Metatarsalgia is considered a symptom of a variety of foot related conditions, and is characterized by pain that emanates from the ball of the foot. It’s usually caused by misuse or overuse, which can often be traced to poor footwear choices. That is, if you frequently use shoes that don’t support your feet, that promote poor biomechanics, or that fail to accommodate your natural contours, you put your feet at risk of injury.
If you’ve already developed metatarsalgia, making the right footwear choices can also help you recover. But be careful though, not all shoes will help you achieve the comfort and relief you’re looking for. Wondering which ones actually make the cut as the best shoes for metatarsalgia? Read on to find out.
What is Metatarsalgia?
Repetitive movements that place the muscles of the feet under excessive pressure or in damaging postures can easily result to metatarsalgia. Despite this though, metatarsalgia itself isn’t considered a condition on its own. Rather, it’s taken as a symptom of a variety of other conditions affecting the feet.
Treatment for metatarsalgia varies depending on the diagnosis. However, across all cases, choosing the right footwear is the first step towards improved functionality and reduced pain.
While it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a medical professional before claiming the presence of metatarsalgia, there are a few symptoms you can look out for to figure out whether it’s a possibility. These include:
- Pain that emanates from the ball of the feet, just under the toes
- Pain worsens when the feet are used for mobility
- Numbing or tingling of the toes
- A constant feeling of there being a small object or rock inside your shoe
It’s not uncommon to feel pain in your feet especially after a long day at work or after an intense work out. So it’s likely that the pain you feel might not actually need medical attention. However, if you notice that your foot pain has escalated to a point where pain becomes difficult to manage or doesn’t go away, it’s imperative that you meet with your doctor to get a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What to Look for In Shoes for Metatarsalgia
What features should you look for in a pair of shoes for metatarsalgia? While it largely depends on your own personal preference and what you find to be particularly comfortable, there are a few standard features that can help you narrow down your choices to land a suitable pair of shoes for your pain.
· Roomy Toe Box
Shoes that bunch the toes up together can be particularly painful to walk in if you have metatarsalgia. They can also cause the problem all together because they compromise your toes’ movement and displace weight bearing.
Shoes with roomy toe boxes are best for those with metatarsalgia. Be careful not to buy into a pair that has too much room up front though as it could cause discomfort and poor support.
· Low Heels
The higher your heels, the more you place weight on your metatarsals. That’s because as your heel elevates off the ground, your weight shifts towards the toes to maintain your balance. With high heels, you put unnecessary pressure on the metatarsals and thus prevent metatarsalgia from healing. This can also significantly heighten pain.
A heel with a maximum elevation of 1.5 inches should be sufficient to give you the height you need without adding too much pressure on the forefoot. It’s also ideal that you choose shoes with heels that are wide instead of those that use small, pointed designs that have limited surface area.
· Cushioned Orthotic Footbed
A footbed that has a soft, pliable texture without sacrificing support is ideal if you’re experiencing any sort of foot pain. Considering all the choices available on the market though, it might be in your best interest to seek an orthotic insole to help ease your pain. These designs are often formed to cradle the contours of your feet, assisting the structures affected by metatarsalgia so they don’t have to work overtime to sustain your weight.
· Responsive Outsoles
Walking in a pair of flat shoes can take a toll on your feet. Anything that doesn’t bounce too well can require a lot more energy and force your feet to weight bear inappropriately. Responsive outsoles are an important factor you should look for. Shoes that rebound with each step can help reduce the energy you use with each stride. They also work to optimize weight distribution to promote proper biomechanics.
· Lightweight Construction
Shoes that are too heavy can be cumbersome to walk in. Bulky shoes can eat up your energy and cause you to exert more effort with each toe off. These shoes can also compound your pain, causing it to radiate towards the calves and thighs, making your condition much worse over time. Choose a pair of shoes that won’t weigh down your feet too much, and always opt for choices that are made to be featherlight for better energy management and pain reduction.
The 5 Best Shoes for Metatarsalgia
Now we know what to look for in good shoes for metatarsalgia let's explore the finest choices. Also, you can check out our 5 best sandals for metatarsalgia.
It’s not easy to find a pair of decent, comfortable shoes for metatarsalgia that work well for formal events. In fact, if you browse through your options, you might find that most choices feature athletic designs. This is because sports shoes are easier to manufacture to meet the needs of individuals with special feet conditions compared to dress shoes that might be too stiff or uncomfortable to help manage pain.
That’s why the Orthofeet Gramercy Dress Shoe has made it to the top spot on our list of the best. These shoes boast a sophisticated, clean, classic dress shoe design that perfectly incorporates all the comfort features you would look for to help manage metatarsalgia. With a premium orthotic cushion, a non-binding, extra depth design, plush padded interiors, and seam-free lining, these shoes have everything you would look for in a pair of shoes for metatarsalgia.
The Gramercy Dress Shoes might seem a little hard on the wallet. But being that they are the best dress shoes for metatarsalgia, they definitely deserve every penny they’re worth.
Skechers has been dominating the market of comfort shoes. With the release of their Go Walk series, the brand has seen nothing but positive, raving reviews and market success. So it’s no wonder why the Skechers Go Walk Max Sneaker has earned such a high spot on our list.
These Skechers for metatarsalgia are particularly comfortable because of their impressive insole technology. Using the company’s Goga Max High Rebound material, each step in the Go Walk Max Sneaker is exceptionally easy on the feet. Plus the fact that they use 5Gen cushioning, they’re much less taxing to walk in than any other Skechers shoe we’ve seen.
Breathable and lightweight, these impressive shoes can function either as sports shoes for low impact activities or as daily footwear for extended periods of standing and walking. What’s more, if you consider the price tag they come with, they’re really something of a steal.
Looking for the best Nike shoes for metatarsalgia? The Nike Revolution 3 Running Shoe might be exactly what you need. These premium shoes from Nike have received countless positive reviews, not only from dedicated runners, but from metatarsalgia sufferers as well. The design incorporates just the right features to give you that extra comfort to help make forefoot pain more manageable.
As the best running shoes for metatarsalgia pain, the Revolution 3 sports breathable, lightweight mesh uppers, soft foam midsoles with high rebound, and a deeply grooved rubber outsole that helps make each step stable and steady. They’re very comfortable, cause zero friction around the collar, and have a spacious toe box that can easily accommodate a painful forefoot.
All of these features make the Revolution 3 a great shoe not only for everyday use, but for sports activities as well. So if you were hoping to continue your fitness journey even with a nasty case of metatarsalgia, these running shoes for ball of foot pain can make a sound investment.
Vionic is a brand best known for their comfortable footwear selection. Their Agile Kea Slip On is a crowd favorite, and is often regarded as the best walking shoes for metatarsalgia. These shoes feature Advanced Motion System technology which makes every step light, easy, and effortless.
The Agile Kea Slip-On is designed with everyday use in mind. The simple, seamless silhouette works well with a variety of outfits and for a number of different occasions. They’re also very easy to wear, cutting down the time you would spend forcing your foot into a shoe and trying to lace it up before you head out the door.
Lastly, these shoes are particularly durable. With a design that comes together through expert craftsmanship, the Vionic Agile Kea Slip-On isn’t likely to give in to wear and tear too soon. So you can be sure that they’ll see you through many months of daily use.
The last shoes for forefoot pain on our list are the TravelActiv Mary Jane Fashion Sneakers from Propet. These relaxed shoes offer a lot of space up front and also come with a removable footbed, allowing you to use your own metatarsalgia inserts if you prefer a different step feel. But even without a custom pair of insoles, these shoes provide substantial comfort, keeping your step light and effortless to help reduce pain.
Price wise, the Propet TravelActive Mary Jane Fashion Sneakers are pretty affordable. So if you were looking for something that wouldn’t leave too much of a dent on your wallet, these would be your best bet. Keep in mind though that they’re not necessarily the most durable. But at the end of the day, they do offer substantial comfort and relief, so they will get the job done.
Metatarsalgia can take a toll on your mobility, and in worse cases, your independence. But before you head to your doctor and ask for medication or surgery, consider buying a pair of the best shoes for metatarsalgia instead. Often inexpensive and accessible, the right shoes can significantly reduce pain and prevent the need for medicated or invasive forms of treatment.
The top notcher on our list? The Orthofeet Gramercy Dress Shoes.
Sophisticated, stylish, and classy, these classic dress shoes can give you the comfort you need while keeping you looking professional and polished wherever you go. So be sure to check them out and the other options we’ve listed to help you land the best shoes for your standards.