What to Buy Fitness Gear The 8 Best Running Shoes for Knee Pain of 2023 New Balance’s running shoes for knee pain are supportive and stable, even for those with plantar fasciitis. By Ravi Davda Ravi Davda Ravi Davda is a certified personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness and wellness industry. health's editorial guidelines Updated on May 17, 2023 Medically reviewed by Laura Campedelli, PT Medically reviewed by Laura Campedelli, PT Laura Campedelli, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. learn more Fact checked by Richard Scherr Fact checked by Richard Scherr Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post. health's fact checking process Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews Our Testing Process What to Know More to Consider Your Questions, Answered Who We Are We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Health / Alli Waataja There's nothing worse for a runner than feeling motivated to hit the roads, but not being able to because of an injury. "Runner's knee" is a general term that encompasses a few different conditions that can cause knee pain from running. Overstressing your knees can lead to knee pain, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. That's why choosing the right pair of running shoes is a must if you hope to alleviate or avoid knee pain to keep logging those miles. To be clear though: Running shoes won't cure knee pain on their own. If you have knee pain, it's important to see a doctor or physical therapist to understand what's causing the pain and how to treat it. Once you've seen a specialist and are cleared to run, finding the right shoes can help keep more pain or injury at bay. According to Neil Feldman, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon, and podiatrist, it’s important to choose the correct level of cushioning with your running shoes. But more cushioning is not always better. “Think about standing on a sandy beach. It feels nice on the feet when you’re still, but once you start to move, it can be a laborious task,” Feldman says. And even the "standard" running shoe can have a raised heel higher than one inch. The elevated heel shifts the person's center of gravity and places more force on the knee joint—adversely affecting the entire knee. To find the best running shoes for knee pain, we had 29 editors each test a pair of running shoes for a six-week period, running a minimum of twice per week. We evaluated the shoes based on comfort, stability, responsiveness, value, and, of course, their effectiveness at minimizing knee pain. Our Top Picks Best Overall: New Balance New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 at Amazon Jump to Review Best Value: Brooks Men's Launch 9 at Amazon Jump to Review Best with Minimal Cushioning: Brooks Ghost 14 at Amazon Jump to Review Best with Maximum Cushioning: On Men's Cloudmonster Running Shoe at Zappos Jump to Review Best for Racing: Asics Women's Magic Speed 2 Ekiden at Zappos Jump to Review Most Versatile: Brooks Women's Glycerin GTS 20 at Amazon Jump to Review Best Men's: Saucony Running Shoe at Amazon Jump to Review Most Breathable: Nike Women's Infinity React 3 Running Shoes at Nordstrom Jump to Review Best Overall New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 5 New Balance View On Amazon View On Zappos Why We Like It: They’re supportive and stable, even for those with plantar fasciitis. It’s Worth Noting: You may want to pick a darker color if you run in wet or muddy conditions.New Balance’s Fresh Foam X 1080v12 are our best overall pick for running shoes for knee pain because they’re supportive, stable, and well-cushioned. We were pleasantly surprised with how much these shoes helped with plantar fasciitis when we tried them.We liked that even though they’re extra cushioned, it never felt like we were sinking down which is what can happen when running shoes are poorly constructed. We didn't notice any soreness or tenderness with the knees after running, and we felt that they were comfortable to wear throughout the day as well.This pair of running shoes are available in 15 different colors and in both standard and wide fits. One downside is that lighter colors get dirty extra quickly, so you may want to purchase a darker color if you’re planning to run in wet or muddy conditions. At 8.3 oz, they’re one of the lightest options on this list. We suggest ordering a half-size or full-size down as they run large for most people. Price at time of publication: $160 Product Details: Weight: 8.3 ozSize Range: 5 – 13Cushioning Type: MaximumAvailable widths: Standard and wide Best Value Brooks Men's Launch 9 4.7 Brooks View On Amazon View On Zappos View On Brooksrunning.com Why We Like It: They have a roomy toe box and the upper clings comfortably to your feet. It’s Worth Noting: The lightweight cushioning may not be ideal for those running long distances.Proving that high-quality products can come at