Best Shoes for Sesamoiditis

Leonardo DaVinci once said that “the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”

He wasn’t wrong.

With 26 bones in each foot, more than 25% of the entire human skeleton is located in the feet. 

However, with so many delicately balanced parts, even the smallest misalignments, bruises, and irritations can lead to acute pain caused by conditions few people can pronounce the name of. 

One of these problems is sesamoiditis–inflammation of the sesamoid bones located in the tendons of the ball of the feet (specifically those behind the big toe).

It is a condition for which runners are at heightened risk and often requires the right shoes, treatment, and recovery schedule to alleviate.

With this in mind, keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the best shoes for sesamoiditis!

The Best Running Shoes for Sesamoiditis Reviewed

Finding the right shoe for sesamoiditis can be a challenge. 

There is not a specific style or feature that is ideal for treating the condition. Many times, you will have to find a shoe that blends a lot of lines, such as between comfort and firmness, to arrive at the ideal solution for your condition. 

However, although there is no one-size-fits-all for running shoes to help prevent a sesamoiditis flare-up, there are some general features to look out for. It is usually best to choose a shoe that has:

  • Low heel-to-toe drop
  • Flexible upper with ample toe box
  • Extra support features, such as a medial post or heel counter
  • Moderate cushioning
  • Firm outsole

Here are some shoes that have some or all of these characteristics, making them popular choices for those experiencing sesamoiditis symptoms. 

Altra Provision 7

best shoes for sesamoiditis

The Altra Provision 7 is a great shoe for sesamoiditis because it has a zero-drop midsole that helps to reduce the pressure on the sesamoid bones. This can help to alleviate pain and inflammation, and it can also help to prevent the condition from getting worse.

In addition to the zero-drop midsole, the Provision 7 also has a number of other features that make it a great shoe for sesamoiditis. These features include:

  • A foot-shape toe box that allows the toes to spread out and relax
  • A moderately cushioned midsole that provides shock absorption 
  • A lightweight construction that makes the shoe easy to wear

If you are looking for a shoe that can help to alleviate the symptoms of sesamoiditis, the Provision 7 should be at the top of your list. 

Although the Provision 7 gets our recommendation as a sesamoiditis solution, it is important to remember that virtually any shoe in the Altra catalog will stand out in this regard. They are all engineered with zero-drop midsoles and foot-shape toe boxes, allowing the forefoot to sit as naturally as possible and take pressure off of the sesamoid bones. 

Hoka Clifton 8

best shoes for sesamoiditis

The Hoka Clifton 8 is a great shoe for sesamoiditis if cushioning and support are recommended by your podiatrist. The Clifton 8 has a thick, CMEVA midsole that absorbs shock and provides a smooth, comfortable ride. 

The shoe also has a wider toe box than previous Clifton versions, allowing the toes to spread out and relax. This can help to reduce pressure on the sesamoid bones. 

Additionally, the Clifton has a heel counter that provides stability and prevents the foot from rolling inward. This can also help to reduce stress on the sesamoid bones.

The Clifton 8 does have a 5mm drop. While this is not ideal for most sesamoiditis cases, it is one of the lower-drop shoes out there, aside from Altra products. And even though its toe box is wider than other Clifton versions, most runners recommend ordering the wide version of the shoe for best results when treating the condition. 

New Balance 840v3

best shoes for sesamoiditis

Support is generally considered one of the more important aspects of a shoe for sesamoiditis, as the condition is aggravated when the forefoot moves into unnatural positions. 

This is where the New Balance 840v3 comes in. The shoe has a medial post that helps to prevent the foot from rolling inward, which can aggravate sesamoiditis. 

It also has a thick, foam midsole that absorbs shock and protects the feet from impact. The 840v3 is also a very comfortable shoe, and it is available in a variety of widths to accommodate different foot shapes.

The one downside to the 840v3 is that it does have a high drop (12mm), which is generally thought to be one of the worst characteristics for the condition. As a result, this shoe may be an ideal option only when you are battling a variety of foot and lower leg issues simultaneously. 

