11 Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees – The Ultimate 2018 Review Guide!
First of all, you should know that running is definitely a risk factor for bad knees as it’s very high in impact. Every time you land you’re looking at about 3 to 4 times your body weight being transferred into your joints. But what are the best running shoes for bad knees? The answer is simple, it’s all about support.
Before we go in depth, here’s a quick comparison of the best 4.
- underpronators to neutral runners
- UPPER MATERIAL: FluidFit 4-way seamless stretch
- stitched + no-sew overlays
- THE LINING: Fabric, memory foam
- THE MIDSOLE: FluidRide cushioned midsole
- THE OUTSOLE: Durasponge: Carbon rubber (heel), Blown rubber (forefoot)
- women’s weight: 9.7 oz. men’s weight : 11.9 oz.
- women’s drop: 12.9 mm men’s drop : 10.0 mm
- STRENGTHS: aligns the knees and ankles, balances the foot / keeps your knees and joints from taking a beating / superb arch support + cushioning, superior padding, Exo-skeletal Heel Clutch System (stability)
- overpronator runners
- UPPER MATERIAL: FluidFit 4-way seamless stretch
- welded Kukini-esque overlays
- THE LINING: breathable mesh + Soft fabric
- THE MIDSOLE : FluidRide cushioned midsole
- THE OUTSOLE: DuraSponge: Carbon rubber (heel), Blown rubber (forefoot)
- women’s weight: 9.5 oz. men’s weight : 11.2 oz.
- women’s drop: 12.1mm men’s drop : 9.0 mm
- STRENGTHS: aligns the knees and ankles, balances the foot / keeps your knees and joints from taking a beating / well-cushioned / great arch support / superior padding / plush supportive ride
- neutral runners
- UPPER MATERIAL: breathable mesh upper
- synthetic overlays
- THE LINING: Breathable soft fabric
- THE MIDSOLE: full-length injection-molded EVA
- THE OUTSOLE: XT600 non-marking carbon rubber
- women’s weight: 8.1 oz. men’s weight : 10.2 oz.
- women’s drop: 12 mm men’s drop : 12 mm
- STRENGTHS: promotes healing and prevents recurrence of plantar fasciitis super comfy offers great support and stability a lot of padding on the collar and tongue delivers optimal abrasion resistance and traction
- mild over-pronators + neutral runners
- UPPER MATERIAL: spacer mesh + synthetic leather
- welded overlays
- THE LINING: ample foam stuffed + soft fabric
- THE MIDSOLE FluidRide cushioned midsole
- THE OUTSOLE: AHAR outsole: High Abrasion Rubber
- women’s weight: 8.3 oz. men’s weight : 10.6 oz.
- women’s drop: 10 mm men’s drop : 10 mm
- STRENGTHS: aligns the knees and ankles and balances the foot / keeps your knees and joints from taking a beating / great stability exceptional support excellent cushion provides you with a lot of bounce back
Collection of the best running shoes for bad knees
Almost every runner suffering from bad knees swears by the Nimbus 16 as its all-around support and cushioning are superb. Knees, joints, legs, hips, feet, IT Band and back all feel great after running in this supportive and comfortable shoe thanks to its ability to absorb tons of shock and ground impact.
You’re looking at the update to the 15 and it’s made exactly as before for underpronators to neutral runners. The upper features a wonderful FluidFit System, and that means the mesh on the upper actually stretches four ways to give you a personalized fit that’ll hug your foot like a glove. Independent eyelets help release the tension of the upper. The Nimbus 16 also features an Exo-skeletal Heel Clutch System which gives you added stability and a better fit in the heel.
The interior features breathable mesh lining for comfort and the insole is not only contoured to fit your foot comfortably but it’s also removable.
The midsole will certainly make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud thanks to the built-in FluidRide technology that provides the ultimate combination of bounce-back and cushioning properties. You have rearfoot and forefoot cushioning as well for impact absorption on heel strike and toe-off. The Nimbus 16 even has an extra 3mm of additional height in the heel to help alleviate Achilles tension in the women’s version making it one of the best women’s running shoes for bad knees.
