The American Podiatric Medical Association points out that more than half of the population in the US will experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Lack of proper foot care and uneven weight transfer from ill-fitting, uncomfortable shoes can cause pain to the ball of your foot where metatarsal bones are located. Thankfully, the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes and pressure relief heel pads can help make any pair of shoes much more comfortable while decreasing pressure to relieve foot pain.
What are the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes?
Top pressure-relieving pads for shoes provide cushioning and support around the ball of your feet to minimize the impact of your body weight around that area. Evidence shows these pads help with shock absorption, add comfort to your shoes and take pressure off the forefoot by evenly distributing your body weight across a larger area of the foot for effective pain relief.
However, not all pressure-relieving pads are created equal, and a wide range of designs are available, making it overwhelming to choose a practical and effective option for you. This guide presents our editor’s top picks of the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes in 2022 to help you make an informed decision, give you immediate pain relief, and make even the most unbearable shoes feel better.
Top Recommended Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes in 2022
- Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads – Overall Best Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
- Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics – Best Impact Protection Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
- Walkize Metatarsal Pads – Best Women’s Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
- Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads – Best Breathable Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
- ZenToes Metatarsal Pads – Best Ergonomic Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
1. Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads – Overall Best Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
Style: Comfort Insole
Arch Type: Low Arch
What we like: Thick cushion, versatile, easy to use, pain relief
What we don’t like: The extra thickness will take to get used to
The Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads are excellent for pain relief and perfect for active lifestyles. Made with 100% wool felt, they rank as this guide’s overall best pressure-relieving pads for shoes thanks to their ease of use, versatility, and thick cushioning.
These ball of foot cushions are suitable for men and women, sole and forefoot support, and Metatarsalgia caused by pressure on your feet. Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads help ease the pressure you put on your feet for immediate and effective relief no matter what you wear.
You no longer have to think twice about putting on those shoes you love. The Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads are versatile, and you can wear them with different footwear with or without socks, including boots, sneakers, sandals, or high heels.
You only need to peel off the paper backing from the 3M adhesives, put the pads on your feet and apply gentle pressure. The foot pad cushions offer stable support and help balance your forefoot without making a mess inside your shoe or leaving any sticky residue on your skin. You’ll feel the extra thickness in your shoe, but you’ll get used to it after a few uses.
2. Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics – Best Impact Protection Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
Style: Orthotic insole
Arch type: Low arch
What we like: Shock-guard technology, raised cushioning, and can fit most shoes
What we don’t like: No adhesive at the bottom of the inserts
Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics shifts pressure away from the ball of your feet and protects them from impact. They’re the best impact protection pressure-relieving pads for shoes thanks to shock-guard technology that prevents impacts from aggravating your ball of foot area.
These pain-relief orthotics are ideal for people who experience foot pain caused by constant and excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics fits behind the ball of the foot and helps lift the long bones of the arch and separate them. This action transfers pressure away from the ball of the foot area for immediate, all-day pain relief.
Raised cushioning increases shoe comfort and shifts pressure by increasing the height of the tarsal bones and absorbing shock as you walk. Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics are suitable for men and women and can fit different footwear like sneakers, casual shoes, and work boots.
Simply remove the film from the sticky underside and place the orthotics in your shoe, with the arrow pointing towards your toes. The foot pads should be a comfortable fit behind the ball of the foot area, and you can readjust them for comfort if needed. The inserts may be hard to stick on your shoe, and you may need to glue them down or reposition them every time you put your shoes on.
3. Walkize Metatarsal Pads – Best Women’s Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
Style: Comfort insole
Arch type: High arch
What we like: Extra soft, shock-absorbing, and sweat proof
What we don’t like: The sticky adhesive can get messy
You no longer need to sacrifice your comfort for the sake of fashion, thanks to the Walkize Metatarsal Pads. They’re the best women’s pressure-relieving pads for shoes and will protect your feet while making even the highest heels feel much more comfortable.
These pressure relief heel pads keep your feet comfortable and pain-free while at the office, when out shopping, or dancing the night away, ensuring you feel and look great. For gentle cushioning and pressure reduction, you can place the Walkize Metatarsal Pads inside your shoes.