Mizuno Wave Inspire 19

best shoes for sesamoiditis

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is an excellent choice for runners with sesamoiditis due to its combination of cushioning, stability, and responsiveness. The Wave Inspire 19 offers a high level of cushioning for a comfortable and supportive ride. The midsole is made of a lightweight EVA foam that provides excellent shock absorption and responsiveness. The forefoot is also well-cushioned.

The stability of the Wave Inspire 19 is also excellent. The Wave plate provides a smooth transition from heel to toe, which can help alleviate some of the stress from the sesamoid bones. 

All in all, the Wave Inspire 19 is a bread-and-butter shoe that balances a lot of the important lines that runners feel are important for battling sesamoiditis flare-ups.

Brooks Ghost 15

best shoes for sesamoiditis

Although it is another shoe with a higher drop, the Brooks Ghost 15 also has some benefits for those runners suffering from sesamoiditis. 

The midsole is made of BioMoGo DNA, which is a soft, yet responsive, material that absorbs shock and provides a smooth ride. 

The outsole is one of its most impressive features for treating the condition. It is made of durable rubber that provides traction and stability and prevents the runner from feeling every pebble on which the forefoot lands. 

The Ghost 15 also has a wide toe box that allows the toes to spread out and relax, which can help to reduce pain and inflammation caused by sesamoiditis.

Buying Guide – Things to Consider When Buying Shoes for Sesamoiditis

As mentioned, choosing the right shoe when suffering from sesamoiditis can be a bit tricky. However, here are some general features to keep an eye out for, as they have been noted to help alleviate symptoms. 


It is important to consider the heel-to-toe drop when shopping for shoes for sesamoiditis, as it can affect the amount of pressure placed on the sesamoids.

A shoe with a high heel-to-toe drop has a higher heel compared to the toe. Someone wearing high-heel shoes would be an extreme example of heel-to-toe drop. Unsurprisingly, those who wear heels frequently tend to be at risk for sesamoiditis. This is because a significant drop can place more pressure on the forefoot and the sesamoids, which can aggravate the condition. 

On the other hand, a shoe with a low heel-to-toe drop, or even zero-drop, can help to reduce pressure on the sesamoids and alleviate symptoms. This makes Altra products a favorite for treating the condition.

While you definitely don’t want to discount the right cushioning and support, lower drop is one of the first things runners battling sesamoiditis look for.


When shopping for shoes to wear with sesamoiditis, it is important to consider the amount of cushioning in the midsole. Shoes that are too soft can actually aggravate the condition, as it allows the big toe to sink too much, possibly putting it in a position to cause a flare-up.

On the other hand, midsoles that are too firm are not the ideal solution, either. Without a little bit of give, inflammation will scream with every foot fall on a hard surface.

Therefore, a moderately cushioned shoe is best for providing shock absorption and support without putting too much pressure on the sesamoid bones.


This condition can be particularly problematic for people with high arches, as the high arch tends to put extra pressure on the sesamoid bones, increasing the risk of inflammation.

When shopping for shoes, it is important to consider arch support to alleviate the symptoms of sesamoiditis. A well-cushioned shoe with a rigid heel counter can provide the necessary support and stability to reduce the pressure on the sesamoid bones. A heel counter is a piece of material that supports the heel and ankle, and it can help prevent the foot from rolling inward, which can aggravate the condition.

A shoe with a heel counter can also help to distribute the pressure more evenly across the foot, reducing the risk of inflammation. 

A medial post is also a feature that some runners like for sesamoiditis. The inward rolling of the foot can put pressure on the big toe, so the post can help protect those delicate sesamoid bones a bit. 


A shoe with a flexible upper can help to reduce stress on the sesamoid bones and allow for a more natural range of motion. This can be especially beneficial for people with sesamoiditis, as it can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, a flexible shoe can help to improve balance and coordination, which can be helpful for people with sesamoiditis who are experiencing pain and discomfort.

When shopping for running shoes, people with sesamoiditis should look for a shoe that has a flexible upper made from a lightweight, breathable material. The shoe should also have a wide toe box to allow for plenty of room for the toes to move

Design Features of a Good Running Shoe for Sesamoiditis

Now that you know a bit about the specific features to look for when shopping shoes for sesamoiditis, let’s take a look at some of the basic engineering principles that can help alleviate the condition. 


