Are you looking for the best running shoes for achilles tendinitis?
Here are my top 5 picks for running shoes for those of us who want to prevent or relieve achilles tendinitis due to running.
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- 1. Nike Free RN – Best for a heel that needs to move.
- 2. ON Cloudstratus – Best for heel runners that need more heel support and cushioning.
- 3. Nike Zoom Streak LT 4 – Best for mid/forefoot runners who need minimal cushioning.
- 4. HOKA One One Bondi 6 – Best for heel runners who need super cushioning.
- 5. Adidas Takumi Sen 3 – Best all around for mid/forefoot runners.
My Experience with Running Shoes for Achilles Tendinitis
I recently had achilles tendinitis. It sucked. As a triathlete, I couldn’t imagine not training for a few weeks let alone a few days. My doctor told me to stretch and ice my heel, achilles, and lower calf. I did that. And after a couple of months it got better.
But, he could not tell me what caused the problem. In the end, I found that the biggest attributing factors were my running shoes and upping my miles too quickly.
The solution for not upping my miles was simple. Don’t up my miles more than 10% per month. Done. Now how about my shoes?
Before I go into depth about my analysis and opinion of these shoes, I want to inform you that there is no empirical medical evidence of shoes providing prevention or relief of achilles tendinitis.
Doctors and physiotherapists will recommend certain types of shoes for people who have achilles tendinitis. But, there is no empirical or definitive medical evidence of specific types of running shoes providing relief or prevention.
With that caveat out of the way, let’s get to it!
1. Nike Free RN – These Were My Running Shoes for Achilles Tendinitis
Provided by Amazon
I run in these bad boys 2 to 3 times per week. After I purchased these, started stretching/icing/rolling, and began doing strength training exercises, my achilles tendinitis went away.
I had previously been running with the ON Clouds, and I loved them. In fact, I still like them. But, my feet, like everyone else’s feet, have their own particular way of moving when I am running. I never knew my heels don’t like to have support.
The ON Cloud running shoes have a little support on the back of them. These Nike Free RN have almost no heel support and are very well cushioned throughout the sole. My heels like to be free.
I know it sounds a little touchy-feely, but listening to my body, and in this instance my feet, helped a lot. Almost immediately I could feel the difference when I ran.
I am a mid-foot/forefoot runner. I don’t run on my heels. So, I think this makes it so that my shoes don’t need as much heel stabilization as a heel striker. When we run on our heels, we need our heels to be supported so that they don’t incur too much damage from all of the pressure that falls onto them.
The Nike Free RN allow for a more natural, all though very cushioned, distribution of forces placed upon the entire foot while running.
If you are a mid-foot/forefoot runner as I am, then I think these will be a wonderful option to try out. My achilles loosened up and yet also felt strengthened when I started running in these.
2. ON Cloudstratus – If You are a Heel Runner with Achilles Tendinitis
Provided by Amazon
If you are a heel striker, need heel support to prevent rolling inward or outward, and love cushioning these ON running shoes are nearly perfect.
- Excellent heel cushioning
- Great heel support
- Thorough cushioning throughout the sole
- Double the cushioning of most ON running shoes
- Allows your forefoot to move freely
- The shoes are slightly elevated because of all the cushioning
- Not a great variety of colors
- If you heel needs less lateral support, these might be too restrictive
- Upper mesh is prone to break down after about 6 months of daily usage
I have not tested these shoes out. I have read reviews and analyzed the specs on these super cushioned ON shoes.
Overall, they are a good buy. They are comparative in price with HOKA One One super cushioned running shoes. ON is a reputable running clothing company. And, the Cloudstratus are designed for long distance running.
They have a recoil technology that is layered through the sole of the shoe. After taking a step, the sole acts like any other sole and compresses. But, what makes it stand out, is that the downward compression force is recoiled like a spring upward as you begin to lift your foot up again.
This recoil affect may provide more energy efficiency while running.
Many companies now have similar technologies in their shoes.
I did feel a difference when I switched to my ON Clouds. I felt a bit lighter.
These shoes will help to cushion your heel strike and may provide relief from the tension in your achilles. This may allow you to not feel as much pain if you have achilles tendinitis.
