Best Running Shoes For Heavy Runners Reviewed & Rated

Whether you have taken up running at the gym or outside it is a great way to get into shape.  Once you have taken the plunge and decide to start running on a regular basis you need to have the right shoes.  If you are on the heavy side running without proper shoes can lead to pain and injury.

Last Updated: February 4, 2018
By Tenby Lloyd:

The Recent update reflects the best of 2018’s running shoes for heavy runners with new information as to how to choose the best running shoes and our criteria for evaluation. Also included are some of the most frequently asked questions about running and running shoes.

It is especially important for heavy runners to have the right amount of shock absorption, flexibility, and support. A shoe with good shock absorption will take the shock and distribute your body weight throughout taking the pressure off your joints. With the right amount of support and stability your foot will stay snug inside your shoe. Good flexibility allows your feet to move naturally with each stride you take.

Featured Recommendations 

New Balance M990v3
  • New Balance M990v3
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Width Width Available
  • Removable Insoles
  • Price: See Here
Saucony Cohesion 9
  • Saucony Cohesion 9
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Heel Grove System
  • Flex Grooves
  • Price: See Here
 
ASICS Gel Nimbus 18
  • ASICS Gel Nimbus 18
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • FluidFit Upper
  • FluidRide Midsole
  • Price: See Here

You need to decide if you want a running shoe with a lot of cushion and bounce or if you like a firmer shoe. There is a lot of discrepancy online about whether an overweight runner needs a firm shoe or a softer cushioned shoe. Everybody seems to have an opinion. It really boils down to you and your preference. What do you feel comfortable in?

Furthermore, it is important to know if you are an over pronator, under pronator, or neutral pronator. There are running shoes that will correct this while running. If you are an under or over pronator and you try to run in neutral shoes you might find that you are uncomfortable or in pain after running just a short distance.

Below you will find 10 running shoes that are popular with heavy runners. Each have their own characteristics with different levels of cushion and differing features. You will find shoes for people with previous injuries, over pronation, under pronation, and regular running shoes for heavy runners.

 

 

10 Best Running Shoes For Heavy Runners

 

 

1. New Balance M990v3

New Balance prides itself on being made in the USA. The New Balance M990v3 is a great choice for any heavy runner. They are built to last with a blown rubber forefoot and light cushioning for arch support and stability. The M990v3 features removable insoles and a reflective strip for safety when running at night. They are also great for people with over pronation. There are several colors to choose from and most of the colors come in wide widths.
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Reflective Detailing
The N on the sides of the New Balance M990v3 are made of a reflective strip. This is especially helpful for those that like to run while it is dark outside. This is a wonderful safety addition for any running shoe.

Removable Insoles
New Balance has removable insoles so if you are uncomfortable with the insoles that come with this running shoe you can easily replace them for a better fit. As these shoes are durable you can also change out the insole if they start to wear down in time.

Price and Value
The price of the New Balance M990v3 is higher than the other running shoes featured here but lower than other New Balance models. Customers rave about the comfort and stability of these shoes. Some reviewers even stated that these shoes are perfect for those with over pronation. The great consumer ratings prove that these running shoes are a good fit for heavy runners.
Pros
  • Removable insoles
  • Suede and mesh upper
  • Comes in wide width
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • May need to replace the insoles for a better fit.

2. Saucony Cohesion 9

The Saucony Cohesion 9 running shoe is a great choice for somebody looking to get started running. It does not cost a lot of money and the superior quality and features make it worth every penny. Saucony uses a heel grid system that provides superior cushioning and stability. The flex grooves on the forefoot provide just the right amount of flexibility. The upper is made of mesh to keep your feet cool and breathable as well as a padded tongue and collar.
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Heel Grid System
Saucony uses a heel grid system that is a woven configuration of Hytrel filaments. This grid system provides superior stability and cushioning by centering your heel while your feet are in motion. This system is interwoven into the midsole so when your feet hit the ground the Hytrel strands bend to shape your heel and provide cushioning while both walking and running. The stable cushioning that the Cohesion 9 provides is unlike the cushioning systems found on other shoes.

Flex Grooves
Flex grooves have been added to the forefoot of the Cohesion 9 running shoe to add flexibility. The flexibility provided by this always for your toes to bend slightly backward in their natural position while running. While a heavy runner does not want too much flexibility in their shoe the amount provided by the flex groove system in this shoe is just enough.

