Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints – 2021 Buyers Guide

Sports medicine research has shown that approximately 15% of running injuries are due to shin splints. Thankfully, shin splints are easily prevented by wearing the right shoe size and selecting a shoe option that fits your running style, experience, and terrain.

We've spent countless hours testing and reviewing different brands and models that can help prevent shin splints but, like all shoe purchases, you're going to want to test them out first.

Peruse our top picks below and you'll be off to a great start.

Standout Picks

Hoka One One Clifton 7
The Clifton 7 is our all-around top choice in this category. It's a friend of shins everywhere thanks to it’s incredible cushioning across all stages of your gait. The Clifton 7 is a lightweight, max-cushioned, everyday trainer with full-compression EVA midsole, early stage Meta-Rocker, and an engineered mesh upper, making it a prime choice for if you're prone to shin splints.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
Clocking in with our final spot, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 shoes offer a budget-friendly choice for neutral road runners . While at first glance it may look like a minimalistic trainer, it is packed with Mizuno's cushioning technology to help comfort your shins and joints at every stage of your gait.
Brooks Ghost 13 Shin Splints
Brooks is at it again with its latest offering from the Ghost series of shoes. We like the Brooks Ghost 13 for its immediate step-in comfort and high level of stability throughout the shoe. It may not be the best looking shoe on our list, but hey, Brooks isn't knows for its style. Another great option for avoiding or post shin splints, the Ghost 13 is an easy choice.
HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 5
Known for their max-cushioned soles, it's no surprise that Hoke One One takes another place on this list. Of course, those giant, marshmallow-like soles provide great cushioning, but Stability is the name of the Arahi 5's game. If you deal with shin splints and are also a pronator, the Hoka One One Arahi 5 is worth your investment.
ASICSGel Nimbus 23
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 is a perennial favorite of everyday runners seeking comfort and support. This shoe gets the job done! We also love that Asics gave us a a host of color schemes to choose from. With color choices ranging from poppy and bright to neutral, you can find a pair to match your personality, while knowing you'll be well supported as you set off to run.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
The "GTS" in Adrenaline GTS 21 stands for "Go-To-Shoe." We agree. Ranking in at #3 on our list, this shoe is a staple for runners seeking stability.
Saucony Triumph 18
The Triumph 18 by Saucony is a classic everyday trainer known for its cushion, comfort, and fit. Featuring Saucony's PWRRUN+ midsole, this shoe is an excellent option for runners with shin splints.
Brooks Glycerin 19
What's this...another Brooks shoe? Yes. Another Brooks shoe. What can we say? Brooks does what Brooks does. Stability, support, and full-foot comfort (especially for the heel-strikers out there) make Brooks a great choice for runners who battle shin splints. The Glycerin 19 marks our 3rd Brooks model on this list. We just couldn't choose between it and the Ghost 13!
New Balance 1080 v11
The latest generation of New Balance’s 1080 series, the v11 continues where its predecessor, the v10, left off. Featuring New Balance's Fresh Foam X, this shoe provides excellent comfort, a foot-cradling heel cup, and a lightweight-but-stable mesh upper, making it our #4 choice of best shoes to prevent shin splints.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Stability

When looking for the best trainers for shin splints, stability is PARAMOUNT.

Ensure that your shoe offers stability. You want a shoe that will keep your feet in the right position to avoid injuries, especially if you overpronate.

Also, consider your foot type. If you have flat feet, choose a pair of shoes which has support for flat feet. If your toes splay wide, you may want to look for a pair with a larger toe box.

Comfort

You're gonna be spending a lot of time in your shoes. Make sure they're comfortable!

Check the cushioning system of the shoe to make sure that it is comfortable and supportive. Also, your arches and foot width will play a large part when ensuring a comfortable-fitting shoe.

Shock Absorption

The best sneakers for shin splints will offer excellent shock absorption.

A shoe's shock-absorbing capabilities begins with the sole. Generally speaking, the thicker the sole, the more shock absorption a shoe has. That said, many shoe companies have developed new technologies and cushioning structures which increase shock absorption while decreasing sole thickness.

Since different runners prefer different shoe stack heights, these developments offer different sole absorption options for all different sizes and styles of runners.

Durability

Every dedicated runner understands that their shoes take a beating.

When covering several miles a day, your shoes need to be able to stand up to all types of conditions for long periods of time.

This means that they need to be made of durable material that’s also light and breathable. Nobody wants is to spend $100+ on a pair of running shoes that fall apart in a month.

Support

Whether or not you can avoid shin splints (and other injuries) will largely depend on your shoe's overall support.

You want shoes that firmly support your feet and ankles well (even more so if you're a trail runner). When choosing a shoe, be sure to look at its support structure while also considering taking your running style. People who enjoy barefoot-style running shoes will want something less supportive.

Even then, we encourage keeping a backup pair of shoes handy which offer more cushioning and support in case you start to feel shin splints developing.

Likewise, heavier runners will want to make sure they buy a pair of shoes with ample of support to help protect their feet and ankles from the added strain their weight causes on bones and joints.

