Best Shoes for Bad Knees

Knee pain can be caused by various factors such as wear and tear or injuries due to sports and other types of physical activities. Some ailments can also contribute to knee problems including arthritis.  Wearing wrong shoes that do not fit properly can cause misalignment of leg and foot bones and lead to knee pain, as well. One of the most common causes of knee pain is pronation problem such as overpronation and supination. Thus, it is best to use the best shoes for bad knees that are not only comfortable but will correct your pronation instead of making it worse.

What to do if you have bad knees?

  • See the Doctor: The first thing you need to do is to find out the cause of knee joint pain. If it is due to the problem in pronation, a podiatrist will evaluate your foot and walking style and will recommend the appropriate pair of shoes.
  • Go to the local running shoe store: If you think you have an arch problem ( Flat feet or high arches) along with pronation problem ( overpronation or under pronation), then visit the local shoe store such as New Balance. They will recommend the best shoe according to your foot condition or go to the Podiatrist.
  • Avoid high heels which can put too much stress on the knee joints. Try to wear shoes with heels of less than one inch.
  • Wear Flat and flexible shoes if you do not have overpronation.
  • The running shoes are better than walking shoes because they offer flexibility.

Shoes for Bad Knees – Which One Is Your Best Bet?

Here we compiled a list of shoes for different foot problems. Make sure you have your gait evaluated to find a correct shoe for your foot pronation problem.

Dr. Comfort Flex-OA Flat and Flexible Shoes

Dr. Comfort Flex-OA Shoes for Knee PainThese shoes are clinically proven to reduce stress on knees by 20% and decrease the progress of osteoarthritis. The outsole that designed for natural barefoot movements reduces the load on knee joints. These are good shoes created by Dr. Comfort. They are also called Flex-OA mobility shoes. According to the study done by Dr. Najia Shakoor, they help in relieving the 20 % load on knee joints due to their flat and flexible sole. They are also available for diabetic people.

For those who experience pain in the knees whether arthritis or other conditions cause it, it is best to wear flat shoes that are flexible enough to minimize pressure on their joints. In fact, researchers have conducted studies on how various types of footwear can impact individuals who suffer from bad knees. They evaluated the amount of force that people experience on their knees when they wear athletic shoes, flip-flops, flat shoes and even going barefoot.

According to Najia Shakoor, an attending physician at the Rush University Medical Center, many shoes offer significant effects on people’s knees. Aside from going barefoot, there are several options to choose from when you experience knee pain. She also discovered that clogs and athletic shoes with stability features are linked with the highest load.

In a study led by Shakoor, 31 participants who suffered from knee arthritis were assessed as they wore different footwear types including flat walking shoes, clogs, flip-flops and athletic shoes. She and her team measured not only the gait of these individuals as they walked in these shoes but also the knee adduction moment or the maximum force on your knees with each step you take.

Among these shoes that offered the similar amount of load on the knee include flip-flops and flat walking shoes. On the other hand, there was a 15 percent load linked with wearing stability shoes and clogs. Although there is still a need for further studies, Shakoor suggests that wearing flat footwear with flexible features can significantly reduce the load on your knees. While flip-flops are flat, she is not advocating this type of shoe because of the risk of falling.

Other Options to Consider

Jeffrey Ross, DPM, MD, who speaks for the American College of Sports Medicine, claims that an athletic shoe with a neutral quality is more suitable for people who have bad knees. Shoes that can bend easily are excellent choices for those who suffer from knee arthritis as the footwear minimize the load on knees.

James Christina, DPM, the director of scientific affairs for the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association), stated that one’s choice of a shoe relies heavily on how the footwear feels and fits the person. In fact, there are no strict guidelines set by the APMA when it comes to choosing the right pair of shoes for bad knees. The main idea is to look for shoes with a cushioned insole and great flexibility instead of getting a pair that lacks motion control.

Although some specialists recommend flip-flops for bad knees, it is important to note that there are serious hazards linked with this type of footwear. For instance, flip-flops do not increase the force on your knees. Older individuals who suffer from knee arthritis are better off with a pair of flat walking shoes since there are risks involved in wearing flip-flops. There is a high chance of falling, which makes the footwear quite hazardous for these individuals.

New Balance 1080V7 Running Shoes – Neutral Cushioning Shoe

New Balance 1080V7 Running Shoes You can’t speak of comfort running sneakers without mentioning New Balance. And one of the best shoes for bad knees from New Balance is the 1080v7 running sneaker.

