Bunions and running don’t always go together – unless you find the right shoes. The wrong shoes cause pain during and after your run at best. At worst, ill-fitting shoes cause other foot problems and stop you from running at all.
If you want to find shoes that forgive your toes even after the miles rack up, then you’ll need a pair with a good size toe box or a loose upper around the toe area.
Running shoes do this two ways: some have a very wide toe box while others have soft mesh that stretches at spots that rub against bunions. Either way, the idea is to prevent pressure and rubbing on the areas of the feet with bunions.
Our top pick is the Altra Torin 7. This shoe features a wide toe box, a soft, cushioned midsole, and a zero-drop design that doesn’t exert any extra pressure on your bunions.
But we’ve got lots of other great options as well. Here are the best running shoes for runners with bunions.
How We Chose These Shoes
With bunions, the key feature to look for is a wide toe box. That’s why we love Altras and they are featured prominently in this article. If you can’t find a shoe with a wide toe box – or don’t like the look (because they do look funky!), then you want a shoe with a wide-ish toe area that has seamless, stretchy mesh. This will allow the bunion to not rub or be pushed against the upper of the shoe.
Other important features we looked at were support and durability. Because bunions can sometimes be caused by other underlying foot problems, you need a shoe that will support your foot. This will correct possible problems like under- or overpronation, plantar fasciitis, or other heel pain.
And as with many running shoes, they can be expensive so we chose shoes that will last so you can get your money’s worth.
Buyers Guide – Running Shoes for Bunions
When shopping for the best running shoes for bunions, there are certain factors you should pay more attention to.
Wide Toe Box
As bunions affect the side of the forefoot, it makes sense that a shoe with a wide toe box would be the most comfortable. It allows plenty of space for your forefoot to rest comfortably in the shoe, and your toes can splay naturally too.
Altra and Topo shoes are known for their wide toe boxes, so they’re well worth looking into if space in the forefoot is your primary concern.
Stretchy Seamless Mesh Uppers
The upper of the shoe you choose should have some stretch to it. That way, when the bunion presses against it, there’s a bit of give instead of being restricting. This can go a long way towards easing pain and improving comfort.
There’s nothing wrong with stiffer, more supportive material in the rearfoot. However, the forefoot (in particular, the area around the bunion) should be light, soft, and stretchable.
Whenever you buy a pair of shoes, no matter what foot conditions you may have, you should make sure they provide the proper support for your feet. That means that if you overpronate (roll your feet inwards when you walk), you’ll need a stability shoe.
If you don’t overpronate, you can choose a neutral shoe. In this case, stability shoes may be uncomfortable as they actually provide support where you don’t need it.
Having the right support means your foot will be properly aligned, preventing it from falling over and putting pressure on the bunions.
The bunion is likely to push on the side of the upper, more so than feet without bunions. This could result in the upper wearing away more quickly, so choosing a shoe made of durable material is important.
It’s also important to know that holes will probably form anyway. But the longer the shoe can last before those holes form, the better.
Wondering about the best way to run or choose running shoes when you have bunions? Here’s our best advice.
Should I Put Anything on Bunions While Running?
Yes! Your bunion is sensitive in many ways. Not only is it prone to pain from vibration every time your foot hits the ground, but it’s also susceptible to friction from the upper.
Covering your bunion with tape or a pad can help to prevent chafing and absorb a bit of shock that may cause pain.
How Does Bunion Surgery Affect My Running?
Bunion surgery is a last resort and only performed on bunions that are painful and can’t be relieved by medication or are beginning to hamper everyday living and everyday tasks.
But it’s important to know that if you do have bunion surgery, you won’t be able to return to your normal activity levels for 3 to 4 months. You’ll have to spend around 8 weeks after the surgery avoiding weight-bearing activities, so definitely no running.
After 8 weeks, you can go back to wearing normal shoes instead of special bunion surgery shoes. You should be able to do things like driving and walking around the house.
