Top 10 Best Running Shoes for Knee pain
Knee pain is a common concern among all athletes—specifically runners. It’s a major concern because it can greatly impede your performance—and if you’re a runner it may make you have to cut back on your training. If it isn’t treated and addressed properly and promptly it can worsen over time and become a hindrance to your daily life.
In this guide, we will discuss and address some of the causes, treatments, and cures for knee pain. One of the best, and immediate, solutions for knee pain are running shoes that specifically address and help treat and prevent the issue.
Below you will find a list of the best shoes for knee pain currently available in 2018, reviewed and researched to help you find the best option for you.
- Nike Dart
- Carbon Runner Outsoles
- Brooks GLycerin 14
- Saucony Cohesion 10
- GRID Technology
10 Best Running Shoes for Knee pain
These shoes were made to be comfortable as well as responsive. They absorb shock and have a full-length midsole. They are well padded to provide you with additional protection and stability.
These shoes utilize mesh vents for ventilation and optimal breathability.
These shoes provide adequate grip and comfort thanks to their carbon rubber outsoles.
These shoes run smaller and narrower so make sure to size up--and definitely try them on before purchasing them if you have wide feet.
The carbon rubber outsoles of these shoes makes them durable and last longer than other shoes. They are made of high-quality material that is built to last and help you pack in those miles.
• Great price
• Specifically designed for knee pain
• Great traction
• Several color options
• Full-length midsole
• Provides stability and support
• Sizing runs small
Brooks Glycerin 14
These shoes are responsive and provide great shock absorption. They are well-cushioned and have a midsole that provides you a more custom fit.
These shoes have a great ventilation system that provides you with great breathability and keep your feet cool and dry.
The outsoles of these shoes are made of durable rubber that improves your traction and grip and provides you with stability and support on almost every surface.
These range from a moderate price to an expensive price--it depends on what style and sizing option you go with.
• Absorbs shock
• Great traction
• Can be pricey
• Sizing runs small
• Not as lightweight as other options
Saucony Cohesion 10
These shoes are lightweight, comfortable, and well-cushioned. They have and injection molded EVA midsole for support and utilize GRID technology for shock absorption.
These shoes have breathable mesh uppers that will keep your feet cool and dry as well as prevent blisters from forming.
These are really budget friendly and a great option for almost all runners.
• Rubber outsole
• Provides stability and support
• Reflective features
• Narrow fit
• Sizing runs small
New Balance 890v5
If you are looking for comfort, the supportive models from New Balance will certainly provide for most. In the 890's case, excellent comfort is also found by those who suffer from knee pain, especially from the cushioning offered by the responsive REVlite midsole. Even though the shoe has a fairly lower profile appearance, this model does provide great support. This makes quite the difference when it comes to problems like issues with the knees.
The breathability hasn't really been affected by updating the model. The upper is constructed of a breathable mesh, which allows the air to move well. This one is probably not a great choice for running in colder weather, but they are designed with good airflow in mind.
The 890v5 does have an update to the sole, with a rubber compound which performs well on most surfaces, during most weather. The addition of the new rubber compound also helps with durability. These are better kept on the road and other hard, even surfaces, so they might not perform great off road, as they aren't trail shoes.
If you have worn the the previous version of the 890, the v5 shouldn't fit any different. New Balance didn't play with anything that was already working right with these shoes. The midfoot section seems to fit a bit snug, but once broken in, they work well. The toe box does fit narrow, so you'll want to keep that in mind.
New Balance tends to put out a consistent product that will usually get you through plenty of miles. There are a few user reviews that suggest some issues with the length of time they will last, but the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.
Exceptional breathability and fit provided by the shoe's FantomFit design
REVlite midsole offers responsive cushioning
Seamless upper construction allows a irritation free fit.
Narrow toe box
Asics Gel Kayano 24
As a golden child of the stability running shoes, the comfort of the Kayano 24 was made for runners who require or desire more support. In fact the stability factor is what really make these such a great option for those with knee problems, commonly by issues such as overpronation.
As with all Asics shoes, you get that famous gel cushioning, which absorbs a lot of shock from the impact on the terrain. In addition, the FluidFit seamless upper removes the chance of irritation from too many stitches inside. Along with the glove-like feel of the upper, the lacing system and the exoskeleton of the heel keeps feet secure inside the shoe.
The sole of the Kayano 24 is the exact same as the 23, so grip and traction control is just as good. The 24s are incredibly sturdy and stable and will leave you feeling in control whether you're running on flat grounds or transitioning onto a hill.
The overall fit is quite similar to the Kayano 23, except for the toe box still being a bit narrow on this newer version but also an improvement. The seamless upper allows the wearer to be protected from annoying irritation points inside the shoe.