inexpensive prices, the Launch 9 get the job done in a value-friendly way. During testing, we appreciated the fit of these running shoes—they have a roomy toe box, the upper doesn’t slip, and the laces are easy to adjust. They’re the lightest running shoes for knee pain on this list and are available in both standard and wide fits. We loved that these running shoes have added reflectivity for running in low-light conditions. Plus, the stiff soles help you feel close to the ground and you can buy them in both neutral and more supportive versions to support your body’s natural motion path. A drawback is that even though there is some cushioning, it may not be enough for those who get knee pain after running long distances. But if you’re a beginner, run shorter distances, or you’re someone who prefers less cushioning, they’re a reliable and value-friendly pair of running shoes for knee pain that have a ton of great features. Choose from 10 different colors and sizes 7 to 15. Price at time of publication: $110 Product Details: Weight: 8.2 ozSize Range: 7 – 15Cushioning Type: LightweightAvailable widths: Standard and wide Best with Minimal Cushioning Brooks Women's Ghost 14 4.7 Brooks View On Amazon View On Zappos View On Brooksrunning.com Why We Like It: You can easily change your pace without any issues or aches. It’s Worth Noting: There are limited colors if you want a narrow or wide width. If you’re looking for running shoes for knee pain with minimal cushioning, we suggest the Ghost 14 by Brooks. Although we like that they’re available in narrow, standard, and wide widths, the narrow and wide versions only come in a couple of colors each. Otherwise, there are a variety of colors to choose from in the standard width. We loved how stable and solid these running shoes felt for knee pain, despite their minimal cushioning. We didn’t feel any twinges or aches in the knee when changing paces or surfaces. Not to mention, they’re comfortable and fit well too. If you’re someone who prefers less cushioning because more cushioning can make your knees hurt more, these running shoes are a dependable option. We love that the upper is partially made from recycled materials, and the soft midsole is designed to ensure smooth and comfortable transitions every time. Price at time of publication: $140Product Details: Weight: 9 ozSize Range: 5 – 13Cushioning Type: SoftAvailable widths: Narrow, standard and wide Best with Maximum Cushioning On Men's Cloudmonster Running Shoe 4.7 On View On Zappos View On Dick's View On On-running.com Why We Like It: They offer excellent grip, even on wet surfaces. It’s Worth Noting: They’re the most expensive running shoes for knee pain on our list. While some running shoes for knee pain don’t provide enough cushioning, that’s not the case with On Running’s Cloud Monster. In fact, we loved how good of a job they did when it came to mitigating knee discomfort during regular 5 km runs. They’re comfortable to wear, and the gusseted tongue allows the upper of the shoe to be snug, but not overly tight. We loved the excellent grip they offer, even during wet conditions. While they’re unisex, it’s worth nothing that there’s only one standard width to choose from. Also, they’re pretty expensive when compared to other running shoes for knee pain. But if you’re looking for a pair of extra-cushioned running shoes, we think these are well worth the investment. Our ankles and knees felt protected and didn’t buckle as they remained in place through each footfall. Price at time of publication: $170 Product Details: Weight: 9.7 ozSize Range: 5 – 11 (Women’s), 7 – 14 (Men’s)Cushioning Type: MaximumAvailable widths: Standard Best for Racing Asics Women's Magic Speed 2 Ekiden 4.7 Asics View On Zappos View On Asics.com View On Fleetfeet.com Why We Like It: You can run from the minute you open the box—no breaking-in needed. It’s Worth Noting: For longer distances, you may need to rotate these with another pair of shoes. We chose the Magic Speed 2 Ekiden by Asics as the best running shoe for those looking to avoid knee pain while improving speed and performance. We appreciated that these shoes didn’t need any time to break in—they didn’t cause blisters or soreness even on the very first run. And while these running shoes are cushioned enough to help runners reduce knee pain, they’re not overly padded. So if you don’t like your running shoes to have a high lift, these are the right choice for you. One drawback is that if you prefer to run longer distances, you may need to rotate these with another pair of shoes as they are quite bouncy and best for short-distance rebounding needs. But if your need is speed, you’ll notice serious performance aid. The level of responsiveness was a huge plus for us as our legs grew tired. Price at time of publication: $150 Product Details: Weight: Not listedSize Range: 5 – 12Cushioning Type: LightweightAvailable widths: Standard Most Versatile Brooks Women's Glycerin