The Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Do you know what’s weird?

I’ll tell you what’s weird. There are tons of shoe brands that have decent reviews, manufacturers that have a stellar reputation, shoes that look good, and running shoes that promise to fix your problems. So, why, then, do so many people choose their shoes wrong?

You have an issue with your knees or ankles? I know some people who had it so bad that they were forced to give up their favorite sports.

In many cases, it did not have to be this way.

It is a common problem and if you know what to look for, you can avoid falling victim to the same fate.

Please read on to learn how you can find the best running shoes for bad knees. We’ll also include helpful information on how to choose a good pair. Below, you will also find a buyer’s guide to help you get started.

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Men's Glycerin 18Best OverallBrooks Men's Glycerin 18
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

1. Brooks Men's Glycerin 18

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Men's Glycerin 18

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Pros:

  • The Brooks Glycerin 18 offers an amazing feel and responsiveness when running
  • It has a broad comfort base for extra support and protection
  • Ideal for shorter runs because of the cushion
  • It includes an integrated insole

Cons:

  • It is not ideal for longer runs because it is not as stable as others
  • Not recommended if you want a smooth road experience or want to maximize speed

2. HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great for recovery
  • Firm midsole provides great shock absorption
  • Durable shoe
  • Waterproof and heat-resistant

Cons:

  • Firm midsole may be uncomfortable for some
  • May require a short break-in period

This running shoe from Hoka One One is actually an upgrade of the popular Bondi 4. It comes with a firmer midsole, but the shoe retains the original design in terms of color and size options. It also has a breathable upper that keeps the feet cool.

As a result, this shoe is more durable than the Bondi 3. In fact, Hoka One One has held the reputation of being one of the most durable running shoes in the world.

However, the most attractive feature of this shoe is the firm midsole and the extra support it offers. It comes with a solid rocker bottom and a double-layer of midsole foam. The foam has an inverted cone structure and it both absorbs impact and returns energy to the wearer.

3. Brooks Women's Glycerin 18

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Women's Glycerin 18

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Reviewers of the Brooks Glycerin 18 Running Shoe say this shoe provides the ideal combination of support and comfort. It provides a responsive ride – with the carbon rubber outsole propelling feet forward and the flex grooves providing a more nimble feel.

The foot-to-toe drop measures zero, while the stack height is 12mm in the heel and 6mm in the forefoot region. This makes the shoe very lightweight, which is ideal for support and stability. It’s also great at protecting you from painful shock.

Reviews show that the shoe is very comfortable and fits great. The toe box fits comfortably without being restrictive and it’s flexible. The ankle collar is flexible and comfortable, while the tongue is positioned just right for the natural movement of the foot.

4. ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

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Let’s face it, finding good running shoes can be difficult, especially if you have bad knees. We’ve tested countless shoes, and these happened to make our list. The Asics Women’s Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes are designed specifically for people with previous knee injuries.

They have a medium-to-high arch, with a split medial heel gel. The cushioning is firm, making this shoe appropriate for running on most surfaces.

The Asics Women’s Gel-Kayano’s come in a number of cool colors and have a breathable mesh panels – no more sweaty socks! They’re very warm in the winter and are a welcome change from cold air-filled shoes. The proper cushioning allows a smooth ride and makes them super comfortable!

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

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Outstanding motion control for bad knees
  • Flexible cushioning for all types of weather
  • Sleek design for performance and comfort
  • Wide toe box
  • The best value for your money

Cons:

  • The insole padding doesn’t compress
  • No slip performance

New Balance is a brand known for high-quality comfortable shoes and has been since it first came on the scene in 1908. They are often rated among the top three best running shoe brands by customers. They stand out because they make a variety of different models, so each person can find the right fit. This specific model above is a motion control support running shoe so it’s great for people who need a little extra support for your knees.

The Fresh Foam 1080 v10 is built with low to the ground cushioning for arch support, and it has a sleek design, so these shoes will not look out of place in a business-casual office environment.

Its performance is unparalleled, with a fiber and foam mix to optimize energy return and stability. A wide toe-box is also another important design feature, and without it, comfort is at risk of being compromised.

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

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very light, weighing about 9.4 oz
  • Great comfortable fit
  • Provides excellent traction – good on any terrain, including trails
  • Maximum energy return on each footstep
  • Provides effective impact protection
  • The Clifton 7 has a wider toe box, which is great for folks with wide feet

Cons:

  • The shoe runs wide, so it might be too big for folks with narrow feet
  • The Clifton 7 lacks stability for runners with high arches

When it comes to footwear, Hoka One One has become the leader in the industry. The company has created shoes that deliver an effective running experience for a wide range of runners that would struggle to find comfort in traditional running shoes. These features help runners avoid injury and make running a more enjoyable experience.

The Clifton 7 is ideal for runners with high arches and wide feet.

The Clifton 7 is a low-profile running shoe that has less coverage over the midsole than some of the other shoes in the Clifton Series. This gives your foot a greater degree of freedom and a more natural feeling. The shoe is extremely lightweight, weighing only 7.5 oz. This makes it very light, so it's great for road running and other types of training.