Read also about running shoes for big guys.

Top 9 Running Shoes for Shin Splints

1. Hoka One One Clifton 7

Hoka One One Clifton 7
Hoka One One Clifton 7
Amazon Link

The Clifton 7 is our all-around top choice in this category. It's a friend of shins everywhere thanks to it’s incredible cushioning across all stages of your gait. The Clifton 7 is a lightweight, max-cushioned, everyday trainer with full-compression EVA midsole, early stage Meta-Rocker, and an engineered mesh upper, making it a prime choice for if you're prone to shin splints.

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Weighing in at 8.7 oz., the Hoka One One Clifton 7 is the perfect balance of lightweight and cushioning. It boasts a full-length EVA midsole to help cushion and absorb the impact of each and every step and includes a removable foam-padded insole for additional support. The outsole provides excellent traction and adds a little bounce to your stride.

The upper mesh is lightweight and breathable, featuring a high heel collar designed to prevent rubbing and chafing when running long distances. The engineered mesh adds breathability, making this shoe consistently cool and dry as you train.

The Clifton 7 remains at the top of our list as one of the best all-around long-distance running shoes, and is an especially good fit for runners prone to shin splints. While its cost might cause a little heartburn, you won't regret buying them once you've experienced their comfort and support.

2. Mizuno Wave Inspire 17

Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
Amazon Link

Clocking in with our final spot, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 shoes offer a budget-friendly choice for neutral road runners . While at first glance it may look like a minimalistic trainer, it is packed with Mizuno's cushioning technology to help comfort your shins and joints at every stage of your gait.

Read more

The most important feature of the Wave Inspire 16 is found in the midsole. U4ic midsole technology works to absorb the impact of each and every step without adding heft or unnecessary weight. It is built as a stability trainer with the look and feel of a minimalistic trainer. We found that the X10 outsole adds an extra pop in your step as you get used to these shoes' feel.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 shoes offer two different options for the uppers -- both with their own feel and benefits. The engineered mesh upper feels ultralight and is exceptionally breathable (my personal preference of the two). On the other hand, the knit upper doesn't breathe as well but it offers a more secure fit.

We this the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a great choice for runners dealing with shin splints. With multiple upper options, you can enjoy the shoe's cushioned sole technology while choosing between added stability or lightness and breathability.

3. Brooks Ghost 13

Brooks Ghost 13 Shin Splints
Brooks Ghost 13 Shin Splints
Amazon Link

Brooks is at it again with its latest offering from the Ghost series of shoes. We like the Brooks Ghost 13 for its immediate step-in comfort and high level of stability throughout the shoe. It may not be the best looking shoe on our list, but hey, Brooks isn't knows for its style. Another great option for avoiding or post shin splints, the Ghost 13 is an easy choice.

Read more

This is one of those shoe lines that we hope will never change. Brooks maintains their tried and true all-around excellent design with the Ghost line which will please both casual and professional runners.

The sole is equipped with DNA Loft to provide excellent cushioning with every step, however, the 12mm heel drop can be a bit much for runners with a forefoot strike. Some of our runners thought the shoes felt a little on the heavier side, however, they maintained a really nice and soft feel even through longer runs.

The engineered mesh upper is an improvement over the Ghost 13. We love how it feels accommodating to different feet, yet not sloppy in the midfoot or toe box.

The Brooks Ghost 13 is a fantastic out-of-the-box shoe for road runners who need to take extra care of their shins. Especially if you're a heel striking runner, these shoes will be great for you to avoid shin splints.

4. Hoka One One Arahi 5

HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 5
HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 5
Amazon Link

Known for their max-cushioned soles, it's no surprise that Hoke One One takes another place on this list. Of course, those giant, marshmallow-like soles provide great cushioning, but Stability is the name of the Arahi 5's game. If you deal with shin splints and are also a pronator, the Hoka One One Arahi 5 is worth your investment.

Read more

The folks at Hoka One One claim that they've designed the Arahi 5 with a 'laser-focused fit.' We found the upper to be slim, but not tight, providing an excellent and comfortable fit. Over longer runs, our feet stayed secure in all the right places with no blisters or rubs to show for it.

The Arahi 5 features the Meta-rocker system much like the Clifton 7. This will serve both forefoot-strikers and heel-strikers alike, providing a noticeable boost when kicking up longer, faster strides, and creating a very smooth heel-to-toe progression on a typical run.

Most notably, this model features a supportive J-Frame -- a firm EVA that runs down the medial side of the midsole and wraps around the heel to reduce pronation.

The combination of all these features lands the Hoka One One Arahi firmly on our list of best shoes for shin splints. These are a must-try for pronators! Keep the shin splints demons away by investing in a pair of these for the spring season.

5. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23

ASICSGel Nimbus 23
ASICSGel Nimbus 23
Amazon Link

The Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 is a perennial favorite of everyday runners seeking comfort and support. This shoe gets the job done! We also love that Asics gave us a a host of color schemes to choose from. With color choices ranging from poppy and bright to neutral, you can find a pair to match your personality, while knowing you'll be well supported as you set off to run.

