Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees Compared 2021

Last updated: November 19, 2021

Running Shoes / Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees Compared 2021

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Knee pain is frustrating but its more or less happened to all of us at least once in our lives. It tends to happen a lot to beginner runners because they love to go out hard and strong most of the time instead of growing consistently (I’m a culprit of that too). Knee pain could be related to anything and you should consult your healthcare physician if you have any concerns.

Running shoes for knee pain should be both stable and provide a good degree of cushioning to create some shock absorption between you and the floor. We’ve compiled some of the best running shoes for bad knees that have been favored by other runners. We’ve tried to keep an unbiased approach and provided suitable options from many different brands.

Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees Compared And Reviewed

Best Overall
ASICS GT-2000 9
ASICS GT-2000 9
Best Stability
New Balance 860v11
New Balance 860v11
Lightweight
Brooks Launch GTS 8
Brooks Launch GTS 8
Best Cushioning
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7
Best Style
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

1. ASICS GT-2000 9

Key Features

  • Heel features ASICS GEL
  • Includes plenty of cushioning and padding
  • Rubber sole
  • Cushioned interior

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of a lightweight material
  • Features ASICS GEL
  • Makes use of flyte foam technology
  • Drastically reduces your chances of developing an injury

Reasons to avoid

  • Specifically designed for longer runs (not ideal for racing or speed sessions)

One of the main causes of knee pain is heel striking. When the heel hits the ground before the front of your foot, it absorbs most of the shock and force exerted on your body by the ground. This force is then transmitted up your shin bone and into your knee, drastically increasing your chances of developing an injury. 

The ASICS GT-2000 9 running shoes are specifically designed to be used by runners who heel strike. The base of the shoe is made out of a thick layer of cushioning and foam, absorbing a lot of the shock and reducing the amount of pressure placed on the knee joint. 

The shoe features an incredibly durable rubber sole and a padded interior. This also prevents your chances of developing blisters while on your longer runs. Made out of a lightweight material, the shoe fits comfortably on the foot and flexes easily. 

Overall, the ASICS GT-2000 9 is ideal for longer endurance runs. Featuring their signature flyte foam technology, you will experience much softer landings, reducing knee and any other leg pains. The heel also features ASICS GEL to absorb even more shock.

2. New Balance 860v11

Key Features

  • Designed to last
  • Features a thick foam layer 
  • Anti-pronation shoes

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Designed to prevent knee and ankle injuries
  • Offers plenty of stability
  • Features a lot of cushioning and padding

Reasons to avoid

  • One of the more expensive options on our list

If you run almost every day of the week, the New Balance 860v11 should definitely be up there on your list of considerations. Made out of top-quality materials, you will be sure to get plenty of use out of the purchase. On top of this, the shoe is specifically designed to reduce your chances of developing a knee injury. 

The New Balance 860v11 features great support, plenty of cushioning, and top-quality comfort. With a thick layer of foam on the base of the shoe, your legs and joints will be placed under much less pressure on your runs. In the long run, this will prevent a number of potentially serious injuries. 

It is worth noting that this option is pricey. This is primarily due to the fact that the shoe also provides additional arch support, helping you transition from your workout to daily errands without any pain or discomfort. The stability of the shoe also helps prevent any pronation, ultimately strengthening your ankles. 

The New Balance 860v11’s are designed to last. Even though they are on the more expensive side, these shoes offer great quality and plenty of years of use, meaning that you will get your money’s worth.

3. Brooks Launch GTS 8

Key Features

  • Plenty of padding
  • Features anti-pronation technology
  • Breathable materials

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of a well-ventilated material
  • Provides plenty of support and stability
  • Ideal for preventing knee injuries
  • Features additional padding and cushioning

Reasons to avoid

  • Ideal for long runs (not suitable for speed sessions or racing)
  • Not ideal for athletes with flat or normal feet

If you are looking for a pair of shoes that mold to the shape of your foot, the Brooks Launch GTS 8 should definitely be considered. This option is specifically designed to protect and support your tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. In other words, your chances of developing an injury will be drastically reduced. 

The Brooks Launch GTS 8’s feature additional padding and cushioning, meaning that your legs will be put under less strain during your runs. More so, the shoes provide stability, preventing any foot rotation. For this reason, they are ideal for longer runs. 

It is worth noting that this product is suitable for athletes who have a high arch. In other words, if you have flat or normal feet, you will want to consider alternative options. 

Made out of a breathable and well-ventilated material, the comfort factor of these shoes is another advantage. You will struggle to find a pair of running shoes that feel as sturdy and stable as these. 

4. HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7

Key Features

  • Features a rockered midsole
  • Features plenty of cushioning and padding

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Designed to reduce your chances of developing an injury
  • Features thick cushioning and padding
  • Provides you with an extra boost

Reasons to avoid

  • Quite heavy
  • Not very flexible

The HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7’s incorporate optimal comfort and support. Featuring plenty of cushioning and padding, the amount of strain put on your joints during your runs will be drastically reduced. In the long run, this will also reduce your chances of developing serious knee and ankle injuries. 

The base of the shoe features a thick layer of EVA foam. You will struggle to find a shoe that offers more padding than this HOKA product. For this reason, if you prefer shoes that are lightweight and easy to flex, you may want to consider alternative options. 

On top of the thick cushioning, this shoe features a rockered midsole. This will help transfer movement from the heel to the toes during your runs, providing you with an extra boost. This also reduces the amount of wear and tear placed on your knees. 

If you are looking for a pair of running shoes that leave you feeling as if you are running on clouds, the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7’s may be your best bet. This product is ideal for runners who struggle with knee pain.

5. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

Key Features

  • Features a rockered sole
  • Includes a thick base layer
  • Made out of a breathable material

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Very well ventilated
  • Outstanding value for your money
  • Provide additional boost
  • Provides support and good cushioning

Reasons to avoid

  • Expensive when compared to competitor options

Nike is undoubtedly the most popular running shoe brand in the world. For this reason, you can expect to pay more for their React Infinity Run Flyknit 2’s. However, when you consider the overall quality and longevity of the shoe, the higher price tag seems more understandable. 

Made out of a top-quality, breathable material, the ventilation of the shoes is unmatched. On top of this, the base of the shoe features a thick layer of cushioning, providing plenty of support when it comes to your joints and bones. If you struggle with knee or ankle pain, this product should definitely be up there on your list of considerations. 

Overpronation is a major issue for distance runners. When your ankles roll inwards, your knees and tendons are put under a lot of pressure. These Nike’s are specifically designed to stabilize the ankle, preventing inwards and outwards rotation. More so, the sole molds to the shape of your foot, providing optimal support. 

Overall, these shoes are definitely worth the higher price tag. Made out of top-quality materials, you will be sure to get plenty of use out of the purchase. Like the HOKA Bondi 7’s, these shoes also feature a rockered sole, meaning that you will experience an additional boost on your runs.

6. Brooks Beast 20/Ariel 20 

Key Features

  • Features a BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • Features level 5 cushioning

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Provides plenty of stability and support
  • Has a soft and durable interior
  • Impressive longevity
  • Features level 5 cushioning

Reasons to avoid

  • Pricey when compared to competitor options
  • Heavy

If you require a sturdy and stable shoe, the Brooks Beast/Ariel 20 (Men’s – Beast, Women’s – Ariel) should definitely be up there on your list of considerations. This option is a motion control running shoe that assists in preventing foot, knee, ankle, and back pain. 

The base layer of the shoe features level 5 cushioning (the highest level possible). In other words, you will experience comfort like never before if you invest in this pair of shoes. On top of being one of the most comfortable options on the market, the extreme cushioning drastically reduces the amount of strain and pressure placed on your joints. In the long run, this will prevent a number of potentially serious injuries, including runner’s knee and patellar tendonitis. 

Due to the stability and support offered, you can expect to pay more for the shoe. However, most people who invest in the Beast/Ariel 20’s, claim that the higher price tag is understandable when you consider the quality and longevity. You should get at least 2 years of use out of the purchase (depending on how often and far you run).