A Guidance Line on the outsole is actually a vertical flex groove designed to help give you a nice line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency. Combine that with the wonderful Guidance Trusstic System, and you’re looking at a smooth transition that helps optimize your gait while giving you added midfoot structure support, too.
For runners with bad knees, it’s really important to have a shoe with a lot of cushioning and with the Nimbus 16, you’ll feel like you’re running on the clouds.
Asics Gel Kayano 20
The Kayano 20 is one of the best cushioned running shoes for bad knees and one of the best running shoes for ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) . It’s a phenomenal running shoe that will reignite your desire to do some running on the road as well as on the treadmill. It’s absolutely one of the best running shoes for bad knees, IT Band, Plantar Fasciitis and all sorts of leg pain as it helps align the knees and ankles and balance the foot.
It’s a sturdy, well-cushioned shoe with great comfort, support, stability and padding. All of these attributes ensure a pain-free running experience. Its comfortable insole, superior padding and gel technology really help absorb the shock and keep your knees and joints from taking a beating.
The Kayano series is Asics’ flagship maximum support, and for the past two decades, the Asics Gel Kayano has provided overpronators with a solution for high-mileage training. The Gel Kayano 20 continues to deliver upon these principles and it’s a great choice for the runner looking for a plush supportive ride.
The 20th version introduces a few key updates. In the upper, the Biomorphic Fit of previous versions has been replaced by FluidFit. The FluidFit consists of stretchy overlays throughout the shoe. These FluidFit overlays do a good job wrapping around your foot allowing the upper to adapt to the shape of your foot for a customized fit.
The Kayano 20 features the FluidRide midsole which is a two-layered midsole designed to provide you with a soft underfoot feel with a responsive ride. It sits in the maximum support premium trainer category alongside the New Balance 1260 V3. Both the Kayano 20 and the New Balance 1260 V3 offer similar fit and feel as well as a similar amount of support.
Though the Kayano 20 does feature a new FluidRide midsole, longtime fans of the shoe will experience a run very similar to the previous models. The Kayano is a shoe known for its support and runners will find plenty of it in the shoe.
The medial posting is never obtrusive though and you’ll experience a smooth heel-to-toe transition thanks to the soft midsole above the post.
The upper of the Kayano 20 is as plush as ever treating you with a soft interior and a memory foam line heel cup for a snug personalized fit.
That was my own review. Here’s a review by a reader telling her husband’s story with the Kayano 20.
My husband bought the Kayano 20 based on a recommendation from his orthopedic doctor. From the moment he put them on, he could immediately tell the difference in comfort and support these shoes offered. He could feel great support all around the foot from the heel to the arch to the front sides of the foot.
Besides, the fit is true to size. My husband had always had blisters with new shoes and needed a little breaking period, but he experienced no issues with these. The Kayano 20 offers excellent stability and balance. The double-layered memory foam hugs his feet cozily and reduces friction while the gel helps absorb the shock to his knees.
Even marathon runners are impressed with how smooth and plush the sock-liner and the heel feel without the cardboard-like stiffness. Ralph (her husband) feels no knee pain and even finds the sole cooler while exercising.
The shoe has actually helped his ankle feel better and align his knees. He mainly uses the Kayano 20 at the gym and walking on the treadmill. Last week, he started to get back to jogging and these shoes have made a big difference for him so far with no pain after exercise. Overall, the Kayano 20 has proven to be very durable, comfortable, stable and supportive.
Saucony Cohesion 7
Have you ever paid attention to the name “Saucony”? Well, I can write it this
Your bad knees, ankles, hips, legs, feet and back will certainly feel better at the end of the day. The Cohesion 7 is super comfy and offers great support and stability. This enables it to take all the beating during high impact moments.
Some runners say they run in the Cohesion because they have osteoarthritis, knee replacement or IT Band.
These shoes are built with a very durable mesh upper for added breathability and durable synthetic overlays all throughout. There’s a traditional lace-up system running up the front of the shoe to the top where you have a lot of padding on the collar and tongue for additional comfort. The interior features a breathable fabric lining offering extra cushioning in the footbed and extra coolness next to the skin.
The footbed has a removable insole that will give you a lot of cushion with every step you take.
On the side, we do have a very nice a full-length injection-molded EVA midsole that gives you increased shock absorption and responsive cushioning for long lasting durability.
On the bottom, there’s a Heel Grid System for stable cushioning in the heel and on the outsole we have the XT 600 non-marking carbon rubber material added to high-wear areas. This combination delivers optimal abrasion resistance and traction.
The Cohesion 7 offers reflectivity all throughout for greater visibility on those early morning walks or late night runs.
Asics GT 2000 2
The GT 2000 2 covers the two most important factors for runners with bad knees: great stability, exceptional support and excellent cushion. The rearfoot and forefoot Asics Gel cushioning makes running really enjoyable as it provides you with a lot of bounce back reducing and absorbing stress and impact on the knees, joints, ankles and legs remarkably. Also, it provides nice arch support which, in turn, helps with pain, especially on longer runs.
Some runners say the GT 2000 2 was recommended to surgically repaired knees while others confirm their knee issues were completely resolved from the first runs.
The 2000 2 is an update from the Asics GT 2000, one of the softest and most popular stability models on the market. And the biggest update is the inclusion of Asics’ new midsole compound called the Fluidride, which is still just as soft and plush as previous midsole compounds from Asics, but it’s even lighter.
This shoe is designed for mild to moderate overpronators and supports the Asics trademark Dynamic Duomax Support System which gently guides the inward roll of the ankle from overpronators and doesn’t give you the firm rigid posting that you see in many stability models.
The Asics GT 2000 2 is a high mileage shoe that can withstand the miles on any surface. It uses high abrasion rubber (AHAR) in the heel to ensure durability, and its guidance line that runs from heel to toe ensures a smooth transition throughout the gait cycle. The GT 2000 2 is one of the premiere stability models for overpronators.
The Asics Gel Flux offers great cushioning, great arch support, beautiful stability and comfort making it able to make knees, hips, legs, feet, IT Band and arches feel 100% better and more secure. It also accommodates bunions and hammertoe easily.
Asics Gel Flux aims to have you floating through mile with its Gel Flux technology. The Gel Flux is a new neutral trainer that offers value without compromising runnability.
The upper consists of breathable Strategic overlays offering a secure fit through the ventilated open upper for lasting comfort while providing a secure fit for a confident run.
It features Gel cushioning in the rear and forefoot to offer a stride that stays comfortable over considerable mileage.
The midsole features responsive SPEVA Foam that reduces compression to reduce breakdown offering a bouncy cushioned ride. Asics Guidance Line and Guidance Trusstic System reduce weight without losing structural integrity and provide a smooth transition from heel to toe while high-abrasion rubber in the outsole (AHAR) maximizes grip and durability.
The flex grooves and the Asics Guidance Line through the sole let your foot move naturally through the gait cycle.
The Pegasus 30 is the Nike running shoes for bad knees. It provides great support and cushioning and allows runners to run pain-free. It helps fix bad knees, IT Band, knees, flat feet pain, hip pain and ankle pain. It’s actually one of the best running shoes for arthritic knees.
Nike’s Pegasus has long catered the runner seeking a reliable neutral shoe to carry them through heavy training. Now in its 30th year, the Pegasus 30 continues to stay true to its ideals offering plenty of impact protection and lasting comfort for high-mileage training.
Changes in this update of the Pegasus are limited to the upper. No-sew construction is used throughout for increased comfort. Engineered mesh is retained around the toe box for increased comfort around the toes.
The midsole and the outsole are retained in this update and they continue to give you a plush ride. High-mileage neutral trainers similar to the Pegasus 30 include the Adidas Supernova Glide 5 and the Asics Gel Flux. Among these three shoes, the Pegasus 30 is the lightest on the scale and also offers the softest ride for those looking for a cloud-like run. The Pegasus offers a plush ride with plenty underfoot impact protection.
The traditional geometry does favor for those who contact the ground with their heel, but the full ground contact outsole does deliver a smooth ride for runners of any foot strike.
What testers say
Some testers did feel the cushioning to be a bit more responsive through toe-off and the ride remains largely on the soft side soaking up the impact with the hard road. Testers experienced a cozy fit with the shoe and confirmed the fit is on the snug side. The padded upper holds the foot in comfort while the seamless design does a good job of reducing hot spots and blistering.
For a cushioned high-mileage trainer, the Pegasus 30 doesn’t feel overly heavy on the foot, and though the shoe may not be the fastest, testers had no problem picking up the pace when the time came.
In all, the Pegasus 30 serves as a dependable option as a high-mileage trainer to get you through the rigors of heavy training.
I’ve done a comparison review of two of the most cushioned shoes, Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 vs Nike Epic React
New Balance 890v4
Some runners say they run in the M890V4 to recover knee surgeries or running injuries. It provides the support and cushioning required and does a pretty decent job forcing the feet to maintain good alignment. In short, runners have no aching knees, feet or back.
Three generations of the REVlite 890 series brought an iconic distinguishable and adored shoe to runners all over the world. The fourth version of the 890 series promises to continue to deliver a surprisingly light, durable neutral shoe in a revolutionized design.
The 890v4 was engineered on new Balance’s PL-8 last offering an 8mm differential from heel to forefoot. The last also ensures for a smoother top-down, slightly more accommodating vamp area and toe spring – something runners have really craved.
The Abzorb Crashpad continues to absorb shock, but in version 4 they’ve extended it more medially for a more cradle-like experience. What the crashpads do is they allow for more inherent stability for the neutral runner moving quickly through the shoe.
With the 890V4, the runner enjoys full ground contact from heel into mid-stance and forefoot as well as a nice flexible forefoot that still maintains that security. Blown rubber allows for great cushioning complimenting the overall REVlite platform for that surprisingly light durable everyday ride.
The upper is composed of a breathable air mesh and New Balance’s Fantom Fit construction in the forefoot. Fantom Fit allows for a tight wrap in the area of the shoe where the runner should be held securely but feels like a second skin of the foot.
Throughout the quarter area, we have a combination of No-sew to wrap that foot, create that arch support as well as snug midfoot wrap.
The 890 series serves New Balance into the forefront of “doing light” the right way without compromising any performance attributes. The version 4 continues this mentality and design integrity but in an even lighter, more stable and more cushioned package and yet again surprisingly light.
Saucony ProGrid Guide 5
The Guide 5 will certainly help you run pain-free in your bad knees, ankles, and hips as it offers the support, arch support and cushion needed.
Some runners say they run in the Guide 5 for their Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and IT Band Syndrome, replaced knee and so on.
The ProGrid Guide 5 is Saucony’s most popular style now lighter and softer than ever before. This shoe is the perfect choice for runners seeking the everyday lightweight stability trainer.
The new version is a shocking ounce and a half lighter weighing at just 10.2oz. The most significant improvement to the new version of the Guide is the 8mm offset bringing the foot closer to the ground and allowing for a lower impact stride.
After extensive research, Saucony found that they could allow runners to be more efficient while reducing bulk, weight and rigidity. And with this newly engineered platform, not only does the shoe keep your foot more stable but it also improves the body’s overall biomechanics for a more efficient and powerful gait.
New to the ProGrid 5 is Saucony’s patented ProGrid light cushioning system which runs the full length of the shoe. The Super Rebound Compound is found in the heel section, which provides not only a softer but more responsive landing area. Also, Saucony’s iBR+ rubber forefoot helps provide a softer toe-off and increase cushioning underneath the forefoot.
The dual-density midsole provides just the right amount of stability needed, while the newly engineered crashpad and midsole provide support keeping the shoe lighter and more flexible than ever before.
The Guide 5 also features the Memory Foam in the collar for a custom fit as well as Hydramax and moisture control fabric throughout the tongue and collar lining.
Brooks Beast 12
The Beast is one of the best men’s running shoes for bad knees. It is the most supportive and stable shoe in Brooks’ line. With the Beast 12, your knees, legs and back will feel great even after long jogs or runs. The Beast 12 achieves this thanks to its extra support, great cushioning and nice stability ensuring less impact on knees and ankles.
The runner who’s going to benefit from the Beast is somebody who really overpronates quite significantly and someone who just needs to have a lot more support for their body.
One of the key features of the Beast 12 is its linear platform, which offers so much support and so much stability from the ground up. It also offers support on the medial side. Unlike most other shoes, it’s nice and straight through the arch. This provides a lot more midfoot support especially if you have a flatter sort of feet or you feel you need more support in your everyday exercise walking or running.
