Best Running Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis- Picks for Men and Women 2018

Best Running Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis- Picks for Men and Women 2018

by Purposeful Footwear - Last Updated: December 4, 2018

Intense workouts can lead to a nagging pain in the back of your leg above your heel, a condition called Achilles tendonitis. You might want to power through the pain, but you’ll do more harm than good!

If you are prone to Achilles tendonitis, several running shoes help support your heel to relieve pain associated with this condition.

We’ve reviewed the best shoes for Achilles Tendonitis so that your pain doesn’t derail your fitness regimen.

Running ShoeFitPriceBest Feature
NIKE Men's Flex Experience RN 6 Men's Moderately pricedOur pick for the best men's running shoe for Achilles tendinitis

Rounded heel for a more natural stride
Brooks Women's Ghost 10 Women's Moderately pricedOur pick for the best women's running shoe for Achilles tendinitis

Comfortable for all-day wear
New Balance Men’s M1540v2Men'sExpensiveRoll Bar support system that minimizes rear foot movement
ASICS Men's Gel-Cumulus 18Men'sExpensiveExtra gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot to protect high-impact areas
Brooks Men's Ghost 10Men'sModerately pricedGood for walking and running
ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running ShoeMen'sBudget-friendlyRearfoot Gel Cushioning System relieves pressure off of the heel when landing
Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 18Women'sExpensiveA corrective running shoe for overpronators
ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 6 Women'sBudget-friendlyWider heel with contoured support than previous version
NIKE Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 33Women'sExpensiveZoom air units in outsole to cushion landings and increase energy return
New Balance Fresh Foam BoracayWomen'sExpensiveInjection-molded EVA midsole for stability, bounceback, and shock absorption

The 10 Best Running Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis

1. NIKE Men’s Flex Experience RN 6 Running Shoes

Image of the NIKE Mens Flex Experience RN 6 Black Black Dark Grey Size 10.5

NIKE is one of the most popular manufacturers of athletic footwear with a global presence. With the NIKE Men’s Flex Experience RN 6 Running Shoes, they created a lightweight, simple running shoe ideal for men suffering from Achilles tendonitis. Wearing heavier shoes can aggravate your condition, so wearing a lighter running shoe will relieve some of your pain during your jogs. The streamlined mesh upper is thicker along the midfoot for stability, with only a single layer along the toes and the heel to make it breathable.

The company designed the Flex Experience for long-distance runners. With a rounded heel for a more natural stride, the rubber outsole has thicker tread at the forefoot and the heel for better traction in a lighter sole. The midsole is injection-molded EVA memory foam rubber for better flexibility and rebound. Cushion in the ankle collar and a defined heel cup supports the heel as you run as the midsole diffuses impact with every landing.

With good arch support, the NIKE Flex Advantage is best for men with high, defined arches. The cushion, shock absorption, and rebound in the shoe make it comfortable enough for all-day wear, not just for your morning runs. They do run small and narrow: if you have wide, thick feet, you should choose another model. Even men with narrow feet should order at least a half-size up for the best fit.

The thinner mesh along the forefoot can rip with rough use; if you usually are hard on your shoes, this model may not be for you. Although the NIKE Men’s Flex Experience has a minimalist design that may deter some buyers from its moderate price tag, it’s our choice for the best men’s running shoe for Achilles Tendonitis. It has the proper heel and foot support that you need in a fitness shoe, and the shock absorption will not aggravate your condition.

