Today, we’ll be looking at the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia or ball of foot pain for women and men.
This is the 2021 updated version of this article and I hope you’ll find it more helpful than ever.
Let’s dive right into it …
Best Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia Pain
- Brooks Ghost 13
- Hoka Bondi 6 – Best cushioned for ball-of-foot pain
- Saucony Guide 14
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
- Brooks Beast 18
- Saucony Ride 14
- Altra Paradigm 4.5
- Altra Torin 4.0 + Plush 4.5
- New Balance 1080v11
- Adidas UltraBoost 19
The ideal running shoes should:
- Be super cushiony to keep your metatarsals as comfortable as possible and help absorb shock.
- 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.
- Have a soft roomy toe box for your toes and metatarsals to splay out.
- Ideally feature a rocker bottom design.
- Be a low heel-to-toe drop to reduce the stress put on the ball of your foot. (However, the Ghost is a 12mm drop and has helped a lot of runners with Metatarsalgia)
- Not be too tight or too loose.
4 best running shoes for Metatarsalgia
|12mm Drop||4mm Drop|
|Very soft Air Mesh||Engineered mesh upper|
|DNA Loft midsole||Compression-molded EVA midsole|
|Carbon rubber||Rubber outsole|
|0mm Drop||8mm Drop|
|Pliable engineered mesh|
Engineered Hypoknit upper
|Oversized EVA midsole||Fresh Foam X midsole|
|Blown rubber outsole||Blown rubber outsole|
Best Hoka Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Hoka Bondi 7
Victoria L Beckman on Amazon says this Bondi completely eliminated her ball-of-foot Metatarsalgia. Read her review here.
This award-winning classic could arguably be the most popular shoe in the Hoka collection.
Who is the Bondi for?
This amount of cushion underfoot and support makes the Bondi 7 one of the best running shoes for ball-of-foot pain and drop foot.
More specifically, this shoe is going to help you not put that pressure on the ball of your foot, which is fantastic.
The Bondi is built for the neutral to underpronator runner. It is not for the faint of heart. This is the type of shoe to get if you are seeking that optimal cushioning, support, and plush ride.
It is ideal for any distance:
- Long runs.
- Long recovery miles.
- Tempo workouts.
- Marathon races.
It’s also going to accommodate some of the people who like this amount of cushion and love a high volume fit but might have a narrow ankle.
Also, the Bondi is going to be the shoe that is going to be a staple in anyone’s training rotation when you’re really building up your mileage and kind of putting more wear on your legs and knees.
Let’s move to the signature element of the Bondi…
The super plush full-compression EVA midsole offers that signature cushioning that strikes a balance between cushion and resilience.
The midsole is incredibly comfortable and lightweight. A huge contributing factor to its light weight is the super-light EVA injected midsole.
You might see this high of a stack height and think you’re going to be less stable in the Bondi. Absolutely not.
Compared to other running shoes where you literally sit on top of the midsole, the Bondi 7 offers a cradle for your feet.
You are deep inside the shoe unlike most other makes of running shoes. The Bondi actually wraps up around your foot for a really secure comfortable stable ride.
Last but not least, one of the most impressive things about this midsole is its wear life is really long.
What is new and improved about the Bondi 7?
With memory foam in the ankle collar, it means that not only is it going to be extremely comfortable for everybody, but it’s also going to distribute pressure around the ankle and the back of the heel in a really pleasing and even way.
The engineered mesh upper is really breathable.
This year, they’re going with more of an overlay design on the outside of the shoe to give it a little bit more structure and a little bit rigidity. This means you’re not moving side to side because the shoe is so plush.
Engineered to deliver a smoother ride and a more comfortable fit, the upper helps wrap and lock down your foot without adding any extra weight.
This is a subtle detail but it’s highly effective for runners with low insteps whose feet tend to move around a little bit.
For the first time, Hoka will be offering extra wide.
One thing that has been missing from their range, especially over the past few years as more people have come to know the brand and look for different options with Hoka, is finally extra wide.
In the women’s, you have a standard fit which is a B fit, and a wide which is a D. In the guys, you’ve had up until now the standard fit which is a D, and then a wide which is a 2E.
So, if you have those big feet and you’ve been looking for the kind of comfort you can get from Hoka Bondi but you just haven’t been able to fit into something the way that you need to with your big wide feet, extra wide is available in the Bondi 7.
Overall, the Bondi 7 offers a more accommodating arch, a roomier forefoot, a soft smooth and cushioned ride.
On the outsole, we’re going to continue to see that exposed foam and the strategic rubber in the heel and forefoot, which means you can also take the shoe onto hard-pack gravel or wet areas.
The Bondi is meant for your road miles, but the deep lugs do give you a little bit of extra traction on any type of surface.
The rubber is going to make sure that the EVA midsole does not get worn down by the road and this is going to last you a really long time.
It makes so much sense on the Bondi when you have a higher-cushioned shoe to have a nice full-ground contact.
So you should definitely consider the Hoka One One Bondi 7 if you’re:
- Suffering from Metatarsalgia or Morton’s Neuroma.
- Running short or long distances.
- Walking for fitness.
- Looking for the most comfortable shoe to wear at work.
- Trying to come back from an injury.
Last but not least, the Hoka Bondi 6 is one of the best walking shoes for metatarsal problems.
All in all…
Hoka has given us an inch of cushion at almost no weight penalty with a really smooth quick-rolling rocker and strategically placed durable outsole.
If you’re doing any type of workout, if you have sore balls of feet, this is your go-to shoe to really just give your legs a break and still build those miles and really build your aerobic base.
