Metatarsalgia is a painful condition felt in the ball of the foot and a common problem for athletes. Inflammation and pain in the metatarsal bones make it difficult to walk, run, or engage in physical activities.
For acute cases of metatarsalgia, doctors often recommend wearing supportive shoes. The right footwear helps reduce pressure on the forefeet, aiding the healing process.
When suffering from chronic metatarsalgia, you may require additional orthotic devices such as a metatarsal pad that slides into the shoe.
So what are the best shoes for metatarsalgia pain? Find shoes that address the causes of metatarsal inflammation:
- Repetitive stress on the feet
- Wearing shoes that do not fit
- Lack of support to the arch
- Overpronation (excessive arch collapsing)
If you need help selecting the right option, try slipping on one of these five best shoes for metatarsalgia.
New Balance Men’s 847V3 Walking Shoe
The New Balance 847V3 Walking Shoes are the best overall choice for metatarsalgia sufferers, thanks to several useful design features. New Balance also sells several comparable options in women’s sizes.
These shoes come with greater flexibility in the sole and a more rigid heel compared to running shoes, helping to support the heel-to-toe movement when walking.
With the patented ROLLBAR technology, these shoes help keep your feet in place and prevent overpronation. Pronation occurs when the arches roll downward or inward when walking, commonly called flat feet and a common cause of metatarsalgia.
Another useful feature is the ABZORB midsole that helps absorb more of the shock with each step, limiting the stress on your feet.
The New Balance Walking Shoes also provide a wide toe box, giving your toes more room to stretch naturally. This keeps the toes from bunching together, which interferes with the alignment of the metatarsal bones.
- The rigid heel and flexible sole support the arch of your feet when walking.
- The upper material provides cushioning and support for your metatarsals.
- These shoes provide just the right amount of absorption to minimize the impact on your feet.
- The shoes may come a little stiff, requiring you to break them in.
- The lining tends to wear out quickly but it’s removable.
Overall, the New Balance Walking Shoes deliver everything you need for casual footwear while dealing with metatarsalgia due to the support and flexibility of the design.
- ABZORB midsole
- ROLLBAR technology
- PU insert and Strobel board
Ryka Women’s Sky Walk Walking Shoe
The Ryka Women’s Sky Walk Walking Shoe is the runner-up due to its supportive sole, breathable upper, and memory foam sock liner. It also comes in a variety of styles and color combinations.
These shoes feature leather and mesh material for greater durability. For comfort, the shoes include a breathable upper mesh with leather overlays.
If you need shoes that you can wear while running errands, going to work, or walking around the block, these should provide the support needed. The shape of the shoes aids the natural movement of your feet as the heel contacts the ground followed by the toes.
- The rubber sole offers the right amount of cushioning and shock absorption without allowing the arches of your feet to fully collapse.
- The material is lightweight and breathable, ensuring that your feet remain comfortable during a long walk.
- The toe box is a little narrow, which may keep your toes and metatarsals from aligning properly.
Metatarsalgia sufferers should enjoy the overall comfort of the flexible soles and memory foam sock liners but the narrower toe may not work well for those with wider feet.
ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe
If you plan on running or jogging while recuperating from metatarsalgia, wear running shoes such as the ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5. This pair of shoes features a thick heel with more cushioning and a stiffer sole, aiding the toe-to-heel movement commonly used when running.
However, this design may create more discomfort when walking.
These shoes also come in a wide variety of sizes and styles to fit any feet and personal preferences. Choose from various combinations of multi-colored designs. The Venture 5 shoes are also available in women’s sizes.
People with metatarsalgia also enjoy the fact that these shoes come with removable sock liners, making it easier to add orthotic inserts.
- They offer the proper support needed for running.
- These shoes come in a wide range of sizes and styles.
- They include removable sock liners to accommodate inserts.
- They are not suitable for everyday wear as the design supports a running gait.
- Some sizes may cost significantly more compared to others.
The ASICS GEL Venture 5 are comfortable, breathable shoes designed specifically for running that offer the cushioning needed for metatarsalgia sufferers.
- Outdoor-ready runner with mesh and brushstroke-patterned underlays
- Rearfoot GEL cushioning
- Removable sockliner accommodates medical orthotics
- Trail-specific outsole with reversed traction lugs
- AHAR outsole rubber in critical high-wear areas
Vionic Women’s Kea Orthotic Trainers
Instead of the thick cushioning found in the previous options, some metatarsalgia sufferers may prefer the lightweight design of the Vionic Women’s Kea Orthotic Trainers.
While lace-up sneakers allow you to adjust the lacing for optimal comfort, slip-on shoes help eliminate any pressure on the tops of your feet. The upper materials include a breathable mesh.
The soles of the shoes are made from durable rubber while the insides of the shoes include flexible, removable orthotic inserts. The inserts are firm yet comfortable, offering more support for the arches of your feet.
- They feature a slip-on design that puts no pressure on the metatarsal bones.
- They are a stylish pair of shoes featuring man-made components.
- They may not offer enough support for long walks or all-day wear.
These shoes provide a convenient option for quick errands or walking around the yard as you can simply slip them on without worrying about additional metatarsalgia pain.
- Mesh and man made upper.
- Firm yet flexible, removable textile-covered EVA orthotic insert
- Durable rubber outsole.
- Twin gore panels offer ease of movement and all-around comfort
- To clean, wipe with damp cloth and air dry under indirect sunlight only
Birkenstock Women’s Arizona Soft Footbed Fashion Suede Sandal
The open-toe design of the Birkenstock Arizona Sandals helps your feet and toes remain properly aligned. Unlike other Birkenstock sandals, this pair features a soft footbed. You get a little more cushioning.
The footbed is also contoured to the shape of your foot. It also includes a layer of soft foam cushioning to provide additional support for the arch of your foot.
The rigid heel, supportive midsole, and open-toe design are great features when suffering from metatarsalgia. However, these sandals may become a little uncomfortable when worn for hours at a time.
- The soft footbed is anatomically shaped and includes extra foam cushioning.
- Sandals are often easier to put on when dealing with metatarsalgia pain.
- They are not suitable for wearing all day long as the straps may start to cause discomfort.
If you want a pair of sandals that you can wear while suffering from metatarsalgia, these Birkenstock Arizona Sandals remain a top choice, thanks to their soft footbed.
- Original BIRKENSTOCK soft footbed; anatomically shaped
- Surface material: suede
- Lining: suede
- Soft Footbed - Contoured cork footbed conforms to the shape of your foot and features pronounced arch support with an extra layer...
- Details: strap with two individually adjustable metal pin buckles
How to Select the Right Shoes for Metatarsalgia
The main concern is finding shoes that fit properly. The shoes should not be too tight or too loose.
For everyday wear, look for shoes that support the arch of your foot. This limits stress on the metatarsal bones.
When playing sports, choose sport-specific footwear such as basketball shoes or running shoes. Along with choosing shoes based on the activity or environment, look for these features:
- Wide or open toe boxes
- Proper arch support
- Breathability and cushioning
The toe box is the part of the shoe that protects the toes. Narrow or pointed toe boxes push the toes together, creating an unnatural position for the metatarsals and misaligning the foot.
Besides impacting the metatarsals, this may lead to poor posture and pain in the lower back.
Look for wider toe boxes that allow your toes to naturally spread. Your toes should not feel squished together or contorted.
Proper arch support is also essential for dealing with metatarsalgia pain. Support under the arch of the foot allows the metatarsals to rest naturally and minimizes the impact of overpronation.
Cushioning helps minimize discomfort and improves stability. Too much cushioning may limit the breathability of the shoes.
For optimal comfort, look for shoes that offer a good balance of breathability and cushioning.
Last Thoughts on Buying Shoes for Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia pain does not need to keep you from enjoying your favorite activities. With the right pair of shoes, you can minimize the stress on your metatarsal bones.
Basically, your feet need a combination of comfort and support. The shoes should help balance the metatarsal bones until they fully heal without restricting movement too much.
You also need cushioning to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the forefoot.
Sometimes you need more than just a pair of shoes. Cushioned insoles add support and cushioning to almost any pair of shoes. Some shoes even include orthotic inserts.
Before choosing a pair of shoes, review your options and consider where you intend to wear them. Remember to pick shoes appropriate for the activity.
If you plan to run, look for running shoes. These shoes tend to feature more cushioning in the heel and stiffer soles as runners typically land on their toes and then bring down the heel.
For walking, you want shoes with a slightly stiffer heel and more flexibility in the soles, which aids the motion of landing on your heel and bringing down your toes.
In the end, if the shoes do not help with the pain, work with your physician to find a suitable solution.