Pros

  • Our choice for the best men’s running shoe for Achilles Tendinitis
  • Moderately priced
  • Streamlined mesh upper for lightweight fit on top and sides of the foot
  • Upper has one layer of mesh at the toes and heel to help foot breathe
  • Rounded heel for a natural stride
  • Thicker tread at forefoot and heel for better traction and more lightweight protection
  • Injected unit midsole (better than compression molded) for better flexibility and bounceback
  • Good arch support for defined arches
  • Comfortable for all-day wear

Cons

  • Run small and narrow
  • Not for wide, thick feet
  • Mesh tears with rough use
  • A minimalist shoe that may turn off some buyers

2. Brooks Women’s Ghost 10 Running Shoe

Image of the Brooks Women's Ghost 10 Black/Pink Peacock/Living Coral 9 B US

Just as its male counterpart, the Brooks Women’s Ghost 10 Running Shoe is a wonderful accessory for women who alternate between running and walking. When you have a sore or torn Achilles tendon, taking the pressure off of your heel is key to a smooth healing process. With the Brooks 10, you’ll have a comfortable running or walking shoe that delivers all-day comfort. The lightweight mesh upper has synthetic cage-like designs that give the shoe more structural support to the center and the back of your foot. This helps stabilize your heel as you are running.

The rubber outsole of the Women’s Ghost 10 has a segmented crash pad to absorb impact. Combined with the Omega Flex Grooves that make the outsole more bendable, this shoe diffuses shock with every takeoff and landing. Although this design caters to any heel or forefoot landing, it makes the Ghost 10 better for women who run on the balls of their feet. Any runner will appreciate the improvements in shock absorption over previous models.

This shoe runs narrow with a small toe box: if you like the extra room in the front or you have wide feet, then you should order at least half a size up from your regular footwear. For more comfort, the Ghost 10 has a removable foam insole, and it has a padded ankle collar. While the insert offers great support for women who have medium to high arches, the foam support in the ankle collar wears down quickly if you are a daily runner. The special features of the outsole, the crash pad and the Flex Grooves, do not hold up well against rough conditions: the Ghost 10 is a better shoe for walking and running on flat surfaces, such as a track or a sidewalk. If you are suffering pain from your Achilles Tendonitis, the smoother ride that the Brooks Women’s Ghost 10 delivers is enough of a reason to overlook the downsides. It is our choice for the best women’s running shoe for Achilles Tendonitis.

Pros

  • Our choice for the best women’s running shoe for Achilles Tendonitis
  • Very comfortable for all-day wear
  • Moderately priced women’s running shoe with sturdy construction and shock absorption
  • Lightweight mesh upper with synthetic overlays to protect the foot
  • Segmented Crash Pad and Omega Flex Grooves on outsole diffuse impact and increase flexibility
  • Removable foam insole with good arch support for women with medium to high arches
  • A great investment if you combine running and walking

Cons

  • Better for forefoot runners on flat, smooth terrain
  • Runs narrow with a tight toe box
  • Padded ankle collar wears down fast

3. New Balance Men’s M1540v2 Running Shoes

Image of the New Balance Men's M1540V2 Running Shoe, Black, 13 4E US

If you are an overpronator or an oversupinator, your natural gait puts too much pressure on the inside or the outside of your foot. When you throw in an aggravated or injured Achilles tendon, this leads to excessive heel pain that can derail your life. The New Balance Men’s M1540v2 Running Shoe can correct your overpronation or oversupination while stabilizing your heel to relieve your Achilles Tendonitis. With a 100% textile and synthetic upper, this running shoe is breathable while securing high-impact areas of your foot.

This shoe has excellent ankle support, with dual-density foam padding along the ankle collar and tongue to stabilize your feet as you run. The real winner of the M1540v2 is the Roll Bar support system. It gently corrects the position of your foot without digging into your skin. This keeps you from putting extra weight on one side, correcting your tendency to run on the inside or the outside of your feet. Giving you a more natural gait, the Roll Bar support system relieves the pressure off of your Achilles tendon.

Although the New Balance Men’s 1540v2 has the ankle and heel support that you need for Achilles tendonitis, there are a few drawbacks to this model. It has less padding than the previous version, but it has more stability that you need as your tendon is healing. The extra support makes the shoe feel heavy, so it would be better if you wore this shoe for your exercise only.

It comes with a polyurethane insole for more cushion under the heel and forefoot, but this doesn’t hold up well. Luckily, it is removable for a replacement. The 1540v2 runs long and narrow, with little arch support, so they are better for men with thinner feet and low to medium arches. Although the New Balance 1540v2 runs high on the price point, it is well worth the extra money for the heel support for overpronators and oversupinators suffering from Achilles tendonitis.