Building your aerobic base is probably the best thing you can do for yourself to avoid injury and just get ready for your race season.
- A bit pricey.
Best Altra Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Altra Paradigm 4.5
Daniel says the Paradigm has helped eliminate his Metatarsalgia issues. Read his review on Amazon.
This is a maximalist road running shoe. It’s a stability shoe, but it doesn’t feel like a stability shoe because it’s not too rigid.
The Altra Paradigm 4.5 might be a great option for you:
- If you have Metatarsalgia and want great underfoot cushioning.
- If you’re someone that has a little bit of overpronation.
- If you just need some help through your foot strike to stay a little straighter.
- If maybe your doctor is telling you you need to work on your ankles lining up better with your feet.
The midsole features the Altra Ego dual-nature compound that is responsive yet soft for increased energy return. The Ego technology was previously found in the Altra Escalante.
The midsole keeps all the same features that make Altra running shoes unique. There’s a zero-drop platform, a foot-shaped toe box, as well as Altra’s Fit4her last for women.
Altra kept the shoe in that guidance category through the integration of the awesome GuideRail system. The GuideRails act like a highway guide rail to provide guidance when you need it.
The GuideRail really wraps that medial side of the foot supporting it from overpronation and just providing additional support.
Altra has added stability pods called Stabilipods throughout the bottom to keep your foot naturally stable using the stability points of your foot.
The overall comfort is there, the ride is really nice, the midsole works really well with the GuideRail, and the shoe doesn’t feel too rigid.
The midsole continues with the Innerflex flex groove technology on the inside, which really allows that big toe to engage which, in turn, enhances the stability as well.
On the bottom, there’s the Altra grippy outsole that provides a lot of grip no matter where your run takes you.
The Altra Paradigm 4.5 is in Altra’s dynamic support category and with it, you can really just let comfort be your guide.
It is very comfortable, stable, and it’s really great for rocking out those miles.
One last thing, the Paradigm is also great for Plantar Fasciitis.
- Zero-drop takes getting used to especially if you run in higher-drop shoes.
- A bit bulky for skinny feet.
Altra Paradigm 4.5 full review
Altra Torin 4 + Altra Torin Plush 4.5
Torin 4.0 Regular
Torin 4.5 Plush
Susan has no ball-of-foot pain thanks to the Torin. Read her review on Amazon.
This is a tale of two Torins. The Torin is a daily neutral road running shoe and legacy model from Altra.
Both Torins offer awesome underfoot cushioning and comfort to keep your Metatarsalgia issues at bay.
Like all Altra shoes, the Torin does have their balance cushioned midsole, the foot shape toe box, and their gender-specific fit.
Torin 4.0 Regular
The Torin 4.0 is your lighter and faster neutral trainer that can be used for everyday runs.
It’s also great for an up-tempo run and it can even hold up to being your marathon shoe as well.
Altra has removed the Strobel layer with 26mm stack height making the shoe a little bit snappier.
The Torin 4.0 has become a little bit lighter with the introduction of the new Quantic midsole, a rubberized compression-resistant EVA, and a new engineered mesh upper.
The Quantic midsole is just cozy, compression-resistant, and snappy.
The Torin 4 is a little bit firmer. But if you want something a little bit softer and want to turn up the comfort level on your run to 11, that’s where the Torin 4.5 Plush comes in.
Torin Plush 4.5
When Altra calls this Torin plush, it definitely is plush and squishy, which is very similar to a Hoka Bondi in terms of squishiness.
This is Altra’s premium comfort package. One of the other reasons they call it the Plush is because it has 2 extra millimeters of the Strobel layer. This is a top-of-the-line Strobel layer which translates into premium energy return.
As soon as you put the Plush on, you’re going to feel that new Strobel layer that feels really nice under your metatarsals.
The Torin Plush 4.5 now weighs the exact same as the standard Torin but it offers more cushioning. So, it’s two millimeters more stack height in this shoe and it’s also over an ounce lighter than the Torin Plush 4.
How did Altra make it lighter?
Altra accomplished that by streamlining the upper a little bit. The tongue is much thinner than it was last year and they went with a different knit material in the upper.
Talking about the upper…
This new upper is a little bit more breathable, lightweight, comfortable, and also has a structure that’s going to hold your feet like a sock while still being supportive. It also looks cool when you’re running or when you’re walking around town.
I will say the toe box feels really roomy but not to the extent that your feet are going to be swimming around in there.
The updated tongue of the Altra Torin Plush 4.5 is now thinner, more streamlined, and more premium.
I will also add that the tongue is not gusseted, which is surprising to me. However, the lockdown is amazing.
The heel counter is not stout and it’s very flexible but you won’t feel like you are going to slip out of the shoe at all. The lockdown in the heel pocket is just as great as the rest of the upper.
This is going to make the shoe a little bit snugger in the heel area to give you a little bit more natural stability in controlling your shoe as you are landing. That will help improve take-off and a more comfortable landing for you as well.
As always with Altra shoes, the Torin 4 has their zero-drop balanced platform which Altra says it puts your foot in its proper position and allows you to have proper posture while running and walking.
Altra wants to maintain that proper posture of the hips and back in order to keep stress off of those areas. So, the Torin allows you to do that with a whole lot of cushion.
Foot Shaped Toe Box
Altra shoes are also famous for their foot-shaped toe box. This design allows your toes to splay and actually allows the bones and metatarsals of your foot to realign and help stabilize themselves.
Altra is also one of the running shoe companies that build running shoes that are specifically designed for women’s biomechanics.
