Running draws people of all shapes and sizes, from the thin, willowy runner that comes to mind for many people, to muscular athletes and weightlifters, to people looking to lose weight.

Running can be a safe, effective, and fulfilling exercise for many people, but heavier runners may need to consider additional shock absorption and support.

How is “Heavy” Defined?

Running can put an average of 1.5 to 3 times your body weight of shock on the joints, making good form and the right shoes important for all runners, and this is especially true for heavy runners. For heavier runners, proper shock absorption and support is even more important.

Traditionally, runners are considered “heavy” if they have a BMI of over 27. Though BMI is not a perfect science, it can provide a point of reference when shopping for the right pair of running shoes.

Check out our “Run Lean, Run Strong” program

Effects of Extra Weight

With additional shock placed on the joints, it’s critical for heavy runners to carefully assess their biomechanics and running form. A good first step is to determine if you overpronate. For more information check out our article describing different pronation issues.

Overpronoation put more stress on the ankles and knees, making it even more important for heavier runners to address these issues. While some heavier runners may not have the biomechanical issues described above, durability of the outsole may also be an issue.

The Importance of Good Form

Proper running form is important for all runners, but focusing on running efficiently is vital for heavier runners, not only to improve performance, but also to help stave off injury. Proper running form with distribute shock more evenly, minimizing damage to the joints and tendons.

General strength and conditioning is also key for healthy, efficient running. Strong legs, core, and back will help improve running form and also help prevent injury. For tips on strength training, see Randy’s list of considerations. In addition, Runner’s World a great strength training overview.

For tips on proper running form, take a look at Randy’s overview. James also has an excellent round up of the top five most important habits for efficient running.

Don’t forget to check out our selection of the best running shoes, constantly updated.

Featured in this roundup

Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Decent cushion,  Good traction,  Upper is quite breathable
CONS: Narrow toe box,  Not nearly as cushioned as advertised

Recommended for:  This shoe is designed for all neutral runners who want to log high mileage. The target market includes heavy-set runners.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Long-lasting, responsive cushion,  Guide Rails provide superb stability and motion control throughout the foot plant,  Secure heel and upper fit,  This shoe encourages me onto my forefoot, supporting forward motion and a light step.,  Price drop of $10 from Transcend 3
CONS: Long break-in period needed,  Stiff upper resists molding to foot contours

Recommended for:  This shoe will work well for runners willing to put up with a long break-in period to reap the benefits of a shoe that provides durable support. Many will want to go up a half size due to its narrow toe box and for the length.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Cushion,  Upper Comfort,  Flymesh/Flywire,  Responsive
CONS: shape of toe box

Recommended for:  This shoe is for all runners from the beginner to the seasoned veteran. It caters towards high mileage runners who prefer extra cushion.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Great for long run days and recovery workouts providing superior cushioning and stability.,  Unique upper material. Gives great fit and plenty of room throughout.,  Highly visible. Overabundance of reflective material.
CONS: Construction of sole did not agree well with tempo runs and speedwork.,  Cosmetically bulky.

Recommended for:  A shoe for someone looking for a protective ride that fights against over pronation. Recommended for all skill levels, but beginners and intermediate level runners will get the most out of this.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: soft cushioning,  stablility,  smooth ride
CONS: signs of wear and tear on upper,  tongue can feel rigid depending on lacing technique

Recommended for:  This shoe caters to runners looking for a highly cushioned ride for any distance. Whether you’re new to max cushioning or just looking to upgrade to the newest model, the Bondi 5 is a great choice.
Best Price$67$143$49$55$119
Type Cushioning Stability Cushioning Stability Cushioning
Weight 11.10 oz. 10.80 oz. 10.60 oz. 10.60 oz. 10 oz.
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