The Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints in 2018
As a runner, you’re likely personally acquainted with shin splints. Whether it’s because you’ve felt the pounding pain yourself or because your running partner is the one currently limping off the track, almost everyone experiences this injury at some point during their career.
Shin splints are hard to prevent. Often, it’s the result of inflammation caused by overuse. Or it could be a lack of cushioning or overpronation from wearing the wrong type of running shoes. For some runners, the cause can be from heel striking while running.
Your shoes play a significant role in preventing and running through shin splints. While no shoe can prevent shin splints entirely, finding the right shoe can help. The right running shoe can help correct your running form, taking some of the pressure off your shins.
Here are some of the best running shoes for shin splints…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best Stability Shoe
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Brooks Ghost 11
The Brooks Ghost 11 is a neutral shoe, great as everyday trainer with enough quickness for races.
In the tenth version of the shoe, Brooks played with an already winning combination to add more cushion and improve the heel-to-toe transition.
In addition to the signature smooth ride, Brooks also added a new adjustable saddle. The saddle allows runners to lace up they way they want to find their most secure fit – as loose or as supported as they want.
In keeping with current trends, the Ghost 11 is also lighter than previous models and has a soft, seamless upper.
When you combine all these features, you get a shoe soft and structured enough for shin splints.
- Classic, beloved shoe
- Ghost 11 is more secure and offers more cushion
- Some runners reported early wear on the inside heel collar
- Lack of arch support
Brooks Glycerin 16
We’ve previously mentioned the Brooks Glycerin 16 as the best daily shoe for runners with foot and leg pain – and that includes shin splints.
This neutral pair of shoes is designed for road running, with enough tread for light trail.
The Glycerin 16 includes several updates that make it more suitable for shin splints. The biggest applicable update is the changes made to the outsole. Brooks’ new outsole is more flexible than previous versions to create easier transitions.
A heel-to-toe transition inflames shin splints. By adding flexibility to the outsole and providing extra cushion, Brooks ensures that you’ll able to take off and land with significantly less plain.
Another added benefit for runners with shin splints is the springy ride. While you lose some responsiveness and stability, the Super DNA cushioning reduces the impact of the pavement on your legs.
Like the Ghost 11, Brooks added the elastic saddle to allow you to achieve the right fit. Overall, this shoe is super-soft and feels great as soon as you put it on.
- Elastic saddle to add a more secure fit
- More cushioning but less weight compared to the last model
- New interesting colors
- Not good for runners with low arches
- Shoe collar may bother runners with low ankles
New Balance 1080v8
The New Balance 1080v8 is the latest in the series with a few new updates for a smoother ride. But it keeps the same general design as its predecessors.
New Balance switched the geometric pattern on the outside of the midsole from a convex pattern to a concave one. While it sounds small, a concave pattern creates a softer lander and allows a better transition while running.
Additional changes to the midsole include the addition of laser engravings at the heel to, again, improve the landing. The Fresh Foam midsoles are also a bit softer, but you do sacrifice an addition ounce in weight from the added foam.
Overall, you should experience a slightly smoother ride compared to the 1080v7 and certainly compared to the 1080v6. The updates provided should be enough cushion for runners with shin splints.
- Midsole updates create smoother ride
- Added cushion for more comfort
- Softer landings are better for shin splints
- Slightly heavier shoe
- FreshFoam is known for being stiff in some shoes
Hoka One One Clifton 5
If you don’t let shin splints stop you from participating in distance running, consider investing in the Hoka One One Clifton 5.
The latest version of the Clifton is the comfiest version yet. It includes plenty of support for high arches and firmer cushioning – this allows more durability for heavier runners. It’s a shoe with enough cushioning to help runners with leg or foot problems, allowing you to run without pain.
Part of the Clifton’s success comes down to it’s cushioned but light right. The molded Ortholite sockliner, which enhances the effect of the EVA foam, also helps wick sweat by absorbing moisture and targeting bacteria.
If you have low or flat arches, you may want to steer clear. Although the cushioning is superb, the arch on the midfoot may be too high for runners without medium to high arches. However, if you have wide feet, you’re now in luck – Hoka decided to add new widths to this version of the shoe.
- Tons of cushioning for a lightweight shoe
- Plenty of arch support
- Absorbent sock liner
- Re-design of outer is attractive
- Great for long-distance running even with leg pain
- Not suited to those who need extra stability
Hoka One One Arahi 2
Hoka is known in long-distance and ultra-marathon circles for providing comfort and stability miles into your run. For many runners, the Arahi 2 is said to be no exception.
The Arahi 2 is a stability shoe with a similar ride to older versions of the Clifton. It includes Hoka’s signature cushioning, but it’s more structured than the Clifton. The overall ride is similar to a Brooks Ravenna 8 because it features plenty of cushion with moderate stability.
Although the midsole is often the center of the action for cushioning, the Arahi 2 has Hoka’s J-Frame midsole technology that prevents overpronation. It also has a more durable outsole for traction and durability.
Like other Hoka models, the midfoot is narrow. You’ll appreciate it if you have narrow feet or like a secure fit.
