Best Running Shoes for Knee Pain – Full Reviews for Runners

Knee pain is fast becoming a problem with runners of all ages. The causes of knee pain will vary but having the correct running shoes can provide relief, and keep you moving. Check out our guide below to help you determine the best running shoe for your knee pain.

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Quick Look: Best Shoes for Knee Pain – Men & Women

The Causes of Knee Pain

Your knees are critical when it comes to running as they support your weight with every step you take.

Interestingly, when you run they end up having to support 2 to 3 times your body weight. Knees endure high impact and repetitive motion movements so over time most runners will experience some form of knee pain.

The two main types of Knee pain for runners, according to the people over at Footsmart, include pain around the Kneecap (also referred to as Runner’s knee) or on the outside areas of your knee (Ilotibal Band Syndrome).

This video made by Footsmart will provide some more information.

Runner’s knee is usually described as the rubbing of your kneecap against the lower end of your thigh bone. This friction can damage the cartilage beneath the kneecap and in some cases can wear all the way down to the bone.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is described as pain on the outside of the knee. The Illotibial is a fibrous band that extends from your hip to the outside of your knee that can become inflamed and painful.

So what could be causing it?

Runners Knee (Kneecap Pain)

Ilotibial Band Syndrome (Pain Surrounding the Knee)

There are other causes of knee pain such as trauma resulting is broken bones or dislocation, or tendonitis however this article focuses on the two main knee pain causes that runners experience.

What kinds of Running Shoes are best for Knee Pain?

Managing your knee pain with the correct shoe is an affordable way to keep you enjoying your running lifestyle. Runnerclick.com provides these tips for shopping for running shoes for knee pain:

  • Well-cushioned footwear: This will help prevent shock to the knees by absorbing the impact every step you take. This is especially important when running of harder surfaces like roadways.
  • Firm Midsoles: To help decrease overpronation which is also associated with low arches (insert internal link). Overpronation is one of the reasons of the lower knee and leg rotating inward resulting in knee strain.
  • Custom Orthotics: These can also help with providing the support that your foot needs to maintain stability and alignment which can help take the pressure off of your knees.

It is also important to remember that average running shoes give you around 300-500 miles before they are “worn out” and need replacing.

Quick Look: Best Shoes for Knee Pain – Men & Women

ASIC GEL-Nimbus 17

With a shoe named "Nimbus" it better have a pretty cloud-like feel, and by all accounts these do. Asics has been releasing this line of shoes for years, and whether it's the Nimbus 15, 17, or 18 - you really can't go wrong.

ASICS GEL Nimbus 17

Average Review Rating

5.0
Running Shoes Guru
4.8
Road Runner Sports

What to Expect

The Gel-Nimbus is a neutral shoe with some impressive technology that provides consistent comfort to a variety of gait styles. It is designed to fit the underpronator all the way to a moderate overpronator. You should expect a shoe that feels very light on the foot, and gives a glove-like fit thanks to the "Fluidfit" technology and single piece mesh upper.

Key Features

  • Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Heel measures approximately 1.75"
  • Lace-up running shoe featuring mesh upper with sporty overlays and logo patch on tongue
  • FluidFit multi-directional upper flex
  • FluidRide midsole bounce-back cushioning
  • Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning systems
  • Guidance Line flex grooves
  • Heel Clutching System exoskeletal heel counter

What People Say

Wiggle provides a great review, check it out below

Solereview has also provided an in depth review of the construction (they even cut it apart!) and performance of the shoe:

“The ride of the Nimbus 17 is not soft, it goes beyond that. This is our 100th review in solereview’s present version, and this shoe lords over all in softness. It was as if the midsole was literally made of marshmallows. Or as if you’ve taped foam chunks carved out of a Tempurpedic mattress (without the memory foam-ness) to your feet. The sensation of mushy, sink-in cushioning prevails with each footstrike and the transition which follows.”
- Solereview

Click here for more reviews

New Balance 1080 V5

The 1080 v5 offers a comfortable run with medium cushioning. New Balance has provided another high quality product that I’m sure you would be impressed with.

New Balance M1080V5

Average Review Rating

4.0
Road Runners Guru
4.0
Sole Review

What to Expect

The New Balance 1080 v5 overs a cushiony ride without losing the feel for the ground however some runners have reported that the shoes are best suited for short to moderate rung lengths, like a half marathon.

Key Features

  • Fabric, Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Bright running shoe built with highly breathable mesh and lightweight synthetic materials
  • Breathable fabric lining
  • Removable molded foam insole
  • Asymmetrical heel counter to keep foot locked into place
  • N2 nitrogen-infused heel for reduced midsole weight
  • ABZORB shock-absorbing midsole
  • N2 Burst for forefoot flexibility and cushioning

What People Say

The people over at Runner’s World put the New Balance 1080v5 under the microscope.

“New Balance retooled its deluxe cushioned model, without tweaking the weight or stack heights from the third version. What did change? Notably the forefoot flexibility. This update features a web of hexagon-shaped foam and rubber, which allows the shoe to bend much more easily. The ride is firmer than earlier models, but our heavier wear-testers found it well balanced. "I have been testing this family of shoes for a few years, and they just keep getting better with each new version," says Damien Wells, a 180-pound runner from Emmaus.
Bottom Line: Firm cushioning stands up to big bodies and high miles"
- Runners World

Click here for more reviews

Saucony Cohesion 8

You'll find that runners who love Saucony, REALLY love Saucony. These shoes are best described as well-cushioned and comfortable and they come in at a very budget-friendly price given the quality

Saucony Cohesion 8

Average Review Rating

4.5
Sports Auhority
5.0
Running Shoe Guru

Key Features

  • Fabric/Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Neutral running shoe featuring reflective mesh underlays and foam midfoot
  • XT-600 Carbon Rubber outsole
  • Stability Heel Grid System

What to Expect

The Saucony Cohension 8 is an affordable and comfortable running shoe however if you need a lot of inner sole support you may find that you will need some inner sole liners.

