Best Shoes For Bad Knees: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Best For Bad Knees
Saucony Men's Omni 13 Running Shoe

Saucony Omni 13

  • Good value
  • Lightweight sole
  • Breathable
Best For Overpronation
ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 18

  • Supportive
  • Good grip
  • Very comfortable
Best For Underpronation
Brooks Women's Glycerin 14

Brooks Glycerin 14

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Good for high arches

It’s the worst nightmare of many avid runners. Knee pain. It can hit anyone, at any age and sometimes even for no apparent reason. Research shows that it’s more likely to hit women than men due to differences in their bone structure, but it’s still a very common thing for both.

It may seem that once you feel the pain, it’s time to hang up the running shoes for the time being. But fear not! We’ve created this guide to help you find the best running shoes for bad knees, shoes that will have you running comfortably with much less pain.

Comparison Chart - Best Shoes for Bad Knees

Product Name
Best Feature
Amazon Rating
View Product
ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 22​


Impact Guidance System

Saucony Men's Hurricane ISO 2 Running Shoe

Saucony Men's Hurricane


Floating Support Cage

ASICS Men's GT-2000 3 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GT-2000 3 ​


ComforDry Sockliner

Saucony Men's Omni 13 Running Shoe

Saucony Men's
Omni 13


RunDry Moisture Wicking Lining

New Balance Men's M1080v7 Running Shoe

New Balance Men's M1080v7​


Fresh Foam

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18​


Gel Cushioning System

ASICS Women's GEL-Contend 3 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's GEL-Contend 3​


Ideal for Beginners

Saucony Women's Cohesion 8 Running Shoe

Saucony Women's Cohesion 8​


Stability Heel Grid System

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v6 Running Shoe

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v6 ​


Fresh Foam Midsole

Brooks Women's Glycerin 14

Brooks Women's Glycerin 14


Ideal Pressure Zones

Bad Knees and Running with the Right Shoes

So if you suffer from pain in your knees, what are the possible causes and how can you get back to running?

Common Causes Of Knee Pain

The most common cause of knee pain is runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Despite the name, it isn’t only limited to runners. Any sport where the knee is repeatedly bent, straightened and generally put under a lot of stress can cause runner’s knee.

It isn’t a specific condition but encompasses a variety of different possible causes of pain. Some of these are overuse of the knee, a strong hit or blow to the knee (sometimes even just the force of normal running), biomechanical problems and problems with your feet such as flat feet.

Another very common cause of runner’s knee is weak thigh muscles. Your thigh muscles hold the patella in place and when they are too weak to do this properly it can cause serious pain.

If you have long-term knee problems, you should see a doctor to rule out any more serious causes that could require operations, such as Arthritis (post-traumatic, Rheumatoid, Osteoarthritis), knee cartilage tears or knee ligament tears.

Identifying These Causes

Runners' knee is most likely to happen to younger runners and 50% more women get it than men.

The causes of runner’s knee vary greatly from case to case. You might have a sharp piercing pain whenever you take a step, you could have a dull consistent aching or, you could have any sort of combination of the two. You may feel the pain towards the center of your knee or behind and around the patella.

The pain can come and go depending on the situation. You may notice an increase in pain when going up stairs, a hill or walking on uneven ground. It could even be that the pain ceases whilst you run and then returns once you stop. Sometimes it may feel like your knee gives in and can’t hold your weight every once in a while.

If you have a torn ligament, you might feel like your knee is loose or doesn’t stay in place.

How Can The Right Running Shoes Help?

One of the most common recommendations you’ll hear on how to prevent runner’s knee is to run on a softer surface. It’s much less harmful to your knees to run on grass than on asphalt. Linked to this, having shoes with good padding can have the same effect.

Additionally, the right shoes can help correct issues with the positioning of your feet, like for instance flat feet. Having good supportive shoes can also ensure that the angle at which the knee is bent is corrected.

Having uncomfortable shoes that cause blisters or any other discomfort could cause you to step down in a wrong way to avoid causing yourself further pain. In doing so you could easily be causing extra strain on your knee.

If your shoes have bad grip, you’re additionally at risk of slipping and falling, which can potentially cause a knee injury as well.

Can shoes help when walking and with everyday knee pain?

best running shoes for bad knees female

The correct shoes, I’ve been told by any number of specialist shoe salespeople, can do a lot to lessen knee pain. 

And if you wear the wrong shoes, your knee pain will almost certainly get worse. After all, your knees bear the brunt of every step you take.

According to medical professionals, the correct shoes are your first line of defense when it comes to knee pain. You should keep a number of things in mind when choosing everyday shoes – be they for walking,  day-to-day wear or leisure.