- Lightweight despite lots of cushion
- Outsole is more durable than other models
- Added stability and guidedance
- Narrow midfoot
- Stiff shoe
Saucony Ride ISO
The newest Ride by Saucony builds on it’s best qualities as an everyday trainer while lightening up shoe and improving the overall fit.
The primary difference between the Ride ISO and previous models is the ISO Lacing and FORMFIT sole.
FORMFIT is a new type of midsole that’s debuting on the Ride ISO. Rather than have a sole that’s flat against your foot, the Ride ISO is shaped to conform to your foot, almost like a built-in insert. The result is a more comfortable overall fit.
ISO lacing provides a sock-like fit on the upper. It gently cradles and supports your feet, giving you a locked-down feeling without leaving your feet cinched in by the laces.
Finally, you might enjoy the wider toebox added to the model as well as the Tri-flex outsole, which offers a natural running feel.
- Tri-flex outsole takes you from the treadmill to the street
- Plenty of cushion for a lightweight shoe
- ISO lacing for comfortable upper
- Cool style and color options
- Slips on wet surfaces
- Insoles aren’t very secure
Asics Gel-Nimbus 20
The Asics Number is a plush, highly cushioned shoe. It’s been one of Asics’ best-selling shoes for nearly 20 years. The Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 continues to build on that foundation.
Version 19 included a complete redesign to the upper as well as a brand new midsole. The problem was the fit was horrendous, running small by nearly a full size. The Asics Nimbus 20 takes all the updates from the previous version but fixed the fit issues that plagued the last model.
Cushion comes from the FlyteFoam midsole and the addition of FluidRide. That means you get gel cushioning at the forefoot and rearfoot to absorb the shock during your runs.
The biggest change to the Nimbus 20 is the upper. The newly updated upper adds more comfort to the shoe. It’s also more breathable than the previous version.
The modified heel counter provides a snug heel fit adding extra support to the back of the shoe.
- Loads of cushioning makes it comfortable
- Improved fit better suited for narrow feet
- FluidRide adds a smoother transition
- Added cushion sometimes feels too firm
- Wide feet may not like heel counter or tighter fit
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Looking for a shoe that goes the distance without the arch support or heavy cushion found in other distance shoes?
The Brooks Adrenaline 18 is considered by many to be a half-marathon or even a full marathon shoe. It’s well-cushioned and offers a wide toe box for the swelling that accompanies long runs. The BioMoGo DNA midsole creates a soft underfoot suitable for long runs, and the HPR Plus outsole won’t leave you hanging out to dry.
Brooks’ basic promise with this shoe is a comfortable ride – even for shin splints – while still providing a balanced and relatively lightweight shoe. The newest version of the shoe even includes some improvements in flexibility for an easier heel-to-toe transitions.
This shoe is ideal for runners with flat arches or overpronate. If you have medium to high arches, you are better off with the Brooks Ghost 11.
- Added cushion and stability
- Cushioned but still balanced and lightweight
- Durable sole ideal for long-distance training plans
- Mesh lining may tear over time
- May not be enough cushion for those with shin splints AND other foot/knee pain
Saucony Triumph ISO 4
The latest Saucony Triumph ISO hit the market late last year, but the running community is still talking about it.
As previously mentioned, Saucony used to focus only on lightweight, technical shoes. But now, the company is creating shoes that maintain the technical aspects while adding a highly cushioned ride.
The Triumph line is one of the most cushioned Saucony shoes available. In its fourth iteration, you’ll find several features to add comfort while still maintaining decent response and flexibility.
The biggest change between version 3 and 4 is in the midsole and outsole. Unlike the Triumph 3, the Triumph 4 includes a full-length EVERUN midsole, leaving behind the previous foam in favor of more spring. This isn’t limited to the Triumph; Saucony has been doing this across their product range.
Saucony also upgraded the outsole rubber to support the midsole by adding flexibility.
The reason you might like running in this shoe – even with shin splints – is the ride resulting from these two features. The EVERUN proves extra cushion, but the sole helps you deal with uneven surfaces, which would otherwise cause your shins to scream.
- Performance orientated but well-cushioned shoe
- Increased rebound and response
- Midsole lasts for hundreds of miles
- Stable and supportive without collapsing or being too stiff
- Weightier than the Saucony Triumph ISO 3
- Not the most attractive shoe on the market
Asics Gel-Kayano 25
The Asics Kayano 25 is the literal heavyweight in supportive shoes for shin splints. This shoe is the runners (or general) go-to for anyone who wants a strong, heavy shoe with a whole lot of cushion.
Asics uses gel cushion in addition to foam across all its models. In the case of the Kayano 25, Asics places the cushion strategically to promote stability and absorb shock – two musts for injuries or nagging pains.
The upper on later models is flexible, stretching with your foot. You may also like the improved mesh on the latest upper because it increases circulation in the shoe. Still, it’s a heavy shoe, so there’s only so much mesh can do.
- One of the most supportive shoes on the market
- Added support for transitions (Impact Guidance System)
- Many colors and styles available
- Stiff midsole makes them somewhat uncomfortable for flexible foot movement
The Right Shoe for Your Feet is the Right Shoe for Your Shins
At the end of the day, you buy shoes for your feet – not for your shins.
But by finding shoes that support your feet and ankles while promoting good form and absorping shock, you can lessen the pain of inevitable shin splints to keep running longer.