According to the National Institutes of Health, about 100 million (!!!) Americans suffer from chronic knee pain, while the one-third experiences temporary knee issues repeatedly.
– We hope, these crazy numbers will make you seriously think about it. As you, actually, never know when it’s gonna shoot through your knee.
Our team, in collaboration with the experienced podiatrist and a representative of the ATRA, has tested and reviewed about 60 pairs of running shoes, manufactured by the world’s leading brands, in terms of their suitability for bad knees.
Bearing stability, cushioning, and arch support in mind as the main criteria, we’ve ended up with top 10 list of the best running shoes for bad knees, available on the market today.
So, here they are, our best of the best running shoes for bad knees in 2018:
Top 10 Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees
|Nike Flyknit Racer||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Adidas Speed Trainer 2||4.1/5||Check Price|
|ASICS Gel Kayano 24||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Brooks Addiction 12||4.5/5||Check Price|
|New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Saucony Cohesion 10||4.5/5||Check Price|
|ASICS Gel Nimbus 17||4.6/5||Check Price|
|New Balance 890V4||4.3/5||Check Price|
|Saucony Hurricane ISO||4.4/5||Check Price|
|Puma Faas 600V3||4.5/5||Check Price|
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The favorite of neutral runners, Nike Flyknit Racer, is getting more and more popular among athletes with bad knees and different feet issues as well. But why? This growing tendency can be easily explained by the catchy combo of perfect characteristics, wearing advantages of this sneaker and its fantastic external design with an incredible amount of colorways available.
Indeed, Nike Flyknit Racer is meant to deliver comfort, security, support, and style to runners’ daily routines – and all that is in one running shoe from the world-known brand!
The Flyknit Racer features narrow-to-medium width, allowing you to accustom the orthotics, which your bad knees may need. Cushioning, which is another essential of a running sneaker for bad knees, is guaranteed by highly-responsive and lightweight midsole with full-length cush foam. And, finally, great arch support and firm sole will make you feel super secure and comfy while doing the long race distances in these fresh and cool runners from Nike!
- High price.
- May feel a bit narrow.
- In case of all-day use, the underfoot platform can lose its effectiveness quickly.
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What shoes can be better for road running than the ones, initially created for such game as baseball? The second version of Speed Trainer from Adidas has everything to make your run (even if it involves side-to-side movements) maximally supported and cushioned – exactly what runners with bad knees need!
These stylish sneakers are represented in a great range of colorways – from vibrant to classical. However, their fashionable design is not the main reason for their popularity with athletes.
Upper is made of lightweight and breathable mesh material to guarantee exceptional moisture management and odor-free effect. The foot is stabilized by means of metallic SprintWeb cages – they lockdown the fit, protecting the foot from rolling inside or outside, which is directly connected with the knees state.
An articulated, full-length ADIPRENE+ midsole provides cushioning and responsiveness upon impact. And the decoupled outsoles with multisurface traction patterns give an ideal grip on all roads – from grass to turf.
- May be not true to size.
- A rather high price.
- These shoes were not specifically designed for running.
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In new ASICS Gel Kayano 24, you’ll feel the difference in terms of comfort and support – immediately from the moment you put them on.
They deservingly are one of the best running shoes for bad knees, ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), Plantar Fasciitis, overpronation, IT Band, flat feet, and other foot issues. Also, this sneaker is able to cope both with roads and a treadmill.
The double-layered memory foam hugs the feet, while the famous ASICS GEL cushioning system absorbs all the shock to the knee joints.
Wanna get rid of that pain? Think no more and help yourself with Gel Kayano 24 from ASICS. (You can also consider the previous versions of this shoe, which are no less appropriate for runners with bad knees, but a way more affordable).
- May feel a bit stiff in case of all-day wear.
- Issues with the Flex point of the foot (depends on the size).
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The Brooks Addiction family is the series of motion control shoes, which are great for road running. They are ideal for runners with flat arches, severe pronation, which is eventually accompanied by the pain outside the knee.
In order to relieve the pain and reduce force through the outside of the knee, Brooks Addiction stops excessive pronation thanks to its podiatrists-recommended design.
The pattern on the outsole is specifically designed for Brooks’ motion-control shoes, allowing for a balanced heel-to-toe transition. The midsole delivers an efficient energy return, while the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB) serves for taking the cushioning up to the next level.
The updates of the Brooks Addiction 12 (comparing with the previous version) are all connected with overlays: some of them were moved around for snug fit, also additional ones were added for support.
- It’s not the most lightweight running shoe.
- Issues with durability (upper mesh).
- Rather a bulky midsole silhouette.
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In case of pain on the inside of the knee (unless it’s connected with arthritis), the right shoes can definitely help to reduce the pressure going through the joint there. Also, it can be caused by supination, so choosing some “anti-supination” shoes like the New Balance 1080 is the right thing to do.
Well-balanced, flexible, properly-cushioned, with good heel support, durable, stable… and all that in a catchy “wrapping” – if you’re eager to find shoes like that for your bad knees, the New Balance 1080V7 is here to handle it.
- Runs a bit narrow (stiff).
- The upper is not seamless.
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Saucony Cohesion 10 is a comfort, responsiveness, and support for a rather budget-friendly price. Besides, this shoe is recommended by the podiatrists association.
The Cohesion 7 (as well as its predecessors) is a must-have for people suffering from issues like bad knees, flat feet, overpronation, and plantar fasciitis.
A full-length injection-molded EVA midsole provides you with great shock absorption, the Hell Grid system enhances that cushioning effect, and the removable footbed can be replaced with your favorite one absolutely effortlessly.
- Sizing issues (runs a bit small).
- Bad grip when it’s raining.
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All ASICS models, which feature GEL cushioning system, automatically become rather good options for people with feet issues., and ASICS Gel Nimbus 17 is the perfect choice for bad knees. Moreover, this (17th) version of the Nimbus model has topped its follow-ups (Nimbus 18 and Nimbus 19).
This shoe is literally stuffed with different technologies that make it so popular with athletes: ASICS FluidRide midsole, Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel Cushioning Systems, FluidFit upper, Heel Clutching System Technology, Guidance Line Midsole Technology, Trusstic System Technology.
Want to treat your painful knees and reduce the pressure on them? The ASICS Nimbus 17 is what you need!
- The toe box is a bit stiff and narrow.
- Issues with the durability of the soles.
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For bright personalities, who appreciate both fashionable eye-catchy design and high quality of the running shoe, the New Balance 890V4 is a good pick.
This lightweight shoe is made to relieve your knee pain, reduce the pressure on joints, and support your deformed feet, preventing any injuries.
Featuring the well-known New Balance’s ABZORB cushioning technology, the 890V4 offers a feeling of walking on the clouds – so soft and cushy.
- Not the best option for extreme overpronators.
- Sizing issues (run 1 size smaller).
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Cushy, yet controlled, rather bulky but lightweight – Saucony Hurricane ISO is a one of a kind. Despite its visual likeness to other running shoe models, this one is able to CORRECT overpronation due to the large pod placed right in the arch of the shoe.
It doesn’t weigh the runners down, it controls the sweating and odors, it absorbs the impact step by step, and keeps the stride straight and secure. So… what else do you want from your perfect running shoes for bad knees?
- High price.
- Lack of breathability.
- Bulky construction.
- A stiff outer wrap can cause irritation.
- Lack of colorways options.
Puma Faas 600 offers a combination of comfort and lightweight support. They can definitely reduce the pressure, putting on your knees.
The outsole is made of 2 rubber layers, which give you flexible traction on different surfaces. However, some customers mentioned that the outsole was not durable enough.
This running shoe for bad knees is perfect for daily training, as well as short and long distance runs.
- Rubbing is possible.
- Issues with the outsole durability.
Why Do I Have Knee Problems?
It’s almost impossible to avoid problems with your knee when you’re engaged in sports, especially running. Despite the wide range of such problems, the most common one includes inappropriate shoes. You shouldn’t be a doctor to understand how important to feel comfortable while run. Whatever the degree of your knee pain is, it shouldn’t be ignored. Once you ignore the first symptoms, severe complications will not be long in coming. Thus, you may say “goodbye” to your effective training.
However, don’t panic in advance. Every problem can be easily (or sometimes, not very easily) resolved. But firstly, it’s important to find out what are the reasons for knee problems.
What are the possible reasons for painful knees?
As everybody knows, all types of problems with health have individual reasons. However, in some cases, we can list the most common conditions, which contribute to knee problems. First of all, to know better why you have painful knees you have to know that there are different types of this pain:
- long-term (chronic) pain
- temporary pain
Long-term or chronic pain is the pain, which doesn’t go away or relieve without special treatment. It’s always connected with a few conditions or caused by several reasons. Among the diseases and conditions, which result in chronic painful knees, can be the following:
- Knee arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis: these are degenerative diseases, which influence knee joints. The main difference between the problems is about the degree of damage.
