Best Running Shoes for Top of Foot Pain & Extensor Tendonitis!


Today is your lucky day because I’m going to share with you some of the best running shoes for top-of-foot pain and some of the best shoes for extensor tendonitis.

In the world of running, every step should be a celebration of strength and endurance. Yet, when top-of-foot pain disrupts the rhythm, finding the right running shoe becomes a quest for both comfort and performance.

Join me as I navigate through the intricacies of top-of-foot pain, revealing the top-notch running shoes that promise relief and ensure each stride is a step towards pain-free joy.

Let’s dive right into it…


Best Running Shoes for Top-of-Foot Pain

New Balance 1080v13


Neutral 〉 W: 8.1 oz 〉 M: 9.3 oz 〉 Drop: 6 mm 〉 Heel: 37 mm 〉 Forefoot: 31 mm



As one of the best running shoes for extensor tendonitis, the Fresh Foam 1080 line has consistently ranked among New Balance’s most popular shoes for daily training. Despite featuring a substantial amount of midsole foam, the shoe has historically leaned toward a firmer ride.

New Balance has upgraded the 1080v13 by introducing a softer Fresh Foam X midsole to enhance cushioning and comfort. Additionally, they’ve revamped the upper with a breathable mesh that rests softly and comfortably on the top of your feet, providing a more gentle structure compared to earlier versions.

The 1080v13 provides ample padding around the ankle collar and tongue, ensuring a generous dose of step-in comfort. On the bottom, there’s an Ndurance rubber outsole to enhance grip and improve durability.

Jump down to Hoka Clifton


Upper Fit

The fit of the 1080v13 is ideal for me. It’s an exceptionally comfortable shoe, providing ample room in the forefoot while ensuring a secure hold around the heel and midfoot.

Unlike some of their racing shoes, such as the new SC Trainer, it doesn’t have a tight fit. The upper is forgiving yet effectively holding the foot in place. The 1080v13 is well-padded, particularly through the tongue and ankle collar, resulting in a plush and luxurious feel.


Run Test

I have logged just over 50k in the New Balance 1080v13 and a lot of training miles in the previous 1080 models. My runs in the v13 have varied from comfortable 5K recovery efforts to half marathon training runs.

Comparatively, I sense that the earlier iterations of Fresh Foam X 1080 were somewhat dull and less comfortable, with less sinking in. However, they did exhibit more resiliency, providing a bit more responsiveness when pushing beyond easy paces.

From the very first run in the 1080v13, it was evident that this model marked a significant improvement over its predecessors.

The primary reason lies in the formulation of the new Fresh Foam X midsole foam, which is notably lighter and softer. This results in a more energetic and enjoyable running experience, making it a substantial plus point for the 1080v13.

Surprisingly, I found that the 1080v13 offers a ride quite similar to the New Balance More v4, a personal favorite among cushioned shoes.

1080v13 vs. Previous iterations

In a straightforward comparison between the previous 1080 models and the 1080v13, I believe the latter feels exceptionally good at pure easy recovery paces. It provides effective leg protection, making it a reliable choice for daily miles where you’re simply cruising around.

During the longer runs I’ve undertaken in the 1080v13, it impressively rolls you in smoothly, cradling the foot while also offering a subtle rebound. While it still serves as a reliable daily shoe, I believe the 1080v13 now leans more towards the cushioned shoe category, making it well-suited for slower miles, recovery runs, and easy miles.

However, while attempting to pick up the pace towards the end of my runs, the 1080v13 was okay but without a substantial bounce back due to its focus on comfort. Conversely, the previous 1080 models, with their slightly firmer ride and platform, demonstrated more versatility, allowing for a bit more speed if you aimed to run faster.

All in all,

In summary, the earlier iterations of the 1080 lacked a distinct standout feature, but the 1080v13 has carved out a clearer identity, presenting itself as a remarkably soft and excellent choice for recovery days. However, it might sacrifice a bit in terms of versatility compared to its predecessors.

And if you’re looking for some of the best walking shoes for extensor tendonitis, you can’t go wrong with the 1080. 

Where to buy (not affiliate)
New BalanceRunning Warehouse


Hoka Clifton 9


Neutral 〉 W: 7.7 oz 〉 M: 9.0 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Heel: 40 mm 〉 Forefoot: 35 mm



Diving into the heart of comfort, the Clifton 9 stands out for its upper and lacing system that minimize pressure on the top of the foot, ensuring each run is a liberating, pain-free journey. Hoka’s thoughtful design in the Clifton 9 prioritizes simplicity, allowing runners to enjoy the miles without the burden of discomfort.

As a runner, there are those shoes that etch themselves into the very fabric of our journey—a perfect blend of comfort, performance, and nostalgia.

