Running. The word can and does imply impending doom and dread for many. It’s a tough enough activity to do on its own for most people, but that only gets harder and more challenging when your own physical conditions aren’t 100% right. Unfortunately, many people suffer from shin splints as a result of either running too much or doing too much too soon. Today, our buying guide is going to be geared toward helping figure out what kind of shoes you need to combat this terrible ailment. We’ll look into what it is you need throughout the guide, and then we will take a closer look at some of the best and most popular pairs for fighting against it in our reviews. So, let’s get to it then!
Top Running Shoes for Shin Splints Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Asics Women’s Gel Venture 6 Running Shoes||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 Trail Sneakers||Mesh, Textile||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. New Balance Men’s 1080v9 Fresh Foam Running Shoes||Synthetic||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 15 Running Shoes||Textile & Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 19 Running Shoes||Textile & Synthetic||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Nike Men’s Air Zoom Vomero 13 Running Shoes||Synthetic & Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. New Balance Women’s 940v3 Running Shoes||Textile & Synthetic||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. Asics Men’s Gel Kayano 26 Running Shoes||Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|9. Nike Men’s Air Zoom Structure 21 Running Shoes||Textile||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|10. Brooks Women’s Dyad 9||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Running Shoes for Shin Splints Buying Guide
The Prevalence of Shin Splints
If you are someone that suffers from the awful condition of shin splints, you may feel that you are alone. However, you are far from it. Runners of all shapes and sizes have experienced it, and if you have been at it long enough you’ve almost surely had it happen to you at one point or another. In fact, it’s estimated that around ten percent of all running injuries are attributed to shin splints each year. That’s an astonishingly high number, and it means that you are not alone. Take solace in this fact, since it can help you get a solution to the pain.
What Causes Them?
If you have never looked into what a shin splint truly is, then it will be helpful to you to do so. This way you’ll have a better understanding of your body and will be able to tackle the challenges that await you. First of all, shin splints are pains that most typically occur in the front of the ankles i.e. the shins. However, they can also radiate to the backs of the legs as well, so this does make the name a bit of a misnomer of sorts. The way this is caused is most usually down to overtraining your body. It’s hard to admit, but we sometimes, especially as athletes, push our bodies too hard and too fast. We don’t think about the consequence of our actions until later on down the line, and by then it’s too late to turn back and we are forced to deal with pains that come from overdoing it. One of the ways that shin splints will happen is if you increase your mileage rapidly. Another way is to start from scratch and overwork yourself. This one is harder to explain, but if you just get off the couch and start running, or you move from HIIT or something like that, then you are more prone to it as well. The other cause will be, most likely, a poor pair of shoes for you. Whether the shoes aren’t supportive enough, or they don’t fit your running pattern well, they can cause you a world of trouble. When you combine two of these together, you get a recipe for sure-fire disaster. You will see pain develop, quickly, too, and you’ll need to accept the reasons why it has come about.
Things Shoes Must Have to Stop Shin Splints
If you want to put your best foot forward in an effort to rid yourself of shin splints, then you need to take a very close inspection at the shoes laid out in front of you. If the shoes don’t meet certain standards, then you’ll need to look elsewhere, otherwise you’ll just end up in the same predicament and be out of a bit of money, too.
All runners, not just runners that deal with shin splints on a regular basis, are going to need some form of shock absorption to their shoes. But this is doubly important for anyone that is suffering from shin splints. When your feet hit the pavement time and time again, it is causing tiny shocks to beset your feet, ankles, knees, joints, etc. These small shocks don’t seem like a whole lot individually, but when they go undealt with for a long, long time, they add up and do major damage. This is why the NBA has so many major injuries to it, more so than the NFL, in fact. It’s because players are asked to run up and down the court over and over again for a massively long season, all the while acquiring minor tissue injuries. When you run, you are racking up many of the same things. You need to have shoes that don’t just absorb shocks in name, you need shoes that really do it. It’s also helpful if you have some sort of energy return system to them as well. That way you expend less energy and you don’t take those hard hits to the feet and shins over and over again.
One way in which you’ll be getting this shock absorption is through the use of cushioning. Cushioning is one of the things that separates modern athletic shoes from the ones of old. In those days, you just had a pair of shoes that took your feet off the ground ever so slightly. They didn’t do much to cushion you at all, and they were meant to make sure that you mainly didn’t get stuck or poked with anything. Cushioning, though, has changed the game and made it possible for you to actually enjoy running and not hurt. All shoes made for running have cushioning built in. You won’t find a pair out there any longer with none available to you. But what you really need to help fight against shin splints is additional cushioning that goes above and beyond. Look for newer technologies and multiple layers. Those are your best bets for getting what you need: relief.
Support and Stability
The other component that you need to take a good, long, hard look at is that of support and stability. Support can be afforded to you, at least partially, by cushioning, but you also need to think about your arches, too. We’ve seen plenty of shoes come and go on the market that have been cushioned yet offered no real support to the arches. Figuring out what kind of arch type you have- high arches, flat feet, or neutral- is a major part of this process. If you are unsure, you need to consult either professional help or go to a specialty running store. This will change the way you buy shoes. Shoes made for flat footed runners will not support your foot very well if you have high arches. They will put more pressure upon you. And vice versa for runners with flat feet that attempt running with shoes made for high arches. Stability is also a big factor, as you need something that holds you in place well. Having the right size is important as ever, but you’ve also got to make sure your foot isn’t sliding around in there or allowed to over rotate. If it does move around too much, it could well prove to be the culprit that’s causing some or all of your pain in the shins. A nice heel counter helps tremendously with this, as do cross designs in the lacing area.
Low Heel Drop
Here is one that might well be foreign to you, but it could prove to be just the thing that makes you more comfortable while running. ‘Drop’ refers to how much of a drop there is between the heels and the toes. Most running shoes out there today utilize a drop from between 10-12 mm. This is called a high drop shoe. This oftentimes leads to you striking the ground with your heels due to the offset. On the surface this doesn’t seem to be that bad, but it means more pressure is applied to the shins as a result. And you can figure out the rest: shin splint city. To help counteract this, you can go with a pair of shoes that have lower heel drop. This means about 8 mm and below. However, we don’t recommend that you just go cold turkey down to zero drop. That is the kind of shoe that offers minimal support, which will cause you even more pain if you’re used to using a 12mm drop. So, hover around 8mm and see if there is improvement there. If there is, then you can dip your toes into deeper and deeper waters, so to speak, as you look to get better and better. Basically, you want a more balanced plane on which for your foot to rest, rather than having a heel that is pumped up to the sky and a forefoot that is flat to the ground.
As with all pairs of shoes, you need to find the right level of comfort in order to have success using them. This is the case, even with shoes that are intended to help you quell the devastation of shin splints. Comfort is one of those subjects that is as broad as it is personal. You may like your shoes to feel a certain way, while we may like them another way entirely. That is just fine, we’re all experts on our own bodies after all. But here’s a look at some things to be aware of as you look at comfort from a more holistic point of view.
– Are the insoles to your liking? This is where most people start, so we figured we should, too. The insoles are any piece of the inner workings of the shoes, not just the inserts. For some people, a nice, firm insert is just what the doctor ordered. For others, a softer, much more squishy one is preferable. That’s not all, though. You’ve also got to make sure that you don’t have anything rubbing up against you from the inside. Are they nice and smooth, including the heel counter, or will it bother you as you run?
– Are the shoes going to be breathable enough for you? Breathability is a major concern for runners that are either going to be running in warm climates or for long distances. You may not realize how much a breathable shoe comes in handy if you are running a lot of miles in the cold, but they can really help you out a great deal. If the shoes don’t have a lot of holes built in, you may not be getting the best out of this particular feature and may want to reconsider.
– Is there enough flexibility to them? One of the main ingredients to preventing shin splints is having a shoe that allows you to be flexible while being locked in. A lot of this is related to them being breathable, but it’s not always the case. Typically you’ll have a breathable shoe if it’s flexible or vice versa, but again it can be different. It really just depends on the model and what is laid out in front of you. Make sure you can wiggle your feet some, not just your toes, and you’ll be a much, much happier camper as a result.
– Are the shoes supportive and protective enough? We talked a lot about what you need to have above, so we won’t get into it all over again. Just make sure the shoes are supportive, otherwise no comfort will last long at all.
– Make sure they fit well. Without this, you’re going to be hurting no matter what you try to do to stop it from happening.
Getting the correct fit is paramount to your success as a runner, and it’s also important for preventing shin splints. Runners that have shoes that are too small or too big put tons of pressure upon part of the body that are not used to having it applied to. That’s going to put excess strain on you, and it can and will lead to shin splints if you don’t be careful. Here’s how to size yourself properly.
– Make sure you have a nice, snug fit but aren’t too tight. The old half a toe of wiggle room rule is a good one to go by here. You don’t want less since that’s way too tight, but you also don’t want more to the point where you’re sliding up and down like a boat inside of your shoes.
– Don’t forget to account for swelling with this decision. Swelling naturally occurs in the feet and ankles to all of us when we get active. The blood flows to the muscles at a faster rate, so by the end of our day at work or our workout, we are going to be feeling it in our extremities. Failure to adjust to this can and will cause great discomfort, so it’s a wise idea to try on any pair of shoes- at the store or at home- after you have ran or done something active. If you can’t do that, then try them on at the end of the day. At least that way, you’ll get some idea for how they feel when you are active, making it much easier for you to get an idea of what they are like. A good chunk of people don’t think about this and become uncomfortable toward the middle or later parts of the run, and this could be a contributing factor to your shins hurting.
– Width is also a major role player here, too. If you have ever tried to fit into a pair of shoes that just weren’t wide enough, you’ll know what we mean. The temptation is there to try and take them and go up a half a size or maybe a full size. While this can work, it’s also a proposition than can throw the entire mix off. You don’t want to throw off your length by doing so, so you will need to make sure to not prioritize one over another. You’ll need both of them, not just one, so you’d be wise to keep this fact well in mind. If you don’t get a balance of both width and length, then you should look for something else entirely. You may even find yourself going to a new brand altogether.
– Sizes are not universal. This means you need to be careful trying to compare one brand to the next. Your regular ‘tennis’ shoes may not translate so well, so you need to take a careful look at all sizing information available to you if you are doing your shopping online. If you’re going in store, you should try on various shoes to get a glimpse of what you want and need. If you do this, you’ll get an idea for which brands run large or small, and then you can adjust. Listening to what other reviews say is also a huge part of this, don’t forget and leave that out! We’ll make sure to point out any sizing issues, or potential ones, when we get to our reviews here in a few moments!
One of the things you should be making note of here is that you need a degree of ‘extra’ involved in your shoes if you wish to rid yourself of shin splints. Of course, you don’t get extra features without an added cost, so you should be aware that you’ll usually be paying a bit more for these kinds of shoes. These are top brands in the world of running, whether they come from brands that focus only on the sport or companies that have a wider appeal, they are still among the best of the best and will not exactly be cheap. You can find some good deals, as always, but you will need to look hard to find them.
The Top 11 Running Shoes for Shin Splints Reviews
Asics Women’s Gel Venture 6 Running Shoes
There are very few shoes out there today that are as good at being an ombudsman as these. The Gel Venture 6 can do a little bit of everything and can even help you combat shin splints, too, much to no one’s surprise that knows about running shoes. Using Asics’ gel technology for which they are widely known for, you get plenty of cushion to hand you both support and the long lasting comfort you desperately crave. This cushioning is especially prevalent in the rear of the shoes, helping to take considerable stress off of the shins as a result. On the bottom, you have very resistant rubber that is built to help resist abrasions from happening, helping them to last longer. On top of that, they are made for both the trail and the road, meaning you have the chance to do either one thanks to the use of lugs on them. This makes them very special in the running world, and as a result sees them top yet another list.