They did that by tracing hundreds of women’s feet that they eventually created their very own specific Fit4Her last.
How is the women’s last different from the men’s?
There’s a longer arch area, a higher instep, a little bit more of a narrow heel, and the flex points on the outsole are a little bit closer to the toe box.
So the Altra Torin 4 and the 4.5 Plush are going to make women and men feel more comfortable and be able to run a little more naturally.
Outsole (both shoes)
A lot of times, the outsole of road running shoes is pretty basic and pretty straightforward, but not the one on the Torin.
What they’re doing here is they added rubber in a design pattern to really map the bones and metatarsal heads of your foot allowing for a very natural ride.
With the InnerFlex technology on the outsole, Altra is trying to really create the shoe to move with the movements of your natural foot splay.
In short, the Altra Torin 4.0 regular is snappy whereas the Torin 4.5 Plush is going to maximize comfort underfoot for all those miles.
The Torin Plush has a little bit more cushioning than the standard Torin. So, this is going to be great for anybody who’s getting out and putting in a lot of miles on the roads and wants that squishier feeling and that little bit of extra protection that the Torin Plush offers over the standard Torin.
Last but not least, runners with Hallux Rigidus and high arches also love the Torin.
- Zero drop feature takes some getting used to.
Best New Balance Shoes For Metatarsalgia
New Balance 1080v11
Chris says the NB 1080v10 is great for his Metatarsalgia, narrow feet, and high arches. Read his review.
The 1080 has always been a neutral running shoe and so it’s going to be good for those runners with a neutral running gait.
Who is the 1080 for?
Something interesting about the 1080 that interests runners with Metatarsalgia more is the luxurious underfoot cushioning delivered by the Fresh Foam X midsole.
The 1080 is really designed for those neutral road runners out there after a really comfortable plush mid to long-distance road shoe.
As you’ve probably seen already, the Fresh Foam X midsole has seen some really positive reviews and it’s really easy to understand why.
It’s one of those really dynamic midsoles that gives you that really soft plush comfort that you want on those long-distance road runs.
But it’s not one that feels really sloppy that eats up all your energy either. It’s actually going to give you a really responsive energy return, too.
If you’re into the plush soft compressive ride feel, then this is your shoe. This foam provides a nice bounce that just saves your knees, feet, and metatarsal heads from that pounding that many of us go through during those longer runs.
It’s not going to be one of those shoes that give you the ultimate energy return.
The stack height and the softer feel just encourage us to use this shoe for longer or slower runs, not for speed and tempo runs. So for the purpose of the 1080v11, it is a great job underfoot.
When you look at the upper, you can see that it keeps that flyknit material that New Balance calls Hypoknit.
This knit upper is really breathable and quite flexible and gives you that really snug fit when you are running in it.
The heel cup is made out of this firm sort of almost ‘neopreny’ material that wraps around further in front of the shoe.
This is going to give you that more locked-in heel and should really help with any heel slippage that you may have had in the previous models.
I can’t really see this sacrificing any comfort at all and I think that’s a really nice touch.
The New Balance branding is actually made out of this sort of TPU material and wraps in and out of the laces.
The logo is actually going to act as a mid-cage to give you more lateral support and a more stable supportive run.
As with most New Balance shoes, the 1080v11 fits really true to size and that also accounts for the width although they will be releasing wider models of this if you have a really wide forefoot.
The outsole has a mix of medium and firm strategic blown rubber. This combination seems to help with cushion even more.
You can see that these individual rubber pads are positioned individually with a small gap, which is going to allow the midsole to flex really naturally.
You can also see how the rubber is strategically placed on the wear points to keep the weight down where it’s not needed.
Traction-wise, it gets about what you would expect. It’s great on road-like surfaces, light dirt paths, and it’s actually not too bad on wet roads.
The compressive midsole really does not do much as far as providing pronation support. So, for those needing more overpronation support, you may want to try the Fresh Foam Vongo or the 860v11.
As a max cushion shoe, the new New Balance 1080v11:
- Is great.
- It comes with narrow and wide options.
- It feels pretty light for the amount of cushion that you’re getting
- As long as you have a neutral foot strike, the ride is pretty smooth.
When it comes to long and recovery runs, the 1080v10 can definitely be a go-to shoe. I think New Balance took some risk with this new update and I think it paid off.
One last thing, the v11 is also one of the best running shoes for ball of foot pain and wide feet.
- Not for sharp/quick turns.
Best Brooks Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Nalissa bought the Adrenaline GTS based on the recommendation of her podiatrist. Read her story on Amazon.
Who is the Adrenaline for?
The Adrenaline is a great option if you want to make sure that you can continue running and have the appropriate amount of underfoot cushioning and support for your Metatarsalgia issues.
It is a pretty popular stability shoe. So, if you’re anyone who overpronates, needs stability, and maybe you feel some pain in any joints or body parts, these are great shoes for you.
But, if you are a neutral runner and you find that your form tends to break down on those longer miles and you’re a little worried about that, I would say this is a great shoe for you.
The GTS 21 is a shoe for you if you do a 5k or 10K more frequently or if you’re a marathon runner.
This is where the most exciting update of the Adrenaline is. Brooks has extended the DNA Loft foam along the lateral side. Before, it was just right in the heel and now they’ve extended it.
DNA Loft is Brooks’ premium softer more cushiony ride that lovers of the DNA Loft are so happy to see it on the Adrenaline.
DNA Loft really makes those heel-to-toe transitions much smoother. It also makes the ride feel more comfortable because this foam is much a comfortable foam underfoot.
