Can New Shoes Cause Calf Pain? (The Risks!)

New shoes will almost always cause pain in the feet, ankles and calves. The reasons are varied but may be attributed to the shoe being a better fit, a different material than what is normally worn with shoes that have been broken in, or simply pain from new foot movement that involves walking or exercising muscles and joints to which they are not accustomed.

Bonus Read: Best Running Shoes for Calf Pain

How New Running or Training Shoes Cause Calf Pain?

Your running shoes are the most important piece of gear in your trainer’s arsenal. When buying a new pair of running shoes, we generally look for something with a very firm heel counter, high-quality materials, all-around durability, etc.

But still, if we wear our new running shoes or training sneakers for the first time, they can cause a sharp pain that runs from the foot to the midway of the calves. This usually happens if your new running shoes feature significant changes as compared to your old running shoes.

For instance, if you were used to wearing shoes with a firm cushioning, and then you opted for shoes with a softer ride and different heel-to-toe drop, it would take time for your lower body, including calf muscles, to react to this change and get used to the new cushioning and stability underneath your feet.

A heel-to-toe drop imposes a significant effect on the running gait. Mostly, heel strikers opt for shoes with high heel drop shoes as they need more cushioning in the rearfoot. So, if you opted for a new running shoe with a different heel drop that changed your running strike to either midfoot or forefoot, this would change the loading demands of your calf muscles, and you might have to face calf pain in the beginning.

Each brand of running shoe has its exclusive midsole technology designed for the stability of your running gait. So, when you switch your running shoes between two different brands, having a significant difference in midsole technologies, there is highly likely that you might have to suffer from calf pain.

I also found some comments on Reddit in which people were discussing calf pain due to the changing of foot strike in new running shoes.

comments on new running shoes cause back pain due to the changing of stride

The best thing to do is to stick with the shoes for a while before you decide that the shoes are not working for you. You will probably notice that after your first several runs, your calf pain goes away. At this point, you can choose from several options:

  • Change the running technique slightly to get a better alignment with the shoe’s cushioning.
  • Start running for a mile in your new running shoes.
  • You may also benefit from placing your orthotic inserts in your new running shoes.

New Shoes Also Cause Pain in Calf Muscles Due to Fitting

Each shoe is designed based on a specific last. Your foot is in three dimensions, based on which the last of the shoe is designed. You could get fit to the length and fit, but still, it would require some time for new shoes to conform to your three-dimensional foot’s contour.

Furthermore, leather shoes like Doc Martens are a bit stiffer initially, and they need some time to break in. At the start, they can rub with your heel and can cause pain in your calves and Achilles tendons.

Therefore, initially, you’ll have to face some discomfort when trying something new because of stretching and adjusting to a change in how your foot fits but then, as time goes on, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty of new shoes with all their features.

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