The 8 Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints of 2021, According to an Expert

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Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints

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Our Top Picks
Best Overall for Men:
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 at Amazon
A solid option if you spend long hours on your feet, they cater to those prone to shin splints thanks to their motion control.
Best Overall for Women:
Hoka One One Clifton 8 at Dick's
Surprisingly lightweight, they're perfect for both running or daily wear and its EVA material offers ample shock absorption.
Complete with PWRRUN+ cushioning and shock absorption to handle long miles on the pavement, it promotes proper running technique.
Designed as a long-distance shoe, they feature superior midsole cushioning that keep you comfy no matter how far you’re running.
They feature EVA cushioning throughout the shoes, allowing for balanced landings, excellent responsiveness, and stability.
Available in various widths, the shoe’s innovative one-piece Fresh Foam midsole delivers outstanding support and cushioning.
Best for Distance Runners:
ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22 at Asics.com
With a trademark GEL cushioning system in the rearfoot and forefoot, the shoe offers extra shock absorption during long miles.
Best for Pronation Control:
Brooks Addiction 14 at Amazon
The diagonal rollbar helps limit pronation and promotes smooth transitions, while the cushioned midsole provides for a comfy ride.

Repetitive stress on the shins can cause shin splints, which is a common issue for runners. The pressure results in microtears in muscle and bone tissue, leading to swelling, inflammation, and prolonged pain. 

While improper running form and muscle weakness can cause shin splints, one of the biggest culprits is worn-out running shoes. “I tell people to get supportive shoes rather than highly mobile or minimalist shoes,” says Kevin D. Walter, MD, Program Director, Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Children's Wisconsin. 

Since shin splints create a lot of pain, Walter says that shoes with a good arch and good support can help alleviate this pain. “It gives you a little more cushion so that there’s not as much impact force coming up,” he says. “The shoe helps hold your foot in a good position so your muscles don’t need to work hard. They can just focus on movement and running and not on maintaining foot mechanics,” explains Walter. 

Here are the best running shoes for shin splints on the market, according to a running coach.

Best Overall for Men: Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 20 Running Shoes

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
Pros
  • Excellent shock absorption and cushioning

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Narrow toe box

Brooks is known for its high-quality, well-made running shoes, and they certainly don’t disappoint with the Adrenaline. With its excellent shock absorption and cushioning, it’s a solid choice for those who are prone to shin splints. Known for exceptional motion control, the Adrenaline has a diagonal roll bar that keeps feet stable with each stride. Additionally, Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA cushioning throughout provides comfort and softness without being too cushy to feel unsupportive.

These shoes are surprisingly lightweight, given their stability and supportiveness. They’re also very breathable, so they’re a good option for those who keep running shoes on for many hours at a time, whether they’re exercising or at work. The regular width model does have a narrow toebox, so be sure to choose the wider version if you have a wide foot.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: DNA LOFT | Closure: Lace-up

Best Overall for Women: Hoka One One Women's Clifton 8 Running Shoe

Clifton 8 Running Shoe
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Thick and wide soles

  • Breathable

  • Excellent shock absorption and cushioning

Cons
  • May run wide for narrower feet

If you want a running shoe with maximum cushioning, you can’t go wrong with the Hoka One One Clifton running shoe. The shoe’s superior plush EVA material cushioning provides excellent shock absorption and helps decrease the pressure under the heel and ball of the foot, making them a great running shoe for shin splints. They’re also surprisingly lightweight and comfortable right out of the box.

With their thick and wide soles, Hoka’s super-cushioned shoes may not be the most fashionable running shoes, but they provide a comfy, smooth ride. The Clifton’s re-engineered mesh upper balances the cushioning with a supportive and breathable fit. Devoted fans love them for running, but say the “cloud-like feel” will make you want to wear them when you’re walking, doing errands around town, or just hanging at home.

Materials: Mesh upper, full compression EVA midsole | Cushioning: HOKA ONE ONE | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Road Running: Saucony Women's Triumph 17 Running Shoe

Saucony Women's Triumph 17 Running Shoe
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Springy and responsive underfoot

  • Molds to the shape of your foot

Cons
  • Sizes run large

Runners who put in a lot of miles on pavement need a running shoe with excellent cushioning and shock absorption that can handle all that pounding. Saucony Triumph running shoes check those boxes and more, making it an ideal shoe for protection from shin splints.