First, the toe should be flexible; you should be able to bed the toe back towards the front of the shoe. This means the shoe will enable your foot to mimic our natural walking pattern.

If you can’t flex your toe, your shoe may affect your stride pattern, which can result in, or exacerbate, knee pain.

Second, your shoe must have arch support, especially if you have dropped arches (flat feet) and are prone to over-pronation.  So, ladies, those ballet flats are a bad choice. They’re tantamount to walking on cardboard. As are most flip-flops. And they can lead to other problems, besides sore knees, like plantar fasciitis, which can be  excruciating.

Third, as with running shoes, there must be space in the toe box for your toes to spread and move and do what comes naturally. Last, height is an issue too. If your shoes are too high (by too high, I mean higher than two inches) they will throw your weight forward, which again puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up style in favor of comfort as shoe makers become more aware of the health risks associated with bad footwear.

Best Shoes For Bad Knees Reviewed

Here’s my list of the 7 best shoes for running when you suffer from knee pain. The list comprises the shoes that best fit all the criteria for the best running shoes for bad knees. We have also included 5 shoes for everyday use. These are a great option for those who do not always want to wear runners.

Men’s Shoes

1. ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

After doing extensive research, the shoe that proved to be the best shoe for knee problems is the Asics GEL Kayano. It’s a lace up shoe with room for orthopedic insoles if needed.

The shoe comes in a variety of colors so you can choose one that works with your style. It-s an all-around great running shoe, but there are a few points where this shoe really shines - which are what brought it to the top of this list.

Firstly in true Asics style, it comes with a lot of padding. The gel padding is a superb shock absorber making running a lot less stressful for your knee. In spite of the extensive padding, Asics have managed to create a lightweight shoe. Even if that doesn’t make a difference for bad knees specifically, it’s generally a good thing for any running shoe.

The Kayano features extra support throughout the shoe to help prevent overpronation. The heel sits snugly around your foot while the toe box leaves some room, which is great when your feet swell during a run.

The soles of this shoe have excellent grip to help prevent further injuries to knees from slipping or falling. It’s a high-quality, durable shoe that’s worth every dollar of the price.


  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Extra cushioning
  • Available in many styles
  • Great grip


  • More expensive than other options
  • Not very durable

2. Saucony Men's Hurricane ISO 2 Running Shoe

Saucony Men's Hurricane ISO 2 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

The Saucony Hurricane shines in terms of both padding and breathability. This lace up running shoe offers great amounts of padding, and support that’s ideal for people with overpronation. This shoe is great if you’re trying to get back into shape (for example if you have had a knee injury and haven’t been running for a while.)

The padding also works great if you’re on the heavier side.  As pointed out by the specialists at Wolf Podiatry:

If you're muscular or heavier set, your joints and feet bear more weight, meaning your soles will wear down a bit faster. Pick shoes that suit your chosen physical activity".

This is also why these shoes are great. They're good for anyone who needs the perfect fit for bearing more weight.

The breathability of the shoe adds to the comfort of the wearer especially in hotter weather and the material also makes it more adaptable to different types of feet. It has a fair amount of support but is designed in a way that puts a lot of weight on comfort.

One of the features that add to the comfort of the wearer is the spacious design leaving you with lots of room for your toes. The Hurricane’s sole has good grip and will serve you best on long-distance running.


  • Breathable
  • A lot of padding
  • They provide good stability
  • Sole with good grip
  • Very comfortable


  • Runs a little small
  • A lot of padding

3. Saucony Men's Omni 13 Running Shoe

Saucony Men's Omni 13 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

In true Saucony style, this shoe offers amazing padding.  The outer sole is made from a type of rubber that has more cushioning but still weighs much less than most other soles. After the Hurricane, this is the Saucony shoe that provides the most support, great for reducing knee pain, especially for people who come down heavily on their heels.

It offers great arch support, ideal for heavy overpronators. It's also pretty great when it comes to breathability thanks to the open mesh and the RunDry moisture-wicking lining.

One downside to this shoe is that the big amount of support does make it a little stiff but not more than what’s to be expected in a motion control shoe like this one. It’s a shoe that will serve you better on shorter runs rather than long distance running. However, keep in mind the following: 

Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler, from Adler Footcare, says that "switching to different shoes that offer plenty of room and support" is helpful for treating knee pain, but only when it's temporary. Otherwise, you should go see a doctor to evaluate what is the best option for you. Shoes may help to alleviate or bear some conditions, but most of the times they don't represent an actual cure.


  • Reasonable price
  • Cool and breathable
  • Supportive
  • Lightweight sole


  • Some found them uncomfortable
  • They run a bit small
  • They squeak

Women’s Shoes

1. ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

Our top women’s running shoe is the Asics Gel-Nimbus 18. It’s a true, high-quality Asics running shoe with all the usual excellent padding and support. It features the Asics GEL padding both in the toe and heel. The padding is a great shock absorber, relieving your knees from a lot of stress, which will in turn relieve you from a lot of knee pain.

There’s a good amount of arch support for all those overpronators out there. As we’ve mentioned earlier, overpronation is a common cause of knee pain for many people, so preventing overpronation can be very important. The Nimbus also offers great support throughout the shoe with the Asics Impact Guidance System (IGS) but particularly in the heel area.

These shoes are exceptionally comfy and they're supposed to adjust to your feet perfectly owed to the mesh material. Moreover, the seamless construction reduces the potential irritation and friction, so they couldn't get any more comfortable!

The outer soles offer great grip even on wet ground and work for long distances. The shoe is very breathable and comes in many different color options, which allows you to match it to your style.

Some may complain that these shoes start to fall apart before a year of wear, but truth is, running shoes are not meant to last that much. The ideal running shoe is always supportive, especially if you experience knee pain, and it is very hard for a shoe to stay like that with the pace of time. Better put into words by the specialists from Lexington Podiatry:

If you’ve been running in the same pair of shoes for a year or two, chances are your feet will benefit from better support. Before you head out for a long outdoor run, check your shoe for signs of stretching and general wear and tear".

The fairest thing we can expect from anything we buy is for it to last the money we pay for it. These definitely are built to last, since most of the clients have found them okay and there have been just a couple cases where it went otherwise.


  • Different style options
  • Flawless support
  • Good grip
  • Very comfortable


  • Some sizes run too wide, some sizes run too tight
  • Some pairs don't last

2. ASICS Women's GEL-Contend 3 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's GEL-Contend 3 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

Another great Asics shoe that shines through its arch support. Anyone with overpronation will be well served with these shoes. The Gel-Contend 3 has gel cushioning in the heel (a little less than the Nimbus but still great shock absorbency), which will help a lot in relieving stress on the knee and knee pain.

Even with this padding, this is still a relatively lightweight shoe. It’s a comfortable shoe that works well for long distances without getting less comfortable. The outer sole offers good grip on roads even when it’s wet. This shoe is available in different widths making it perfect for any foot.

The Contend 3 is also available in many different color combinations where you can be sure to find one you like. This is a great quality shoe that will last you for a long time. And the best part is, it’s relatively cheap!


  • Affordable price
  • Great cushioning
  • Very comfortable
  • Available in several widths and colors
  • Lightweight despite all the padding


  • Not a perfect fit for everyone
  • Some found them too stiff

3. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v6 Running Shoe

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v6 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

According to Dr. Pedram A. Hendizadeh, an experienced podiatrist at Advanced Podiatry, the trendy shoes that come and go are not always (and often fail to be) beneficial for our feet health. He points out that some of these lack support, therefore:

... can cause arch and heel pain and throw your walk out of whack, which then extends the problems to your ankles, knees, hips, and even your back.".

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080, however, is not the case. This shoe makes it onto the women’s list as well as the men’s. It brings a lot of stability to the table, which works well with normal to high arches. New Balance has incorporated its Fresh Foam into this shoe making for some great cushioning and is great for reducing knee pain while running.

The amount of padding that has been added does bring you higher off the ground and makes the shoe a little bulky, but it doesn’t add to the weight. It’s still a very lightweight shoe. It fits snuggly around your heel and the mid section of the shoe, but comes with a rather spacious toe box.

The shoe is constructed using some very breathable mesh, adding to your comfort while running.


  • Breathable material
  • Different styles to choose from
  • Comfortable for running
  • Good support


  • Very bulky
  • Some found them too narrow

4. Brooks Women's Glycerin 14

Brooks Women's Glycerin 14

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

The Brooks Glycerin 14 is a stylish shoe with a modern design, available in three fresh, vibrant colors. But not only that, it’s also a great shoe for anyone suffering from knee pain.

While the Asics Nimbus is better for those suffering from knee pain due to overpronation, this Brooks number is one for those who typically underpronate. This shoe offers great padding and a removable insole.

The soles are specifically designed to evenly distribute pressure across the entire foot making it easier on the knee. Despite the shoe being slightly bulky, they’ve still been designed to be lightweight and very good for running long distances.

As with most of the other shoes on this list, this shoe has ample space for your toes because of it wide toe box. It still fits snugly on the heel though, keeping your foot in the correct position in the shoe.  However, many users suggest going half-size up. Overall, a good shoe and worth the price.


  • Very lightweight
  • As comfortable as it gets
  • Very supportive
  • Also good for high arches


  • Not so great looking
  • They run half-size small

Best everyday shoes for bad knees

Here are my top five picks for knee-friendly shoes for everyday use. These range from sandals to slip-ons to trainers.

1. Vionic Orthaheel Tide II Sandals

Vionic with Orthaheel Tide II Women's Sandal

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

If you refuse to ditch your flip-flops, you might want to give these a try. They are available in a rainbow of colors and if you like a bit of sparkle, a rhinestone-studded version is available as well. Vionic also makes men’s flip-flops and a unisex version.  

The Vionics are a bit pricier than the foam sandals you can pick up in the bargain bin at the supermarket, but the uppers are leather. Although essentially still a flip-flop, the Orthaheel sandal’s insoles offer a great support for your foot. Your heel is cupped comfortably and there is enough arch support for any flat-footer.

Just a warning, it might take you a while to get used to the arch support, so you don’t expect to wear them for more than an hour or so at first. But once your body has adjusted to them you won’t want to take them off.

In addition to helping your knees, they’ll help you avoid the dreaded plantar fasciitis.

2. Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk Slip-On Walking Shoe

Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk Slip-On Walking Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

A friend of mine swears by Skechers. She won’t wear anything else. She wears them to work, out shopping, out for dinner and for walking. And just because they are comfy, doesn’t mean they are ugly. Equal attention is paid to form and function. From an aesthetic standpoint, they will go great with jeans and leisurewear, even with casual summer dresses.

The Go Walk slip-on is lightweight, but still offers you the arch support you need. They are flexible, and the toe box gives your toes enough room to maneuver. And the fabric is soft, so your foot doesn’t feel as if it’s been clamped in a vice, which will help to prevent knee pain.

This model is available in a range of muted tones, from navy blue to black and back again, but Skechers has a range of bright colors in other models. One of the great thing about this walking is that the shoe’s patented Ortholite technology prevents foot odor. You can also throw them in the washer if they get dirty.

3. New Balance Men's MX608V4 Training Shoe

New Balance Men's MX608V4 Training Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

You can never go too wrong with New Balance, and this men’s shoe is proof of that. Sturdy, but flexible enough to let your foot do what it does best. It has a comfortable heel cup that hugs your heel and the shoe enough support to last you an entire day.

They are not particularly sporty-looking so they don’t have to be restricted to walking trails. The pricier version has leather uppers which means they won’t look too out of place in the workplace. They come in black, brown, white, grey and even camo print.

 If you’re an avid walker or on your feet all day, there is a lot to recommend these shoes.  One great advantage is they can accommodate custom-fitted orthotics very easily. The tongue is padded to offer more comfort upfront. They are quite a heavy shoe, so they’re not made for running. But they’re a fantastic choice if you spend a lot of time on your feet during the day.

4. Merrell Men's Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe

Merrell Men's Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

Merrell’s slip-on is not intended for strenuous hiking. The promo blurb suggests you wear them around the campsite or even to the pub. I know which of the two I’d choose. Jokes aside, I’m a fan of Merrell because their shoes invariably look great and feel amazing to wear.

They’re average in terms of arch support, but again you can opt to replace the insoles with your own orthotics, which I have done, although I have found that I must wear a size up to accommodate them. They are available with a suede or leather upper and come in a variety of colors with names like Midnight, Gunsmoke and Earth. In plain language, that’s black, beige or brown.

The shoes have elastic on the side, so the shoe can accommodate your foot properly. Other features are an air-cushion midsole and a comfortable molded foot frame. The soles also offer great traction, which is a must with any walking shoe.

5. Clarks Unstructured Men's Un.Kenneth Oxford

Clarks Unstructured Men's Un

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

 Chance of Success

When you have bad knees, it can be a battle to find dress shoes that are stylish and don’t look like “Old man’s shoes”. Clarks has been making good-looking and, dare I say it, comfortable shoes for decades. Their Unstructured range has broad appeal. You can dress them up or down, wear them with a suit or khakis. 

The feature I like best is that they are lined with lamb’s wool which makes them super comfortable. There is very little exposed stitching, which prevents blistering. The toe box is squarish, so your toes are not pinched at all.

The shoes have a flexible rubber outsole that is padded to act as shock absorbers. Larks boasts about its air circulation technology, which allows your foot to breathe. For comfort and looks, you can’t beat Clarks. If you don’t like lace-ups, a slip-on version is available. They come in basic brown and black.

