Best Running Shoes for Top Of Foot Pain & Extensor Tendonitis

Today we’re going to be reviewing some of the best running shoes for top of foot pain and extensor tendonitis.

Top of foot pain after running is really a very common foot problem in runners as a lot of people complain of a specific pain on the top of their foot.

The pain might feel like a burning, a tingling sensation, or a stabbing sensation especially when you’re moving your ankle joints and trying to extend your toes.

The other issue that you may have is when you’re walking or doing activities and feeling pain on the top of your foot that’s associated with swelling.

These things tend to be one of three things, and understanding the anatomy on the top of the foot is very important to being able to determine which one it is and then also just kind of understanding what it might be.

Best running Shoes For Top Of Foot Pain

Saucony kinvara 8


Full review of the all-new Saucony Kinvara 11

The Kinvara model is one of Saucony’s most popular running shoe and it has been a favorite for many runners year after year.

What makes the Kinvara 8 a great option for top-of-foot pain?

The key feature that makes this version a good option is the upper.

The upper

The upper is super flexible and light because Saucony has avoided using excessive overlays by using what they call FlexFilm. FlexFilm helps the shoe stay light, breathable and seamless.

The best way that I can describe the upper is that it feels like you’re almost wearing nothing. It has a little give to it but still maintains a snug fit when you’re on the move.

EVERUN Technology

The midsole utilizes Saucony’s EVERUN technology. EVERUN is a soft responsive cushion that lies right under the insole of the shoe.

In the Kinvara 8, Saucony has extended EVERUN to go through the entire length of the shoe, from heel to forefoot and it feels great.

Energy return is a real thing and the Kinvara 8 gives it to you in a nice lightweight package.

The Outsole

The outsole is an extension of the midsole. This is what keeps the outsole so flexible and nimble.

Saucony has made sure to add extra rubber on the areas that runners typically wear down the fastest to extend the durability of the shoe just a bit longer.

The Kinvara 8 will work on roads, grass, dirt and on the track. It does OK on some light trails but the outsole isn’t ideal for that kind of surface, and that’s just my advice.

Very Lightweight

The Saucony Kinvara 8 is a great trainer for those who need a shoe for their top of foot pain and are looking for some faster pace mileage. It feels snappy and responsive.

It’s one of those shoes that can go the distance and still give you enough cushion to get you through longer runs.

The Kinvara has been known for being one the best lightweight trainers available, and rest assured, it still is

Read the full review of Saucony Kinvara 7

Saucony Ride 8


The Ride 8 builds on the Ride 7 which is an award-winning road running shoe.

The Ride 8 features 8mm of drop from heel to toe. This gives a fair bit of cushioning to it even though it retains a fairly lightweight.

The bottom is very similar to the Ride 7 with just a few subtle changes. The outsole gives a very smooth ride on the road with a bit of flex. Yet, it’s definitely not a free shoe as it has some stiffness with some flex.

It’s a sort of middle of the line shoe if you’re looking for something between a flat runner and a full cushioned shoe.
The Ride provides a ride that’s the perfect blend of cushioning and responsiveness.

One of the other features I like on shoes like these is the fact they use flat laces.

Why do I like them so much?

When you tie the laces, they tend to not come untied very easily.

As far as visibility goes, there are a few reflective patches on the shoe at the front by the laces, around the tongue as well as around the heel.

The upper

Saucony has changed some of the materials on the upper. On the previous version, the upper had a kind of big holed mesh while on the Ride 8 it’s more of a smooth finish on it. They call it FlexFilm.

If you look at the midsole, it says Power Grid. That’s the midsole technology Saucony uses.

What is its main purpose?

It’s supposed to center the foot, absorb shocks and distribute the pressure across the whole shoe.

Who is the Saucony Ride 8 for?

The Ride 8 is a neutral runner. It doesn’t have any kind of motion control or stability built into it, but it’s just meant to be a good overall shoe for someone who has just a normal type foot.

Running in the Ride 8

I’ve had the shoes now for about a month and I’ve run in them in both dry on the pavement as well as in the rain. The Saucony Ride 8 came out pretty good and I didn’t end up with any kind of moisturing on my feet even with totally soaked feet.

While I haven’t run a full marathon on these yet, I did put them on and pretty much went for a 20k run right away with no ill effects on my feet.

Fit and finish

The Saucony Ride 8 is very smooth on the inside and I didn’t find any kind of sore spots on my feet after running.
I felt these shoes are really easy to get into and get right back into road running.

As far as colors for the shoe go, the Ride 8 comes in a range of different colors.

Brooks Ghost 10





Brooks went ahead and gave the Brooks 10 a few changes in the upper and most noticeably in the overlays.
There seem to be less overlays overall, which helps the shoe have a more seamless secure fit. This upgrade suits people with top of foot pain.

The upper

The breathability was slightly improved in this iteration. If the Ghost’s 9 air mesh upper was considered an upgrade, then I consider the Ghost 10’s a slight upgrade over that.

The Ghost 10 doesn’t cost any irritation or hot spots which is something we often appreciate. And the upper just does its job and keeps your foot in place and locked down which is always nice.

The midsole

The midsole brings back the BioMogo DNA technology that is basically a gel/foam combination that allows the gel to adapt to your stride and helps disperse the impact over the run.

The midsole is decently cushioned and maintains a smooth controlled ride. If you’re a fan of the previous Ghost 9, you should feel right at home.

The outsole 

The outsole uses what Brooks call Omega flex grooves. The flex grooves make sure you have no trouble with traction and help you feel confident on grass, dirt, and sidewalks. You might be able to get away with some light trails but don’t get carried away.

The flexibility of the shoe in the forefoot was increased just a bit, which helps keep that natural stride intact.

The Brooks Ghost 10 isn’t one of those upgrades that changes everything and makes you want to cut in line to get a pair, but it is consistent in being true to itself with just the right upgrades to help improve the shoe over time.

It’s a great shoe for just anybody who wants a shoe that can do it all. Whether it’s a short run, a long run or even a marathon, the Ghost 10 is a solid shoe that will get you out and running without any gimmicks.

How to optimize the efficiency of the shoe


RICE technique for injuries

Rest, ice, compression, elevation. This technique can be used any time you have an injury, swelling, or any pain in the joint or muscle tissue.

  • Rest

When you are using RICE to treat an injury or swelling, you want to make sure you actually take ample time to rest the injury. Your body cannot heal itself and get better if you continue to aggravate it and do any motion or physical activity that was causing the discomfort in the first place.

  • Ice

Ice is also really important for bringing down any inflammation and helps reduce some pain. Make sure you get some good ice and put it on the top of your foot.

  • Compression

The next thing to do is compress the ice onto the top of your foot with a towel or an ace wrap to put some pressure and force the ice down on the injury.

  • Elevation

You lay down, get comfortable, put your leg up and elevate it. Make sure you use a pillow underneath your leg or prop your leg up against the side of the couch to elevate the injury above the heart level.


Lacing your running shoes

LOCK LACES (Elastic No Tie Shoelaces)


These laces are great to distribute the pressure on top of your feet evenly, thus relieving the pain significantly. They have 7.5/5 and about 8000 reviews on Amazon. Check them out.



The Lydiard Lacing / Ladder Lacing Running Shoes

Anatomy of the top of the foot

best running shoes for top of foot pain

Looking at the detailed anatomy of the top of the foot, there are several things that are quite prominent and can explain possible causes to pain on the top of the foot. The yellow structures represent small cutaneous nerves right under the skin. That’s followed by the white kind of clear-ish structures. These are the extensor tendons that help raise the foot when you’re walking or running. The final thing we have are the bones. So we have tendons, nerves, and bones. Typically, it’s going to be one of those three things that can cause pain to the top of the foot.


neuritis top of foot pain

Some of the symptoms if the pain on the top of your foot is related to the cutaneous nerves are usually numbness, burning or tingling. That numbness and tingling may be isolated right in the middle of the foot or it may shoot down to the toes. These nerves do provide sensation to the top of the toes. Usually, runners complain about pain and numbness (Neuritis) especially when they lace their running shoes too tight or if they have high arches.

Extensor Tendonitis extensor-tendonitis-top-of-foot-pain

Your foot moves in all different directions, up, down, left, and right. First. The extensor muscles in your foot point
your toes up and bring your foot up as well. So if you have shoes that are very tight, or you’re lacing your shoes really tight, it could be pressing down on the top part of your foot especially if you have high arches. This can cause Extensor Tendonitis to happen by too much pressure being placed on those tendons.

Tight calves can cause Tendonitis of the extensors too because the calves pull your foot down. With tight calves, the extensor muscles are going to have to work harder to bring your foot up making the tendons inflamed as well.

Stress fracture

Pain on the top of your foot as a result of a problem with the bones is referred to as a stress fracture. Stress fractures specifically manifest themselves as pain especially as you go off the ball of your foot and you’re running, you’re going to feel pain in the area shown in the picture below.

top of foot pain

One of the characteristics of stress fractures is that you’re going to generally see a mild amount of swelling on the top of the foot. Also, when you press with your thumb and your index finger right over the shaft of the bone that’s injured, you are going to have a significant tenderness and pinpoint pain on a small area. It’s generally not going to be diffused throughout the top of the foot.

So really understanding the anatomy of the top of the foot gives you a much better idea as to what may be going on. We know that most of the pain on the top of the foot is typically going to be three things: a nerve issue, a tendon issue or a bone issue. But it can be difficult to discern which one that is just based on what the symptoms are. A lot of times we need diagnostic testing such as an X-Ray, MRI or Ultrasound.

Other foot injuries

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Posterior_tibial_tendonitis_top_of_foot_pain

You also have a muscle on the inner part of the foot that commonly gets inflamed. This type is called Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. The Posterior Tibialis muscle is responsible for holding up the inner arch of the foot, and if your feet are very flat, you put a lot of stress on the tendon supporting that arch. The tendon becomes overstressed and overworked, and this is how you can get Tendonitis here from having flat feet.

Flexor Tendonitis

The Flexor Tendonitis happens to the muscles that bend your toes. Runners, dancers, ballerinas can get that because they overuse those muscles and then the tendons become inflamed.

Basically, if you have bad footwear, you overuse the muscles in your foot and this can lead to Tendonitis of the foot.

Sinus Tarsi Syndrome

Sinus Tarsi Syndrome (STS) is a condition that is not very well known. It’s commonly thought of to be a problem sinus tarsi syndrome top of foot pain

with the ankle and it’s truly not. There’s a joint that’s below your ankle joint that allows for movement on unstable surfaces such as walking on the sand or trail running. This is the joint that allows for you to be able to adapt to those changing surfaces especially when they’re not even. Sinus Tarsi Syndrome is an inflammation inside this joint that leads to pain typically on the outer part of your foot and usually thought of as being part of an ankle sprain; it’s a condition on its own.

It’s important that it’s not misdiagnosed and it is often missed. If you think that your injury is lingering and you don’t understand why there’s pain coming from the outer part of your foot just below your ankle, go see a podiatrist to determine whether STS is affecting you.

Clawed toes / crooked toes/mallet toes

These conditions are all names of the foot ailment called hammertoes. The picture shows a comparison of a normal foot and a foot with hammertoes. (0.27). As you can see, a normal foot has straight flattened toes. In comparison, a foot with hammertoes has toes that look pinched or crooked. Like bunions, hammertoes are unsightly and can cause great discomfort.

Related: Best running shoes for bunions

Symptoms may include: claw_hammer_mallet_toes_top_of_foot_pain

  • Protruding toe knuckles prone to corns or that are rubbing your shoes.
  • A long toe that’s crowded or bent
  • Raised toes that don’t fall flat on the ground
  • A bunion that’s bending the second toe
  • Extra pain and pressure on the bottom of your toes or toe pads.

If you have any or all of those symptoms, then you most likely have hammertoes.

Genetics can play a large role in whether you develop the ailment, but there are also other causes. A few causes of hammertoes include:

  • Shoes that are too tight or too short.
  • Pointy high heels
  • Flat feet or high arches (make your feet less stable)
  • Arthritis or injury to the foot (cause you to walk unnaturally)
  • Bunions that push your second toe out of place.

Discomfort from hammertoes can start off mild but eventually makes walking and running difficult as it gets worse. Some cases may require surgery. We suggest you consult a podiatrist for a professional diagnosis.

Possible solutions

There are some solutions that most people with hammertoes have found relief in, and these include:

Wear roomy shoes. By simply wearing roomy shoes with a wider toe box, you can accommodate existing hammertoes and prevent others from developing.

Cushion it with padding. If you already have hammertoes, use corn pads or cushions to help reduce rubbing and irritation on top of the bent toes or the bottom toe pads.

Show support with insoles. Add supporting shoe inserts and orthotics. Inserts and orthotics help foot muscles work together better and keep toes from bending.

Straighten up by keeping toes naturally positioned. This will help to reduce irritation from your toes rubbing in shoes. Try toe straighteners, toe caps, and toe loops.   

Athlete’s Foot


You do not have to be an athlete to contact and get Athlete’s Foot. There are many different types of Athlete’s Foot

typically caused by dermatophytes, or fungus. This is the same type of fungus that can cause a problem with fungal or ugly toenails.

One type is a result of too much moisture and sweating in the foot and you get a white-ish area that forms between the toes and causes itching. Another type is a very dry scaly type of an Athlete’s Foot that can be all on the bottom of the sole of the foot and it can be a chronic long-lasting type of a situation. The other type is a more acute type of a situation where all of a sudden you’ll get a lot of little vesicles or fluid sacs that break open and cause itching and there’s redness around the area. The last type is when it’s severe like that and it also has a secondary bacterial infection.

It’s important to determine the cause of the Athlete’s Foot in the proper type of treatment.



Gout is typically characterized by a sudden onset of acute pain, redness, and swelling. It typically occurs in the big toe joint. There usually is no history of injury to the area. One goes to bed and the attack either occurs while you’re sleeping or you first notice it when you get out of bed in the morning. Patients describe the pain as so intense that just sheets alone touching it can cause excruciating pain. So what is it? How does it occur?

Our bodies normally make uric acid when we break down purines, it’s normal. Sometimes however, we make too much uric acid either through overproduction or underexcretion. Purines are normally in our body and they also occur in some foods. If we get too many purines, our bodies can’t handle the amount of uric acid it makes. The uric acid is then converted into urate crystals which are tiny needle-like crystals that get deposited into the joint. It typically occurs on your first attack in your big toe joint. On subsequent attacks, it can occur in any joint.

Gout is a serious condition, but the good news is through diet modification and medications, it can be well controlled.

1 thought 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.


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