A large number of runners are affected by foot bunions, which are bony bumps at the bottom sides of the big toes, and can cause a disfigurement and change of shape of the foot. Bunions can be genetically inherited, or can appear as a consequence from wearing tight shoes or as a result of an injury or arthritis. In general, the running shoes which are suitable for feet with this condition are the wide running shoes, which provide roomy toe space.
Best running shoes for bunions at a glance
For people who have both high arches and bunions, there are certain models of wide neutral shoes. At the same time, the wide stability shoes available on the market are suitable for people with low arches and bunions, and the different wide motion control shoes are a perfect choice for those with flat feet and bunions.
Here are our top picks of running shoes which are suitable for ladies and men who have problems with bunions but nevertheless would like to stay active and engage in sports and running.
ASICS Women’s GT-2000 6 Running Shoes
The ASICS Women’s GT-2000 Running Shoes are great running shoes for women with bunions. They are wide enough to provide sufficient toe space for the bunions, and yet they have a snug and comfortable fit, ensured by the Personal Heel Fit system including two layers of memory foam which molds in accordance to the shape of the heel. It is suitable for ladies with lower arches and over pronators. They are fitted with gel cushions for shock absorption. The vertical flex allows for enhanced heel to toe transition while running. The GT-2000 by ASICS has been awarded with the “Seal of Acceptance” by the American Podiatric Medical Association, and has won 12 awards from “Runners World” magazine. Just be careful with sizing and order half a size larger than what you usually wear, as these run a bit small.
Altra Women’s Torin 3 Running Shoes
The Altra Women’s The Torin Running Shoe is a perfect running shoe for women with bunions. The Torin shoe has an anatomical toe box which is comfortable for feet with bunions, and for enhancing a natural position of the heel when walking or running. These shoes offer extra comfort via the dual-layer AltraBound cushioning they have and are suitable for indoor and outdoor running. The Altra Torin shoe has a zero drop platform and this enhances the running experience and releaves the strain in the entire body while at it. Great for running long distances, due to the one to one ratio of the padding of the heel and toe which leads to a better heel to toe transition, and thus enhances the running and training experience.
The only thing that bothers us is users reporting these run a bit larger and you may need to order them 1/2 a size smaller than your usual size. When you get that in order, you will enjoy many miles of comfortable and pain-free running.
Mizuno Wave Rider 20
This neutral running shoe was designed to provide more responsive feel and softer ride. The mesh was reengineered for improved breathability and better support of the forefoot. These shoes are suitable for bunions due to the larger toe area.
While it is not the lightest running shoe you can get, with its 9.6oz, it feels pretty light on the feet. The outsole is more durable in the higher impact areas and will get you more miles running. The upgraded plate and technology will give you cushioned and more responsive feel.
If you are trying to transform your running, look no further. The entirely new wave plate technology will give you softer and smoother ride.
ASICS Men’s GT-2000 6 Running Shoes
The ASICS Men’s GT-2000 Running Shoe is a top choice for men who have problems with bunions, and especially for those who have mild to moderate problems with low arches and over-pronation. This stability shoe by ASICS employs an Impact Guidance system, a DuoMax Support system plus it has GEL cushioning systems in the front and the rear. The two layers of memory foam midsole create a snug and comfortable fit for any heel, and the extra toe space makes the shoe comfortable for men who have wide feet or bunions.
We especially liked the textile and mesh upper because it limits friction during the running thus improving comfort.
Altra Men’s Torin 3 Running Shoes
The Altra Men’s Torin Running Shoe is another excellent choice for men with bunions. The Torin shoe has a design which is especially made to match the contour of the foot both outside and inside. With its extra toe space and ZeroDrop platform, this shoe gives a natural and relaxed fit and feel to the foot. The two layered Altrabound cushioning provides the softness and comfort to the feet while running. The wide toe box allows for the bunion to fit without friction and the toes to spread while running, thus giving the foot more freedom and leading to a better transition between the heel and the toe when striding, which helps enhance running and creates a platform which reduces the risk of injuries while running and training. The two insoles – a 5mm insole for contour and a 3mm one for strength add to the feeling of support and strength to the feet while running long distances.
Saucony Men’s Omni 16
If you are looking for optimal support in a well cushioned shoe, check out the Saucony Omni 16. The toe box is roomy and flexible. It will give you a unique ride, offering a ton of improvements over the previous model. These fashionable shoes for bunions are made to benefit moderate to severe overpronators due to the greater arch support.
The thing we don’t really like is that the lacing system SaucFit that is supposed to lock the midfoot in place gives inconsistent results, which leaves the shoe either too tight or too loose.
On the other hand, the unique design of the shoe remains intact. Saucony has given the shoe complete overhaul of the upper and the sole. Now it handles heavy strikes better due to improvements in the soft foam in the heel.
So, if you are looking for a shoe that excels in long and relaxed runs, and at the same time provides adequate cushioning, this model is certainly worth trying.
The non-surgical treatments are temporary, and can include pain killers, orthotics or special bunion pads as well as wearing the appropriate footwear to alleviate this condition. You can look into our guide to best shoes for standing all day as well for even more reviews and options.
This is why there is a whole range of running shoes which are designed to suit the needs of men and women with bunions.
What to look for in the best running shoes for bunions?
If you suffer from painful and unsightly bunions, you probably already know how important it is to get the right shoes for running and for other activities, so as to reduce and eliminate the pain and increase the comfort to your feet. If you are still unsure about what characteristics to look for in your running shoes for bunions, here are some basic tips and features you need to keep in mind when shopping for running shoes suitable for bunions:
- NO SHARPLY POINTED FOOTWARE Firstly, remember to avoid trainers which are sharply pointed, too short or have heels which are higher than two inches – this will help keep your feet comfortable and protect you from soreness and injuries.
- WIDE TOE BOX – Choose running shoes with wide, roomy toe boxes, so that your feet and bunions have sufficient space to not rub against the upper and stay uncomfortably squeezed in while you are running or walking.
- GO FOR COMFORT, NOT STYLE – Always go for those shoes which are as closest to the shape of your foot. Don’t just pick a sneaker because you like its style! Try it on – sizes can differ among different brands and models.
- MEASURE YOUR FOOT – Remember, foot size and shape changes through the years, so make sure you measure your foot before shopping. Plus, don’t forget that usually the feet of one person are slightly different in size, so make sure you measure both, and pick the larger size.
- TRY THEM AT DAWN – When trying out new shoes, go after a run or in the afternoon after work when the feet are the most swollen and largest.
- LEAVE ENOUGH SPACE IN THE FRONT – Once you try the running shoes on, stand up and make sure you have an adequate space of at least 2/8 to ½ inches for the longest toe to the end of the shoe.
- DON’T ASSUME THEY WILL STRETCH – If the shoes feel tight then do not buy them just assuming that they will widen and stretch in time. Even though they might stretch, until then you will do further damage to your feet and bunions.
- NO SLIPPING – Walk around with the running shoes, and make sure the heel is comfortable and doesn’t slip, plus you need to assess the complete fit. If it is uncomfortable at a certain area, abstain from buying them.
- GO FRO A CUSHIONED HEEL – It is advisable to pick shoes which have a well-cushioned heel for a snug fit and yet sufficient room for the forefoot and bunions.
You can take your shoes to a professional shoe repair shop to get them stretched if you need that extra space.
Take your gait type into consideration as well as the bunions. If you have normal arches and do not over pronate, choose wide, neutral trainers. If you suffer from bunions and have low arches, chose wide stability shoes. For those with flat feet plus bunions, the best shoes to pick are wide, motion-control running shoes.
Q and A section:
Q: Bunions: what are these?
A: Bunions (aka hallux valgus) are bone or tissue enlargements around the base of the big toe’s joint, which causes the big toe to bend back over the other toes or towards them, which causes them to be forced into an unnatural position sideways rather than facing front. Bunions can be caused by different factors including: genetics, bad-fitting shoes or faulty mechanics of the foot. Bunions can cause the toe adjacent to the big toe to form a hammertoe as well as calluses beneath and in between the toes.
Q: can I just buy shoes that are a size larger? Why not?
A: Leading orthopedists advise that you always pick shoes which are most compatible to your specific foot type, shape and size. Larger sized shoes can be wider and more comfortable for the bunions and malformed toes, but they can actually be dangerous because your heel will likely be unstable and slip, which can lead to injuries during running. So, however tempting it may seem, refrain from buying larger sized shoes. So, for bunions, choose a size which fits you, but preferably a model which has a wider and roomier toe box.
Q: Do most brands have shoes with roomy toe box?
Even though there is an extremely wide range of models offered by the multitude of running shoe manufacturers, not all brands offer running or other shoes with wide toe boxes, so make sure you check the models and ask for those with roomy toe boxes if you suffer from bunions.
Q: Are the same models available for both men and women?
Even though almost all models of sneakers come in male and female versions, there are some which are unisex. It is a good idea though to stick to the model which is made specifically for your gender, because the leading manufacturers design and make their shoes specifically to fit the biomechanics of the female or male foot. It is actually scientifically proven that men and women have different needs when running shoes are concerned. The main difference between tennis shoes for men and women is the width. In general, shoes for ladies are designed and made wider in the forefoot area and with narrower heels. Also, the male and female models often have different types of heel support, midsoles and provide different comfort zones and levels, in regard to the general differences in the biomechanics of the feet of men and women. Plus, the leading brands also acknowledge the fact that women have wider hips and thus wider Q-angles (the angle between the quad muscles and the kneecap). This leads to more pronation, which requires some extra support for the feet and legs. Last but not least, in general women are lighter than men and with an average of 15% less muscle mass than men. This means that women’s running shoes are made with midsoles designed to sustain about 15% less impact than those made for men. Plus, women’s running shoes usually have added grooves in the outsole of the forefoot, to improve flexibility in line with the lower body weight.
Q: How to properly lace your shoes to ease pain from bunions?
Lacing can make a big difference when dealing with bunions. There are a few techniques which you can use to lace your running shoes comfortably if you have bunions.
Lacing technique #1 – Bunions step over:
If you have wide feet and bunions, you will need extra room in the toe and forefoot area. Try lacing the laces on each side of the shoe starting from the first eye and lacing up until you reach the midfoot. Then lace the remaining upper lace eyes normally with a cross lacing technique to lock in the midfoot and heel in place. This will give your forefoot and bunions enough space and yet will keep your feet stable and fixed while running.
If you are a runner with narrow feet and bunions, try omitting the lace hole in the inside of the shoe where your bunion is, and then lace and tie the laces in a normal cross-laced fashion to lock the foot into position.