Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees

With so many options to choose from, finding the best running shoes can be super tricky. Things get even harder when a runner has bad knees.

Now there is even more need to find a suitable pair of shoes that provide enough comfort, support, and stability to reduce how sore the runner's knees feel.

Knee pain can happen to any runner. It can happen when new runners do too much too soon, when experienced runners work too hard, or simply when runners have a pre-existing condition. These instances can be very unfortunate, but there are solutions.

If you suffer from bad knees and want a great pair of running shoes, you’re in the best place. The solution to bad knees is a reliable pair of running shoes that combat the pain. In this article, we will show you the best on offer.

Here, you’ll find a list of the best running shoes for bad knees. You also find answers to commonly asked questions and a useful buyer’s guide that will help you make a decision. 

Let’s jump straight into the list, shall we!


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The first running shoes on our list are a great option for anybody looking for a reliable pair of running shoes without having to break the bank. 

A wonderful budget option, the Gel-Venture 7 running shoes from ASICS are available in 24 different colors and styles suiting both men and women. More importantly, they are comfortable, versatile, and offer plenty of support.

This well-designed running shoe's best feature has to be the hugely popular GEL cushioning system found in the forefoot and rearfoot.

This feature is important because it helps the shoe absorb the shock and pressure from running. Not only that but this allows you to run smoothly and with little to no pain. 

Thanks to the durable rubber soles on these running shoes, they are perfect for a wide range of running styles. Whether you like to road run or trail run, these shoes will have you covered. 

When we took a closer look at these shoes, we were pleased with the overall comfort and stability the shoe offered as well as the stylish designs they come in. 


  • Attractive design - You’ll look great in these shoes.
  • Brilliant cushioning - The Gel-Venture running shoes have more than enough cushioning. 
  • Offer smooth transitions - Running becomes a lot smoother with these shoes.


  • Flimsy laces - Some users have noted that the laces on these shoes are quite flimsy.

Also available at


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It isn’t uncommon to see running shoes for bad knees become quite heavy as a result of extra cushioning and support. With the Glycerin 18 running shoes, Brooks makes sure this isn’t an issue.

Packed with great amounts of cushioning, this Brooks running shoe has more than enough protection for runners with bad knees but still has that lightweight feel we look for in a pair of running shoes.

Also very versatile and durable, these shoes can be worn on shorter runs or even on casual days out. That’s not all though, they also offer enough support and comfort for when you want to really up your mileage on more intense runs. 

Built with DNA Loft technology, the super-soft cushioning in these shoes adapts to every step providing quick and reliable responsiveness.

This prevents your feet from straining which in turn protects your knees from the pressure of pounding the pavement. 

The shoe’s transition zone also works wonders when absorbing shock. 

We loved the OrthoLite sock liner that came with these shoes. This liner provides even more premium comfort which is exactly what you need.


  • Awesome cushioning - The Glycerin 18s have loads of cushioning features.
  • Durable - These shoes were made to last.
  • Lightweight - This pair of running shoes comes with everything we need but still feel lightweight on our feet.


  • Pricey - These trainers are quite expensive. 

Also available at


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Available in both men’s and women’s sizes and a host of different styles, the One One Bondi 7s from Hoka provides some serious cushioning that helps to combat any discomfort or pain people with bad knees suffer with.

This specific model of Hoka running shoe features an impressive 43.5 mm of cushioning right at the heel. This cushioning offers ultimate protection and comfort no matter what style of running you enjoy. 

While this Hoka shoe is considered to be a more neutral shoe, it has support and stability features that make it very suitable for runners who struggle with mild overpronation (when your foot rolls inwards as you walk).

To ensure the runner's foot is guided into the correct running position, despite its comfort, the Bondi 7s are surprisingly stiff. This is great because it helps us run correctly, potentially avoiding any discomfort.

When we reviewed the Hoka One One Bondi 7 running shoe, it was clear to see that Hoka has really thought about comfort and smooth transitions. The base of the shoe has a steady curved shape.

This curved design assists in smooth transitions, again making sure we feel comfortable and don’t feel the full force of each run. 


