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The Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints

author image Randy O. Williams
Randy O. Williams has written for "Sports Illustrated," ESPN.com, "The Los Angeles Times," "Washington Post" and "The Hollywood Reporter," among other publications. He is the author of the book, "Sports Cinema — 100 Movies: The Best of Hollywood’s Athletic Heroes, Losers, Myths and Misfits."

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The Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints
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Running is great but can result in shin splints, a painful injury along the inside border of the tibia, or shin bone. There are many causes for shin splints, but the right shoe can help and a professional can help you find the right fit. “Eight out of every 10 Americans overpronate, so they shouldn’t be in a soft, cushiony shoe, but rather a stability shoe,” said Dr. Keith Jeffers, a San Diego, California-based chiropractor known as The Running Doctor who has treated shin splints and other running ailments for 25 years. “Stability helps keep the foot from rolling in and (putting) pressure on shins”. There is no single type or brand of shoe to prevent shin splints, but here are some recommendations from coaches, runners and sporting goods corporate buyers.

Brooks: Glycerin
Photograph Courtes Brooks


This high-end model ($150) uses plenty of midsole and outsole material that provides enhanced shock absorption, dispersing impact as each foot lands while providing a fair amount of responsiveness. “From what I understand about shin splints, to help combat it one adds more cushioning to their shoe -- and there’s a lot of product for that -- or you change the way you run," said Robert Follett, running shoe buyer for Sport Chalet, a sporting goods chain based in La Canada, California. "Instead of landing on your heel, you focus more on your midfoot striking. There are shoes geared toward that. I’d recommend Brooks Glycerin."

New Balance: 810v2
Photograph Courtesy New Balance


The New Balance 810v2 ($89.95) is geared toward multisurface duties. A more anatomical heel, an improved arch and a closer fit in the toe box help its wearers better transition from a heel strike to midfoot strike, thus cutting down on potential shin-splint issues. “I do a lot of trail and road running. This shoe works for both. Less pad than I'm used to, but I think I'll grow to like that,” said John Grogan of Woodland Hills, California.

Asics: Cirrus33
Photograph Courtesy Asics


Asics engineers Cirrus33 running shoes to promote a more natural foot movement. You'll pay around $150 for this model, but that's a small price for avoiding shin splints. “Asics has one of the best solutions out there with the Cirrus,” Follett said. Named for the number of bones in the foot, the Cirrus33 is lightweight yet plush, providing excellent shock absorption. The two-layer midsole and gel cushioning systems absorb heavy impacts. The sole uses Asics’ Guidance Line technology, which decouples the heel, midfoot and forefoot from each other to provide the user a more natural motion and feel.

Newton: Distance U
Photograph Courtesy Newton


Professional runners and amateur marathoners appreciate the unique aspects of the Distance U. Melody Fairchild of Boulder, Colorado, a coach and former NCAA middle-distance champion, describes it as “light, with a wide forefoot, and super responsive. A fabulous training shoe and has the high-performance feel of a racing shoe.” Added Chris Kim, a Los Angeles, California, resident and 16-time marathoner: “Thankfully, (I’ve) never had shin splints. Best to run midfoot so you won't get them. Therefore I wear the Distance U. A little pricey ($155) but good on the feet and legs.”

Adidas: Terrex Fast X Low GTX
Photograph Courtesy Adidas


The Terrex ($135) has a proprietary outer sole that offers 30 percent more traction on dry and damp surfaces to help with stability regardless of the workout environment. “Since returning to the trails after a bout with shin splints, I discovered and am really happy with the X Low GTX," said runner Jim Davis of Alameda, California. "The stability and grip it provides me on different terrain ... and weather conditions I attribute to a great rubber soul. At the same time it is light yet supportive.”

New Balance:  890v3
Photograph Courtesy New Balance


This model reflects the growing popularity of lightweight running shoes, but the 890v3 ($110) also pays keen attention to function. It weighs less than 10 ounces and still offers solid stability. "They're lightweight, with a thin sole, but still have plenty of cushion for the heel," said Matthew Wieland, an avid runner from Los Angeles. "I really appreciate a shoe that is so light you forget you're wearing it but that still has plenty of cushion, too, for a smooth run."

Brooks: Pure Cadence 2
Photograph Courtesy Brooks


A lot of science went into this $120 pair, which includes a Nav Band, a flexible, stretching band that wraps over the midfoot to help keep the foot secure. “Brooks, with their Pure Cadence 2, like Asics, is going for shorter strides midfoot. From my understanding, that helps against shin splints,” Follett said. The Pure Cadence 2 includes BioMoGo, a distinctive midsole technology offering cushioning to create a springy return and custom comfort. Speaking of returns, the inverted heel helps align the runner’s center of gravity to promote optimal energy return.

Newton: Momentum
Photograph Courtesy Newton


Unfortunately, shin splints affect trail runners, too. This $150 all-terrain model has an outsole that features a protected stretch membrane and increased traction. The closed mesh of the upper keeps out debris. The Momentum’s midsole offers a mid-to-rear-foot support chassis for added stability and accommodates orthotics. After miles of varied terrain, you’ll appreciate that the medial and lateral webbing provides increased upper stability.

Asics: Nimbus
Photograph Courtesy Asics


This model, at $145, uses a patented gel cushioning system designed to help protect the foot from the punishing forces of surface contact by absorbing impact. “Many of us are taught the heel-first strike, so it takes a lot of mental discipline and requires a sort for retraining of the mind on how to alter your stride and be less injury prone and susceptible to shin splints," Follett said. "The Nimbus will help, as it has max cushioning offerings.”

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