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Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees

Just because you have knee issues doesn’t mean you can’t use running as one of your training methods. In fact it’s something of a myth that people who have bad knees shouldn’t run.

Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees

These days you can get various types of running shoes for bad knees that you can run in without aggravating pain or damage. These require special construction and materials, particularly when it comes to impact absorption. Your average trainer store doesn’t often stock these specialty items, which makes online shopping your best bet. This can still take a lot of time, however, so a better idea is to leave it to us.

Related: Best Knee Brace for Running

With FastBreakPlay all the legwork has already been done for you. Our experts have scoured both professional and customer reviews to find out which are your best buys.

As a result we’ve provided you with a quick guide. You’ll find information on what to look for when choosing a pair that will suit you and give your knees the support they need.

We’ve chosen our top recommendations for you to follow when you’re shopping for yours, in consultation with a leading physiotherapist. You will also find similar guides to other specialty trainers, like running shoes for flat feet.

Best pick

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A majority of reviewers consistently rate the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 as very good all-round running shoes for bad knees for men and women. They feature a holistic guide rail support system built into their side walls, specifically designed to reduce excess lateral movement of your knees while you’re running. You can get them for about $130.

Good running shoes for bad knees also need plenty of cushioning in the right places and these contain proprietary DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions. They interact with BioMoGo DNA technology that adapts the cushioning as your foot lands. Customer reviewers also rave about these shoes – to wit: “I can wear these all day with no pain. I would probably sleep in them if I could, they feel that good.”

Most Affordable

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For good value for money we can recommend the Saucony Versafoam Excursion Tr13 Road Running Shoe. Starting at around $45, they combine technologies to create unisex trainers that are also some of the best women’s running shoes for bad knees. Their stacked Versafoam construction responds dynamically as your foot lands, to give stability that is transferred up to your knee.

These running shoes for bad knees use trail running mesh combined with a synthetic mesh for a snug-fitting upper. This is reinforced with supportive overlays that lock into place on your feet, without squeezing them. As one reviewer put it: “I’ve worn Sauconys for years. If anything these are more comfortable than the previous versions.”

Most popular

The HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Bondi 7 Running Shoe is among the best cushioned running shoes for bad knees you can buy. They’re so popular precisely for their impact cushioning with memory foam in the sole and ankle collar. Midfoot structure and support are provided by TPU overlays that help stabilize your knees.

These are not only popular, they are also some of the best men’s running shoes for bad knees in general, with an internal heel counter and a molded EVA midsole for arch support. The result is summed up by one reviewer: “Bondis take all the stress off the knees and feet, and I run 30km week and more.” You can pick them up for around $150.

What to look for in running shoes for bad knees


One of the most important things that reliable running shoes for bad knees must do is cushion the heel strike impact as your foot hits the ground with every stride. As this is also the first point of contact with the ground, the foot stabilization process has to start from the moment your heel meets the running surface.

So when looking for the best running shoes for bad knees, pay attention to whether the trainers have reinforced cushioning in the heel area or not. You’ll need more impact-resistance than a standard cup sole.


The cushioning requirement of running shoes for bad knees isn’t confined to the heel area alone. Ideally, you’ll want to buy a pair that has full-length cushioning all the way inside the sole.

The best trainers go a step further and add responsive cushioning areas that dynamically react to each step, so as to enhance stability and balance. Additional EVA midsole cushioning will make the shoe even more effective.

Arch support

To keep your knees aligned and minimize painful lateral movement, it’s important that your running shoes must support every area of your foot. So additional arch support is often required, depending on the shape of your foot.

Try on several types of running shoes to find the ones with optimal arch support. They should gently cushion your feet, without pushing too hard against your soles.

Why trust us

We don’t only rely on word of mouth online reviews and professional reviewers when making our selections. We also consult with leading physiotherapist and postural re-education specialist Ignacio Suárez.

He has an expert understanding of how running shoes can help to enhance knee stability, and what to avoid when buying them. We refer all our selections to him before making our final choice to recommend.

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