- Tendinitis: inflammation and degeneration of tendon tissue, caused by various injuries as well as infections.
- Bursitis: inflammation of bursal sac. The reasons are similar to those of tendinitis.
- Chondromalacia patella (more commonly known as “runner’s knee”): deterioration and softening of the cartilage of the kneecap.
- Baker’s cyst: a lump formation, caused by a pocket of fluid.
- Knee dislocation: dislocation of the bones, which form your knee.
- Bone tumors (known as osteosarcoma or bone cancer): a neoplastic growth of tissue in bones.
Unlike chronic pain, temporary pain in the knees may be provoked by an accident or an injury. The most common reasons for this type of knee problems include:
- Injuries of knee ligaments: the function of ligaments is to hold bones together to make a knee stable. The sprains or tears of knee ligaments will definitely lead to the knee pain and the necessity of surgery.
- Tears of knee cartilage: tough and flexible at the same time, cartilage contributes to minimizing friction at the intersections of bones.
As a rule, swelling and sensitivity are accompanying syndromes of more serious knee problems. However, sometimes they may become a separate problem after light injuries.
What does the knee pain mean?
Knee problems and the pain, following them, may occur in any part of the knee (bony structures):
- knee joint
Due to the abundance of reasons, which provoke knee problems, and the possible places, where the knee pain may manifest itself, knee problems are common among all people. It doesn’t matter what is your age, gender, or line of work.
How to diagnose knee problems?
No matter how severe your knee pain is or what disease you find out, in all cases, you need to consult a doctor! Only a professional medic is able to diagnose your problem and prescribe an appropriate way of treatment. There are two possible ways to do this:
- physical evaluation
Vital questions, used by doctors, to evaluate your physical conditions are always about the following things:
- the level of your knee pain
- knee flexibility
- knee function
- general mobility
How Does Running Cause My Knee Problems?
If you are reading the article, then you know what running is. But if you still don’t change the topic, then you want to get more information about problems, caused by running. Everybody, who is engaged in the running activity as well as walking, jumping and biking (and even some people, who aren’t), knows that the main stress during these kinds of sports is placed on our legs and feet. Thus, the inevitability of knee injuries is unquestionable.
What are the main problems, connected with running?
Despite the fact that the most people consider runner’s knee (see above) to be the main knee problem, closely connected with running, we can list at least 3 other possible troubles:
- Iliotibial band inflammation
- Meniscus (as well as cartilage) tear
- Patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee)
Iliotibial band syndrome occurs among runners as often as runner’s knee. This is an injury to the knee, which involve the ligament, running down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. The function of the iliotibial band includes providing knee with flexion and extension. Thus, poor training along with mechanical imbalances of the body or the leg, turning inward repeatedly, develop the injury of the iliotibial band.
Meniscus and cartilage tears are two problems with the knee, which occurs with older runners. Meniscus and cartilage serve as cushioning and stabilization of the joint; they also protect bones from severe injuries. Therefore, when there’s any reason for the trauma of knee, meniscus or heritage “call the shots”.
Though patellar tendinopathy is known for being the problem of jumpers, it widely influences runners too. That’s because of the repetitive strain to the tendon during running. Forefoot and barefoot running often provoke the pain of tendon, connecting the kneecap to the lower leg bone.
Why do knee injuries occur?
When we’re talking about different reasons, which cause knee problems along with other sports traumas, it’s appropriate to divide all factors into some groups – outside:
- Training issues
- Training mistakes
- Running surface
and inside (physical):
- Anatomic construction
- Previous injuries
How to avoid knee problems when running?
Although the steps, which help to avoid problems with knees when running, may seem to be simple, and even primitive, not all runners take them:
- Use proper running technique
- Choose an appropriate running surface
- Have some rest
- Pay attention to the signals of your body
- Choose only shoes, appropriate for running
Why Does Choosing the Right Shoes Matter?
Running has to be not only effective but also a healthy way of training. It’s also considered to be an energetic and traumatic kind of sports. As we’ve mentioned above, the main stress when running is put on your legs and feet. Thus, running shoes are must have for all people, engaging in running.
Be sure that you’ll feel an enormous amount of pain or experience some types of injuries, running long distances in an ordinary pair of basketball shoes. Don’t underestimate the importance of the right pair of shoes. Even if you aren’t going to become a professional runner, you should invest in proper shoes for running to prevent painful future for your body.
The main reasons for buying a pair of good running shoes consist of the following:
- Protection from the impact forces of your foot strikes
- Arch support
- Substantial midsole foot cushioning
- Prevention of injuries
- Improved athletic performance
- Decrease of the pressure on your knees
The Main Criteria for Choosing the Right Running Shoes for Knee Pain
Having some pain in your knees is not the reason to refuse your favorite sports activity. Knee pain is an important problem, which, however, may be solved. A pair of the right running shoes, chosen in accordance with your peculiarities, is exactly what you need to forget about your knee problems and enjoy the running activity.
What are the main characteristics of the right running shoes for bad knees?
A huge range of shoes for all kinds of sports and people with various health problems makes it possible to choose the right shoes for running for those, who experience problems with knees. The main points, which should be taking into consideration when choosing an ideal pair of running shoes are:
No matter if you have bad knees or not, if you are engaged in running or not, always invest only in shoes, which you feel comfortable in! But if you really have different health problems, especially problems with or knees or feet, you must invest only in comfortable running shoes. In another case, you’ll not just feel discomfort, but promote injury deterioration and pain extension.
The quality of the right running shoes is as important as their comfort. It’s important to pay careful attention to the way the running shoes are made if you don’t want to lose your money or what is worse to hurt yourself. Hard and thick materials are the best choice for this kind of shoes. Low-quality or defective shoes for running are the common reasons for different problems with feet and knees.
The lack of balance during running is one of the reasons, causing runner’s knee and other problems of this kind. So if you don’t want to experience knee pain, don’t forget about excellent support and cushioning of the ideal running shoes.
- Stability and Durability
Long-distance running requires an appropriate approach for choosing the pair of running shoes. But be sure that the stability and durability of running shoes are two main characteristics, which prevent you from falling apart as well as reduce the possibility of injuries.
What to pay attention to when buying running shoes for bad knees?
While most of the people know only about general characteristics of the right running shoes, they don’t take into consideration criteria, characterizing shoes for knee pain. Even if you buy the best running shoes in the whole world, they’ll not fit your bad knees without all necessary characteristics.
There are some important things, which will help you to choose the right running shoes for bad knees.
The midsole of the right running shoes for people with knee pain provides the blend of bounce-back as well as rearfoot and forefoot cushioning properties.
It’s vital to pay attention to rolls inward your foot when choosing shoes for running. The pressure on your knee joint depends on it. Thus, people with over-pronation should choose running shoes with motion control.
Now, it worth to say that well-cushioned running shoes with firm midsoles and custom orthotics are ideal shoes for knee pain.
Things That Help with Knee Pain: Supportive Orthotics
Never underestimate the role of supportive accessories for knee pain. Right running shoes for knee pain will work even better if you combine them with supportive orthotics. Supportive orthotics are widely used in medicine, not only in the sports industry. The effect of this element is really impressive:
- arch support
- the possibility to adjust the arch height
- relieve plantar fasciitis
- alignment maintenance
- Go for Orthotics
When your running shoes don’t manage to relieve your knee pain, just try to combine them with supportive orthotics, which are in great demand now. If you don’t know how to choose this additional thing properly, you may always ask your doctor or a shop assistant.
The problem of bad knees is not rare and experienced by many people. As statistic shows, those people, who are fond of running, are especially among the high-risk group. Though knee pain can be caused by various reasons and diseases (as we’ve shown above), we think that an appropriate pair of running shoes, chosen according to all important characteristics, will become a good way of knee pain prevention.
So, which one to choose? Having studied each pair of this list precisely, our team of experts has concluded that representatives of the ASICS Gel series – the ASICS Gel Kayano 24 and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 17 – are the best picks. Great value for money, fantastic cushioning and support, variety of styles and designs, which are on equally high level in all previous versions of these models.
Anyway, when thinking about owning best running shoes, don’t forget to consider all the attributes of bad knee shoes. A good midsole isn’t able to supply you with the necessary support on its own, but it can do this with an excellent cushioning. As well as high-quality running shoes don’t always mean comfortable.
Of course, you’ll not get rid of the knee pain without a special treatment. But you shouldn’t neglect the fact that right running shoes for bad knees are able to make your running activity easier.
US National Library of Medicine – Increasing Prevalence of Knee Pain and Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis