Running is currently one of the popular exercises in the country, with millions of people putting on their running shorts and shoes, getting outdoors before or after work, enjoying the revitalizing fresh air and varying terrain of grass, tarmac and sometimes even sand.
Runner’s knee is a very common problem amongst long-distance or competitive runners. The repetitive pounding of the foot on the tarmac causes stress on the patella (or kneecap) which can lead to painful symptoms and misalignment of the leg.
One important way to circumvent such stress is by wearing proper footwear. When it comes to running for consecutive months, running shoes that give professional levels of support, shock absorption and comfort are paramount to prevent injuries that, if left untreated, could result in surgery.
You want a running shoe that supports you so you can exercise for longer, relieving that tender knee joint along with tensile knee supports and proper running technique.
But what brand of shoes are the best for offering you relief from knee pain? What are the best materials and designs to support a proper form when running? How much will a decent pair of running shoes be looking to set you back?
Well, don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most supportive and effective running shoes currently available on the market, along with a handy buyer’s guide that will help you when you’re looking for a new pair of sneakers, as well as a few frequently asked questions.
So, let’s get ourselves warmed up from our list of some of the best trainers currently available on the market. On your marks… get set… go!
Top 5 Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees
OUR TOP PICK
Okay, first off we have a sneaker that has been through 19 different iterations, always improving the comfort, fit and design to create a shoe that provides professional levels of support, especially in the upper portion of the heel.
This is ideal for anyone who overpronates, augmenting feet with medium or flat arches and providing utmost support for the knee - introducing the Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19 Running Shoes.
This has a very unique GuideRails Holistic support system that centralizes the movement of the foot, stabilizing in the heel to prevent overpronation. When aligned properly, the knee will absorb a lot less of the shock from the impact of the foot on the tarmac.
- DNA cushioning will not sacrifice responsiveness or overly-correct the natural style of your running. You will notice the benefits from this sneaker on its very first run.
- The soft mesh of the upper will make running extremely comfortable even if running without socks.
- A sectional crash pad accommodates all styles of running, heel or midfoot, with a blown rubber outsole that gives you plenty of grip, useful for slippery surfaces like gravel or shale.
- Some users have reported that the build of this sneaker is slightly heavy, making lift a lot more clumsy.
Next up we have a shoe that has gone through multiple designs, improving with every model and now, on number 25, ASICS have more or less perfected the supportive running shoe. This one gives the wearer a much better alignment, reducing stress on the knee and providing that artificial support for flat arches - introducing the ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 25 Running Shoe.
Its precision-engineered Dynamic Duomax system places a thick supportive material on the inner sole that stops the foot rolling into the big toe and reduces overpronation dramatically. This shoe will enable you to run a lot further and without the excess knee pain.
- The FlyteFoam Lite midsole ensures that your trainer is very responsive and bouncy when out running on harder surfaces like tarmac. It also has front and back GEL protection that gives you comfort through the entire sole.
- With a very unusual jacquard mesh material, you have an inner portion that molds itself perfectly to your foot, allowing it to breathe throughout your run.
- It has a padded tongue and collar to prevent irritation from sweat and chafing, which is particularly useful if you prefer running barefoot.
- This sneaker is slightly more expensive than some of the others on this list - but with a higher price comes a higher quality of shoe.
Next up we have a sneaker that focuses on comfort rather than correcting overpronation, with a soft, lightweight body and inner material, this is the ideal shoe for people who run through harder surfaces like city streets - introducing the Brooks Men’s Glycerin 18 Running Shoes.
Like our previous shoe, the Brooks Men’s Glycerin has a jacquard mesh support that makes the inside very well ventilated. It also comes with a stretch bootie design that will completely fit the shape of your foot, providing you with that supra-level of comfort when out on hard tarmac surfaces.
With small lugs on the undersole, this one provides a strong level of purchase of shifting surfaces, with 3D overlays that support the midsole, and a flexible body that ensures you a decent run from start to finish.
- The DNA Loft shock-absorbing system takes the brunt of the force of the impact on your heel, making sure that it does not travel up your legs and cause you added discomfort and pain in the leg and knees.
- With an insole that is specifically designed to reduce odor, cushioning your foot and absorbing any excess moisture, which is especially useful for anyone who wants to run barefoot in humid conditions.
- A plush tongue and collar will reduce sweat and chafing around the ankles and on the bridge of the foot.
- Another pricier brand of sneaker, but you can be looking to spend a bit more for the sheer range of features this one has to offer.
This next sneaker combines the fashionable with the functional, coming in a wide range of colors and styles that results in an eye-catching run, but also ensures that you remain visible on those nighttime treks. This shoe has enhanced ankle stability and plenty of cushioning in the heel, sole and uppers, the ideal companion for a long-haul run - it’s the New Balance Men’s 990V4 Sneaker.
The midsole contains cutting edge foot support technology, with an EVA ring running through the midsole made from polyurethane that gives maximum support and shock absorption in the heel, which often experiences the most trauma from impact.
The leather and textile upper secures and molds to the contours of the foot, providing a breathable layer that will enable the runner to cover the longer distance without experiencing discomfort.
- This shoe is very moderately priced compared to other models, and with the EVA polyurethane ring providing premium cushioning and protection during those harder heel impacts, runners experiencing knee pain will certainly want to consider this option.
- Dual-density foam inlays will mean that you won’t be chafing or sweating on the inner sole, meaning that you can run longer in much more comfort.
- The combination of leather and textile uppers results in a shoe that is not only comfortable and supportive but also durable, which is very important if you’re considering using this shoe regularly and want maximum longevity.
- Some users have complained that this shoe is a little clumsy and can drag whilst running.
Our final sneaker is another one particularly tailored for road running, with patented Wave shock absorption and guidance for those who experience pronation problems. This is perfect for medium arches who need that additional coercion and support when pushing off the tarmac - introducing the Mizuno Men’s Wave Rider 22 Knit Running Shoe.
This sneaker has a specially designed Dynamotion Fit system, with stretchy fibers that do not limit the motion of the foot, providing an excellent level of flexibility and responsiveness. With a Cloudwave plate running from the heel to the midfoot, it absorbs the brunt of the back heel shock, stopping it from traveling up into the knee.
- The insole has an anatomically-shaped support structure, with soft and flexible midsole supports giving you that natural arch, which will help keep your leg alignment straight and neutral.
- The outer shoe utilizes carbon rubber material to give you that extra purchase on the shifting surfaces as well as responsiveness, absorption and longevity.
- The inside material also has moisture-wicking materials to prevent odor accumulation and reduce the frequency of chafing.
- These shoes are very reasonably-priced and considering the sheer range of features this shoe has to offer the advanced-level runner, you’ll want to snap this up immediately.
- The shoe can be slightly constrictive for users with a larger than average foot size.
Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees Buying Guide
If you are experiencing knee pain when running, then there are certain features you’ll want from a running shoe that will help alleviate stress on the leg and patella region. Contrary to popular belief, an overly supportive inner sole can be detrimental to the knee joint.
Do You Have A Neutral Running Style?
A neutral runner is someone who can keep that natural alignment of the foot, leg and knee whilst running.
Neutral runners actually don’t need that much support while running. A sneaker than over-emphasizes the inner or outer portions of the shoe will push the natural alignment of the neutral runner out of balance and could cause a lot more knee pain in the long run.
Do You Have A Pronation Issue?
Pronation is the ankle pronouncing itself inwards or outwards, resulting in a lopsided and awkward run. If the foot rolls inward, you’re overpronating, if it rolls outward, you’re underpronating.
As well as running shoes that correct over or underpronation, you’ll want to assess your overall core and hip strength. If you have a strong core, it will likely take the strain off some areas like the knee and foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Features Do I Need From A Good Running Shoe?
You’ll need to consider whether you are a neutral runner or you have pronation problems first. However, you can also augment your running style by changing the surface on which you run. If you find that you get repeated knee injury from the tarmac, try switching it up to grass or sand run to see if that alleviates any pain.
Running barefoot can give you some benefits, as it strengthens the balls of your feet, improves the ability of your arch to provide stability and enhances the flexibility of your toes as they naturally splay.
Finding the right level of insole comfort that suits your running style and foot shape is extremely important, and as you have seen from the list above, there are a variety of options given to you by several brands. Consult your doctor or foot specialist beforehand if you are serious about getting the maximum out of your sneakers.
Is Traction Important For A Good Running Style?
Make sure you know what surface you are planning to run on before purchasing your next running shoe. Most sneakers are adapted to certain terrains. For example, a gravel or trail shoe will have a softer sole to adapt to the shifting surface. However, these soles tend to wear out a lot quicker than others.
You should also not use your sneakers beyond their natural shelf-life, as their foot support and resilience on certain terrain will start to degrade and may become detrimental to your running style and exacerbate your knee pain.
Generally, you’ll want to replace your running shoes after around 400 miles of running. If you use a fitness tracker to monitor your exercise routine, then it will be much easier to gauge when your shoes need replacing.