best running shoes for bad knees

If you are in a hurry, heres what you need to know:

  • Start with strength
  • Dont run too far or too fast
  • Buy some new running shoes

Many runners experience knee pain of some sort during their running career. They may ask themselves what are the best running shoes for bad knees. The term runners knee is an ambiguous term often used to describe a multitude of complaints. If you experience pain when running, stop running and seek the help of a doctor.

If you’ve recovered from the knee pain and are looking get back into running. Take a look at what might have caused your knee pain and try to put in strategies that will prevent it happening again.

New running shoes are always a good idea in my view but choosing the best running shoes for knee pain will likely be only part of the answer.

Most Comfortable

4/5

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V10

New Balance ABZORB forms the midsole of this shoe. That combined with fresh foam technology this shoe is ideal for those who have bad knees. That combined with stability and durability this shoe is ideal for anyone whos joints need a little help to keep the runner running. This she gets a rational rating of 4 stars. 

 

The Best all round

5/5

Hoka One One Clifton 7

The Clifton 7 takes over where the Clifton 6 finished. Its super cushioned and supportive making it a great choice for those runners who suffer with bad knees. The heel counter cups your foot to give you a secure feeling on every step. Its safe to say that Hoka have done it again with this shoe. 

That’s why the Clifton 7 gets the top rational rating of 5 stars.

Best For Stability

4/5

ASICS Men’s GT-2000 8

This is the latest version of this ever popular running shoe from Asics. The technology in the sole has been developed over many years and it shows when you slide the shoe on. The upper has a directional mesh that improves ventilation. The shoe has great stability properties that mean this shoe gets a rational rating of 4 stars.

What Causes Bad or Runners Knee

Runners knee is a term used to describe a number of knee related issues. All associated with the kneecap (the patella). It can strike down fore foot landers or heel strikers.

Its caused by the repetitive stress of the action of running placed upon one or more of the component parts of the knee joint.

One of the common causes of runners knee in new runners is muscle weakness or imbalance prior to the start of exercise.

Running in the wrong shoes can also cause runners knee. Inadequate cushioning or support can place strain on the joints if the muscles are not strong to absorb the pounding of the streets.

Running too much too soon can be an issue for runners of all experience levels. Sticking to the 10% increase rule is important. There’s no shame in increasing weekly mile at a slower rate than that if you’ve had issues in the past with increasing mileage volume.

Runners Knee Support

One of the more common forms of knee pain is known as Patellofemoral Pain (PFP). There are some excellent knee support devices out there (like this one from Posture Swift).

Its quite a common site to see runners out and about wearing one of these. I’ve used one in the past and it definitely helped. I was getting help from a physio to remove the cause of the problem at the same time and I would recommend you do the same.

Prevention of Runners Knee

If you are a new runner or coming back to running after a long time away. You may want to consider a program get you into shape to prepare you for pounding the roads. For me this was walking. I walked the ten thousand steps and more everyday for a year before I started running but this was a little extreme.

Strength should come first when starting or returning to running. A few weeks or months with a specific runners exercises including squats would be a good place to start. Seeking the help of a trainer who can look at you in person (or Zoom) would be ideal for this.

When starting or returning to running short distances at slow paces should be the way forward. Don’t try to recreate the paces you did years ago as that will end in disaster in one way or another.

Maximalist Shoes for Knee Pain

I’m a firm believer that more cushion is better than less when choosing running shoes for training. Hoka One One have been leading the way in this design for many years. Other manufactures are now following suit with mega cushioned shoes. For example the Brooks Adrenaline Gts, ASICS Gel Kayano 27

My views on this come from my experience when I started running. I purchased a relatively cheap pair of running shoes initially as I wasn’t sure if it was something id grow to love as much as I have. When I purchased my second pair of shoes (Hoka Cliftons) I found that my legs would recover quicker and id be in less discomfort after a long run.

When Should You Replace Your Running Shoes

If you’ve started to get knee pain when running, take a look at your shoes. Are they 10 years old, torn and worn out soles? If the pattern has gone from the rubber on the sole and the foam cushion is compressed or cracked. Buy some new running shoes.

The current trend of manufacturers to minimise the rubber on the sole to conserve weight can mean that shoes look worn out before their time. See past this and give them a squeeze. If the foam bounces back they maybe fine. If your not sure take them to a good running store and get some expert advice.

Different Running Shoes

Shoe rotation is a popular idea when considering the prevention of injuries of all types. The thought is that shoes by different manufactures have different characteristics. Changing the complex interaction of these differences and your body may help to change the strain of the repetitive nature of running.

A detailed study was carried out on this subject and it was found that the parallel use of different running shoes can reduce the risk of repetitive injury by 39%. The full report of this very interesting study can be found here

Cadence and Knee Pain

A recent study found that there is a relationship between cadence and the reduce likely hood of knee pain. A summary of which can be found here. The full text can be downloaded from there as well. This study also found that minimalist shoes has a positive impact on knee pain by virtue of the fact that minimalist shoes will help increase and maintain cadence.

An interesting scientific study with definite conclusions. I would still recommend caution when considering minimalist shoes. A slow transition to these shoes is not a bad way to go about testing this approach.

Running Shoes for bad knees

Take a look at these on Amazon

Most Comfortable

4/5

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V10

New Balance ABZORB forms the midsole of this shoe. That combined with fresh foam technology this shoe is ideal for those who have bad knees. That combined with stability and durability this shoe is ideal for anyone whos joints need a little help to keep the runner running. This she gets a rational rating of 4 stars. 

 

The Best all round

5/5

Hoka One One Clifton 7

The Clifton 7 takes over where the Clifton 6 finished. Its super cushioned and supportive making it a great choice for those runners who suffer with bad knees. The heel counter cups your foot to give you a secure feeling on every step. Its safe to say that Hoka have done it again with this shoe. 

That’s why the Clifton 7 gets the top rational rating of 5 stars.

Best For Stability

4/5

ASICS Men’s GT-2000 8

This is the latest version of this ever popular running shoe from Asics. The technology in the sole has been developed over many years and it shows when you slide the shoe on. The upper has a directional mesh that improves ventilation. The shoe has great stability properties that mean this shoe gets a rational rating of 4 stars.

Final Thoughts: Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees

If you experience knee pain when running, see a doctor or a physio.

If your knees continue to hurt after you’ve stopped running, don’t run again until you’ve seen a doctor. You could be doing serious harm to yourself.

If you are new to running or returning to running there are three main things you can do to try to prevent problems with your knees:

Start with strength: Weight training and walking can help with this.

Don’t run too far or too fast: Start short and slow, increasing by no more than 10% each week.

Buy some new running shoes: Sticking with the trainers you’ve had for 10 years may save you money but it wont save your knees.

Runners Knee

Frequently Asked Questions

Can running shoes cause my knees to hurt?

Can Running Shoes Cause My Knees To Hurt?

It is entirely possible for running shoes to contribute to knee problems and knee pain. The protective properties of running shoes goes down over time with use. Cushioning and support reduces as the materials in the running shoe get worn out.

New running shoes can cause problems as your body makes small adjustments to your form probably without you noticing. These changes can lead to problems.

How can I run without my knees hurting?

Slow down and don’t run too far. Don’t lift your knees too high, adopt a shuffle action for a while. Run soft, think of yourself floating down the road not clomping along like a horse. Shorten your stride length. Shift your body weight forward slightly. Stop if you feel pain. If these measures don’t work, start with strength, conditioning and walking.

Which shoes are better for knee pain: Brooks or Hoka?

No one brand is better than another when it comes to preventing knee pain. All the premium brands have running shoes that will help you start running if you’re coming back from knee pain. If you’ve identified your shoes as a contributing factor to the pain you experienced, try a change of brand. Consider two pairs from different manufactures in rotation to avoid putting too much strain on one particular set of muscles.

Are ON running shoes good for bad knees?

They have as much potential as any other running shoe to help you get back to running. The Swiss manufacture has an excellent reputation for making high quality running shoes. They have an innovative design ethos that puts them at the forefront of running shoe design. Try adding a pair to your running shoe rotation.

Are runners knee and jumpers knee the same thing?

Yes. The terms runners knee and jumpers knee describe pain at the front of the knee. They are non-medical terms usually used to define a problem with the patellar tendon.

Runners knee during marathon training

Runners knee is relatively common amongst people training for a marathon. Caused by people pushing their weekly mileage higher and higher too soon and without enough rest and recovery between training runs.
Avoid increasing the milage too quickly, avoid adding many miles to the long run, avoid running down hill for long periods of time. Strengthen the muscles in the posterior chain and make sure your running shoes are the best for you and your running needs.

Are cushioned running shoes better for bad knees?

Running is a harsh thing to do to the body. We prepare well and recover well to help prepare ourselves for the next run. Cushioned running shoes will help while your running. They take the harsh edge off what your putting your body through.

Do all runners get bad knees?

Most people who run will experience some discomfort in their knees at some point in their running career. Some of those go on to get knee pain and some serious problems. If you are around 20 pounds or more over weight you will be more lightly to experience knee pain. Running too much too soon will make you more likely to get knee pain. Rest and recover are as important as the number of miles you run in a week. Don’t try to run through knee pain, allow your body to heal before you pound the streets again.

Should you stop running if your knees hurt?

If you develop knee pain during training you should stop and rest. If it doesn’t get better after ten days or so you should see a doctor. If you get knee pain during a race it’s a judgement call as to whether you should stop or carry on running. Most runners would carry on but this might not be such a clever thing to do.

What is the best exercise for bad painful knees?

Not running! Anything gentle that promotes recovery. An exercise bike on a gentle setting will keep things ticking over to some extent. Exercises that build strength in the supporting muscles are best to help your knee pain go away.

Ant

Ant

Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.