They feature Saucony’s PWRRUN+ cushioning, which delivers a springy and responsive underfoot feel. The cushioning is spread evenly throughout the shoe, which helps promote proper running technique. Additionally, the Formfit design molds to the shape of your foot, making for a perfect fit and comfort from every angle. The Triumph is an excellent all-around shoe, especially for those who need extra cushioning for road running or walking.

Materials: Mesh and synthetic upper, foam insole | Cushioning: PWRRUN+  | Closure: Lace-up

Best Lightweight: Adidas Men's adizero Adios 4 Running Shoes

adidas Men's adizero Adios 4 Running Shoes
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Great shock absorption

  • Wide toe box

  • Breathable

Cons
  • May run narrower for wide feet

Adidas’ Adizero Boost is proof that a running shoe can be lightweight and still provide exceptional stability and comfort. Designed to be a long-distance shoe, it’s made with superior midsole cushioning that keeps you comfortable no matter how far you’re running.

The wide toe box lets your toes spread out and create a more stable, natural running form, which can also help with shin splints prevention. The ultra-lightweight, breathable mesh has a barely-there feel, while still providing a snug, supportive fit. With Adidas’ iconic three-stripe design, the Adizero also gets high marks for style.

Materials: Air mesh, textile, and synthetic upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Responsive | Closure: Lace-up

Best Cushioned: Hoka One One Women's Arahi 5

Hoka One One Arahi 5
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Flexible

  • Breathable

  • Works great for plantar fasciitis

Cons
  • May need more cushioning

Hoka’s signature cushioning is ideal for shin splints, so it makes sense that the brand has earned more than one spot on our list. The Arahi features EVA cushioning throughout the entire shoe for balanced landings, excellent responsiveness, and good stability, yet the foam is lightweight and flexible, so the shoe doesn’t feel too rigid or constricting.

The breathable mesh upper adds to the overall comfort. While it has the right amount of cushioning and stability to reduce the risk of shin splints, the Arahi also works well for those with a history of plantar fasciitis.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole, foam insole | Cushioning: Minimal | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Wide Feet: New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v10 Running Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10
Pros
  • Excellent shock absorption and cushioning

  • Wide toe box

  • Comes in various widths

  • Comes in multiple colors

Cons
  • Sizes run small

If you’re looking for a high-quality, well-cushioned, and durable shoe that’s well-suited for wide feet, look no further than the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 running shoe. The shoe’s innovative one-piece Fresh Foam midsole delivers outstanding support and cushioning, while the dual-density rubber outsole provides additional stability. A soft, flexible upper and wide toe box provides plenty of room and comfort for your forefoot, which is crucial for those who have experienced shin splints.

The running shoe comes in four widths—narrow, standard, wide, and extra-wide. It also comes in a range of sizes and various colors.

Materials: Knit upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: Fresh Foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Distance Runners: ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes

GEL-Nimbus 22
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Excellent shock absorption and cushioning

  • Helps improve your natural gait

Cons
  • May run wide for narrower feet

Highly flexible, supportive, and comfortable, the popular Asics GEL Nimbus running shoes are a good option for distance runners or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet and has experienced shin pain. Their trademark GEL cushioning system in the rearfoot and forefoot helps with shock absorption, making for more comfortable miles. The shoe also utilizes FlyteFoam Midsole Technology to enhance comfort, while the heel counter offers additional heel support.

What sets the Nimbus apart is its Impact Guidance System (IGS) Technology, which is designed to improve a runner’s natural gait. This can make a tremendous difference for those dealing with shin splints, as bad running technique can often be a cause of it. Whether you’re a marathoner or a casual jogger, they’re a well-rounded shoe that will feel great right out of the box.

