Best Running Shoes for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by consistent pressure upon the posterior tibial nerve in a narrow passageway known as the tarsal tunnel and can cause a burning sensation with sharp pain, tingling, and numbness. If ignored, it can also evolve into permanent and irreversible nerve damage.

Thankfully, the condition can be easily solved by simple and quick treatments, like icing, inflammatory medication, the use of compression socks, and simply wearing the right shoes.

However, finding running shoes that properly support the tarsal tunnel without compressing it further can be quite difficult, and, therefore, I have compiled this list to make your task easier.

For your convenience, I have also included the key features I used to shortlist these and my opinions regarding some of the most important questions.

product reviews

The Best Running Shoes for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

I have split the best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome section into two separate parts, with the first containing men’s products while the other includes the most comfortable and supportive women’s running shoes.

The price of the running shoes starts from about $49 (£35 approx.), going up to around $510 (£360 approx.) and they were all judged upon the criterion shared earlier. I would also like to mention that a range of features is available, like IMEVA Midsole, Tri-Flex system, heel grid system, overlays, water resistance, BioMoGo DNA midsole, zero-drop platform, and Mizuno wave plate.

MEN’s

Saucony Men’s Cohesion 10

To start off, these first shoes are an amazing choice if you are looking for a sleek shoe design. For one, the pair has a streamlined shape with a single-layer mesh upper that enhances air ventilation. Also, they are very lightweight and comfortable and the overlays on the heel provide amazing support to the heel and ankle muscles. These overlays also add stability and balance, and, therefore, prevent slips and falls while the traditional lace closure enhances the fitting and personalization further.

 

Best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome - Saucony Men's Cohesion 10

Moreover, the injection-molded EVA midsole absorbs shock, prevents further damage and the foam provides thickness for low and heavy mileage runs. Alongside this, the heavy cushioning promotes a natural foot posture while also enhancing comfort and this midsole also features a heel grid system that provides stability, hence improving the experience immensely.

The outsole, on the other hand, is made up of a combination of materials that provide high durability and amazing traction, aiding in the prevention of falls and slips. This also features a tri-flex system that provides better shock absorption, allowing smoother heel-to-toe transitions on even abrasive surfaces.

Furthermore, the padded collar provides additional support to the ankle muscles, thus reducing numbness. The shoes are also available in 10 different color combinations and are highly versatile, allowing you to wear them at various events. However, they have caused some fitting problems for wide-footed people.

PROS

  • ✅  Features the IMEVA midsole that absorbs shock and limits impact damage.
  • ✅  The heel grid system provides better stability and balance.
  • ✅  The outsole, with the tri-flex system, improves the durability.
  • ✅  The overlays on the heel provide amazing ankle support.
  • ✅  The mesh upper keeps the feet dry and cool.

 

CONS

  • X    Not available in wide sizes.

Saucony Men’s Cohesion 10

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ASICS Gel-Venture 5

Along with their seamless structure, these next shoes are extremely durable and flexible, making them perfect for running. For one, they are made up of high-quality synthetic material with a single-layer mesh upper which not only provides flexibility and protection but excellent breathability as well, keeping the feet cool and dry. Also, the shoes feature synthetic stitched overlays that make the structure sturdier and provide additional support too.

 

Best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome - ASICS Gel-Venture 5

Furthermore, these shoes have an industry-standard EVA midsole that provides comfort, thereby alleviating the fatigue in the ankle. The gel cushioning in the rear foot of the shoes also reduces the impact and aids in shock absorption while the removable sock liner provides additional cushioning and reduces the potential irritation. Additionally, the heel and toe cap provides extra protection and prevent toe stubbing.

The AHAR rubber outsole, on the other hand, has tenacious multi-directional lugs that provide excellent traction and grip while running, thus preventing fractures and injuries. The verticle and horizontal flex groove cuts also provide smoother heel-to-toe transitions and flexibility, thus allowing the feet to move more naturally.

The outsole is also water-resistant, highly durable, and helps to maintain the natural foot alignment, thereby preventing slips and falls. Lastly, the shoes have a traditional lacing system that provides personalization and keeps the feet secure, thereby helping ease up the tense feet muscles.

PROS

  • ✅  The single-layer mesh upper provides flexibility and protection.
  • ✅  The water-resistant rubber outsole prevents slips and falls.
  • ✅  The traditional lacing system provides personalization and keeps the feet secure.
  • ✅  The outsole provides extra traction to keep the balance.
  • ✅  Industry-standard EVA insole provides great comfort and support.

