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 cushioning will take the shock and distribute it equally over the entire foot taking the pressure off your heel and 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.

Last Updated:
By Ana Rockov:

THe latest update to this article removes outdated models and replaces them with the best shoes for heavy runners in October 2018. Including models by Brooks, Mizuno, ASICS, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, adidas and Salomon, you’ll easily find a pair that’ll fit your needs in terms of support, terrain type as well as added tech features. Furthermore, the FAQ section was updated as well to give you more relevant information about things you will need to consider when it comes to your shoes for daily runs.

Featured Recommendations 

Brooks Ghost 11
  • Brooks Ghost 11
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • DNA Cushioning
  • Segmented Outsole
  • Price: See Here
Mizuno Wave Rider 22
  • Mizuno Wave Rider 22
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Cloudwave Technology
  • Layered Mesh Upper
  • Price: See Here
ASICS GEL-Venture 6
  • ASICS GEL-Venture 6
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • AHAR Outsole
  • Removable Insole
  • 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 are a lot of discrepancies 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 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. Brooks Ghost 11

1. Brooks Ghost 11
Many will agree that the Brooks Ghost 11 is the best pair of runners currently available for purchase. With a perfectly balanced amount of cushioning and support, these boast numerous comfort features that are meant to help you reach all your goals. Made for road running, with neutral support, this is an excellent choice for those with normal arches, who value a good, breathable fit that molds to the foot, a responsive ride, and a flexible outsole that provides the required traction in all weather conditions.
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DNA Cushioning
One of the best things about Brooks shoes is their responsive cushioning that gives just the right amount of softness, but is still supportive, which is important for those bigger runners who need something to hold their weight. Especially important is the DNA Loft heel crash pad that’ll save this part of your foot from hard landings, and that’ll disperse the shock to provide smoother transitions, ultimately providing you with a stellar amount of energy return.

Upper Fit
Made with specially engineered mesh, the Ghost 11 features both stretch and structure to give you a fit that’ll adapt to your foot shape, but that’ll provide a good amount of support and a locked in feel, without sacrificing flexibility.

Cost and Value
With a price that’s slightly above the $100 mark, the Brooks Ghost 11 costs just as much as you’d expect a top pair of running footwear to go for. It’s definitely a smart investment, seeing that it’s made so as to be durable, even with daily use, and you’ll be happy to hear that it provides some of the best arch support in neutral shoes you’ll find.
Pros

Stretch Mesh Upper

BioMoGo DNA Cushioning

DNA Loft Heel Crash Pad

Segmented Flexible Outsole

Gore-Tex Version Available

12mm Heel To Toe Drop

10.9 oz

Cons

Short Laces

Mesh Durability

2. Mizuno Wave Rider 22

2. Mizuno Wave Rider 22
The best pair of Mizuno shoes at the moment (and their latest release), the Wave Rider continues the tradition of durable, greatly cushioned shoes with some of the smoothest heel to toe transition you’ll get. Making use of the brand’s Wave technology in terms of shock absorption, as well as utilizing double layered mesh for structure and support in the upper, this is a pair of sneakers you’ll be more than happy to wear on your daily runs. Made with neutral support, and for road use, this shoe will also handle light trail - just make sure to stay away from gravel as small pebbles may get easily lodged in the soles.
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Cloudwave Technology
Featuring a Cloudwave in the midsole section of the shoe, the Wave Rider 22 is a shoe that’ll absorb shock, dispersing it throughout the entire surface of the foot, setting you up for a more comfortable ride that’s less likely to leave you in pain at the end of your run. The midsole of the Ride 22 is made with a combination of U4ic and U4icX compounds that are lightweight, with great energy return for longer runs.

Excellent Fit
Made with a double layer of mesh that’ll provide great support and durability, even with heavy daily use, you’ll love how this shoe fits right out of the box. The heel counter is wide and stable, but won’t feel too loose even on those with more narrow feet. The padded collar prevents any blisters in the heel and ankle area, and the traditional lacing ensures a secure fit for all foot shapes.

