Sesamoiditis is a type of tendonitis that affects the ball of the foot, specifically underneath the big toe. It can be painful and stiff, but also inconvenient as it reduces your range of motion.
One of the best ways to treat this condition is to choose the best shoes for sesamoiditis. When your shoes support your feet properly, less pressure is placed on the problem area.
We recommend the Brooks Ghost 14 for our top pick. It has a roomy toe box, a good amount of cushioning, and nice support.
Read on to see the rest of our picks.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Ghost 14
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Altra Paradigm 6
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1. Brooks Ghost 14
The Brooks Ghost 14 is the latest version of this popular shoe. It’s a solid shoe for both people who are on their feet for many hours, and those who play sports.
The 3D Fit upper is comfortable and molds to the foot. The toe box is roomy enough for the toes to have space to spread out, which can help to reduce strain on the forefoot.
In the midsole, DNA Loft foam offers soft and bouncy cushioning, which will absorb shock and reduce stress on the ball of the foot. There’s also a segmented crash pad, which will allow the foot to roll easily from heel to toe without putting any extra pressure on the sesamoids.
The outsole features a thick layer of rubber that will help you keep your footing on a number of different surfaces. It also helps to absorb shock on every step, and Omega Flex Grooves allow your foot to flex naturally.
Although this shoe does have a 12 mm drop—which may place unnecessary pressure on the forefoot—there is a good amount of cushion to protect your feet.
- Mesh upper molds to your foot
- Medium soft, supportive cushioning
- Segmented Crash Pad
- Shock-absorbing rubber outsole
- The 12 mm heel drop may place too much pressure on the forefoot
Top Casual Shoe
2. Vivobarefoot Addis
These shoes feature a soft leather upper, which is supportive and has a casual sneaker design.
The Addis is made with a wide design and features a round toe box, so your toes will have plenty of space to splay comfortably.
Another feature that’s excellent for preventing forefoot pain is their zero-drop platform, which reduces pressure on the ball of the foot and alleviates pain.
There’s very little cushioning in this shoe, which is why it’s a “barefoot” shoe. The sole is thin and very flexible, allowing you to get a good grip on a number of different surfaces. However, some people may find that this shoe isn’t soft enough for them.
On the bottom of the shoe, the outsole is made of natural rubber. The heel is reinforced, which will help to absorb shock.
- Soft, breathable wild hide leather upper
- Wide, rounded toe box
- Zero-drop platform
- Flexible, natural rubber outsole
- Some may find that this shoe is not cushioned enough
Best Wide Toe Box
3. Altra Paradigm 6
If you struggle to find shoes with a wide enough toe box, the Altra Paradigm 6 is our suggestion. Altra shoes have a FootShape toe box, which offers plenty of space for your toes to splay.
They also have a zero-drop platform, which alleviates pressure on the forefoot. There’s still adequate padding, with the 30 mm Altra EGO MAX midsole. It provides shock absorption and softness.
This is a stability shoe that features GuideRails to prevent lateral movement. They help to keep the foot in place but aren’t intrusive. Stabilipod technology uses three distinct zones of support in the midsole.
Muscle and tendon-mapped flex grooves under the sole allow for flexibility when walking or running in this shoe.
Some people may find that the tongue slips easily to one side, which can be annoying.
- GuideRail guidance system
- FootShape toe box
- Light, responsive midsole cushioning
- Zero-drop shoe
- The tongue of the shoe slides to one side
4. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is a naturally wide shoe, which makes it perfect for taking pressure off the forefoot and alleviating pain in the area of the ball of the foot. The stretch knit bootie-style upper offers light support and comfort.
The 8 mm drop is slightly lower to further reduce strain on the sore part of the foot. In the midsole, Fresh Foam gives you a plush, soft feeling that also absorbs shock and keeps your feet protected and comfortable.
An Ortholite sockliner gives you a sleek step-in feel. There’s also Ultra Heel technology, which hugs the back of the foot and creates a great lockdown, so there’s no extra foot movement within the shoe.
Blown rubber in the forefoot provides good grip on a number of surfaces, and also increases the durability of this shoe while adding some more shock absorption.
If you live in a cold climate, you may find that the soft cushioning of this shoe stiffens up in the cold and becomes more firm.
- Stretch knit upper
- Soft, supportive midsole cushioning
- Ortholite sockliner
- Blown rubber forefoot
- This shoe may stiffen up in the cold
5. Hoka One One Clifton 8
The Hoka One One Clifton 8 is a very lightweight shoe, weighing just 8.8 ounces for a men’s size 9 shoe and 7.4 ounces for a women’s. It’s 15% lighter than the previous model of Clifton.
They’re neutral shoes that are suitable for people who don’t overpronate. An engineered mesh upper allows for ventilation and molds to the foot. It’s also completely vegan. However, some people may find that the upper runs a little warm.
There’s ample space in the toe box, which allows for comfort and eases the pressure on the sore parts of your foot.
EVA cushioning in the midsole feels soft and plush. It’s also designed in a late-stage meta-rocker shape, which takes pressure off of the forefoot. In the heel, you’ll have 29 mm of cushioning and in the forefoot there’s 24 mm.
This leads to a 5 mm heel-to-toe drop, which is ideal to prevent excess pressure on the forefoot.
On the outsole, there’s high-abrasion rubber on the areas that are prone to wearing down quickly. On the other parts of the outsole, the EVA foam is exposed.
- Extremely lightweight
- Soft, plush midsole cushioning
- Rocker-shaped midsole
- 3 mm of rubber in high-wear area
- Some people may find that the shoe runs warm
6. ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23
The ASICS Gel-Cumulus 23 is an excellent choice for those who need extra cushioning. The soft mesh upper is also very breathable, which helps to keep the feet cool and dry in warm weather.
For increased comfort, the collar and tongue are generously padded. This also helps to give you a good lockdown on your feet. To prevent pressure on the forefoot, the toe box is also spacious and comfortable.
In the midsole, you’ll find soft yet responsive Flytefoam. Runners will find that this midsole works well for any kind of run, from light recovery runs to long distances. Those who live in colder climates should note that this midsole tends to stiffen up in the cold.
A gel pocket in the heel provides shock absorption and comfort every time you take a step. The heel-to-toe drop is 10 mm, which may feel slightly high for some but it does place less pressure on the forefoot than the traditional 12 mm drop.
The dual-rubber outsole also delivers good grip on a number of surfaces, to keep you safe and reduce slips that could aggravate your sore tendon.
- Soft, breathable mesh upper
- Supportive and responsive midsole cushioning
- Generously padded collar and tongue
- Dual-rubber outsole
- The midsole stiffens up in the cold
7. Crocs LiteRide Clog
If you like to wear clogs as your casual footwear, we recommend choosing Crocs.
The LiteRide is sleeker and more modern-looking than traditional Crocs, but it still has all the properties that make Crocs great.
The footbed is made of LiteRide foam, which is light and soft while still providing enough support for the average foot. Croslite EVA foam outsoles offer durability and effective shock absorption, while the texture provides safety on various surfaces.
A large toe box provides more than enough space for the toes to spread out comfortably. To get a good fit, there’s a Matlite heel strap to keep the shoe secure on your foot.
Crocs are known to be wide, so those with narrow feet may find that these shoes are too large for them to wear comfortably.
- Has a sleek and modern look
- Breathable, spacious toe box
- Comfortable LiteRide foam footbeds
- Textured EVA outsole
- They may be a bit too wide for narrow feet
Top Dress Shoe
8. Orthofeet Gramercy (men’s)
9. Orthofeet Athens (women’s)
Comfortable and safe dress shoes can be hard to find, but Orthofeet caters to those with foot pain. We recommend the Gramercy for men and the Athens for women.
Both shoes have an orthotic insole that’s been designed to provide anatomical arch support and a deep heel cup to keep the foot in proper alignment. Gel padding in the heel provides extra softness and shock absorption.
A softly padded interior and seam-free linings ensure step-in comfort. Both uppers are non-binding, with the men’s being closed leather with a wide toe box, and the women’s in a Mary Jane style with a rounded and spacious toe area.
On the Gramercy, you’ll find a traditional lace-up system that allows the wearer to get a good lockdown. The Athens has a single strap over the foot.
They’re also both double-depth, which allows space for custom inserts if necessary. Two removable spacers offer a variety of options for fit and space.
Both outsoles come with a mild rocker design. There’s not much padding in either of these shoes, so you may need to add an insole for comfort and support.
You can get them in regular and wide sizes.
- Mild rocker design
- Anatomically-correct orthotic insole
- Seam-free lining
- Soft, padded interior
- Some may find that these shoes are not very padded or supportive
Best For Hiking
10. Hoka One One Stinson ATR 6
If you love hiking, sesamoiditis can make it difficult as you may have pain every time you try to hike. However, the Hoka One One Stinson ATR 6 is the ideal choice for protecting your feet on rough terrain and relieving the pain in the ball of your foot.
A recycled mesh upper supports and protects the feet, while the Anatomical Support Wings help to provide a stable lockdown. The toe box is spacious and also includes a reinforced toe cap to keep the toes as safe as possible.
With a 5 mm heel-to-toe drop, there’ll be less pressure on the forefoot than usual. The Stinson has a wide and thick midsole that helps to absorb shock both in the forefoot and the heel.
There’s a late-stage meta rocker in the sole, which helps to make the heel-to-toe transition easier and takes strain off the ball of the foot.
An oversized outsole provides added stability, as well as sturdiness on many different surfaces thanks to 4 mm lugs underfoot.
- Durable mesh upper
- Reinforced toe cap
- Thick layer of CMEVA midsole cushioning
- Oversized outsole
- Some may find this shoe to be bulky
Top Leather Shoes
11. Apexfoot Athletic Lace Walker X Last
Leather is a supportive, durable, and good-looking shoe material. These shoes have an athletic design and a leather upper, with perforated sections for better breathability and flexibility.
The toe box is spacious enough to remove any pressure from the area, reducing pain in the ball of the foot. Both the men’s and the women’s shoes are double-depth, which allows space for you to add custom orthotics if necessary.
These shoes are designed to counter overpronation. They’re built on an X-last, to prevent twisting of the shoe. This works with the molded heel counter to keep the foot in the right position.
A multi-density midsole includes a shank for better pronation control. The footbed is made of contoured EVA with arch support and it also includes a Mozaic “pressure relief” layer which helps to relieve the strain on the forefoot.
The rubber outsole will help to keep you safe on various surfaces so you don’t slip and possibly jar your aching tendon.
- Supportive leather upper
- Contoured footbed
- Multi-density midsole
- Molded external heel counter
- Those with a neutral foot may find the shoe to be a little uncomfortable
What Is Sesamoiditis?
Sesamoiditis is a foot condition that affects the tendons around and near the sesamoid bones—tiny bones embedded in the tendon that leads to the big toe.
When these bones are under constant pressure, it can lead to the tendon and these small bones becoming inflamed, irritated, and painful.
What Can Lead To Sesamoiditis?
Sesamoiditis is a progressive condition that develops over time, as the tendon and sesamoid bones are placed under constant pressure.
Things that can cause repetitive pressure on the sesamoid bones include any high-impact sport, like running, tennis, basketball, and other sports that require jumping.
People with high arches are more prone to developing sesamoiditis as more pressure is placed on the ball of the foot. Also, women who wear high heels often are at a higher risk of developing sesamoiditis for the same reason.
Medical conditions that affect the bones, such as osteoarthritis, can also lead to sesamoiditis. This is because the bones weaken and can be more prone to inflammation.
As we get older, the protective fatty pad underneath the forefoot gets thinner and less protective. This can lead to sesamoiditis as the forefoot is less protected from impact.
Can Shoes Cause Sesamoiditis?
Wearing shoes with thin, unprotected soles or shoes without the right support for your feet can increase your chances of developing sesamoiditis.
Women who wear high heels are also at more risk of developing sesamoiditis due to the pressure on the forefoot.
If you’re at risk due to your lifestyle or sports, it’s recommended that you wear shoes that support the forefoot. Or, buy a pair of insoles that provide extra support.
Can Sesamoiditis Be Cured?
Sesamoiditis can be cured, but it takes time for the tendon to heal. Applying the RICE principle can help the tendon to heal faster.
You’ll need to rest the affected foot until the tendon is healed, which means no more sport or other activities that place that pressure on your forefoot. This is the most important part of recovery from sesamoiditis.
Features to Look For When Buying Shoes
When buying shoes for sesamoiditis, you should consider the following features. A wide toe box will allow your toes to rest and spread out comfortably without being compressed, which will help with the healing process.
A lowered or zero heel-to-toe drop can help to reduce pressure on the forefoot, which will reduce pain and help it to heal faster.
Another feature you should avoid is toe spring, which is also known as an early-stage meta-rocker. This refers to the upward curve on the toe section of the shoe. A curved toe can place too much pressure on the fatty pad underneath your toes.
Can I Walk On Sesamoiditis?
If you don’t have unbearable pain, you can walk on the foot that’s affected with sesamoiditis.
But it is recommended to either change your shoes to footwear with more protective padding in the forefoot, or to add an insole that offers extra cushioning to reduce pain.