  • Suits all types of running - Whether you run off-road or on-road, this shoe is perfect. 
  • Strong support - The Bondi 7s offer solid and reliable support.
  • Offers arch support - The strong midfoot protection gives us more arch support.


  • Expensive - This is another expensive shoe.

Also available at


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This next running shoe on our list is the Fresh Foam 1080 V11 running shoe from New Balance.

Available in sizes and styles that suit both men and women, this sleek shoe provides high levels of support for not only your knees but also other issues like plantar fasciitis and shin splints. 

The midsole cushioning found within the shoe is precisely engineered to provide every runner with an ultra-cushioned, comfortable, and lightweight ride.

The upper part of the shoe is cleverly designed to hug your foot to provide a more supportive fit.

Despite being snug to your foot, thanks to the upper’s mesh design, excellent breathability is guaranteed. This helps make your run even more enjoyable. 

The supportive toe cap and new heel cup, also offer great stability and extra levels of comfort. 

The Fresh Foam 1080 V11s tend to run in wide sizes, so those with wider feet will appreciate the shoe's design. 

When testing this shoe out, we were pleased with the results. Aching knees will love how your feet sink into the plush lining of the shoe, giving runners the most comfortable experience. 


  • Super comfortable - These running shoes are lovely and plush.
  • Assist a more natural running experience - The low heel-to-toe drop on this shoe provides a more natural running experience.
  • Breathable - This running shoe keeps your feet feeling fresh. 


  • Sits low on the ankle - The 1080 V11s sit quite low down on the ankle. 

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The final running shoe on our list is the perfect proof that we don’t have to spend obscene amounts of money to find a running shoe that offers high-quality comfort and support. 

The Saucony Versafoam Cohesion 13 running shoe looks great and performs well thanks to a number of neat features that ensure comfort, stability, and support.

One main design feature these shoes come with is Versarun cushioning technology. This technology is crucial when it comes to shoes absorbing shock and reducing the impact our joints feel when we run on the road or a sidewalk.

The shoe also has a reinforced upper mesh that works wonders when it comes to keeping your feet dry and protected. This mesh also offers impressive breathability.

Also very well cushioned, it’s quite a surprise just how lightweight these shoes feel. When we tried the shoes out, we were expecting them to be quite heavy because of all the features and cushioning they come with.

However, they were the complete opposite. 

Great for marathon runners, casual runners, and anyone looking for an affordable pair of reliable, comfortable running shoes, you can’t go wrong with the Saucony Versafoam Cohesion 13 running shoes if you have bad knees.


  • Variety of styles - There are 12 different styles to choose from.
  • Lightweight - These shoes feel wonderfully lightweight.
  • Well-cushioned - These shoes are very comfortable.


  • Not many wide sizes - Those of you with extra wide feet will struggle to find a shoe that fits.

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Buyer’s Guide

When you’re looking for any type of running shoe, there are a number of things you have to think about.

When you’re looking for a more specialized shoe that has to offer you certain things to guarantee comfort and the protection of your knees, these things become even more important.

In this buyer’s guide, you will find the key factors you have to consider before making a final decision. By considering the following factors, you will be able to make a decision you won’t later regret.

Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees


When it comes to running shoes that suit runners with bad knees, easily the most important thing to think about is how well-cushioned the shoe is.

Shoes that have an abundance of cushioning will absorb the shock and pressure that results from your feet hitting the ground. By doing this, you won’t feel any of the force. This makes your run more enjoyable and properly supported. 

You should look for specific features the shoe manufacturer offers. This could include things like GEL cushioning or DNA Loft technology. These types of features are good signs that a shoe is well-cushioned and supportive. 


You have to find a pair of running shoes that fit you perfectly. Even if you find a pair of running shoes that come with all the neat features you look for, if they don’t fit, they won’t work.

Shoes that are too small for you will cause pain and discomfort. Shoes that are too big for you will cause the same problems and potentially lead to you falling over and hurting yourself.

When choosing a pair of running shoes, they should fit perfectly straight out of the box. There should be no break-in period. You should also have plenty of room to wiggle your toes at the end of the shoe.

If you’re unsure how to find the right fit, you could always visit a physical therapist. They will evaluate your feet and determine the exact type of shoe you need. 


Another key factor you need to take into consideration is how durable the running shoe is. A durable running shoe will give you unparalleled support and comfort for years to come without any cushioning and support wearing out.

Shoes that aren’t durable will wear out quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be back to square one. 

To avoid this, we recommend looking for a shoe that has sturdy rubber soles. Strong rubber soles will hold up better to the abrasion and pounding the shoes receive from runners running on harder surfaces.

Again, features such as DNA Loft technology and GEL cushioning are good signs that a shoe is durable and reliable.

Reputable Brand

Though it isn’t always about buying from the biggest brand, when it comes to buying a product we know we can rely on it can be worth taking a look at how reputable the brand is.

For example, New Balance is an extremely big brand with a strong reputation for producing high-quality sporting essentials. 

Bearing this in mind, it could be a good idea to consider who you’re buying from. If you don’t know who the company is, you might want to take a look at their reviews first.

This will give you a better impression of how they operate and how reliable their products are. 

Having said this, while it is great buying off the big brands, they do sometimes charge more just because they can. 


Running shoes vary enormously in price. Some running shoes will only cost you $50, while others will cost you $300. This can make life extremely difficult for you if you don’t already have a budget in mind. 

By not having an idea regarding how much you’re willing to spend, you can easily spend way too much money on a pair of running shoes that aren’t actually what you need. 

The best thing to do is to first work out how much money you are willing to spend on your shoes. When you have this figure in mind, you can head to the market with a clear target.

This will allow you to filter out any shoes you can’t afford, quickly finding the ones you can.

From here, you can save time and buy a pair of running shoes that fit your budget nicely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Running Shoes Increase Knee Pain?

Yes, running shoes can absolutely increase knee pain if they are worn incorrectly or don’t suit the individual. Worn-out or improper running shoes can easily result in knee pain. This can happen for a number of reasons. 

The shoe might not fit properly causing discomfort and a wrong running position. The shoe might not cushion your feet enough, leading to your body taking the full force of the run.

Finally, the shoe might cause you to trip and move awkwardly, potentially causing further injury. 

To prevent this from happening, it is always a good idea to get a specialist in a running store or a physical therapist to help you find the right shoe. They will look at your gait and work out which shoe suits your feet best.

Can Running Help Your Bad Knees?

While running can make your knees feel sore and painful, it is also believed to help relieve pain if the correct shoes are worn.

There are a number of experts that believe weight-bearing exercises like running can actually prevent conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in the knees. 

The reason for this is that repetitive motions work wonders on the joints in our knees. Therefore, regular running is perfect. 

Running is also a great way to increase strength in your bones and joints. Interestingly, frequent running has also been shown to increase the levels of fluid in your knees. This helps keep your knees moving smoothly.

What Exercises Are Good For Runners That Have Bad Knees?

Runners who suffer or have suffered in the past from knee pains can perform a number of different exercises to improve their condition. While there are plenty of exercises you can perform on your own, we first recommend visiting a physical therapist.

A physical therapist will give you advice and show you the exercises that will benefit you most. They will also show you the correct way to do each exercise.

Some exercises a physical therapist might tell you to do include side leg lifts, bird dog, leg swings, and low lunges.

Final Thoughts

Finding running shoes most suitable for you when you have bad knees can be difficult, but by knowing what to look for and where to look, picking the right pair out is possible.

For runners with bad knees, running shoes that are comfortable, well-cushioned, offer plenty of support, and unparalleled stability are a must.

While there are many options on the market to choose from, some running shoes stand out more than others. In this article, we have provided you with five of the very best.

Every shoe on our list comes with specific design features that suit runners with bad knees. In some shoes, this might just be some extra cushioning. In others, this might be a specialized sole that guarantees a correct running style.

Either way, we are confident that at least one pair of running shoes on our list will suit exactly what you’re looking for. 

Now that you’ve had a good look at our list and know what to bear in mind when looking, take your time to start narrowing down your options. By doing this, you should be able to find a shoe that suits exactly what you’re looking for.

Megan Rinzel
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