This shoe is great for everyday walk to moderate to long distance running depending on your support requirements. Overall a good quality shoe, with a little extra budget you could also consider the Saucony Cohension 9 version.

What People Say

RunningShoesGuru actually compare the Saucony Cohnesion 8 to a (great) cheap date.

“It’s hard to expect much from a shoe that goes for less than the cost of a cheap date, but the shoe is surprisingly attractive and leaves you feeling like you made the right choice, unlike a cheap date.
The shoe has excellent ratings that often place the Cohesion 8s above shoes that cost 2-3 times as much. I suppose it’s no mistake that I liked them the most out of the four budget shoes I tested.”
- Running Shoe Guru

Click here for more reviews

Quick Look: Best Shoes for Knee Pain – Women & Men

Brooks Ghost 8

The Brooks Ghost shoe range is their flagship daily running shoe and has standard-cushioning for a neutral step. The Ghost 8 is a far cry from the early versions of the design and will provide excellent cushioning and comfort for most runners.

Brooks Ghost 8

Average Review Rating

4.3
RunRepeat.com
4.1
SoleReview.com

Key Features

  • Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Heel and forefoot pivot posts give you ultimate control
  • Full-length Segmented Crash Pad allows smooth transitions
  • Forefoot ballistic rock shield adds extra protection
  • Moisture-management mesh upper lets your feet breathe

What to Expect

A minor upgrade from an already great shoe, the upper mesh of the Ghost 8 has been upgraded from the Ghost 7 to provide more support, but also additional protection from water infiltration.

Overall the Brooks Ghost 8 is a comfortable, stable and well cushioned shoe for most runners.

What People Say

Kailey over at RunersEvents  wrote a glowing review of these shoes:

It seems like everyone around me wears Brooks Ghost running shoes–my gym buddy, my husband, his dad, and okay, even myself... Why, you ask?
Simply put: Because they're awesome shoes. They've topped the charts multiple times, and it's easy to see why once you've tried them on.
The Ghost offers comfort without feeling cushy. It offers support without feeling heavy. It offers spring without feeling bouncy.
For my feet, they give the ideal balance of snugness and room to breathe. And they don’t wear out easily. In my opinion, the hype matches the reality on this one.
-Kailey

Adidas Duramo 7

A cheaper alternative for an every day running shoe. Most likely suited for enter-level to mid-distance runners but is a steal at under $100. For long-distance runners, check out our other shoe recommendation that have additional cushioning.

Adidas Duramo 7

Average Review Rating

4.3
RunRepeat
4.1
SoleReviewer

Key Features

  • Fabric/Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Weight: 8.3 ounces (size 7)
  • Air mesh upper for maximum breathability
  • SUPERCLOUD for instant step in-comfort, long-lasting responsive cushioning and a super-plush feel
  • Synthetic overlays for added support
  • Seamless, fully bonded upper construction
  • Anatomically placed deep flex grooves for flexibility, reduced weight and natural movement
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • ADIWEAR outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability

What to Expect

The Duramo 7 from Adidas is a great entry level shoe with an affordable price tag. They are stylish with plenty of cushioning, however if you’re a regular marathon runner, you may find them wearing out faster than some of the other pricier shoes.

A number of purchasers on Amazon also recommend buying a half-size smaller than usual as the shoes leave plenty of room for foot swelling.

What People Say

“The Adidas Duramo 7s are budget shoes that offer style with a low weight. Although they may not last as long as similar models, they provide a snug and light ride without emptying your wallet.”
- Running Shoe Guru

Click here for more reviews

New Balance W1080 V5

Keen eyed readers will notice that the New Balance 1080v5 design features on our top lists for both Men’s and Women’s shoes. However as you can see below, Women typically give this shoe a higher rating than their male counterparts.

New Balance W1080V5

Average Review Rating

4.7
RoadRunnersSports.com
4.4
RunRepeat

Key Features

  • Textile and Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Cushioned running shoe featuring breathable air mesh panels and N2 heel cushioning
  • 8mm heel-to-toe drop
  • FantomFit upper
  • T-Beam lightweight support
  • No-sew material application

What to Expect

A medium cushioned shoe that is great for mid-distance runners without losing ground feel. Excellent neutral support shoe with hill support.

Some runners reported minor blisters on the first few wears (not uncommon with new shoes) but only on long-distance runs (greater than 15 miles). Most runners are raving about the various color varieties for these shoes, so there is something for every personality.

Overall a fantastic mid-distance everyday running shoe.

What People Say

A new Balance Fan from Tennessee said this about the W1080v5:

These shoes are so comfortable right out of the box!!! I never take the time to write reviews but felt I must! I was disappointed with the quality of the 1080V4 but decided to give the V5 a chance. I have plantar fasciitis and other issues with my feet. These shoes are cushioned and so comfortable. I am so pleased I am going to order another pair. The one and only complaint I have with the V5 is there are not enough color choices.

It’s possible that New Balance have listened, as Amazon now lists 5 unique color combinations for sale!

Click here for more reviews

Other Ways to Treat Knee Pain

Besides having the appropriate shoe for your foot and running style there are other things you can do to help you manage your pain.

Using a foam roller can also help stretch out the thigh and hip muscles for relief, check out the video by Active Chiropractic below. If you’re not sure what foam roller you should be using, check out this guide

Spencer Haws