Metatarsalgia is essentially pain or inflammation in the ball of the foot, 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 are putting so much strain on our feet.
Foot pain of any type can make running very unpleasant. There are shoes to help minimize the 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 11
Brooks is one of the top selling brands for running shoes. One of their newest shoes released, the Ghost 11, has met expectations of runners at all levels. The Ghost 11 was also named 7th Editor’s Choice in 2018 on runnersworld.com.
The Ghost 11 has a midsole foam that keeps the shoe very lightweight and 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 the most by heel-strike runners, over mid or forefront foot strikers.
The traction on the Ghost 11 is also a great feature. The outsole is great for runners on a variety of terrains, including gravel and mud, and also performs well in the rain.
The Ghost 11 has an improved upper mesh than previous models which supports the heel and midfoot better. While at the same time, the forefoot mesh is left a little looser to allow more room in the toe box and improved breathability.
- Great cushion and support for long runs
- Great traction on the outsole
- Lightweight and breathable
- Roomy toe box for wider feet
- Toe box too roomy for narrow feet
- Not as much stability as previous model
- Not as responsive for speed runs
2. New Balance 1080v9
The New Balance 1080v9 has set the bar on superior cushion 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 it may be more narrow than previous versions.
The mesh on 1080v9 has been improved, minimizing the amount of mesh overlay which also makes it a lighter weight shoe and has improved its appearance. The redesigned jacquard upper mesh, however, has been developed to provide improved support, comfort, and a airier feel.
The outsole of the 1080v9 is made a very durable blown rubber and has extra groove 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 groves 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 kept its comfortable dual-nature cushioning in the midsole but improved some other areas that makes this shoe appeal to even more runners than previous models. However, it does fall into the minimalist category so it might not be for everyone.
Improvements found in the Escalante 1.5 are in its upper knitting which provides better airflow and flexibility. It also has reflective 360-degree stripping for better visibility during dark runs.
The heel cup was also improved in the Escalante 1.5, which gives runners better ankle support and feels more secure. The Zero Drop Platform in these shoes was also designed to minimize impact during your run.
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 of these shoes also provides a good amount of room so that 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 version 19 is the GuideRails holistic support system. This type of system is supposed to help minimize impact on the knees while running. With this new support system, these shoes will appeal to more runners.
While the weight of the Adrenaline GTS 19 seems to be on the higher end, the shoe still feels considerably lightweight during a run. The moderate cushioning is enough for heavy runners and still gives enough for those who run on the lighter side.
Brooks has added the new DNA Loft crash pad to their Adrenaline GTS 19. The ingredients combined in this padding has improved durability and minimized the cushion from deteriorating over longer use. This cushioning, however, does seem to be firmer than the previous version.
The durable rubber outsole is great in 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 16
The Brooks Glycerin 16 is all about comfort. This was accomplished when Brooks added their DNA Loft full length midsole to this new 16 model. It was mentioned as Brook’s Cadillac of cushioned running shoes by runnersworld.com’s runner-in-chief.
The midsole was also developed differently, to disperse the support where it was needed most. This is to help the foot strike feel more natural as it transitions from one area of impact to the next.
Even with the increased cushioning, the Glycerin 16 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 16 as the previous model. The deep tread sole responds great to a variety of terrain, including wet surfaces and trail runs. Praise was also given to the Glycerin 16 for its durability, that it will last through many long runs.
- Cushioning provides for 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 all about delivering support and stability, and to appeal to all runners. This was accomplished by adding the ISOFit construction to the upper shoe. This makes the shoe easy to lace up and improves how the shoe adapts to the foots natural movement.
The added support to the Omni ISO will help minimize foot movement within the shoes. 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 improved the foam in the midsole which added more cushioning in 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 also great for all running surfaces. The soles also are very durable to last for many runs, and 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 they make. The plush midsole is also 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 was also designed for improved heal to toe transition.
The Bondi 6 also has a full-length EVA midsole. This helps with balance during your run, not to mention that its 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 heal counter. This also helps the shoe feel more secure. It’s available in a large number of width sizes too, 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
The Altra Paradigm 4 was developed to be a superior cushioned shoe with as much support as possible. Altra upgraded to the EGO midsole which feels very soft throughout the whole foot. This midsole also gives you extra bounce and responsiveness during your run.
The outsole of the Paradigm 4 was also improved by integrating a Guide Rail and StabiliPod. This has added stability to the shoe without sacrificing control and flexibility. With the added thickness to the outsole, this also means the sole will last longer.
The Paradigm 4 also got an upgrade to the knit upper, to make the shoe more durable. The improvement to the mesh provided better airflow and added support and structure to the top of the shoe.
The toe box on these shoes is also made to provide more room and allow your toes to stretch out naturally. More toe stability improves control 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
The Topo Ultrafly 2 has kept the same great stability and cushioning from its previous model. One of the best features that it retained was 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, maintaining a smooth run. The outsole on the Ultrafly 2 has strong durability and has even been noted as a great shoe for off trail running and withstood rugged terrain.
One of the improvements to the Ultarfly2 was to the mesh upper, increasing its durability, though it might have decreased breathability with the added strength. The OrthoLite footbed was also an upgrade to in the Ultarfly 2, giving it better moisture control and a snugger fit.
The Ultrafly 2 has a roomy toe box, which will help minimize pressure points and hot spots from developing. 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 and 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 to the Lone Peak 4.0 make this a much sturdier trail running shoe. The thicker toe cap helps protect your toes while running over rocky terrain. The strong mesh upper allows for good air flow but still remains durable, which is a necessity on rough roads.
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 which help dig into the dirt. However, the inside sole of the Lone Peak 4.0 was made to be harder. This may be seen as a positive to some in the ability to feel the trail easier, but some might prefer a softer sole.
These shoes were also 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 still maintaining durability
- Outsoles that grip every trail possible
- Roomy toe box
- Harder soles may seem stiffer and less cushioned