Metatarsal pads (often called 'met pads') are shoe modification devices that can help relieve pressure from the metatarsal head (PubMed).
These met pads are designed to shift pressure from your metatarsal head to the shaft of the metatarsal and surrounding tissue.
This means that painful pressure is distributed more evenly, helping to decrease the experience of pressure at your metatarsal head.
This is how it provides pain relief (PubMed).
We found that the Dr. Frederick's Metatarsal Pads received the best feedback from the buyers we surveyed.
Depending on your circumstances (your pain condition, your foot size, the shoes you wear) you may need to fiddle around a bit to shimmy the pad into best position for your pain complaint.
Users we spoke to praised this met pad for its re-usability (you can wash it!), versatility, comfort, and general ability to stay in place while in use.
As you can see in the image above, a small ring encircles the second toe. Users said that at first they were cognizant of it, but after several minutes of walking they stopped feeling it.
Most buyers we surveyed indicated that they experienced dramatic pain relief, and that the pad stayed affixed to the foot inside of a well-fitting sock without frustratingly moving around.
- Useful to relieve pain associated with: Calluses, Bunions, Sesamoiditis, Blisters, Healing Fractures, Corns, Post Surgery, Broken Metatarals, Morton's Neuroma, Metatarsalgia, & Generic Foot Pain.
- Ships with 2 forefoot metartasal gel pads- constructed of super-absorbent gel to cushion your feet.
- Designed to eliminate & soothe pressure points, so that every step you take is buttressed by comfortable gel support.
- The gel cushioning is designed to spread over feet of different sizes, even wider than average feet.
- It's best to wear these gel metatarsal pads with socks, especially when the fit is nice and snug.
For example, some users apply medical tape around the foot to tightly bind the pad.
Others trim the pad a bit to create a better fit. Still others need to purchase several different types of these metatarsal pads before they find one that is best for their needs.
So don't be discouraged if the first one you purchase isn't great- you may have to modify them a bit or even buy a different style to discover a met pad that provides you lasting relief.
Let's take a look at 5 of the best-selling met pads on the market today and see how they compare.
Metatarsal Pad Placement
Whenever you position the met pad on your insole, it’s advisable to remove the insole from the footwear before beginning. This enables you to guarantee appropriate positioning.
A lot of people believe that the metatarsal pad placement should be on the actual ball of the foot since that is exactly where the pain is. This is an unfortunately typical misconception. Whenever using the met pad, begin with pressing on the ball of your foot (this is the padded area just beneath your toes at the base of your foot).
You ought to be able to feel a broader, flatter area on each of your toe bones; this is known as the metatarsal head. Use your finger still on the bottom of your foot on your metatarsal heads, use your other hand to flex your toes. While you do this, you will notice the area where the two bones meet- these are the joints.
The metatarsal pad placement ought to go directly beneath the joints that you feel. This means that the met pad is virtually in the center of the foot. Once you have the met pad placement on this area, some things will automatically happen.
1. The complete arch in the metatarsal area is going to be elevated with the pad. This is actually the goal, so when you achieve it, you are succeeding.
2. As the metatarsal arch of one's feet is elevated, the toes will fall downward. When this occurs, you've successfully eliminated pressure from them.
3. While you walk forward, the metatarsal pad will draw your toes downwards. This gets rid of the pressure out of this region while you are moving around.
*Credit to The Insole Store for placement advice
Best Metatarsal Pads For 2023
These metatarsal pads offered by Dr. Fredericks are comfortable, efficient and suitable for runners, walkers, and hikers. Users love that they ease the pain, but some do note that the pads slide. These feet relieving pads measure 5” x 7” x 1”, and they are made of stretching gel material that provides superior cushioning. The pads have a weight of 7 ounces and the gel spreads and stretch to accommodate even the widest feet.
It’s recommended that you wear these pads with snug fitting socks and shoes. Overall, these metatarsal pads are an excellent choice for blister, calluses, and metatarsalgia.
In general, customers are satisfied with the efficiency and practicality of Dr. Frederick’s metatarsal pads. A buyer comments that at first glance, these foot pads look flimsy and thin, but they provide adequate cushioning.
The reviewer adds that he can wear his walking shoes for much longer since he has them. Another happy purchaser mentions that the metatarsal pads are excellent for relieving pain in the ball of the foot and that he highly recommends them. A user also shares that the pads are more comfortable than he expected and that he uses them regularly with no complaints.
However, some users have complained that the metatarsal pads for shoes don’t bring them any relief. Some also note that wearing the pad is uncomfortable and that their feet started to hurt.
- Made of stretching material
- Slightly uncomfortable
- Complaints of pain
- Require tight socks and shoes
These cushion pads for heels offered by HappyFeet are durable, easy-to-use and compatible with all types of shoes. Users love that the pads are self-sticking, but some do note that they are hard to remove. These metatarsal pads cushion the ball of the foot to reduce pain, and you can use them over-and-over-again.
The cushion pads are washable, and they won’t get dirty or stinky like similar products. They are also easy to apply, and you don’t have to worry about skin reaction. The manufacturer gives you a 100 % satisfaction guarantee, so these pads might be an excellent solution for your aching heels.
A user comments that it’s easy to fit these heel cushions to any shoes and that the material sticks to his foot without moving. The reviewer would recommend it to anyone looking for the best metatarsal pads. Another customer shares that thanks to these pads he can walk around without feeling any pain. He also adds that the shape fits his foot perfectly.
A happy purchaser mentions that he has been using this metatarsal cushioning for years and that the pads stick to his foot all day even if he is doing strenuous work. However, some customers have complained that the foot cushioning pads are too thin and that they don’t offer any comfort. Some users also state that they don’t feel any pain relief.
- Compatible with all types of shoes
- Complaints of discomfort
- Hard to remove
If you are looking for efficient feet cushioning pads, you might want to take a look at these metatarsal pads offered by Dr. Jill’s Felt. Users love the durable design, but some do note that they are too sticky. These cushion pads measures 2.25” x 2.75”, and they are ¼-inch thick with a weight of 1.6 ounces.
These metatarsal pads help alleviate pressures across the ball of the foot thanks to their wide base. They also have a self-adhesive backing to prevent them from sliding inside your shoes. The package includes ten pieces, so this is a perfect choice if you want inexpensive metatarsal cushions.
A user shares that the cushioning foot pads effectively relieve the pain in his foot and that they are very comfortable and thick. Another reviewer adds that these are the best metatarsal pads that he has ever owned and that he highly recommends them. A buyer also mentions that he was so satisfied with the results he achieved wearing these pads that he ordered several extra packaged. He states that you can even trim the pads to make them fit better or that you can even stick them inside your shoes with no issues.
However, some customers have complained that they have to wash their feet repeatedly after wearing the pads due to the sticky surface. One user also complains that the product he received didn’t match the provided picture.
- A wide base
These gel metatarsal sleeves offered by PolyGel are well-cushioned, reusable and perfect for long walks or running. Users love that the pads are comfortable, but some do note that they are smaller than they anticipated. These cushion pads redistribute your weight, and they are made of superior shock absorption soft gel.
They also have a durable, outer fabric for additional comfort and you can wash them when they get dirty. The gel cushions are suitable for boots and comfortable shoes, and they can fit men shoes from size 9.5 and up, and women’s shoe size 11.5 +.
A customer shares that he has been wearing these gel metatarsal pads for several weeks and that they are still as good as new. Another user mentions that these feet cushioning pads provide instant relief for his foot pain and that he recommends them to anyone suffering from Morton’s neuroma.
A satisfied purchaser adds that these are the most effective metatarsal pads for ball foot pain and that they provide supreme cushioning. The reviewer also states that he can spend 10 hours on foot with no pain thanks to them. However, some customers have complained that the metatarsal sleeves are too bulky and that it’s very uncomfortable to wear them with shoes.
Some users also complain that their toes got numb due to the tight fit.
- Shock absorption gel
- Fit too tightly
- Uncomfortable with shoes
- Don’t fit all shoes
These metatarsal arch pads offered by Pedag are well-designed, firm, comfortable and efficient for relieving pain. Users love the price and the size, but some do note that there are no instructions on where to place the pads.
These cushion pads for feet measure 8” x 4” x 0.2”, and they weigh only 0.3 ounces. The Drop metatarsal pads relieve burning and stinging, and they are made of vegetable tanned leather and skin latex. They are also self-adhesive so that you don’t have to worry about sliding, and they are manufactured in Germany. The pads are suitable for feet with spreading metatarsal arches.
As a whole, customers have a favorable opinion of the Pedag metatarsal arch pads, and they praise their usefulness and thickness. A user comments that when you place these cushions correctly, they are extremely efficient for dealing with pain in the ball of the foot.
The reviewer also adds that he likes that he can insert them under the removable insole in his shoes. Another buyer mentions that the cushioning feet pads are also ideal for Morton’s neuroma and that they are durable and easy to place.
He also says that both pads could be used on the same foot. However, some customers have complained that the Pedag cushion pads are too hard and that it’s uncomfortable to walk on them. Some users also state that the pads went flat after a couple of weeks.
- No instruction
- Might be too firm
- Get flat quickly
What Are Buyers Saying?
The Doctor Frederick's Original
The first metatarsal pad we looked at was the Doctor Frederick's Original. Dr. Fredericks claims that this metatarsal pad provides comfortable gel cushioning for the feet, including complete forefoot coverage.
- They say that they have designed their metatarsal pads to be able to soothe troublesome pressure points so that whenever you take a step their proprietary gel formulation will spread out, absorb the pressure, consequently soothing your foot pain.
- Specifically, the Frederick Medical Supply company says that there metatarsal pads are indicated for dealing with medical issues like fractures, calluses, blisters, broken metatarsal's, metatarsalgia, post-surgery support, sesamoiditis, and Morton's Neuroma.
- Additionally, they also say that their metatarsal pads are ideal for speed walkers, walkers, runners and hikers.