Best Running Shoe Brands

There are many brands out here offering a huge amount of different types of shoes. For people experiencing knee pain, shoes with support and cushioning are the best choice. I’ve found that the best brands for this type of shoe are Asics and Saucony. Both of these produce high-quality running shoes that will last you year after year. They produce both women’s and men’s shoes.


Are known for the gel pads in their shoes giving them excellent padding which reduces the stress on your knee. Their range has been designed specifically for runners and athletic training. The number choice in my opinion.


Offer great knee support, which helps to balance out your steps. These are both important points when you have knee pain.  Another brand that focus on helping athletic people get the best when training.


There are not many people who wouldn’t recognize Nike’s trademark swoosh. Branding and marketing aside, Nike still manages to produce shoes that offer you a comfortable ride, with an agreeable amount of underfoot protection. The mesh around the toe-end also ensures your digits won’t take a bashing.


Here’s another stalwart that continues to offer a stable ride. They promise great underfoot conditioning and revolutionary engineering on the mid-sole to boost your running capabilities. Its trademark torsion system prevents torshioning, making for a very stable shoe. Even their range of fashion shoes offer soe arch support.

Other brands that shouldn’t be left out when looking for a good quality running shoe for knee pain are New Balance and Brooks.

Buyer’s Guide: What to look for in shoes that relieve knee pain?

When you’re dealing with knee pain and are buying new running shoes, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Each person’s feet are different, so what works for one person won’t always work for another, but there are some points to look for in your running shoes that can help ease knee pain if your foot is relatively normal.


You need to find out if you have normal pronation, underpronation or overpronation. Accordingly, you need shoes with different types of support. Most people have normal pronation or slight overpronation.

For this type of foot you need to have some arch support. This was one of the things I was looking for when making the above list. The video below explains more about pronation.


Usually you probably wouldn’t look for a shoe with too much cushioning since it makes it heavier. If you’re suffering from knee pain however, you’re going to want to find a pair with lots of it! You want to absorb as much of the shock as possible with the shoe so that there’s less pressure put on your knee.


While it’s important that the shoe is flexible around where your toes naturally bend when running, you don’t want the shoe to be too flexible all around either. You need to be sure the shoe gives you enough stability so that your legs will line up correctly and your knee is in the right position when you bend it.


This is more of a general point since you need your shoe to fit properly even if you don’t have any knee pain. The fit of the heel should be snug but not cause pain. The toe box should be wide enough that you wont suffer even if your feet swell during the run.

Other ways to treat knee pain

best shoes for bad knees old couple

If you’re struck down suddenly with PFPS, your two best friends are rest and ice. Doctors advise you to ice your knee for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days, until the pain abates.

If the pain recurs you might want to wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or consider patellar straps or sleeves.

You can take NSAids, like ibuprofen, to relieve the symptoms of knee pain, but taking them regularly is not advisable and they are not a long-term solution. And you must take the time to stretch before exercising and to strengthen those muscles that are complicit, such as your quadriceps.

If the pain persists,  you must consult your doctor. There a whole range of “ists” you can be referred to: orthotists, physiotherapists, biokineticists, and so on. You may want to investigate the orthotics (insoles) available on Amazon. There are a wide range of insoles offering arch support on Amazon, ranging from about $15 to $100.

The advantage of wearing orthotics is that you have more freedom in your choice of style of shoe. Look out for shoes with removable insoles, which you can swap out for a more suitable orthotic. Another option is to consult an orthotist about custom-made orthotics.

If you have recurring knee pain, it is probaby wise to go this route. If you’re lucky your medical insurance will pick up the tab. It takes some time to get used to orthotics, but it is worth persisting. Take your orthotics along when you go shoe-shopping because you might have to make a size adjustment.

Another option is to invest in knee support in the form of straps or compression sleeves. Again, check out Amazon for its wide range of knee compression sleeves ($7-to $30) or knee straps ($8 to $22).

If you don’t want any mechanical intervention, consult a bio kineticist, who will work with you to build muscle where you need it to rehabilitate you knee. Physiotherapists will help in a similar way, but they are more hands on.

Finally, if you still can’t find relief, you might have to, as a last resort, consult an orthopedic surgeon. But this is only if you or your doctor suspect something more serious than runner’s knee.


In conclusion, having pain in your knees doesn’t mean you have to stop running completely. Choosing the right shoes can seriously reduce the pain and allow you to continue running. The above-mentioned shoes are the way to go if you want to be able to run even when you’re experiencing knee pain. Protection Status