The medial side still has that BioMogo foam, which is Brooks’ firmer and more responsive foam.
We also still have those incredible GuideRails that we see in the 19 and the 20.
Speaking of the GuideRails…
This is an on-demand holistic support system integrated on both the inside and the outside of the shoe.
In the past, only runners who tend to roll inward and their feet need some stability could run in a stability shoe.
GuideRails are incredible on the run and they are really beneficial to neutral runners, overpronators (whose feet roll inward) as well as supinators (whose feet roll outward).
How’s that possible?
GuideRails are pretty non-invasive. So, if you’re a neutral runner and your running form is straight, you won’t need these GuideRails and they won’t interfere with your running form.
However, at the end of a long run, for example, the majority of runners tend to roll their feet in because their feet get tired, and that’s when the GuideRails activate and push you and realign you back to your natural position.
This technology really helps your knees and joints in the long run.
So, if you’re someone who you maybe feel some pain in your knees, ankles, and feet, these GuideRails are there and they’re incredible on the run.
Runners used to always complain about stability shoes and how invasive those medial posts along the sides are.
So, the GuideRails are a great way to kind of eliminate that aggressiveness of the post because they’re there if you need them, and if you don’t need them, then you’re not going to feel them.
You have this new Air mesh upper. The upper is a lot more flexible and breathable than it was in the 20 and you definitely feel that on the run.
Right out of the box, as is the case with most Brooks shoes, the GTS 21 is extremely comfortable and I think part of it is because of this flexible mesh that moves around pretty freely.
This is great because if you are someone with a wider foot, the upper does give you that stretch in that toe box.
However, it doesn’t sacrifice any structure or security because they also added this 3D print along the side to really help this be more structured.
The outsole on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 has carbon rubber on the heel. Carbon rubber is really hard-wearing and because most runners are heel strikers, that area of the outsole is going to hold up really nicely.
The forefoot features blown rubber which is a bit softer and a bit more responsive.
The outsole is great for that traction and it feels comfortable, really secure, and safe.
The Adrenaline 21 is a road running shoe, but it does have that comfortability and those stability features that you would want in a treadmill running shoe.
So, if you’re someone who tests around the treadmill more, you prefer running at the gym, or anything like that, this shoe will hold up.
Last but not least, the Adrenaline GTS 21 is also great for shin splints, and Achilles Tendonitis.
- Not for speedy runs.
Brooks Ghost 13
Heather finds the Ghost great for her Metatarsalgia and bunions. Read her review on Amazon.
As one of the most popular shoes within the Brooks run line, this shoe is a neutral daily trainer that has been around for many years and the 11th iteration won’t disappoint.
This shoe is back with several changes to improve fit and performance while still maintaining the same feel runners with Metatarsalgia have come to know and love.
The upper is also reconstructed and features a new engineered mesh to make it to where it gives runners a nice secure hug while also maintaining breathability. So the upper offers the perfect blend of stretch and support.
This is great because some people might need a narrow or a wider width and the Ghost 13 expands and contracts around the foot perfectly.
The forefoot is not scrunched like you can get in some more narrow shoes. This shoe has a nice splayed forefoot to give you plenty of room and the engineered mesh is nice and flexible so you’re not going to have any pinching, blisters, or hot spots.
The midfoot wraps around your foot really nicely.
Finished off with an updated heel counter, the shoe further enhances heel support while keeping your foot locked in place.
The biggest update is Brooks extended the DNA Loft all the way from heel to toe on the lateral side to ensure that runners can get that softest heel-to-toe transition when you’re on your run.
What is DNA Lost, you may ask?
Simply put, DNA Loft is Brooks’ softest midsole. Remember this, DNA Loft is Soft.
The midsole offers plenty of stability, not in terms of like an overpronation wedge but just in terms of being a solid platform.
On the outsole, only small modifications are made to the rubber to keep the ride smooth while still providing the necessary durability and flexibility for long miles on the road.
Swiss Army knife
One of the things the Ghost series is such a popular shoe is it’s like the Swiss army knife of shoes meaning you can really put the shoe on almost any runner.
The Ghost 13 is:
- Good for somebody who’s maybe a new runner who wants to get into it.
- Cushioned enough for somebody looking to do a half marathon or a marathon.
- A good price point for a high-school runner who wants to start getting into running
- Good for somebody who wants to go to the gym.
- Great for medical professionals, teachers, warehouse workers, and anybody who’s on their feet for long periods of time because it gives the softness and protection that they need.
The Ghost 13 is not built for someone who severely overpronates or someone with a flatter foot and needs a little bit more stability.
Besides that, it’s just a great all-around running shoe and this is why it’s one of Brooks’ best-selling running shoes year after year.
Because it can fill so many boxes for so many different runners, this shoe gets really high scores from everybody who’s ever tried it.
The Ghost 13 is also great for wide feet and bunions.
- Non-gusseted tongue.
Brooks Beast 18
Drillman says the Beast provides good relief for his Metatarsalgia pain. Read his review here.
This is a motion control running shoe so it’s a super stable shoe for overpronators’ needs.
The newest improvements for the Beast 18 are the new improved fit with the upper, the updated external heel counter, and a brand new last.
The new fit on the upper with the engineered mesh gives you a lot more space for your toes.
It’s a very nice spacious toe box which helps with the natural toe splay that you’re going to have inside your shoes.
The new updated external heel counter offers more reinforced stability in the heel to help for that stability aspect of the Brooks Beast.
The heel counter also gives you a nice locked-in fit so your heel doesn’t slip in and out of the shoe itself.
