Today we’re be looking at the best running shoes for ball of foot pain or Metatarsalgia.
Approximately, 20% of the population places too much pressure towards the front of their foot when they walk or run. This excessive pressure can make you susceptible to many common foot problems including Metatarsalgia or ball-of-foot-pain.
Metatarsalgia is a general term used to describe pain or inflammation in the ball of the foot area. Usually, it’s a repetitive stress issue as we walk on concrete all day long. Consequently, our heel and the balls of our feet impact the ground repetitively and for some people that can cause stress in the ball of the foot area. There are a lot of reasons why people develop Metatarsalgia and to get a specific reason why you’re developing Metatarsalgia / ball of the foot pain, it’s good to see your podiatrist.
We’re going to talk about how proper running shoes and inserts can be used to help relieve the pain associated with Metatarsalgia. The key to that is to be able to reduce the stress on the ball of the foot. Here are some ways to off-load pressure in the ball of the foot area so you have more relief.
One way to do that is to address it with arch support and inserts in your running shoes. What you should look for is a shoe that’s going to give you good arch support to hold up the arch area and equalize pressure across the foot. Also, the little metatarsal bones are curved inside the foot, you want to provide a little dome of relief in there to off-load the pressure.
One of the best insoles that provides built-in arch support and has that magic dome of support is the New Balance Supportive Cushioning Insole. The dome sits right behind the metatarsal heads, thereby off-loading the pressure in those areas. So if you give an area that’s inflamed or calloused a little bit of relief behind it, you off-load pressure and that’s going to help with Metatarsalgia.
You can also use a metatarsal pad that has a dome of relief but make sure you place it right behind the metatarsal area. You can put the pad inside your sandals, add it to your arch support insole, or add it to the footbed of your running shoes and it might provide you with a little bit of extra relief.
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 device that attaches to the insole of the shoe and provides just enough relief to allow your big toe to function normally. When that happens, pressure is equally distributed across your entire foot instead of allowing your foot to roll out.
A lot of runners, especially marathon runners, have found that taping the balls and arch of the feet helped in a certain way that they did not feel as sore as before.
Best Running Shoes For Ball Of Foot Pain – Metatarsalgia
A lot of runners suffereing from Matatarsalgia swear by the efiiciency of New Balance Insole for Metatarsalgia. As we said before, one of the best off the shelf inserts to use would be a New Balance Supportive Cushioning Insole. It is recommended to help reduce stress at the ball of your foot. The Met Pad should sit comfortably behind your metatarsal heads under your foot to unload direct pressure from the sensitive areas. You should start to feel a difference immediately. In addition to relieving your ball-of-foot-pain, New Balance Insole provides superior arch support, cushioning, and shock apsorption.
Newton Distance IV Running Shoes
If you’re a mid-foot or forefoot striker, then the Distance IV is for you.
The magic of the five lugs
If you’re not familiar with Newton shoes, their secret sauce is those lugs that are on the bottom of the shoe. What these lugs do is they compress so that when you’re running every shoe stride, you get a little bit of a pop off the ground. The lugs give a really nice fast feeling under your foot when you land on your mid or your forefoot. This encourages you to run quicker, faster, run more efficiently, lean forward making you a better runner in general.
It wasn’t always so rosy. The Newton IV features five lugs, but originally it was only four lugs. The Newton Distance III has four lugs. A lot of runners stated that the Newton Distance III felt like they couldn’t break it in. It doesn’t feel responsive and doesn’t have that pop off the ground the Newtons normally have. Some runners say that that happens if they run through a puddle in the first few miles. They said the feeling of this shoe wasn’t very good. Other runners wanted to leave the Newton lineup because the shoe started losing its lugs. But then the Newton Distance IV hit the shelves and has tremendously satisfied Newton aficionados’ love for Newton running shoes. This is a fantastic shoe for speedwork, tempo work, running on the track.
The ride is a little more aggressive so you do get beat up a little bit on those long runs. Where this shoe excels is in that fast effort; it makes you want to run fast.
Features and specs
Here are the things you’re going to love about the Newton IV. The upper is very lightweight and airy so your feet get nice and cool because it has very breathable mesh. The heel cup is very flexible, and one difference between the III and the IV is the tongue in the Newton IV is very thin and doesn’t actually pinch your foot at all. It’s also very loose and flexible almost every which way so it gives you enough structure that you’re not flopping around, but it also gives you enough flexibility to move as your foot sees fit.
I like the specs of this shoe, too. The heel-to-toe drop is 4 mm and the weight of a size 9 is 8.1oz. It has a nice lace-up closure with semi-flat laces. The Newton IV also features all-over reflective hit throughout to give you great visibility in low-light situations. It has soft breathable lining on the inside and a nice removable footbed with a built-in metatarsal pad to give you some added cushioning and provide comfort for those having ball of foot pain / Metatarsalgia.
The bottom features a high-rebound EVA midsole and an extremely durable EVA outsole which is going to help you stay nice and steady. It has a biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate to give you a confident stride.
The last thing I like about the Newton IV has nothing to do with the shoe; it’s the customer service of the company. Runners have no problem replacing shoes or getting things fixed.
Newton Gravity III
Like new Newton running shoes, the Gravity III has five beautiful lugs on the bottom giving the runner that wonderful stable platform built on Newton’s P.O.P technology. What Newton have done is they’ve taken that action-reaction technology and added an additional fifth lug to provide a more stable wider five-lug platform – one lug per metatarsal. It’s nice to have that additional stability.
The upper is really nice, really thin, really lightweight and airy. There’s no more stitching as this particular model uses nice welded overlays making it really smooth and nice and seamless on the inside.
Wide toe box
The toe box is really nice and features some stretch panels on either side, both medial and lateral. They allow the foot to splay especially if you have a bit of a wider foot. You’ll be thankful that those patches are there. You’ll never feel like your feet are too confined in this shoe.
The new line of Newtons look great and I’m not just talking about colors, but a lot of attention has been given to details. The shoe has 360 reflective paneling and beautiful laser-cut overlays.
The Newton Gravity III holds up great in terms of durability. It has a 3 mm heel-to-toe drop as it actually indicates on the midsole material. It’s far more flexible than its predecessor and definitely works with your foot.
Adjusting to your Newton Running shoes
The most important thing when adjusting to your Newton running shoes is to listen to your body. Even if you’re already a mid-foot forefoot runner, you still need time to adjust. Because the shoes are light, fun, and fast, you’ll want to go for it right away. RESIST!!! You’ll be engaging more muscle fibers when running with your new Newton shoes. This makes you more efficient, but it also means your muscles, tendons, and ligaments need time to strengthen and adapt. If you increase your running volume too quickly, you may experience calf tenderness.
Start with a very short run, no more than a mile and see how you feel. Don’t worry about speed or distance, just focus on your form and comfort. Rotate with your current shoes to maintain your fitness training for at least two to four weeks. At first, you should only wear your Newton shoes for a small portion of your run and stick to the ten-minute rule; run every other day increasing your distance in your new shoes no more than 10 minutes each time. If you feel unusual discomfort from running, immediately reduce the intensity and volume.
If you follow these tips, you will have an enjoyable adjustmet period, and you’ll only have to adjust once. It’s worth the effort as ultimately you’ll run faster, more efficiently and with less injury.
Hoka One One Infinite
With a 5 mm heel-to-toe drop, the Infinite is a performance daily running shoe built for mild to moderate overpronators who are looking for maximum cushioning and stability. It’s also ideal for running on the road.
Built on a wider platform featuring a late-stage Meta-Rocker design, this shoe offers an ideal balance of cushioning and support. It’s not a Hoka shoe without the amazing oversized midsole that delivers the signature Hoka cushioning. The midsole is super lightweight to give you that energy return and shock absorption without weighing the shoe down.
A seamless upper construction and a breathable mesh design provide a supportive mid-foot wrap while the padded tongue and collar offer additional comfort. The Hoka has a nice lace-up closure so you get a snug fit. Inside, there’s a breathable fabric lining that’s going to keep your feet feeling fresh and comfy.
Along with a full-surface outsole with strategic rubber placement, the Hoka Infinite provides plenty of durability for the long haul. It weighs in at 9.7oz for men and 8.1oz for women. Last but not least, the back of this shoe has a nifty pull loop to help you out with easy on and off wear.
You’re going to be transported into an experience where you feel infinite once you put these shoes on.
The Saucony Hurricane 16 is a plush and premium running shoe that falls in the high-end stability segment proving plenty of support underfoot for runners with moderate to severe overpronation.
It has a lot of technical features. Starting with the outsole, there’s a blown rubber compound with some really nice flex grooves. Saucony have beveled the heel so you have a really nice smooth transition all the way through the toe-off area of the shoe. The outsole also provides a lot of ground contact so you get that inherent stability with the shoe you’re looking for.
The midsole is full PowerGrid foam which is Saucony’s premium material. PowerGrid is lighter, more responsive and very durable as well. They’ve added a flex groove to the medial side of the forefoot for a more flexible and smoother toe-off.
The heel area has Saucony’s support frame which secures and holds the foot at heel strike and gives you that nice piece of support. Saucony have also incorporated reflective element to the Hurricane 16. So from a safety perspective if you’re running at a low light level, the shoe is going to shine and give you that high visibility.
The upper has the Sock Fit System which gives you really nice support through the midfoot and at the same time really holds the heel as well so you’re not going to get any of that heel slip you might experience with some other running shoes. It features a redesigned heel counter for an improved heel fit and a new mesh delivers increased durability.
The shoe features super breathable premium mesh which hugs and supports the foot. As the foot is moving through the gait cycle and the dynamic motion, the Hurricane 16 is going to really work with your foot and secure it nicely. The Hurricane 16 retains the 8mm heel-to-toe offset as its predecessor for a fast feel and an efficient run.
In short, this shoe is at the high-end of the stability category for that runner looking for a combination of really nice soft cushion but they also need more pronation control than a traditional shoe.
Metatarsalgia and Morton’s Neuroma
Do you have pain under the ball of your foot? That’s a common problem, and intense pain in the ball of your foot can make running and even walking unbearable. Two common types of forefoot pain are Metatarsalgia and Morton’s Neuroma.
Most metatarsal problems develop when there’s a change in the way your foot normally functions and affects how your weight is distributed. A high arch can put excess pressure on the metatarsal area leading to inflammation and pain especially in the metatarsal heads which are rounded ends of the bones that connect with your toes. Symptoms may include:
A sharp aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot.
Pain in the area around the your second, third or fourth toes, or only near your big toes.
You may experience numbness or tingling in your toes.
There are some excellent products to help alleviate the pain of Metatarsalgia. These include ball of foot cushions and pads, gel-lined products like cushions, toe toppers and socks, insoles with extra cushioning in the ball of foot, or shoes that feature extra cushioning in the ball of foot.
The symptoms are similar to Metatarsalgia and can also contribute to forefoot pain. Morton’s Neuroma can develop if you have flat feet, or feet that roll inward, or overpronate. You may feel numbness or a stinging sensation at the ball of your foot usually between the third and fourth toes. This condition is typically caused by an enlarged pinched nerve. It’s often the result of wearing high-heels, shoes that are too tight, or from high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics.
People who have bunions or hammertoes are also at a higher risk. The following solutions can help relieve the pain of Morton’s Neuroma:
Metatarsalgia Lift Pads
Gel wraps and cushions
Shock absorbing insoles that redistribute body weight across the bottom of your feet.
Shoes with a wider toe box can also help to decrease pressure on the inflamed nerve and lessen the symptoms.
We recommend you consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis if you feel you may have Metatarsalgia or Morton’s Neuroma.
Metatarsalgia (Ball of Foot Pain) Treatment Options