Pros

  • 100% textile and synthetic upper
  • Rubber outsole with good traction
  • Roll Bar support system to alleviate overpronation and oversupination and minimizes rear foot movement
  • Polyurethane insole for cushion and support under the heel and forefoot
  • Dual-density foam for comfort around the ankle

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • The insole is replaceable, but the factory one doesn’t last long
  • Runs long and narrow
  • Less padding than the previous version
  • Little arch support

4. ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 18

Image of the ASICS Men's Gel-Cumulus 18 Running Shoe, White/Silver/Black, 10.5 M US

If you like to take in your morning or evening run around the neighborhood or at your local park, the ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 18 is a great shoe for men who run on flat terrains. The 100% synthetic upper protects the top of the foot without the heaviness of thicker exteriors. A padded tongue and ankle collar make this shoe more comfortable to wear during your exercise regimen or while you are out running errands.

With better shock absorption than other running shoes, the Gel-Cumulus 18’s outsole, midsole, and insole all work together in the shoe’s Impact Guidance System for a smoother ride. This supports your natural gait while diffusing the shock of landing from heel to forefoot. The durable rubber outsole has decent traction, and the lightweight FluidRide midsole has cushion and bounceback. The comfortable insole has extra gel cushioning in the heel and the forefoot to protect these high-impact areas.

Unlike some running shoes that offer minimal to no arch support, ASICS designed Gel-Cumulus 18 for men with high arches. A defined heel cup cradles the back of your foot, keeping extra pressure off your Achilles tendon. This shoe runs small and narrow with a tight toe box, so you may have to order a size up from your regular footwear to get the right fit. If you own a previous version of the Gel-Cumulus, you will notice that the toe box is much more narrow than earlier models. The outsole doesn’t hold up against rougher terrains, so they are better for track runners or men who run on cement paths. Although the ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 18 is an expensive running shoe, it has valuable shock absorption and support for sensitive heels.

Pros

  • 100% synthetic upper
  • Rubber outsole with good traction
  • Impact Guidance System that moves with you, supporting natural gait
  • FluidRide Midsole: lightweight midsole with cushion and bounceback
  • Extra gel cushioning in heel and forefoot to protect high-impact areas
  • Great arch support
  • Defined heel cup with padded ankle collar

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Runs small and narrow with a tight toe box
  • Toe box more narrow than previous versions
  • Rubber outsole doesn’t last on rougher terrains

5. Brooks Men’s Ghost 10

Image of the Brooks Men's Ghost 10 GTX Black/Ebony/Lime Popsicle 10.5 D US

Although Brooks isn’t as well-known as NIKE, New Balance, or ASICS, the company has a loyal customer following that has grown over time. This manufacturer creates supportive footwear for any activity level. You can find the perfect Brooks shoe if you are starting to jog or you are a marathon runner. If you run on your toes, then you need the Brooks Men’s Ghost 10. This moderately-priced running shoe has a rubber outsole with a segmented crash pad to diffuse impact. Omega Flex Grooves give the outsole the flexibility you need when you are a forefoot runner.

The mesh upper has synthetic overlays which improve the appearance of the shoe while giving you better midfoot and forefoot support. The Brooks Ghost 10 cradles the back of your foot with a padded ankle collar to reduce rubbing and irritation. They will be so comfortable that you will want to wear them everywhere. Better for men with medium to high arches, this shoe’s removable foam insole cushions the heel and the ball of the foot.

If you alternate between walking and running around your neighborhood, then the Brooks Men’s Ghost 10 is a good match for you. Despite the comfortable ankle padding, the friction from running makes it wear down faster. The rubber outsole has good traction, but rougher terrains will tear it up. If you stick to walking and running on flatter paths, the Brooks Ghost 10 will last much longer. These shoes run narrow with a tight toe box, so you’ll need to order a size up, especially if your feet run on the thicker side. Despite these minor issues, the Brooks Men’s Ghost 10’s heel and forefoot support make it a reasonable investment for men nursing an Achilles tendon injury who want to stick to their routine.

