Finding the best running shoes is crucial for runners and for those not wanting to worry about the aches and pains of the repetitive pounding they can take while going for a run. If you have bad knees (patellofemoral pain syndrome , PFPS) or joints having proper running shoes can reduce those problems. Running shoes are designed to provide comfort, support, durability, and ultimate performance for runners. Knee and/ or foot pain can often arise from wearing improper foot attire for your foot, stride and the activity. Although there are many options not all sneakers are made for running. It is important to look for shoes that are specified for running as they will specialize in appropriate design.
Finding a running specific shoe will make sure that it is specially made for the elements you will be putting it through. This ensures you will feel confident and safe in the product you are purchasing. Correct shoes for running will take care of your knees and joints for a smoother and more enjoyable running experience. If you are an avid runner getting an analysis on your gait would be helpful in your running shoe search as you will then know the type of support that would be best suited for your running style.
Three different types of running gaits include overpronation, underpronation, and neutral. Once you know your running gait you can have a better idea of what to look for when looking for running shoes and what specifications or qualities are going to be beneficial. Taking into account the type of terrain you are running on is helpful in picking a shoe. Some shoes can be for a specific terrains while others can adapt to a variety. Below are a collection of some of the best running shoes and brands for runners who are looking to reduce knee pain and getting back to enjoying their runs!
What to Look for in Proper Running Shoes
It is important to look for running shoes that lessen the impact on your joints and your body when running and get you back rearing to go sooner. There are different aspects and qualities good running shoes must have in order to provide adequate support and performance. Overall one should made sure the shoe fits ‘right’, this includes the correct shoe size, width, and length, that way the fits properly in the shoe. The shoe shouldn’t squeeze the foot and the entire width of the foot should be touching the base of the shoe instead of it being too narrow. Not achieving the right fit could result in short term to long term problems. Nonetheless there is a shoe out there that will work. Another thing to note is that some shoes do come with alternative width options for personalization.
It is worth looking into if this is a feature you are looking for in a running shoe. As comfort is pretty high up on the list of importance, the coushy feeling when you slip your feet into a new shoe is nice. Keep in mind there needs to be a level of firmness and support within the shoe so the coushy feeling does not deplete faster than it should. Make sure the shoe holds your heel. Another aspect to pay attention to is keeping the heel in place. This ensures stability within the ankle and through the leg as well as reduce rubbing on the heel which could lead to blisters and discomfort.
A shoe that has the right arch should contour to your foot. Different people have different needs when it comes to arch support and different shoes as well as brands do cater to those different needs. Doing research on those brands and shoes that have those qualities can help in finding the perfect fit. Below are five shoes on the market that touch on these important qualities that could help improve one’s running experience.
Runner’s Knee FAQs
What causes runners knee?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is generally caused by mobility problems in the hips or lower back. Bad knees can also be caused by an imbalance due to a lack of core engagement.
Do I have PFPS?
The symptoms of runners knee range from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pains. Continued running can cause the knee to swell. If you have any of these symptoms persistently, its likely that you have runners knee.
How do I stop knee pain after running?
Hold an ice pack on your knee for 20 minutes after your run, this will reduce any swelling.
5 Best Running Shoes for bad knees
Asics Gel-Kayano 23
- mpact Guidance System (I.G.S) (Running) : ASICS design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
- FluidRide: FluidRide provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability.
- FluidFit: ASICS FluidFit upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete's foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit.
- Heel Clutching System: Exoskeletal heel counter provides improved support and creates improved heel fitting environment.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems: Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement on multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
Asics is a staple brand to avid runners and is really known for their shoes’ support and durability. That being said, the Asics Gel-Kayano 23 Running Shoe provides the perfect amount of sleek style, comfort, and support for runners. The Durasponge outsole is primarily made out of rubber while Duromax technology adds to comfort and and protection upon impact. The design philosophy I.G.S. (Integrated Guidance System) enhances the foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe-off. This allows runners to run efficiently for their specific running style. Asics FluidFit Upper technology adapts to the runner’s foot allowing customized comfort and fit.
The benefit of the FluidFit technology allows runners to have a more natural feel. Newly engineered mesh allows for just the right amount of stretch and movement while keeping the foot stable. Asics Gel-Kayano has a variety of colors to choose from, creating opportunity to find a shoe that speaks to your personal style. Some color combinations include Silver/ Imperial/ Black and Thunder Blue/ Safety Yellow/ Indigo Blue. Weight of the shoe is around 11.5 ounces which is on the lighter side. The FluidFit, Dynamic Duomax, and FlyteFoam materials all help to keep this shoe light.
This shoe is made of a combination of textile and synthetic fabric with a rubber sole. “Comfordry” sock liner in the interior of the shoe offers breathability and moisture management. Solid protection is given around the the rear of the foot with Asics’ High Abrasion Rubber, “AHAR’. GEL cushioning systems attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases so as the foot transitions through the gait cycle there is optimal movement.
Saucony Hurricane ISO 2
- Running shoe with ISOFIT upper featuring inner sleeve and floating support cage
- EVERUN cushioning topsole and PWRGRD+ platform
- RUNDRY collar lining
- Dual-density medial post
- TRI-FLEX outsole
Saucony specializes in manufacturing running sports equipment and shoes and they seem to always be a great option for runners. By picking Saucony, runners know they are getting a shoe specially made for running. The Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 comes with EVERUN cushioning topsole and PWRGRD+ platform, RUNDRY collar lining, Dual-density medial post, and a TRI-FLEX outsole. EVERUN increases cushion and comfort located beneath the heel and across the topsole for stability. From heel to toe drop is 8mm. What is different about this PWRGRD+ technology over the previous PWRGRD is the midsole is 20% more cushioned and 15% more resilient than before. Colors options can range from combinations like Black/ Silver/ Slime and Navy/ Blue/ Orange.
