Best Running Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis
The best running shoes for Achilles tendonitis will support and cradle the Achilles tendon and foot.
Running with Achilles tendinitis can be excruciatingly painful. The shoes on this list will help reduce pain and swelling in the tendon, allowing for a speedy recovery.
The goal of using these shoes is to strengthen the Achilles tendon slowly over time. This is achieved by placing the foot in a more natural foot position and gait cycle.
The shoes on this list will put you closer to the ground, thus offering ample stability. They will also will give your calf muscles and Achilles tendon ample time to strengthen themselves over time.
Strengthening your muscles and tendons this way will allow you to transition to a more mechanically sound gait.
Top Rated Running Shoes For Achilles Tendinitis 2018
1. Hoka One One Bondi 5
Hoka is known for their maximally cushioned running shoes and the Bondi 5 is the most cushioned road running shoe in Hoka’s line-up. The Hoka Bondi 5 was designed to take the impact away from hard surfaces.
The outsole is extremely durable and with some of the largest stack heights on the market. The massive stack height makes the cushioning on this shoe is top notch.
The meta rocker technology that Hoka incorporates in all their running shoes propels your body forward. This reduces stress on the Achilles tendon while ensuring injury prevention through proper gait.
The updated comfort frame on the upper ensure a snug and secure fit while the padded tongue and collar add to the overall comfort of the shoe.
The wide toe box and extra wide outsole provide extra stability and is great for runners with Achilles tendinitis. Thus reducing torsional load on the Achilles tendon.
The low heel to toe drop also helps strengthen the calf and tendon through a larger range of motion when compared to conventional footwear.
2. Nike Free 5.0
The Nike Free 5.0 is one of Nike’s most popular running shoes and for good reason. These shoes are extremely flexible and lightweight, they’re also very well cushioned and comfortable.
The Nike Free 5.0’s come with a relatively moderate heel to toe drop which is great for those with Achilles tendinitis. This is because lower drop shoes allow you to transition to a more natural running position, without switching too fast to zero drop running shoes.
Nike has been improving these shoes year on year. Keeping with the theme of less is more, Nike has dramatically reduce the material all over the shoe. Weighing in at about 8 ounces, these are lightweight running shoes for Achilles tendonitis.
What makes the Nike Free 5.0’s one of the best running shoes for Achilles tendonitis is its upper. The upper on the shoe is extremely breathable and offers ample support to the foot by way of the inbuilt cable lacing system.
They use a traditional lacing system that is found in all traditional running shoes. Only, the laces loop through thin cables that attach to the base of the shoe. These cables warp the foot snugly in place, thus offering the stability required to keep you foot from slipping around the shoe.
This is great because the heel counter in this shoe has barely any support. This lacing system works out extremely well for Achilles tendinitis. It prevents the Achilles notch from digging into the tendon while running. This feature helps reduce irritation and inflammation in the Achilles tendon.
3. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7
The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo is a heavily cushioned shoe with one of the best midsoles on the market today. New Balance’s proprietary “Fresh Foam” continues to to impress with its advanced design and maximal cushioning.
The blown rubber outsole increases durability and the forefoot flex grooves provides a spring in your step during toe off. The toe box is wide and provides ample room for the toes of the feet to splay out adding more natural stability to the ride.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V7 is not a stability running shoe. In fact it is made for the neutral runner.
What makes this shoe great for Achilles tendonitis is the bootie construction, wide toe box, extra wide outsole and low heel to toe drop. These features provide your foot with a relatively high level of stability without overly correcting your gait.
The low heel to toe drop places your foot in a more natural position, just below the 12 mm drops of conventional running shoes. This places your Achilles tendon in a slightly more stretched out position, allowing it to get stronger whilst still placing it high enough for some support.
You will definitely feel the comfort and cushioning of this shoe right out of the box.
4. Asics 33-FA
The Asics 33FA is a comfortable long distance running shoe with a low heel to toe drop. It’s comfort comes from the soft dual density midsole.
The top portion of the midsole is made from a softer material that absorbs shock extremely well. While the lower layer is made of a tougher material that is responsive and provides positive feedback from the road.
The multilayered synthetic upper on the shoe stretches well and is extremely breathable. It locks the foot snugly in place allowing for a comfortable fit.
The inside of the upper is made of a soft seamless fabric that reduces chaffing and irritation that accompanies shoes with stitching.
The stack height on the shoe is high, which means that it provides ample cushioning between your foot and the road. The 4 mm heel to toe drop makes the shoe a good transition shoe for those with Achilles tendonitis.
The toe box is wide and allows your toes to splay out, if you have wide feet like I do. The stretchy upper is more than capable of accommodating wide feet.
Another feature that makes this one of the best running shoes for Achilles tendonitis is the broad outsole. This provides ample stability while running, reducing torsional load on the Achilles tendon during quick directional changes.
The ankle collar is also extremely soft and will not rub against your Achilles tendon. This further reduces inflammation and irritation in the Achilles tendon.
5. Brooks Pure Cadence
The Brooks Pure Cadence 6 is a lightweight stability running shoe that comes in at 8.9 ounces. It is a low drop running shoe that is definitely one of a kind.
The combination of being low drop and while still providing stability at the same time makes it an excellent running shoe for those with Achilles tendonitis and flat feet.
Stability running shoes are usually heavy clunky units but the Pure Cadence offers stability while still being lightweight. Brooks does with the use of their new lightweight guide rail system.
The toe-box on this shoe is also wide and roomy, thus allowing the toe to splay out. This allows the foot to find more stability during running and reduces chances of a bunion deformity.
The midfoot and hind foot/heel section of the shoe lock the foot down firmly in place. This reduces drastically reduces slippage and torsional forces on the Achilles tendon.
How To Choose The Best Running Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis
Choosing running shoes for Achilles tendinitis can be tricky. This is because stretching the tendon can cause irritation and re-injury, but so will shortening it.
If you’ve used conventional footwear for a long time, your Achilles tendon is used to sitting in a shortened position. This strengthens the tendon within a limited range of motion which caused your injury in the first place.
So going back to your old conventional footwear will not solve the problem. Whereas switching to a completely minimalist shoe (a No-Drop or Zero-Drop running shoe) too fast will force your tendon to work in an excessively loaded position.
This is where it is weakest, as your tendon is now working outside it’s regular range of motion. This will make the problem worse and can even lead to an Achilles tendon rupture.
Hence, the best way to strengthen the Achilles tendon is to wear what is known as a transitional shoe. This shoe places the Achilles tendon in a position just outside it’s shortened range of motion.
Allowing it to strengthen in this position before moving into a zero-drop shoe (which holds the foot in a more natural biomechanical position). Another feature to look for in a running shoe for Achilles tendonitis is relative stability and a low, non rigid heel counter.
High heel counters poke and irritate the Achilles tendon when its in use. This will only aggravate pain and swelling in the area.
While unstable shoes will force the tendon to bear excessive torsional forces which can lead to further inflammation or rupture.
All the shoes on this list include most if not all of these features and will help you on the road to recovery. Given all of it’s features, the Nike Free 5.0 is one of the best running shoes for Achilles tendinitis.
You can check out these related articles on Achilles tendon massage and taping to know more about why strengthening the Achilles tendon across a larger range of motion will help reduce injury and pain in the area.