Cost and Value
Ranking average in terms of price, the Wave Rider 22 is a good investment for those who’ve worn Mizuno shoes before, and liked the type of cushioning they provided. Made for road running, it features the recognizable rubber all other Mizuno shoes utilize, and it’s a durable choice both in terms of traction pattern, as well as midsole packing - something that heavier runners will definitely appreciate.
Pros

Layered Mesh Upper

External Toe Box

Cloudwave Technology

Padded Tongue and Collar

Durable Traction Pattern

12mm Heel to Toe Drop

9.6 oz

Cons

Unsuitable for Gravel

Lacks Moisture Management

3. ASICS GEL-Venture 6

3. ASICS GEL-Venture 6
For those who prefer to run on trails, and need a pair of footwear that can stand up to rough wear, the ASICS GEL-Venture 6 is an excellent choice. Made for those with normal to high arches, who may have slight tendency towards overpronation, this is a pair of shoes you will easily invest in thanks to the low price and high quality. A synthetic upper allows a good combination of flexibility and ruggedness, while the overlays ad structure, protection, as well as support where you need it the most.
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AHAR Outsole
Featuring ASICS’s own high abrasion rubber compound, the GEL-Venture 6 has a bottom that’ll stand up to hard wear, with multi directional lugs for the best possible traction, even on tricky surfaces. Being the right combination of hard and flexible, it won’t prevent you from moving your feet naturally, which will result in a more comfortable ride, especially during long runs.

GEL Cushioning
This ASICS model features GEL cushioning in the heel, which is great news for those who tend to land on this part of the foot. Allowing for better shock absorption, as well as a smoother transition to toe off, the Rearfoot GEL cushion will provide excellent bounce back as well for a lower level of fatigue. Those who need specific support will be happy to hear that the insoles are removable, and can be replaced with custom orthotics.

Cost and Value
Being the least expensive item on this list, the ASICS GEL-Venture is a great investment, especially considering the quality it provides for a low price. It’s a trail running shoe that’s both durable and cushioning, and will last for a long time, something that’s especially important for those who need sturdier shoes for their daily runs.
Pros

Supportive Synthetic Upper

Stitched Toe Bumper

AHAR Outsole

Rearfoot GEL Cushioning

Removable Insole

10mm Heel to Toe Drop

11 oz

Cons

Slightly Heavy

Lacks Responsiveness

4. New Balance 990v4

New Balance prides itself on being made in the USA. The 990v4 is a great choice for any runner who needs a durable shoe built to last. Featuring a blown rubber outsole, and double density EVA foam cushioning for support and stability, this is a great choice for those who need more arch support due to overpronation issues. Made for road use, this shoe comes in several widths, which makes sizing much easier than the rest of the models on this list.
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Reflective Detailing
The N on the sides of the New Balance 990v4 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. Otherwise, the upper is made out of mesh covered by pigskin overlays that not only add to the medial support this shoe offers, but also to its durability.

Removable Insoles
New Balance has removable insoles for those who either prefer a different type of support, or need a custom orthotic. As these shoes are durable in the upper, outsole and cushioning portions, it's a good idea to change the insoles every three months or so, in order to ensure the best possible foot health.

Cost and Value
The price of the New Balance 990v4 is higher than the other items featured here, which is expected, considering that it's made in the USA using a genuine leather upper. It's a great stability shoe for anyone with low arches or flat feet, and is a sturdy option for those whose running gear always seems to take too much of a beating.
Pros

Made in the USA

Pigskin Leather Upper

Breathable Mesh

Removable Insoles

Double Density Foam Cushioning

Blown Rubber Outsole

Good for Overpronation

12mm Heel to Toe Drop

13 oz

Cons

Heavy

Expensive

5. Adidas Duramo 9

5. Adidas Duramo 9
Made for both indoor and outdoor use, the adidas Duramo 9 is aimed at providing you with a durable shoe you’ll love wearing, regardless of whether you prefer to run on the treadmill or the trail. Like other models on our list, it’s made with a double layered mesh upper that’s both breathable and flexible, but provides you with the required support in key places. It’s a neutral shoe that’s been made lighter than previous versions, which is great for those who want something durable, but without all the bulk.
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AdiWear Outsole
Developed by adidas, AdiWear is a rubber compound material used in their footwear that requires high abrasion properties for longer use, and durable traction. Appropriate for treadmill, road and light trail running, it features flex grooves that won’t stop to foot from moving naturally, with smooth transitions at a quicker pace.

Cloudfoam Cushioning
While adidas’ leading cushioning may be the Boost, the Cloudfoam is a technology that was developed to provide ample protection for the foot, and especially the heel during running, walking or prolonged standing. A lightweight sole made out of EVA, Cloudfoam greatly reduces the weight of running footwear, seeing that it eliminates the need for bulky lining materials.

