Bunions… a term no one likes to hear or see. They are gross to look at and they cause massive discomfort when running. Many people suffer from this awful pain and it can impact people in all areas of life, especially when running! This article will give you the breakdown on how to cure/prevent bunions, what causes bunions in the first place and the best running shoes for bunions to pick that is designed to instantly eradicate discomfort when running.
The impact of bunions for runners
When you are running one day and all of a sudden you start to feel a burning pain, rub against the side of your foot, you instantly stop to see what is happening. You have checked your ankle and find that everything is fine. You continue to run along.
The bigger issue is that many runners do not know that they have bunions nor they feel the need to change their shoe up due to it not affecting their lives dramatically.
But, ignoring the issue may increase the likelihood of your bunions to worsen and actually cause even more discomfort in the future. It is better to be safe than sorry to find a solution to the problem early on than leaving it later until something more serious happens.
How it affects running performance
Running with bunions can affect how you run by causing you to stop in order to reduce or stop the pain as much as you can. This persistent stopping could be a sign that you need either stop running or lessen the number of times you run each week.
Running makes it worse…
You may think running is the root cause of why people have bunions but it actually worsens the more you run/apply pressure on your foot. Bunions are predominantly genetically inherited and running can deform your foot even more if you consistently go out running.
Simple exercises to cure bunions
There are simple but effective exercises out there that can help you reduce the pain of your bunion by a lot if you do this daily. Here are some exercises I recommend:
This is a fun one when watching the telly or online browsing your favorite websites & it is simple to set up. You simply get a small ball of any kind. A golf ball or tennis ball is most suitable ( I prefer to use a tennis ball as it has a softer surface!) and you place it under your foot. You roll it around on the floor with the guidance of your foot for 2 – 3 mins. This exercise will help stop the foot from cramping and straining.
Aligning your big toe
This may sound painful and uncomfortable to do but it is another good exercise to do! You simply use your fingers to grip your big toe and slowly move it in the correct position. Hold your big toe in place for around 10 seconds and repeat 3 – 5 times respectively. This will help re-align your big toe to where it should be!
Using resistance on your big toe
If you have a spare towel or a scarf, this can be easily accessible and easy to do. You grab a towel and wrap it around your big toe. You then pull on the towel to pull your painful toe inwards towards your index toe whilst simultaneously pushing your foot forward. There isn’t a set amount of time you should do this, but don’t overdo it as you may cause more harm than good!
Walking along sand
Who doesn’t like walking on sand? When there is sand, there is likely a beach! Walking on your local beach can see more benefits than previously thought. It not only helps you get Vitamin D, you also help cure your bunions.
Walking along sand is a great alternative to walking across concrete in tight and uncomfortable shoes. Use this to relax and nurture your bunion to help reduce the pain.
What to look for in bunion running shoes
You can apply all the above and see progress in your bunion inflicted toe(s) and improve your current situation, but when running is involved, the effects of your bunion can see more damage than good when you are constantly applying pressure to your feet.
This is to give you a rough understanding of how running shoes are designed to help people with bunions run in comfort and not suffer from excruciating pain when running!
Here is my criteria I use when choosing the best pair of running shoes:
Buying from the right place
When you think of places to purchase running shoes for bunions, you may think your local mall or local shoe shop. This is not the best place to look as most shops don’t have shoes that come with bunion based features which makes finding the right pair hard to find.
Even if you find a shop that does sell a pair of bunion focused running shoes, they are going to be priced a lot more than your average pair of running shoes, hence you are looking at this post.
As the shoes listed below are from brands who manufacture shoes to help people with bunions, they are also priced reasonably well as well!
Are they flexible?
You need to check your running shoes to see if they are flexible & not stiff. This is because you need to have enough toe room in your toe box to accommodate enough movement when running. Check the product description and look for any product specifications like dimensions & materials as they are good signs that the shoes you are looking at are flexible.
It could also be worth your time measuring your foot’s width and length with a bit of tracing paper using this guide by eBay to help you get the right sizes!
Are they comfortable?
Your first priority when looking is seeing if they are comfortable. This is to make sure you have no pain when moving and feel at ease when applying pressure. When buying the best running shoes for bunions, you need to ensure you have a wide toe box as its the extra space that allows your foot to move around in.
