The Best Running Shoes for Back Pain in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Running is a great way to exercise and maintain good health. Add to that the plethora of studies lately that prove running can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some cancers.

But it’s not all cupcakes and beer while running. One of the most common running injuries is runner’s knee, also called patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFS). According to a recent study, knee injuries are the leading cause of running-related pain. Another study showed that back injuries are more common in runners than in cyclists.

For that reason, many runners wear backpacks or running shoes with additional support to avoid knee and back injuries. Especially as the weather cools down, it’s best to wear a pair of sneakers that provide extra safety. The following article reviews the best running shoes for back pain based on our experience and features a buying guide that explains when to buy running shoes with support.

NameCategoryProduct
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running ShoeBest OverallHOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe
Saucony Women's Liberty IsoBudget PickSaucony Women's Liberty Iso
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

1. HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

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Grey/Orange, 10.

The Hoka One One Bondi 6 is a lightweight men’s running shoe. It has a breathable mesh upper with FlyteFoam midsole cushion coupled with the Rapid Rebound and E.V.A. foam sock liner.

The Bondi 6 has a responsive forefoot and the high-traction sticky rubber Mafate outsole. It also features an Ortholite insole for a comfortable fit.

2. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • 7000 series high strength TPU mid sole
  • Lightweight and breathable upper
  • Flexible and cushioning
  • Highly-reinforced mesh upper
  • Waterflow technology
  • 9mm drop

3. New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • High-performance design
  • Great cushioning and traction
  • New upper design with mesh and support from the webbing and midsole
  • Comfortable and lightweight

New Balance is known for their comfort running shoes, which makes this the choice of many athletes. This brand offers shoes for various kinds of needs, from basic training to everyday walking. This particular shoe is their top-of-the-line performance product that the company claims has up-to-date technology and design – perfect for distance runners.

The Fresh Foam 1080 is equipped with an aggressive outsole that enhances grip and durability. It comes with a breathable mesh coupled with a spilt suede, with a variety of bright color options.

The Fresh Foam 1080 provides one of the best levels of responsiveness and cushioning a runner could ask for, thanks to its fantastic level of support and responsiveness.

4. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Well-priced
  • Wide selection of color options

New Balance made a lot of running geeks pretty excited when they released its Fresh Foam 1080 V10. It comes with a new version of the Fresh Foam midsole technology called Fresh Foam Varial which provides extra cushioning in the heel.

It comes in an attractive design with a breathable mesh upper that can be worn for indoor and outdoor runs. The interior is cushioned and features a ton of support for a more comfortable run.

Additionally, the midsole provides both cushioning and stability so you can run comfortably on even the toughest surfaces. Furthermore, it features New Balance Adaptive Traction outsole which provides edging stability and roll forward propulsion. The sole also includes 3mm carbon rubber lugs with 10mm siping to improve traction on a variety of surfaces.

5. On Men's Cloudflyer Sneaker

Our rating: 9 / 10

On Men's Cloudflyer Sneaker

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Pros:

  • The Cloud technology provides superb cushioning
  • The durable construction ensures a long-lasting life
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • During running the shoes hug the arch and provide a good mid-foot stability
  • The firm heel counter and tongue keep the foot in place
  • Right amount of cushioning and stability with soft material
  • Very lightweight
  • Good build quality
  • One size fits all (there are two lace holes for bigger feet)

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, it’s not the best for speed training since it is not built for pronation
  • Walking is a bit slippery
  • Too flexible for sprinting
  • Non-replaceable insole
  • You cannot adjust the laces

On Women's Cloudflyer Sneaker From Brooks.

The Brooks Cloudflyer is the latest update of the successful Ghost/Cloud platform. Clearly, the shoe is a hit: it won the Runner’s World Shoe of the Year award in 2015.

6. Saucony Men's Liberty Iso

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Liberty Iso

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Pros:

  • Great comfort and support
  • Good breathability
  • Good looks and high quality
  • Great traction

Cons:

  • Lack laces
  • Narrow

The Saucony Men’s Liberty ISO 2 Running Shoes are an excellent option for difficult back problems. They combine great support with comfort owing to their lightweight and breathable construction. But they also come with a reasonable price tag. This is the main reason that even if you are not a serious runner, they will make a wise choice as any runner should be.

The Saucony shoes are lightweight and breathable – both key components that you will be looking for in a running shoe for back problems. The mesh fabric covers most of the upper. This provides excellent breathability and helps to keep your feet cool and dry.