Read more

Featuring Asics' Trusstic System technology, this shoe utilizes lightweight materials and reinforced padding on high impact areas to provide excellent support without the need for bulky materials. Asics also added some gel in the heel to double down on support for heel-strikers. While this shoe is a bit on the heavier side (10.2oz), it won't weigh you down.

Also to love about the Asics Gel Nimbus design is that the upper really hugs your foot. The tongue and the heel are engineered to promote lockdown and prevent movement which can cause blisters. The uppers are a little on the bulky side and offer less breathability than other models, but its a small tradeoff for this shoe's lockdown foot support.

In short, the Asics Gel Nimbus 23 is an excellent everyday trainer which will provide excellent support, comfort, and durability to prevent shin splints.

6. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Amazon Link

The "GTS" in Adrenaline GTS 21 stands for "Go-To-Shoe." We agree. Ranking in at #3 on our list, this shoe is a staple for runners seeking stability.

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A major stability feature of the Adrenaline GTS 21 is the that its built guide rails which promote proper gait and even out your weight distribution with every step. The midsole also boasts DNA Loft crash pads to provide excellent energy feedback and shock absorption.

The 3D print mesh upper cradles the foot and promotes lockdown while wicking away moisture to keep your feet cool and dry.

If you are seeking perfect blend of stability and lower profile to stave off shin splints, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is a great choice.

7. Saucony Triumph 18

Saucony Triumph 18
Saucony Triumph 18
Amazon Link

The Triumph 18 by Saucony is a classic everyday trainer known for its cushion, comfort, and fit. Featuring Saucony's PWRRUN+ midsole, this shoe is an excellent option for runners with shin splints.

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As mentioned above the Triumph 18's thick sole, featuring the PWRRUN+ midsole, is what stands out to us most on this shoe. We were not disappointed by the added boost and support we experienced across the entirety of the footbed. This is not your everyday EVA midsole! Plus, the 8mm drop makes this shoe a good all-around fit, and especially good for forefoot strikers.

You'll notice there is a lot of rubber on this shoe. While it's built for stability, it also weighs in on the heavier side of everyday training shoes (12.2 oz). For casual runners, this might not make a difference but more seasoned runners may opt for a lighter trainer.

The uppers are sleek and feature some interesting design aesthetics to compliment the FormFit engineered mesh uppers.

All in all, the Saucony Triumph 18 brings a compelling option to the table for any runner struggling with shin splints. Possibly the most durable shoe on this list, we'd recommend it as a best fit for the casual jogger or runner.

8. Brooks Glycerin 19

Brooks Glycerin 19
Brooks Glycerin 19
Amazon Link

What's this...another Brooks shoe? Yes. Another Brooks shoe. What can we say? Brooks does what Brooks does. Stability, support, and full-foot comfort (especially for the heel-strikers out there) make Brooks a great choice for runners who battle shin splints. The Glycerin 19 marks our 3rd Brooks model on this list. We just couldn't choose between it and the Ghost 13!

Read more

Brooks claims that the Glycerin 19 will provide you with "your softest run ever" and we have to agree that this ranks as one of the softest shoes you'll find.

Similar to the Ghost 13, the Glycerin 19 boasts a full-foot DNA Loft insole, but the Glycerin features a 10mm drop which will feel a bit more natural across multiple gaits and running styles. Over time and miles, we found that the softness stayed true whereas some other shoes began to feel mushy.

The uppers are breathable and supportive. Perhaps a bit too supportive for some as a few of our runners noted a definite firmness in the upper. Not stiff, but definitely not the most flexible you'll find.

At the end of the day, the incredible softness of the soles combined with the firm support of the uppers make the Brooks Glycerin 19 a strong choice for runners with shin splints issues. For the professional running crowd, we give these a high rank as recovery shoes. We even think they make great everyday out-on-the-town shoes!

9. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

New Balance 1080 v11
New Balance 1080 v11
Amazon Link

The latest generation of New Balance’s 1080 series, the v11 continues where its predecessor, the v10, left off. Featuring New Balance's Fresh Foam X, this shoe provides excellent comfort, a foot-cradling heel cup, and a lightweight-but-stable mesh upper, making it our #4 choice of best shoes to prevent shin splints.

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New Balance's previous model, the 1080v11, is held in high regard by casual and professional runners alike so we were cautiously hopeful that the v11 design didn't screw anything up. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

We found the Fresh Foam X sole to hold up over long distances--even at faster paces--and the stretch mesh upper formed to different foot sizes quite nicely. An exceptionally comfortable shoe with a noticeable midsole pop. The only negative note was from our runners with wider feet - some noted that the larger "N" on the outside of the shoe felt rigid and took some time to get used to and break in.

For any runner looking to avoid shin splints, the New Balance 1080v11 is an excellent choice for the casual or competitive runner.

Sources

  1. Staff, About Shin Splints, Sporting Website
  2. Dr Scholls, Shin Splints, Health Website

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.