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

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Fits like a glove
  • Feels cushiony and bouncy
  • Great upper
  • Good stability through arch
  • Gives good heel support
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Not good for overpronation
  • Not the greatest among neutral shoes

New Balance is a well-known and reliable brand in the world of exercise and fitness gear. And their shoes for bad knees are no different. This running shoe is great for people with poor arches who need a better platform to land their feet on.

This women’s training shoe is specifically engineered for women runners who need extra support on their arches. But, it doesn’t sacrifice on the quality of performance. It still feels quite light and bouncy, with an ample level of cushioning and support. Your feet won’t hurt in these. No matter how long you have been training or running.

The New Balance women’s running shoe is made with leather uppers and Flywire cables that add support to the arches. The shoes are also equipped with a solid rubber outsole which is great for traction and performance.

8. Saucony Men's Hurricane 22

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Hurricane 22

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Pros:

  • The textile upper is cushioned yet still light
  • The grooving provides good grip
  • The midsole foam has a very good feel
  • The shoe is lightweight yet sturdy at the same time
  • The sole is durable; a great choice for the runner with a high amount of miles under their belt
  • The shoe conforms to your foot and has enough structure to support natural movement and transition into pronation
  • The shoe comes in a variety of sizes
  • It’s a great price
  • The shoe allows enough room for the foot to spread out during application
  • The arch support prevents overpronation

Cons:

  • They are not great for those who have flat feet
  • High arches runners might experience that the arch does not offer enough support

9. ASICS Men's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Men's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Seamless upper with no-sew overlays
  • Sturdy heel and toe box
  • Rubber sole
  • Cushioning is excellent
  • Comfortable throughout the day
  • You can rely on these shoes to give you the support you need
  • Great for runners with bad knees

Cons:

  • Not very sharp looking
  • Some users have had issues with durability

Carbon/Rubber, 10 D(M) US.

The ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes are perfect for runners with bad knees. They have a strong supportive heel for turns and cuts, a sturdy toe box and excellent grip and cushioning throughout the heel and forefoot. The shoes are stylish and very comfortable.

The Carbon/Rubber edition is usually a great pick for a performance pair of running shoes. This particular running shoe is best suited for those who like to jog, or run short distances as well as for joggers who have injuries and need extra support.

10. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Heightens stability for runners who’ve endured knee injuries
  • Seamless Ultralight Air construction with abundant cushioning for runners with pronation control issues
  • Snug and comfortable fit
  • Provides proper arch support to keep your feet supported
  • Guarantee of comfort for multi day usage
  • Stylish and attractive design

The Hoka One One Arahi is a running shoe that’s designed specifically for runners that have suffered injuries to their knees in the past. This is a fairly lightweight shoe that offers a high level of shock absorption.

This is very important if you are recovering from an injury. If your shoes don’t absorb shock well, it can cause pain in your knee.

The Arahi is part of the Clifton series, which is a fantastic line of running shoes. The Clifton series is one of the most stable series of running shoes that are currently on the market.

11. Saucony Women's Hurricane 22 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Saucony Women's Hurricane 22 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Feels like you’re running on a cloud
  • Lightweight, flexible, and great for flat feet
  • Plenty of room for wide feet
  • Excellent arch support
  • Durable and well built
  • Comfortable: the stretchy fabric on the inside is comfortable against the ankle bone
  • Great for flat feet

Cons:

  • Not stylish and colors blend in
  • The tongue is thick and big
  • Might rub between big toe and insole
  • Sizing: runs small, order one size bigger than normal

The Saucony Women’s Hurricane 22 Running Shoe is a lightweight, flexible, running shoe for the flat footed or someone looking for a neutral shoe. It can be used for long runs or jogging.

It has ample room for wide feet, has great arch support, and looks great. Plus, it’s adaptable – the shoe adapts to your foot and you can customize the comfort level.

12. 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:

  • Great for bad knees
  • Comfortable
  • Great for running, sprinting, and sport
  • Waterproof
  • The Mafate rubber outsole is very sturdy
  • Available in a wide variety of colors

Cons:

  • The arch support isn’t that great
  • Some people may find them too bulky

HOKA One One has a new model for running and is one of the best shoes for runners with bad knees.

The Bondi 6 is a great model for running, hiking, and sport – including tennis, soccer, gymnastics, volleyball, and basketball.

The Bondi 6 is made using a mixed upper design that combines a microfiber with synthetics. It is more breathable than synthetics, giving your foot a more natural feel, and it is incredibly light-weight. While using a mesh inner bootie that is highly abrasion-resistant. All together, you have a durable and comfortable shoe for your foot.

13. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Arahi 4 Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Arahi 4 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Offers excellent impact protection
  • Utility cup offers excellent protection while still being lightweight
  • Has a good grip and is comfortable to wear
  • Durable
  • Can easily adjust to running on various surfaces
  • Breathable
  • Minimalist design
  • Can be worn outside the gym

Cons:

  • Can take a few runs to break in the shoes
  • May not be the most durable shoe

Hoka One One introduced the Arahi to the market in 2017, and it was an instant hit. This shoe is already being listed as one of the top running shoes of the year.

