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.
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.
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 are a lot of discrepancies 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 overpronator, under pronator, or neutral pronator. There are running shoes that will correct this while running. If you are an under or overpronator 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 has their own characteristics with different levels of cushion and differing features. You will find shoes for people with previous injuries, overpronation under pronation, and regular running shoes for heavy runners.
10 Best Running Shoes For Heavy Runners
1. New Balance M990v4
The N on the sides of the New Balance M990v4 is 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.
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.
Cost 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 overpronation. The great consumer ratings prove that these running shoes are a good fit for heavy runners.
- Removable insoles
- Suede and mesh upper
- Comes in wide width
- Made in the USA
- May need to replace the insoles
2. Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks Ghost 9 uses a biodegradable material called BioMoGo DNA as an environmentally friendly midsole. While it maintains all the comforts, performance, and cushioning as other shoes the use of this material makes these shoe 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.
Cost and Value
The price of this shoe is mid-range to high. Reviewers have stated that these shoes are great for overpronation 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.
- Omega Flex Grooves
- High energizing cushioning
- Engineered mesh upper
- Soft fabric lining
- Plush tongue and collar
- Runs half size small
3. Nike Revolution 4
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.
Cost 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.
- Soft foam midsole
- Responsive cushioning
- Excellent traction
- Extra wide widths available
- Several color choices
- Insole cushion is thinner
4. Saucony Cohesion 11
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 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.
Cost 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.
- Cushioning heel grid system
- Mesh upper
- Padded tongue
- Padded collar
- Run slightly small
5. Mizuno Wave Rider 21
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.
Cost 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 longtime 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.
- Smooth ride technology
- Ideal heel fit
- Secure midfit
- Premium sock liner
- Mesh upper and lightweight
- Longer break in period
6. Under Armour Charged Rebel
It doesn’t matter how much you weight, people who exercise sweat and sweaty feet are not comfortable feet. Sweat in your shoes also leads to unpleasant smells and unwanted bacteria and fungus. This shoe is designed for excellent breathability so that you can avoid those issues.
Dual layer midsole
The midsole in this shoe is firmer in the heel and softer in the forefoot so you get a great balance of the proper heel support with extra cushioning and comfort. The best of both worlds in a well-fitting shoe.
Cost and Value
This shoe is priced in the mid-range for this list. They will take the beating that your runs will give them though without killing your feet so that makes them an excellent value. Though the shoe is very supportive and tough, it is also cushioned and flexible. For the price, you get an excellent runner built with your needs in mind.
- Rubber sole for traction
- Flexible to move with you
- Lightweight upper
- Excellent breathability
- Midfoot support
- Dual-layer midsole
- Sizes run small
7. Brooks Beast 18
The extended progressive diagonal rollbar (labeled as PDRB) is a stability feature made to prevent overpronation 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 Brook's midsole 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.
Cost and Value
The price of the Brook Beast 14 is on the high side. But if you are an overpronator 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.
- Made for over-pronators
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
- Envirnomently friendly
- Omega Flex Grooves
- Sizes run small
8. ASICS Gel Fortify
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 overpronators.
Cost 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.
- Impact Guidance System
- Cushioned 8.5mm footbed
- Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning
- AHAR+ high-abrasion outsole
- Dynamic DuoMax support system
- A bit clunky
9. Salomon XA Pro 3D
You don’t let the terrain or the weather stop you from getting out on your run and you need a shoe as driven and serious as you are. The Salomon XA Pro 3D wide is just the shoe for the job. It will keep great traction on wet surfaces and on almost any terrain. The pouring rain isn’t going to stop you and neither will your shoe.
Reinforced toe cap
Shoes often fail in the toe of the upper and many offer little protection in this area. This Salomon though has thought that issue through. With a reinforced toe cap, the shoe will protect your foot from anything that might get in your way on the trail and it also offers reinforcement so your toes won’t bust through the end.
Cost and Value
This shoe is mid-range in terms of price. For the money, you are getting a shoe that can keep up with you while protecting your feet. From road to trail to gym, it’s got your back (or rather, your feet). Go on you, full speed ahead!
- Excellent traction
- Advanced chassis
- Reinforced toe
- Durable outsole
- 2-year warranty
- Sizes run small
10. ASICS Gel Nimbus 20
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.
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.
Cost 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.
- Improved heel cup
- Excellent bounce
- Exceptionally breathable
- Quite Durable
- Sizing runs small
The ten shoes above are the best shoes for heavy runners. All the running shoes have good cushioning, stability, and support for running on flat surfaces such as the treadmill, road, and light trails.
If you suffer from overpronation 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 overpronator 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 Evaluating 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 overpronation. 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 is 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 overpronation. 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 affect your performance. Nowadays 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 your feet.
The arch of your feet is your entire bodies shock absorber. Over time 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much flexibility should I have in running shoes if I am overweight?
A: The flexibility of running shoes for heavy people should allow your toes to bend backward 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.
Q: What is overpronation?
A: 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 overpronation. 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 overpronation.
Q: What is under pronation?
A: 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.
Q: What do the letters after the sizes mean?
A: This is an excellent question and often misunderstood when people are buying shoes. The letters following a size measurement in a shoe is the width classification for it. Below we have described what the different letters are associated with.
- 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