Price and Value
The Saucony Cohesion 9 running shoe is a lot of shoe for the money. The price is on the low range and the features are terrific. Consumer reviews show that most customers could not be happier with their purchase. Customers have continuously stated that these running shoes provide everything you need from arch support, flexibility, support, and comfort. Reviewers also say that these shoes provide a slightly larger toe bed for wide feet.
Pros
  • Cushioning heel grid system
  • Mesh upper
  • Padded tongue
  • Padded collar
Cons
  • Run slightly small 

3. ASICS Gel Nimbus 18

The ASICS Gel Nimbus 18 running shoe has revolutionized cushioning in running shoes for heavy people. These running shoes with a FluidRide midsole allow for natural movement of your feet while keeping your heel from rubbing on the back of the shoe when in full stride.
It is a lightweight shoe with gel cushioning in the rearfoot and forefoot reducing rebound and shock absorption to your knees and joints. The FluidFit upper is combined with multi directional stretch mesh has stretch reinforcement that conforms to your foot while still allowing breathability.
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FluidRide Midsole
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 18 has achieved both a lightweight shoe with rebound and shock absorption with the FluidRide midsole. The midsole is made of a lightweight Solyte and high bounce SpEVA which has the cushioning properties that absorb your impact when walking and running. The exceptional rebound is due to SpEVA properties, and enhances movement with every stride. By applying a dual layer structure to the midsole this shoe has achieved lightweight, absorption and rebound all at the same time.

Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems
The rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning in the Nimbus 18 reduces impact during running at the toe off phase while allowing full movement of your foot during the running phase. So basically the gel system is a cushioning system to absorb the shock on impact during walking and running while allowing your feet full range of motion.

Price and Value
The price for the ASICS Gel Nimbus 18 running shoe is low to mid range for a good quality running shoe. Reviews show that consumers couldn't be happier with their purchase of these shoes. From reports of alleviating back and knee pain to battling Plantar Fasciitis the gel system has seems to be the answer for many people. Heavy people upwards of 200 pounds say that they have found the answer to comfortable running in these shoes.
Pros
  • FluidRide Midsole
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning
  • FluidFit Upper
  • Heel Clutching System Technology
  • Seamless Construction
Cons
  • Have a narrower toebox than the Nimbus 15s and 16s

4. Brooks Ghost 9

4. Brooks Ghost 9
The Brooks Ghost 9 running shoe is specifically designed for runners with neutral to under pronation. It is a high energizing cushion running shoe made for high mileage that is great for heavy runners. It features BioMoGo DNA making these shoes biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
The engineered mesh upper provides the stretch and breathability needed for running. The plush tongue and collar along with the soft fabric lining, and removable foam insole adds to its comfort. The neutral gender friendly cushioning design enhances fit and function for its wearers.
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BioMoGo DNA
Brooks Ghost 9 uses a biodegradable material called BioMoGo DNA as a environmentally friendly midsole. While it maintains all the comforts, performance, and cushioning as other shoes the use of this material makes these shoes earth friendly. The BioMoGo technology allows the Books Ghost 9 midsole to break down 50 times faster than others.

Engineered Mesh Upper
The engineered mesh upper of the Brooks Ghost 9 is a 3d stretch material that makes up the upper part of the shoe. It maintains the stretch fit that Brooks Ghost lovers have come to rely on with a polished look that gives these shoes a streamlined look. This allows for a good fit that conforms to your foot for a comfortable fit.

Price and Value
The price of this shoe is mid range to high. Reviewers have stated that these shoes are great for over pronation to neutral pronation. Customers have also gone as far to state that these shoes have taken away the pain of shin splints, tibial tendonitis, bunions, and plantar fasciitis when running. One user also says that he had two knee replacements and can still run in these shoes. The majority of all the consumer reviews are very happy with their purchase and will purchase the Brooks Ghost 9 again in other colors.
Pros
  • Omega Flex Grooves
  • High energizing cushioning
  • Engineered mesh upper
  • Soft fabric lining
  • Plush tongue and collar
Cons
  • Runs about a half size small

5. Nike Revolution 3

5. Nike Revolution 3
The Nike Revolution 3 running shoe has a basic style mesh upper providing good breathability. The foam midsole offers responsive cushioning. It has a rubber outsole with a thick heel and great traction. The Revolution 3 features a lightweight and flexible design. There are several different colors available in normal and wide widths and run true to size.
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Responsive Cushioning
The Nike Revolution 3 running shoes were designed with a responsive cushioning midsole. What this actually means is that the shoe is designed to respond to the ground by giving energy back rather than feeling dead under your feet. The Revolution 3 does not have a superior cushioning system but if you like a firmer shoe this will be the one.

