Shin splints are an inflammation of the tendons, muscles, and tissue around your tibia bone. Unfortunately, they’re a relatively common running injury, and 35 percent of athletes eventually suffer from it.
The best running or walking shoes for shin splints should aid in your recovery and help prevent injury in the future. The Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 and Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam are our top trainers in 2021.
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Here’s my selection of the best walking or running shoes for shin splints:
- Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe
- ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes
- Women’s Walking Shoes Sock Sneakers
- Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-Up Sneaker
- New Balance Men’s More V1 Fresh Foam Running Shoe
- Unisex Flip Flops Thong Sandal with Arch Support
Our Six Best Shoes for Shin Splints
Training shoes of any type aren’t going to solve the problem of shin splints but those shoes with excellent support, cushioning and design.
If you’re wondering what the best shoes to help prevent or recover from shin splints are, here are our top choices:
1. Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 – Best Overall
I have compact feet that tend to jingle inside the shoes when running. For this, I love that this model comes with a narrow fit designed to embrace and support the feet.
The OrthoLite footbed provides padding and absorbs shocks. Plus, the flexible material follows the feet’s movements for a smooth run. And it’s all about the smoothness of the transition from heel to toe combined with super cushioning which helps minimize the stress on fragile muscles, tendons and associated bones of the lower leg.
Whether walking or running the fitted internal lining which envelops the foot adds even more luxurious comfort when you’re on the move.
I’m a fan of the Brooks range and our number 2 in this shortlist, ASICS. For more on 2 of my favorite shoe brands.
- Narrow size option.
- Extra cushioning.
- Sturdy rubber sole.
- OrthoLite insole.
- Upper breathable mesh fabric.
- Flexible shoes.
- Available in nine colors.
- The shoes run smaller than true size.
- Some users expected even more cushioning.
- Reviewers wished the toe box were more spacious.
2. ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 6 – Best Running Shoes for Women
If you’re looking to correct improper foot positioning and avoid aggravating discomfort or help lessen further shin splints, this pair could be the answer.
The ASICS Venture 6 has been designed to adjust under and neutral pronation, from which shin splints can result. The shoes are suitable whether you have high or neutral arches, and should redistribute the pressure to fix your feet placement accordingly.
- Cushioned footbed.
- Removable insole.
- “Gel” cushioning.
- Durable “High Abrasion Rubber” outsole.
- Limits shock at impact.
- Suitable for under and neutral pronation.
- Helps to correct foot positioning.
- Available in 27 colors.
- Narrow toe box.
- Reviewers expected more arch support.
3. Women’s Walking Sneakers by Slow Man – Best Daily Shoes for Women
If you’re trying to heal from and lessen the onset of shin splints, this pair makes for fantastic daily walking shoes. Plus, they’re fashionable and come in a large number of colors to fit all styles. Personally, the “wine red” color is my favorite (I wonder why).
Of note is that they’re made with a small heel and air cushion sole to absorb vibrations. They’re also lightweight, breathable and flexible to embrace your feet with every movement.
- Available in 19 colors.
- Ideal for daily walking.
- Arch and ankle support.
- Fits like a sock.
- Includes vents for airflow.
- Breathable mesh fabric.
- Air cushion sole to release impact.
- Non-slippery rubber outsole.
- 1.96-inch heel.
- Can get wet quickly.
- Needs to be hand-washed.
1. Skechers Men’s Afterburn Sneakers – Best for Versatility
Whether you’re looking for a daily pair or intend on going for a run, this versatile pair should fit both needs. It’ll support your feet and provide the cushioning needed for recovery.
The insole is made of memory foam to ensure your foot is well secured. The midsole is also flexible and designed to take impacts from the ground. Besides this, it comes with a 1 ½ heel to release pressure from the back of the foot.
- Made of leather and synthetic materials.
- Rubber sole.
- Built-in heel: 1 ½ inches.
- Memory-foam insole.
- Extra-wide sizes.
- Tongue made of padded mesh.
- Shock-absorbing midsole.
- Lightweight: 0.5 pounds per shoe (size 9).
- Soles wear out faster than expected.
- Foam could be more durable.
- Some users find there isn’t enough ventilation; feet can get very hot.
2. New Balance Men’s More V1 – Best Running Shoes for Men
This pair comes with the highest softness score in New Balance standards. If you’re searching for a soft and light model to run long distances, these shoes could be a good choice.
The combination of a 0.14-inch heel and a thick fresh foam cushioning should provide optimum foot comfort. The mesh material covering the shoe will also allow your feet to breathe, avoiding overheating.
- Thick foam material.
- Slight heel.
- Made with breathable mesh fabric.
- Available in five bright and classic colors.
- Comes in an extra-wide size.
- Rubber sole.
- Lightweight—half a pound per shoe.
- Can be too stiff for some users.
- Can feel bouncy—a feature some users dislike.
3. Unisex Flip Flops Thong Sandal – Best for Home Use
For something a little different. Yes! Sandals for when you’re resting up from pounding the streets. Suffering from shin splints doesn’t mean you only need to wear closed shoes. In summer, sometimes it’s nice to get out of my favorite running shoes; the heat can make them uncomfortable and inconvenient to wear.
These flip flops make ideal summer walking shoes, and nevertheless, embrace your feet enough to lessen the occurrences of shin splints.
And to speed up healing especially when you’re taken a break from running, a necessary thing to do when you get pain in the muscles surrounding the tibia in the lower leg.
They offer orthotic arch support, shock-absorption, and a slight heel to move the pressure off the backside of the foot.
- Flip flop shoe designed for recovery.
- Extremely durable.
- Can reduce foot pressure by 20 to 34 percent.
- Soft arch support.
- Designed to absorb impact.
- Anatomically contoured footbed.
- Eight colors suitable for both genders.
- Not suitable for running.
- Can be too wide for some female users.
Do I Have Shin Splints?
Shin splints is also called medial tibial stress syndrome, or MTSS. They’re characterized by a moderate to severe pain in the lower leg. The discomfort is often felt close by the tibia bone or anywhere between the ankle and the knee.
This injury is generally caused by a repetitive sports movement and builds up over time. Typically it affects someone new to exercise who is suddenly activating vigorously the tendons and muscles in the lower leg or a runner or walker who increases their training in preparation for an upcoming event for instance. One of the causes that can aggravate shin splints is inappropriate shoes.
Although it may take you some time to heal, luckily, you should recover without long-term effects. This is given that you get the right footwear and moderate the intensity of lower leg activity by resting and then increasing exercise gradually.
My long term running buddy suffered intermittently with shin pain for many years and I know he won’t mind me saying but he was on the heavy side for a typical runner, especially for one who managed a high number of weekly miles.
It makes sense that being a bit overweight will put extra stress on the lower legs although I have no “expert opinion” on the matter. This just reinforces the requirement for good support and cushioning in your shoes for the heavier person.
Other stress factors that’ll increase the likelihood of shin splints is an increase in running or walking on hard and/or inclined terrain. So hill work might have to take a back seat.
The annoying thing about shin splints is the lack of juicy muscle that you can massage. The best way to treat lower leg pain is to apply a cold compress which will reduce the inflammation.
If, like my friend, shin splints persist it may be a good idea to check out your gait and foot placement with an expert. I have had consultations with two podiatrists and found their treatment and advice first class although a reputable runners store might have the appropriate technical staff and equipment to help.
For older runners like me visit our article on our pick of the best running shoes.
The Different Types of Shoes for Shin Splints
First, think of how and when you’ll use them. There are shoes designed specifically for running, while others are meant for a daily walk. If you want to put all the chances of recovery on your side, you’ll want a pair for both uses. Your feet will require support and cushioning at all times, even when you’re at home.
If it’s summertime or you’re planning to spend some time at the beach, you’ll find flip flops specifically designed for your type of injury. Whichever your requirements are, you should be able to find a suitable pair.
What Makes the Best Walking or Running Shoes for Shin Splints?
Because you may not find shoes marketed specifically as “shin splints shoes,” you’ll need to understand the features required to help this condition. If you’re curious about the variety of athletic shoes on the market we have covered the differences between trainers, running and walking shoes.
The Right Fit
Once you’ve decided on the right type of shoes, you’ll need to ensure they fit properly. You should have enough space in the front part of the shoe for your toes to move comfortably.
Also, make sure to consult the manufacturer’s chart size. They’re all slightly different. Some models come in narrow versions, and others are available in extra-wide sizes.
Good Stability And Support
This might be one of the most important features of shoes for shin splints. Your foot should be well-contoured, supported, and your heel slightly elevated from the toe (heel to toe drop).
Some models are even designed to correct improper foot positioning, which may have aggravated the injury in the first place.
Cushioning and Shock Absorbance
When it comes to shin splints, the more cushioning, the better. The shoe should be able to absorb impact from the outsole, midsole and insole.
Most padding is made of memory foam, gel or air cushioning. Although there are different types of cushioning, most major athletic shoe makers marketing their own brand, the best footwear for cushioning will be good enough.
Use Proper Footwear and Rest
Like any sports injury, shin splints is at best annoying but can be very painful and persist for years. Shin splints can develop because of extra pressure through increased training, say, for a big race but it means they frustratingly delay training.
Wearing proper footwear, however, can help you get back on track faster. The right pair and enough rest should prevent further pain and occurrence.
The Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe is my best running and walking shoes for shin splints. Not only do I favor them for their extra soft cushioning and stability but I also love the style and colors. Their OrthoLite insole is breathable adding further comfort.
For men, the Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam is affordable and versatile. It includes extra padding, good shock absorption and is one of the lightest pairs.
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