How to Reduce Bunion Pain? – Find the Best Running Shoes for Bunions on the Market

First time I saw a bunion on someone else’s foot, I freaked out!

What is that and how do they put their shoes on?

Years later, I am dealing with the same problem, and when I try to wear my regular shoes, I still wonder, how do I put these on without pain?

That is why I decided to purchase running shoes for bunions. My search for the best ones wasn't easy, but once I started wearing them, it changed my life. I can run, walk, jump, exercise, all without any pain.

If you are struggling with bunions as well, keep reading, and I will teach you how to find the right running shoe for yourself and which models to check first.

Enjoy!

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What is a Bunion?

What is a Bunion?

If you have bunions, you know that they are painful and not very pretty. They also make finding the right shoes for yourself into a nightmare.

But what is a bunion exactly?

It is a bony “bump” that appears on the joint next to your big toe. When your big toe pushes against your second toe, it forces the previously mentioned joint to grow and stick out.

You can also have smaller bunions (bunionettes) which appear the same way as the big ones, but they are placed on the joint of your little toe.

Once a bunion (or a bunionette) forms, the skin in that area can turn red and become sore.

Most commonly, bunions are a result of a medical condition (for example, arthritis), an inherited structural defect or increased stress on your foot.

It is crucial that you wear comfortable and wide enough shoes because tight and narrow footwear might make your bunions worse or cause them in the first place.

List of Symptoms

Here’s the list of symptoms and signs that will help you recognize whether you are dealing with a bunion:

  • A painful bump on the side of your big toe’s base
  • Swollen, red or sore skin around your big toe joint
  • Intermittent or persistent pain
  • Calluses or corns where two toes overlap
  • If the bunions are a result of arthritis, the movement of your big toe might be restricted.

What Causes the Bunions?

Once you know what bunions are and how to recognize the distressing symptoms, you have to wonder – what causes them in the first place?

Many theories try to explain how bunions develop, but the specific cause hasn't been found yet.

Many factors contribute to the development of this medical condition, and they include:

  • Different foot injuries
  • Inherited foot type
  • Congenital deformities
  • Some types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory ones, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the Risk Factors?

Except for the direct and indirect causes of bunions, there are also some risk factors. I will give you the list, so you can get familiar with them and prevent them if they are controllable.

Here it comes, these are the things that increase your risk of bunions:

  • Ill-fitting shoes – Wearing too tight, narrow or pointed shoes can make you more susceptible to bunions
  • High heels – The position of your feet when you wear the heels, often crowds your toes
  • Heredity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

When is the Time to Visit a Doctor?

Bunions don’t always require medical treatment. However, as a runner, you should care for your feet, and if you notice any of these signs, it is time to consult your podiatrist or orthopedic foot specialist:

  • Persistent foot or big toe pain
  • A visible, unusual bump on the base of your big toe
  • Restricted movement of your big toe or whole foot
  • Difficulty finding the right shoes because of a bunion.

What to Look for in Running Shoes for Bunions?

Running shoes for Bunions

Now that you know what bunions are, what causes them and what are the risk factors for developing them, you can take the necessary steps to stop that from happening.

The first step is choosing right running shoes for yourself. Even if you have bunions already, adequate running shoes can prevent further complications and alleviate the pain you are feeling.

Here’s what you should look for:

Wide Toe-Box and Proper Support

High-quality running shoes for bunions must provide all the support you need. You have to know whether you are an overpronator, underpronator, or neutral, or if you have any other foot problem such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. So, the first thing you should look for is adequate support for your type of feet.

Once you find a range of shoes that suit your needs, look for a wide toe box and cushioning in the forefoot.

Search for shoes that have wide toe-box rather than regular shoes with a wide fit, because if you have narrow feet, these might be too loose for you in the midfoot and heel area.

Upper Mesh and Flexibility

Flexible, soft mesh upper means less pressure on your bunion. So, make sure that the toe box is covered with mesh instead then leather or any other material.

