Foot discomfort, particularly at the top, can be a common issue experienced by many. Often, this discomfort is a direct result of the shoes we wear. But why do shoes sometimes hurt the top of our feet? This can be due to various factors ranging from the shoe’s design and fit to how we walk.

Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to avoid having sore feet after a long day of being active. Over the years of being a victim of it, I have discovered the reasons behind my foot ache and how to prevent it from happening. By walking through each step with me, you’ll better understand why your shoes hurt and what to do about it going forward. Let’s get started!

Reasons Why Your Shoes Might Hurt the Top of Your Foot?

Reflecting on my experiences and research, I’ve identified key factors contributing to this issue.

Improper Fit:

One of the most common reasons is an improper fit. Shoes that are too tight, loose, or unsuited for your foot’s shape can cause pressure on the top of your foot. I remember buying a pair of stylish sneakers that looked great but were slightly narrow. After wearing them for a day, the top of my foot was sore and swollen, a sign that the fit was not right for me.

Lacing Techniques:

The way shoes are laced can also contribute to discomfort. Lacing them too tightly can put unnecessary pressure on the top of your foot. I learned to use different techniques, like parallel lacing, to alleviate pressure after experiencing discomfort with standard lacing methods.

Type of Shoes:

Specific shoes are more likely to cause pain on the top of the foot. For example, shoes with a low toe box can compress the toes and top of the foot, leading to pain. High heels can also cause this issue, as they shift your weight forward, increasing pressure on the front of your feet.

New or Unbroken Shoes:

New or unbroken shoes can be rigid and cause discomfort until adequately broken. I’ve experienced this with several new pairs of dress shoes; the initial rigidity caused discomfort on the top of my foot until the shoes softened and molded to my shape.

Overuse or Strain:

Pain on the top of the foot might result from wearing the same pair of shoes too much or from physically demanding activities that stress the feet. There have been occasions when going on lengthy walks repeatedly in less supporting shoes caused pain on the top of my foot, which suggests that I require more supportive or cushioned shoes.

Understanding these reasons has been crucial in helping me choose the right shoes and take the necessary steps to avoid discomfort. 

Medical Conditions that Can Cause Top Foot Pain:

Here are some medical conditions that can lead to this type of foot pain:

Extensor Tendonitis:

This is inflammation of the tendons that run along the top of the foot and are responsible for lifting the toes. I experienced this after increasing my running mileage too quickly. The pain was sharp and on the top of my foot, exacerbated by physical activity.

Stress Fractures:

Small cracks in the bones are called stress fractures. They may develop in the foot’s bones due to excessive misuse from activities like running or jumping. This affected a buddy of mine who was an active runner; it showed up as a dull, agonizing sensation on the top of his foot.


Arthritis can affect various joints in the foot, leading to pain on the top of the foot. I’m familiar with this due to a family history of arthritis. The pain typically feels dull, aching soreness that can sometimes flare up.

Ganglion Cyst:

These fluid-filled cysts can develop near the joints or tendons in the foot. A small cyst on my foot a few years back caused a noticeable bump and discomfort when wearing particular shoes.

Home Remedies for Immediate Relief:

To address this issue, I’ve found several home remedies that provide immediate relief based on my personal experience and additional research.

Loosen the Laces:

The first thing I tried when my shoes started hurting was to loosen the laces. This simple adjustment can significantly reduce pressure on the top of your foot. I remember a particular day when I felt immediate relief after adjusting the laces of my running shoes.

Ice Pack for Inflammation:

Pain and swelling can be decreased by applying an ice pack. I’ve spent roughly twenty minutes using a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel to the top of my foot. This technique offered noticeable alleviation, particularly following brisk runs or walks.

Foot Massage:

Gently massaging the top of the foot can improve circulation and alleviate pain. I’ve used a combination of gentle strokes and slight pressure to massage the affected area, which helped ease the pain.

Wear Properly Fitting Shoes:

Switching to shoes that fit correctly and provide adequate support is crucial. After realizing that my shoes were too tight, I switched to a pair with a broader toe box, significantly reducing the pressure on the top of my foot.

Use Soft Insoles or Pads:

Adding soft insoles or pads to your shoes can provide cushioning and reduce pain. I tried using gel insoles, which made a significant difference in comfort, especially in shoes that were slightly hard on the top.

Rest and Avoid Aggravating Activities:

Reducing activities that aggravate the pain is essential. When I first felt the pain, I reduced my running frequency, which helped manage the discomfort.

Anti-inflammatory Medications:

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can provide relief. I’ve taken them as directed when the pain was severe, and they helped in reducing inflammation and pain.

Prevention Strategies- Avoiding Foot Pain in the Future:

Here are some key measures I’ve taken, based on both personal experience and additional research, to ensure my feet remain healthy and pain-free:

  • One of my most significant changes was investing in shoes that fit well. Now, I always ensure that my shoes have enough room for my toes and provide adequate support, especially around the arch and heel.
  • Strengthening and stretching the muscles in my feet has been crucial. I’ve incorporated simple exercises like toe curls and heel raises into my daily routine. These exercises have helped improve my feet' flexibility and strength, reducing the risk of pain and injury.
  • I’ve adopted a healthier diet and regular exercise, which has benefited my overall health and lessened the load on my feet.
  • After consulting with a podiatrist, I used orthotic inserts in my shoes. These inserts provide additional support and correct abnormal walking patterns, which has helped prevent foot pain.
  • I learned that wearing the same shoes daily can contribute to foot pain. Now, I rotate between different pairs of shoes to distribute pressure more evenly and give each pair time to air out and return to its natural shape.
  • I keep my feet clean and dry to prevent infections that could lead to pain. After experiencing athlete’s feet, I’ve become more diligent about drying my feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.

By implementing these strategies, I’ve successfully managed to reduce the occurrence of foot pain.


After exploring potential causes for the pain occurring at the top of my feet from my shoes, I have concluded that proper shoe sizing, arch support, cushioning, break-in period, and quality of materials are all critical factors in having comfortable and safe footwear. My experiences have helped cultivate an understanding of how to stay out of harm’s way with an appropriate selection of shoes. I am also passionate about encouraging others to have shoe knowledge because everyone deserves a long-lasting, comfortable experience without sacrificing style!

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!