Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees

I hope that you’ll agree with us when we say:

As a runner, bad knees suck – you might think that there’s nothing you can do about it… but there is!

While physio, rest and can help – so to can picking the right running shoes.

That’s why we’ve created a list of best running shoes for bad knees 2017. After countless hours of testing and research trying to find the top running shoes for knee pain, we’ve shortlisted the top 10 shoes which you can buy right now.

Best Running Shoes for Bad Knees 2017

On our list below we’ve included a range of shoes from the very expensive to the affordable.

To make our list of the top 10 best running shoes for bad knees 2017 each shoe must perform relative to the price (we don’t like expensive shoes that suck).

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v6Neutral
Hoka One One Bondi 5Neutral
Mizuno Wave Enigma 6Neutral
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2.1Neutral
Saucony Triumph ISO 3Neutral
Saucony Omni 14Stability
Hoka One One Conquest 3Stability
Brooks Transcend 4Stability
Brooks Ravenna 8Stability

1. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v6 – best shoe for bad knees in 2017

Competition for our #1 was spot was fierce but in the end there could be only 1 winner.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v6.

Most runners or athletes will be familiar with the New Balance brand. Founded in 1906 in Boston, Massachusetts, the company has been producing running shoes for over 111 years.

So it’s fair to say that they know what they’re doing when it comes to running shoes.

Not only is the Fresh Foam 1080 an incredibly light trainer (the men’s weight 294g and the women’s comes in at just 247g) that feels fantastic to run in.

The fresh foam cushioning is second to none which is exactly what those runners with bad knees need in a shoe.

Just because the 1080 V6 is big on cushioning doesn’t mean that it’s a slow shoe for long steady miles.

The 8mm drop feels agile and responsive thanks to a 30mm heel and 22mm forefoot height.

Increases in pace happen instantly with no delayed pick-up time – not only are these shoes great for those runners with knee pain but they’re also the perfect marathon trainer.

The real piece de resistance of this shoe is how the upper wraps around your foot to create a secure fit which holds well without rubbing.

In Summary

The New Balance 1080 V6 is a fantastic shoe for those runners who’re experiencing knee pain or are coming back from a knee injury.

The upper feels fantastic and features all the usual New Balance design while the sole offers a great 1-2 punch, offering a perfect combination of cushioning and traction.

If you’re looking for a running shoe for knee pain then you’ll certainly want to take a closer look at this shoe.

What we love

  • Fresh Foam cushioning is super plush and comfortable with bad knees
  • Light & responsive
  • Roomy toe box felt great when toes splayed

But watch out for

  • Other reviewers have commented that these shoes felt tight, although, we didn’t experience this. If you are worried about the shoes being tight, a 2E version is available.
  • Premium price tag although it’s worth every penny.
Check Prices on Amazon

2. Hoka One One Bondi 5

The Hoka One One Bondi has long been one of our favorite shoes for recovery runs.

The supreme levels of cushioning combined with the low drop give the Hoka One One Bondi 5 a comfortable yet fast feel when out running.

Pulling the Bondi 5 on for the first time, the first thing that you’ll notice is how much taller you’ve suddenly become.

The 37mm heel height and 33mm forefoot height provide crazy levels of cushioning. You’ll instantly pick up on just how much cushioning is offered within just a few steps thanks to the EVA foam.

The rockered design of the shoe helps to make them much more responsive than they otherwise would have been – if you’re new to the Hoka range then expect that first run to be a little different (although not in a bad way).

The upper of the Bondi 5 looks great – the engineered mesh feels great on the foot and provides good flexibility. Even running without socks there was no rubbing, blisters or hot spots from the shoe.

In Summary

If you suffer from bad knees then this shoe is a nice alternative to the New Balance 1080 V6.

While Hoka shoes do take a little getting use to (mainly as your foot transitions through the rokered design), it’s certainly worth it as what you get in return is an incredibly comfortable running shoe that will help dampen the shock of each foot strike.

Ideal for those with knee issues

What we love

  • Extremely light weight for a well cushioned shoe.
  • Traction is a beast on the road and suitable for light trails.
  • Roomy toe box makes this shoe accessable for those with wider feet

But watch out for

  • Hoka shoes do take a little getting use to.
  • The shoe can requires a quick re-lace to stop the tongue rubbing in some rare cases
Check Prices on Amazon

3. Mizuno Wave Enigma 6

The Mizuno Wave Enigma 6 is a super high mileage shoe that’s designed to soak up the punishment and keep on trucking.

