm 4.5 was developed to be a superior cushioned shoe with as much support as possible. Altra upgraded to its EGO midsole, which feels very soft throughout the whole foot. This midsole also gives extra bounce and responsiveness during your run.
The outsole of the Paradigm 4.5 has been improved by integrating a Guide Rail and StabiliPod. This has added stability to the shoe without sacrificing control and flexibility. With the thickness added to the outsole, this means the sole will last longer.
The Paradigm 4.5 also got an upgrade to the knit upper, to make the shoe more durable. The improvement to the mesh provides better airflow with added support and structure to the top of the shoe.
The toe box on these shoes is made to provide more room and allow your toes to splay naturally. More toe stability improves control both uphill and downhill.
- Extra cushion for a comfortable run
- Upper knit provides extra stability
- Breathable and airy
- Roomy toe box
- Thickness of the sole adds height and can be awkward for some runners
- The stability can make the shoe feel stiff
9. Topo Ultrafly 2
Topo has kept the same great stability and cushioning from its previous Ultrafly model. One of the best features that it retained is the triple density midsole. This makes the shoe extra-responsive and gives you extra bounce on your run.
The Ultrafly 2 also gives great stability without compromising a flexible feel and control to maintain a smooth run. The outsole on the Ultrafly 2 is built for durability on the most rugged of off-trail terrain.
One of the improvements to the Ultarfly 2 was to increase the durability of the mesh upper. This upgrade might come at the cost of decreased breathability, but the added strength is worth it. The OrthoLite footbed is also an upgrade, giving the Ultrafly 2 better moisture control and a snugger fit.
A roomy toe box helps minimize pressure points and hot spots. The under-heel cushioning also helps runners enjoy a more natural feel in their run.
- Moisture control in the footbed
- Roomy toe box
- Strong outsole for durability on rugged terrain
- Responsive and provides extra bounce
- Mesh structure decreases breathability
- Structure may seem stiff to some
10. Altra Lone Peak 4.0
The Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is built for trail and mountain running. This is an upgraded model from Altra’s original trail running shoe. The Lone Peak keeps its original tongue structure, but has made some rather large improvements from the previous model.
The improvements result in a much sturdier shoe. The thicker toe cap helps protect your toes on rocky terrain. The strong mesh upper allows for good air flow while remaining durable, which is a necessity on rough trails.
A favorite feature on these Altra shoes is the traction on the sole, which minimizes slipping when you need it most. The soles are made with a stickier rubber and angled lugs that dig into dirt just as well as they grip bare rock. However, the inside sole of the Lone Peak 4.0 was made to be firmer. This may be seen as a positive to some, in that it enhances the ability to feel the trail, but some might prefer a softer ride.
These shoes are made to mirror the structure of the feet, which improves flexibility and gives the runner overall better performance.
- Strong and durable for trail running
- Breathable mesh while maintaining durability
- Outsoles grip every trail possible
- Roomy toe box
- Harder soles may seem stiffer and less cushioned