There aren't any big complaints about the durability of the Kayano 24. They are said to hold up quite well on the long run, literally and figuratively. In all, these are solid, well built runners that will give the support needed to relieve some of that knee pain while you go.
Gel cushioning provides shock absorption to alleviate knee pain
Same sole as 23 model - same exceptional traction
Ideal for knee issues and overpronation
Seamless upper for glove-like fit
A bit expensive
Still has a slightly tight toe box
Brooks Adrenaline GTS15
The Adrenaline GTS 15 is a comfortable shoe and the midsole are and the upper are strong components of this. The cushioning midsole material does a great job holding the foot while minimizing discomfort when striking the ground. The upper snugly holds the foot in place, giving a secure feeling. And finally, the overall flexibility of the shoe adds to its comfort as well. The Adrenaline GTS 15 is a comfortable shoe.
In terms of style, Brooks might not be in the same league as juggernauts like Nike and Adidas, but they certainly still hold their own. The Adrenaline GTS 15 has a fairly appealing design, and is offered in a myriad of bright colors for both men and women. For those seeking a running shoe that can double as an everyday shoe, the Adrenaline is probably not the best choice. Overall, the shoes are decently stylish for running shoes, and the color selection is broad.
Price is another very important factor when considering any pair of running shoes. The price for the Adrenaline GTS 15 is not really a strong or weak point of the shoe. It retails around the price of many common trainers nowadays. The shoes are neither a value or expensive, but somewhere in the middle.
Well blend in terms of cushioning and stability
Segemnted crash pad is updated from heel to toe for softer transition
BioMoGo DNA on the midsole enhances cushioning effect
Versatile shoe for higher mileage or fast run
Fit is half size small
Heel drop maybe high for some runners
New Balance 1080v7
The shoe's sole is built with New Balance's one piece Fresh Foam midsole, which seems to work well for most in providing enough support to help deal with some of the pain. There are a few reviews which suggest the midsole is a bit too firm, but most seem to like it. The upper is designed to provide a sock-like fit. This really does a good job allowing more confidence in the fit for a more comfortable run.
The engineered mesh upper does a great job allowing a decent amount of airflow. In fact the mesh material used in this version seems to not have changed much from the previous version of the 1080.
These are intended to be used as road shoes. If you stick to solid hard surfaces these will perform well.
As mentioned, the design of this shoe's upper is built to provide a sock-like fit, which of course allows a more comfortable, worry free run. The sizing seems to be pretty in line with other New Balance models, so we didn't find too many issues there.
Durability is where New Balance seems to do quite well. The 1080v7 seems like it will follow that trend as well. We couldn't really find many issues worth noting any real concern other than a few users stated that there was an area inside the upper, near the tongue, which caused a little bit of irritation.
Good overall durability
Adequate breathability for lung runs
Fresh Foam midsole offers decent amount of cushioning and support
Sock like fit allows confident use
Run a bit stiff
The upper is not a seamless design
Asics Gel Venture
The Asics Gel Venture shoes utilize a Rear foot GEL Cushioning System for maximum shock absorption. The additional padding that this provides allows you to maintain the comfort and cushioning you desire you need during your run. These shoes also come with a removable sockliner, so you can insert your own orthotic to help with your knee pain.
These shoes have a unisex design and have a variety of colors available. Some may find them clunky since they don't have a sleek design but they still look like most traditional running shoes.
These shoes are highly affordable. While they aren't the absolute best option available their features surpass their price point and they will definitely help you address and alleviate your knee pain.
- Highly affordable
- Rear foot GEL Cushioning System for maximum shock absorption
- removable sockliner so you can insert your own orthotic
- Comes in a few color options
- Sizes run large
- Clunky design
Mizuno Wave Rider 20
The lightweight and comfort these shoes provide are a perfect combination for runners with knee pain. They are highly responsive and allow you to maintain your space and agility throughout your runs. Their flexible nature combined with the U4icX cushioning technology they utilize allows them to maintain the same levels of comfort during your entire run.
These shoes have a nice sleek design and come in several options.
These shoes have a higher cost, but they are well worth the prices given all of the features they provide.
- U4icX cushioning technology
- Responsive Flexible
- come in several color option
- Great for those with wide feet
Asics Gel Nimbus 18
Numerous reviews praised the ample cushioning of the Nimbus 18. These shoes have supple plushness without a bulky look to them. The sole of the 18 remains quite similar to the 17, given a few minor updates. The sole contains seven (that's right - 7) different materials: the plush insole, the plush liner, a layer of foam, Gel, FluidRide foam, a plastic stability plate, and finally the rubber outsole. With this plethora or cushion, you are sure to find these shoes comfortable. The stretchy mesh upper, which uses fluid fit technology, adapts to your foot and the style of your running. Since the sneaker is lightweight, it does not feel heavy when you run, which means minimal effort when running. Lastly, the sock insert will soak up your sweat to keep your feet dry, so you can focus on running.
With a variety of both bold and subtle colors, the Nimbus 18 will please anybody. The sleek build is not bulky or heavy. The upper features smoother lines on the Asics logo and fewer bumps along the edges of the midsole. The overall overlay pattern is smoother and more organized.
Considering the high quality the price is exquisite. The price tag is your average $100 (more or less depending where you them). The only thing that is a problem is the sizing. The toe box has a tendency to be small, making the price an inconvenience for some people.
Ample cushioning with layers of plush support for runner with knee pain
Durable and stable daily trainer
Mesh, breathable upper
Lightweight sneaker for minimal effort while running
Variety of colors
Sleek design without a bulky feel
The toe box can be narrow for some runners
Common symptoms and complaints
Patients complain about a dull, aching pain that leads to sharp localized pain in the front of the knee, especially while going up or down hills and stairs. They may feel stiffness and grinding sensation when bending, squatting, or climbing stairs. The patient may have the sensation of the knee “giving away” beneath them.
The Criteria We Looked For When Selecting The Best Running Shoes For Knee Pain
There are a few things that we looked at closely to make sure we found the right choices to help ease the pain of running with knees problems. Many runners experience pain, but don’t want to let it slow them down. The picks on our list should do just that, so it is important they each meet the criteria which we feel would make them the most suitable options.
Support / Stability
As some knee problems can actually stem from issues with motion control or lack of proper stability, many of our choices are also good for providing other needed support. This footwear can be suitable for other conditions such as overpronation or underpronation. Running without the necessary amount of stability needed for these types of foot conditions can actually add to the stress on the knee, causing more issues and further discomfort while running.
Really, who wants to run in a shoe that is terribly uncomfortable? Right, nobody wants that. Each of our picks have their own proprietary technologies when it comes to upper and underfoot comfort, but most have many things in common with each other. The models on our list have to provide enough underfoot comfort to alleviate some of the stress that will transfer to the knee while running.
With models built around things like DNA technology, REVlite midsole and Gel cushioning, our choices are designed with comfort in mind
Although a pretty “wearer specific” consideration, the overall fit of a shoe plays a big part in providing comfort and preventing issues which may produce added pain over time. Good attention should be paid to your specific needs such as room for wide feet, enough heel space, and a toe box with enough room for your toes to splay properly.
The footwear should fit well and fit properly, but it should not constrict the natural function of your feet. keeping your toes from properly spreading can actually translate into other painful problems throughout the feet, legs and even knees.
If you need motion control type footwear, you still need to ensure your feet are able to function the way they are naturally intended to.
Grip / Traction
Nothing screams painful accident like a pair of runners that have poor traction on the very surface on which they are meant to be worn. The top choices should be able to provide confident grip over any surface for which they are intended.
Not having much to do with the knees but this is a big factor for any running footwear. It is important that the best choices are breathable, to aid in the overall comfort of the wearer, as well as preventing any potential problems caused by accumulating too much moisture in the shoe.
They have to last as long as they are expected, bottom line. Digging deeper into it, if you have a pair that starts to fall apart right in the middle of a long run, there is a real potential for some kind of injury there. It could be a fall caused by the sole peeling off, the construction failing, causing a lack of the much needed support.
The options we have chosen for our list of best choices have all passed the durability test, when it comes to major issues which might affect their function and performance.
Other Important Factors to Consider Before Setting Out To Make Your Purchase
There isn’t typically a fix all solution to this kind of pain unless you know exactly what condition you are dealing with. Just like particular foot conditions, it is just as important to know exactly what is causing the pain in your knees. Unless you know where the problem is coming from, it is nearly impossible to remedy.
Below are many of the things which you should be aware of before going out to pick up a pair of runners, hoping they will do the job. Is the issue coming from a genetic problem? Are there unattended foot problems which have now worked there way up the legs? These are only a couple of questions you should find the answers to in order to find the best remedy, as well as find the most appropriate footwear to help you keep running.
The Most Common causes of knee pain
Knee pain by running is very common caused by your body’s weight forcing stress up to the knee. This is a chronic problem caused by biomechanical problems or training errors. It may be an injury that is sustained while exercising. Luckily, only approximately 25% of cases of knee pain are caused by running.
This condition is a frequent reason of knee pain in non-athletes and athletes alike over 60.
In this situation, the kneecap becomes partially dislocated during motion, sliding out of position which will definitely cause swelling and pain. It’s often caused by physical defect in your legs, rather than an injury. This problem is quite common with teenage girls, but can really affect anyone.
Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect your muscles and bones. Overuse can make the tendons sore and inflamed. One kind of knee tendonitis is called ”jumper’s knee.”
Sometimes, a knee injury can be caused by breaking off fragments from the cartilage or bone. These pieces can get stuck in the joint. You may also have swelling and pain.