GTS 20 5 Brooks View On Amazon View On Zappos View On Brooksrunning.com Why We Like It: They’re comfortable and supportive on different terrains and surfaces. It’s Worth Noting: Because they’re bouncy, they may take some time to get used to. Because of how comfortable they are on different terrains and surfaces, we recommend Glycerin GTS 20 by Brooks as a versatile running shoe for knee pain. We tested them on sand, gravel, wooden stairs, and at the gym and we liked how stable they felt regardless of the surface. What’s more, our ankles felt particularly stable and didn’t slide around even amongst those of us with narrow feet who struggle with finding the right support. Similar to On Running’s Cloud Monster, these running shoes for knee pain offer maximum cushioning and can feel bouncy, so they may take some getting used to. We loved that they dried quickly after we got them wet during a run. They’re available in standard or wide widths, and you’re even able to pick from a classic or tighter fit. The mesh upper is breathable and plush. Price at time of publication: $160Product Details: Weight: 9.4 ozSize Range: 5 – 12Cushioning Type: MaximumAvailable widths: Standard and wide Best Men's Saucony Men’s Guide 15 Running Shoe 5 Zappos View On Amazon View On Zappos View On Nordstrom Why We Like It: They’re certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). It’s Worth Noting: They don’t dry as quickly as other shoes on our list. Our editor who regularly runs long distances loved how stable his ankle and knees felt while wearing these shoes. They were light on the feet and had enough cushioning to absorb the impact of his foot strike. We like that there’s added rubber in places where it’s needed the most, making them extra durable. And they’re certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), highlighting their quality. We found these shoes extremely comfortable and spacious. The upper fit snugly on the ankle and upper foot so it didn’t shift around while running at all. It’s worth noting, however, that they don’t dry as quickly as other items on our list. So if you’re constantly running in wet conditions, another pair on this list may suit you better. Price at time of publication: $140 Product Details: Weight: 9.5 ozSize Range: 7 – 16Cushioning Type: SoftAvailable widths: Standard or wide Most Breathable Nike Women's Infinity React 3 Running Shoes 4.9 Dick's Sporting Goods View On Nordstrom View On Academy.com View On Dick's Why We Like It: They’re comfortable to wear, regardless of the distance you’re running. It’s Worth Noting: The sole is thicker than other options on this list. Nike’s React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 is our suggestion for the most breathable running shoes for knee pain. There are specific zones on the upper geared towards optimal breathability, flexibility, and containment, which we appreciate. This helps your feet feel cool while running, but secure at the same time. We love how they naturally mold to your foot, which makes them comfortable to wear for both short and long-distance running. There’s soft padding along the collar that provides a cushioned touch point. It’s worth noting that the sole is thick and sturdy. Whilst this isn’t always a drawback as some runners prefer this, some don’t and enjoy running in a softer sole. Our editor personally loved that her knees felt protected at all times due to the thicker sole. Price at time of publication: $160Product Details: Weight: Not listed Size Range: 5 – 12Cushioning Type: Soft and supportive Our Testing Process We tested the most popular running shoes for knee pain to determine which ones were most effective and comfortable to wear. First, we started by speaking to experts about what makes a pair of running shoes great for knee pain. Experts we spoke to include: Dr. Neil Feldman, a foot and ankle surgeon, and podiatrist Camille Ronesi, PT, DPT, FMS 2, and strength and conditioning for injury prevention expert Then, we had 29 editors each test a pair of running shoes for a six-week period, running a minimum of twice per week. We paid particular attention to how the shoes fit when we first tried them on, whether there were any notable issues while running, and how effective the running shoes were when it came to alleviating knee pain, as well as durability and overall value. What to Know About Running Shoes for Knee Pain Cushioning While many people think more cushioning is better for reducing knee pain, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, some people may find it difficult to run with shoes that are too cushioned. And although more cushioning can initially reduce impact force, it can also cause the runner to change their gait to account for the extra cushioning, which can cause more harm to the knees, according to Ronesi. It’s important to find a balance between the shoe being cushioned but also sturdy at the same time—and this usually comes down to personal