Wide Width Fitting
It is hard for overweight runners to find a lot of shoes that have wide widths. The Nike Revolution 3 has a large selection of wide width (E) sizes and colors. As an overweight runner you want to be comfortable so you want a shoe that fits.

Price and Value
The price of this shoe depends on the size and color however, most of them are affordable. Consumer reviews show that buyers are happy with their purchase saying they are comfortable, lightweight and attractive. While the reviews shoe that buyers of the Revolution 3 are happy with their purchase if you are looking for a running shoe with all the bells and whistles then this is probably not your shoe. It is more of a basic running shoe that offers durability and comfort.
Pros
  • Soft foam midsole
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Excellent traction
  • Extra wide widths available
  • Several color choices
Cons
  • Insole cushion is thinner than other shoes

6. Nike Air Max Tailwind 8

6. Nike Air Max Tailwind 8
The Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 are a lightweight running shoe that provides maximum protection while running implementing the use of Nike's popular visible Air Max technology. They provide a stable and supportive experience with the use of Flywire filaments in the shoe that hugs your foot like a bootie providing a snug but comfortable fit. Those features make these shoes a great fit for heavy runners. They also feature a mesh upper with great breathability with a rubber sole with good traction for running on the road or the treadmill. The Air Max is available in multiple colors and shoes.
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Flywire Technology
Nike's flywire technology attaches to the outsole of the Air Max Tailwind wrapping up over the top of your foot. It holds your foot in place while still allowing for movement. They are like suspension cables that provide stability and support at the precise moment you need it.

Visible Air Max unit
Air Max is designed to provide maximum protection on impact during running. These shoes have a larger volume airbag with a smaller midsole keeping the shoe lightweight while maintaining maximum protection. The air max unit is visible from the side of the shoe.

Price and Value
The price of the Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 is in the mid range. The price is dependent on the color and size that you choose. Consumer reviews prove that the majority of buyers are happy with their purchase. reviewers state that while they are a lightweight show they are comfortable to run in and are very durable lasting well over a year.
Pros
  • Flywire Technology
  • Visible Air Max unit
  • Mesh upper
  • Internal bootie for a snug fit
Cons
  • Does not come in wide width

7. Brooks Beast 14

7. Brooks Beast 14
The Brooks Beast 14 is specially designed for people with flat feet and who are over pronators by implementing a combination of reinforced stability and cushioning features unlike other shoes to aid in the correction and comfort for over pronation.
The extended progressive diagonal rollbar rolls your feet back to their natural position. Full length segmented crash pads in the midsole cushions your feet and absorbs shock for a smooth run. The mesh upper contains a moisture managing sock liner with a padded tongue and collar to aid in comfort. It contains a soft fabric lining with a biodegradable environmentally friendly midsole. It also features an abrasion-resistant HPR Plus rubber outsole with Omega flex grooves for durability and natural fluid movement.
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Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
The extended progressive diagonal rollbar (labeled as PDRB) is a stability feature made to prevent over pronation by adjusting your feet back to the neutral position keeping your ankle from moving inwards. It is located in the tri density midsole which has an internal post allowing for neutral pronation. It is designed to deliver a smooth transition during the running phase for flat footed over pronators making this an ideal running shoe for overweight runners.

Full-length Segmented Crash Pad
A full length segmented crash pad in the Brook's midole was designed to cushion your feet with a fully integrated shock absorber and a smooth heel to toe transition while running. When running the segments all work together to customize to your personal stride providing just the right amount of cushion that you need.

Price and Value
The price of the Brook Beast 14 is on the high side. But if you are an over pronator then this is a running shoe that you want to look into. Reviewers state that it is a solid shoe but does run small. Many stating that you need to order a full size up. Buyers also stated that it is a corrective shoe so you might find that it takes some getting used to. Most consumers are happy with their purchase and state that they will buy again.
Pros
  • Made for moderate to severe over-pronators
  • Made for flat footed people
  • Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
  • Envirnomently friendly with BIOMOGO
  • Omega Flex Grooves
Cons
  • Runs small need to order a half to whole size big

8. Mizuno Wave Rider 18

8. Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Mizuno Wave Rider 18 provides runners with a flexible and responsive run. It has a great underfoot feeling while conforming to your feet with every stride. The secure midsole is lightweight made to feel like it is part of your foot while keeping your feet firmly in place.
It features an upgraded sock liner that provides exceptional rebound and resiliency. The SmoothRide technology consists of the midsole and outsole working together for a smooth run while the wave plate is designed to incorporate the right amount of cushioning and support for your weight.
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SmoothRide Engineering Technology
Smoothride engineering technology in the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 consists of the AP+ midsole and the flex outsole working together for a smooth flexible run. While the flex grooves in the heel provide a rocking chair like motion in your heel the flex controllers in the forefoot provide your feet a solid platform at toe off.