That’s why it’s a great option for those runners with bad knees.

The shoe feels incredibly well balanced and secure. From the moment you pull these shoes on you can feel everything from your heel to forefoot ‘lock’ into place.

This is a shoe that doesn’t move around a lot when you’re running.

As a few other runners have noted, this is a pretty stiff shoe that doesn’ bend and flex as well as the others. However, if you’re looking for a little extra stability and control then you shouldn’t let that put you off.

Cushioning is excellent and when combined with the supportive sole it becomes a great option for those looking for a post injury trainer.

The upper is where this shoe really comes alive – it’s amazingly comfortable and provides that goldilocks combination of not being too tight but not slack as to have a sloppy feel.

It’s because of this it breathes really well and keeps your foot well ventilated.

In Summary

We like the Wave Enigma 6.

While the ride may be a bit too firm for some, for us it’s the perfect post injury shoe as it gives you both support and a great level of cushioning thanks to the 32mm heel height and 20mm forefoot height.

If you’re looking for a reliable high mileage shoe that’s going to soak up all the bumps and impacts then this could be the one for you.

What we love

  • The upper is superb – it provides a great fit and feel while looking great.
  • The 12mm heel to toe drop offers a relaxed and comfortable ride – perfect for post injury training.
  • Forefoot cushioning is exccellent.

But watch out for

  • A little stiffer than the Fresh Foam 1080 v6 and Bondi 5.
Check Prices on Amazon

4. Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2.1

The Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2.1 is designed to be a marathon focused shoe… so you know it’s going to provide a great cushioned ride!

Upon picking up this shoe, you’ll instantly notice that, despite the high levels of cushioning, this is still a flexible shoe that bends and flexes with your foot.

Slipping the shoe on, we found that despite the cushioning you still feel the road under your feet.

Out on our test run, we were pleasantly surprised with how light this shoe felt – the men’s weights 295g while the women’s comes in at just 256g. Not the lightest shoes in the world but certainly not bad for a shoe so well cushioned.

In Summary

While these shoes won’t be to every runners taste, they’re a solid option for anyone with knee pain as they’ll soak up the impact and provide you with a more cushioned run

While they are still a bit rough around the edges compared to the New Balance 1080 they do feel extremely comfortable and we were blown away with just how much ‘feel’ you have for the road when running, something that’s often missing in well cushioned shoes.

What we love

  • Comfortable
  • Great sense of ground contact
  • Pretty light

But watch out for

  • These shoes aren’t perfect out of the box and do take a few runs to break in.
Check Prices on Amazon

5. Saucony Triumph ISO 3

Here at Runbl, we’ve long been fans of Saucony running shoes.

The runner has always been at the very core of ever athletic shoe that they’ve produced since 1898.

With the Triumph ISO 3, Saucony have focused in on providing a well cushioned shoe that’s perfect for everyone who needs a little extra comfort under their foot.

From those runners with bad knees right through to those athletes looking to soften the pounding that the experience over marathon distance.

The shoe feels plush, as you’d expect from a brand with such a long history of producing athletic footwear.

During our test runs we notice that the toe box was roomy while the upper locked our heel in place and provided excellent ventilation through the cleverly engineered mesh.

Cushioning is good and felt stable to run in, even during tempo runs (not that you’ll be doing many if you’re coming back from injury) and the midsole felt incredibly responsive with a fast pickup.

In Summary

The Triumph ISO 3 is an incredibly well designed trainer with cushioning in all the right places.

It feels light and responsive but provides just the right balance to make this an ideal running shoe for those runners with knee issues.

What we love

  • The 8mm drop made this feel like a pretty fast shoe with the extra benefit of good levels of cushioning throughout the shoe.
  • Pretty light at just 312g for the men’s & 266g for the women’s
  • The upper is very impressive.

But watch out for

  • the Saucony Triumph ISO 3 runs half a size smaller (compared to other brands)
Check Prices on Amazon

6. Salomon Sense Pulse – best trail running shoe for knee pain

If you have bad knees, trail running is the perfect alternative to the road if you’re suffering from knee pain.

While trail running shoes often provide little cushioning (given that the ground absorbs a lot of the foot impact) the Salomon Sense Pulse is really well cushioned.

If you’re a heel striker then you’re going to love this shoe – the cushioning in the heel of the Sense Pulse is unreal.