preferences. Width When it comes to available widths, your main concern should be finding a pair of running shoes that make your feet feel supported without feeling cramped. Some shoes are only available in a standard width, whereas others also come in narrow or wider versions. We like Brooks Ghost 14 because it’s available in all three—narrow, standard, and wide. It’s worth taking the time to look at sizing guidelines for the particular manufacturer before you pick the right pair for your needs. Fit There are a few important things to look for when it comes to finding the right fit for your running shoes. This includes a roomy toe box that is shaped like your foot, a lacing and heel structure that hugs your foot to the back of the shoe, and an instep (middle of the shoe) that gently hugs your arch and top of the foot. All of these will mean your running shoes fit well and are comfortable to wear. If you find that the fit isn’t as good as it used to be, this could be because your shoes are worn down it's time to invest in a new pair. Midsole Drop The midsole drop, or the heel-to-toe drop, on a pair of running shoes, is the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. The reason why this is important is that the midsole drop affects which part of your leg is absorbing the impact and being loaded while running.When it comes to reducing knee pain, a lower midsole drop could be the better choice. However, it’s worth noting that this may come at the expense of the ankle joint so you may not want to go too low (or to zero). On Running’s Cloud Monster has the lowest midsole drop (at 6 millimeters) on our list. More Running Shoes to Consider While not all of the running shoes for knee pain we tested made it onto our list, these still may be of interest to you: Asics Novablast 3 Platinum: Although these running shoes were comfortable to wear and provided great shock absorption, our editor developed a blister on her back heel during a long-distance run. For this reason, we found that they could have benefited from more cushioning and support in the heel. Hoka Clifton 8: These running shoes are a great value, and are one of the least expensive items we tested. But, we found that the fit was a little loose on the midfoot, which made us feel unstable at times while running. We would have liked to see them offered in a narrow fit to help prevent this. luluemon Chargefee: We thought these shoes were effective in alleviating knee pain when running and we liked the stylish look. But due to the sock-compression design, we found that they took longer to put on and felt too snug during use. This meant that only thinner socks could be worn, but more importantly, our editor felt that she had to run slower because of this. Your Questions, Answered What type of running shoe is best for knee pain? After testing popular running shoes for knee pain, and speaking with experts on what makes a pair of shoes great, we found the New Balance’s Fresh Foam X 1080v12 are the best overall running shoes for knee pain. These shoes boast a good balance between cushioning and sturdiness, have a roomy toe box, fit well, and more importantly, are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Do running shoes reduce knee pain? A quality pair of running shoes can help to reduce knee pain. This mainly comes dow to you being able to run with better form in higher-quality shoes, says Dr. Feldman. If your knees still hurt when running, it may be worth considering taking measures to improve your form. If you’ve done this, a good pair of running shoes can make all of the difference when it comes to reducing knee pain. Do cushioned running shoes cause knee pain? A cushioned shoe is ideal for reducing the heavy impact of road running. However ankle mechanics can benefit from stiffer shoes, as the foot and ankle can work more dynamically, creating an internal driver for shock absorption, says Ronesi. A cushioned shoe may feel better during the run but may not be ideal for the long term. It’s important to find a balance between cushioning and sturdiness. Who We Are As a qualified personal trainer and health and fitness writer, Ravi Davda understands how important quality product recommendations can be. He recommends products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them. Although not his main form of exercise, he does run from time to time and has suffered from knee pain in the past. He has previously worked with multiple clients who enjoy running—some of which have knee pain—and has given product recommendations based on his own experiences and his client’s feedback. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 3 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. The Johns Hopkins University. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee). Ace Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Institute. Can your shoes cause knee pain? Heel to Toe Drop: The Ultimate Guide. RunRepeat.