Most of the time, the pain is caused due to the material of the shoe, causing friction between the inside of the shoe and your bunion rubbing against each other. This is more apparent if you are running barefoot in the shoes. I advise you wear some thick sports socks that are comfortable.
The most important thing about running is that you can beat your goals. Most of my goals are set on how far I can run not how long I can last wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. I recommend you look out for any cushioning or comfort features on the product’s specifications list.
The shape of your toes
Make sure you never browse narrow running shoes as they are inevitably not going to solve your condition. You need to assess what shape your foot is or more specifically the position of your toes and compare the shape of the running shoe to the shape your bunion.
One tip is to look at the sole layout and use that as a basic guideline in comparing the right shoe. Another important feature is the toe box. If the shoe you are browsing does not have a toe box, chances are that running shoes are not designed for your needs!
Best running shoes for bunions for women
First, let’s start with the best women’s running shoes and then we will dive into the men’s further down this page.
Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 20 Running Shoe
Quite a stylish running shoe with the power to help women relieve their bunions and run in style!
They come equipped with a removable sole which can help women put in custom made insoles easily which makes it fully customizable.
It boasts its Triple Zone engineered mesh for breathability and extra comfort. The highlight of this shoe is the redesigned Wave Technology which offers softer cushioning and enhanced responsive feel which is perfect for long distance runners who want to run in comfort.
- Comes with a rubber sole
- Has a removable insole, perfect for custom made insoles or orthotics.
- Great range of colors and styles
- Triple zone engineered mesh for breathability & comfort
- Your arches may take time to adjust
- Not enough stability for knees or hips
Adidas Performance Women’s Ultra Boost Running Shoe
A modern & good looking running shoe perfect for getting the job done. The Adidas Ultra Boost Running Shoe has many great features that many running enthusiasts look for and they are great for running as they have been knitted with Adidas Primeknit which has been carefully made to expand around your foot whilst running.
It has a StretchWeb rubber outsole which is an elastic based material that is great for transitioning when running. It has a decent sized toe box for maneuverability.
Its natural fit torsion system has been made between the forefoot and heel to provide optimal movement for the Achilles which is also great for runners who suffer from Achilles tendon strain.
- Ultraboost cushioning, designed for optimal energy input and output
- Stretchable stretch web rubber made for precise foot positioning
- The outsole is made from continental and is perfect for gripping slippery and dry surfaces
- Adidas Primeknit material for a flexible and supportive fit.
- Tight around ankles
- No tongue, making putting on the shoes a little difficult
ASICS Women’s GT-2000 4 Running Shoe
The ASICS running shoe hosts a variety of features that range from the Dynamic DuoMax Support System which enhances stability and support, to the rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning systems which absorbs more shock on landings. They also have good cushioning under the toe area to provide extra comfort when applying pressure to your forefoot.
If you are looking for more function than fashion the ASICS Women’s GT-2000 4 running shoe is perfect for people with bunions who are looking to improve their performance!
- Impact guidance system
- Dynamic DuoMax Support System
- Fluidride – contains bounceback and cushioning properties
- Not the widest option
- Not very durable
Altra Torin 3.0 Women’s Road Running Shoe
Altra Torin 3.0 running shoes come with a great array of features ranging from its Footpod outsole to the natural ride system.
They have been developed from the previous predecessor of Altra Torin’s bestselling shoes and the manufacturers have improved these running shoes to include better breathability in the upper part of the shoe for comfort, whilst retaining previous elements like the responsiveness, softness and light-weight feel of the Altra Torins.
The FootPod feature maps out the bones and tendons in your foot for it to adapt and become flexible around your bunion affected foot to improve flexibility in all areas running.
- They have been designed to improve walking form, comfort, toe splay & natural foot positioning.
- Zero drop platform feature is designed to encourage natural, proper form of the toes, for extra performance.
- A super toe box that provides lots of space
- Super Comfortable (Read the reviews on Amazon!)
- The running shoe can be quite narrow in the midfoot
- Not best suited for shin splint sufferers
Best running shoes for bunions for men
At last, for all my male readers, here are my top 4 running shoes for men with bunions! Read on!