But it can take up to 4 months for the bones in your foot to heal. If you have no pain when bearing weight on your foot, that’s when you can return to training. Note that you’ll need to start slow and work your way up in small steps to avoid reinjuring the bones.
It’s incredibly tempting to leap right back into your running schedule after just a few weeks, right where you left off. But this can be extremely damaging.
Rather wait for the required amount of time and instead of running, spend your time doing cross-training that doesn’t affect your foot. That way, you can stay fit without re-injuring your foot, until it’s at the point where you can carry on with normal activity.
Is There a Way to Lace My Shoes With Bunions?
There are multiple ways to lace your shoes that can ease pressure on the forefoot while you’re running. The easiest way is to unlace your shoe and re-lace it, but start from the second row of eyelets instead of the bottom ones.
You can also simply leave out the eyelet closest to the bunion, but still use the outer eyelet on the non-bunion side. This will remove pressure on the area of the bunion.
Are Running Shoes Bad for Bunions?
Running shoes aren’t bad for bunions if you buy the right ones. If you just slip on the shoes you already have, they may not be great for your feet with bunions. But if you choose a pair of running shoes for bunions specifically, they’ll be just fine.
Running shoes that have a narrow toe box or a non-stretchable upper are more likely to work against you when you have a bunion!
How Do Runners Deal With Bunions?
Firstly, change your footwear to something more appropriate for bunions! Secondly, you can tape the bunion to provide more support and prevent rubbing while you’re running.
There should also be a degree of care when you aren’t running. Taking precautions in everyday life will slow down the progression of the bunion.
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a wide range of information on various topics, including bunions and running shoes. I can provide you with information and recommendations based on the concepts mentioned in this article.
Bunions and Running Shoes
Bunions can cause discomfort and pain during running if the shoes are ill-fitting. It is important to find the right shoes that provide comfort and support for runners with bunions. The article suggests two key features to look for in running shoes for bunions:
1. Wide Toe Box: A wide toe box allows plenty of space for the forefoot to rest comfortably in the shoe and allows the toes to splay naturally. Shoes from brands like Altra and Topo are known for their wide toe boxes.
2. Stretchy Seamless Mesh Uppers: The upper of the shoe should have some stretch to it, particularly in the forefoot area. This allows for a bit of give when the bunion presses against it, reducing friction and improving comfort.
In addition to these features, there are other factors to consider when choosing running shoes for bunions:
Support: It is important to choose shoes that provide the proper support for your feet. If you overpronate (roll your feet inwards when you walk), you may need stability shoes. If you don't overpronate, you can choose neutral shoes. The right support helps align your foot properly and prevents pressure on the bunions.
Durability: Bunions can put extra pressure on the side of the upper, which may cause it to wear away more quickly. Choosing shoes made of durable materials can help prolong their lifespan.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions related to bunions and running:
1. Should I put anything on bunions while running? Yes, it can be helpful to cover your bunion with tape or a pad to prevent chafing and absorb shock that may cause pain.
2. How does bunion surgery affect running? Bunion surgery is typically a last resort for painful bunions. After surgery, it takes time for the foot to heal, and running should be avoided for about 3 to 4 months. It's important to gradually return to running and start with low-impact activities to avoid reinjuring the foot.
3. Is there a way to lace my shoes with bunions? There are different lacing techniques that can help ease pressure on the forefoot when running with bunions. One simple method is to start lacing the shoes from the second row of eyelets instead of the bottom ones. Another option is to leave out the eyelet closest to the bunion while still using the outer eyelet on the non-bunion side.
4. Are running shoes bad for bunions? Running shoes are not inherently bad for bunions. However, if you have bunions, it is important to choose running shoes that have a wide toe box and a stretchable upper to provide comfort and prevent rubbing against the bunion.
5. How do runners deal with bunions? Runners with bunions can change their footwear to more appropriate options that provide comfort and support. Taping the bunion can provide additional support while running. It is also important to take precautions in everyday life to slow down the progression of the bunion.
I hope this information helps you understand the concepts mentioned in the article and provides guidance on choosing running shoes for bunions. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!