A bursa is a sac of fluid that protects and cushions your joints. There are several in different parts of your knee. A fall, overuse, or repeated bending can irritate the bursa, causing swelling and pain. Two types of bursitis are named ”housemaid’s knee” and ”preacher’s knee,” because they are often caused by kneeling. A ”Baker’s cyst” – a swelling of the bursa in the back of the knee — can also result from injuries and from conditions like arthritis.
IT band syndrome
The iliotibial band is a piece of tough tissue which runs from your hip down to your shin. When it’s irritated by overuse or other problems, it can be swollen and cause the pain on the outer side of the knee.
Medial plica syndrome
The plica is a fold of tissue in the knee joint. When irritated from overuse it can lead to swelling and knee pain.
This condition often causes a painful bump below the knee in which a tendon from the kneecap connects to the shin. It’s usually caused by irritation and overuse of the tendon. The pain can come and go over time. It’s actually quite common with younger ages, between 13 and 15 years.
All of these different symptoms depend on your specific knee injury. But the Pain is most often experienced when bending or straightening the knee. After a while you will probably notice obvious swelling as well.
We are going to mainly focus on knee pain that is caused by running, so having the right kind of footwear becomes an important thing to think about.
Knee problems form running often arise from wearing the wrong type of shoes for your particular foot. If you are unsure of any foot issues that you might have, a simple gait analysis can help you determine more exactly whether you over pronate, supinate or are a neutral runner. This is really vital information to know, especially when it come to choosing the most suitable shoes for your feet.
Common Foot Conditions Which Should Be Identified
Pronation is a natural inward roll of your foot when you run. Neutral runners show a slight amount of pronation, but overpronators roll in excessively that puts a lot of pressure on your knee joint. The best running shoes for overpronators are ones which provide stability or motion control. The amount of stabilization you need depending on your degree of pronation. The stability is provided by a hard, thick material in the arch point of the shoe which prevents the excessive rolling in of your foot.
Supination is a rarer condition than pronation and is characterized by an outward roll of your foot. The best running shoe for a supinator often provides the cushion and flexibility. A stabilizing shoe will increase knee and other joint problems in supinators because it exaggerates your rolling-out motion.
The best shoe for neutral runners provides some stability, but is not labeled “motion control.” If you do lots of running over uneven surface, your knees may need a shoe with extra cushioning, too. Finally, you have to try on several shoes and determine which one works for you. There is no one shoe that is the best for every runner.
Shopping for knee-friendly footwear
For people who have knee pain, getting the perfect shoes doesn’t just involve getting your preferred style and favorite color. It goes beyond that and narrows down to comfortability this is because the shoes play an important role in making sure your knee health is getting better and not worsening. This is because the type of shoes one wears has the ability to cause an impact on one’s knee joints. When looking for the perfect shoes that will suit your knee health needs, it is good to consider the below factors:
- Cushioning: consider getting shoes that have additional cushioning as this will reduce the shock impact on your knees. These types of shoes have the ability to fully absorb shock, hence the shock can’t reach the knees. They will help if you are walking or running on tough terrain. Padded shoes also have the same features as well-cushioned shoes.
- Sole Type. Look for firm soles if you happen to suffer from over-pronation. This is a condition that is common among runners who have low arches. Over-pronation is one of the reasons that the lower knee and leg tends to have an inward rotation every time the runner’s foot strikes the ground. The rotation in turn leads to a painful strain on the knee.
The most important thing to always have in mind when concentrating on your knee health is that the way you treat your legs will determine how healthy your knees will be. Make sure you have the correct footwear that will provide you with daily comfort.
Other Treatments For People with Knee Pain
Consider Custom Orthotics
If specialized shoes have not yet made a difference in improving your knee pain, it’s time to look into using specialized orthotics. In order to know how your foot position sparks knee pain when acting naturally in a three-dimensional space, molds of your feet in different positions must be taken. Then they will be able to create insoles which will be better align the foot and ankle, to hopefully put an end to your medial or lateral pain.
Wearing well-constructed running shoes and orthotics will help limit pronation and maintain alignment. It is important to change running shoes every 300 miles to make sure the shoes have not broken down causing poor alignment. The patients likely experience pain relief within weeks and perfectly recovery within months (generally 2 – 3 months).
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
In order to provide the best guidance, we have done our research. We put together a list of sources we used, that way you are able to do some research on your own if you want.
- How To Beat Runner’s Knee, Online running publication, Aug 12, 2014 ,
- How to Run With Knee Pain, Health & fitness publication, Sep 02, 2010 ,
- How to Treat and Prevent Running Injuries: Runner's Knee, Online sports & fitness publication, ,
- Running With Knee Arthritis, Online health publication, ,
- Runner’s Knee: Symptoms, Causes and Research-Backed Treatment Solutions for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Online running publication, ,