When choosing running shoes to prevent sesamoiditis, it is important to find a pair with a wide toe box that allows your toes to splay freely. If the forefoot is locked into an awkward position, it can put undue pressure on the big toe and lead to sesamoiditis.

In addition to a wide toe box, there are a few other upper design tips that can help reduce the risk of sesamoiditis. Look for shoes with a flexible upper that allows the foot to move naturally. Avoid shoes with a lot of overlays or stitching in the forefoot area, as these can create pressure points that can irritate the sesamoids.


For running shoes to help treat most sesamoiditis cases, it is important to choose shoes with a minimal heel-to-toe drop. Shoes with a high heel-to-toe drop can put the toes in a position to take the brunt of the punishment during foot strikes, leading to increased risk of sesamoiditis. Shoes with a low heel-to-toe drop, on the other hand, help to reduce the stress on the toes and sesamoid bones, leading to a lower risk of sesamoiditis.

Another important aspect of midsole design in running shoes is the amount of foam in the midsole. Shoes with enough midsole foam can help to protect the sesamoid bones from hard impact, reducing the risk of sesamoiditis. Shoes with too little foam, on the other hand, can increase the risk of sesamoiditis by allowing too much of the impact from running to be transferred to the sesamoid bones.


Shoes with a lot of toe spring are said to increase the risk of sesamoiditis. This refers to outsoles that naturally curl up at the toe and lock the foot into that position. Therefore, look for outsoles that are a little flatter.

It is also very important to look for a good amount of outsole rubber, especially in the forefoot. Extremely soft outsoles allow runners to feel every little pebble that they step on, which is noted for causing sesamoiditis flare-ups. 

FAQs – Best Shoes for Sesamoiditis

A selection of the most common questions regarding sesamoiditis.

What Is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is a condition that causes pain in the sesamoid bones, which are two small bones located under the big toe joint. It is a common problem in runners and other athletes who put a lot of pressure on their feet.

Symptoms of sesamoiditis include pain under the big toe joint, swelling, and bruising. The pain may be worse when you walk or run.

Treatment for sesamoiditis typically involves rest, ice, and elevation. You may also need to wear a splint or shoe insert to help reduce pressure on the sesamoid bones. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the sesamoid bones.

If you have pain under your big toe joint, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What Is the Purpose of the Sesamoid Bones?

The sesamoid bones are two small, pea-shaped bones located in the tendons of the big toe. They are embedded in the plantar fascia, which is the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. The sesamoid bones help to stabilize the big toe joint and provide leverage for the muscles that move the toe.

The sesamoid bones are also important in distributing weight evenly across the foot. When you stand or walk, the sesamoid bones help to absorb shock and prevent the big toe from collapsing. This can help to prevent pain and injuries in the big toe joint.

How Can I Prevent Sesamoiditis When Running?

To prevent sesamoiditis, there are a few things you can do:

* Gradually increase your running distance and intensity.
* Wear shoes that fit well and provide good support.
* Avoid running on hard surfaces that have many pieces of loose gravel.
* Take breaks from running if you have pain in your big toe joint.

By following these tips, you can help prevent sesamoiditis and keep your feet healthy and pain-free.

Final Thoughts: The Best Running Shoes for Sesamoiditis

Finding the right shoe for sesamoiditis is no easy task. It feels like riding the fence between different shoe types, and what works for some may not work for all.

In general, three of the features most widely noted for helping improve the condition are a low drop, roomy toe box, and firm outsole. 

With this in mind, the Altra Provision 7 gets our top mark as a sesamoiditis solution, so shop the Altra catalog and get to running today!

Photo of author


Tucker Lane

Tucker Lane is a freelance content creator. He is a former Academic All-American wrestler at the University of Nebraska. Following his competitive career, he coached at The Citadel for three years, followed by another three-year stint at the University of Northern Colorado. Upon retirement from wrestling, Tucker has adopted running as way to fill his passion for competition and exercise.

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