The 9 Best Running Shoes to Buy for Bad Knees in 2018

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Struggling with knee pain every day is bad enough, but when it impacts your ability to exercise, it can truly take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Runners especially can find these aching joints impossible to ignore. But if you’re finding yourself stuck on the sidelines due to knee pain or problems, it might be worth trying out a new pair of shoes. They may not cure the problem, but with the right amount of support and cushioning, you may find yourself feeling stronger and running harder than ever before.

One thing to note: Some people believe running can be bad for your knees, but in fact, recent research has suggested that it might actually keep your joints working smoothly. Of course, it’s always worth checking with your doctor first to get the green light before partaking in strenuous exercises. But in many cases, with the proper footwear, you should be able to work out without fear of worsening your knee problems. Read on for shoe selections that’ll protect your bad knee as you get back to exercising.

Best Overall: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v6

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v6

Courtesy of Amazon

Designed using data from athletes who run at an average pace, New Balance’s 1080 shoe has got real runners’ needs in mind. The brand’s signature Fresh Foam provides exceptional comfort and cushioning, while the shoe’s mesh material and bottom grooves offer flexibility and mobility. Inside, you’ll find a snug sockliner and plenty of room for toes. Overall, it’s lighter than many other shoes while still offering generous support.

Reviewers highly recommend making this purchase, saying that they started to feel less of an impact on their bad knees as soon as they started wearing these sneakers—and in some cases, the shoes eliminated the pain altogether. Plus the lavish support system is so soft, it earns comparisons to pillows. All of these noteworthy features have helped the product earn hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.

Runner-up: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16

This model is built for stability and to prevent overpronation (a type of gait where the feet roll too far inward, causing stabilization and shock absorption issues). The shoe is lightweight and breathable, despite being equipped with plenty of cushioning. And the progressive diagonal rollbar feature helps control pronation and ensures smoother steps.

Several shoppers call this shoe the most supportive they’ve ever bought, and swear that it wiped out their knee (as well as back and hip) pain entirely. While it might be a pricier choice than some other models on the market, it’s a quality product that many say is worth every penny, particularly if you’re a long distance runner.

Best Budget: Saucony Cohesion 10

This neutral running shoe is perfect for everyday running and training. The brand’s unique Heel Grid system provides plenty of cushioning, and the mesh upper material keeps your foot cool and comfortable while you work out. And best of all, the model is surprisingly durable, especially for the more affordable price.

Saucony wearers tend to be loyal followers of the brand. When it comes to this model, they say they’re particularly pleased by the roominess and comfort. Many said that they barely needed time to break these in, as they fit just right on the first wear.

Best for Flat Feet: Wave Inspire 13

Lightweight and flexible, the Wave Inspire 13 is designed to gently cradle your feet. This stability shoe is designed to provide a decent amount of support without adding stiffness or weighing you down. The company even claims that the new midsole will add 33-percent more spring in your step—but you’ll have to test that out for yourself.

Customers say this is one of the best shoe models for people who have flat or wide feet. In addition, the thick layer of cushioning will protect your joints from further damage and keep you running effortlessly, so you’ll be resuming your old workout habits in no time.

Best for High Arches: ASICS GEL-Venture 6

With an outsole that ensures you’ll always have plenty of traction, the GEL-Venture 6 is ideal for running on rugged terrain. But even if you’ll be running on gentler paths, the superb cushioning will absorb shock and keep you moving smoothly. There’s also a removable sockliner so you can insert custom orthotics if your feet require a unique fit.

Runners with bad knees call these shoes a must-have—and in fact love them so much, they tend to avoid taking them off as much as possible. Many who have high arches also say that although they normally need to add support in their sneakers, this version doesn’t require anything to make it more comfortable.

Best for Overpronators: ASICS Gel-Kayano 24

Like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16, these shoes were created to prevent your feet from rolling inward while you work out. ASICS’ Guidance Trusstic System aims to enhance your gait so it’s as efficient as possible, and the Fly Foam technology on the bottom of the shoe adds a bounce to your step.

Overpronators rave about these podiatrist-recommended shoes, saying that they have relieved or eliminated any knee and hip pain caused by their unusual gait. They also say Gel-Kayano shoes have helped other conditions, like plantar fasciitis or overlapping toes. And finally, they add that this model is particularly ideal for people who usually wear out their sneakers, because the gel in the bottom half is able to withstand normal wear and tear. Whatever your reason for purchasing, you can feel safe knowing your legs and feet are well protected.

Best for Underpronators: ASICS GEL-Kinsei 6

The GEL-Kinsei 6 is durable, protective, and ultra responsive to runners’ demands. The midsole contains gel to absorb the shock of impact, providing excellent cushioning and comfort for those with bad knees. And thanks to the brand’s FluidRide technology, you’re sure to feel light on your feet as you work out.

Underpronation (also known as supination) is when the majority of your weight lands on the outside edge of your foot, causing it to roll outwards at the ankle. Too much of this can lead to pain or injury, so it’s important to find a running shoe that compensates for it. For many Amazon shoppers, this is that shoe. They’ve found it provides stability, takes care of their pain, and—best of all—makes them feel like they’re walking on clouds.

Best Cushioning: Hoka One One Bondi 5

Built for hard artificial surfaces, the Bondi 5 is Hoka One One’s most cushioned road shoe yet, coming prepared with a plush midsole that’ll support your legs and feet throughout tough workouts. The innovative design works like a rocking chair, guiding your foot through its natural gait. And on the upper half, breathable mesh fabric keeps cool air flowing while releasing moisture, so your foot stays dry the whole time.

Those who have tried the Bondi 5 are sold, saying it greatly reduces wear and tear on their bad knees, backs, and hips. The superb cushioning keeps their joints from feeling stiff and are worth investing in whether you’ll be running or just standing on your feet for long periods every day.

Best Lightweight: Adidas Supernova

If you’ll be running on rocky or uneven terrain, these trail shoes from Adidas are supportive enough to stabilize your legs while still light enough that they won’t weigh you down. Using the brand’s most responsive cushioning system, you’ll find the shoe provides plenty of energy and traction. Bonus: the mesh top half has a waterline to keep feet dry if you’re running in the rain.

Runners say these shoes are so supportive, they can barely feel the road beneath their feet. It’s one of Adidas’s most comfortable, agile styles and quickly knocks out any aches and pains. And they’re even great for non-runners, as people who are often on their feet all day have also found the shoes beneficial.

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