The IsoShox heel will provide you the support you need, especially if you are suffering from a back problem. This technology is inspired by the shin guard extension, which is usually found in high-performance sports. It is very effective in relieving pain and improving performance.

7. on Cloudflyer Waterproof

Our rating: 8 / 10

on Cloudflyer Waterproof

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Pros:

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Great for city runners
  • Stylish design with color options
  • Dual layer mesh made
  • Sturdy grip in any weather
  • Adjustable laces, cushioned insoles
  • Multiple sizes for women
  • Good quality & price
  • Free from heavy odor

Cons:

  • Break-in period needed
  • Not good for trail running
  • Grab a half size up, the price is worth it
  • Outer sole can be abraded over time
  • Buckles are sometimes unreliable

The Cloudflyer’s cushioning, durability, and stability are enough to earn them our top pick for running shoes for women in 2020.

The Michelin-brand Air Power midsole means you’ll be getting a stable and shock-absorbing part of your shoe. Unlike a common misconception, a thicker midsole does not directly translate to a heavier shoe.

The Cloudflyer blends this medium thickness and thinness to offer a perfect balance of a sturdy shoe that is still lightweight enough to allow a runner to move fast and efficiently.

8. HOKA ONE ONE Mens Arahi Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Arahi Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Wide toe box
  • It has an ultra-flexible and lightweight midsole
  • Great cushioning and heel support
  • Its customized Ortholite insole provides superior comfort and support
  • Very good arch support
  • Highly durable

Cons:

  • A little bit heavy. This should be expected because of the quality
  • A bit pricey for a shoe with limited durability. You may need to buy a new pair of these every six months

HOKA ONE ONE has produced another excellent shoe in the Arahi. This is an excellent option for those looking for a quality footwear that will provide ample support and comfort.

The Arahi has a low-profile platform which makes it very lightweight and flexible making it perfect for those who want a less bulky shoe than the other Hoka models.

Some of the features that make this pair stand out are the zero drop design, ultra-lightweight foam midsole, and a very comfortable lacing system that makes it a solid option for those with excess plantar fasciitis.

9. Saucony Women's Liberty Iso

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Women's Liberty Iso

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Pros:

  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Very comfortable
  • Cushioned midsoles and lightweight
  • Energy-returning Ride-9 Nylon with a triple offset pattern
  • The shock absorption in the heel is rather impressive

Cons:

  • You may have to order it on Amazon or REI
  • The sizing is off: order one size larger than your usual size

The Saucony Women’s Liberty Iso 2 Running Shoes are a pair of neutral running shoes that are available in a wide variety of colors. It comes with a mesh upper and abrasion-resistant overlays that are made from synthetic materials, as well as a reflective trim for added safety when running during the day/night.

It has a thick slanted medial post that looks more like a hump, which provides an interesting striking design. It also has a textured injection-molded SRC midsole which reduces midsole deformation for good energy return.

These running shoes have a unique Ride-9 Nylon that is a combination of nine materials that provides optimal support and bending. It also comes with full-length Ameriwear technology that limits the change of roll-over so you can bounce off the road.

10. ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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The ALTRA Women’s Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe is our pick for the best running shoes for back pain in 2020 and for good reason. It’s very comfortable, has an anti-microbial treatment to prevent odor, and comes in a wide range of sizing options.

With a standard fit, these shoes are perfect for those with wide or narrow feet. Plus, it comes in sizes ranging from 5-14. There’s also a removable insole, so it is easy to switch out for another if needed. While it is not for running at its highest level, this shoe is perfect for beginners and those who want to casually walk or jog.

The ALTRA shoes are incredibly lightweight with an upper made out of breathable mesh. The midsole is made of foam with a little bit of compression protection and support.

11. ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh uppers
  • Highly breathable mesh uppers
  • Moisture-wicking fabric linings
  • Lightweight cushioned EVA midsole
  • Rubber outsole
  • Deep flex grooves provide maximum flex and a smooth running
  • Polished design
  • Breathable mesh uppers
  • Highly breathable mesh uppers
  • Moisture-wicking fabric linings

Cons:

  • Not the best option for the long distance runners
  • Pricey
  • Not the best option for the long distance runners
  • Pricey

The Altra Men’s ALM1948G Paradigm runs with a lightweight, cushioned EVA midsole. It has deep flex grooves provide maximum flex and a smooth running.