The other new update is the new last. A last is the shape of the shoe and the one on the Beast 18 mimics the shape of your foot giving you a lot more room in the forefoot area.
Again, this will really help spread out your toes and really give you that nice sense of natural motion when you run or walk.
Around the entire shoe is the full-length segmented crash pad that gives you a smooth heel-to-toe transition when you’re on your long runs. It really helps absorb all that shock on the crash pad.
All of these cushioning and motion control features do add to the weight of the shoe, but it’s a really stable shoe that’ll really help you get through in your long runs no matter where your foot strikes on the ground.
Last but not least, Brooks has listened to all of the runners from the previous Beast 16. Accordingly, the Brooks Beast 18 has a widened toe box to give the runner a lot more space in the forefoot.
It’s also great for overpronation issues.
- It’s on the heavy side, but only because it’s a motion control shoe that’s loaded with tons of motion and severe overpronation control.
Best Saucony Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Saucony Guide 14
Y. Alexander finds the Guide’s thick sole to be adequate for his Metatarsalgia and arthritis. Read his review.
The Saucony Guide has been a long-standing high-mileage stability shoe from the company.
Historically, stability shoes have a bit of a bad rap. They’re kind of deemed clunky heavy and not as desirable.
The Guide has tried to change this association and they’ve got some really cool new developments with the Guide 14 that make it even lighter and snappier than its previous iterations.
It’s a moderate stability shoe and not an overly aggressive stability shoe. So, if you have ball-of-foot pain and overpronate moderately, you’re going to stay really healthy on the Guide.
The midsole is PWRRUN which has had a little bit of a revamp for the 14. It’s a little bit more cushioned and snappier than its previous iterations making the shoe slightly lighter.
The ride is quite comfortable and the Guide remains to be a really great shoe for a long run or a recovery day and that the midsole reflects that.
The shoe has absolutely no hot spots and it’s super comfortable straight out of the box.
One of the new technologies actually comes in the upper and it’s what Saucony calls a Guidance Frame. This is their stability system.
Part of the stability comes from the TPU insert in the midsole, but the other bit of stability comes from the frame that runs through the upper.
For a long time, uppers were kind of a secondary thought and they were just to make the shoe comfortable.
However, companies have really stepped up and they’ve started to make their upper be more than just comfort. They’ve actually thought about the upper as part of the ride.
So, instead of needing to make the insert bulkier, Saucony then adds this frame through the upper to help guide your foot and provide a little bit more stability without making the midsole any heavier.
My only note is if you have kind of a narrow ankle or back of your foot, you’re going to want to use the last eyelet at the top to lace them a little bit tighter because the opening of the shoe is a little bit wide.
Inside the shoe, there’s the Performance Contoured Footbed to cushion your ride and the ball of your foot.
When it comes to the outsole, it’s a pretty classic blown rubber that’s pretty sticky. I would use this on dry roads or even on slightly wet roads or on the treadmill. However, it’s not ideal on snow.
All in all, the updates on this shoe really improved the ride. The little bit of extra pop and the PWRRUN foam are great. Then the rethinking of stability, which comes through slightly less TPU on the bottom, and adding a little bit of a framework through the upper is genius and really enhances the ride.
If you are looking for a stability trainer but you don’t want to be weighed down, consider trying the Guide 14.
The shoe is back to fitting and feeling like the Guide has always felt, which is the perfect combination of lightweight but high-mileage stability.
As Saucony says, stability or cushioning? The answer is why not both. So, if you’re looking for a stability shoe that’s cushioned, fast, and lightweight, this is what you want.
- Not very breathable.
Saucony Ride 14
Kerry’s podiatrist recommended the Ride for her ball-of-foot issues and wide feet. Read her review on Amazon
The Ride series has been known as that reliable neutral daily trainer year after year. It is now Saucony’s boldest, fastest, and best-looking Ride yet.
Who is the Ride for?
This neutral shoe has plenty of cushioning under the foot to make this a great everyday trainer for people with ball-of-foot pain.
This workhorse shoe is going to be your pull-it-out-go-for-a-five-mile-run everyday shoe and it’ll deliver.
It’s one of those shoes you’re going to put on next to a Brooks Ghost, a New Balance 880 and then you’re going to decide which one feels the best and fits the best.
It’s great for long runs and your easy runs. It’s also great for someone who’s new to running or a long-time experienced runner.
It’s even a great option for people looking for a comfortable walking shoe or people that are just going to be on their feet all day long.
The midsole is a PWRRUN midsole which is a great little blend of EVA and a TPU-based topsole on top, which makes for a pretty responsive ride.
When you run in this shoe and compare it to the Saucony Ride 13, the 14 feels even snappier.
It’s a nice shoe that you can put on for everyday training, but if you’re feeling really good that day and want to pick up the pace, the Ride 14 is the shoe to do that for you.
What you’ll find is the Ride 14 is a little bit even more responsive than a Hoka Clifton or a Brooks Ghost.
Overall, the midsole is going to be extremely durable and enough cushioning underneath your feet to get you through a ton of miles.
Saucony has gone to a really nice engineered mesh on the upper with their FORMFIT technology. This combo really gives you a great step-in feel and a nice hug in the midfoot so you’re not worried about the shoe moving around your foot.
The upper fits much better and the shape of the shoe is slightly better in the forefoot. It’s going to give you a little bit more room to allow your foot to kind of spread out a little bit more than it did in previous generations.
The upper is a completely seamless mesh which is a very secure fit through the midfoot. The tongue is attached to the side of the shoe (semi-gusseted) so you’ll get a nice midfoot wrap.