The truth is, mesh will offer you more flexibility, but at the same time, it will provide less support. If your feet are neutral, this won't be a problem, but if you are an over-pronator, for example, you’ll have to find a sweet spot between flexibility and stability that you need.

Good running shoes for bunions are wide in the forefoot, provide excellent arch support to avoid excessive pronation that can be caused by putting stress on the big toe joint. At last, they are flexible enough to allow for a relaxed push off.

Shoelaces

Make sure that the shoes you are going to purchase, have shoelaces and that you can customize them as you need. You’ll have to lace your shoe, so it provides maximum support through the midfoot and minimizes the pressure on your bunion.

You can learn how to do this by watching this video.

Top 5 Running Shoes for Bunions on the Market – My 2019 Reviews

Let’s take a look at the best running shoes for bunions on the market:

1. PUMA Men's Tazon 6 FM Running Shoe

PUMA Men's Tazon 6 FM Running Shoe

Source: Amazon.com

If you are dealing with a severe case of bunions, you will be glad to learn that Puma’s running shoes have a T-toe construction which can significantly relieve your pain.


They are made of synthetic leather, with rubber outsole and EVA cushioning in the midsole and heel. They will provide you with stability, comfort, support and shock absorption.

Even if you have bilateral bunions, these sneakers will give you plenty of room in the toe box. At the same time, you don't have to worry about their durability as they are well-made.


I believe you are having some trouble putting your shoes on, due to your medical condition, but this model will make this much more manageable. The shoes are lightweight and affordable.

However, they run a bit small, so make sure to purchase at least half number larger than your regular size.


Also, they are not breathable enough, which may cause your feet to smell. They are slightly stiff, and the cushioning is not thick enough.

Pros

  • They work great, even for bilateral bunions.
  • They are affordable
  • They offer plenty of room
  • The shoes are lightweight and easy to put on and take off
  • The sole is durable

Cons

  • The shoe runs a bit small
  • It is not breathable enough
  • Cushioning might be too thin
  • It’s stiffer than expected

2. Brooks Womens Ariel '16 Overpronation Stability Running Shoe

Brooks Womens Ariel '16 Overpronation Stability Running Shoe

Source: Amazon.com

People with bunions often go for wide fit, but even such design can cause pain.


However, shoes like Brooks' Ariel 16 have a slightly different toe-box offering precisely what you are looking for – carefree running. This shoe has a synthetic mesh upper and rubber outsole.


The Super DNA Midsole has excellent cushioning manufactured to offer stability and adequate support to overpronators.

As I said, you will feel no pain in the bunion area while wearing these shoes. Wide toe-box will take care of that for you.


Even if you are struggling with flat feet or plantar fasciitis, these shoes will be gentle and offer all the support you need. You will also enjoy their moist-wicking feature and improved segment crash pad that helps you pick up speed.

However, this model lacks durability, especially when it comes to its mesh upper, which is a significant issue. At the same time, the shoes are expensive, so you should think twice before investing in them.

Pros

  • The design alleviates pressure from the bunion area
  • They offer a wide toe box
  • They are great for flat feet and plantar fasciitis as well
  • They are comfortable with sufficient cushioning
  • There’s no break-in time

Cons

  • They run a half size small
  • They are a bit expensive
  • The heel protrusion might pull your socks down
  • The upper is not durable enough.

3. AVIA Women's Avi-Execute Running Shoe

AVIA Women's Avi-Execute Running Shoe

Source: Amazon.com

If you are shopping on a tight budget and you want your bunions to stop bothering you, Avia is the brand you should look into.


Their Avi-Execute running shoe has a breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays, lightweight rubber outsole, GELForm removable insole and a molded midsole with grooves for flexibility.

Avia’s model has anatomical cradle design, which makes it perfect for various toe problems like bunions, hammertoes, and deformed nails.


You can start running as soon as you purchase these sneakers as they don’t need any break-in time. They fit as expected and provide superior arch support.


At last, they are insanely affordable in comparison to other models from this group.

Unfortunately, their mesh upper gets ripped too easily.


At the same time, your heel might slip in and out of the shoe which can cause injuries or hurt your heel spurs. 


