Ball-of-foot pain, otherwise known as metatarsalgia, can make walking and even standing uncomfortable. This condition affects people of all ages, and can seriously inhibit your ability to go about your day. And, while the recommended course of treatment is typically to rest and to avoid activities that stress your feet, the best insoles for ball-of-foot pain can provide ample support and cushioning to help relieve discomfort from this condition when you need to be on your feet.
But, never fear. I've reached out to experts in the field to find out which insoles will actually deliver relief to ball-of-foot pain. First some background: According to Dr. Kyle Fiala, DPM, a foot and ankle specialist at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, the most common causes of ball-of-foot pain are high-impact exercises that put pressure on the forefront of your foot, too tight or improperly fitting shoes, or foot ailments like bunions or hammertoes.
And, when shopping for orthotic insoles that specifically help pain in the ball of your foot, Dr. Fiala recommends looking for an insole product with metatarsal padding built into the product.
"Orthotics with metatarsal padding are the best for helping ease pain in the balls of your feet. That means the orthotics provide extra padding and support along the balls of your feet," he told Bustle.
Scroll down for some of the best insoles for ball-of-foot pain that you can buy over the counter.
1. The Overall Best
Unlike most other insole products that have static padding, Hydrofeet orthotic shoe insoles are made with an antimicrobial and medical-grade vegetable glycerin that conforms around your feet. As you move forward, the gel rushes to the ball of your foot to provide support and relief in the metatarsal area when you need it the most. This allows the insoles to remain thin while still providing substantial support and cushioning. Some reviewers note that these insoles have even held up and provided support during light workouts.
What fans say: “These are the best for metatarsalgia, that pain in the ball of your foot. The skin between my toes is too tender for the metatarsal pads that loop around the middle toe. Other toe pads just slide around or won't get positioned right. These fit well in my shoes and do the job.”
- Available sizes: Women’s 5 — 12
2. The Runner Up
Recommended by Dr. Sophia Solomon, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist in New York City, these New Balance 3030 pressure relief insoles don't just have raised metatarsal support padding, they are also covered in a lightweight Plastazote foam for additional cushioning and shock absorption. These insoles should fit most shoes and are also recommended for people with diabetes as well.
What fans say: “I love these insoles for my metatarsal issues. I only have a problem on my right foot, but these are very comfortable for both feet. The metatarsal pad in the insole helps me to be on my feet longer throughout the day.”
- Available sizes: Women's 5.5 — 12.5
3. The Most Affordable
For an option that doesn't break the bank, you may want to consider these Dr. Foot's arch support insoles. Made of a high-quality and non-toxic foam material, this product boasts the metatarsal padding needed to help ease ball-of-foot pain, as well as cushioning in the arches and heel.
Note: These insoles come in one size that fits women’s sizes 5 to 9, but people on the smaller end of that range can cut the insoles down for a better fit.
What fans say: “These have helped relieve the pain in my metatarsal arch. I am actively on my feet all day, and these have really helped.”
- Available sizes: One size only (Women's 5 — 9)
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