Preventing foot pain is a central focus of the running gear industry. Runners fear foot pain – it can signal injuries that are time-consuming to recover from. Foot pain derails training plans and race goals. Even if you’re not a runner, you use your feet every single day! We runners, though, have it even worse when we have painful feet.
An unusual foot pain condition that affects the outside of the foot and leg when running is peroneal tendonitis. The peroneal tendons attach the calf muscles to the foot bones.
Tendonitis occurs when tiny tears happen in the tendon. This causes damage and inflammation, leading to pain.
Thankfully, if this is something you struggle with, the best running shoes for peroneal tendonitis can ease the pain and help you keep running comfortably. The shoes we’ve picked are neutral and well-cushioned, features that should help ease some of this pain.
We’ve chosen the Brooks Ghost 13 as our number one shoe for this foot condition. It features extremely plush cushioning, but the energy response of the cushion makes it the best of both worlds.
Here’s our top ten!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Ghost 13
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ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23
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Hoka One One Bondi 7
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1. Brooks Ghost 13
Brooks is the single most-popular running shoe brand. And the Brooks Ghost 13 is Brooks’ best-known and loved shoe, for good reason. It has a reputation of being one of the most cushioned shoes around, and once you slip your feet into a pair, you may never want to try another shoe again!
The Ghost 13 features a dual layer of cushioning. You’ll find DNA LOFT cushioning on the lateral side of the shoe, and BioMoGo with DNA on the medial.
The padding is a super soft, high energy-return cushion that makes transitioning from heel-strike to toe-off easy and efficient. It also has a slightly different design in the men’s and the women’s shoes, to cater for gender-specific differences in foot shape.
Your ankle joints will be protected with every foot strike, reducing the chance of injury to the ankle/calf tendon. A 12mm drop places the weight more on the forefoot, which can also help alleviate pain and pressure on the back of the foot.
An engineered mesh upper features 3D Fit Print tech, which makes it fit tightly but comfortably while still offering some stretch. A traditional lace-up shoe closure means you can get the perfect fit for your own foot, which goes a long way towards stabilizing the shoes.
A soft blown rubber outsole gives good grip on a variety of surfaces, and also adds a little more cushioning. Flex grooves in the rubber facilitate natural foot movement.
- Neutral shoe
- Dual-layer foam midsole
- Flex grooves for easier movement
- Plush tongue and collar
- Some runners may find the shoe to be too cushioned
2. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
The Air Zoom Pegasus is a close runner-up to the Ghost. Just looking at this shoe gives you an indication of how padded it will feel underfoot. They’re super cushioned, and make you feel like you’re walking on marshmallows.
The cushioning is split into a forefoot Air Zoom unit and midfoot React foam padding. This combination is superb underfoot, offering a soft landing with every step and impressive bounce-back on your toe-off.
The React foam is lightweight, so although it’s a serious chunk of cushion, it doesn’t weigh you down. In the forefoot, the Air Zoom unit is double the size of that in previous versions.
A unique feature is a gender-specific pressure in the midsole, with the men’s Air Zoom pod being slightly firmer than the women’s.
Those suffering from peroneal tendonitis will appreciate this beautiful cushioning. The support in this shoe is decent, too. A midfoot band keeps you locked in without feeling restricted.
The lightweight mesh upper is wonderfully breathable. A lace-up system allows you to get a great fit. If you want something a little different, try the FlyEase lace-up system.
Nike shoes tend to run narrow, so it may be worth ordering half a size up if you aren’t a fan of snug fits!
- React foam midsole
- Midfoot band
- Engineered mesh upper
- Gender-specific cushioning
- Nike shoes tend to run narrow
3. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23
Plushness can be an underrated feature, but those struggling with the pain of peroneal tendonitis will appreciate how plush this shoe is.
The sole of the Nimbus is a giveaway as to how plush its cushioning is. A thick rubber sole is split at the heel by a layer of gel cushioning, making the shoe look (and feel) incredibly soft and bouncy.
Once you get your feet in a pair, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. ASICS’s FlyteFoam Lyte tech in the midsole uses nanofibers to keep that bounce and prevent the midsole from flattening, or “packing out.”
This is complemented by SpevaFoam and forefoot and rearfoot GEL cushions. This combination creates the perfect mixture of shock absorption, comfort, and energetic push-offs. It’s an unusually luxurious experience for your feet!
This mix of cushioning features makes it a great shoe for anyone, but particularly for those with peroneal tendonitis. There’s much less chance of jarring and pain in the ankle and calves.
The Heel Clutching System is an external heel counter system that keeps the foot locked in and supported. Interestingly, the women’s shoe has an extra 3mm of height, to prevent Achilles pain that is prevalent in women due to their foot shape.
Synthetic overlays add an element of external support. Traditional laces allow for a custom fit. Another feature that’s extremely helpful is the Guidance Trusstic System, which aligns and guides the foot as you run, keeping it in position.
- Gender-specific TRUSSTIC device
- FlyteFoam Lyte Technology midsole
- Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning system
- Heel Clutching System for stability
- Some may feel that the toe box is a narrow fit
4. Hoka One One Bondi 7
As you’ll know by now, cushioning is important for those struggling with peroneal tendonitis. The Hoka One One Bondi 7 is the most cushioned shoe we’ve come across.
Look closely and you’ll see just how much cushioning these shoes really have. Big kudos to Hoka One One for designing the shoe in such a way that it doesn’t look clunky! The shoe is actually fairly good-looking, considering how the amount of cushioning gives it a monster stack height.
A toe-to-heel EVA foam midsole provides not only extreme comfort but also excellent energy return for explosive toe-offs. You’ll hardly feel your feet hitting the ground, but you won’t miss the impressive bounce when taking off.
An early-stage Meta-Rocker also makes the heel-to-toe transition a breeze, so there’s barely any pressure on your foot when wearing these shoes.
The cushioning extends to the unusually plush memory foam ankle collar. It’s perfect for any shape foot, conforming to the shape of your heel to cushion you from all angles.
Supportive features include an internal heel counter to keep the heel from moving, TPU overlays for midfoot stability, and heel beveling for an easier landing.
- Full-length compression-molded EVA midsole
- Internal heel counter
- Early stage Meta-Rocker
- Memory foam collar
- These shoes can run small
5. Saucony Triumph 18
Rigidity in your footwear can aggravate or even cause peroneal tendonitis. Your shoes should be flexible enough to give your feet room to move freely, but not so flexible that they aren’t supported.
That can be a hard thing to ask, but Saucony gets it right with the Triumph 18. It’s Saucony’s most cushioned shoe, with a PWRRUN+ midsole that’s surprisingly springy for a foam that’s 25% lighter than previous versions.
The midsole geometry has also been re-engineered for a more responsive ride. The TRIFLEX design’s purpose is to add flexibility to the shoe, so you’ll be supported in all ways you need to be.
Stability is enhanced by the 3D print overlays on the jacquard-mesh upper, and Saucony’s FORMFIT design means it fits perfectly and snugly over the contours of your foot.
Those who have worn and enjoyed Sauconys before may find that the toe box on this particular shoe is narrower than usual.
- PWRRUN+ midsole cushioning
- FORMFIT design
- Jacquard-knit mesh upper
- TRIFLEX design
- Some Saucony fans may find the toe box to be too narrow
6. Mizuno Wave Rider 24
Great cushioning is necessary for dealing with peroneal tendonitis, but it’s nothing without excellent support. This shoe wins first prize for being the most supportive model we could find.
It’s a neutral shoe with a sleek design, and it provides unusually great support to feet that need a bit of extra help.
A lightweight U4ic midsole does a great job of dampening impact and protecting joints. Add Mizuno Enerzy foam to this, and you’ve got an impressively cushioned shoe.
An interesting thing about this shoe that contributes to both cushion and support is the thermal plastic plate that runs from heel to midfoot. It adds a spring to your step, but also stabilizes the shoe quite nicely, bumping it up to our number one choice for support.
Flex Controllers in the carbon rubber outsole add an element of flexibility without compromising on stability.
- U4ic midsole
- Wave technology
- WaveKnit upper
- Mizuno Enerzy foam
- Some may feel that the heel/ankle collar cushion is uncomfortable
7. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Whereas some brands are known for narrow, snugger designs geared toward responsiveness, New Balance is known for giving your feet more room. The shoes are still high-performance, but they give the everyday runner a more comfortable option.
Once again, it’s easy to see how cushioned this shoe is before you even get it near your feet. The Fresh Foam X midsole offers amazing, pillow-like cushioning that will make you want to keep these on your feet even in the shower or when you go to bed.
Ultra Heel tech hugs the back of your foot comfortably whether you’re walking or running. The stretchy knit upper cocoons the rest of your foot in a tight hold, yet it still offers freedom of movement.
A plush tongue, Ortholite midsole, and moderate 8mm drop add to the already high comfort level of these shoes.
- Fresh Foam X midsole
- Ultra Heel technology
- Knit upper for comfort
- Plush tongue
- Those with narrow feet may struggle to find a good fit
Best Energy Return
8. Adidas Solar Boost 21
When your ankle and calf area is painful, it can be difficult to really feel like you’re moving well on the road.
If you’re looking for a shoe that will help you to move forward with less effort, then the Adidas Solar Boost could be the one!
This neutral shoe sports a propulsion rail in the midsole, and its job is to give you a decent boost forward while supporting your foot. Along with the LEP (Linear Energy Push) system, you’ll find that your foot is supported and helped along the way on every step.