- Extreme versatility
- Excellent cushioning in the heel
- Abrasion resistance
Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 Trail Sneakers
Up next is another one that might not have been one of the ‘expected’ choices in the Speedcross 4 from Salomon. Unlike the rest of the choices here, this one is made solely for the trail, as it’s been beefed up and has extra guards to it. It’s got a toe guard, mesh that won’t tear due to debris, and deep lugs to them, making them ideal for getting out on the trail. While the trend of late has been for trail shoes to get lighter and lighter, these are not quite as flimsy, making them a good choice for folks that have issues with their shins. They don’t have a huge drop to them, but they still don’t put you right on top of the ground and hand you no support in doing so. For a trail shoe, they are incredibly light but have the cushion you need, which is not so common, making them a very viable contender if you’re going off the road and onto the path!
- Light and cushioned
- Great cushioning for the trail
- Won’t tear and has excellent traction
New Balance Men’s 1080v9 Fresh Foam Running Shoes
This model has been around a while, but the reason why is that it’s been so effective at relieving pain and helping reach the goals of runners all over. These do just that thanks to a midsole that is laced with foam that goes above and beyond what most typical pairs of New Balance shoes have done in the past. This makes the shoes very well cushioned, which is going to take a huge load of off you. Btu the support doesn’t stop there, seeing as how these also have a great insert to them that helps support the arches. It’s not only a light insert but it’s comfy and supportive, helping to further absorb those shocks and make sure your shins don’t take the brunt of the abuse like they usually end up doing. Low to the ground and without as much drop as ordinary New Balance shoes, they have a bootie construction that makes them stand out and feel much different from what you are used to having on. Plus, they look much more appealing than their ‘standard’ stuff, so that helps, too!
- Foam gives cushioning
- Light and supportive insert
- Appealing look and feel
Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 15 Running Shoes
As far as pure shock absorption goes, there are few better on the market currently than this offering from Mizuno. The Inspire 15 has built on years and years of knowledge to become what it is now. Using a stable platform on which to build, you can count on these being steady and holding you in tight. The smoothness, as the Wave part of it sounds like, is exceptional, using plenty of cushion to get the job done. All the while, though, you get stability, as mentioned before, as well as responsiveness that bites back well. This means the shoes are able to be springy, taking less energy away from you so that you can be faster or run longer. Thanks to their u4ic midsole, they’re more durable than most and still light enough to give you cushion and help you for a long, long time. Even the upper has advanced technology, using engineered mesh to help you be breathable while not subtracting durability away.
- Smooth but stable
- Excellent at absorbing shocks
- Breathable and durable upper
Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 19 Running Shoes
Adidas is known the world over for their awesome looks, but these shoes go far past that. These shoes utilize their Boost technology, which has changed the game for midsoles all over the industry in recent years. This tech is both responsive, making them springy and quick to respond to action, while also being supportive thanks to the torsion spring they have placed in them. There are no hard edges to them, either, which is truly wonderful seeing as how they have been able to accomplish such spectacular stability without them, instead turning to knitting and mesh to make the more comfortable on the feet and heels. One of the other factors that will stick out is the work they have done in conjunction with Continental tire. This partnership not only means you’ll be getting great traction but it also means shocks will be taken in stride so much easier.
