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Best Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia in 2022

 

Metatarsalgia is pain or inflammation in the ball of the foot resulting from an injury to one of the metatarsal bones. It’s common for athletes who engage in high-impact sports – like running!

Foot pain of any type can make running very unpleasant. Choosing one of the best running shoes for metatarsalgia can help minimize pain and discomfort if you’re affected by the condition.

For our top pick, we recommend the Hoka Bondi 7. It features a thick layer of cushioning, an early-stage meta-rocker to assist the heel-to-toe transition, and a plush memory foam collar for step-in comfort.

Keep reading to see all of our top picks. They are all designed to help offset foot pain by easing specific pressure points with extra cushioning.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Hoka Bondi 7

 

  • Shock-absorbing midsole cushioning
  • Memory foam collar
  • Early-stage meta-rocker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Altra Torin 5

 

  • Wide, rounded toe box
  • EGO Max foam
  • Built-in arch support
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12

 

  • Fresh Foam midsole
  • Internal heel counter
  • Grippy rubber outsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Hoka Bondi 7

The Bondi 7 is an extremely well-cushioned shoe, making a big difference for those who suffer from metatarsalgia. The meta-rocker and stiff sole also help with the condition.

What We Like

The 29 mm of foam in the forefoot of the men’s shoe and 27 mm in the women’s offers nice cushioning for the metatarsals. It reduces shock and increases the comfort for those who have metatarsalgia.

It has a naturally wide fit, allowing plenty of space for the toes to splay, so the forefoot doesn’t get cramped.

The mesh upper is light and airy, keeping your feet cool as you run and providing space for the toes to move freely. A plush ankle collar and tongue give the Bondis a nice step-in feel.

EVA foam in the midsole has been designed to provide excellent arch support, which keeps your joints aligned and distributes pressure evenly across the foot.

There’s also an early-stage meta-rocker, which reduces foot fatigue as it encourages an easy roll through your heel-to-toe transition.

You’ll also find a hard-wearing outsole with added rubber in high-wear areas.

However, you should note that the high stack height may feel unstable if you aren’t used to it. And while all the cushioning feels excellent, it lacks responsiveness compared to other running shoes.

Why We Like It

This shoe offers more than enough cushioning in the forefoot, excellent arch support, and a plush feeling all-round. It’s ideal for those with metatarsalgia who want a comfortable shoe for easy runs.

What’s New

There are only minor, aesthetic differences between the Hoka Bondi 6 and the 7, mainly found in the upper.

PROS:

  • Thick layer of shock-absorbing midsole cushioning
  • Memory foam collar provides step-in comfort and secure fit
  • Early-stage meta-rocker lets you easily roll through transitions
  • Extra rubber in high-wear areas

CONS:

  • The high stack height may take some time to get used to
 

Top Runner-Up

2. Brooks Ghost 14

The Brooks Ghost 14 is an all-around running shoe, perfect for casual to advanced runners who want a soft, comfortable ride with enough cushioning for runners with metatarsalgia.

What We Like

The Ghost 14 uses cloud-like DNA Loft foam in the midsole to provide excellent cushioning for the whole foot. This includes the forefoot cushioning that absorbs impact and protects the metatarsals.

This foam also provides good energy return, offering a springy feeling during toe-off.

There is also a noticeably high arch in the midsole of this shoe, which provides excellent support and reduces strain on the forefoot.

To help you make the most of the midsole, the stretchy mesh upper works with a traditional lacing system to lock your feet into the shoe.

A durable rubber outsole features a Segmented Crash Pad in the forefoot, adding some impact protection and allowing for flexibility on the toe-off.

Blown rubber underfoot provides excellent traction on many different surfaces.

Why We Like It

The Brooks Ghost 14 delivers an exceptionally soft ride, protecting the forefoot from excessive pounding on the road. It’s an excellent daily running shoe for runners with metatarsalgia.

What’s New

The fit on the Ghost 14 has improved with an updated lacing system and a slightly modified upper. The midsole also now consists entirely of DNA Loft foam, removing the BioMoGo featured in the Ghost 13.

PROS:

  • Stretchy, mesh upper hugs your foot
  • Great blend of cushioning and stability
  • Provides a responsive and springy feel during toe-off
  • Durable rubber outsole offers excellent traction on a variety of surfaces

CONS:

  • The fit may be too wide for runners with narrow feet
 

Best Wide Toe Box

3. Altra Torin 5

The Altra range of shoes has a naturally wide toe box, making them ideal for those who need space in the forefoot while still having a comfortable fit in the midfoot and heel.

What We Like

The Altra Torin 5 has an especially wide and foot-shaped toe box, which allows your toes space to splay and the metatarsals to spread out comfortably.