For me, Eric Barber, that shoe is the OG Clifton, the catalyst that ignited my passion for running shoe reviews and unraveled the intricate world of footwear technology.

As a dedicated fan, it’s fair to say I’ve been on this journey with every iteration. While some models landed as solid companions, others left me yearning for that initial spark. The recent releases, though undeniably robust, seemed to echo a sense of familiarity, a slight stagnation.

With the Clifton 9, it seems Hoka has taken a leap infusing freshness into a beloved classic.

Jump down to Saucony Kinvara



Hoka decided to shake things up with the Clifton 9, introducing an updated engineered mesh that ditches the excess hot melts and overlays from the Clifton 8.

As I hit the road, I could instantly feel the difference in breathability—especially in the forefoot. Even with some overlays gone in the midfoot, the platform still provided a stable base, making me confident in each stride.

Now, let’s talk comfort. The plush gusseted tongue and sturdy heel counter create a cozy haven for your feet. They’ve even added a bit more cushion around the ankle collar, making those long runs a breeze (literally).

During a recent 50-degree run with a gentle breeze, I could sense the air passing through the forefoot, a testament to the improved breathability of the Clifton 9.

In my book, it’s safe to say that the Clifton 9 outshines its predecessor in terms of breathability. Whether you’re tackling warmer climates or just dealing with sweaty feet, this shoe lets your feet breathe, adding a refreshing layer to your running experience. Hoka, kudos on this one.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—or should I say the toebox.



Runners often complain about Hoka shoes running a tad narrow, but with the Clifton 9, there’s a noticeable shift. Whether it’s the change in materials or a deliberate tweak, the toebox feels a bit more spacious, giving your toes the breathing room they deserve.

However, in the quest for the perfect fit, my only gripe with the upper is I did encounter a smidge of heel slipping. Enter the last loophole, and the issue was swiftly resolved.

No hot spots, no blisters, no irritating surprises—just a comfortable and accommodating fit that lets you focus on the road ahead.



A lot of runners complain about Hoka sticking to EVA foam while other brands are tech-tripping with fancy foams. Well, the Clifton 9 still uses the EVA, but hold up – Hoka did some tinkering. They’ve spiced up that compression-molded EVA (CMEVA) for a snazzier underfoot vibe.

Not just that, they threw in an extra three millimeters of foam. Three! Now, the big question buzzing in my head: Does it really feel better?



The past models were getting a little too squishy, a bit on the dead-feeling side. But fear not, the Clifton 9 steps in to set the record straight. It’s still your go-to protective and cushy shoe, but here’s the twist – it’s a tad firmer and packs more energy.

Picture this: a foam with a little extra pop, a dash more oomph than the classic CMEVA Hoka’s been using. It’s like the Clifton 9 got a jolt of life.

But Clifton 9 isn’t just about the foam upgrade; it’s got a little something extra – the early stage Meta Rocker. What’s that, you ask? It’s a clever curve in the midsole, there to give you a nudge forward in your stride, making your turnover smoother than a well-tuned record.

The Clifton 9 is also pretty light feeling, which means versatility is the name of the game. Whether you’re doing a long easy run or a tempo workout, this Clifton’s got your back.

It’s like the Swiss Army knife of running shoes – no fancy carbon plate, just a solid daily trainer that’s up for anything. If you’re in the market for a do-it-all shoe, the Clifton 9 could be your ticket to a versatile running companion.



The Clifton isn’t a stability shoe; it’s a neutral shoe. But here’s the cool part – Hoka’s playing with a flat-waisted geometry, which translates to a stable ride without piling on all the extras you find in stability shoes.

Now, does it fix an overpronator’s stride? No, but it does a decent job of keeping me on track without wobbling around. If you’re after a reliable ride without diving into the stability shoe craziness, this might just be your sweet spot.




Hoka’s got some Durabrasion rubber in the front and back, with some exposed EVA in the middle. Now, the cool part? Hoka’s outsoles keep it light. No unnecessary weight dragging you down.

All in all, if you’re into that sink-in plush feel from the Clifton 8, cool. But if you’re after a bit more firmness and response, the Clifton 9 might be your go-to. It all boils down to what kind of ride you’re craving.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
HokaRunning Warehouse


Saucony Kinvara 13


Neutral 〉 W: 6.1 oz 〉 M: 7.2 oz 〉 Drop: 4 mm 〉 Heel: 28 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm



The Kinvara’s upper and lacing system are like a soothing hug for your feet. No unnecessary pressure—just the right fit. It’s a game-changer. Slip into the Kinvara, and let the upper take care of your feet, making every run a breeze.

The Kinvara has been a favorite for years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s lightweight, offers a lively ride, and is super versatile. Whether it’s your daily training or race day, the Kinvara has you covered for any up-tempo effort in between. It’s just that reliable.