- Off the chart looks
- Supportive and responsive
- Awesome rubber compound
Nike Men’s Air Zoom Vomero 13 Running Shoes
In general, Nike may not seem like a good choice here since they are more geared towards pure speed and being light, but they actually do a great job with the Vomero 13, especially if you are someone with neutral feet. These shoes are extremely good at keeping your feet locked in right where they should be, ensuring you don’t have any slippage whatsoever. This way, as we have discussed, you don’t have as much of a chance to develop shin splints due to being more balanced. Their snugness is really nice, perhaps one of the advantages you get from them usually being a little small and narrow to most people. Through the use of the Lunarlon foam, you’ll be sure to have a ton of cushioning at your fingertips, all the while having enough breathability to keep you happy. You’ve also got a lower drop than most shoes and more colors to pick from, too, which is never a terrible thing.
- No slippage
- Snug and well balanced
- Plenty of cushion
New Balance Women’s 940v3 Running Shoes
One of the first things you will notice with these is that the drop is less noticeable to them, standing out from most pairs you see on the shelves today. That’s going to help place less strain on the heels and thus the shins. But that’s not the only thing that will be helping in that endeavor. The absozrb midsole, which runs throughout the shoes, is also working overtime to ensure you have an abundance of cushioning to use beneath you. Through the use of their T-beam technology, you can rest assured that these will lock you in better than the pairs you have owned before. This is a huge thing for someone that is larger and puts more of a pounding on their body as a result. These are just a super stable pair of shoes that won’t let you get into too many bad habits. Plus, they’ve got no sewing to them at all, which means the chances of them getting torn are reduced greatly.
- Very, very durable
- Stable enough for bigger bodies
- Lots of cushioning
Asics Men’s Gel Kayano 26 Running Shoes
The Gel Kayano is another one of the picks that Asics has out there that can do a ton of things, all while looking much more trendy than Asics have typically been over the years. With gel in both the rear and the front of the foot, these shoes are meant to help you promote a more natural gait to the one you’re used to making- rather than trying to force you into a new one that throws off your body and places strain on your shins. The gel also absorbs blows very well, and the outsole, which uses the high abrasion resistant rubber mentioned earlier, helps to ensure they don’t wear out in quick fashion. Another innovation they have used is done so by the use of the Trusstic technology, which has taken the sole and reduced the weight all while managing to somehow make the integrity even better and stronger. You can’t do a whole lot better than all of those evolutions!
- Gel cushioning is everywhere
- Resistant to a ton of wear and tear
- Reduced weight and increased strength
Nike Men’s Air Zoom Structure 21 Running Shoes
As stated before, Nike are not usually known for stability, but the Structure 21 flies in the face of that idea by providing you with unbridled stability. These shoes, which look great mind you, particularly for a pair of stable shoes, are made using the now classic Air Zoom, so you can depend on them for cushioning and support. Plus, they are springy, since that’s the same sort of stuff put into their basketball shoes as well. They are low to the ground, too, differentiating themselves from most other Nikes on the market, making them stand out and a great pick for stopping those sore shins from ever taking place. They are also snug, which again is a great thing to have for preventing shin splints, and can be found for a lower price than most on the list. For all of these reasons, they are more than worth a look.
- Super stable and supportive
- Cushioned via Air Zoom
- Snug fit
Brooks Women’s Dyad 9
Since the emergence of Brooks on to the scene decades ago now, they have been forging a name for themselves as the shoes for runners, the stability shoe that is. While they have certainly branched out in the last few years, the majority of their mainstays remain more stable, much like the Dyad 9 is. These shoes are wider than most out there, including their own, which makes them ideal for bigger and wider feet and also makes the base of support wider so that more pressure and shocks are absorbed. Brooks has many technologies that make them stand out, but they one they go with on this pair is that of dual pods on the bottom, which work to not only cushion but also to better support you right in the arch. Their BioMoGo DNA cushioning, which is eco friendly, is super soft but not so soft that you just have no support. They aren’t flashy like some of the others, but they sure are super functional!
- Extremely stable choice
- Wider base of support
- Soft but not overly so
- Not the best looking
Hoka One One Men’s Clifton 4 Running Shoes
One of the calling cards of Hoka One One is their ability to alleviate pressure off of the major joints of the body, helping to prevent common foot, ankle, and shin problems. This pair continues that legacy, and it begins by lifting the toes up off the ground a little so as to promote a more evenly balanced gait and pressure disbursement. They’re super comfortable and light, but they do have bit to them, helping you to bounce back from the pavement and absorb those shocks to the system you’re sure to be getting. The cushioning available in this model has always been great, but they have gone even further with this latest iteration by taking the upper and making it more breathable and by improving the fit. Previously they had ran small, but these are better about that and lock you in more securely, making them a good choice to help ward off the annoyance of shin splints to keep you on the road.
- Even pressure across foot
- Reinforced upper
- Much more stable than most
Conclusion and Final Running Shoes for Shin Splints Recommendations
Finding any pair of shoes in 2019 is easier said than done. There are an endless stream of products available and to the naked eye they all seem to be the same exact thing. With this being the case, it is downright difficult and sometimes feels impossible to figure out what it is you truly need. Many people end up settling for less than the best, and far less than they need. Rather than do that, however, you can stick to the principles that our guide has walked you through today. Even if you don’t like the ones found in our reviews, they will give you a great idea about what it is you need and want, and what you definitely will want to steer clear of, helping you to ease both your mind and sore shins in the process.
FAQ’s About Running Shoes for Shin Splints
Besides Changing Footwear, What Else Can I Do To Stop Shin Splints?
Some people are simply more prone to developing shin splints than others. With that said, there are some things you can to help fight back against them, apart from changing out your shoes. One thing you can do is to stop running on super hard ground. Many tracks today are made with soft foam rubber, rather than the hard pavement-like stuff that we see out on the road. This helps to absorb blows better and prevent shin splints. Running on grass is another way we’ve found to help this. Even if you have to run on the pavement most of the time, doing this for a day or two every week can be a huge relief to the shins and the joints in general. If this isn’t even helping, then you may want to lay off the running for a bit and try some other exercise type to switch it up and give your shins a break. This could be not only the thing to help you become less sore but also to unlock your full potential by knocking down a personal barrier.
There are other things you can do as well, though they are more medically based ideas to help you ease your pains. Things like the usual RICE- rest and ice- are always a good avenue to try. You may not get much help from doing this, but you never know if it will work until you try it out. Tape, such as KT Tape can also be helpful, as can compression socks. Both of them offer compression and some added support, which can be what you need to get the job done a bit more comfortably. Massaging can help as can stretching (both before and after running). The more extreme roads to getting better include things like physical therapy, getting shots, or even having surgery. Hopefully you’ll never have to consider any of those three, however!
When Should I Replace My Shoes?
Replacing your shoes should be done at regular intervals. This does not mean you need to change them every so many months, though. It just means you need to change them when one or more indicators point toward you doing so. If you are noticing that a pair are more painful than they once were for you, then you’ll need to make a change. This pain can come in the ball of the foot, the heels, or the shins. It’s simple: make a change if they are causing more pain than they used to. Mileage is another way to track shoes, with most shoes ranging between 300-600 miles in their recommended usage. Going over this number will see them become less supportive and could be a contributing factor to shin splints. Any tears of the upper or losing of grip on the soles is also proof that you need to change your shoes out for a new pair immediately.
Will Trail Running Help Shin Splints?
The answer here really just depends. Some trails are going to be composed of softer ground, but the truth still remains that you need to have adequate shoes available to you. Without them, you’re probably going to see them rear back up when you do get back on harder ground. Running on grass and mushy surfaces is a good idea to fight back against it, but if they are already present then you have let the cat effectively out of the bag and will have a hard time putting it back in. Trail running is definitely a nice change up, though, and can offer you a way to improve your times and get out of the same old routine, so it’s highly encouraged that you give it a try. With the right equipment, of which we have a couple of options above in our reviews.