It has a polishing design with a rubber outsole. The Paradigm has an overall height of 10.0, weight of 7.9 ounces, and a width of 23 mm.

12. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Elevon Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Elevon Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Secure lace pocket for better fit
  • Great value
  • Cushioned feel
  • Good quality upper
  • Overall stability and traction
  • Highly recommended by beginners
  • Very little concern about getting blisters
  • Has great arch support

Cons:

  • The laces are a little short
  • Can’t wear these with wider ankles

Hoka One One is known for their popular midsole technology called ECCO. In fact, it is the lightest midsole you can find on the market. The Hoka One One Elevon Running Shoe is no exception. It comes in with a 19mm stack height which is the lightest you can find in a stability shoe.

The real appeal of the Hoka One One Elevon Running Shoe is its awesome cushioning and support. It feels so comfortable from the moment you out it on. Thanks to the amazing midsole technology.

The thing that most appealed to us was the fact that it had a decent arch support and great cushioning. The reason why this shoe is ideal for beginners is because of all the cushioning it offers. Most running shoes on the market don’t actually have enough cushioning. We were pretty impressed with how well the Elevon Running Shoe handled even long runs and runs on different terrains.

13. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Elevon Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Elevon Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Lateral support
  • Beautiful design
  • Forged midsole
  • Great cushioning
  • Fits Comfortably
  • Supports mild to moderate pronation
  • Wide toe box
  • Good heel support and cushioning

HOKA One One has built an excellent reputation for high-quality being durable and amazingly comfortable shoes. The HOKA One One Women’s Elevon Running Shoe combines many features of HOKA ONE ONE’s favorite running shoes to create a very durable, comfortable, and attractive running shoe.

One of the things that you’re going to notice about this running shoe is the special mid-foot Bridge Rocker Structure. The Bridge Rocker Structure combined with the flexible FluidRide midsole provides the shoe with a very quick and smooth ride on any surface.

HOKA ONE ONE has also placed a higher density cushion in the heel to absorb any shock that is transmitted from the ground up to the rest of your foot.

14. HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Great for long distance running
  • Comes with a variety of colors

The HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 is an excellent running shoe for both men and women. It’s extremely lightweight and comfortable and is meant for long distance and endurance runners.

The Bondi 6 has a relatively new design that provides more versatility, style, and lightweight cushioning.

This particular shoe has a shape that conforms to the natural shape of the foot for unmatched comfort and stability while the upper is equipped with synthetic overlays for durability and a secure fit.

15. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Made out of an extremely light yet durable fabric
  • Excellent cushion & support system
  • Breathable in the hot summer sun
  • Works as a great entry level running shoes for beginners
  • Lightweight enough to make training fun again
  • An excellent choice for long haul jogging as well as cross-training and street running

Cons:

  • The design is not for wide-feet women
  • Requires a little breaking-in period
  • Not ideal for high-energy running

The Hoka One One Arahi 2 Shoes are really one of a kind in its class. They are extremely lightweight because of the special breathable high-performance fabric used in construction of Arahi 2.

These shoes are specially designed with a narrow heel, well-contoured toepox and wide forefoot. Some of the other features of Hoka One One Arahi 2 Shoes include a centered lacing system, a military grade rubber outsole and a breathable mesh upper.

Last but not the least the shoes are extremely ergonomic, which is why they have the tendency to come off faster than normal running shoes. The design is air-centric and feels different than normal shoes. It has an ergonomic feel and fused material.

16. ALTRA Women's AL0A4VR2 Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Women's AL0A4VR2 Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • The ultra-lightweight design makes it comfortable and easy for running
  • The cushioning is plush; there’s no unnecessary stress on your feet or knee joints
  • You can use them for everyday running and for wear at the gym
  • Features a double stitch synthetic leather upper
  • They’re durable, sturdy, and flexible
  • The price is also affordable
  • Easily adjustable and comfortable
  • They accommodate feet with high and low arches well
  • Offers maximum stability when worn
  • It has a roomy toe box

Cons:

  • It may be too lightweight and not as durable for joggers considering the miles they put on their shoes
  • The sole may not be thick enough for extreme running
  • It’s style may not be optimal for all runners

The ALTRA Women’s AL0A4VR2 Torin 4.5 Plush is a light running shoe for women designed to give you a comfortable, bump-free run. This shoe is an excellent choice for high or low arched feet that require a soft enough support.

17. ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQT Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQT Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Minimalist design
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable and flexible enough to be used even after an intense workout
  • Can be worn all day long
  • Has good arch and heel support
  • Generous toe box
  • Doesn’t require a lot of break-in time
  • Lightweight
  • Has a simple design that doesn’t look bulky

Cons:

  • Could use more cushioning
  • The arch support isn’t great
  • Some users complained about the shoes frame breaking
  • The upper mesh material is not high-quality
  • The laces are also sub-par

Even though they are designed for running, these shoes are versatile enough to be worn for various activities including all kinds of exercise, Crossfit, weightlifting, and even walking. Reviews show that mostly regular runners and fitness enthusiasts love them and only a few wear them for Crossfit.

18. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Plush and padded cushioning with rotational chassis
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Lacing system is incredible
  • Amazing grip on trails
  • The shoe is on a wide spectrum of weight from 11 oz to 14 oz
  • Shock and impact protection
  • Breathable and comfortable

Cons:

  • The heel is a bit narrow and it takes time to break into it
  • Overly narrow toe box
  • It’s a bit stiff
  • Some complained about heel slippage

Hokas are incredibly comfortable shoes. You may not realize how comfortable they are until you wear on of these shoes. The Clifton is one of the most popular shoes on the market, and it’s for a reason. It provides you with great traction on trails, and exceptional shock absorption and foot protection due to the dual air chamber tech, and the slingshot ABS plate.

The Clifton has an amazing lacing system, which gives the shoe a stable and lasting fit. Don’t be afraid to tighten the laces a bit more to make sure the shoes are on your feet tight enough to provide support. The Clifton is a breathable shoe which doesn’t allow the foot to heat up. It’s built with nice cushioning because the foam, which creates an impact protection layer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best running shoes for a bad back?

The best running shoes for a bad back are going to depend on your individual anatomy of course, but a few traits nearly every good running shoe will have.

A lot of people find that neutral running shoes work best for them. These types of shoes do not have a lot of arch support. They are designed to have a midfoot striking motion so that you absorb the shock of your feet landing during a run.

If you need more support than a simple neutral shoe they will usually have a good pair of running shoes that are made for the overpronator as well. These usually have some negative heel engineering as well as some stability to help absorb the shock.

The best running for back pain is going to be dependent on your needs. Be sure to get the right running shoes for your needs so that you do not suffer any further back issues.

What is the best running shoe 2021?

Running is one of the best forms of exercise, helping to develop everything from your cardiovascular system to your muscle tone. But you can hurt your feet severely if you run in incorrect gear, such as unsuitable shoes or slippered clothing. In fact, there are numerous instances before is when you can get back problems, and not least from running.

One thing, though, to be aware of is that running shoes specific for back pain are not for everybody. The recovery shoes suggested here do indeed help your feet, but you need to recognize that they arenʼt for everybody. Also realize that these are designed specifically for pounding, so if you need a walking shoe, then these arenʼt appropriate for you, as they will not help.

That said, this collection of shoes are excellent for helping you eventually get accustomed to running. Moreover, they have other benefits too, which our section will cover in full.

What are the best shoes to wear for lower back pain?

It is important to start with comfortable shoes when you exercise. Shoes that give you the comfort you need from heel to toe are important. Shoes that have enough cushioning are ideal as well. Choose shoes that fit you properly and are of the right style, color and size. Depending on the brand, the upper of the shoe may or may not be breathable. You will find out that this may not be the case when you are performing some of your daily activities. Breathable uppers ensure that your foot stays well ventilated and it makes for a comfortable shoe.

Some shoe brands have uppers that are very breathable and this is something you should check.

Can Good shoes help back pain?

Back pain (or lumbar pain) is a very debilitating condition that affects many. The root of the pain is usually muscular, but it can also be from an arthritic component. Regardless of the cause, pain can be quite unpleasant and limiting.

It is estimated that up to 80% of the world’s population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Therefore, if a shoe can help alleviate back pain, you can be sure you are not alone.

Back pain can strike suddenly and go away, but it can also continue for a long time. Therefore, finding a product that helps to improve your posture and eliminate unnecessary stress on the back is an important consideration.

Conclusion

This means that you can actually use them for running on various terrains, whether it’s a dirt path, a track, or gravel. That means they’re also among the best running shoes for relieving back pain.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running ShoeBest OverallHOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe
Saucony Women's Liberty IsoBudget PickSaucony Women's Liberty Iso
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe