Best Running Shoes For Metatarsalgia [Ball Of Foot Pain]

Today we’ll be looking at the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia or ball of foot pain. Metatarsalgia is one of the conditions of forefoot pain.

Let’s dive right into it …

Approximately, 20% of the population places too much pressure towards the front of their foot when they walk or run.

This excessive pressure can make you susceptible to many common foot problems including Metatarsalgia or ball-of-foot-pain.

Metatarsalgia is a general term used to describe pain or inflammation in the ball of the foot area. Usually, it’s a repetitive stress issue as we walk on concrete all day long.

Consequently …

our heels and the balls of our feet impact the ground repetitively and for some people that can cause stress in the ball of the foot area.

There are a lot of reasons why people develop Metatarsalgia and to get a specific reason why you’re developing Metatarsalgia / ball of the foot pain, it’s good to see your podiatrist.

For those of you who suffer from top of foot pain, check these best running shoes for top of foot pain.

Your ideal shoes should

  • be super cushiony to keep your metatarsals as comfortable as possible. 
  • give you good arch support to hold up the arch area, equalize pressure across the foot, and reduce the stress on the ball of your foot.
  • Hoka One One Bondi 4

    • 5mm drop
    • underpronator to neutral runners
    • midsole with Meta-Rocker  technology
    • Chevron Square Right
      full ground contact outsole

    NB 1080v8 Fresh Foam

    • 8mm drop
    • Chevron Square Right
      underpronator neutral runners
    • plush Fresh Foam midsole
    • hard and soft rubber outsole

    Brooks Transcend 4

    • 8mm drop
    • moderate to sever overpronators
    • full-length S-257 Cushsole midsole
    • HPR+/Ideal Pressure Zones outsole

    5 Best Running Shoes For Metatarsalgia (Ball Of Foot Pain)

    Hoka One One Vanquish 2

    With a 5mm heel-to-toe offset, the Vanquish 2 is a premium daily sneaker built for the undepronator to neutral runner.

    The goal of the Vanquish line is to provide an ultra cushioned shoe while maintaining a springy and responsive ride.

    This makes the Vanquish 2 one of the best Hoka shoes for Metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain).

    The Hoka Midsole

    The first thing you’re going to notice is the oversized midsole that is the signature of Hoka cushioning. This dual-layer midsole with a high rebound body and high cushioned top gives excellent energy return and a more steady stride from heel to toe.

    The midsole is dual layererd and that's what makes the Vanquish 2 unique. The Vanquish 2 is definitely a maximum cushioned shoe, but the construction of the shoe hides the cushion pretty well.

    The midsole is extremely shock absorbing but it also features an early-stage Meta-Rocker geometry. 

    What’s the Meta-Rocker technology?

    This technology is common in many other Hoka One One shoes  and it has to do with the shape of the outsole. The outsole tapers out at both sides allowing the shoe to rock forward while running.  It helps propel your foot forward with every stride.

    THE UPPER

    The upper features a seamless air mesh design with an asymetrical external web that provides a breathable yet supportive wrap. This seamless construction is going to help reduce irritation.

    The mesh has some thickness to it which makes it more durable. So, the upper offers great comfort and breathability but it does lack the breathability you find in a thinner mesh.

    The Vanquish 2 hugs your midfoot and forefoot nicely, but it’s definitely a more narrow shoe.

    So if you like to have a roomier and looser upper, then this might not be the shoe for you. Yet, you may want to have a look at the Altra Torin 3. The Altra Torin 3 is also one of the best running shoes for capsulitis of the second toe.

    THE OUTSOLE

    Down on the very bottom, there’s a full ground contact outsole and strategic high abrasion rubber zones where it’s needed the most. This provides optimal durability for the long miles on the road.

    THE INSIDE

    The inside lining is very soft and breathable with good padding around the collar.

    It also features a removable insole that slides right in and out. The insole gives you some added cushioning while the perforations will help give you some underfoot breathability.

    The Vanquish 2 is such a versatile shoe that you can use for easy days and hard days because it provides a smooth high cushioned ride and it’s just something you could use any day.

    Being a very light shoe for the amount of cushion it has, the Hoka One One Vanquish 2 will help you cushion your Metatarsalgia and accelerate your next run. Make sure you read what other runners say about the Hoka One One Vanquish 2.

    CONS

    • They squeak a bit but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • A bit tight and narrow

    Hoka One One Bondi 5

    The Bondi is the Hoka Original and the 5th version continues to represent a truly unique approach to designing running sneakers. It’s the most cushioned shoe in the Hoka lineup.

    This amount of cushion and support makes the Bondi 5 one of the best running sneakers for ball of foot pain.

    The Bondi 5 is a neutral running shoe that is great for anyone looking for a very comfortable and forgiving ride for any distance.

    THE UPPER

    For the 5th edition, Hoka really focused on streamlining the upper because they wanted to get the weight down around 10oz.

    How did Hoka do that?

    One of the ways they did that is by using super lightweight pliable engineered  mesh in the upper. The upper creates a great lockdown for your foot and it helps minimize the weight at the same time.

    The Active Foot Frame and the padded tongue provide a very comfortable and secure feel and give you the feeling of running inside the shoe vs running on the shoe.

    THE MIDSOLE

    For those unfamiliar with the brand, Hoka makes maximum cushioned running shoes using an oversized midsole that provides comfort, unparalleled shock absorption, a tremendous amount of cushioning and impact protection for the runner

    The midsole is 1.5 times the midsole volume of a traditional running shoe and it is made of EVA that is 30% softer than tradition EVA.

    This unique design makes for a different type of running shoe that just begs to be tried and tested.

    With a stack height of 37mm in the heel and 33mm in the forefoot (4mm offset), this tremendous amount of cushion is still relatively lightweight for a shoe coming in at 10oz for men and 8.3oz for women.

    The Bondi 5 uses a Meta-Rocker design that allows for a smooth transition from heel to toe decreasing impact forces and encouraging a more efficient and comfortable foot strike.

    THE OUTSOLE

    The outsole is the combination of rubber specifically placed over high-wear areas for better durability and traction. There’s also exposed EVA used to help keep the weight down.

    The outsole also offers enough traction to allow for some light trail running.

    Proper Foot Alignment

    Every now and then, you kind of run improperly and the Hoka Bondi will help keep you right back into that proper foot strike. You can run a lot of miles in the Hoka and you’re not going to break down.

    Hoka design running shoes to make running easier and injury-free for everyone.

    Sometimes highly cushioned shoes will feel a little bit lethargic and slow, not the Bondi. It feels quick and super lightweight almost like you’re flying.

    Whether used as a daily trainer, ultra distance racer, or easy-day recovery shoe, the Bondi 5 is an excellent choice for runners wanting a very soft ride for all of their running miles.    

    Click here to read more reviews from other runners who have tried the Bondi 5.

    CONS

    • They squeak a bit but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • The midsole is a bit stiffer than the previous model.

    New Balance 1080v8 Fresh Foam 

    The 1080 is considered to be New Balance’s premium cushioned shoe, which makes it ideal for Metatarsalgia.

    The 1080v8 doesn’t look too much different than the 1080v7, but here’s why I found different in the 8th iteration of the 1080 series.

    THE UPPER

    Starting off with the upper, the 1080 uses the engineered mesh that is fairly basic, but it works well. The 1080v8’s mesh seems a bit softer on foot, slightly more breathable and just overall more comfortable.

    There are some overlays that maintain the structure of the upper while the toe cap gives the front of the shoe a bit more reinforcement.

    Combined with a modified heel counter, the upper is one of the most supportive uppers in the neutral category.

    The cushion around the heel and the tongue is moderate, which I think works well. Sometimes, too much cushion around the foot isn’t the best and this upper finds a happy medium.

    THE Fresh Foam MIDSOLE

    The midsole brings back the Fresh Foam. Fresh Foam is one of the softest foams you can find in any shoe this year.

    The plushness is real.

    The underfoot feel is great for those who need that extra comfort for their ball of foot pain or for their longer runs.

    The Fresh Foam V8 has a slightly different look than the V7. The midsole patterns are a little bit different and the shoe has some small little engravings towards the heel.

    I’m assuming this must help with the compression of the foam to be a bit softer or at least it feels softer when you’re running in it.

    THE OUTSOLE

    The outsole looks very similar to the V7 with extended rubber throughout the shoe. The rubber near the perimeter of the shoe is a bit tougher compared to the parts of the outsole where the rubber is a bit softer.

    This blend of hard and soft rubber helps the shoe have decent durability, great impact protection and added comfort.

    The base is wide which really gives the shoe a stable platform, but the flexibility  is pretty stiff, which I suppose helps the shoe be more stable, but I would prefer a bit more flex in my step.

    The NB 1080V8 is a great running shoe for comfort. Yet, it’s still a bulky shoe but it has a very nice roomy toe box which is great for people with bunions.

    It may not be a great everyday running shoe if you’re wanting to hit some faster paces and the responsiveness is lacking because it has the purpose of being a high cushion, high comfort road shoe.

    If you need a running shoe that can do a long run, recovery runs, or something for everyday comfort, this can be your shoe.

    But if you want to go fast, well you may want to check out the Saucony Kinvara 7.  

    For more reviews, colors, and price, go to Amazon

    CONS

    • They squeak a bit but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • Bulky

    Saucony Triumph ISO

    Note: The Saucony Triumph ISO is at its fourth version. I have chosen this version because it is still better than the Sauconys 2,3,4. You can read customers' reviews here and see for yourself.

    The Triumph is a premium running shoe that falls within the neutral category and the highly cushioned category as well.

    So it’s designed for a runner with a neutral gait style and it's great for metatarsal pain. 

    The Saucony Triumph ISO is the most cushioned shoe Saucony have ever produced.

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    There are some key stories about the Triumph ISO and it has to do with the upper construction and the construction of the midsole.

    THE UPPER

    The Triumph ISO has 3 major components that will represent the update to the upper, the ISO Fit that’s designed to make the shoe fit like a glove no matter what your foot shape is.

    The first component is the Inner Fit sleeve. So there’s a sleeve that the runner will slip their foot into and it conforms individually around the shape of your foot.

    The second component is the cradle of little fingers that come up around the foot on either side. So when you lace the shoe, it will adapt to the shape of your foot not only during the fit process but also in motion.

    The third component of the upper is the seamless construction of the toe box. This will enhance the user experience to provide a lot of comfort and, again, personalize the fit and the feel of the shoe.

    The ISO lacing system grips the foot to reduce rubbing and movement within the shoe.

    THE MIDSOLE

    The midsole is PWRGRID+. This is the next generation of Saucony’s most cushioned midsole material.

    Saucony have increased the stack height in the midsole to 29mm back in the heel and 21 in the forefoot.

     The midsole material is more cushioned by 20% and it is also more resilient so you’ve got the best of both worlds.

    In doing so, the shoe has become lighter with the evolution of the midsole.

    THE OUTSOLE

    To complement the update to the midsole with PWRGRID+, the Triumph ISO has a newly engineered outsole. The purpose of the outsole is to provide maximum cushioning and flexibility.

    The outsole features deeper flex grooves while the IBR+ system allows for a smoother transition from heel to toe to create a really comfortable feel while running.

    Click here for more reviews, prices and colors.

    CONS

    • They squeak a bit but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • Takes longer to break in

    Brooks Transcend 4

    With an 8mm heel-to-toe offset, the Transcend 4 is a premium daily running shoe designed for moderate to sever overpronators who are looking for stability and maximum cushioning.

    The amount of underfoot cushioning the Transcend 4 offers provides superior comfort for the metatarsal heads.

    THE UPPER

    The upper features a new mesh design that utilizes 3D Fit Print technology. The  3D Fit Print technology does not only look great but it applies strategic strecth and structure for a better feel. It also provides a secure and seamless fit.

    The Transcend 4 also features a synthetic midfoot saddle built into the lacing system which allows for a really custom fit.

    There’s a plush tongue and collar to really give you that comfort around your ankles and a Pebax External Heel Counter that helps reduce heel rotation.

    THE INSIDE

    There’s a soft element fabric lining as well to give you a great in-shoe feel and a profile sockliner that is removable to give room for your own custom orthotics.

    The MIDSOLE 

    Not only that, but there’s a full-length S-257 Cushsole midsole compound that ustilizes an insole board for increased plush and flexibility.

    Utilizing an improved GuideRails system to help further reduce overpronation, this trainer is built to take on the demands of daily training.

    The OUTSOLE

    The bottom of the shoe features quite a few things going on. There’s a rounded heel that promotes better alignment and helps to minimize the stress in your joints.

    There's also blown rubber in the forefoot and abrasion resistant HPR+ throughout the outsole to give it long-lasting durability.

    There’s even Ideal Pressure Zones that evenly disperse impact away from the body for an easier ride.

    Not only will the Brooks Transcend 4 transcend your expectations, but you can get ready to transcend your competition as well, which by the way should always be yourself 🙂

    CONS

    • They squeak a bit but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • Less arch support in the women's version compared to the previous model.

    Best Nike Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia

    Nike Vaporfly 4%

    The Vaporfly 4% is Nike’s leading consumer model in the breaking 2 series of shoes.

    Although the 2-hour barrier in the marathon hasn’t yet been broken, the idea that Nike came so close still excited the running world.

    The Vaporfly is Nike's new premier long distance road racing model. The marketing of the shoe is that the shoe should enable runners to run 4% more efficient than a traditional shoe on average.

    But what does that actually mean? Is it just marketing? Probably.

    The Upper

    The upper of the Vaporfly 4% uses a very light Fly Mesh and I say lightweight because the Fly Mesh is super lightweight, super breathable and adaptable.

    It’s one of those things you really start to notice when you’re running in the heat and your foot isn’t melting.

    The fit of the shoe is pretty snug in the midfoot but opens up nicely to allow your toes to have enough room when you need it.

    Typically, Fly Mesh is coupled with the use of Fly Wire, but not this time. This shoe simply uses the Fly Mesh and some very small overlays to help with the structure of the shoe.

    I think having the Fly Wire would have helped a bit more with the stability of the shoe because the upper can feel a little bit flimsy at times. Yet, that isn’t bad considering how lightweight the shoe is.

    The heel cup isn’t really that structured, but it’s flexible and not very invasive. Your foot will stay in the shoe with no problem – no slipping, no complaints.

    In short, it’s a very simple upper and simple design that gets the job done.

    The Midsole

    The Vaporfly is the first commercial shoe to introduce Nike’s new midsole technology called Zoom X.

    So what makes Zoom X so different?

    Zoom X for me is pretty much the best thing I’ve ever felt in a running shoe because the energy return on this shoe is probably on par with the Adidas’ Boost.

    The Zoom X is not quite as soft as Boost but it was comfortable. This will be subjective, but for me, Zoom X provides a better feel for running.

    Either  way, I’m loving this new midsole and I’m hoping that Nike will use Zoom X on other models in the shoes in the near future.

    The Vaporly feels fast although you might be slow. You’ll feel as if you could hold a faster pace a bit easier.

    The Outsole

    What makes the Vaporfly a fast shoe?

    This is likely because of the full length carbon plate that almost works as a lever to help transiton you off your stride and into the next ride.

    The plate gives the shoe a responsive feel while maintaining a high stack height.

    The outsole is almost identical to the Nik Zoom Fly. There’s rubber on the forefoot and on the heel of the shoe.

    Similar to the Zoom Fly, the Vaporfly 4% is not very flexible, but I believe the design of the shoe takes that into account.

    So I think you'll get the Nike Vaporfly 4% if:

    • You’re someone who’s already in great shape and like that extra edge in your races.
    • You’re someone who loves running but suffers from Metatarsalgia and want to experience the cushioning and comfort of the Zoom X technology.
    • You’re someone who has a little extra money and doesn’t mind the price tag.

    But if you’re someone who runs casually, I think this shoe may be more of a cool thing to have than what it’s worth.

    The shoe is cool but the Zoom X technology is what stole the show for me, and maybe for you, too.

    As I said, I’m hopeful that Nike will put Zoom X in other models of shoes eventually, for a cheapr price. But outside that price tag and based up the performance of the shoe alone, the Nike Vaporfly 4% is an awesome running shoe.

    Another shoe that packs tons of cushioning is the Nike Epic React. I've recently done a comparison review of the Nike Epic React Vs Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0

    nike-epic-react-vs-adidas-ultra-boost-4.0-comparison-review

    Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Pain

    Common injuries and conditions that cause forefoot pain include:

  • Bunions (Hallux Valgus)
  • Hallux Rigidus
  • Morton's Neuroma
  • Click on one of the links below.

    What Else Can You Do To Relieve The Pain?

    The key to that is to be able to reduce the stress on the ball of the foot.

    Here are some ways to off-load pressure in the ball of the foot area so you have more relief.

    INSLOES

    One other way to do that is to address it with insoles in your running shoes. 

    Your little metatarsal bones are curved inside your foot, and if there's an insole that has a little dome of relief in there to off-load the pressure, you got a winner

    One of the best insoles that provides built-in arch support and has that magic dome of support is the New Balance Supportive Cushioning Insole.

    The dome sits right behind the metatarsal heads, thereby off-loading the pressure in those areas.

    So if you give an area that’s inflamed or calloused a little bit of relief behind it, you off-load pressure and that’s going to help with Metatarsalgia.

    Metatarsal Pads For Runners

    You can also use a metatarsal pad that has a dome of relief, but make sure you place it right behind the metatarsal area.

    You can put the pad inside your sandals, add it to your arch support insole, or add it to the footbed of your running shoes and it might provide you with a little bit of extra relief.

    Read a study by Kuopio University Hospital "The Effect of Metatarsal Padding on Pain and Functional Ability in Metatarsalgia

    The Cluffy Wedge

    If you have a lot of pain in the outer half of your foot behind the metatarsal heads, it could be because your big toe is not functioning properly.

    A device that works particularly well for that is a device called the cluffy wedge. It’s a piece that attaches to the insole of the shoe and provides just enough relief to allow your big toe to function normally.

    When that happens, pressure is equally distributed across your entire foot instead of allowing your foot to roll out.

    The cluffy wedge is also good for capsulitis of the second toe.

    Taping

    A lot of runners, especially marathon runners, have found that taping the balls and arch of the feet helped in a certain way that they did not feel as sore as before.

    Metatarsalgia and Morton's Neuroma

    Do you have pain under the ball of your foot? That’s a common problem, and intense pain in the ball of your foot can make running and even walking unbearable.

    Two common types of forefoot pain are Metatarsalgia and Morton’s Neuroma.

    Metatarsalgia

    Most metatarsal problems develop when there’s a change in the way your foot normally functions and affects how your weight is distributed.

    A high arch can put excess pressure on the metatarsal area leading to inflammation and pain especially in the metatarsal heads which are rounded ends of the bones that connect with your toes.

    Symptoms may include:

  • A sharp aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot.
  • Pain in the area around your second, third or fourth toes, or only near your big toes.
  • You may experience numbness or tingling in your toes.

  • There are some excellent products to help alleviate the pain of Metatarsalgia. These include ball of foot cushions and pads, gel-lined products like cushions, toe toppers and socks, insoles with extra cushioning in the ball of foot, or shoes that feature extra cushioning in the ball of foot.

    Morton's Neuroma

    The symptoms are similar to Metatarsalgia and can also contribute to forefoot pain. Morton’s Neuroma can develop if you have flat feet, or feet that roll inward, or overpronate.

    You may feel numbness or a stinging sensation at the ball of your foot usually between the third and fourth toes.

    This condition is typically caused by an enlarged pinched nerve. It's often the result of wearing high-heels, shoes that are too tight, or from high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics.

    People who have bunions or hammertoes are also at a higher risk. The following solutions can help relieve the pain of Morton’s Neuroma:

  • Metatarsalgia lift pads
  • Gel wraps and cushions
  • Shock absorbing insoles that redistribute body weight across the bottom of your feet.
  • Shoes with a wider toe box can also help to decrease pressure on the inflamed nerve and lessen the symptoms.

  • I recommend you consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis if you feel you may have Metatarsalgia or Morton’s Neuroma.

    If you have Morton's Neuroma, make sure you check these best running shoes for Morton's Neuroma

    Metatarsalgia (Ball of Foot Pain) Treatment Options

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