A 10mm drop is also not enough to cause discomfort, but high enough to give some forward lean that could contribute to forward movement. The heel counter adds even more stability to an already solid shoe.
The BOOST midsole may feel soft, but it offers excellent energy return on every step, giving you the best of both comfort and performance.
- Solar Propulsion Rail
- Primegreen upper
- LEP system
- Heel counter for stability
- Some runners may find the shoes to be a little heavy
9. Brooks Glycerin 19
If hot feet are your nemesis, the highly breathable Brooks Glycerin will fix that problem right away for you. While keeping your feet cool and dry, it also offers great support and cushion to protect and comfort those with peroneal tendonitis as they run.
Brooks’ DNA LOFT cushioning provides a sense of softness without losing its energy return. A special midsole zone makes the heel-to-toe transition smooth and easy every time.
Flex grooves in the sole and 3D Fit technology on the upper enhance the support of this shoe. The upper is a double jacquard mesh construction, which allows great airflow thanks to the perforated design.
- Plush interior liner
- Full-length DNA LOFT midsole
- 3D fit print upper
- DNA LOFT transition zone
- The toe box seems to be slightly narrower than the usual Brooks shoe
Top Durable Shoes
10. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
Shoes wear out. That’s just the nature of shock-absorbing foam midsoles. You can try as hard as you’re able to take great care of them, but you will need to replace them at some point. But some shoes are more resilient than others, and the React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 wins the top spot for most durable option. If you do go through shoes quickly, these may be worth a look.
The outsole has added rubber specifically to improve durability. You’ll see it in the high stack height, but it provides wonderful cushioning, too, using Nike React foam.
The sole is rocker-shaped, making heel-to-toe transition easier with less strain on the foot. It also absorbs shock super well, protecting the painful parts of the foot.
As well as lovely cushioning, the upper uses Flywire and Flyknit tech to offer both support and great ventilation.
- Flyknit upper with Flywire technology
- Structured heel cup
- Wide base for stability
- Full-length React foam
- Some may find the shoe to be too narrow
Still wondering about the best running shoes for peroneal tendonitis? Here are some answers to questions you may be asking.
What is Peroneal Tendonitis?
Peroneal tendonitis (also called peroneal tendinopathy) is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the bones of the foot. The peroneal tendons run from the lower leg to just underneath the ankle bone on the outside of your foot, and this is where pain is most common.
What are the Symptoms?
Foot and lower leg pain can be hard to diagnose. It can also be tempting to run on through the pain without ever getting it looked at!
Peroneal tendonitis has some of the following symptoms:
- Pain on the outside edge of the ankle during activity
- Pain that shoots up the outside lower leg when exercising
- A decrease in pain when resting
- Swelling around the outside ankle bone
- Pain when moving the foot outwards
- A feeling of instability in the ankle
What are the Causes?
Peroneal tendonitis is most often caused by overuse or a sudden increase in intensity or volume of training.
Not resting enough in between runs or exercise sessions can put extra strain on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Another thing that can make muscles and tendons more prone to injury is not warming up correctly.
In these cases, it’s much easier to get those micro-tears in the tendon that leads to inflammation.
Improper running form can also lead to this condition! It tends to affect those with high arches more often, as well as runners with weak ankles or who’ve had a previous ankle injury.
How Can It Be Treated?
Treating peroneal tendonitis should, first and foremost, consist of RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is the go-to for any sprains or strains.
If the pain is bad enough, anti-inflammatory medications could help reduce both inflammation and pain.
Once your foot and leg are feeling better, light stretching is a great idea to get your tendon feeling all right again.
Other ways of treating peroneal tendonitis include adding some foot strengthening exercises to your training and reevaluating your footwear.
How Can It Be Prevented?
If you’re wondering how to avoid this painful-sounding foot condition, there are a few things to keep in mind.
If you’re making any sort of changes to your training (volume, intensity, change of surface, etc.), incorporate them slowly. Never rush into things – it could give your feet a bit of a shock!
Do foot strength exercises in addition to your running. Strength training of all types helps stabilize your body – feet included – so the chances of developing peroneal tendonitis are smaller. Strength training isn’t just about muscles. It’s also about building up the connective tissue between them, and that includes tendons.
Also, make sure you give yourself adequate time to rest between hard exercise sessions. If you feel any tweaks or twinges, take some more time to rest.
What Features Should the Shoes Have?
The best shoes for peroneal tendonitis should be:
Any sideways or twisting movement can put more pressure on the inflamed tendon. The shoes you choose should be neutral, not made for over- or underpronators.
Cushioning absorbs shock when your foot lands. Regardless of which surface you’re running on, this is an incredibly important feature.
Supportive & Stable
If the shoe isn’t stable, there’s a chance of turning your ankle. Obviously, this would just make peroneal tendonitis worse! The shoe you choose should be stable and fit securely.