Despite the cushioning, you get that all important ground feel which is so crucial for a trail running shoe.

In Summary

The Salomon Sense Pulse is a great trail running shoe for those who suffer from knee pain.

While most trail shoes offer little to no cushioning the Sense Pulse offer a generous 29mm of foam in the heel and 23mm in the forefoot.

This does however come at a price – the Sense Pulse comes in at 360g for the men’s and 303g for the women’s.

Don’t let the weight put you off, the Sense Pulse is a very capable trail shoe ideal for post knee injury running.

What we love

  • Good traction
  • Great ground feel
  • Unreal levels of heel cushioning – perfect for heel strikers with knee injuries

But watch out for

  • Pretty heavy at 360g for the men’s and 303g for the women’s
Check Prices on Amazon

7. Saucony Omni 14 – best stability running shoe for knee pain

If you’re looking for the best stability running shoe for knee pain then the Saucony Omni 14 is the one for you!

Straight out of the box the Saucony Omni 14 feels great.

With this shoe there was zero bedding in time and the shoe didn’t even need so much as a re-lace or slackening off to feel comfortable.

Cushioning is great thanks to a generous 27mm of EVERUN foam in the heel and 19mm in the forefoot; with an 8mm drop, this shoe certainly feels fast.

Stability is provided via a midsole medial post which does a good job in correcting overpronation even on tired legs and feet.

Additional cushioning is provided via a (removable) foam insole which is a blessing for bad knees.

In Summary

Real thought has gone into the design and engineering of the Omni 14.

Cushioning is excellent thanks to the use of the pillow like EVERUN foam, while stability is fantastic and really helps to move an overpronating foot closer to neutral.

What we love

  • Comfortable out of the box
  • Fantastic heel cushioning

But watch out for

  • Slightly heavier than others on our list
Check Prices on Amazon

8. Hoka One One Conquest 3

The second pair of Hoka One One running shoes to grace our list, the Conquest 3.

If you’re a runner with bad knees then you’ll love the soft cushioning that the Conquest 3 provides.

We really like the soft, plush ride that you get with the Conquest 3 and the foot bed provides an incredibly stable experience.

In Summary

The Hoka One One Conquest 3 is is a fantastic shoe that offers a soft, stable ride.

If you’re interested in the Hoka One One Bondi 5 but need some extra stability then this is the best alternative on our list.

What we love

  • Very stable
  • Soft ride
  • Great support

But watch out for

  • The price – it can be pretty expensive.
Check Prices on Amazon

9. Brooks Transcend 4

The Brooks Transcend 4 is a real pleasure to run in.

The cushioning is deep and the ride is extremely stable making this a great choice for those of us who overpronate AND suffer from bad knees.

You can really feel (though not in a bad way) the shoe correcting your over pronations

In Summary

While these wont be the fastest shoe that you’ll ever run in (with the mens weighing 306g and the womens 258g) they performed extremely on our test runs.

What we love

  • Comfortable
  • Stable

But watch out for

  • A little on the expensive side
Check Prices on Amazon

10. Brooks Ravenna 8

The final shoe on our best running shoes for bad knees list is the Brooks Ravenna 5 – a stability shoe that’s an extremely comfortable high miler.

So what’s to like for a runner with knee problems?

Well, for a start this is an incredibly light trainer that manages to balance stability with a good level of cushioning. The result is a stability trainer that isn’t bulky in the slightest despite the very generous 28mm foam cushioning in the heel.

The ride is springy rather than spongie making it feel pretty quick while the 10mm heel-to-toe drop provides a more relaxed profile than some of the others on our list.

In Summary

If you’re looking for a good shoe that’s certainly not going to let you down and provide you with that oh-so-important cushioned ride then you can’t go far wrong that with the Brooks Ravenna 8

What we love

  • Lightweight at just 298g for the men’s and 252g for the women’s
  • Springy ride

But watch out for

  • While the upper is overall good, we have heard reports that it doesn’t lock the foot into place as well as some of the others.
Check Prices on Amazon

Running Shoes For Bad Knees (Buyers Guide)

What to look for

When you have bad knees, it’s important that your running shoes provide yo with a couple of things:

Final Words – Wrapping it up

We know how uncomfortable it can be to run with bad knees.

However, by combining a solid recovery plan (including rest, stretching, and physiotherapy) with the best shoes for bad knees then you can be sure to be back out running again in no time at all.

Bonus: Stretching For Bad Knees