So, what sets the Kinvara 13 apart from its predecessor, the Kinvara 12 and the Kinvara 11? Well, the game-changer here is the upper. That’s what makes the Kinvara 13 the lightest Kinvara ever…

Jump down to Saucony Endorphin Shift


The Kinvara keeps it real simple with a mesh upper that’s got a touch of padding—just enough to make it comfy without losing that feather-light feel we all love about the Kinvara.

There’s a sweet little pull tab on the tongue, making slipping these on and off a breeze. The tongue’s got a hint of padding, adding that extra comfort without weighing you down.

The heel cup has a bit of structure and a tad of give, but it’s all about keeping things light. No extra weight here. Oh, and there are two pull tabs at the back. One’s your regular deal, but that elastic one? Beats me. The Kinvara’s got some quirks, but it’s all part of the fun.

The lay flat laces are so effective. They bring that sweet lockdown without bothering the top of your foot. Even with the upper being as light as it is, these laces are the real MVPs, keeping your foot securely in place. It’s the kind of simplicity that just works, making your run all about comfort and focus.

In terms of fit, the Kinvara, truth be told, isn’t known for being a wider shoe, and for some runners, the upper might feel a bit on the slim side. If your feet lean wider, you might want to consider grabbing this one in a wide or 2E, or D for the ladies.



Good news for Kinvara 12 fans—the 13 keeps things consistent with the same midsole compound. If you loved the ride of the 12, you’re in for a treat because the 13 brings that same feel to the table.

It’s all about that familiar peppy vibe, making every run a chance to pick up the pace. However, if you’re into the high stack height sensation, the Kinvara keeps it grounded with a closer-to-the-ground feel.

It’s the kind of continuity that runners can appreciate, ensuring that the Kinvara 13 lives up to its reputation for that lively and responsive ride.

Overall, if you’re after that traditional minimalist vibe, the Kinvara’s got your back. It’s all about that ground contact you crave, giving you a nimble and responsive option for your road runs.



Looking at the outsole, you’ll notice that the outsole doesn’t have much rubber. But here’s the secret sauce: Saucony’s been doing it this way for years. The goal? Keep the weight down. They strategically place rubber only where it’s gonna see some serious action.

In a nutshell, the outsole is all about minimalism. Less rubber, less weight, and more focus on performance. The Kinvara is built to be light on your feet and heavy on delivering a top-notch running experience.

Now, here’s the trade-off for that feather-light feel of the Kinvara—durability. With a good chunk of midsole foam exposed at the bottom, it does take a hit on the shoe’s overall durability.

If you’re pushing this pair to the limit, expect it to clock in around 300 miles. It’s a choice between weight and longevity, and the Kinvara leans towards the former, giving you a lightweight ride even if it means a slightly shorter lifespan.


Kudos to Saucony for keeping it real with the Kinvara—staying loyal to its roots as that lightweight, simple, close-to-the-ground daily trainer.

I took it on multiple 10+ mile runs, threw in some track workouts, and even spiced up my week with peppier runs. Now, if you’ve got an efficient stride, don’t be surprised if the Kinvara happily takes you beyond 10 or 15 miles. It’s the go-to for those faster, peppier runs, where picking up the pace is the name of the game.

For high schoolers dipping their toes into diverse runs, the Kinvara is a great entry-level choice. It’s versatile, offering a bit of protection while allowing you to hit those faster paces—perfect for mixing things up throughout the week.

In a nutshell, the Kinvara is your lightweight, versatile daily trainer that not only feels fun underfoot but also packs enough responsiveness and protection to see you through those longer efforts when you decide to push it 10+ miles.

It’s a true companion for the runner who wants a shoe that can keep up with the variety of challenges a week can throw at them.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
SauconyRunning Warehouse


Saucony Endorphin Shift 3


Neutral 〉 W: 8.2 oz 〉 M: 9.3 oz 〉 Drop: 4 mm 〉 Heel: 41 mm 〉 Forefoot: 37 mm



The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 provides relief for runners experiencing top-of-the-foot pain. Its plush upper and well-designed lacing system minimizes pressure, offering a secure and gentle fit.

The Endorphin series has been loved by runners since its debut. But while the Shift might have lingered in the shadows of the immensely popular Endorphin Speed and Endorphin Pro, the recent updates in the third iteration propel the Endorphin Shift 3 into a well-deserved spotlight within the Endorphin lineup.

Jump down to Skechers Excess



So, let’s dive into how the Endorphin Shift 3 feels on your feet. I gotta say, the fully gusseted tongue, plush heel counter, and the breezy upper—all team up to give you this really comfy fit. When you step in, it’s just lovely.

Now, sizing is right on the money with the Shift 3. You get some nice toe wiggle room, which is always a win. Locking down the midfoot and heel is a breeze—they nailed it.

Now, here’s a subtle but important detail—the laces. They’ve got this sweet elasticity to them. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re aiming for that perfect lockdown on the top of your foot, it’s a bit hard.

Just a heads up, when I first laced up the left shoe, I felt a tad more pressure around the arch and midfoot. Barely noticeable, and it vanished after a short run. But hey, honesty is the best policy, right?



We’re sticking with the tried-and-true PWRRUN foam in the Endorphin Shift 3, just like its predecessor, the Shift 2.

However, this time around, they’ve dialed it to a slightly softer formula and paired it with increased stack heights. The result? A wonderfully soft and protective ride that feels like a cushioned cocoon as you clock those miles.

And let’s not forget the Speed Roll technology—it’s the same smooth operator you find throughout the Endorphin lineup, seamlessly carrying over to the Endorphin Shift 3. This tech ensures each step in your stride flows like a breeze, making your run buttery smooth from start to finish.


Speed Roll

I’ve always been a fan of the Speed Roll technology—it worked wonders for me, especially earning the Endorphin Pro 3 a spot at the very top of my list for favorite shoe releases every year.

The good news? That magic carries over seamlessly into the Shift 3. Landing in the midfoot, I experienced a smooth and effortless roll through the gait cycle.

Now, shoes with a cushion like the Endorphin Shift 3 often get tagged as just for easy or recovery days. But let me tell you, I was in for a surprise—the Shift 3 felt surprisingly peppy underfoot.

While I might not grab it for specific sessions, if you’re doing longer runs with a bit of pace or some progressions thrown in, the Endorphin Shift 3 proves to be a solid choice.

It goes to show that this shoe isn’t just about recovery—it’s got some pep in its step for those days when you want to pick up the pace a bit.

Let’s talk about one standout feature in the ride of the Endorphin Shift 3—the inherent stability…



Now, let’s address a common concern with max-stacked shoes—some can feel a tad wobbly and unstable. While I don’t personally struggle much with stability, I couldn’t help but notice the secure and safe feeling underfoot with the Endorphin Shift 3.

Even on less-than-ideal country road surfaces, this shoe stands out for providing a stable and trustworthy platform, ensuring your run feels secure and confident, no matter the terrain.

For all you running shoe enthusiasts out there, you know the max stack cushion game is seriously crowded—with contenders like the ON Cloudmonster and the Nike Invincible Run 3.

But let me tell you, the Endorphin Shift 3 comfortably holds its ground right up there. In a saturated market, it manages to stand out, making a solid case for itself among the heavyweights of max-stack cushioned running shoes.



When you’re looking at a shoe that’s going to be your trusty companion for logging serious miles, durability is a deal-breaker.

The good news? The Endorphin Shift 3 didn’t skimp on the rubber, ensuring all the crucial high-wear spots are protected. So, go ahead and hit those miles—the Endorphin Shift 3 is built to last.

Weight and Stack

You know what’s a real treat with a new shoe version? When it sheds some serious weight, and the Endorphin Shift 3 delivers exactly that.

We’re talking about 9.3 oz (264) for my US 9—significant weight loss compared to its predecessor. This weight drop makes it a serious contender in the market, especially for a max-stack shoe.

Talking about the stack…

Get ready for some numbers. The Shift 3 is maxed out with a whopping 39 millimeters in the heel and 35 millimeters in the forefoot, giving you a 4mm drop. It’s all about that elevated stack, bringing the comfort and performance to a whole new level.



I decided to put the Endorphin Shift 3 to the test with an easy 10K, right after a hefty weekend of logging serious miles.

To my delight, the Shift 3 impressed me with its soft and protective feel underfoot. It did wonders in easing the usual fatigue I experience, turning what could have been a taxing run into a surprisingly comfortable and enjoyable outing. The Endorphin Shift 3 truly knows how to make those recovery runs feel like a breeze.

Now, I caught wind of some chatter about the Shift 2’s midsole being on the firmer side. But whether it’s the touch of a lighter formulation or just having more of it in the Shift 3, I personally didn’t find that to be the case.

Especially when landing towards the mid to forefoot, it felt surprisingly soft underfoot—a pleasant surprise that aligned perfectly with my comfort preferences.

The Endorphin Shift 3 seems to have dialed in the midsole just right for a cushy and enjoyable ride, debunking any firmness concerns from its predecessor.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
SauconyFleet Feet

Skechers Go Run Excess Razor 2


Neutral 〉 W: 6.5 oz 〉 M: 7.9 oz 〉 Drop: 4 mm 〉 Heel: 34 mm 〉 Forefoot: 30 mm



The Excess 2 is a great shoe for extensor tendonitis from Skechers as its well-crafted upper, tongue, and lacing system work synergistically to deliver optimal comfort and support, effectively relieving discomfort.

The Skechers Excess 2 is a kind of up-tempo and light daily trainer. In a world where this shoe rubs shoulders with pricier counterparts, the Excess 2 holds its own against competitors that might dent your wallet a bit more, making the Excess 2 a budget-friendly gem in the world of versatile and nimble footwear.

Jump down to Brooks Ghost


The shift to a mono mesh polyester blend adds a touch of luxury, making the upper soft and embracing. This revamped upper effortlessly wraps around my foot, providing a snug fit. Skechers uses overlays along the eyelet chain, offering that extra bit of support where it matters.

Now, let me talk about my favorite part—the tongue. While it’s not gusseted, the genius move of adding a loop where the laces feed through holds it perfectly in place.

This tongue is a winner in material and thickness. Toward the toe, we’ve got an aerated mesh, and as we move up, it transitions to a perhaps faux suede material.

The thickness is spot on, hitting the sweet spot between a racing tongue and a chunky daily trainer tongue. It’s just right, providing enough padding on top to prevent those pesky laces from digging into your foot.

Now, for an up-tempo shoe, the Excess 2 surprises with its ample padding which cups your heel nicely, creating a secure fit. The rigid heel counter, featuring a plastic insert, adds to the stability and ensures that lockdown stays put. It’s these thoughtful details that elevate the Excess 2’s upper game.


On the inside, the Excess 2 is using Skechers’ Podiatrist-certified Archfit technology, which is all about providing that essential arch support.

If you’re someone who craves or requires that extra arch support, the Excess might just be a dream come true for you. On the flip side, if arch support isn’t your thing or you prefer an ultra-thin insole, the beauty lies in the flexibility—simply swap out the Podiatrist-certified Archfit insole for your own and tailor the shoe to your comfort preferences. It’s this adaptability that makes the Excess 2 a versatile choice for runners with varying support needs.


When it comes to cushioning, the 30mm/26mm stack of the Skechers Excess 2 pleasantly surprised me. Despite my initial, perhaps unrealistic expectations of a harsh ride, the comfort level was exceptional.

I’ve become quite a fan of Skechers’ Hyper Burst foam. It’s a super-critical EVA that strikes a perfect balance between weight, responsiveness, and cushiness.

The Excess 2 uses Skechers’ Hyper Arc technology which is essentially a rocker geometry. According to them, it promotes efficiency in every stride, and I couldn’t agree more.

What I appreciate most is that the midsole doesn’t feel like it’s holding me back—it’s a comfortable, natural roll through my gait cycle that adds to the overall enjoyable experience.


The Excess 2 is technically a plated running shoe. Now, if you’ve had your fair share of runs in plated shoes, especially outside the race track, you know they can sometimes feel a bit harsh.

Typically, when I take a plated shoe for an easy run, that rigidity of the plate becomes apparent, and the ride loses its plush feel.

However, the Excess 2 brings a different vibe. The H-Plate doesn’t impose a sense of rigidity, and it doesn’t aggressively propel me forward. It’s a subtle touch, adding a technical edge without compromising the smooth and comfortable feel of the run.

Now, the plate in the Excess 2 is there to enhance your toe-off efficiency. It adds a subtle snap to the Excess 2, contributing to a responsive feel without sacrificing stability.

Talking about stability…

The shoe’s wider base and heel are a deliberate move to enhance the overall comfort of your ride. The wider foundation adds a touch of coziness, making each stride feel more comfortable and accommodating.



Skechers has joined forces with Goodyear to deliver a performance outsole, and here’s the environmentally friendly twist—it’s crafted from soy-based rubber, not the conventional petroleum-based variety. This conscious choice makes a positive impact on our surroundings.

Skechers proudly says that this outsole rubber performs seamlessly across all temperatures. So, whether you’re running in the cold or running in the heat, rest assured, the grip remains consistently top-notch.

Speaking from personal experience, when tackling the heat, the Excess 2 proves to be a gripping force, reminiscent of a cornering F1 race car.

To wrap up, It wasn’t until I ventured into other running shoes and drew comparisons that the true excellence of the Excess 2 unfolded before me.

What sets it apart? I believe it’s the harmonious blend of a less aggressive carbon-infused plate and a subtle rocker that propels this shoe to perform exceptionally well.

It isn’t just a daily trainer; it’s a versatile companion that effortlessly adapts to the demands of picking up the pace during intervals.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
Holabird SportsRunning Warehouse

Brooks Ghost 15

Neutral 〉 W: 8.4 oz 〉 M: 9.6 oz 〉 Drop: 12 mm 〉 Heel: 35 mm 〉 Forefoot: 23 mm



We all get swept up in the hype of those flashy, tech-packed running shoes that promise to turn us into speed demons.

But let me shoot straight with you—most of our miles are spent in something plush and cozy. When it boils down, comfort is the holy grail of a runner’s needs.

Because, let’s face it, whether you’re chasing records or just soaking in the joy of a run, a comfy shoe is the real MVP. And that, my friend, is the unfiltered truth of pounding the pavement.

Jump down to Mizuno Wave Inspire



One of the big changes of the Ghost 15 over the Ghost 14 is their engineered air mesh upper. It’s very comfortable and very breathable and it is a 3D Fit Print for added structure.

Not only does it feel pleasant to the touch, but it also exudes a sturdy quality. This sturdiness aligns with what we seek in a daily trainer, especially one that will endure the majority of our miles.

In my experience, once the laces are securely tied, the tongue remains in position. In terms of the engineered air mesh upper, it boasts a dual-layer construction.

The tongue lacks a gusset, but I appreciate the security that comes with a gusseted design, ensuring it stays in place on the sides and doesn’t slip.

Interestingly, over the past year or two, I’ve tested several shoes without a gusseted tongue, and surprisingly, I haven’t encountered any issues with tongue movement while running.

The Ghost 15 excels in heel comfort. Its plush, padded collar ensures a cozy feel, contributing to overall comfort. The internal heel counter adds stability, securing your heel in place upon entry.

Ideal for recovery, easy runs, and extended journeys, Brooks designed the heel collar and counter to prevent any unwanted slipping, providing a reliable and comfortable experience mile after mile.



The Ghost 15 now uses DNA Loft V2. This is a unique blend of rubber, air, and a less dense EVA foam, which contributes to a plush feel.

While I can acknowledge the plush sensation, it doesn’t entirely align with what I consider plush. I’ve encountered other shoes that I would more accurately describe as plush.

The Ghost 14, in my opinion, delivered a plusher ride because the DNA Loft V2 in the Ghost 15 is slightly firmer than the DNA Loft featured in the Ghost 14. Due to this, I believe that the Ghost 15 offers a noticeably improved riding experience compared to the Ghost 14.

I’ve tested the Ghost 15 during intervals and tempo runs, and generally, it isn’t my top choice for these types of workouts.




The Ghost 15 has an ample amount of rubber, a highly desirable feature for a daily trainer since durability is crucial. Considering that 60 to 70% of our daily mileage is typically done in a daily trainer, the Ghost 15’s generous rubber coverage ensures longevity.

Brooks is using a slightly firmer rubber on the crash pad of the heel, emphasizing resilience. Given that heel strikers typically make contact at the rear lateral edge, this specific design choice aims to address the accelerated wear in that area compared to the rest of the rubber.

Conversely, on the forefoot, Brooks uses a noticeably softer rubber, which, to my surprise, exhibits a remarkable level of softness compared to the rubber in the heel.



The Ghost 14 was using 37% recycled materials in its upper. In a positive stride towards sustainability, the Ghost 15 has elevated this commitment by utilizing 62.5% recycled materials in its upper. This increased use of recycled materials aligns with the collective appreciation for sustainable practices, which is always good because we’re all a fan of sustainability, right?



In terms of durability, I think if you’re one of those runners that like to keep your shoes for an extended period, you can likely expect to go beyond the 500-mile mark with this Ghost.

However, it’s important to note that, inevitably, midsole degradation is likely to happen after such a substantial volume of miles in your shoes.

Overall, the Ghost 15 delivers a remarkably smoother ride, thanks to the synergy of its components — the flexibility, the softer rubber on the forefoot, and the harder rubber with the segmented crash pad on the heel. This smoothness stands out notably when compared to the Ghost 14.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
BrooksRunning Warehouse


Mizuno Wave Inspire 19


Stability 〉 W: 8.6 oz 〉 M: 10.7 oz 〉 Drop: 12 mm 〉 Heel: 38.5 mm 〉 Forefoot: 26.5 mm



While Mizuno might not be the first brand that comes to mind for running shoes for most people, they produce some excellent options like the Wave Inspire 19.

As a mid-cushion stability shoe, it’s well-suited for everyday training. If you’re in search of a stability shoe that performs admirably on recovery days, long runs, and similar activities while being gentle on the top of your foot, the Wave Inspire 19 is a solid option.

Jump down to Brooks Adrenaline



Mizuno is using the SSW, or Smooth Stretch Woven, upper in the Wave Inspire 19, marking a noticeable departure from the traditional appearance of the Inspire 18.

The SSW upper is a single piece of material, offering a smoother look and feel. Not only does it differ visually, but it also enhances breathability and provides a pleasant sock-like sensation. Its soft and stretchy nature is particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing pain on the top of their foot.