Pros

  • Moderately priced running shoe for forefoot runners
  • Very comfortable for all-day wear
  • Rubber outsole with a segmented crash pad that diffuses impact
  • Omega Flex Grooves on outsole for better flexibility for men who run on the ball of their feet
  • Support for medium to high arches
  • Padded tongue and ankle collar
  • Mesh upper with synthetic overlays
  • Removable foam insole with heel and ball of foot support

Cons

  • Runs narrow with a tight toe box
  • Rubber outsole doesn’t last a long time on rougher terrains
  • Ankle padding wears down fast if you run more than you walk
  • A good running shoe, but even better for walking

6. Asics Men’s Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe

Image of the ASICS Mens Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Carbon/Classic Red/Black, 11 Medium US

ASICS is famous for their innovation in the world of running shoes. By studying athletes and how their feet respond to their activities, the company is always changing the methods of support in their footwear. The ASICS Men’s Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoeis a budget-friendly model that has excellent heel support. Manufactured with comfort in mind, this shoe has a mesh upper with a plastic cage to support the midfoot while in motion. The shoe has a removable Ortholite insole to accommodate a medical orthotic, but you may not need to do so. This insole is armed with memory foam and moisture-wicking technology to keep your feet comfortable and dry through your entire running session.

For men suffering from Achilles Tendonitis, the Gel-Contend’s Rearfoot Gel Cushioning system makes a substantial difference in the experience of their run. With a tender heel area, men with this condition need a shoe with extra heel support to relieve the pressure off of the back of the foot when landing. This model has extra gel pockets in the heel that absorb impact at the beginning of your stride.

Although the Gel-Contend 4 is a decent running shoe for the price, it has substantially less cushion as previous versions. This is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how often you run. For men who are low-mileage runners, this doesn’t make a difference. The shoes do run small and narrow, so you’ll need to go up a size for a comfortable fit. There is a mild break-in period with the Gel-Contend, but this shouldn’t last more than a few wears. If you only run a few times a week, the ASICS Men’s Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe has great cushion in the heel to relieve pain associated with Achilles Tendonitis. This comfort comes at a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Rubber outsole that holds up well
  • Mesh upper has a laminate cage to support the midfoot during movement
  • Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System relieves pressure off of the heel when landing
  • Removable insole for medical orthotic
  • Ortholite insole pulls moisture away from the foot

Cons

  • For low-mileage runners
  • Run small and narrow
  • Mild break-in period
  • Not as much cushion as the previous version

7. Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 18

Image of the Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 18 Navy/Teal/Mint 7 D US

Some women are overpronators, which means that they run on the insides of their feet. This gait puts more pressure on the ankle and heel, making a minor case of Achilles Tendinitis most unbearable. With the Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 18, you will run straighter, taking the weight off of the tendon. With all of their designs, Brooks makes their athletic shoes comfortable and effective. The mesh upper with overlays support the foot while keeping the shoe breathable. The padded ankle collar and heel cup have a soft cushion to straighten the back of your foot without putting too much pressure on it.

To relieve force off of the heel while you are running, this shoe has a segmented crash pad along the rubber outsole that absorbs impact. The technology behind the Adrenaline that makes it so valuable to women with soreness in their Achilles tendon is the tri-density midsole. By holding your foot straight, the shoe corrects your gait, stopping you from landing on the insides of your feet. The wide toe box also gives you room to splay your toes out for a more comfortable and natural stride.

Although the Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 18 has better shock absorption and support than its predecessors, there is a significant difference in the fit. The 18s fit looser around the foot and ankle than the 17s, which can be a deal-breaker for women who like a tight-fitting shoe. There is a mild break-in period, during which your foot will acclimate to the corrective features. As comfortable and supportive as the Adrenaline is for many overpronating women, it doesn’t hold up well. The mesh and the stitching fall apart in about a year of daily use. If you are an occasional runner, then the Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 18 will last much longer. Overall, it is a well-made shoe that will relieve some of your Achilles pain.  