Cost and Value
For those looking for a pair of shoes they’ll be able to wear both to run, train at the gym, as well as on everyday occasions, the adidas Duramo 9 provides excellent value thanks to its versatile style that’s not just functional, but also looks good and is easy to put on. It’s a breathable shoe that won’t let your feet overheat, and you’ll definitely appreciate the smaller heel to toe drop that’s more natural than the standard 10-12mm seen in most running footwear.
Pros

Double Layered Mesh Upper

Cloudfoam Cushioning

Durable AdiWear Outsole

Treadmill, Road & Light Trail Use

9.5 mm Heel to Toe Drop

10 oz

Cons

Runs Large

Unsuitable for Long Distance Running

6. Nike Revolution 4

Released in 2017, the Nike Revolution 4 is a welcome upgrade to the previous model seeing that it provides a more supportive and stable upper that wraps the midfoot from the arch, ensuring a locked in feel that doesn't come with too much weight to it. It's a neutral road running shoe with all of Nike's technologies runners like, including a flexible ride, great cushioning, and a breathable upper with great moisture management.
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Responsive Cushioning
The Revolution 4 is made with Nike's Phylon midsole, a responsive but firm compound that does great at absorbing shock and providing a good amount of energy return. Topped with a foam insole that provides further shock absorption, the shoe manages to keep the weight down without sacrificing comfort.


Rubber Pod Outsole
The outsole on these Nikes is slightly different from what you're probably used to seeing from this brand. Featuring large rubber pods in the forefoot and heel areas, the Revolution 4 ensures excellent traction and bounce back that start in the outsole, while flex grooves ensure that the foot's range of motion is never sacrificed.

Cost and Value
An affordable pair of runners, the Nike Revolution 4 is a great choice for those who are shopping on a budget for neutral road running gear that won't wear down even under a bit more weight. The upper features an open knit material with excellent lock down as well as ample cushioning both in the tongue and collar.
Pros

Breathable Knit Upper

Synthetic Overlays for Stability

Phylon Midsole

Shock Absorbing Insole

Hard Wearing Outsole

Flex Grooves

10mm Heel to Toe Drop

8 oz

Cons

Slightly Squeaky

Upper Durability

7. Saucony Cohesion 11

7. Saucony Cohesion 11
The 11th edition in the Saucony Cohesion line brings a road running shoe for those who need neutral support, a breathable upper and a lightweight shoe that's best used for daily running. One of the most important upgrades over the previous model is found in the upper, which is now more durable, giving you the freedom to train hard without having to worry about your toes blowing out. One of the things that makes this an appropriate choice for heavy weights is the wider toe box that allows the toes to splay naturally, lessening the pressure on the metatarsal bones and big toe joint.
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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 11 provides is unlike the cushioning systems found on other shoes.

Flex Grooves
Flex grooves have been added to the forefoot of the Cohesion 11 to add flexibility, allowing 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
With a price point that's really low, especially if you manage to find it on sale, the Saucony Cohesion 11 is a great choice of footwear that'll provide a lot of bang for your buck. It's a comfortable choice with a good cushioning system, and manages to remain lightweight while still providing a good amount of durability.
Pros

Heel Grid System

Durable Rubber Outsole

Stellar Traction on Wet Surfaces

Breathable Mesh Upper

Wide Toe Box

12mm Heel to Toe Drop

9.6 oz

Cons

Unsuitable for Long Runs

8. Salomon XA Pro 3D

8. Salomon XA Pro 3D
Looking for a trail runner with lots of arch support? The Salomon XA Pro 3D is a great choice, seeing that this company specializes in trail running footwear made to take a beating. Featuring a stable upper with traction that works equally well on wet and dry surfaces, you're sure to love this highly protective style. One of the best things about this model is that it comes both in a breathable mesh version, as well as a Gore-Tex one for colder, wet days.
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Premium Contagrip Outsole
Developed especially for challenging trails, the Contagrip rubber found on the Salomon XA Pro 3D features multi directional lugs that'll grip any surface, while the added space between them will prevent clogging and the picking up of small pebbles. This will result in less time cleaning your shoes, and more time spent training hard.

Dual Density Cushioning
Combining dual cell EVA foam, with injected and compressed EVA, the XA Pro 3D features cushioning that does well at absorbing shock, but is less likely to pack and flatten with use. For those who carry a bit more weight, this will mean a more durable shoe that won't have to be replaced as often as other models.

Cost and Value
With protective features such as the Advanced Chassis System, the raised toe bumper, the supportive overlays and one of the best trail outsoles on the market, the Salomon XA Pro 3D is a great choice for anyone looking for stellar performance and a comfortable fit. It's an innovative shoe that features small details including an asymmetrical quicklace system, as well as a a supportive arch that'll prevent overpronation.
Pros

Premium Contagrip Outsole

Double Density EVA Cushioning

Asymmetrical Lacing

OrthoLite Sockliner

Protective Rubber Cap

10mm Heel to Toe Drop

14 oz

Cons

Runs Small

Heavy

9. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20

9. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20
With a tradition of more than two decades, the 20th edition of the ASICS Nimbus provides you with a lightweight pair of runners made for those who need natural support for daily road running sessions. It's a shoe packed with tech features, including cushioning, breathability, outsole durability as well as overall weight and fit. Available both in a normal and wide width, it's an easy shoe to shop for, seeing that you won't have to sacrifice forefoot comfort in order to get a good pair of shoes to run in.
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Flytefoam & Fluidride Midsole
The GEL-Nimbus 20 features a dense Flytefoam midsole that provides excellent cushioning with some of the best bounce back features you'll find in the market. It's much less likely to flatten or pack over time, while the Fluidride tech further adds to the softness you feel underfoot, without any bulk or weight.

Fluidfit Upper
The upper of the GEL-Nimbus 20 is made with multidirectional stretch mesh that'll perfectly mold to your foot shape, while the synthetic overlays add support in the midfoot area, ensuring exceptional heel locking. Seamless materials are used throughout, which will prevent any rubbing that may happen once the foot starts to sweat and swell.

Cost and Value
With a price that's quite high compared to the other items on this list, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus may be too expensive of a shoe for most runners, which is why we would recommend it mostly to those who are experienced, and are ready to invest more money in leading technology. Bringing great value, this is definitely a pair of footwear to try, especially if you're after a lightweight and breathable performance sneaker.
Pros

Flytefoam and Fluidride Midsole

Rearfoot & Forefoot GEL Cushioning

Fluidfit Upper

Seamless Construction

Guidance Trusstic System

OrthoLite Sockliner

10mm Heel to Toe Drop

10.7 oz

Cons

Runs Small

Expensive

10. Brooks Beast 18

10. Brooks Beast 18
The Brooks Beast 18 is specially designed for people with flat feet and who are overpronators by implementing a combination of reinforced stability and cushioning features unlike other shoes to aid in the correction and comfort for overpronation. The extended progressive diagonal rollbar rolls your feet back to their natural position. Full-length segmented crash pads in the midsole cushion your feet and absorb 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 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 Brooks Beast 18 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.
Pros

Super DNA Midsole

Extended Progressive Diaganol Rollbar

Air Mesh Upper

Spacious Toe Box

Segment Crash Pad

12mm Heel to Toe Drop

13.3 oz

Cons

Runs Small

Heavy

The ten shoes above are the best models for runners who weigh more than average. All the 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, make sure to choose a model either by Brooks, New Balance or ASICS, as these will have features that’ll help correct your gait cycle, preventing injuries and pain. On the other hand, if you tend to underpronate, go with either the Brooks Ghost 11 or Mizuno Wave Rider 22 which will be a great fit.

If you’re still on the fence about which of the models above would be the best choice for you, make sure to read on, as both the Criteria for Evaluation and the FAQ sections contain handy information about what to look for to ensure a purchase you’ll be happy with.

 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, we 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. The best course of action would be for you to 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 are more prone to bacterial overgrowth that does not only lead to health issues, but bad odors as well.  If you find that your shoes are not drying fast enough, check whether you are wearing the correct socks. While cotton is OK for everyday wear, you need more moisture wicking properties for heavy workouts such as running.

Furthermore, you will want to dry your shoes thoroughly between each use. For some, this will mean owning more than one pair of shoes, so that you can alternate between them. Not only will this mean that you won’t suffer from smelly feet, but your running gear will last longer as well!

When shopping, you can ensure that your shoes are breathable by choosing a model with a mesh or knit upper. These materials will allow moisture to escape, and will allow fresh air in, resulting in good airflow that won’t result in a swamped feel. Prefer more structure and stability than mesh? Look for a model with some leather or synthetic overlays, or an internal cage system such as found in Nike running shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much flexibility should I have in running shoes if I am overweight?
A:
 The flexibility of running gear 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: Should I go with softer or firmer shoes if I’m overweight?
A:
While some users prefer a maximalist shoe that’s highly cushioned, others prefer a more firm feel that remains the same for longer periods of time. If you don’t already have a preference, you should go with a well cushioned model that doesn’t pack and flatten too easily.

Q: How often should I replace my gear?
A:
You’ll want to make sure your shoes are always in good condition, seeing that worn out runners expose you to a great deal of injuries. Make sure to regularly check your shoes for wear. There are two places that will show it the most: the outsole and the midsole. If the traction pattern on the outsole is worn, you’ll need to replace your shoes so you don’t slip. The same goes for if your midsole no longer gives you the right amount of cushioning. One way in which you can prolong the lifespan of your shoes, however, is changing the insoles every 3 months or so. Not only will this ensure better foot health, it’ll add a little more cushioning, making your shoes feel like new.

Sources

  1. KARL GRUBER, How to Choose the Right Running Shoe for the Overweight, Sep 11, 2017
  2. Dr Larry Huppin, Orthotics for Heavy People,
  3. Virtual Sports Injury Clinic, What is overpronation?,


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