The asymmetrical saddle through the midfoot of the Brooks Beast stretches and really hugs the foot allowing it to be locked into the shoe. This makes running for people with flat feet who usually experience depth issues in the midfoot of the shoe much more comfortable. The Beast has full-length DNA which allows adaptive cushioning to control the runner’s foot creating a much softer feel onto the foot.
So whether you’re heavier or lighter on your shoes, the Brooks will provide the cushioning you need for your run.
Brooks Glycerin 13
Runners’ bad knees really appreciate the cushioning, flexibility and support the Glycerin 13 offers. It’s also recommended for sore knees and shin splints.
There’s a lot of traction in the Glycerin. It’s great for road running and it seems it’ll be perfect for any condition: wheat grass, dirt, track or even road. The traction provided is going to last for a long time and perform at a high level.
Super DNA Foam
Brooks’ engineers continue to use their DNA foam cushioning system, but this time on the 13 they used Super DNA Foam which actually gives you around 25% more cushion than the regular DNA foam. Its cushion set-up is very comfortable. This system adapts to whatever pace you’re running at, so no matter how fast or slow you’re running, you’ll get the ultimate cushion from this shoe’s Super DNA Foam.
Also, the segmented crashpads really distribute the cushion set very nicely to offer a more fluid transition from heel to toe whether you’re an overpronator or normal pronator. It is so fluid that the transition is absolutely amazing that you’re going to feel like a boat on calm waters.
The heel is rounded allowing the ankle to align with your foot so that you can run properly while reducing internal stress on your body.
3D Fit Print
The materials used are pretty interesting. Brooks use the 3D Fit Print to add structure without sacrificing the support or the flexibility on the upper. You have a very pliable almost tech fit “spandexy-like” material that’s extremely comfortable and flexible.
The heel area also features the 3D print and an internal heel cup for that lateral stability so your foot can stay on the footbed. The materials and technology used on the upper are pretty revolutionary. The Glycerin 13 offers more structure in the midfoot and heel where you most need it.
Runners found the fit perfect to them as there was no heel slippage and the main part of that is because the padding in the heel area is absolutely fantastic. There’s an excessive amount of padding around the collar that makes for an extremely comfortable shoe. The tongue is extremely well padded as well.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15
The GTS 15 is recommended by many orthopedic surgeons. It provides great arch support, comfort and cushioning making it a great option for runners with bad knees. It’s helped runners fix their knee problems and caused no shin, hip or any other joint pain/discomfort.
The GTS 15 is the Go To Shoe for someone who moderately pronates. That means when you’re running, your foot turns in. This shoe has a few great new features of technology.
The GTS 15 really builds on everything that people love about the GTS 14. It features the Diagonal Rollbar which provides some extra stability so your foot isn’t turning in when you’re running.
BioMogo DNA midsole
Brooks have made a few tweaks to make the GTS 15 even more enjoyable. The first thing is implementing the BioMogo DNA midsole which makes the shoe even more cushioned and sheds a good amount of weight. It also distributes the cushioning more evenly throughout the midsole giving you a more consistent feel under the foot.
They’ve also extended the crashpad on the lateral side so it gives you a really nice and smooth transition from heel to toe. Engineers have also modernized the upper thanks to No-Sew Overlays making the Adrenaline GTS 15 very soft and smooth on top of the foot.
And for the first time ever, if you wear a wide width either a “d width” in women’s or an “ee” in men’s you’ll get a color option.
What causes knee pain
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I.T.B).
- Pain below the knee joint.
- Runner’s knee or Chondromalacia & Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome.
- Arthritis of the knee.
- Running shoes that offer little to no support and cushioning.
- Barefoot style shoes.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I.T.B)
If you’re having pain above the joint line on the outside of the knee, by far the most common cause of that is going to be Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.
The Iliotibial Band is a thick fibrous band that runs from the hip all the way down to the leg bone, or tibia. The Iliotibial Band rubs on the bottom part of the thigh bone, the Femur, and causes friction and pain. Also, you may feel a snapping sensation when you straighten your bent knee. If a runner develops this during a run, the best thing to do is stretches for the Iliotibial Band so that it’s not as tight and it does not cause as much rubbing.
Usually, there’s not a lot of swelling and your range of motion in the knee joint should be normal.
IT Band problems can be caused by:
- Having high or low arches.
- Having an uneven leg length, bowed legs, or weak thigh muscles.
- Supination, where the feet turn outward and cause friction and an inflammation to the IT Band.
- Wearing shoes that may be worn down too much or shoes that do not offer any support.
- Running on uneven pavement or down hills.
- A change in your normal workout routine
There are some good at-home exercises such as side stretches that keep the Iliotibial Band in the range of motion, strengthening the quadriceps or thigh muscles, low impact exercises such as riding a stationary bike, or swimming.
Willibald Nagler, MD, chairman of rehabilitation medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Campus in New York City”]Strengthening the muscles around the joint protects you from injury by decreasing stress on the knee
The 1 Min Simple Stretch That Releases Knee Pain Instantly!
Pain below the knee joint
This is one area that hasn’t been commented on much, but specialists do believe it’s a common cause of knee pain in
runners. The spot shown in the picture is significant because this is where the big muscle in the leg called the Tibialis Anterior Muscle attaches. the Tibialis Anterior Muscle is responsible for flexing the ankle upward. During a typical course of a run, this muscle contracts thousands of times and can develop Tendonitis below the knee joint. Now if you are a runner and you have developed pain in this spot, below the knee joint, there’s a very successful exercise that was adapted for Tennis Elbow to treat Tendonitis in this particular spot.
It involves three simple steps. Any elastic band is useful for this exercise.
First, place the elastic band over the ball of your foot, and then straighten the leg with the ankle bent backward. And finally, push down on the gas pedal and then repeat those three steps 15 times, 3 times a day. A lot of runners have found this very effective in getting rid of this particular Tendonitis, or pain below the knee joint.
If the pain is dull and around or under you knee cap you could have runner’s knee, also called Chondromalacia & Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome. Vigorous activities may cause excessive stress and wear on the cartilage of the knee cap (patella). This can lead to inflammation and erosion, which can cause the cartilage to break down making it difficult to move your knee.
This condition most commonly appears in runners, but it can also affect those who participate in activities that require a lot of knee bending like biking, jumping, and even walking.
Some of the factors that may contribute to Runner’s Knee are:
- Flat feet.
- Tight or weak thigh muscles.
- Muscle imbalance.
- Inadequate stretching.
- Overuse or injury
There are at-home exercises that can help with Runner’s Knee like stretching and strengthening the hamstrings and low impact exercises that strengthen the quadriceps or thigh muscles.
Runner’s Knee Exercises: 10 Minute Knee Pain Routine
Arthritis of the knee
Do you feel pain or weakness daily around your knee? If so then you may have an arthritic knee which develops after years of strain to the ligaments and tendons that support the knee cap. Arthritic knees can develop from daily activities that put pressure on the knee cap such as kneeling, squatting or climbing stairs. Weight gain also places the stress on the knee.
There are a few symptoms that may indicate you have an arthritic knee.
- Your pain and swelling tend to be worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- You hear a cracking sound when you move.
- You feel increased knee pain as the weather changes.
Running shoes with little to no support and cushioning
The best running shoes for bad knees should offer great arch support, a ton of cushioning and should definitely help your feet realign properly.
Barefoot style shoes
Some people start having knee pain after they go barefoot running using shoes like the Vibrant 5 fingers. Barefoot style shoes don’t have any support for the inside of the foot. Apart from barefoot shoes, there are tons of other shoes that don’t offer any support. So what happens with these running shoes is that the foot spreads the shoe out and starts to fold on top of itself.
Things that also help with bad knees
you need to do things to strengthen your muscles to absorb the force a lot more effectively. The thing you want to do specifically is to engage in compound movements that will strengthen all of your muscles. So things like lunge walks, step ups or any kind of one-legged work are going to really help because when you’re running, it’s one leg at a time, so you need to make your legs strong for that type of movement.
At the same time, you should also consider your running mechanics. I would really recommend you land on your midfoot to the ball of your foot, not so much on the heel. This is a really important thing because the landing force is going to get transferred to your muscles more so than your joints.