The sole is too hard and almost feels like plastic, so this is not the most comfortable model on the market.

Pros

  • Avia shoes are fantastic for bunions, hammertoes, deformed nails, and other toe problems
  • They are more than affordable
  • There’s no break-in time
  • They fit as expected
  • They provide excellent arch support.

Cons

  • The mesh upper is flimsy
  • Your heel might slip
  • The sole feels like plastic
  • If you have heel spurs, these shoes might hurt.

4. DR. COMFORT Performance-X Men's Therapeutic Diabetic Double Depth Shoe

DR. COMFORT Performance-X Men's Therapeutic Diabetic Double Depth Shoe

Source: Amazon.com

If you have several medical conditions combined, looking into therapeutic shoes is a good idea. For bunions and running, Dr. Comfort offers their Performance-X shoe.


They have gel inserts, leather and mesh upper, padded lining and elastic lace closure. The double depth design makes them ideal for bunions as they provide extra volume.

Therapeutic shoes are great as they relieve pressure on your toe joint, and that is exactly what you need.


Additionally, they come with comfortable inserts, shoe horn, and strong shoelaces which keep your foot stable.


They are incredibly comfortable, and you can quickly put them on and take them off, without hurting your bunion.

Unfortunately, Dr. Comfort’s Performance-X are a little expensive. 


At the same time, they run half number large and can be slippery on wet surfaces, which means their outsole is not ideal.


At last, they wear out much quicker than expected.

Pros

  • The shoe is designed to relieve pressure on your toe joint
  • They come with a shoe horn and an extra pair of inserts
  • They have strong shoelaces
  • It's comfortable wearing them
  • They are easy to put on and take off

Cons

  • They wear out too quickly
  • They are pricey
  • They run a little large
  • They are slippery on wet surfaces.

5. ASICS Men's GEL-Foundation 8 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL-Foundation 8 Running Shoe

Source: Amazon.com

Asics, one of the most popular brands among runners, also has bunion friendly shoes.


Their GEL-Foundation 8 running shoe is made of synthetic upper, rubber sole and EVA, DuoMax dual-density midsole for optimal comfort.


Full-length gel cushioning and DuraSponge outsole make sure you get optimal support as well.

If you are looking for a combination of wide toe-box for bunions and fantastic arch support, this is a model to go with.


GEL-Foundation 8 is breathable and comfortable, due to high-quality materials and their construction.


Most importantly, they won't wear down after a few months like some other shoes from this group.

On the other hand, you’ll need some time to get used to them. Don’t forget to buy a half number larger shoes, as they run small.


Also, the tongue is too long which can be inconvenient.


Even though these are designed specifically for running, I think they are much better as a training shoe for cross fit or fitness.

Pros

  • They offer a wide toe box for bunions
  • The shoes have excellent arch support
  • They are breathable
  • The gel cushioning makes them extra comfortable
  • They are well-constructed and long-lasting.

Cons

  • The tongue is too long
  • They need some time getting used to
  • They run half number small
  • They are better for cross training than running

Final Verdict

What are Bunions?

Deciding on the best running shoes for bunions is harder than it seems.

Your feet are on the stake. You are deciding whether you'll feel the pain as you run or not.

However, I believe I gave you more than enough information on both bunions and available running shoes that could suit your needs on the market.

If you ask for my advice, I'd say you can't make a mistake if you go with Brooks Womens Ariel '16 Overpronation Stability Running Shoe or ASICS Men's GEL-Foundation 8 Running Shoe. Both are high-quality shoes, offer plenty of room in their toe boxes, have mesh uppers, and they are flexible.

Still, if you have any further questions or you don't agree with my choice, feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to learn about your experience, how are you dealing with this problem and what helps you the most.

Remember, sharing is caring.

Matt C.
 

Hi, I’m Matt, the man behind Empower Your Run. There's nothing quite like crossing your first finish line, and I hope one day you'll get the chance to experience that for yourself. Remember – “if you can walk, you can run” – and I'll be here guiding you every step of the way!