The shoe features a BioMoGo DNA midsole. This creates a soft and durable interior, making the product ideal for longer runs. However, it is worth noting that the extreme cushioning makes the shoe heavier than competitor options.

7. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

Key Features

  • Features DNA LOFT technology
  • Features arch support
  • Features anti-pronation technology

Reasons to buy

  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Versatile and well-rounded
  • Very comfortable
  • Reduces your chances of developing an injury

Reasons to avoid

  • Cushioning is not too impressive when compared to other options on our list

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21’s ticks just about every box. The product is lightweight, durable, well-ventilated, and stable. However, it is worth noting that when compared to some of the more expensive products on our list, the cushioning is not all too impressive. 

This pair of running shoes is made out of top-quality materials, meaning that you will be sure to get good use out of the purchase. The shoe is specifically designed for athletes who pronate when running. With stable and supportive inserts, your feet will be held in an upright position at all times. In the long run, this will drastically reduce your chances of developing knee or ankle injuries. 

With plenty of arch support, you will notice a massive difference in the comfort of the shoe. If you struggle with arch discomfort after your runs, you should definitely consider investing in the Adrenaline 21’s.

Overall, this shoe is incredibly versatile and well-rounded. Featuring DNA LOFT technology, you will also notice additional boost on your runs, providing you with extra speed.

8. Saucony Hurricane 23

Key Features

  • Features a thick cushioning layer
  • Ideal for long runs, races, and speed sessions

Reasons to buy

  • Features a thick layer of cushioning
  • Reduces your chances of developing an injury
  • Made out of top quality materials
  • Long-lasting and durable

Reasons to avoid

  • Expensive

The Saucony Hurricane 23’s have a great look to them, making them popular amongst both men and women. Designed to leave you feeling fresher after your runs, this product is ideal for distance athletes. However, the shoes can be used for racing and speed sessions, making them incredibly versatile. 

The base of the shoe features a very thick layer of cushioning. When on your run, your joints will be placed under much less strain. This drastically reduces your chances of developing a potentially serious injury. If you are currently struggling with a knee or ankle injury, the Hurricane 23’s may be your best bet. 

Made out of top-quality materials, you will be sure to get plenty of use out of the purchase. For this reason, you can expect to pay more. With that being said, one of the only downfalls of the shoe is the higher price tag. 

If you are not shopping on a budget, the Hurricane 23’s should definitely be up there on your list of considerations. This shoe also ticks just about every box, as it is well-cushioned, stylish, versatile, and supportive.

How To Choose The Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees

As you can see, there are plenty of options to consider if you are on the market for a new pair of supportive and stable running shoes. When trying to come back from an injury or joint pain, you should look for shoes that absorb as much shock as possible. 

Ensure that your new pair of shoes features a thick layer of cushioning. Your knee pain could be caused by a wide variety of factors, including overpronation or a bad form.

For this reason, your new shoes should also provide enough support to keep the foot upright during your runs. If you have a high or low arch, consider options that complement this.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Most Reliable Brands?

If you are looking for the best running shoe brand, there is no one definite answer. Different shoes and models work for different people. With that being said, Nike has the highest sales numbers around the world. However, many athletes claim that Asics, New Balance, and Brooks are the top brands in terms of providing support, cushioning, and stability. 

How Much Should You Spend On Running Shoes?

The amount that you will spend on your new pair of running shoes depends on a number of factors. For example, some of the more prominent brands charge more, even if the quality of the shoe is the same as the cheaper options. 

If you want a good-quality shoe that does not break the bank, you should look to spend between $130 and $170. However, it is worth noting that some of the best and most supportive running shoes on the market can cost up to $350. If you are not a competitive runner, you do not need such expensive footwear.

What Features Should You Look For?

When it comes to finding the perfect running shoe for preventing injuries and reducing knee pain, you should consider the build and design of the different products. Do not just buy a shoe because it looks nice. Instead, consider why you may be struggling with pain on your runs and look for a product that combats the issue. 

For example, if you overpronate, you will want to invest in a running shoe that supports the foot and holds it in an upright position. If you simply have weak knees, try a shoe that features plenty of support and cushioning.

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