Summer is here, and you need proper footwear to match warmer temperatures. Sandals are a perfect type of footwear for summer time, and you can wear them everywhere. While people who have no form of foot condition find and buy an ideal pair of sandals easily, those with problems such as metatarsalgia aren’t so lucky. There are some factors you need to consider in order to move easily without pain and discomfort. This post focuses on the best sandals for metatarsalgia and how to find an ideal pair.
What is Metatarsalgia and What are the Symptoms?
Metatarsalgia is defined as a condition wherein the ball of a patient’s foot becomes inflamed and painful. The condition affects metatarsals, the bones that connect ankle to your toes. Metatarsals are prone to pain and damage due to the fact they support your weight while you’re walking, standing, running, or participating in other activities. Although metatarsalgia is not a serious or life-threatening condition, it can affect your overall quality of life due to restricted movement and uncomfortable symptoms.
Signs and symptoms associated with metatarsalgia are:
- Feeling like there is a pebble in your shoe
- Sharp, aching and burning pain in the ball of your foot area
- Pain, numbness, and tingling in your toes
- Pain aggravates when you flex your feet, run, stand, particularly when you're barefoot
In most cases, a combination of different causes leads to metatarsalgia. For example, you may develop this common condition due to intense training or activities, foot deformities, excess weight, small breaks in metatarsals, and Morton’s neuroma (a noncancerous growth of fibrous tissues around a nerve). While everyone can develop metatarsalgia, some people are at a higher risk than others. You have higher chances of getting this condition if you are:
- Overweight or obese
- Experiencing other foot problems including hammertoe
- Wearing high heels and footwear that doesn't fit you properly
- Participating in high-impact sports that involve a lot of jumping and running
What to Look for in Sandals to Help With Metatarsalgia
People with metatarsalgia usually find footwear they already own isn’t the most comfortable. You feel pain and discomfort that prevents you from doing some everyday things and it’s easy to get annoyed. Fortunately, you can find shoes that are specifically created to address metatarsalgia and its symptoms. Warm weather is already here and it’s practical to have a pair of sandals. To get the maximum out of your purchase, there are some things to take into consideration. For example:
Wide Toe Box
Regardless of the type of footwear you want to buy, shoes or sandals, toe area needs to be wide enough to provide comfort. Narrow toe area can only make toes crowded and cause even more pressure and pain.
Your sandals should have some sort of an arch support or the ability to use a metatarsal pad. Without these “features” sandals aren’t comfortable or supportive enough for men and women with this common condition.
Low Heel-To-Toe Drop
High heel-to-toe drop can make the metatarsals tense and it’s not good news for your condition. Lower heel-to-toe drop provides much-needed support to foot structure.
Additional features to consider include:
- User experiences
- Weight i.e. if they are lightweight or heavy duty
The 5 Best Sandals for Metatarsalgia
Now that you know what metatarsalgia is and how to find a perfect pair of sandals, below you can see top 5 choices on the market.
If you’re looking for high-quality orthotic sandals with metatarsal support, then KEEN's Newport H2 sandals should be on top of the list. These sandals are legendary, and they made the brand itself famous. KEEN is American footwear and accessories manufacturing company based in Portland, Oregon. Their footwear is also made in the USA, which is always a plus.
The built-in metatarsal arch support makes these sandals ideal for men with metatarsalgia. The impressive arch support keeps feet in a neutral position while it redirects and minimizes pressure away from sensitive metatarsals. What makes Newport H2 so unique is the combination of a sandal and shoe. You see, this footwear has airness characteristic for sandal and toe protection of the regular shoe. Wider toe box allows for more comfort and support.
The sandal features KEEN-protect bumpers, a rigid rubber bumper, in the front. This cool feature protects your toes from stubbing them on something sharp or heavy. The razor-siped sole provides excellent traction that makes these sandals suitable for different types of terrains.
The machine-washable polyester fabric is used for the upper while the hydrophobic lining keeps feet odor-free and dry. The sandal comes in multiple designs fit for everyone’s style.
- Wider toe box
- KEEN-protect bumpers
- Metatarsal support
- A combination of sandal and shoe
- TPU stability shank
- Some people may find these sandals too heavy for their liking
Before you start thinking Birkenstock’s sandals aren’t pretty enough for daily use, it’s important to mention Mayari line is one of the better-looking footwear in their offer. Basically, this is a toe-alignment sandal featuring crisscross straps at the toe while another strap runs over the instep of your foot. Each of the two straps above the instep comes with a metal buckle that allows you to adjust the sandal to your feet.
In addition to customizability, Mayari sandal is anatomically shaped, and it has a Birkenstock cork-latex footbed with a smooth suede lining. That way, the sandal provides extra comfort and support to women with metatarsalgia. Not only is the sole lightweight, but it is also made of abrasion-resistant and flexible EVA to support the natural rolling motion of your foot. Impressive shock absorption is yet another important quality of Mayari sandal’s sole.
Thanks to the deep heel cup, your heel remains stable and in place as you walk. The pressure is taken off of forefoot and metatarsals with the low heel-to-toe drop. Moreover, the sandal also provides decent arch support.
- Multiple designs available
- Anatomically shaped footbed
- Impressive shock absorption
- Arch and heel support
- Tend to run large, and some customers may need to buy a size smaller
Dunham is a brand with long tradition and dedication to quality, perfect fit, and ease of movement. For the purpose of creating and developing St. Johnsbury sandal, Dunham partnered up with New Balance. We can easily say this partnership hit the jackpot because this sandal is incredibly beneficial for every man with metatarsalgia.
The leather upper features three adjustable straps: over the forefoot area, over the instep, and at the ankle. The third feature, the one at the ankle, is removable and it also comes with a hook and loop adjustability on both ends so you can put on the sandal or take it off easily. The open toe design is ideal for men with metatarsalgia. The practical design allows your toes to splay out properly without getting crowded and painful. This also alleviates pressure from forefoot area.
Thanks to the EVA midsole, the sandal offers great cushioning that supports your ball of the foot, arch, and heel. The outsole, made of rubber, doesn’t leave marks on floors and it improves shock absorption.
- Leather upper
- EVA midsole
- Open toe design
- Great cushioning
- Three adjustable straps
- Straps not long enough for heavier men with big feet
- Velcro straps could have been a bit more durable
KEEN has great sandals for women too, not just men, and their Whisper range is ideal for your painful feet. Wide footbed provides comfort and stability, but at the same time, it allows you to evenly distribute weight throughout the foot for a faster metatarsalgia recovery. In addition to the wider footbed, Whisper sandal features a low heel-to-toe drop to reduce pressure and tension in your feet. Besides daily activities, you can wear these sandals while hiking as well. They are incredibly versatile.
The internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered with a purpose to support the arch and natural contour of your foot. Straps are made of a waterproof material, and they are created in a manner to give you a nice and secure fit.
- TPU stability shank
- Wide footbed
- Secure fit
- Arch support
- Low heel-to-toe drop
- EVA midsole
- Inconsistent sizes
- Some women may not like the design but this is subjective
Although most sandals on the market are specifically created for men or women, there are also unisex options for people who put comfort and practicality first. Oofos created interesting slide sandal that makes it easy for men and women with metatarsalgia to walk and perform daily tasks. The slip-on sandal has an anatomically shaped footbed that basically hugs your feet. The anatomically correct design also comes with impressive arch support to reduce the pressure and tension at the metatarsals.
The unisex sandal has a low heel-to-toe drop, which is important for men and women with this common condition. It's useful to mention the brand used special technology to allow this sandal to absorb 37% more shock compared to other materials.
- Great shock absorption
- Arch support
- Anatomically shaped footbed
- Alleviates pressure and tension
- Easy to put on
- Some men and women may find them narrow
Metatarsalgia is a common and painful condition that makes it difficult for affected people to walk, participate in sports and other activities. If you have this condition, then you already know how tricky it can be to find ideal sandals. While numerous options are available on the market today, you can never go wrong with KEEN and Birkenstocks.