3. Nike Zoom Streak LT 4 – Midfoot/Forefoot Runners with Achilles Tendinitis
Provided by Amazon
If you are a forefoot or mid-foot striker and you prefer having minimal cushioning, these are worth testing out and seeing If you feel a reduction of pain in your achilles.
What I noticed while I had achilles tendinitis, is that landing on the heel of my foot hurt worse than it did when my achilles was in a stretched position. A stretched position is the position we are in at the bottom of our stride before we launch forward (ankle inline with hip, hip inline with shoulder). This position felt fine for me.
When I landed on my heel though, I had shooting pain on the bottom of my heel to the top of my achilles.
So, if you have achilles tendinitis and have pain when you strike your heel, these might be your jam.
Landing on your forefoot/mid-foot will certainly cause more activation of the achilles, but you might be able to avoid direct forceful pain from the ground if you run in these Nikes.
The design of the Zoom Streak LT is tailored for racing or track work, but that is perfect to avoid hitting your heel where it hurts the most. With such a thin sole, they allow you to strike on your forefoot and mid-foot with ease.
Generally, these shoes are inexpensive compared to the other shoes on my list. So, if you don’t like them, it will dent your wallet only slightly.
4. HOKA One One Bondi 6 – For Cushion
Provided by Amazon
When I first saw these shoes, I thought they were a little ridiculous. They have been around a while longer than the Nike Pegasus super shoes.
But, after reading reviews from runners who love them and looking at all of the specs of the Bondis, I am convinced that these are a wonderful shoe for distance runners who strike with their heels. If you are a heel striker, you can benefit from the cushioning and design of the HOKA One One Bondi.
- Super cushioned through the entire sole
- Durable design
- Solid variety of colors
- Raved by users
- Solid heel support to harness lateral motion
- High heel-to-toe drop (10.3 mm)
- Might be too much heel support harnessing lateral interior and exterior motion
- They can get a little stinky (try baking soda and soap when washing)
- The height of the shoe might be a bit too elevated for many
I prefer a running shoe that allows my heel/ankle region to move naturally. So, these are not the shoes for me. But, I think they are a wonderful option for those who need support and have achilles tendinitis.
These shoes are super soft. They provide a wonderful level of responsiveness when you are running for distances that are beyond a half marathon.
Some runners prefer landing heel first while you have achilles tendinitis. For some this reduces the pain that they feel.
If you want to keep your heel in a less stretched position and land on your heel, these will give you lots of cushion to soften your landing.
5. Adidas Takumi Sen 6 – Best for Forefoot Runners with Achilles Tendinitis
Provided by Amazon
If you are a mid-foot/forefoot striker, have narrow heel, a wide forefoot, and want to alleviate your achilles tendinitis, the Adidas Takumi are hands down my top pick for you.
I didn’t recommend these as my #1 because they are very difficult to find. And the ones that I did find only come in orange. Most Adidas stores don’t usually carry them as well.
But, if you don’t mind orange and can find a pair, please give them a try. Soooo many distance runners love these shoes.
A doctor friend of mine, who solely runs marathons, swears by them. He thinks they are the best running shoes he has ever owned. He is on his second or third pair now.
They have a flat heel-to-toe drop. I don’t have the exact specs, but I think its around (1-2 mm). The soles are grippy and allow you to grab the surface of a track or the road. They are also decent trail running shoes.
I really like the thin cushioning of the sole. It makes it so you are much less likely to roll your ankle.
These are great for helping create a stretched achilles position and help you to avoid hitting the bottom of your heel if it hurts.
Conclusion about Running Shoes for Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis simply sucks. Prevention and rehabilitation are not easy. Each of us has to take the recommendations of our doctor or physiotherapist.
The combination of seeing my doctor, doing rehab, eating more protein, stretching, icing, strength training, slowly increasing my mileage and changing my shoes did the trick for me.
The running shoes you have matter. But, it’s highly individually determined. Try and see what works best for you. And if the list above doesn’t provide a shoe that works for you, definitely try others.
In the end, we just want to be healthy and happy when we run. I hope that this article has helped you on your journey to finding running shoes for achilles tendinitis.