Mizuno offers the Inspire 19 in a regular upper that includes a couple of seams for added structure. Having tried both variations, I personally couldn’t discern a significant difference.

However, for individuals with more sensitive feet who prefer a seamless feel, I would strongly recommend trying the SSW knit version. It provides a smoother and seam-free experience, ensuring greater comfort for those who are sensitive to seams.



The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is available in both standard width and a wide option. The standard option hugs your foot nicely while the wider version ensures a roomier more comfortable fit.

The deeper heel cup accommodates the heel more effectively, allowing it to sink in a bit farther and providing a heightened sense of security.


Mizuno are using their Enerzy foam in the Inspire 19, and with this update, it’s slightly softer, lending the shoe a more plush feel.

This makes it an excellent choice for urban runners seeking a durable outsole that lasts without the sensation of wearing a rigid brick.

The Wave Inspire has a 12mm drop, which puts it in the high-drop category like the Ghost 15 above.


Stability and Wave Plate

The Wave plate on the Inspire 18 was notably substantial and somewhat clunky, contributing to the overall weight of the shoe.

However, Mizuno has made a significant change in the Inspire 19 by introducing a considerably smaller Wave plate. This not only occupies less space but also reduces the overall weight of the shoe. The downsizing of the Wave plate allows for more cushioning, enhancing the soft and comfortable feel of the Inspire 19.

The design of the wave plate serves the purpose of providing stability by creating a wedge along the inside, effectively preventing excessive inward rolling or overpronation.

If you’re in search of a highly stable option for motion control and addressing overpronation, the Mizuno Wave Inspire is certainly a commendable choice.

It’s just comparable with a lot of other shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline and the Saucony Guide.

Outsole and Flexibility

The Inspire 19 has a highly durable outsole that is going to last as long as you want it to. It’s worth noting that both the outsole and midsole geometry tend to lean towards the stiffer side. This characteristic makes the Inspire 19 a suitable shoe for individuals with forefoot issues like Morton’s neuroma, as it assists in rolling the toes rather than subjecting them to excessive bending.

A notable distinction between the Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 and its predecessor, the 18, lies in the number of flex grooves. The Inspire 18 features several more flex grooves, enhancing flexibility in the toe and allowing for greater movement with your foot.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
MizunoRunning Warehouse

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23


Stability 〉 W: 9.2 oz 〉 M: 10.4 oz 〉 Drop: 12 mm 〉 Heel: 36 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm



The Adrenaline GTS stands out as one of Brooks’ flagship models. In a market where high-drop shoes are becoming less prevalent, Brooks has deliberately maintained a substantial 12mm heel-to-toe drop for this particular model.

While there are certain differences from the Adrenaline 22, the fundamental elements persist in the Adrenaline GTS: reliable stability, comfort, and durability.

The upper is their engineered Air Mesh technology, employing a relatively thin, breathable, and airy material. It sits really comfortably on top of your foot.

According to Brooks, the upper is made up of 59.87% recycled materials, equivalent to a little over 11 plastic bottles. Notably, the composition is free of animal materials, making it a vegan-friendly pair.


Run Test

The Adrenaline 23 is a fairly versatile shoe. It is great for your daily, slower-paced workouts when you’re looking for support and comfort, and it is good for longer runs as well. Despite not being highly responsive, it can still serve well for interval training, threshold runs, or fartlek workouts, but don’t expect anything amazing.


The midsole features DNA LOFT v2, a blend of EVA foam, rubber, and air. This updated version is slightly softer than its predecessor, enhancing the overall comfort and lightness of the shoe.

The cushioning in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 isn’t the best in terms of liveliness and energy return. While transitions between the heel and toes may still feel somewhat cumbersome, there have been improvements since the last version of the model.


The Brooks Glycerin 19 GTS is the more cushioned version of the GTS Adrenaline. Here’s a comparison of the Glycerin 19 GTS vs the neutral Glycerin.


Instead of using the traditional medial posting typically found along the inside of the shoe, Brooks utilizes a technology called GuideRails. Think of GuideRails as those bowling bumpers for your foot; when you veer out of lane, they correct your position and bring you back to a more normal alignment.

This feature makes the Adrenaline unique because it functions well for both neutral-footed individuals and those who overpronate. The GuideRail technology remains inactive unless correction is needed.

As a neutral runner, I usually sense a correction in my stride when I wear stability shoes, but with the Adrenaline, I don’t notice any of that, which makes it a fantastic trainer for runners of any type.




The shoe has a full-coverage rubber outsole, which ensures reliable grip, especially on wet surfaces, and makes it suitable for use on even easy trail paths like dirt trails.

However, it is preferable to wear them on roads. Navigating rough and technical terrains without deeper lugs may not be optimal. Also, try to avoid running in mud or snow, as there is a risk of slipping.

Both the outsole and the upper exhibit ample durability, with the upper resisting tearing. As a result, one can anticipate a commendable lifespan for the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23.

Under optimal conditions and with proper maintenance, you can anticipate wearing your Adrenaline for approximately 400 to 550 miles.

To wrap up, the Adrenaline GTS 23 is great for runners with overpronation issues, and people with a neutral stride can wear it too.

It has a high drop of 12 mm, making it better for heel strikers. Plus, high-drop shoes can help ease tension in the calf and Achilles tendon.

Last but not least, the Adrenaline is one of these top picks for runners with flat feet.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
BrooksDicks Sporting Goods


The Brooks Glycerin 19 GTS is the more cushioned version of the GTS Adrenaline. Here’s a comparison of the Glycerin 19 GTS vs the neutral Glycerin.

Lacing Technique for Pain on the Top of the Foot

If you’re happy with your current running shoes and not considering getting new ones, I recommend trying a particularly effective lacing technique.

This simple adjustment can make a significant difference in comfort and performance, ensuring your existing shoes provide optimal comfort for the tip of your foot.

Lock Laces (Elastic no-tie shoelaces)

Lock laces are innovative elastic laces designed to enhance convenience and comfort for individuals experiencing top-of-foot pain.


These laces offer a secure and adjustable fit, eliminating the need for traditional shoelaces and reducing pressure points on the upper foot. The elasticity of lock laces allows for a snug yet flexible feel.

Running Shoes for Top of Foot Pain – FAQs

Why do some running shoes hurt at the top of my foot?

One of the most common causes of pain at the top of the foot is shoes that are too tight across the midfoot, which places constant pressure on the extensor tendons,” explains Dr. Rand. “This can lead to extensor tendon tendinitis, which is annoying, painful, and preventable.

Discomfort at the top of your foot while running can stem from various factors. It may be due to improperly tightened laces, causing undue pressure, or the shoe’s tongue and upper construction might not be accommodating to the foot’s shape. Additionally, issues such as insufficient arch support or a mismatch in shoe size can contribute to discomfort. It’s advisable to ensure proper lacing techniques, explore shoes with suitable arch support, and consider professional fitting to address any sizing concerns and enhance overall comfort during your runs.

What helps top-of-foot pain from running?

These are some of the things to consider:

  • Proper shoe fit: Ensure your running shoes are the correct size and width to prevent undue pressure on the top of the foot.
  • Adjust lacing: Experiment with different lacing techniques to alleviate pressure points and customize the fit.
  • Cushioning and support: Choose shoes with adequate cushioning and support to absorb impact and reduce strain on the top of the foot.
  • Rest and ice: Allow time for recovery, and consider applying ice to reduce inflammation if the pain persists.
  • Stretching exercises: Incorporate gentle stretching exercises for the foot and calf muscles to enhance flexibility and relieve tension.

What shoes are good for extensor tendonitis?

Running shoes such as the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080, New Balance 880, and Mizuno Wave Inspire are often recommended for addressing extensor tendonitis. The Fresh Foam X 1080 offers plush cushioning and responsiveness, the 880 provides a balanced mix of cushioning and stability, and the Wave Inspire focuses on stability for a controlled gait. These shoes are recognized for their supportive features, making them suitable options for individuals dealing with extensor tendonitis during their runs.

Is it OK to run with extensor tendonitis?

Running with extensor tendonitis can exacerbate the condition, as it involves inflammation of the tendons on the top of the foot. It is generally advisable to avoid running or engaging in activities that cause pain during the acute phase of the injury. Rest, proper footwear, and consulting with a healthcare professional for guidance on recovery and a gradual return to running are recommended. Ignoring the pain and continuing to run may prolong healing time and worsen the condition.

In conclusion, choosing the best running shoes for top-of-foot pain can make a significant difference. By prioritizing features such as softer uppers, accommodating fit, and, in some cases, considering innovations like lock laces, you can find relief and enjoy a more comfortable running experience.

We hope this guide has been helpful in your quest for the ideal footwear. Stay tuned for our next article, and until then, happy running!

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

3 thoughts on “Best Running Shoes for Top of Foot Pain & Extensor Tendonitis!”

  1. This is the most detailed and well-structured blog post I’ve read so far in a few days. There are several reasons for foot pain as well as many foot conditions that can cause pain, like Supination and overpronation. You can use motion control shoes for these or recovery shoes for other conditions.

  2. This is a really helpful article for understanding common foot ailments. The recommended shoe list needs updating, however.

    • Thanks for the comment. We’ve just updated the article adding some newer options and deleting some older models.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.