They help with shock absorption, take the stress off your forefoot, and evenly distribute your weight across the entire foot so you can enjoy every step with comfort and confidence. The Walkize Metatarsal Pads effectively decrease pain and pressure caused by different foot issues.
Anti-slip ridges on the Walkize Metatarsal Pads prevent slippage and ensure the foot pads stay in place without the risk of running your shoes. The pressure relief heel pads are also sweat-proof and feature polyurethane that absorbs sweat, so you don’t have to worry about a slippery, uncomfortable environment for your feet. When aligning and positioning, you must be careful with the sticky adhesive, as it can get messy.
4. Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads – Best Breathable Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
Style: Comfort insole
Arch type: Low arch
What we like: Washable, extra soft, and perforated for skin breathability
What we don’t like: May feel tight on wide feet
Professional podiatrists developed the Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads to help reduce foot pain from burning sensations, calluses, blisters, metatarsal problems, and bunions while preventing chronic foot problems. Inspired by the latest technology in podiatry, the Brison pads use modern technology and strict quality control to create breakthrough foot health products.
A soft gel surface and perforations for breathing and better blood circulation make the Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads the best breathable pressure-relieving pads for shoes. The material provides softness and pain relief and allows your skin to breathe even with socks.
These pressure-relief heel pads are suitable for men and women and feature cushions that ensure maximum comfort so you can walk or stand longer without straining. They also have a gel brace that relieves pain when barefoot or wearing socks or shoes. A toe-loop keeps the Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads in place, and you don’t have to worry about shifting or slipping when running or walking.
You can wear the pads with different footwear, including sneakers, moccasins, boots, and model shoes. Spend a lot of time on your feet. The Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads can help remove friction and evenly distribute your body weight to reduce pressure and impact when conducting different activities. The pads may feel tight with wide feet, so you must have roomy shoes for comfort.
5. ZenToes Metatarsal Pads – Best Ergonomic Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
Style: Comfort insole
Arch type: Low arch
What we like: Shock absorption, wearable design, and reusable
What we don’t like: May slip and not stay in place without shoes or socks
ZenToes Metatarsal Pads are suitable for men and women and help relieve pressure on the ball of your foot by absorbing shock and redistributing weight when walking, running, or standing. They provide increased support, comfort, and reliability across your entire forefoot.
With the ZenToes meta pads, you get a better fit and protection to the bottom of your feet since they’re worn over your foot, making them one of the best ergonomic pressure-relieving pads for shoes. They provide gentle compression and support while reducing discomfort and friction in the ball of your foot.
The ZenToes Metatarsal Pads can come in handy if you experience pain caused by corns, bunions, calluses, Morton neuromas, and sesamoiditis. They feature a cushioning gel that soothes, comforts, and balances your forefeet to ensure you get all-day pressure and pain relief, whether you’re wearing loafers, running shoes, or high heels.
You can wash the ZenToes Metatarsal Pads with gentle soap and reuse them as needed after they’ve dried out. The elastic material in the foot pads can be slippery and may not stay in place if you’re not wearing socks or shoes.
How To Choose The Best Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes
With so many pressure-relieving pads available in the market, choosing the best option for you can be challenging. A few factors to consider to ensure you get the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes include:
Pressure relieving pads for shoes use different methods to stay on your feet. The designs can range from Velcro and slip-on to adhesive, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. Factors influencing your best choice include how wide your feet are, your intended use, and whether you plan to wear them with socks and shoes or barefoot.
The best pressure-relieving pads for shoes are easy to stick to the bottom of your feet or insole for added support and cushioning to the bottom area of the foot behind the toes. Some people find it easier to put them on socks, while others prefer to put them on the insole to ensure they stay on.
You can also choose a more ergonomic fit like the ZenToes pads, which you slip on like socks. If you prefer adhesive options, ensure it’s long-lasting and will not melt because of foot heat or irritate your skin.
Manufacturers can use different types of material to make pressure-relieving pads. These include:
- Latex and Leather: These are the most common materials used to make the inside and outside parts of pressure-relieving heel pads. Most times, latex is used in reinforcing leather and adding cushioning, creating a more durable, softer, and heavier build.
