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.
After the success of the previous 2018 and the 2019 versions of this post, here’s the updated 2020 version and I hope it would be more helpful than ever.
10 Best Running Shoes for Metatarsalgia
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
- Brooks Ghost 11
- Brooks Beast 18
- Saucony Guide ISO 2
- Saucony Triumph ISO 5
- Hoka One One Bondi 6
- Altra Paradigm 4.0
- Altra Torin 4.0
- New Balance 1080v10
- Adidas UltraBoost 19
The ideal Metatarsalgia 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.
16 Best Running Shoes For Metatarsalgia Pain (Ball Of Foot Pain) Reviews
Before we dive right into it, these are five of the best Metatarsalgia running shoes compared.
- Brooks Adrenaline 19
- Motion Control
- 12mm heel-to-toe drop
- Engineered mesh/3D Fit Print upper
- BioMogo DNA/GuideRails/DNA LOFT midsole
- Blown rubber outsole/Omega flex grooves
- 1/2 size up
- Hoka Bondi 6
- 5mm heel-to-toe drop
- Pliable engineered mesh upper
- Oversized EVA midsole
- Firmer + softer blown rubber outsole
- True to size
- Altra Paradigm 4.0
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop
- Quick-drying engineered knit upper
- Altra Ego dual-nature compound midsole
- FootPod technology outsole
- True to size
- New Balance 1080v10
- 8mm heel-to-toe drop
- Engineered Hypoknit upper
- Fresh Foam X midsole
- Medium + firm strategic blown rubber outsole
- True to size
Best Hoka Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Hoka One One Bondi 6
Victoria L Beckman on Amazon says this Bondi completely eliminated his ball-of-foot Metatarsalgia. Read their reviews here.
This award-winning classic could arguably be the most popular shoe in the Hoka collection with a complete redesign from top to bottom.
It’s a highly cushioned performance running shoe built for the neutral to underpronator seeking optimal cushioning and support. It is ideal for any distance from long runs to tempo workouts to marathon races.
This amount of cushion and support makes the Bondi 6 one of the best running shoes for ball-of-foot Metatarsalgia.
The Bondi 6 is a simple shoe with no unnecessary add-ons or extra thick uppers. You just put it on, run, and just feel super comfortable.
Engineered to deliver a smoother ride and a more comfortable fit, the Bondi 6 features an upper that 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.
Also, this shoe does have a tendency to fit a lot of foot shapes. It’s also available in wide versions as well.
The Bondi 6 offers a more accommodating arch, a roomier forefoot, a soft smooth and cushioned ride.
The Bondi franchise from Hoka has always been around lightweight long-distance comfort.
If you’ve never run in a Hoka before, the very first thing you’ll notice when you slip your foot in is how crazy light it actually is for how it looks.
if you’re a bit weight-sensitive about long-distance running shoes, the men’s Bondi 6 is a bit heavier than its predecessor.
Talking about weight …
A huge contributing factor to its light weight is the super light EVA injected midsole. The midsole offers even softer cushioning than previous versions.
Compared to other running shoes where you literally sit on top of the midsole, the Bondi 6 offers a cradle for your feet.
When you slide your foot in, the midsole cradle really holds your heel in nicely and you just feel really comfortable and secure.
Also, one of the most impressive things about this midsole is its wear life is really long.
The midsole foam offers a similar ride to the Bondi 6. It strikes a balance between cushion and resilience.
In short, the full-compression EVA midsole offers that signature cushioning that Hoka fans have come to expect.
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 full ground contact outsole is something that not many companies do these days.
It makes so much sense on the Bondi when you have a higher-cushioned shoe to have a nice full-ground contact.
The outsole also offers enough traction to allow for some light trail running.
So you should definitely consider the Hoka One One Bondi 6 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.
- Slightly less breathable mesh material.
Hoka One One Vanquish 2
The Vanquish is one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and flat feet.
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 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-layered 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 features a seamless air mesh design with an asymmetrical 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.
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 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.
- A bit narrow.
Best Altra Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Altra Paradigm 4.0
Mr. Carson C. Smith got totally pain-free after wearing this shoe. His search for the best neutral shoes for Metatarsalgia led him to the Paradigm 4. Read his review on Amazon.
The Altra Paradigm 4.0 takes that cushion and takes it into an all-new level both in terms of max cushion as well as features.
This lightweight versatile running shoe is built for the neutral to underpronator and it’s got maximum cushioning.
It’s got a really unique quick-drying engineered knit upper that has enhanced durability and tons of breathability to keep your foot nice and comfortable inside.
Of course, the foot-shaped toe box allows your toes to splay out naturally for a comfy cruise.
It also has a removable 5-mm sculpted footbed down inside that’s going to give you additional underfoot support.
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.
