When it comes to running shoes, a comfortable fit is always important but it's even more critical when you have bunions (aka a protrusion on the joint of the big toe that can happen when the bones shift out of place). To learn more about the features that make up the best running shoes for bunions, I emailed two New York-based podiatrists — Bruce Pinker, DPM, of Progressive Foot Care, and Mohammad Rimawi, DPM, of Grand Central Footcare.
One of the biggest challenges with bunions can be finding a shoe that fits properly, especially around the toe joint. "As the forefoot widens due to the presence of a [bunion], footwear can fit more tightly, leading to discomfort and difficulty while ambulating," Dr. Pinker explains. For this reason, both doctors agree that a wide toe box is key. "Due to the nature of bunions, the big toe is more prone to pressure pain and aggravation, especially when inside tight fitting shoe gear," Dr. Rimawi says. "A wide toe box will help alleviate some of those symptoms by accommodating for the boney bump caused by the bunion."
Flexibility is another important feature, both in the toe box and around the shank. If a shoe is too stiff, your foot will rub and chafe more, causing pain and potential blistering, Dr. Rimawi explains. A flexible toe box, on the other hand, allows the big toe to move more freely while you run, helping to reduce irritation.
That said, your running shoes should also offer stability, Dr. Pinker says. Not only that, but the midsole also needs to have adequate cushioning and the shoe must fit properly. It's common to find that shoes fit well when you're trying them on but start hurting once you start running in them, Dr. Rimawi says. "This is due to the fact that the foot tends to swell during physical activities, or just as the day progresses," he explains. "To combat this, it would be wise to purchase shoes as the day comes to an end."
Dr. Pinker agrees that fit is important, noting that when it's not accurate, problems can occur. "One's gait or running pattern can be altered by an inflamed bunion region, which can possibly lead to a myriad of foot issues, such as ankle sprains, foot sprains, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, pain, and swelling."
With these considerations and recommendations from both doctors in mind, I've rounded up the best running shoes for bunions below.
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