Pros

  • A corrective running shoe for overpronators
  • Breathable mesh/synthetic upper with a padded ankle collar
  • Rubber sole with a wide toe box
  • Segmented crash pad increases shock absorption
  • Tri-density midsole corrects gait and instep
  • Convenient removable foam insole

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Mild break-in period
  • Fit looser than the previous model GTS 17
  • The outsole and the upper’s stitching fall apart within a year of daily runs

8. Asics Women’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes

Image of the ASICS Women's Gel-Venture¿ 6 Black/Carbon/Neon Lime 5 D US

Just as overpronators run on the insides of their feet, underpronators do the opposite, putting more weight on the outsides of their feet. The effect of underpronation on an Achilles tear is the same, with the turn of the foot irritating an already sore or injured tendon. Adding the extra weight of a heavy running shoe can make the condition worse. The ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 6 is a lightweight and durable running shoe for underpronators. The company’s patented ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber in the outsole keeps the bottom from crumbling in rough terrain.

With reversed lugs for better traction, the Gel-Venture is the most versatile women’s running shoe on our list. As the dynamic outsole helps you keep your balance, the breathable mesh upper with overlays that support the heel and midfoot to keep your feet from rolling outward. In an upgrade from the Gel-Venture 5, this model has a wider heel with contoured support in the heel cup, a must-have feature when fighting your latest bout of Achilles tendonitis.

If you land on your heels as you run, then you will love the Rearfoot Gel Cushioning system. It places extra support under the heel for more shock-absorption with every landing and takeoff. The bigger toe box gives more room for forefoot movement through your natural stride. The strong yet flexible midsole bends to your movements, with shock absorption and bounceback where you need it, for high energy return as you glide through your run. The removable memory foam insole is perfect for those who require a medical orthotic or a custom insert.

There is a mild break-in period with the Gel-Venture that lasts about a week. The extra stability and protection of the outsole make it a little stiffer than other running shoes, but you will get used to this during the first few uses. While most athletic shoes run small, these shoes run large and wide. If you like more room in your shoes, then you should order your regular size, but a closer fit will protect your Achilles from further damage. The Gel-Venture has little arch support, so they are better for women with medium to low arches. At such a budget-friendly price, you may want to order several pairs in the different colors available.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly, lightweight running shoe for underpronators
  • ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber (AHAR) in outsole for lightweight durability
  • Outsole has reversed lugs for better traction uphill or downhill
  • Mesh upper with synthetic overlays supports the foot from the center to the heel
  • Padded ankle collar and removable memory foam insole
  • Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System places more gel inserts under the heel for shock-absorption with every landing
  • Wider heel with contoured support than the Venture 5
  • Sturdy midsole with shock absorption and bounceback
  • Roomy toe box

Cons

  • Run large and wide
  • Little arch support
  • The outsole is stiffer than other running shoes
  • Mild break-in period
  • Don’t breathe well

9. NIKE Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 33

Image of the NIKE Women's WMNS Air Zoom Pegasus 33, Black/White-Anthracite-Cool Grey, 8

Although some athletic companies have been in business longer, NIKE set a standard for footwear that caters to athletes. With an evolving mission, the company has made their accessories to anyone who leads an active lifestyle. The NIKE Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 33 is a light tennis shoe that is made just for running. Best for long-distance runners and sprinters, the Air Zoom is ideal for any intense fitness regimen. The rubber outsole has a defined tread, with Zoom air units that cushion your landing. As the outsole absorbs the shock of landing, the spring technology gives you energy return so that you can increase your speed.

Above the patented outsole, a long-lasting midsole has more shock-absorption and cushioning with great bounceback. In a unique design that doesn’t weigh the foot down, the Pegasus 33 has the stability necessary for a healing injury. By stabilizing your foot, the shoe straightens your gait, relieving pressure off of the back of your foot. With a defined heel cup and a padded ankle collar, you can keep up with your active lifestyle as your Achilles tendon heals.