Materials: Mesh upper | Cushioning: GEL | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Pronation Control: Brooks Addiction 14 Shoe

Brooks Addiction 14
Pros
  • Helps control pronation

  • Lightweight

  • Comes in various widths

Cons
  • Wears down fast

Another popular running shoe from Brooks, the Addiction is perfect for runners who need some help with controlling pronation, or their feet rolling while they’re running. The diagonal rollbar helps limit pronation and promotes smooth transitions, while the cushioned midsole provides for a comfy ride.

These shoes are lightweight, comfortable, and stable, so they’ll help you maintain proper form and avoid shin splints. The Addiction comes in regular and wide widths (including extra-wide), so it’s a good option for those who need extra space for wide feet or orthotics. It also comes in narrow for those who need a snugger fit.

Materials: Rubber sole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA | Closure: Lace-up

Final Verdict

With the perfect combination of cushioning and stability, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS (view at Amazon) and the Hoka One One Clifton Running Shoes (view at Dick's Sporting Goods) are our top pick running shoes for anyone prone to shin splints. Both are durable, reliable shoes from quality brands.

What to Look for in Running Shoes for Shin Splints

Type

“Shoes have come a long way over the past few decades,” says Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM, FACFAS. “There are many types, including zero-drop heels, wide forefoot types, rocker bottoms, motion control, stability, and a few others.”

Prior to buying a new pair, note how often you’ll be wearing your shoes, the average distance you’ll be running, and if you have any other injuries in addition to shin splints.

Cushioning

One way to combat shin splints is to wear running shoes that are comfortable and provide plenty of cushioning to help absorb most of the shock from your feet hitting the ground. A cushioned footbed—often crafted with gel, EVA foam, or air pockets—is necessary for those not using insoles, but if you have insoles, inserts, or orthotics, you want the included insert to be removable.

Durability

Quality and durability are also huge factors to consider because you want to be sure that the shoe’s support and cushioning won’t wear out quickly. Look for shoes with sturdy rubber outsoles that can withstand lots of pounding, and note the weight of the shoe when looking at durability. “Shoes should be lightweight, generally in the 10-ounce range,” notes Isaacson, saying that running long distances on heavier shoes may actually contribute to the development of shin splints.

Fit

Your running shoes should fit comfortably right out of the box and shouldn’t require a break-in period. And if you’re using custom orthotics or insoles, you want a shoe with removable insoles so you’ll have enough room for them. Generally, Isaacson recommends looking for a shoe made with lightweight material, one with a neutral platform, and one with plenty of room in the toe box since most people have a wide forefoot. 

“You might want to consider a visit to an experienced sports medicine specialist, podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, or anyone else who can take a skilled look at your foot and help determine the type of shoe that is best,” Isaacson says.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can running shoes prevent shin splints?

    “Shin splints may be caused for different reasons, like tight calves, overpronation of the foot and ankle, as well as poor training habits,” says Rick Rutkowski, DPT, clinical director at Professional PT.

    Wearing the right running shoes for your foot type and gait and replacing your running shoes regularly are definitely steps you can take to help prevent future occurrences of shin splints. Go to a running specialty store to get fitted for running shoes with the right stability and cushioning for you.

  • Is it okay to run with shin splints?

    While you may think it’s safe to run with mild shin splints, it’s not a good idea to run through the pain, as it could make the condition much worse. Proper rest, icing, compression, and stretching, and strengthening the calf muscles can all help treat shin splints. “If you’ve had shin splints for more than a few weeks, it's a good idea to see your physical therapist or doctor as you may have a stress fracture,” says Dr. Rutkowski.

  • What exercise is best for shin splints?

    As is the case with all running injuries, there isn’t one specific exercise that will alleviate or prevent shin splints. People with shin splints can benefit from a range of calf strengthening moves, including standing calf raises.

    You should also make sure to stretch both calf muscles and practice one-legged balancing drills, says Dr. Rutkowski.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Through many years as a running coach and marathon runner, Christine Luff has dealt with bouts of shin splints and advises trainees on how to prevent and rehab from them. For shin splint protection, she recommends regularly replacing running shoes and sticking to reputable brands such as Asics, Brooks, New Balance, Adidas, Hoka, and Saucony.

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  1. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery. Shin Splints. Updated August, 2019.