Wave Plate Technology
Mizuno's wave plate technology is designed to provide cushioning and support. The wave disperses the weight by spreading it evenly throughout the midsole of the shoe. By doing this you will find that it is a firmer ride since your feet will not sink into the cushioning allowing you a better response time.

Price and Value
The price is in the mid to high range. Consumers have stated the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a great shoe for under pronators and those with high arches. Buyers are overall happy with their purchase stating they are long time consumers of Mizuno and will continue to buy. They seem to be quite durable with statements implying the Wave Rider last for up to 300 miles.
Pros
  • Smooth ride technology
  • Ideal heel fit
  • Secure midfit
  • Premium sock liner
  • Mesh upper and lightweight
Cons
  • May require a break in period

9. Brooks Beast 16

9. Brooks Beast 16
Brooks has outdone itself with the Brooks Beast 16. It is the next generation of the Beast 14. Made especially for sever pronators it has updated and added to the features for those that need it. With the addition of the super DNA midsole for maximum cushioning you can go from the road to grass to light trail running without a problem. The moisture managing upper mesh keeps your feet cool while the Element mesh lining wicks away the moisture.
It features an external heel counter to stabilize your feet while the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar allows for progressive pronation control. The full-length Segmented Crash Pad provides a smooth heel to toe transition with every stride. The durable HPR Green™ outsole is environmentally friendly and contains Omega flex grooves for a feeling of natural movement.
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External Heel Counter
Using an external heel counter increases support of your heel by cradling your heel and arch locking your foot in place and keeping it anchored to the midsole so your foot does not rub on the back of your shoe. This also helps to reduce over pronation. It is located in the heel cup that runs between the midsole and the base of the heel.

Super DNA Midsole
Brooks super DNA midsole is made from a material that adapts to the specific weight and force allied to it. This provides you with a customized fit. When you wear this shoe it will customize to your gait, weight, pace, and running surface.

Price and Value
The price is in the higher range for the Brooks Beast 16. Reviews have proven that this shoe is one of the best available for over pronators. Reviews stated that these shoes come highly recommended by podiatrists for people with over pronation. Buyers also stated that the Brooks help with joint and knee pain in heavy runners.
Pros
  • Comes in extra wide widths
  • For sever over pronators
  • Envirnomentally friendly outsole
  • Mesh lining that wicks away moisture
  • Super DNA midsole
Cons
  • This shoe is heavier 

10. ASICS Gel Fortify

10. ASICS Gel Fortify
ASICS gel fortify running shoe is especially made for heavy runners that are prone to flat feet and over pronation. They have a synthetic mesh top to keep your feet cool and breathable and a 8.5mm footbed. The reflective details are great for running while dark.
Featuring the impact guidance system guides the gel fortify to work with your feet rather than your feet conform to your shoe. The Dynamic DuoMax support system keeps your feet and ankles from rolling in and collapsing. It also contains rear and forefoot gel to absorb the shock and lessen the impact of running.
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Impact Guidance System
ASICS impact guidance system was created to encourage the shoe to work with your feet rather than trying to control your feet. By providing dynamic stability the ASICS Gel Fortify running shoe will work with your feet all the way through to your hips while moving.

Dynamic DuoMax Support System
The dynamic DouMax support system is made up of a slightly firmer midsole material that is placed under the arch area of the shoe. While in motion it compresses slower than other shoes to prevent your foot from rolling in and collapsing for over pronators.

Price and Value
The price is in the mid to high range. The majority of buyers are happy with their purchase. Overweight reviewers state that these shoes have the perfect amount of stability and comfort for them to run on a daily basis without pain in their feet and joints. Repeat buyers also state that they are durable and last a long time.
Pros
  • Impact Guidance System
  • Cushioned 8.5mm footbed
  • Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning
  • AHAR+ high-abrasion outsole
  • Dynamic DuoMax support system
Cons
  • Heavier and a bit clunky

The ten shoes above are the best shoes for heavy runners. All the running shoes have good cushioning, stability, and support for for running on flat surfaces such as the treadmill, road, and light trails.

If you suffer from over pronation you should pay close attention to the Brooks running shoes, New Balance, and the ASICS Gel Fortify running shoe. These shoes have technology built into them that will help to correct and keep your feet and ankles from rolling inwards. If you are an over pronator these running shoes will help you have a pain free comfortable run.

If you are prone to under pronation then the Brooks Ghost 9 and the Mizuno wave rider 18 would be a great fit. They are made for comfort and durable for high mileage.