- Felt and Wool: Flex and wool allow more cushioning and flexibility. These materials can create thick but lightweight pressure-relieving pads, ensuring you get maximum comfort without the added weight.
- Gel: Gel creates foot cushions with softer surfaces to allow a more comfortable and snug fit. It efficiently dissipates force from impacts or pressure and gives the pads a smooth surface that can be customized with perforations for increased breathability. Gel also has antibacterial properties and can help prevent odors and infection.
- Polyurethane Foam: Open-cell polyurethane foam is one of the most used materials for filling pressure-relieving pads for shoes. It’s durable, can remain soft for long periods, and allows adequate cushioning to ensure your feet remain comfortable.
Support and Shock Absorption
The best pressure-relieving pads for shoes provide shock absorption and support around the ball of your foot. Rigid or semi-rigid foot pads can help keep your feet in a natural and healthy form all-day, no matter what you’re engaged in. Good support is vital for foot issues like plantar fasciitis and bunions. Ball of foot pads can help alleviate pressure and pain when wearing high heels, sneakers, or flats by evenly distributing body weight across the forefoot.
Excellent shock and impact absorbency can help reduce the pressure you apply on your feet while walking, jogging, running, undertaking challenging activities, or carrying heavy loads.
The best pressure-relieving pads for shoes allow your feet to stay ventilated and dry. Sweat can make your feet slippery, especially when wearing closed shoes or high heels, affecting your gait and mobility. Ensure the material allows airflow and ventilation so your feet remain comfortable and odor-free even in hot conditions.
Learn more about how foot pressure can be healed in this video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Pressure-Relieving Pads Work?
Some of the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes are prescribed to relieve pressure on the metatarsal head on your foot. These shoe modification devices are usually called met pads and are employed to shift the load from the ball of your feet to the shaft and surrounding tissue. This decreases the pressure and provides symptom relief in that area.
Study findings show that the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes help reduce pain among patients with metatarsalgia by decreasing plantar pressure on the metatarsal heads. Met pads increase forefoot width and make the second metatarsal head taller, increasing the space between the heads and reducing pain.
How are Pressure-Relieving Pads Different from Insoles?
Insoles usually feature a hard surface and often require trimming to fit the full shoe size. While insoles control foot movement, the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes allow your feet to function naturally. Foot pads allow your feet and joints to bend, flex and move without limitations from external forces. They only attempt to offload pressure from the ball of your feet by providing spacing between the metatarsal heads to help relieve pain.
Which is the Best Shape for Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes?
Pressure-relief heel pads can have different shapes, including donut shapes, dome shapes, and U-shapes. Studies evaluating the effect of self-adhesive orthopedic felt met pads with three different shapes found that the dome shape is the most effective in reducing mean and peak plantar pressure.
The U-shaped foot pads closely followed the dome-shaped pads, while the donut-shaped pads did not result in any significant changes in pressure. Participants also found the dome-shaped cushions to be the most comfortable.
Which is the Best Placement for Pressure-Relieving Pads for Shoes?
Studies investigating the effect of foot pad location on plantar pressure show that you’ll get consistent pressure reduction if you place the foot pads at a proximal distance of 6 to 11mm from the metatarsal headline. You’ll experience less pressure reduction as the pads move outside this range.
Can I Wash Pressure-Reliving Pads for Shoes?
Yes. Some of the best pressure-relieving pads for shoes are washable and reusable. Ensure you only use gentle soap and allow the foot pads to dry out before placing them in your shoes.
Foot pain can quickly decrease the quality of your life and limit you from doing the things you love. Foot pads can help relieve pain by reducing pressure on the ball of your foot and making your shoes more comfortable. The best pressure-relieving shoe pads include Moon Health Metatarsal Foot Pads, Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Pain Relief Orthotics, Walkize Metatarsal Pads, Brison Breathable Forefoot Pads, and ZenToes Metatarsal Pads.
Always consider the material, application method, breathability, support, and shock absorption when choosing the best pressure-relief heel pads. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments.
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