The Arahi is a lightweight running shoe aimed at helping runners with knee problems. One of its most useful features is located in the midsole underneath the arch of the foot. This rubber utility cup offers excellent protection while still being lightweight. It’s a handy feature that can be found in pricier running shoes.

The underfoot sole is designed to enhance the natural movements of the foot. The huarache inspired upper is soft and comfortable. The shoe is also breathable, so it provides great ventilation.

14. HOKA ONE ONE Mens Gaviota 2 Walking Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Gaviota 2 Walking Shoe

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Pros:

  • Good for running on different terrains
  • Grippy rubber outsole
  • Comes at a very affordable price
  • Great ankle support

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

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Gaviota 2 Running Shoe

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The HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Gaviota is a neutral cushioned running shoe available in different colors.

As per reviews, it is a great shoe for pronation, comfort, and flexibility. However, it runs a bit narrow with a low stack height, which means you can’t adjust the lacing options. This can be a problem for some athletes.

Additionally, it’s a bit heavy when compared to other running shoes, weighing in at 9.27 ounces. This is mostly due to the midsole foam which is heavy. Other top running shoes have the same weight issues, but this Gaviota model doesn’t have an option for an alternate weight.

16. 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:

  • A large variety of colors
  • Wide toebox
  • Extra cushioning
  • Vertical flex grooves
  • Vibram sole
  • Comes with unique laces
  • Great for long runs
  • Nicely priced
  • Good for wide feet
  • Heel cup for better fit

Cons:

  • Little to no arch support
  • Some say that the toe box runs a bit narrow
  • May Not work well for flat feet

The Hokas are very comfortable to wear. They have expanded toe boxes and a flip-flop feel. There is a widened toe box which helps to avoid bunions and blisters, which is why it is great for runners that have wide feet. There is more room in the toe box than in any other running shoe you can buy.

The heel is nice and firm. It has an internal heel counter which helps to limit overpronation and it also has a tongue that is nicely padded. The arch is shape nicely and the shoe is not bulky at all, it is actually quite lightweight and it feels like a running sneaker.

There is also a lot of cushion, which makes it the most comfortable shoe that you can buy. The cushion is placed in strategic spots and you can feel it as you run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best running shoes for bad knees?

The best running shoes for bad knees are usually the ones that fit well and provide comfort and support necessary to help avoid injury rather than cause injury. The list below is of the best running shoes for bad knees currently.

You can use it as a guideline for finding the best shoes that will work for your stride as a runner with bad knees. Of course, it is necessary for you to consult a physician if you are not sure about your condition before starting an exercise routine.

The list is composed of the best shoes of the year. They have very good support of the ankles and the arch support insole you may want to try out. The shoes are not expensive but they are surely one of the best ones available in the market.

Can running shoes help knee pain?

Running shoes are an often overlooked piece of gear when people think about running related injuries. However, choosing the perfect shoe for you can make a big difference if you are suffering from knee pain.

Pronation is an ankle motion that causes your feet and ankles to roll inward. This happens when your arch flattens out. It helps your body balance. However, this can lead to knee pain in some runners if they don’t have the proper shoes. Those who overpronate are more at risk. Some athletes may need special inserts or surgery to cure their overpronation.

Choosing the right shoe can help prevent future pain and injury. When buying running shoes, try them on and make sure they offer comfort and support. You can identify whether you need orthotics if you can’t keep a neutral foot position.

Can I jog if I have bad knees?

Jogging with bad knees is a great way to build leg strength and improve endurance. With the help of the right shoes and some physical therapy, you can start running by tackling small distances with lots of rests in between. It’s also a great to do if you’re working on strength-building for other parts of your body such as your muscles and your joint support.

The key to running safely with bad knees is to rest the arthritic knee as much as possible, even if it is just a break from walking on it. When you do start taking the load off the knee, try alternating it with the healthy leg, helping to increase strength, flexibility, and to keep you from developing a dominant set of strides on one side.

Is running bad for your knees 2021?

Running is not bad for your knees as long as you follow the principles:

Running is best suited for people who are already strong and healthy. While some people might have natural talent to pick up sports such as running, most people need to get into shape before they can even think about running.

No matter how tough your knees are, running on them is still bad because your knees were not made for running. You might have the best running shoes for bad knees but if you donʼt know your knees, you could still end up with knee injuries and joint pains.

So if you are already healthy, carefully introduce a regular running routine into your life. This is probably the best running shoes for bad knees for men.

Conclusion

Years of heavy use, poor form, and other factors can lead to knee pain while running. Choosing the right running shoes for bad knees can go a long way in easing pain caused by knee inflammation. We’ve chosen the ASICS GEL-Nimbus running shoe as the best option for maximum comfort and support. Learn more by reading our guide to buying the best running shoes for knee pain.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Men's Glycerin 18Best OverallBrooks Men's Glycerin 18
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe