To prevent inflammation in the balls of your feet (otherwise known as metatarsalgia), a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes can help. According to Dr. Damien Roussel, DPM, a podiatrist at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, the best walking shoes for metatarsalgia feature shock-absorbing soles, a roomy toe box, and cushioned insoles to help minimize pressure on the balls of your feet. And whether you’re looking for athletic sneakers or casual kicks, there’s a style to suit your taste.
Dr. Damien Roussel is a Maryland-based podiatrist at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (CAO) and is board-certified in both foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery.
What To Look For In A Pair Of Walking Shoes For Metatarsalgia
The outsoles of your shoes play a large role in how comfortable they’ll be, as they help absorb shock and provide stability through each stride. For those with metatarsalgia, Roussel suggests choosing either a stiff or rocker-bottom sole because these will provide cushioning and decrease pressure while you walk. Materials such as rubber, TPU, and EVA foam are all exceptionally durable and help provide impact relief. When it comes to the best insoles for metatarsalgia, Roussel recommends arch support and shock-absorbing materials such as gel or foam, or opting for shoes with metatarsal padding. Many shoes even have removable insoles to accommodate your own inserts if needed.
Other features to look for include a wide or high toe box so the shoes are not constricting. Mesh upper fabrics can help with this because they offer a little bit of stretch and supreme breathability, and elastic goring can increase flexibility.
When you’re ready to start strolling in comfort, check out the best walking shoes for metatarsalgia on Amazon.
1. A Pair Of Rocker Sneakers
Specifically designed for foot and knee pain, these walking shoes feature a front rolling design that helps to reduce stress on bones, joints, and muscles in the feet. The shoes come with a pair of removable orthotic insoles for extra cushioning, and the EVA sole features a shock-absorbing heel. Mesh upper fabric provides softness and breathability, and a wide toe box ensures your toes have ample room to move.
One reviewer wrote: “My feet have been hurting daily for over a year due to the metatarsalgia and my feet have always hurt after a lot of walking due to the over pronation. The first time I put these shoes on (with the orthopedic insoles they come with) it was like heaven! I am standing correctly for probably the first time ever, and OMG they are SO comfortable!”
Sizes: 6 — 11, including wide and extra-wide sizes | Colors: 7
2. A Pair Of Cute Loafers With A Wide Toe Box
Fans of this popular walking shoe love the wide, rounded toe box and ultra-lightweight design that lets them forget they’re even wearing shoes at all. They feature removable memory foam insoles, elastic laces that stretch as you walk, and a breathable upper material. While these shoes don’t have a ton of arch support, reviewers note that they can easily accommodate your own inserts if necessary. Plus, they’re machine washable for easy cleaning.
One reviewer wrote: “I’ve had them for a few weeks and they are still comfortable. I was worried because I have foot and leg pain when I were shoes that aren’t super supportive, but these shoes do not cause problems like others. I can wear them for much longer periods of time than shoes of similar styles before my feet ache.”
Sizes: 5 — 11 | Colors and styles: 11
3. These Walking Shoes With A Shock Absorbing Sole
The Ryka Devotion Plus 2 has been specifically made for high-performance fitness walking both indoors and out, and they feature responsive cushioning for shock absorption and impact protection — ideal for preventing metatarsal pain. Their molded EVA midsoles have built-in arch and heel support, while the eight-piece rubber outsole adds extra traction and durability. A roomy toe box allows for movement, while the removable cushy insoles add spongy comfort. For even more comfort, there’s a breathable mesh upper and soft, cushioned Lycra lining on the tongue and collar.
One reviewer wrote: “I have metatarsalgia and these shoes allow me to take walks and go about my normal business. They are designed for small feet, which I have, and have a wide toe base which is great for metatarsalgia.”
Sizes: 5 — 12, including wide sizes | Colors: 30
4. This Pair Of Dressier Shoes
If you’re looking for a pair of cute shoes that are comfortable enough to walk around in all day yet dressy enough to wear to work, check out these slip-on sneakers from Dr. Scholl’s. They feature stretchy goring and a soft micro-suede upper material that combine to create a super comfortable fit. The thick outsoles provide lightweight stability, while the spongy insoles can either be kept in place or replaced with your own inserts. However, while some reviewers found the toe box roomy, others felt it was a bit narrow.
One reviewer wrote: “I needed a shoe with a very stiff sole and a roomy toe box. These shoes have given me back my mobility. […] These are rigid and supportive, they’re snug but I can fit a 3/4 orthotic and a moderately swollen foot in there. They rubbed my heels at first, but a couple of days with socks relaxed the fit.”
Sizes: 5 — 13, including wide sizes | Colors: 30
5. This Pair Of Sneakers Under $50
Fans of this athletic shoe love the thick cushioning and support it offers, with one reviewer writing, “The foam cushions your feet so well, feels like you’re walking on a cloud.” The padding inside the shoe is soft yet sturdy enough to provide bouncy support, while a grid insert in the midsole helps with shock absorption. Many reviewers love the roomy toe box and wide-width sizes and note the insole is removable if you wish to add your own inserts.
One reviewer wrote: “I am 60 years old and have suffered from foot pain in the balls of my feet for over 25 years. I have spent hundreds of dollars on “good walking shoes” or “great support shoes”, etc., only to have my feet hurt regardless when I have to walk for long periods of time or be on my feet for a long time. […] I read the reviews on these Saucony shoes and thought I’d give them a shot. I just got back from a […] trip […] where I averaged over 13,000 steps a day. It took me until the evening of the second day to realize that my feet didn’t hurt! I cannot tell you how that made me feel. I highly recommend these shoes and plan to buy them from now on. Also, they just happen to be very cute!”
Sizes: 6.5 — 11, including wide sizes | Colors: 15
6. These Comfy Loafers With Orthotic Insoles
These comfy loafers are a great blend of style and utility with their canvas uppers and grippy rubber outsoles. What really sets these shoes apart is their removable orthopedic insoles that feature a strong TPU shell for arch support and stability, a soft memory foam layer for cushiony comfort, and metatarsal padding to relieve pressure. They also have an EVA midsole for impact resistance and elastic goring on the sides for easy on and off.
One reviewer wrote: “I got these shoes because the balls of my feet hurt so bad […] After wearing them at work (teacher), the arch supports in them, takes the weight off my the ball of my feet AND heels. High quality made!”
Sizes: 6 — 11 | Colors: 8
7. These Podiatrist-Approved Sneakers
Boasting the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance and a Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding (PDAC) Diabetic Shoe Certification, these walking shoes provide maximum cushioning and support, making them some of the best shoes for foot pain. They feature a durable midsole with loft cushioning that provides a soft bounce with each step and a soft mesh upper material that’s both breathable and supportive. You can keep the insoles in or remove them for your own custom orthotics if desired. However, while this sneaker is made for comfort, keep in mind that some reviewers found the toe box somewhat narrow.
One reviewer wrote: “I can honestly say that these Glycerin’s are the best. I have plantar fasciitis and pain and swelling of the 5th Metatarsal in my left foot. These are comfortable and supportive enough for my 10 hour days.”
Sizes: 5 — 13, including narrow and wide sizes | Colors: 18
8. These Shoes With A Slight Rocker Design
These walking shoes feature all of the details you might look for when searching for metatarsal pain relief. They boast a modest rocker design to ease you through each step and have a roomy toe box to prevent pressure on the metatarsal area. The thick rubber soles provide great impact resistance and rebound, and the soft mesh upper material provides breathability. Some reviewers note they’ve added their own insoles for extra cushioning, while others enjoy the memory foam padding.
One reviewer wrote: “These shoes are fabulous! I’m starting to have different foot issues (multiple) so I need a quality shoe. These fit the bill! Roomy for your toes, not too tight when you tie it across your foot tops, arch support, cushy support even your heels. I recommend these shoes to anyone experiencing any sort of foot pain.”
Sizes: 5 — 11 | Colors: 26
Also Great: A Pair Of Metatarsalgia Insoles
These APMA-approved insoles are great for shoes you wish had a little more metatarsal support. They feature a firm yet flexible shell, neutral arch support, and a cushy metatarsal pad that many reviewers adore, with one writing, “The metatarsal pads in these insoles are placed between the arch and the metatarsals, in order to spread the metatarsal bones and prevent them from pinching together,” adding, “I don’t think I would have ever figured that out for myself, but it really works.” The foam top layer adds spongy cushioning, and they’re available in a range of sizes and will fit all types of sneakers and casual shoes. One detail worth noting: First-time users may need a transition period of wearing them for just a few hours before switching to full-time use.
One reviewer wrote: “I was having metatarsal pain in the ball of my feet strong enough to keep me awake at night. I’ve tried other products with no relief. I even had custom insoles that didn’t work for me. I’ve placed these in my workout and walking shoes and the pain is gone! Love them. I can run again without pain. I’ve been using them for about a year now and they are still going strong. Well worth the price.”
Sizes: 6 — 12