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 shoe to keep your foot naturally stable using the stability points of your foot.
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.
The midsole continues with the Innerflex flex groove technology on the inside and 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 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 one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and Plantar Fasciitis.
- Zero-drop takes getting used to especially if you run in higher-drop shoes.
Altra Torin 4.0 + Altra Torin 4 Plush
This is a tale of two Torins.
This is a legacy model from Altra, the Altra Torin 4.0 and the Torin 4 Plush. When Altra goes from .5 to .0, they do an outsole, midsole, and upper change to their models.
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 a cozy, compression-resistant, snappy midsole. One of the other reasons they call it the Plush is because it has 2 extra millimeters of the Strobel layer.
The Torin 4 is a little bit firmer, and if you want something a little bit softer, that’s where the Torin 4 Plush comes in.
Torin 4 Plush
When you want to turn up the comfort level on your run to 11, that is when the Torin Plush comes in.
What Altra has done from the Torin 4 regular is that they’ve added a really nice new knit 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.
That in addition to a new Strobel layer which makes the Plush’s stack height 28mm as opposed to the Torin 4.0’s 26mm is all going to be about step-in comfort.
As soon as you put the Plush on, you’re going to feel that new Strobel layer that feels really nice under your metatarsals.
There’s two key components that these two amazing shoes share as well. Altra has rounded the heel off a little bit more from their previous models.
This is going to make the shoes 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.
The other thing is they put a strap that’s going to come over the top of your foot into both models.
Previously, it was just available in the mesh version and what that actually does is as you leave the ground, it’s going to be nice and snug to hold you in there.
Also, for the first time in the Torin, they’ve added a full-contact carbon rubber outsole to increase durability, which proves Altra listens to their customers who have wanted this for a while.
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, which allows your toes to splay and actually allows the bones and metatarsals of your foot to realign and help stabilize themselves.
Altra is all about allowing those toes to spread out and let them sit naturally. So, Altra is doing hard to make the healthiest holistically designed shoes.
In short, the Altra Torin 4.0 regular is snappy whereas the Torin 4 Plush is going to maximize comfort underfoot for all those miles.
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 Plush are going to make women and men feel more comfortable and be able to run a little more naturally.
Best New Balance Shoes For Metatarsalgia
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8
The 1080v8 is one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and bad knees.
It 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.
Starting off with the upper, the NB1080 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 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.
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 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.
Last but not least, this is one of the best New Balance shoes for capsulitis.
For more reviews, colors, and prices, go to Amazon.
Last but not least, this is a great New Balance shoe for Plantar Fasciitis.
- A bit bulky and pricey.
New Balance 1080v10
This is the 10th version of the 1080 Fresh Foam series and I wanted to include it for people who would want an updated version of the 1080v7 above.
The 1080v10 has a totally revamped upper. In this version, we have an engineered Hypoknit which is similar to what we’ve seen in shoes like the New Balance Zante Pursuit.
This knit has a very elastic stretchy feel to it. You may find it a bit snug around your toes at first, but once it adapts, it’s good to go.
Breathability in the 1080v10 has also improved in some ways with the ventilation on the toe box that helps with airflow, which is nice because nobody wants hot feet.
The 1080v10 still has that bootie-like fit which keeps the fit snug and simple. On the sides, there are some stitched-in overlays within the design to help give the midfoot some structure.
The other big change is the new heel design which New Balance calls the Ultra Heel. When the 1080 series fans first saw this heel design, they just thought it might just ruin an already great shoe.
Luckily, the new heel design causes no issues. It is still supportive with no slipping and irritation in the heel, and everything else is about what you’d expect.
Also, New Balance did put some padding into the tongue, which is fine.
Something that is also good and that interests runners with Metatarsalgia more is the underfoot cushioning. The NB 1080v10 is all about giving you guys more cushion for the pushin’, the pace.
The midsole features a revamped Fresh Foam called Fresh Foam X. This Fresh Foam is straight up comfortable. 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.
While the Fresh Foam X is supposed to have more energy return in a bounce-back feel, this Fresh Foam setup in the 1080v10 is not meant for speed.
The stack-height and the softer feel just encourages us to use this shoe for longer or slower runs, not for speed and tempo runs. So for the purpose of the 1080v10, it is a great job underfoot.
The outsole has a mix of medium and firm strategic blown rubber. This combination seems to help with cushion even more.
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.
As a max cushion shoe, the new New Balance 1080v10 is great. It comes with narrow and wide options, feels pretty light for the amount of cushion that you’re getting, and as long as you have a neutral foot strike, the ride is pretty smooth.
Some runners who wear stability shoes claim that the compressive midsole really does not do much as far as providing pronation support.
So for those needing more support, you may want to try the Fresh Foam Vongo which is a soft supportive option.
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.
Chris says the NB 1080v10 is great for his Metatarsalgia, narrow feet, and high arches. Read his review.
One last thing, the v10 is also one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and wide feet.
- Fresh Foam X is a bit firmer than previous foam.
Best Brooks Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
The Adrenaline 19 is for someone who needs protection and wants to make sure that they can continue running and have the appropriate amount of support regardless of the mileage.
The key updates from the GTS 18 include adding DNA Loft to the heel area. DNA Loft is Brooks’ new premium cushioning system that will make for a smoother transition while running or walking.
Brooks has also added more air and added polyurethane to offer a really bouncy landing.
The big change for the GTS 19 is the addition of the GuideRails. This is an on-demand holistic support system integrated on both the inside and the outside of the shoe.
The idea behind the GuideRails is Brooks wanted to influence your foot to move as it would naturally and NOT alter it. So GuideRails activate ONLY when your feet need them to.
The big changes in the upper have to do with an updated internal booty and an added design on the mesh.
The engineered air mesh on the upper is really lightweight and breathable and pretty much disappears as soon as you put on your foot.
The heel area sees the addition of a heel pad.
The outsole on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 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.
- Ride might feel different for lifetime fans.
Brooks Ghost 13
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.
The Ghost is known for its soft plush and reliable running experience. So people who want to run in the Ghost 13 are going to be those
This shoe is back with several changes to improve fit and performance while still maintaining the same feel runners 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 that 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 11 is one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia, wide feet, and bunions.
- Upper lacks some structure
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 this 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 one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia and 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.
Brooks Transcend 4
With an 8mm heel-to-toe offset, the Transcend 4 is a premium daily running shoe designed for moderate to severe 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 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 stretch 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.
There’s a soft element fabric lining as well to give you a great in-shoe feel and a profile sock liner that is removable to give room for your own custom orthotics.
Not only that, but there’s a full-length S-257 Cushsole midsole compound that utilizes 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 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 🙂
- Less arch support in the women’s version compared to the previous model.
Best Saucony Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Saucony Guide ISO 2
The Saucony Guide ISO 2 is a high-mileage shoe with some stability that can take you through long runs to fast workouts.
Being a stability shoe with a medial posting through the medial side, the Saucony Guide ISO 2 is a lightweight shoe for its stability class.
It’s a moderate stability shoe and not an overly aggressive stability shoe. If you overpronate moderately, you’re going to stay really healthy on the Guide.
So if you’re looking for a stability shoe that’s cushioned, fast, and lightweight, this is what you want.
Upper & ISO FIT
Saucony introduced a seamless jacquard breathable mesh upper, the ISO FIT treatment, and a FORMFIT contoured footbed.
The ISOFIT lacing system is set on the midfoot area to really lock you down in that kind of cockpit and it’s adjustable to give you the perfect fit. This means that you can tighten a section and then loosen up another section.
The Guide ISO 1’s forefoot was not that deep and the top of the shoe would rub on the big toe and across the top of the foot.
Compared to that, the Guide ISO 2 is a little bit deeper and Saucony fixed this issue.
The Guide ISO 2 does run a little bit wider through the toe box, which is great but it’s something to note if you’re a person with a narrow foot.
The shoe has a really nice heel collar and combined with the jacquard mesh and the ISOFIT, what you get is a shoe that you step in and it just fits like a slipper.
Inside the shoe, there’s the Performance Contoured Footbed to cushion your ride and ball of your foot. It’s layered with one small layer of the EVERUN material so that you have more cushion throughout your long runs.
The Guide ISO 2 carries over the POWRFOAM midsole and EVERUN topsole cushioning to give you energetic cushioning while the second-density medial post guides the foot towards its natural gait.
When the EVERUN topsole came out, it was really spongy and pretty responsive but really soft. Saucony tuned that a little bit and now EVRUN feels a little less spongy but still responsive.
The outsole is full-ground contact and it’s pretty sticky. A lot of other running shoe companies try to make their outsoles too durable and what happens is it’s not grippy as it should be and you, therefore, lose a lot of traction.
The outsole on the Guide ISO 2 feels good and you can stick the landing even in the wintertime if you’re hitting some roads with ice and snow on it.
The Guide ISO 2 is back to fitting and feeling like the Guide has always felt, which is the perfect combination of lightweight but high-mileage stability.
This is an ideal shoe for a longer run on easy days. For a Saucony shoe, it’s a little bit on the softer end but it’s also nice and light considering it’s in the stability category.
The Saucony Guide ISO 2 is available in a wide for men and women and trail version for the first time.
As Saucony says, stability or cushioning? The answer is why not both.
Y. Alexander finds the Guide ISO’s thick sole to be adequate for his Metatarsalgia and arthritis. Read his review.
Finally, the Guide ISO 2 is one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia, knee, and back pain.
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
Note: The Triumph ISO is at its 5th iteration, but I still find the 2nd version to be the best option for Metatarsalgia. Read what Lillith and ESedlin say about the Triumph 2 and their Metatarsalgia.
The Saucony Triumph ISO 2 is for the runner who’s looking for a premiere plush neutral shoe that they can do all their mileage in. So it’s designed for a runner with a neutral gait style and it’s great for metatarsal pain.
The Triumph ISO has 3 major components that will represent the update to the wide-open mesh 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 ISOFIT. There’s a sleeve that you would slip your 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.
So, Saucony will be continuing with the ISOFIT upper, the support straps that come around and cinch around the foot giving a nice kind of personal customized fit.
Again, the upper is an air mesh that’s very breathable. This construction allows for a very conforming fit.
One of the key updates to the Triumph ISO 2 is the use of EVERUN. EVERUN is a cushioning compound that is placed within the shoe to complement the existing PWRGRID+ midsole.
EVERUN is actually contained within the shoe under the sock liner and is a continuous piece of material.
What it does is it offers continuous cushioning from heel to toe for the overall experience of the runner.
It also provides a more resilient, more lively, more responsive feel on top of the shoe as the runner goes forward from heel to toe.
Saucony also uses EVERUN within the landing zone to absorb the initial point of contact as the runner hits the ground and then transitions forward.
A key update to the outsole of the Triumph ISO 2 would be the TriFlex outsole. The TriFlex outsole was modified to provide a little bit more surface area for weight distribution as well as increased flexibility to make for a very efficient push-off for the runner.
To summarize the three updates of the Triumph ISO 2:
- The improvement of the ISOFIT upper
- The addition of EVERUN within the shoe
- The TriFlex outsole
- Runs a hair small.
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.
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 Adidas Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Adidas UltraBoost 19
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.
- Color schemes might seem awkward and bland for some.
- The weight. Boost might be life, but it is also on the heavy side of the spectrum.
Best Nike Running Shoes For Metatarsalgia
Nike VaporFly 4%
The Vaporfly 4% is one of the best running 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
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.
So there you have it. These were some of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia 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.
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, Arthritis, improper footwear, degeneration of the cushioning fat pads under the metatarsal heads, bunions, claw toes, hammertoes.
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.
Wear shoes at home
The first thing to do is to start wearing shoes both inside and outside the house. I usually recommend purchasing some kind of a slip-on comfortable shoe for wearing around the house that you put on as soon as you come in the home.
By doing so, your shoe allows for pressure to be relieved and cushioned over a longer period of time.
Often, the swelling and the pain that has developed under the ball of the foot will disappear by wearing a cushioned shoe around the house.
These cushioned shoes cushion the ball of the foot and allow the metatarsal heads to be able to sink in and be a little bit cushioned.
The best shoes to wear at home aren’t too flexible and have a stiffer sole to actually reduce the pain that you might have in your metatarsal head area.
Running shoe selection
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.
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.
Condition Specific Orthotics
A condition-specific orthotic is essentially an orthotic with modifications built into the orthotic. These orthotics really help reduce pressure through the region of concern.
There are some good orthotics that are good for Metatarsalgia in the second metatarsal. These have a semi-rigid plastic material shell which contours the arch.
They have a foam-based metatarsal that will reduce pressure fairly evenly through the ball of the foot. They also have a recess underneath the second metatarsal to actually offload the second metatarsal.
This pressure reduction will go a long way to help relieve pain and the symptoms associated with Metatarsalgia.
There are other condition-specific orthotics designed more specific to someone who has a generalized Metatarsalgia through the ball of the foot or the metatarsal region.
They have a semi-rigid plastic material shell that helps contour the arch. This decreases pressure through the ball of the foot. Then the foam-based metatarsal pad is also designed to place more pressure just behind the metatarsals.
This kind of orthotic has no specific padding or modification to the ball of the foot. What they’re really designed to do is reduce pressure from the metatarsals by the use of this pad.
Orthotics for Diffuse Metatarsalgia
Another condition-specific orthotic is designed more for people who have diffuse Metatarsalgia. The area of concern involves the second, third, and fourth metatarsals.
This kind of orthotic is modified by placing a metatarsal pad that will further decrease pressure through the ball of the foot as well as added cushioning in the form of a soft foam cushion padding under the ball of the foot to decrease pressure and improve comfort.
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.
Do metatarsal pads work?
You can also use a metatarsal pad that has a dome of relief, but make sure you place it right behind the metatarsal area.
If it’s positioned in the right place, it can really help off-load and help de-stress the area of pain and can be quite helpful in controlling the symptoms.
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”
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 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.