The other thing that they’ve done is improve the fit through the heel. The Ride is now going to wrap your foot much better and be a nice snug fit through the heel. However, it doesn’t kind of curve in and cause any Achilles issues.
The outsole has got that xt900 rubber outsole. This is a very pliable and durable material that is going to hold up to the miles.
The outsole delivers a very smooth transition from heel to toe. The bottom has no midfoot shank and the TriFlex design adds a little bit of extra flexibility.
Overall, Saucony has done a good job of combining the PWRRUN midsole and the TPU topsole, which makes the shoe pretty lightweight but durable and well-cushioned underfoot for runners with Metatarsalgia.
- Could be more responsive.
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
There’s a reason why this series keeps coming back and that’s because runners love it.
The Triumph ISO 5 is a neutral shoe and it’s built for the neutral to underpronator. So, if you are an overpronator, the Guide ISO offers the same cushioning with that added stability medial posting.
Upper & ISOFIT
The upper has an engineered jacquard mesh that looks and feels much more premium than the Triumph ISO 4’s upper.
The upper has enough stretch to accommodate even wide feet but still supportive enough to keep your feet in place.
The ISOFIT lacing system is like a segmented cage lacing system that does the job of providing a comfortable personalized fit and wrap around feet without causing pressure, which is great for people with top-of-foot pain.
The fit of the Triumph ISO 4 was a bit narrow, but Saucony must have listened and they’ve widened up the shoe across the board. Your feet won’t get cramped and your toes have enough room to splay out.
The inside is lined with a smooth fabric lining with a padded footbed that’s going to keep your feet comfy and all day long.
The Triumph ISO 4 felt firm, which is not a bad thing for some. However, when competing with other shoes in the same market like the New Balance 1080, the Brooks Glycerin, or the Asics Nimbus, you have to be able to keep up with the cushion.
So, Saucony added an extra bit of EVERUN to give the Triumph ISO 5 a bit more room for compression.
This made the Triumph ISO softer than the previous version, which helped it compete with the gurus I mentioned earlier.
With all this cushioning, the Triumph ISO 5 still provides a good amount of response and still offers a nice sense of feedback for your foot strike.
The EVERUN topsole and EVERUN midsole combo would help you run forever. There’s so much cushion underfoot that the ball of your foot and your metatarsals are going to feel really comfortable.
The Triumph 5 is by no means a fast-day shoe but more so a protective shoe that you can pick up the pace if you want to.
The Tri-Flex outsole got an upgrade with the use of Saucony’s crystal rubber. This is the same rubber used on that outsole on the Saucony Freedom and Saucony Liberty ISO series.
This crystal rubber outsole is one of the most durable outsoles out there. Thanks to this new outsole, the traction has improved on wet surfaces compared to the previous model. However, the flexibility is just a tad less than the Triumph ISO 4.
The crystal rubber outsole just keeps you moving forward all the time while still getting that nice responsive and cushioned ride the entire time.
So what’s great about Saucony is they really listen to us, runners. In the Saucony Triumph ISO 5, they fixed the fit by making the shoe a bit wider, they added to the softness, they gave us their premium outsole material, and they gave us a modern look.
- A little heavy and a bit wide for narrow feet.
Best Asics Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Asics GlideRide 2
Chris finds the GlideRide to be of the best running shoes for toe pain and metatarsal support. Read his story on Amazon.
In 2020, Asics broke away from its traditional tried-and-true running shoes and started releasing some more high-cushioned and rockered shoes like the GlideRide.
Why is the GlideRide good for Metatarsalgia?
The shoe’s Guide Sole technology makes it so that you spend as little time on the ball of your feet as possible. It’s a rocker design that once you land, the shoe rolls you forward to the toe-off phase offloading your metatarsals quickly.
The whole philosophy behind the GlideRide was to create a highly-cushioned and highly-efficient running experience.
We hear efficiency used a lot recently especially with marathon racers, but the GlideRide was all about creating a highly efficient experience during your daily training.
Guide Sole Technology
You can definitely tell the Guide Sole technology is very prominent in both the GlideRide and the Evoride. If you are just walking around in these shoes, it kind of feels like you were rocking forward on your toes and kind of getting pushed.
However, once you start running in them, that completely disappears and it feels really smooth and natural.
While running in the shoe, you’re going to notice that your running posture seems to be better and that you are engaging your glutes more.
While it can be a fast-feeling shoe at times, it has a lot of cushion underneath, which makes it great for those longer efforts.
Overall, this technology is really going to create a highly efficient and smooth running experience. The geometry really helps create an effortless sensation so you’re going to go through your gait with ease.
We’ve got a high level of cushioning featuring that FlyteFoam compound. The has a softer layer of FlyteFoam underneath the foot, a firmer layer of FlyteFoam on the bottom, and a plastic plate sandwiched in between.
This is going to offer reliable protection and a little bit of bounce.
The GlideRide loses the gel in the heel that the first version had.
On the upper, we’ve got a monofilament mesh design which is very breathable and very comfortable on foot. Then, of course, we have 3D print just to create a little bit more supportive of a wrap.
The upper gets a bit more simplified with its mesh and minimal overlays. The shoe has a sturdy heel counter and plenty of padding around the ankle.
The GlideRide is just a hair bit too long in the toe. If you are thinking about getting the shoe, you may want to try your regular size and a half size down.
On the outsole, we’ve got a little bit of rubber for durability and traction. Then, we have the Guidance Line that’s going to work with that Guide Sole technology, again, to create an ultra-smooth transition.