The NIKE Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 33 runs true to size, but they are narrow with a tight toe bed. If you splay your toes as you run, you may want to order a size up. There is little arch support in the shoe, but an insert can correct this issue. With all of the energy return and bounceback, these shoes are not great for standing for long periods of time. They are a fitness shoe meant for activity. There is a mild break-in period where the midsole and outsole can feel stiff, especially if you are a first-time user of this model. Although the NIKE Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 33 is expensive, it will take weight off of your heel as you recover, and your running game will thank you when you heal.

Pros

  • For long-distance runners and sprinters, HIIT exercises, or other intense fitness regimens
  • Lightweight mesh upper for breathability
  • Rubber outsole with defined tread
  • Midsole has shock absorption, bounceback and cushioning
  • Zoom air units in outsole cushion landings and have energy return to gain speed
  • Stability improves your gait
  • Defined heel cup and padded collar for heel support

Cons

  • Expensive
  • True to size, but run narrow with a tight toe bed
  • Not great for standing for long periods
  • The strength of midsole and outsole makes the shoe feel stiff
  • Little arch support

10. New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay

Image of the New Balance Women's W980GY - W980v1 Fresh Foam Boracay 5.5 D

Most running shoes have a specific design for long-distance runners. What about women who are sprinters and short-distance runners? The New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay has just the right amount of support if you fall short of defining yourself as a long-range runner. A 100% no-sew fabric upper is breathable to get you through your short bursts, with synthetic attachments that protect the most sensitive parts of your foot.

When you are nursing stress on the Achilles tendon, the less pressure you put on your heel, the better you will heal. Between the durable outsole and the Ortholite insole, the New Balance Boracay has Fresh Foam technology that gives the shoe its name. This injection-molded EVA midsole is springier than the more traditional compression-molded midsoles, meaning that you will have better shock absorption when you land and more energy return when you take off. The foam of the midsole is thicker in the high-impact areas of the heel and the ball of the foot for more protection against further injury or aggravation of your condition.

The padded ankle collar keeps the back of your foot centered in the heel cup without digging into the tender area. These shoes run small and narrow with a tight toe box, so you will need to go a size up to get the best fit. The Ortholite insole pulls moisture away from your foot, but they don’t have much arch support. Women with high arches should replace the insole with a gel-cushioned insert for the best comfort.

Unfortunately, for such a high price tag, the New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay doesn’t hold up well. Women who use them every day will have to replace them within a year. However, if you don’t run that often, they should last longer if you aren’t too rough on your shoes. The foam support, energy return, and shock absorption of the midsole is the real winner of the Boracay. Any woman with soreness in their Achilles tendon will tell you that it is worth the expense.

Pros

  • Running shoe for sprinters and short-distance runners
  • 100% no-sew fabric upper with synthetic overlays
  • Padded tongue and ankle collar
  • Ortholite insole pulls moisture away
  • Fresh foam technology – injection-molded EVA midsole for stability, bounceback, and shock absorption
  • The midsole is thicker in high-impact areas of the ball of the foot and the heel
  • Extra cushion in the midfoot and the heel that diffuses impact on landing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Run small and narrow with a tight toe box
  • Little arch support
  • Don’t hold up well; fall apart within a year

The Bottom Line

Achilles Tendonitis doesn’t have to derail your daily or weekly exercise routine. While you are healing, a running shoe with shock absorption and heel support will relieve some of your pain by taking pressure and weight off of your heels. While there is no official running shoe designed just for men or women who have this condition, many models have extra heel support. We recommend the NIKE Men’s Flex Experience RN 6 Running Shoe and the Brooks Women’s Ghost 10 Running Shoe as the best running shoes for Achilles Tendonitis. Both are well-made shoes that you can use during the healing process and after you recover.

Resources:

“Achilles tendinitis.” The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/achilles-tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369020

“Achilles Tendon Disorders.” Foot Health Facts: Healthy Feet for an Active Life. https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/achilles-tendon-disorders

 

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