Best Women’s Running Shoes for Bad Knees

12 Best Women’s Running Shoes for Bad Knees

It’s no secret that running is a high impact sport. The repeated motion of your foot hitting the ground causes your joints to absorb an enormous amount of shock – perhaps none as much as the knees.

But even those who have had some issues with their knees can continue running with the right support and the right kind of shoe. Not only can the right shoe provide some relief for painful joints, they can actually help change and improve your form to keep you running pain free for miles and miles to come.

Pounding the pavement doesn’t have to mean your body and joints take a pounding. Instead, choose from one of these best running shoes for knee pains. They each have unique features to meet your specific needs for adequate cushioning and support.

Number 12

Salomon Sense Ride

Salomon Sense Ride

The Salomon Sense Ride is a great choice for runners with wide feet, looking for a shoe that works on trails, pavement or even indoors. This cushioning shoe features Salomon’s new Optivibe technology which is excellent at absorbing vibration, thereby reducing strain on the knees. The wide base has a wide heel feel and good sized toe box to allow your foot and toes enough room to splay. Thanks to Salomon’s Quicklace technology, the Sense Ride laces secure quickly and easily without tying. There is a ProFeel rock plate in the forefoot that protects the foot but still maintains flexibility. The Sense Ride outsole is made from Premium Wet Traction Contagrip compound. The flat trapezoid lugs provide excellent traction without collecting mud and dirt. The four flex groove outsole means the Sense Ride gives a cushioned and supportive ride with plenty of flexibility. The 8 mm toe drop also means you get extra cushioning in the heel to further protect the knees from impact. Because of all the technology and protection in the Sense Ride, it is a bit heavier making it a great shoe for going the distance.

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Number 11

Altra Torin Plush

Altra Torin Plush

The Altra Torin Plush is one of the most cushioned and comfortable running shoes on the market. This neutral shoe has a zero toe drop with a soft Quantic foam midsole that is squishy but also responsive and supportive. The Torin Plush features Altra’s FootShape design meant to mimic the foot’s natural shape. It has a wide toe box and knit mesh upper that keeps the foot secure without feeling restrictive. For women with bad knees, the Torin Plush’s advanced cushioning absorbs the impact of running extremely well, making it a favorite among runners. The engineered knit upper feels snug and stretchy like a sock. The Torin Plush is also catered to the female foot with Altra’s Fit4Her technology including a narrower heel and midsole, longer arch and higher instep and metatarsal spacing. The result of all this attention to detail is a great running shoe for women with bad knees.

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Number 10

Mizuno Wave Inspire

Mizuno Wave Inspire

The Mizuno Wave Inspire is a well-loved stability shoe. The latest edition stays true to the Wave Inspire’s reputation as a durable shoe for overpronators with Mizuno’s U4ic foam and classic Wave Plate. This combination allow the Wave Inspire to remain soft and responsive without losing its fresh feel. It also makes the Wave Inspire one of the best running shoes for bad knees because not only does the Wave Plate keep the foot in place to prevent overpronation, but it also helps absorb impact. This advanced technology draws shock away from knees and joints. The Wave Inspire has an engineered mesh upper and structured heel cup to keep your foot locked in. The outsole is packed with rubber covering the toe, midfoot and heel with two flex grooves in the forefoot. The 12mm heel drop is good for heel strikers looking to lessen the repeated impact of running.

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Number 9

Hoka One One Gaviota

Hoka One One Gaviota

The Gaviota is Hoka One One’s most stable runner. It is extremely supportive but also extremely cushioned for a comfortable ride. Although it looks solid and heavy, it is surprisingly lightweight at 9 ounces. The Gaviota features Hoka One One’s J-Frame design which guides your foot without feeling too rigid and unforgiving. It delivers maximum support and protection for those with bad knees. The midsole combines rubber and EVA foam that allows your ride to feel plush without being sluggish. The Gaviota has a 5 mm toe drop and late-stage Meta-Rocker to ensure a smooth toe-off. The upper mesh is breathable and offers good ventilation. It has arch-lock wings for even more foot stability and support. The Hoka One One Gaviota is an impressive motion control shoe, with enough cushion to also be one of best shoes for those with knee pain.

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Number 8

Asics Gel-Kayano

Asics Gel-Kayano

The Asics Gel-Kayano is another popular stability shoe that can be very beneficial for women with bad knees. The Gel-Kayano features a soft, stable platform with a comfortable heel collar and plush tongue. The FlyteFoam midsole platform is infused with Asic’s GEL technology while the heel uses a GEL pad to absorb and disperse shock. This premium cushioning as well as the Gel-Kayano’s Dynamic Duomax stability technology help to improve form and keep the body properly aligned. Unlike some of its competitors, Asics pays particular attention to the differences between men and women’s feet in their shoe designs. Specifically, the Asics Trussic System for women has added support for forward motion, a slightly softer midsole and 3 mm more foam (than for men). The13 mm toe drop further enhances shock absorption for painful knees.

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Number 7

Saucony Triumph

Saucony Triumph

Saucony has a long reputation for creating supremely comfortable and highly durable running shoes. The Triumph is no different. This neutral runner is Saucony’s most cushioned running shoe and the first shoe containing Saucony’s new PWRRUN+ foam. Notable for its lightweight feel, springiness and flexibility, PWRRUN+ foam is one of the most advanced foam innovations on the market. The Triumph also uses Saucony’s FormFit technology to ensure a snug, but not restrictive, fit. There is thick cushioning at the heel and in the shoe tongue which further enhance the shoe’s pillowy feel. The Triumph has a moderate toe box and 8 mm drop. The outsole has great grip and traction making this an ideal shoe for long runs. Those with bad knees will find the Triumph one of the best shoes for knee pain.