Looking for a firmer run? Then the Nike Revolution 3 or the Mizuno wave rider 18. While they are both made for comfort they have a firmer midsole for those looking for a quicker response rate.

If you are a beginner and are looking for something to just get you started then a basic low to mid priced shoe would be the Saucony Cohesion 9, ASICS Gel Nimbus 18, or the Nike Air Max Tailwind 8. These running shoes each have their own unique features and the price is right for a beginner.

 

 Criteria For Choosing The Best Running Shoes For Heavy Runners

Cushioning and Support for Pronation

Pronation is your body’s shock absorber and is determined by how your foot and ankle roll when your stride hits the ground. Being a larger person this plays an important role for your knees and joints. In order to determine your personal pronation you can just take a look at your old shoes. If they are wearing on the outsides you have under pronation and if they are wearing on the insides then you have over pronation. If you have neither then you have a normal level.

There is a common misconception that the softest shoe is the best running shoe. This not not accurate if you are on the heavy side. Being a heavy runner you need a pair of good running shoes with better shock absorption than the average running shoe. This is especially important if you have over pronation. Poor shock absorption results in injuries.

Being on the heavier side you need a thicker soled heavy duty running shoe. If the shoe is too soft for your weight you will bottom out the shoe causing your body to take the shock while you run. This will also cause you to feel the outsole of your shoe while you run and that is uncomfortable and will cause your feet to hurt.  A thicker midsole will allow you to run and absorb the most shock saving your joints while you are running.

By a heavier shoe I do not mean a shoe that will weigh you down and effect your performance. Now a days shoes are made lightweight by using lightweight products. However, you need a pair of running shoes with superior cushioning in the midsole and that will add a few ounces to the shoe weight.

The reason this is so important is that every running stride is up to three times your weight in impact on your body. Running without appropriate shoes is setting you up for injury right from the start. Your joints will take the majority of the pressure most often resulting in knee injuries. Take the time to find the right pair of shoes for your body size and foot shape.

Arch Support For Overweight Runners

Overweight runners are typically prone to being flat footed. When you make the decision to start running you will want a shoe that has good arch support. Running flat footed without any support could lead to aches and pain in your feet and joints.

Depending on how flat footed you are you may not want to over correct with too much arch support to start out. You might have to slowly move into better arch support. I would suggest you buy a pair of running shoes with light arch support with a removable insole. This way you can then replace the insole with the appropriate arch support for you feet.

The arch of your feet is your entire bodies shock absorber. Overtime the weight of your body may slowly start stretching the ligaments and tendons in your feet causing your feet to flatten collapsing your arch. If you run without arch support you could run into problems from aches and pains to shin splints or even sprained ankles.

Breathability

Being a heavier runner you will find that you will probably get warmed up fast and this will include your feet. Choosing a shoe that has a high level of breathability will help your feet stay cooler.

Hot sweaty feet will most likely be returned with a bad odor and fungus growth and will ultimately render your shoes unusable or at the very least have you spending additional money on sprays and athletes foot powder and cream.

One of the best breathable shoes will be made of a mesh upper body. Some people do not like shoes that are all mesh so at the very least make sure they are breathable.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

How much flexibility should I have in running shoes if I am overweight?
The flexibility of running shoes for heavy people should allow your toes to bend backwards naturally with every stride you take. When you run your toes will bend back more than when you walk. You want your shoes to be free from rubbing on your toes so  you run more naturally and comfortably.

What is over pronation?
Pronation refers to how the weight is transferred from the heel to the forefoot while moving or standing. When your foot naturally draws inward towards your other foot, this is over pronation. You can tell if this is happening to you by looking at a pair of your old shoes to see how they are worn, if they are worn to the inside then you have over pronation.

What is under pronation?
Under pronation is also called supination. When your foot naturally rolls outward at the ankle away from the other foot then this is  referred to as under pronation. You can tell by looking at your shoes and if the outside of the shoe is worn then you have under pronation.

What do the letters after the sizes mean?
B – This is the normal width for women

AA – This is a narrow width for women

D – Is wide width for women

EE – Is extra wide for women

D(M) – This is a normal width shoe for men.

B – Is narrow for men

EE – Is wide for men

EEEE – This is extra wide for men

Sources

  1. KARL GRUBER, How to Choose the Right Running Shoe for the Overweight, Sep 11, 2017
  2. KAREN HELLESVIG-GASKELL, The Best Shoes for Obese People, Jul 18, 2017
  3. Dr Larry Huppin, Orthotics for Heavy People,
  4. Virtual Sports Injury Clinic, What is overpronation?,