Home Guides Best Running Shoes for Heavy Runners 2020
We don't accept free products or compensation in exchange for our reviews.
We are reader supported, and earn affiliate commissions when you buy through us.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases

SOFTEST

SOFTEST

SOFTEST

New Balance Fresh Foam More v2

New Balance Fresh Foam More v2
This maximal cushion shoe from New Balance will help you absorb the impact of every step.
This maximal cushion shoe from New Balance will help you absorb the impact of every step.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.

STABLE AND SOFT

STABLE AND SOFT

STABLE AND SOFT

Asics Gel Kayano 26

Asics Gel Kayano 26
The Asics Kayano is an ideal shoe for heavier runners who want both cushion and support in their shoes.
The Asics Kayano is an ideal shoe for heavier runners who want both cushion and support in their shoes.
TJ Jones
Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.

ZERO DROP

ZERO DROP

ZERO DROP

Altra Paradigm 4.0

Altra Paradigm 4.0
This shoe is for runners looking for a maximal cushioned shoe with zero drop - promotes running on the toes and alleviates the stress on the ankle.
This shoe is for runners looking for a maximal cushioned shoe with zero drop - promotes running on the toes and alleviates the stress on the ankle.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.

FAST

FAST

FAST

Hoka One One Rincon

Hoka One One Rincon
The Hoka One One Rincon delivers premium plush cushioning in a lightweight and fast shoe that heavier runners will enjoy.
The Hoka One One Rincon delivers premium plush cushioning in a lightweight and fast shoe that heavier runners will enjoy.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.

EXTRA STABILITY

EXTRA STABILITY

EXTRA STABILITY

Brooks Beast 20

Brooks Beast 20
Not the sexiest or the lightest, but if you need serious support there is no shoe like the Brooks Beast (or the Ariel for women).
Not the sexiest or the lightest, but if you need serious support there is no shoe like the Brooks Beast (or the Ariel for women).
Jon Ober
Serial Marathoner and Stability Running Shoe Expert

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

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

Here is a selection of running shoes that can help heavier runners offset the high impact of running. We have a guide about losing weight through running which you should check out!.

Neutral Running Shoes for Heavy Runners

If you have normal arches, which don't collapse inward while you run, you might be best suited to a neutral running shoe.

The shoes we selected here provide maximum shock absorption.

First choice

Hoka One One Rincon

Weight
7.7 oz.
Drop
5 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Hoka One One Rincon

Reasons to buy
  • Tons of cushion
  • Responsive
  • Comfortable upper
  • Super lightweight
“The Hoka One One Rincon quickly became one of my favorite long-run shoes. The combination of lightweight while also providing such over-the-top cushion is truly a joy for the long run.”
Recommended for
This shoe is for anyone looking for a light, but max cushioned option for long-distance training.
This shoe would be good for beginners and experienced runners, so long as you can deal with a lower heel-toe drop of 5mm.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.
Read the full review of Rincon
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Altra Paradigm 4.0

Weight
oz.
Drop
mm.
Category
Cushioning

Altra Paradigm 4.0

Reasons to buy
  • Tons of cushion
  • Super wide toe box
  • Light weight for the cushion
  • Good energy return
“The Altra Paradigm 4.0 is an ultra-cushioned daily trainer that is ready to tackle the high miles while providing a zero-drop set up. With lots of top-level technologies, you'll pay for the plush shoe.”
Recommended for
This shoe is for runners who want to experience zero-drop while still having ample cushion. It works great for bigger runners, and would be OK for new runners so long as the runner takes the time to adapt to the shoe.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.
Read the full review of Paradigm 4.0
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics Gel Nimbus 22

Weight
10.9 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Asics Gel Nimbus 22

Reasons to buy
  • Comfort of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 far exceeds its competitors
  • The responsiveness of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 and the overall cushioning leads to comfort
  • The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 offers a stable and steady feel
“The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 is hands down my favorite running shoe. The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 offers a smooth run that offers a great deal of not only comfort but also boasts increased flexibly and comfort over previous models.”
Recommended for
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 is made for high mileage. Which is nice since the more miles logged the cost versus mileage ratio begins to level out.
I would not be surprised if the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 could take up to 600 plus miles. I would recommend the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 ideally for those who...
Jeremy White
5k, 10k and Half Marathon Expert
Read the full review of Gel Nimbus 22
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

New Balance Fresh Foam More v2

Weight
9.4 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Cushioning

New Balance Fresh Foam More v2

Reasons to buy
  • Tons of cushion
  • Responsive ride
  • Supremely comfortable upper
  • Wide toebox design
“The New Balance Fresh Foam More v2 is super plush runner that offers a lot of features you want in a daily and high-mileage trainer. The ride is soft and quick.”
Recommended for
This shoe is for any runner looking for high cushion and is tackling long miles. With only a 4mm heel-toe drop, it might be a tough shoe for beginners.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.
Read the full review of Fresh Foam More v2
or buy them here: Men / Women

Stability Running Shoes for Heavy Runners

If your step is unstable, or your arches collapse excessively inward while running, you might want to considere one of the following shoes.

First choice

Hoka One One Gaviota 2

Weight
10.60 oz.
Drop
5 mm.
Category
Stability

Hoka One One Gaviota 2

Reasons to buy
  • Max Cushioning that is both lightweight and responsive
  • Stable ride
  • Visual redesign makes it more appealing
“The Hoka One One Gaviota 2 is a max-cushioned stability shoe built for many miles. The cushioning is plush yet responsive with a smooth ride that is worth the substantial price tag.”
Recommended for
I would recommend this shoe to a runner who needs max cushioning for many miles.
TJ Jones
Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.
Read the full review of Gaviota 2
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics Gel Kayano 26

Weight
11.1 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Stability

Asics Gel Kayano 26

Reasons to buy
  • Exoskeletal Heel Counter
  • FlyteFoam Propel Cushioning
  • Smooth Heel/Midsole strike to toe off
“The ASICS Kayano 26 is a solid everyday stability trainer built for many miles at different paces. Unfortunately the high price tag and the many similarities it shares with the other ASICS stability offerings hold it back from being an outstanding shoe.”
Recommended for
I would recommend the Kayano 26 to a runner who would like a daily trainer with max stability that’s built to last.
TJ Jones
Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.
Read the full review of Gel Kayano 26
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

Weight
10.6 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Stability

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

Reasons to buy
  • Sturdy shoe with superb heel support
  • Comfortable with springy toe off
  • Appealing design
“The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 offers a supportive yet springy ride as all design components work together to cup the heal with a gentle hug, which transitions smoothly into a solid toe-off.  Minor changes to the base and added medial support strips to an overall slimmed-down upper mean this Go-To-Shoe just keeps getting better!”
Recommended for
The Adrenaline continues to shine as an all-around trainer for runners needing steady support, durability, and cushion for everyday runs whether speed or distance is the focus.
The cost pays off in the long run, with a durable build and midsole that make it a solid investment whether new to...
Kristin Lassen
Fast Runner and Stability Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Adrenaline GTS 20
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Beast 20

Weight
11.7 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Motion Control

Brooks Beast 20

Reasons to buy
  • Unique approach to stability. Guide rails provide dynamic support that give a smooth ride.
  • Breathable upper.
  • Rediculously comfortable for running and walking.
“The Brooks Beast is a shoe that is, well, a beast! While on the heavy side, it offers a great amount of support and comfort. Great for runners and walkers alike.”
Recommended for
Ideal for a runner on the heavier side looking for an everyday trainer that offers the most amount of support they can find.
It excels for those who are prone to injury or are just getting into running.
Jon Ober
Serial Marathoner and Stability Running Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Beast 20
or buy them here: Men / Women

How Extra Weight Affects Runners

Extra weight affects runners in all different ways. Heavy runners need to think more about arch support, overpronation, and form.

So how do you know if you’re a heavy runner?

Traditionally, runners are considered “heavy” if they have a BMI of over 25 or weigh over 90kg. It is best to weigh yourself in the morning right when you get up but after you have urinated. Do this regularly for a few days until you get an average and use that as your weight to calculate your BMI.

Though BMI is not a perfect science, it can provide a point of reference when shopping for the right pair of running shoes. To calculate your BMI use this formula: BMI = kg/m(squared).

Here is an overview of BMI for fitness weight:

  • Under 18.5 is underweight
  • 18.5 to 25 is normal
  • 25 and over is overweight

Arch Support

Heavy runners need more support in the arch because chances are your feet do not have a high enough arch to support your body. In this case, the arch is not enough, which means your body has to compensate and you may experience pain in the legs, knees, ankles, and feet.

Too much pain can be discouraging, which is why the right shoes are important to support your arch, feet, and absorb that extra shock.

Overpronation

With additional shock placed on the joints, it’s critical for heavy runners to carefully assess 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.

Many heavier runners tend to overpronate, which means you will need some shock absorption. Overpronation puts more stress on the ankles and knees, making it even more important for heavier runners to address these issues before injury occurs.

While some heavier runners may not have the biomechanical issues described above, another issue to be aware of is the durability of the outsole. Over time, the midsole and outsole will break down because of continuous use. Keep an eye on your running shoes and replace them when the outsole or midsole start to break down. This way, your feet stay healthy and you stay less prone to injuries.

A good way to tell you need new shoes is if you notice your shoes are a bit thinner, they don’t bounce back enough, or you are more sore than usual after runs. To make your shoes last longer, rotate two pairs of running shoes and make sure they are completely dry in between uses.

The Importance of Good Running 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 distributes shock more evenly, which minimizes damage to the joints and tendons.

General strength and conditioning are 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.

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.

Here is a brief overview of running form to get you started:

  • Head — look directly in front of you
  • Shoulders —— pull back and don’t hunch over
  • Arms —— 90-degree angle, elbows at side
  • Hands —— relaxed —— don’t squeeze
  • Torso/Core —— strength train this area, keep core tight
  • Hips —— lean slightly into the run
  • Knees —— middle of feet so when the foot hits the ground right under the knee
  • Legs —— 90-degree angle when you land to absorb shock
  • Feet —— aim to hit the surface with the ball of your feet

What About Orthotics?

Orthotics can be helpful to relieve pain and prevent damage to people who are overweight. The best place to get these orthotics are from your doctor. The orthotics need to fit well, be relatively firm, and counteract the forces placed on the ankles and feet.

If you don’t have time to see a doctor for orthotics, an over-the-counter orthotic may work, as long as it fits properly. The PowerStep Orthotic provides enough support and is wide enough to counteract the force without digging into your feet.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right running shoes for heavier runners can help disperse the extra shock and weight put on the joints.

Make sure to practice proper form when you start running to get in good habits.

In addition, strength and conditioning can help improve your fun and help you achieve your overall fitness goals.

If you still have problems with the right shoes, talk to your local podiatrist to get fitted for custom orthotics.

Running Shoes Buying Guides

If you found this guide useful, have a look at our other ones!

Running Shoes

Other Shoes

  • Best Running Shoes for the Gym
  • Best Shoes for HIIT
  • Best Shoes for weightlifting
  • Best Shoes for CrossFit
  • Brand Guides


    This web site uses cookies. Click Accept to continue. Review Our Cookie Policy

    On these and other websites owned by RSG Media BV we use cookies and other similar techniques.

    We place and use different types of cookies for the following purposes:

    Functional cookies:
    To make our websites work as intended.

    Analytical cookies:
    To collect and analyze statistics to improve the experience on our websites and the effectiveness of advertisements.

    Tracking cookies:
    To build personal profiles of you so that we can show you targeted content and advertisements that match your interests.

    Social cookies:
    To allow you to share your reaction through 'likes' or commentary.

    In addition, third parties (which are partly outside the EU) can place cookies on our websites, including tracking cookies that can also be used to build up a profile of you. Tracking cookies may have an impact on your privacy.

    By giving your consent below, you agree that we place and read cookies on all our websites (see this overview) and combine these collected data.

    Your consent remains valid for 6 months unless you withdraw it.

    Close