It also has a zero-drop platform, meaning your heel and toes are the same height. For runners with metatarsalgia, it means there is less pressure on the forefoot.

The midsole consists of 28 mm of EGO Max foam, which reduces ground feel but offers excellent cushioning.

It does feature adequate arch support for keeping the foot aligned and supported. A comfortable but snug heel cup helps to keep the foot in place.

A breathable mesh upper also makes the shoe easy to wear in both cool and warmer weather.

However, some may find that the tongue is a bit long and rubs on the front of the foot. The zero-drop midsole may also take some getting used to.

Why We Like It

The Altra Torin 5 is the ideal shoe for runners with metatarsalgia who like a zero-drop platform. Its wide toe box, supportive arch, and max cushioning provide excellent comfort, support, and versatility.

What’s New

The Altra Torin 5 has more cushioning than the 4.5. It features a new type of midsole foam, and the ankle collar and tongue have been updated with a more plush fit.

PROS:

  • Wide, rounded toe box lets your toes to splay
  • EGO Max foam minimizes ground feel and cushions your every step
  • Built-in arch support encourages natural foot alignment
  • Lightweight, versatile daily trainer

CONS:

  • The zero-drop platform may take up to a week to get used to
 

Best for Wide Feet

4. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 is a plush shoe that comes in wide and extra-wide for runners with wide feet. The toebox and cushioning in the forefoot help with metatarsalgia.

What We Like

The New Balance 1080 v12 is an excellent choice for wide-footed runners, especially those with metatarsalgia.

It has a spacious toe box that accommodates the forefoot without creating pressure. The Hypoknit upper is seamless and molds to the shape of your foot without chafing, allowing space in the forefoot with a snug fit in the midfoot.

There’s excellent cushioning, thanks to a layer of Fresh Foam X. It’s light and soft but responsive enough to handle a bit of speed. It also has a rocker bottom, reducing foot fatigue and speeding up the heel-to-toe transition.

An internal heel counter helps to keep the foot stable, although the Ultra Heel design may lead to some heel slippage.

There’s a grippy rubber outsole with two different types of rubber for traction and excellent grip on many surfaces.

Why We Like It

The New Balance 1080v11 is a highly comfortable daily trainer that comes in width options to accommodate runners with wide feet. Those with metatarsalgia will also appreciate the width of the toe box and the cushioning.

What’s New

There are not a lot of changes to the 1080v11 from version 10. There’s a new knit pattern on the upper and a tight mesh rim around the toe box for support.

Surprisingly, these two small changes have taken about half an ounce of weight off of the 1080v11.

PROS:

  • Seamlessly knitted upper molds to the shape of your foot
  • Fresh Foam midsole is soft underfoot and provides a bouncy feeling
  • Internal heel counter provides stability and support
  • Grippy rubber outsole

CONS:

  • It may be hard to get a good foot lockdown with these shoes
 

Top Stability Shoe

5. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

If you’re an overpronator who suffers from metatarsalgia, we recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. It’s a stability shoe, ideal for both support and cushioning.

What We Like

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 features an inconspicuous and unobtrusive stability system. It uses the GuideRails along the medial and lateral sides of the heel to control overpronation.

These keep the heel in place and redirect your feet when they start to overpronate. This is ideal since excessive pressure from overpronation can aggravate the pain of metatarsalgia.

The shoe has full-length DNA Loft foam in the midsole, with a softer heel and firmer forefoot. It’s a nice option for both long, slow runs and speed work.

A segmented crash pad in the forefoot increases flexibility and encourages a snappy push-off. It also absorbs shock in the forefoot, easing pain in the ball of the foot.

The upper is soft and luxurious, accommodating the forefoot and allowing plenty of space.

A generous amount of rubber on the outsole helps to provide excellent grip on any surface, keeping you safe on both dry and wet ground.

Why We Like It

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 offers excellent stability while also providing good features that help those with metatarsalgia. It’s the best of both worlds.

What’s New

The blended midsole of the 21 has been replaced with a full-length DNA Loft foam midsole. The 3D Fit Print technology has also been slightly more refined, making the upper more flexible.

PROS:

  • Great for easy, medium-paced, uptempo, and long runs
  • Luxurious and accommodating upper
  • Guide Rail system provides stability and ensures a natural gait cycle
  • Segmented Crash Pad absorb shock in the forefoot

CONS:

  • Some may find the shoe to be slightly heavy
 

Best Cushioning

6. Brooks Glycerin 19

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is plush and soft with 21.3 mm of foam in the forefoot and 33 mm in the heel. Like the other Brooks’ shoes, its cushioning in the forefoot makes it great for metatarsalgia.

What We Like

The Brooks Glycerin 19 features DNA Loft foam, which is Brooks’ softest foam. There is 33 mm in the heel, perfect for heel strikers.

But despite a 12 mm drop, there’s still 21.3 mm of foam in the forefoot which will absorb impact and offer protection to the metatarsals.

The arch support is ideal for high arches. There is also a roomy toe box that allows your toes to splay naturally. An internal heel counter keeps your foot firmly in place for stability.

Blown rubber on the outsole gives excellent traction on a variety of surfaces and also makes the shoe very durable.

While the cushioning provides a comfortable and soft ride, it does mean that the shoe lacks energy response and pep for faster runs.

Why We Like It

The Glycerin 19 offers soft, luxurious cushioning underfoot with strong arch support and a spacious toe box. It’s an excellent choice for those with metatarsalgia who want comfort for relaxed runs.

What’s New

The Glycerin 19 has a slightly more shallow toe box than the 18, although it still offers more than enough space for the toes.

PROS:

  • DNA Loft cushioning provides soft and smooth protection underfoot
  • Ample wiggle room in the toe box
  • Thick rubber outsole
  • Great for those who have high arches

CONS:

  • This shoe lacks energy response for faster runs
 

Top for Orthotics

7. Saucony Echelon 8

The Saucony Echelon 8 allows lots of room for the forefoot while offering an orthotic-friendly design that has the volume to add your own inserts or custom orthotics.

What We Like

For runners who need to use custom orthotics or inserts, the Saucony Echelon 8 is the ideal shoe.

It has a wide fit, which may be too wide for runners with narrow feet. But the spacious and extra-depth toe box makes it excellent for those with metatarsalgia who need extra toe space. The broad base also makes it very stable.

You can remove the insole for more depth in the shoe, and the footbed has a lower than usual drop, which can easily accommodate a custom orthotic. A straight last also helps to fit an insole perfectly.

PWRRUN foam in the midsole offers a good blend of comfort and energy return.

Why We Like It

The Saucony Echelon 8 is ideal for those who need a custom orthotic. The low heel-to-toe drop, removable footbed, and extra depth make it perfect for adding an insole to help improve metatarsalgia.

What’s New

The Echelon 8 has gained almost an ounce of weight over the 7. But there’s 2 mm more foam in both the forefoot and the heel.

PROS:

  • Spacious toe box with extra depth to accommodate orthotic insoles
  • Breathable upper supports your foot without creating hotspots
  • Generous layer of PWRRUN foam provides a responsive feel
  • Wide, stable base provides a secure ride for endless miles

CONS:

  • This shoe may be too wide for runners with narrow feet
 

Most Comfortable

8. Altra Paradigm 6

The Altra Paradigm 6 offers maximum cushioning, a plush upper, and excellent stability using Guide Rails.

What We Like

The Altra Paradigm 6 uses EGO Max cushioning, which is comfortable but surprisingly bouncy and responsive.

Thanks to a beveled heel and light forefoot rocker, the shoe moves comfortably through your gait cycle.

InnovArch technology offers excellent support for the arch, keeping the foot in position and preventing overpronation.

There are also Guide Rails along the heel, which provide light support throughout the gait cycle to keep the foot stable.

Why We Like It

The Altra Paradigm 6 offers comfort with max cushioning in the midsole, light support, and plenty of space. The wide and well-padded forefoot offers both room and protection for the metatarsals.

What’s New

The Altra Paradigm 6 has slimmed down a bit since the previous version. The upper has been updated, and the 6 features a new EGO Max midsole and revamped InnovArch technology.

PROS:

  • Responsive, bouncy EGO Max cushioning
  • Mild forefoot rocker provides smooth transitions
  • Guide Rails gently guide your feet during your gait cycle
  • Great shoe for running longer distances

CONS:

  • This shoe is slightly heavy on the feet
 

Best for Road Running

9. Topo Ultrafly 3

Road runners will appreciate the Topo Ultrafly 3, which is light, responsive, and has plenty of space in the forefoot.

What We Like

The Topo Ultrafly 3 has 23 mm of ZipFoam in the forefoot and 28 mm in the heel. This allows plenty of padding under the forefoot to absorb shock and protect the metatarsals.

The ZipFoam is lightweight and slightly firm, but absorbs shock well. It’s responsive enough for moderately-paced runs, with a 5 mm heel-to-toe drop.

A light rocker shape and heel bevel help to speed up the heel-to-toe transition. The wide, rounded toe box allows your metatarsals to splay comfortably.

These shoes also feature an unobtrusive medial post for those who need extra support. This will be an advantage for overpronators who need help to prevent the foot from rolling inwards, but runners with neutral feet may find it uncomfortable.

Why We Like It

The Topo Ultrafly 3 is an excellent road running shoe that offers ample space in the forefoot, good padding under the metatarsals, and stability features.

What’s New

There are several changes from the Ultrafly 2 to the 3. A new upper is more streamlined and offers a better fit.

The heel counter has been updated to provide a better lockdown. The Ultrafly 2’s midsole has also been replaced with a new ZipFoam material.

PROS:

  • Large, rounded toe box lets your toes splay naturally
  • Lightweight, responsive ZipFoam cushioning
  • Unobtrusive medial post supports and guides your foot
  • Great for long distances or moderate-paced runs

CONS:

  • There may be some heel slippage if you have narrow heels
  • Some runners may find the medial post to be obtrusive
 

Top Trail Shoes

10. Altra Lone Peak 6

The Altra Lone Peak 6 is a trail running shoe that’s highly durable and an excellent choice for metatarsalgia.

What We Like

The Lone Peak 6 features sticky MaxTrac rubber on the outsole with aggressive, multi-directional TrailClaw lugs that deliver exceptional traction.

For those with metatarsalgia, the Lone Peak 6 features a FootShaped toe box that offers a lot of space for the toes to splay. The classic Altra zero-drop platform reduces pressure on the forefoot.

The Altra EGO midsole is a great mix of soft and responsive. There’s a rockplate built into the midsole for extra shock absorption and protection.

Why We Like It

The Altra Lone Peak is an excellent trail running shoe that’s also great for runners who suffer from metatarsalgia. The large toe box, soft cushioning, rockplate, and aggressive lugs offer the best of both protection and responsiveness.

What’s New

There are only small changes to the Altra Lone Peak 6. It’s about half an ounce lighter and features updated drainage holes.

There is an added eyelet on each side, an updated toe guard, a gusseted tongue, a horizontal heel tab, and a more lightweight gaiter attachment system.

PROS:

  • Roomy, foot-shaped toe box
  • EGO midsole cushioning is soft and responsive
  • Rockplate provides underfoot protection from rocks and branches
  • Aggressive, multi-directional lugs provides excellent traction

CONS:

  • The wide fit in the heel may be uncomfortable or not fit narrow-footed runners
 

Buyer’s Guide – Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia

Arch Support

Strong arch support will help keep your feet properly aligned and reduce pressure on the ball of the foot.

Make sure the shoe you choose has the right arch support for your foot—low, medium/neutral, or high.

Cushioning

There should be ample cushioning underneath the forefoot to provide protection and comfort for the metatarsals.

This is especially true in the forefoot, right where the metatarsals are. You want plenty of protection in this part of the shoe.

Low Heel

A lowered heel can help to reduce pressure on the forefoot. If you can, try a shoe with a lower heel-to-toe drop, or a zero drop if your legs can handle it.

Wide Toe Box

A wide toe box is important for metatarsalgia as it allows the forefoot plenty of space for the toes to splay. This means the forefoot can spread out naturally, which reduces strain on the metatarsals.

Uppers

The upper of the shoe should be lightweight, breathable, and snug. A smooth, comfortable lining and moisture-wicking properties are helpful as well.

Fit

The shoe’s fit should be comfortable on your foot and you should get a good lockdown on your foot for the best arch support.

Outsole

There should be a durable outsole with excellent traction, to protect your forefoot from the extra shock of slipping.

FAQs

Should I Stop Running if I Have Metatarsalgia?

If you’re suffering from metatarsalgia, running is not recommended. You should rest your foot until the symptoms subside before you continue running.

However, you may be able to continue running if you reduce your mileage or change your running surface. Treat your symptoms when you first notice them, and you should be able to keep running if you’re careful.

To Help Ease Your Metatarsalgia Pain, Try These Tips:

The first thing you should do to ease metatarsalgia pain is rest your feet. Take a break from running for a few days or switch to a low-impact activity.

You should consider changing your shoes to one of the best running shoes for metatarsalgia. This will provide better support for your feet.

Try adding metatarsal pads—met pads—to your shoes, or replace the insoles with insoles for metatarsalgia.

You can ice the ball of your foot for 20 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day. You can also take an over-the-counter painkiller to ease the pain.

Can Shoes Cause Metatarsalgia?

Wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes that place extra pressure on the forefoot should be avoided. The extra strain on the forefoot can lead to metatarsalgia over time.

If your shoes don’t provide enough support for your feet or enough protection for the forefoot, they can also contribute to developing metatarsalgia.

You can run safely wearing a pair of the best running shoes for metatarsalgia, as they’re designed with all the features to support the feet.

How Long Does It Take for Metatarsalgia to Heal?

Metatarsalgia can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to heal properly, but you should stay off your feet and allow them to recover for that time.

If you continue running or doing other high-impact exercises, it will take longer to heal.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

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.

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