It’s also worth noting the base of this shoe has been widened a little bit. So, it’s going to be a little bit more inherently stable on foot thanks to the shoe’s wider more stable platform.
GlideRide vs Evo Ride
The other shoe in the Ride series, the Evo Ride, is too firm to be a great everyday trainer and the upper is too overbuilt to be a great tempo day shoe.
But luckily, the GlideRide 2 has plenty of cushion that is softer than the Evo Ride and a nice plush upper.
Even when picking up the pace, the rocker and nylon plate in the GlideRide make it feel fast compared to something like a Hoka Clifton.
If you’re a fan of high-cushioned rockered shoes or you really liked the Glideride 1, you’ll still really like the GlideRide 2.
Overall, the Asics GlideRide 2 is going to continue to be that highly-cushioned and highly efficient daily trainer.
It’s ultra-smooth, ultra-protective, and just creates an extremely comfortable on-foot experience when you’re going long miles on the road.
- “Hefty” contrary to other daily trainers
Best Adidas Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Adidas UltraBoost 19
celt67 on Amazon says the UltraBoost is awesome for his Metatarsalgia issues. Read his review.
You’ve probably seen or heard a lot about the new UltraBoost and how it looks with skinny jeans and joggers.
But what you would want to know is how does it fare as one of the best Adidas running shoes for Metatarsalgia sufferers.
The Original UltraBoost was designed to be a performance running shoe. But before you know it, the shoe became one of those popular lifestyle shoes around essentially making it seem less of a running shoe.
Apparently, Adidas wanted to go back to the drawing board and make some functional changes.
The upper now has what Adidas calls their PrimeKnit 360. It’s woven throughout the shoe to fit the foot a bit more precisely and securely.
Off the bat, I would say it fits better performance-wise than any of the UltraBoost’s before.
While the PrimeKnit is fully adaptable, it is not as stretchy as the previous models. Combined with a translucent mesh cage, the midfoot stability is much improved.
The older UltraBoost’s had plastic cages that seemed to irritate some runners. The UltraBoost 19 doesn’t have that problem, but as far as how it looks, that’s your call. Fit and breathability-wise, this UltraBoost is one of the best by far.
The heel counter uses what Adidas calls their 3D Heel Frame. It gives the shoe some support as far as giving it a bit more integrity.
The heel also works as somewhat of a sidewall to help with the overall stability of the shoe. This is not life-changing, but you could feel the difference when picking up the pace or taking tighter turns.
The overall fit of the one-piece upper is very comfortable and the toe box feels pretty good with no hot spots. The PrimeKnit quickly adapts to your foot very nicely.
The only real change to the upper besides that is the tongue. The tongue used to flare outward, but now it is tapered inwards towards the foot.
The midsole has full-length Boost which is super-comfortable and has that nice balance.
When landing or coming off your midfoot, you can feel it’s a tad more cushion compared to the other UltraBoost’s, which is great news for runners with Metatarsalgia.
Considering the amount of cushion the UltraBoost has, it’s definitely going to be a slower to moderate pace shoe.
The outsole features a full Continental rubber setup that has been modified just a bit. Other than that, it’s the same idea.
The stretch web keeps the UltraBoost stabilized and traction on road surfaces is good. However, it performs poorly on grass.
The updated Torsion Spring Support system does a good job of guiding the foot through transition.
The overall Adidas UltraBoost 19 as a running shoe is the best that it’s ever been.
- The overall fit is improved
- The shoe just feels more secure
- The new PrimeKnit just works better for running
- The Boost feels as good as ever.
- Boost might be life, but it is also on the heavy side of the spectrum.
Best Nike Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Nike VaporFly 4%
The Vaporfly 4% is one of the best Nike shoes for Metatarsalgia in Nike’s leading consumer model in the Breaking 2 series of shoes.
Now that the 2-hour barrier in the marathon has finally been broken, the idea that Nike actually helped Kipchoge do it really 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 of the Vaporfly 4% uses very light FlyMesh and I say lightweight because the FlyMesh 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, FlyMesh is coupled with the use of FlyWire, but not this time. This shoe simply uses the FlyMesh and some very small overlays to help with the structure of the shoe.
I think having the FlyWire 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 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 VaporFly feels fast although you might be slow. You’ll feel as if you could hold a faster pace a bit easier.
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 transition 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:
- are already in great shape and like that extra edge in your races.
- love running but suffers from Metatarsalgia and want to experience the cushioning and comfort of the Zoom X technology.
- have a little extra money and don’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 cheaper price.
But outside that price tag and based on the performance of the shoe alone, the Nike Vaporfly 4% is an awesome running shoe.
- None, except for the price tag.
So there you have it. These were some of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and midfoot pain (ball of foot pain).
If you’ve run in any other running shoe that has helped ease the pain or heal your Metatarsalgia, please share your experience in the comments section below.
Where to buy running shoes for Metatarsalgia
|12mm Drop||4mm Drop|
|Very soft Air Mesh||Engineered mesh upper|
|DNA Loft midsole||Compression-molded EVA midsole|
|Carbon rubber||Rubber outsole|
|0mm Drop||8mm Drop|
|Pliable engineered mesh|
Engineered Hypoknit upper
|Oversized EVA midsole||Fresh Foam X midsole|
|Blown rubber outsole||Blown rubber outsole|
How to choose running shoes for Metatarsalgia?
What runners with Metatarsalgia really need to do is reduce the pressure in the ball of the foot during running.