New Balance Men’s MX857 Cross-Training Shoe
These running shoes are one of many shoes that help people run with bunions. Other than the stylish exterior, these New Balance shoes are not only to impress but function at the same time. They have specifically designed a bunion comfort zone which is an attractive feature for many runners and it helps emphasize the width of these shoes!
The new balance shoes are also great for overpronators as it has ROLLBAR technology and a lateral TPU support to help eradicate the discomfort.
- The dedicated comfort zone for bunions
- EVA foam midsole
- N-ERGY and C-CAP shock absorbing technologies
- Seamless Phantom Liner
- The quality may wear out quickly if used too often
- A short return policy of 30 days
ASICS Men’s GEL-Foundation 8 Running Shoe
The Asics Gel – Foundation running shoe is designed to help runners ease the pain of bunions when running. It boasts an ample toe box allowing for enough room to spread your toes and leaving enough room to be flexible when running on hills and mountains. They come in 3 colors such as lightning, black or true red. They also have the option for orthotic users to remove the sole and easily replace it with their custom-made orthotics.
Here are some of the features of the ASICS Gel Foundation 8 Running Shoes:
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 2.39″ from arch
- Lace-up running shoe with breathable mesh upper featuring technology and silhouette built for the over-pronator
- ComforDry sock liner
- Full-length GEL cushioning
- SpEVA, DuoMax dual-density midsole
- DuraSponge outsole
- Good for overpronators
- Full shoe length gel cushioning
- DuraSponge outsole
- Chunky shoes
- Longevity not as durable as other ASICs.
Altra Timp Trail Running Shoes – Men’s
These Altra Timp Running Shoes have a nice curve and stylish look about them making them quite a desirable shoe. They have been designed to withstand long distance running or long training sessions perfect for any enthusiastic runners.
Excellent cushioning and wide toe box allowing enough room for your toe box which helps reduce stress & pressure on your bunion.
The MaxTracTM outsole is perfect for rough terrain surfaces like gravel, concrete and mountain terrains giving you a more secure grip on the surface when training. lower volume fit gives you reduced lateral movement and a secure fit. The lower volume fit decreases the amount of lateral movement & helps support your feet more when putting these on.
Here are the features of the Altra Timp Trail Running Shoes:
- Mesh | Synthetic | Textile
- 360 degree reflective upper with TPU overlay
- GaiterTrap technology
- MaxTrac outsole with 4mm lugs
- Weight: 11.8 oz
- Great balance of comfort (cushioning) and stability
- Excellent cushioning
- Wide Toe Box
- Great for outdoor running (mountain, urban etc.)
- Not waterproof friendly
- Not ideal for cold and wet conditions/seasons
Altra Men’s Torin 2.5 Running Shoe
The Altra Men’s Torin 2.5 running shoes are a simple design that holds functionality that helps with bunion pain. These shoes retain previous attributes from its predecessor which offers lightweight shoe, cushioned and form improving assets. These come with a new style and more flexibility than previous models.
The main spotlight feature is their foot-shaped toe box which is a godsend for bunion sufferers! More toe space, perfect for speed runs and more stability!
The high cushioning is also positioned higher within the shoe allowing for less impact on your feet. The responsive a-bound compound is the energy returning feature making running effortless and taking the worry of “landing too hard” on a rough surface.
Here are the feature’s of the Altra Men’s Torin 2.5 Running Shoes:
- Quick-Dry Mesh
- Imported into the US
- Rubber sole
- Improved Upper Design and Durability
- 5 mm Contour Footbed
- Dual-layer EVA midsole with A-Bound top layer & Innerflex
- Foot-Shaped Toe Box accommodates toe splay
- A base of loyal customers
- Good for long distance running
- Wide toe box
- The heel cap is not very durable
- Shoe size may be 1 size smaller than listed
After looking at all these shoes, I will have to say the option is completely up to you. You have to bear in mind your own decisions and this is a wholesome honest review at the end of the day. For the Women, I am hinting towards the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 20 Running Shoes and for the Men’s Altra Men’s Torin 2.5 Running Shoe as this has an unprecedented amount of reviews.