 

CONS

  • X    Another pair that isn’t available in wide sizes.

ASICS Gel-Venture 5

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Brooks Men’s Beast

As the name suggests, these shoes truly are a beast. Firstly, they have a seamless structure that provides maximum comfort and support and the perforated engineered single-layer mesh upper comes with a comfortable embroidered saddle that provides flexibility and allows easy foot movement. Also, it is extremely durable and breathable, hence promoting better air ventilation and preventing skin infections.

 

Best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome - Brooks Men's Beast

Other than that, the pair features a traditional lacing system for enhanced fitting and GuideRails Technology to allow the hips, knees, and joints to move consistently without excess heel rotation, preventing pain. It also has a BioMoGo DNA midsole that delivers additional softness, thereby reducing compression in the ankle.

Additionally, the DNA loft cushioning in the midsole provides adequate balance while running and prevents slips and falls while the sock liner improves overall durability and provides extensive support to the ankle. The rubber outsole. with the Segmented Crash Pad, also extensively absorbs shock and delivers consistent heel-to-toe transitions during runs.

It also promotes a natural foot alignment and protects the heel and ankle well. The outsole, with the six omega flex grooves, provides immense balance and extra support on the toe-off phase, thus preventing overpronation and the padded collar provides ankle support, reducing fall and slip damage.

PROS

  • ✅  The shoes have a seamless structure for maximum comfort and support.
  • ✅  Single-layer mesh upper for enhanced breathability.
  • ✅  Guiderail technology to limit heel rotation and prevent pain.
  • ✅  The outsole, with six omega flex grooves, provides immense balance.
  • ✅  The padded collar reduces damage injuries.

 

CONS

  • X    I couldn’t find any in relation to helping with tarsal tunnel syndrome!

Brooks Men’s Beast

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WOMEN’s

ALTRA Women’s ALW1837F Torin 3.5

With a complex design, these are a great choice for women suffering from tarsal tunnel syndrome. They feature a single-layer mesh upper that is extremely comfortable and flexible, helping boost air ventilation while the streamlined shape reduces pressure on the feet and prevents fatigue. It should also be noted that the traditional lacing system is also very secure and provides better personalization. 

Best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome - ALTRA Women's ALW1837F Torin 3.5

Moreover, the pair features a fully-cushioned Zero-drop Platform that provides immense comfort and stability, something direly needed during running. Additionally, the grid-like grooves in the midsole are particularly created to provide flexibility and smooth heel-to-toe transitions. Also, the inner-flex cushioning helps position the heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the surface, supporting better foot alignment and low-impact landings.

In addition to all that, the rubber outsole provides great shock absorption while the softness, combined with the stiff structure, aids in supporting the foot muscles better, thus speeding up the recovery. The Footpod technology in the outsole also encourages natural foot movement and provides excellent gripping and traction, easing longer runs.

Other than that, the padded collar supports the ankle and reduces the overall stress. The Nubuck heel, on the other hand, not only supports the muscles but also provides extra grip and durability. Lastly, the shoes are very lightweight and anti-fatigue, thus making them an even better pair for long-distance running.

PROS

  • ✅  The traditional lace-up closure is secure yet non-constricting.
  • ✅  The zero-drop platform provides immense comfort and stability as well as support.
  • ✅  The grid-like grooves in the midsole provide smoother heel-to-toe transitions.
  • ✅  The padded collar provides additional ankle support.
  • ✅  Single-layer mesh upper enhances breathability and flexibility.

 

CONS

  • X    I found these shoes to have a slightly narrow toe box.

ALTRA Women’s ALW1837F Torin 3.5

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Mizuno Women’s Wave Paradox 2

Last but not least, these streamlined shoes are made up of vegan synthetic material and include the Dynamotion-designed single-layer mesh upper for flexibility and breathability, hence allowing a more natural foot structure. It also has a traditional lacing system that provides customization and really fits well.

Moreover, the shoes are very lightweight and comfortable with a wide toe-box that provides enough space to splay the toe, hence preventing toe stubbing. The welded overlays added instead of stitched ones reduce the overall weight of the shoes and stay extremely comfortable for even long runs.

 

Best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome - Mizuno Women's Wave Paradox 2

Furthermore, the shoes have a Mizuno wave palette incorporated in the midsole which helps to absorb shocks and lowers the impact. It also provides balance and prevents injuries. Other than that, they have EVA midsole cushioning that promotes a better posture and further enhances the comfort for alleviating the pain of your feet.

The Carbon rubber outsole also has the Flex Groove Technology that provides extra support to the ankle, hence reducing pain and fatigue. Also, the pair bends into any foot shape easily, thereby maintaining the original posture and the outsole provides excellent traction and grip, enabling smoother heel-to-toe transitions when running. Lastly, the blown rubber under the mid and forefoot enhances the stability and durability further.

PROS

  • ✅  The shoes have a wide toe box to prevent toe stubbing.
  • ✅  The Mizuno wave plate absorbs shock and lowers the impact.
  • ✅  The EVA midsole enhances comfort and reduces pain.
  • ✅  The carbon rubber outsole provides excellent traction.
  • ✅  The shoes have welded overlays to reduce the overall weight.

 

CONS

  • X    Some runners seemed dissatisfied with the long term durability.

Mizuno Women’s Wave Paradox 2

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Key Features & Search Criteria

How I Found The Best Running Shoes for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Now you’ve seen the products, I wanted to go through the most important features as they are the ones I considered to shortlist the best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome. This next piece of advice will help you find a pair that not only supports your feet, but also provides protection and comfort.

1. Outsole

You need to start by evaluating the outsole as this will affect the healing process in various ways. For one, this needs to be soft with a stiff structure to add to the comfort, thus reducing pain. There should also be some cushioning there to absorb impact and prevent foot damage and it should also be able to protect the feet well through waterproofing and insulation.

Other than that, the outsole needs to feature high-quality material and amazing construction to enhance durability further. Furthermore, this part needs to be flexible to prevent the cracking up when bent while immense traction, through a rough texture, will help prevent slips and falls, limiting chances of additional injuries.

Also, a great grip will help limit foot movement to reduce other issues by reducing twists while adequate width will prevent foot constriction. Lastly, if you have wide feet, you should look for an outsole that features a wide toe-box and an outrigger.

2. Midsole and Insole

The midsole and insole are directly in contact with most of the foot muscles, and, therefore, need to be quite well-built. Firstly, they should be soft with a stiff structure to promote natural foot movement without causing any discomfort whatsoever.

In addition to that, the midsole needs to be able to support the muscles well and perhaps even limit foot movement through a tight fit. However, they should not cause further tension and may also include moisture-wicking and odor control properties.

I would highly suggest getting a removable midsole as this will allow you to easily replace it with one that better fits your needs. Lastly, you should make sure that the midsole absorbs impact well enough to prevent stress and should not be too difficult to clean as well.

3. Fitting and Weight

Moving on, the fitting will greatly determine the support, protection, and comfort of the shoes. For one, you should make sure that the upper is flexible enough to comfortably fit the feet and reduce tension. The toe box should also be wide and the heel area needs to be wide as well as deep.

In case you have wide feet, I would highly recommend running shoes with an outrigger and also make sure to check the width as well as the vertical length between the upper and the midsole. They might also include additional features for grip to reduce foot movement to just the necessary one.

For the weight, on the other hand, the heavier the pair is, the more tension it will produce. However, even some heavy shoes prevent stress efficiently, and, therefore, I would suggest that you make a short run in the shoes to check whether they fulfill the criteria.

4. Durability and Additional Support

While support directly affects the tarsal tunnel syndrome, the durability will provide peace of mind and prevent mental stress. Firstly, the shoes should include additional support features like a padded collar for the ankle or some kind of a liner for the heel, toe, and arch support.

They can also include deeper lugs that help provide some kind of support and some shoes also have padded uppers. For durability, on the other hand, the shoes should include amazing construction, and the upper should particularly be made up of high-quality materials. Normally, synthetic is more durable than mesh.

The outsole should also feature a tight construction and rugged materials will help make them well-suited for a range of terrains. Waterproofing, insulation, and moisture-wicking features can also improve the shoes’ longevity and you should also check the midsole.

5. The Upper

Another major consideration would be the upper, and, usually, running shoes are made up of either synthetic or mesh materials. Both types are mostly highly breathable and quite flexible but more often than not, mesh upper edge off in both categories.

Synthetic, be that as it may, is known to be more durable out of the two and you might even find waterproof synthetic uppers. Then again, mesh uppers do provide more versatility and can be worn at a range of events.

Furthermore, the prices of both vary enormously and there are various choices in either case available as well. While there are single or double-layered options for mesh, synthetic uppers can include nylon, polyester, acetate, acrylic, spandex, orlon, latex, or Kevlar. Therefore, I would simply recommend that you set your preferences right and then decide on one of the materials before diving deeper into its additional features.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Whilst writing this article I noticed there are many online runners asking a few common questions when it comes to the best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome. So, I felt it would be useful to you if I grouped these together and provided my own advice.

1. What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?

As you might already know, the tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by continuous pressure to the posterior tibial nerve. This is a branch of the sciatic nerve and is present near the ankle, running through the tarsal tunnel, a narrow passageway bound by bone and soft tissue, hence the name.

The syndrome is often caused by severely flat feet as they stretch the tibial nerve but can also be a result of consistent compression by your shoes. Other than that, benign bony growths in the tarsal tunnel, varicose veins in the membrane around the tibial nerve, and inflammation from arthritis are known to be common causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome. It can, however, also be caused by lesions like tumors, injuries, or trauma and the chances are further enhance by diabetes.

For the symptoms, you will feel sharp pains like ones from electric shock or pins and will also get a burning sensation. You may also be faced with numbness or tingling along the tibial nerve and these symptoms are usually aggravated by physical activity. Also, even though this mostly solves very easily, if ignored, tarsal tunnel syndrome can result in permanent and irreversible nerve damage.

2. What is the best treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome?

As mentioned before, if left untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome can develop into permanent nerve damage, and, therefore, needs to be treated right away. For one, you should make sure that you get the right shoes or don’t perform much physical activity altogether.

Other than that, you should ice your feet twenty minutes a time, several times a day, and elevate your feet in the air for little intervals throughout the day as this can reduce swelling and inflammation. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or simply use compression socks. Hop below to know how these socks can help!

If these don’t work, you can give steroid injections a try or use braces or splits to limit foot movement and promote a faster recovery. You should also try shoes that support the arches and, after consulting your doctor, you can get the surgery known as the tarsal tunnel release which will release the ligament through an incision, relieving the nerve.

3. Are compression socks good for tarsal tunnel syndrome?

As absurd as it might sound, compression socks do help heal tarsal tunnel syndrome better. But these, however, need to be chosen correctly and, if you can’t decide on one, I would recommend the Copper Compression Socks.

For one, they are made of an amazing mic of Nylon and Polyester and provide just the right amount of compression to limit foot movement without stressing it up further. They are also effective in preventing further foot issues and are particularly good for intense physical activities, like running.

Due to the high nylon percentage, the socks deliver 360-degree stretch and are not only lightweight but also breathable. They are especially great for reducing swelling and inflammation and, unlike some others, these socks can be worn at all times.

4. Do Orthotics help with tarsal tunnel syndrome?

Yes, using Orthotics can greatly help enhance comfort and support, helping quicken the recovery immensely. However, you will need to make sure that you get the right ones or they can instead damage the feet, causing further foot problems.

I would highly suggest getting custom-made Orthotics but, if you don’t have access to them, you can try the Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts with Arch Support. They provide just the right amount of arch support and are crafted from high-quality material to relieve the muscles and diminish discomfort.

The EVA foam with PU material also improves performance while the ergonomic nonslip design enhances the protection further by preventing slips and falls. The insets, lastly, can be used for various activities, like running, sports, camping, ball games, climbing, and more.

 

Final Summary

Best Running Shoes for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

I hope the article proved to be beneficial to you, but here’s my overall recommendation when it comes to the best running shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome.

For men, I would consider the Brooks Men’s Beast to be the best because, as mentioned before, they are the beast. While they don’t include any negatives, the shoes feature a ton of positives, ranging from great breathability to maximum comfort and support, from Guiderail technology to six omega flex grooves on the outsole. They also include a padded collar and provide considerable overall protection.

For women, on the other hand, the ALTRA Women’s ALW1837F Torin 3.5 Road Running Shoe is a notably good choice. Although the toe-box is slightly narrow, features like the Nubuck heel and zero-drop platform work well in providing comfort and support while the mesh upper enhances breathability and flexibility. The grid-like grooves also provide smoother transitions and the padded collar supports the ankle well.

Whatever shoes you buy, I would suggest that you run in them for a couple of hours to make sure that they don’t cause fatigue and stay comfortable throughout or they can cause problems later on.

Written by Susan

I'm very enthusiastic around sports, fitness and general wellbeing. I write for a range of sites around these topics, and I hope you find my articles and information insightful to help you on your way.

June 25, 2021

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