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Number 6

New Balance 860

New Balance 860

The New Balance 860 is a stability shoe that doesn’t try to pretend it’s anything but a stability shoe. New Balance has added medial posts in the midsole to help control your foot motion and keep your body aligned. When your body is aligned, you’ll have less joint pain. The medial posts are complemented by dense foam on medial side to support the arch and absorb shock. The newest addition to the 860 however, is New Balance’s Fresh Foam to give runner’s a soft but responsive ride. Like most New Balance runners, the 860 is wide and features a roomy toe box. The 10 mm drop promotes heel striking while the breathable, quick drying mesh upper keeps the foot securely in place. The outsole is made of blown rubber and is designed for good traction. The unique heel collar shape is meant to keep material from rubbing against the Achilles to prevent blisters and irritation. The New Balance 860 is a quality stability runner that has enough cushion and control to benefit those with bad knees.

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Number 5

Hoka One One Arahi

Hoka One One Arahi

Another stability shoe from a trusted brand is the Hoka One One Arahi. Like the Gaviota, the Arahi uses Hoka One One’s J-frame design but is meant to provide more moderate stability. The Arahi is not as wide or as soft as the Gaviota, with firm, mid-sole foam. The foam, made from EVA and rubber lightweight compound, makes the Ahrahi more responsive, giving it a quick feel. The J-frame design as well as the firm foam help overpronators improve form without their stride feeling over-corrected. The Arahi features early-stage Meta-Rocker geometry for smooth transitions. It also has an internal heel counter to lock the foot in place and a 5 mm toe drop. The upper has perforations to increase breathability and at 8 oz., it is surprisingly light for a durable stability shoe.

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Number 4

Brooks Glycerin

Brooks Glycerin

The Brooks Glycerin is a neutral shoe with maximum cushion that feels like a luxury runner. The Glycerin offers a soft and smooth ride thanks to Brooks’ DNA Loft foam compound. DNA Loft combines EVA foam, rubber and air so you get plush, light cushioning that is responsive and durable. It is this highly responsive cushioning that is particularly beneficial for women runners with bad knees. The Glycerin absorbs shock and helps you keep proper form so your body (and joints) stay aligned. The 10 mm drop encourages heel striking. But it’s the attention to small details that really set the Glycerin apart. The heel collar and cup have a satiny finish. An OrthoLite sockliner hugs the foot for a snug, comfy fit. The upper is made from a double jacquard mesh that is supportive and flexible and the laces are sticky to keep you secure on high mileage runs.

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Number 3

Hoka One One Bondi

Hoka One One Bondi

The last Hoka One One shoe on our list is the Bondi, their most cushioned neutral runner. The Bondi is one of the best running women’s shoes for bad knees because of its superior cushioning. It boasts one of the biggest stacked soles among its competitors and manages to be incredibly soft without feeling mushy. The Hoka One One foam acts like a memory foam to conform to your foot. The Bondi has an early stage Meta Rocher to help toe off and create smooth transitions. The extra padding in the heel collar and tongue extend the soft feel through to upper of this plush runner. The thin upper mesh is flexible and helps keep the foot secure. Bad knees certainly won’t stop women who choose the Hoka One One The Bondi.

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Number 2

New Balance 1080

New Balance 1080

The 1080 is one of New Balance’s most popular shoes and as a neutral shoe with great cushion, it’s one of the best women’s running shoes for bad knees. It’s newest version got some great updates that retain everything runners love about the 1080 and more. New Balance added FreshFoam X to the midsole for a soft, but not pillowy, feel. The FreshFoam X is more firm and therefore more responsive than some other maximum cushioning shoes. It’s complimented by the 1080’s unique rocker shape. (The front and back curve up slightly.) This design element is meant to provide a bouncy feel to keep knees and legs feeling fresh. The 1080 features New Balance’s Hypoknit mesh upper that feels stretchy and accommodating. Like the 860, the Ultra Heel design keeps the heel collar from rubbing against the Achilles and follows a growing trend among running shoe designers.

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Number 1

Brooks Adrenaline

Brooks Adrenaline

The Brooks Adrenaline is a standout in the “stability with cushioning” shoe category and for good reason. Brooks’ fairly new GuideRails Holistic Support System provides a harmonious mix of technologies designed to keep you injury free with improved form. In short, the Adrenaline guides your foot without you realizing it’s even happening. The GuideRails do exactly as the name suggests, guiding your foot into place with each strike. This makes the Adrenaline the best women’s running shoe for knee pain. To offer balanced cushioning, Brooks packed the Adrenaline with DNA Loft foam in the heel but used lighter and firmer BioMoGo DNA foam in forefoot so that the 12 mm toe drop is well cushioned. You get cushioning and support exactly where you need it. The plush tongue and heel collar add additional comfort. The stretchy mesh upper hugs the foot with enough give to not feel too restrictive. While the midsole is on the narrower side, the toe box feels adequate. The Brooks Adrenaline is a winner for any women runner with bad knees.

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