- One buyer that we interviewed who is an avid hiker and developed troublesome calluses on his feet said that with these metatarsal pad inserts they can use them easily with their walking shoes as well as other footwear like boots, slippers and dress shoes.
- One piece of advice this user offered us for novice purchasers is that you should play around with the tightness of your socks if you feel they are too loose and flimsy upon first insertion into your footwear.
- Once you figure out the best position and sock tightness for your needs, which may take a little bit of elbow grease, these metatarsal pads are effective pain-relief aids.
- Another buyer that we interviewed told us that they use some medical tape to keep the pads in place, wrapping it around the foot so they could deal with the aggravation of a stress fracture in their right foot.
- Another buyer whose podiatrist recommended that she purchase some metatarsal pads to deal with metatarsalgia, says that she purchased these metatarsal pads to wear with boots and ballet slippers, saying that they hold in place pretty effectively throughout the duration of her workday.
- Another buyer who suffered from a range of foot maladies, including foot surgery, says that they're comfortable endorsing these metatarsal pads because they are extremely dynamic, comfortable, relatively easy to wear, reusable and thin.
- Because they are reusable, you end up saving money instead of purchasing cheap one-use inserts over and over again.
- As well, this buyer told us that they are versatile enough to be used inside of different types of socks and a variety of different shoes- and as we have seen, you can always use some adhesive tape to get a stronger bond of the metatarsal pad to the bare foot.
- On the downside, wearing these metatarsal pads over the course of a long work today, some users find that they produce excessive foot moisture, saying that the sweat is on account of the extra heat generated by the cushioning.
- Also, some buyers say that the metatarsal pads discolored their white socks.
The second option we took a look at was the HappyFeet metatarsal cushion. Pro Tip: there are actually shoes designed to accommodate metatarsal issues (Sportsly).
- The manufacturer say that they have designed an extremely soft gel cushion that is engineered to soothe the pain located at the ball of the foot.
- They have designed it to treat issues like generic burning sensations that occur at the ball of the foot, neuromas and bunion and callous pain.
- The self-sticking technology they use means that it is easy to apply these metatarsal pads to your bare feet, and that they will be compatible with all different types of shoes.
- One buyer that we spoke with who was suffering from Morton's Neuroma said that they have purchased a variety of metatarsal pads in the past, without experiencing true relief, but the HappyFeet metatarsal pads ended up being a solid option to provide pain relief for them when they walked.
- Specifically, this user told us what they liked most was that the pads fit to the feet snuggly, though they do eventually lose a bit of their stickiness over time, particularly if you wash them every so often.
- Another buyer who suffered from plantar fasciitis and bunion issues says that they are fans are these metatarsal pad inserts, saying that the cushioning is top-notch and they easily re-stick to your feet without issue.
The Dr. Jill
The third option we examined was Dr. Jill's metatarsal pad inserts.
- One buyer we spoke with says they at they are a bit too sticky, saying that because of this high level of stickiness that they transfer this residue to socks and shoes.
- Another buyer says that they really had to clean their feet with a scrub brush to get all of the residue off of it.
- Because their feet became so sticky from using his metatarsal pads, buyers notice that when they walked around barefoot after having one them that they ended up picking up lint, hair and all sorts of dust.
- Another buyer told us that they trimmed their metatarsal pads to make the fit a little bit better.
The fourth option we examined was the NatraCure gel metatarsal sleeves.
- The manufacturers say that they are designed to work with both shoes and boots, fitting feet that are wide as well as average-sized.
- They also say that they have designed their metatarsal sleeve pads to help relieve pressure and burning pain from the balls of their customers' feet by using the gel to effectively redistribute weight.
- These are washable and reusable metatarsal sleeve pads so you should get some extended use from them.
- One buyer we spoke with says that they have been dealing with a ruptured ligament and that it has helped deal with the pain as the injury heals.
- Another buyer purchased them because as a waitress she is on her feet for 10 hours at a time, and she applauds the comfort these metatarsal sleeves provide for her during her arduous workday.
- However another reviewer told us that while these are well-constructed options, they are really too thick to be used in any of the shoes that they own.
- Even shoes that were typically roomy, this buyer told us that the sleeve padding was too thick for them to comfortably wear.
The Pedag Arch Pad
The last option and we took a look at was the Pedag metatarsal arch pads.
- These teardrop shaped pads are designed as orthopedic inserts to help repair the anatomical shape of your metatarsal arch.
- One buyer we spoke with says that they provide superior support for their inflamed metatarsal heads.
- In addition, they are a high-quality build, while not taking up too much space inside of your shoe or boot.
- Another user told us that their podiatrist recommended these, saying that once he began using them he found them to be a long-lasting option that provides the sort of cushioning and support to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with Morton's Neuroma.
- In terms of placement, one user said that after some experimentation, they found that placing these metatarsal pads just beneath the ball of their feet help to relieve be painful pressure associated with their Morton's Neuroma.
- It's a good idea to experiment with placement, with one buyer telling us that ultimately the best way he found to achieve foot comfort was to use some kinesiology medical tape to fix the metatarsal pads in place over their upper foot.