The Support Frame within the shoe keeps the heel in place for safety and security. XT-900 is a carbon rubber used on the Saucony Hurricane ISO 2. Incorporating this technology enhances durability. Having the RUNDRY collar, runners have mentioned that this is helpful for moisture wicking. The ISOFIT technology makes the upper more flexible and provides a floating support cage. This benefits the runner by reducing any bunching or creasing during the run. The weight of this shoe is around 10.8 ounces. Along the collar of the shoe reflective materials have been added to increase safety and visibility.
Brooks Beast 14
Brooks is a lesser known brand that is fully dedicated for runners and outdoors enthusiasts. Out of the Brooks line of shoes, the Brooks Beast 14 have been called the most stable and supportive of shoes in this list. Great cushioning, support, and stability ensures less impact on the ankles and knees of runners. The mesh and rubber sole allow for breathability of the foot. Uniquely to this shoe, it helps those with flat feet achieve the comfort, support and stability that can be hard to find.
The Brooks Beast 14 can come in color combinations like Electric/ Pavement/ Silver or Silver/ Black/ Gold. The length from the heel to the drop toe is 12mm. It’s an optimal choice for those with moderate to severe overpronation. The BioMoGo midsole and DNA Cushioning Gel technology creates ultimate comfort and adaptability to the runner’s style. Element Mesh and Element Lining have been incorporated into the shoe to aid in water repelling and breathability for cooling effects. Although this shoe has weighed in at being on the heavier side compared to its competitors, the water repelling materials play into effect when there may be added weight from waterlogging during a rainy run or puddles. Added stability comes from the Beast 14’s Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (EPDR) which sits in the midsole. This added support helps those runners who overpronate. Some users have claimed the support within this shoe has helped those with chronic knee pain. This comes from the support of the rollbar along with the sturdiness of the under-arch support.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
- Double Fan Wave Technology
- U4icX strobel board for more underfoot comfort
- Breathable Upper
- 8.9 oz 12 mm ramp
- Available in widths
Mizuno is an extremely popular sporting brand that prides themselves in the advancement of sporting equipment. The Mizuno Wave Inspire 12’s AIRmesh fabric offers breathability. Double Fan Wave Technology helps make sure your running experience is both odorless and flexible. Popularity of this shoe has come from runners who look for stability and control. The Wave technology is a signature to Mizuno as it is a plastic plate within the shoe that disperses the shock impact.
The Wave plate adds additional support for the arch. A variety of uneven terrains can be tackled in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 because of the Wave plate and durable carbon rubber on the outsole. U4icX technology has been implemented as an improvement from the SR Touch foam from older models for improved cushioning. Weighing approximately 10.6 ounces which is slightly heavier than previous models although that does add to its stability. Airmesh, OrthoLite, and Intercool technologies provide breathability and ventilation. These technologies also help combat moisture while still providing comfort and cushion. The shaft measures approximately 3.3” from the arch.
Colors the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 come in are Surf the Web/ Silver or Periscope/ Green Flash. Something to note about the Mizuno Wave inspire 12 is that they have a 12mm heel-to-toe drop. For some runners this may be daunting since it is larger than average and raises concerns of injury. This height comes from the added stability of the Wave plate within the shoe so while it is higher the implementation of the Wave plate can balance the difference.
New Balance 990 V4
- Lace-up running shoe featuring breathable-mesh upper with supportive-leather overlays
- Blown rubber outsole. Dual-density collar foam
- ENCAP PU ring with EVA core in heel
New Balance is another brand that I’m sure most of you are familiar with, and believe it or not they have been dedicated to running and workout enthusiasts since their start in 1906! Made in the USA. Built by American workers in New England. Upper made out of a combination of pigskin and mesh. The New Balance 990 V4 comes in a variety of colors like Black, Alpha Red, UV Blue, and many more.
An improved tongue design with a lace keeper helps keep the shoes tongue in place. Weight of 13.6 ounces. An approximate 12mm drop. Blown rubber outsole with dual density collar foam. ENCAP technology provides support and durability around the midsole. Encap PU ring with EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) core. The 990’s style has lasted for 30 years proving the shoes craftsmanship and durability is iconic for New Balance. Purchasers have mentioned the great comfort they have experienced wearing these shoes. That being said, there is a reason that these shoes are some of the longest running series of running shoes in the world!
The New Balance 990 V4 comes with great lateral, roll, and ankle support. These features provide comfort and support throughout, cushioning the impact. Overall the New Balance 990 V4 running shoes are an excellent choice to make sure your knees are protected, and you’re back out there on a run as soon as possible! This is a great choice of running shoes if you are concerned about midsole support, along with overall comfort.
Final Thoughts on Running Shoes for Bad Knees
Overall runners who are looking for running shoes that will help with their bad knees should look for shoes with a variety of different qualities. First and foremost knowing your running style, or gait, will help in knowing what qualities are most important as well as certain specific shoes that would be best. Qualities to take into account are comfort, support, durability, traction, and performance. In addition, identifying your running gait between overpronation, underpronation, and neutral. The Asics Gel-Kayano 23, Saucony Hurricane ISO 2, Brooks Beast 14, Mizuno Wave Inspire 12, and New Balance 990 V4 are 5 running shoes that have been described above are some of the highest rated and reviewed running shoes. They can aid in knee pain and increase the running experience. These shoes could help pain in knees, ankles, and joints which ultimately creates for a more enjoyable experience and performance for runners.
Jamie is a running addict and gym junkie. He trains 7 days per week and is currently doing an MA in nutrition and sports science