The very first thing you should think about is cushioning in your running shoes. So shoe construction including cushioning is very important.
So make sure your running shoes or the running you’re going to get have adequate midsole cushioning built into it.
What you should also be looking at is the toe rocker design. The toe rocker really is the bending that occurs in the construction of the shoe beginning at the metatarsals.
A shoe with an adequate toe rocker actually allows more of a rocking motion during running and therefore doing a great job decreasing pressure through the ball of the foot.
Our feet have 5 metatarsal bones and they run from the arch of the foot all the way to the toe joints.
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.
What is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is a term used to describe forefoot conditions that cause pain, burning, or discomfort under the ball of the foot or the metatarsal bones. Basically, in a nutshell, Metatarsalgia is a big long word for pain at the ball of the foot.
What causes Metatarsalgia?
- Repetitive loading to the ball of the foot or overuse,
- intense activity,
- low arches,
- metatarsal drop where the middle metatarsals drop down a little bit further and then become more of a prominent area to put pressure,
- very high arches (Pes Cavus),
- overpronation (foot rolling inward),
- underpronation (foot rolling outward),
- tight calf muscles or a stiff ankle may cause increased pressure through the ball of the foot,
- tight toe extensor muscles,
- weak toe flexor muscles,
- hypermobile (extra flexible) 1st toe,
- callus formation,
- improper footwear,
- degeneration of the cushioning fat pads under the metatarsal heads,
- claw toes,
Can I run with Metatarsalgia?
Yes, you can still run with Metatarsalgia only after wearing super-cushioned running shoes to off-load the pressure on your metatarsals.
If you still experience pain under the ball of your feet, you have to rest your feet for a while, switch to a low-impact workout, reduce your mileage, or switch to softer surfaces to help absorb impact.
When you feel the pain is significantly less and that the symptoms are starting to go away, put on the super-cushioned wide toe box running shoes you’ve bought and just have a quick run.
If you feel you’re not getting the pain you used to have, then it’s a good sign your new running shoes are really helpful.
If, on the contrary, the pain starts to come back or even get worse, then it’s a sign you need to see your foot doctor and have an x-ray to make sure it’s not a stress fracture or whether or not one of your metatarsals is longer and causing the pain.
Are zero-drop shoes good for Metatarsalgia?
Yes. Zero-drop shoes are really good for Metatarsalgia.
But why? Higher-drop shoes place more weight on the ball of the foot.
Zero drop shoes actually decrease the pressure on the ball of the foot and disperse body weight across the toes, therefore, off-loading the metatarsal heads.
Another thing that can be really helpful is an appropriate insert. You can either an over-the-counter soft insert or a custom insert.
An orthotic or an arch support device transfers pressure energy away from the ball of the foot and places that pressure in the relatively low-impact areas of the arch.
New Balance Pressure Relief Insoles with Metatarsal Support IPR3030
The New Balance insole with metatarsal support is a great full-length arch cushion insole that is trimmed to fit. It’s also available in a wide size.
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.
It’s great with all arches and helps with:
- Arch pain.
- Heel pain.
- Back pain.
- Knee pain
- Pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis and Arthritis.
It features a deep heel cup for added stability as well as a metatarsal pad to help keep your metatarsals aligned and help off-load them.
The bottom of the insole also has extra ball-of-foot and heel cushioning.
It’s made of a triple-layer foam material that is EVA, PVC, and latex-free. It features custom airflow channels for added breathability.
This insole is great for walking, running, standing, or for use in casual or dress shoes as well as general athletic shoes. It’s also great for military boots, work boots, and hiking or backpacking footwear.
Where do you put metatarsal foot pads in your shoes?
- Add it to the footbed and it might provide you with a little bit of extra relief.
- Put the pad inside your sandals and slip-on home shoes.
- Add it to your arch support insole.
Read a study by Kuopio University Hospital “The Effect of Metatarsal Padding on Pain and Functional Ability in Metatarsalgia”
A device that works particularly well for that is a device called the cluffy wedge. It’s a piece that attaches to the insole provides just enough relief to allow your big toe to function normally.
6 thoughts on “14 Best Running Shoes For Metatarsalgia [Ball Of Foot Pain] Reviewed in 2020”
Awesome, I find this list of good shoes for metatarsalgia helpful for me, I will try a pair of New Balance walking shoes and I hope they fit me well. Thank you so much.
I agree with you. Your article is very useful.
My foot often encounters injuries. I have inserted a pad under my feet. It supports very well for the feet.
I advise those who love jogging to read this article. Choose the right pair of shoes with your feet.
I have an advice for people with foot aches: You can change the point of contact of the foot when you run or walk.
Have you tried this yet Mark?
Thanks for all the time you put into creating all the different lists into running shoes. I loved the Metatarsalgia pain list and found it helpful. I have bunions, 2 different breaks in my toes that will not heel, stress fractures and the list goes on. I have tried a metal plate in my metatarsal pad with my custom orthotics but I get really tight calves from this. I have tried everything under the sun from getting blisters on my toes and bunion but nothing works. Does anyone have any ideas?
SO sorry to hear about your foot issues. Unfortunately, I really can’t tell if a shoe can be good for different conditions at the same time. I really hope someone with similar issues would share their experience.
what do you think of the new nike zoomx invincible and the coming new balance fresh foam more v3? both looking good for Metatarsalgia pain? thanks for all the tips on your site
Thanks for the comment Mattias. The Invincible is still a newborn baby and I can’t say if it’s going to help with Metatarsalgia yet.
The More has a good rocker geometry and enough cousion underfoot to be good for Metatarsalgia.