The Best Running Shoes for People With Bad Knees

These expert-approved running shoes will keep knee pain at bay and help you feel better with each step.

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Knee pain can be caused by a slew of different muscle or bone issues that should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Often, a certain way of walking or running can lead to knee pain, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, which recommends not overstressing your knees when running to avoid knee pain. This can be done by leaning forward with your knees bent while running.

But many times, something as simple as wearing the wrong type of sneakers during exercise can be the culprit. According to the ACE Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Institute, even the "standard" running shoe can have a raised heel that is 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. And the higher the heel, the more adverse the effect.

This is why taking the time to improve your workout regimen and running form, and finding the right pair of running shoes can help ease those aches. If you notice that knee pain is most prevalent while you're running or at the gym, then it might be time to invest in a new pair of sneakers.

These are the five best running shoes for bad knees in 2022:

To help you choose the right type of sneakers to wear during your next run, we tapped two New York City-based experts for some input on how the shoes you wear can affect knee pain—and what you can do about it.

According to podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, "repetitive stress on your knee joints, from running, jumping, or excess body weight can all make knee pain worse." Dr. Sutera said that worn-out sneakers can not only cause pain in your knees—but also your feet, hips, and back. (Basically, pretty much every joint you need to live an active lifestyle.) For this reason, Dr. Sutera stressed the importance of replacing old or worn-out shoes often. Dr. Sutera (who is also a member of the Vionic Innovation Lab) told Health that it's best to look for "supportive and comfortable" sneakers because this can help take some pressure off the knee joint.

Kavita Sharma, MD, a pain management expert at Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates, agreed that support is one of the main features to look for in running shoes. Dr. Sharma also suggested choosing a pair that feels flexible and lightweight on your feet.

Cushioning in a running shoe is a controversial topic, and some running shoes have become increasingly cushioned. However, a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports found that highly cushioned shoes can amplify impact loading when running, which can result in stiffer legs when landing—and more injuries. The outcome was more pronounced with faster running speeds. The authors wrote that their discoveries "may explain why shoes with more cushioning do not protect against impact-related running injuries."

In addition to improving your shoe choice, Dr. Sutera recommended implementing lifestyle changes that can help ease knee pain even further. These include using orthotic inserts or insoles in your shoes that provide extra shock absorption and arch support, along with alternating shoe types throughout the week. "Always use shoes that are appropriate for [the activity you're doing]," said Dr. Sutera.

With these expert recommendations in mind, we've outlined five of the best running shoes for bad knees available to shop on Amazon, below. If you think your old, worn-out, or unsupportive shoes are the culprit of your pain, now's the perfect time to upgrade your running shoes to meet these doctor-approved guidelines—so you can start feeling better with every step.

Expert Pick: Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 19

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19

Brooks shoes are often recommended by experts and casual runners alike, and this super popular pair of Adrenaline GTS sneakers is no different. Recommended by both Dr. Sutera and Dr. Sharma, these shoes provide ample support and balanced cushioning that's specifically targeted to prevent knee injuries and offer stability.

Best Cushioned: New Balance Fresh Foam Women's Running Shoe

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

A top pick for comfort and cushioning, these running shoes have an ultra plush and springy texture thanks to the inclusion of New Balance's signature Fresh Foam material in the insoles. The durable rubber outsole offers extra stability, while the combination of mesh fabric and perforations throughout the upper is super breathable.Along with a variety of size and color options, New Balance also lets you choose from wide and narrow foot sizes, so you can always find the perfect fit. Nearly 2,000 Amazon shoppers awarded these lightweight sneakers a five-star rating, and least 20 people mention how great they are for knee pain. One person said, "I have knee problems and these shoes are very comfortable and I have been able to run with minimal jarring to my knee," while another called them "a dream come true" for bad knees.

Best Shock Absorption: Asics Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

Recommended by Dr. Sutera, Asics sneakers are known for their stability and comfort. Made with a breathable and lightweight mesh fabric, the Gel-Kayano sneakers are one of Asics' most supportive styles, making them a great option for anyone with knee issues. Each shoe employs the brand's signature FlyteFoam cushioning on the midsole as well as the ball and heel, which results in optimal shock absorption and a softer landing with every step.

Best Top-Rated Option: Saucony Cohesion 10 Running Shoe

Saucony Cohesion 10

Saucony is a trusted brand that uses advanced in-house technology to make super supportive and cushioned sneakers ideal for runners and athletes of any kind. This popular pair offers a more flexible sole that's still very stable, along with a cushioned insole that's really soft and comfortable. The highest-rated option on this list, the Saucony Cohesion 10 sneakers have earned a perfect five-star rating from nearly 5,000 Amazon shoppers. Devoted customers of the brand love Saucony shoes for their comfort and wider fit that's perfect for both running and walking. "I ONLY wear Saucony running shoes, as I have wide feet and heel spurs, and they are the most comfortable and supportive," said one reviewer. "I have worn these for three months now and even taken them to the cobblestone streets of Portugal, and they still feel new and wonderful."

Best Arch Support: Nike Zoom Winflo 6 Running Shoe

Nike Women's Zoom Winflo 6 Running Shoes

Nike's Zoom Winflo 6 sneakers are a top choice for stability running shoes because they include superior cushioning and arch support in the insole, meaning they'll never cause your joints to hurt after pounding the pavement. According to Dr. Sutera, stability sneakers shoes are "often recommended for people with knee pain to help promote proper leg alignment and balance," so if you need the extra support, these sneakers are a great choice. Since they provide such firm arch support, they may feel uncomfortable for people with lower arches. Numerous reviewers on Amazon mention this pair's "massive" arch support; one person said it makes running virtually "painless" for them. Others touted this option as a great pick for knee pain. "I've had total knee replacement and this style has been my go-to," said a shopper. "Great support of feet and knee stabilization." Another mentioned the shoes are "especially gentle on the knees."

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