A ball of foot pad (aka a metatarsal pad) is a small, squishy shoe modification device that can make a huge difference for not a lot of money when it comes to the comfort level of your shoes. Whether or not you have a pre-existing foot problem, you can still benefit from these pads. Best yet, they can slip into almost any shoe, yes, even heels.
Whether you’re dealing with blisters, calluses, general foot or leg arches, bunions, or even plantar fasciitis, these little doctor-approved pads can help. (And don’t worry, I found the best one out there — complete with gel cushioning —so you don’t have to wade through all the choices.)
What’s a ball of foot pad?
A ball of foot pad is a cushioning under-foot pad that, when worn properly, absorbs shock and helps evenly distribute the pressure of your body weight through your entire foot, making each and every step that you take much comfier.
Frequently used by runners and other athletes, they provide cushioning that helps reduce stress and tightness in your foot even after hours of high impact. But because they’re so versatile, they’re really a win for everyone.
These pads address more than just pain in the ball of your feet, also called metatarsalgia, though. For example, if you have plantar fasciitis, a metatarsal pad can actually help to address the pain and improve blood flow. A ball of foot pad can also help if you have bunions, blisters, calluses, and more. They can even help make shoes which lack support and padding — or high heels, which transfer extra weight to the front of the foot — more comfortable.
They come in a range of cushioning materials and wear types but the best are durable enough to last all day every time you wear them and stay in place even through runs and long walks. While some stick directly into the soles of your shoes, other more versatile picks can be moved from shoe to shoe.
How do you place a ball of foot cushion?
It may sound deceiving, but a ball of foot cushion is actually meant to be placed behind the ball of your foot (not directly under it, which could actually be more uncomfortable). Be sure to test it with a few steps to make sure it’s pressing gently against the soft area right behind the ball of the foot before heading out the door.
The best ball of foot cushion
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to ball of foot pads, but I’ve scoured Amazon to find the standout with a nearly unheard of 4.8-star rating from customers.
Amazon reviewers note that these have helped them immensely, with one even writing: “I got these for my husband who has been to 3 doctors for his plantar fasciitis and found absolutely no relief from all the [expensive] stuff they sold him. This inexpensive foot pads have been a lifesaver from the second he put them on and wore them to work where he stands on his feet all day.”
These gel ball of foot pads from Brison are less than $20 and are made from high-quality and durable medical-grade rubber. Being made of rubber has two major plusses: They won’t slide around, and they are totally reusable. The pads can be worn daily and are easy to clean using just warm water and soap, too.
They are very elastic, which allow them to fit most feet sizes. And while some ball of foot pads require that you remove the insole from your shoe and stick the cushion directly to it or on the shoe itself, the ball of foot pads from Brison don’t need to be stuck to your shoe or insole; the pads actually hook right onto your toe, making it super easy to enjoy the gel comfort while changing up your footwear.
And if you’re a heels-lover, the answer is yes: This pick will even work for you except for certain sandal styles. “I enjoy wearing heels however my feet by the end of the day, my dogs are barking. To the point sometimes where I can’t even have shoes on and it hurts so bad. I’ve tried insoles and they just slip in my heels making it uncomfortable. I put these on and it felt amazing. I was able to go all day long without having to adjust or take my shoes off,” one reviewer wrote.