The main keywords for this sneaker are “cushioning” and “comfort.” To begin with, they integrate a thick, soft and plushy Fresh Foam midsole which delivers optimal cushioning with every stride. It’s fairly thick, especially on the inner side of the shoe, which makes them a perfect choice for users who have to deal with supination. The outsole is made of lightweight and durable blown rubber, featuring multiple flex grooves which promote a free movement of the foot for each stride.

The insole isn’t extremely special; it doesn’t have extra thick shock absorption elements at the heel or the ball of the foot but does offer an extra layer of cushioning. But on the other hand, it is removable so that you can replace it with orthotics or different insoles with more cushioning elements.

The inner part of the shoe is cushioned with a smooth fabric lining which feels great on the skin. It’s also moisture-wicking and breathable, keeping your feet dry and fresh during exercising or walking. There’s a lot of cushioning in the tongue and collar so that the sneakers will feel great on your feet from the first wear.

The New Balance 1080v7 features a breathable upper made of mesh, textile, and synthetic elements. Its no-sew upper application results in a lesser chance of irritation. It has a classic lace-up closure, while the bootie construction features external mid-foot overlays for a custom fit. There are many color combinations available. Among them, we can count Ozone Blue Glo / Lime Glo, Bleached Lime Glo / Vintage Indigo, Deep Violet / Sunrise, Thunder / White, Supercell / Sunrise, and Arctic Fox / Poisonberry / Vivid Tangerine.

As suggested by several specialists, choosing a neutral shoe is beneficial for those who have knee arthritis. Although these shoes fail to address under or overpronation, you will appreciate how this type of footwear provides ample cushioning and shock absorption that is good for those who have bad knees. Furthermore, these shoes have a neutral design that allows you to put inserts that are great for individuals with knee arthritis.

Other Right Choices of Footwear for Knee Arthritis

If you are still undecided when it comes to the proper pair of shoes that will suit your needs, then it may be worth considering these options. These all come with significant benefits that will minimize the stress on your knees while providing ample support and stability you need.

The Skechers GoWalk 4

Skechers GoWalk 4The Skechers GoWalk 4 – Pursuit is a walking sneaker, as its name suggests. It’s an everyday choice shoe which combines comfort, support, and style pretty close to perfection.

To begin with, it features a slip-on design with a high-quality, athletic mesh upper engineered to naturally expand on your foot as you walk, to provide maximum comfort and freedom. Evidently, the upper is highly breathable and comfortable but also features a durable construction as it integrates soft solid fabric overlays at the toe, heel, and instep. The collar and tongue don’t integrate extra cushioning elements, but they’re made of the same soft material and won’t generate any abrasion. The heel part of the upper features a Quick-Fit portal for easy on-and-off.

For the inner part, the Skechers GoWalk 4 – Pursuit features a Goga MaxÆ insole for next-generation cushioning and support. The footbed is bamboo lined, has anti-bacterial properties, is designed to keep your feet odor-free throughout the day, while its featherlight sockliner adapts perfectly to your foot with each stride. The midfoot is tapered, designed to provide extra arch support. And overall, the midsole-footbed combo offers excellent comfort, which helps reduce knee pain.

The GoWalk 4 from Skechers are equipped with a multi-directional traction outsole which provides excellent adherence on various surfaces. It integrates GO Pillars technology which adds cushioning and provides arch support.

These shoes are very comfortable, very lightweight only 5 OZ. These shoes are super flexible in the forefront and offer stretchable upper and wide toe box which make them perfect if you have bunions, hammertoes or heel spurs. These easy to slip on shoes have cushioned footbed with moderate arch support. If you have arthritis of hip, knee or foot, these shoes may help in eliminating the knee pain. However, there is no study on Go walk shoes to support it, but many people found them comfortable with knee pain according to the Amazon reviews.

Brooks Addiction 13 Running Shoes

Brooks Addiction 13 Running ShoesThere are many exceptional running and walking sneakers under the Brooks brand name. And for our category here of best shoes for bad knees, we’ve selected the Brooks Addiction 13. These are running sneakers designed to provide a lot of support on the medial side, which makes them perfect for people with overpronation. This will also align the knee joints correctly during running or walking resulting in less stress, and the reduction or complete elimination of knee pain.

The Brooks Addiction 12 integrates BioMoGo DNA technology, which enables it to adapt to the specific needs of every runner. It provides a personalized ride adjusting cushioning with every foot strike. There’s a universal sprung platform built into the midsole for added cushioning. Plus, this shoe integrates a stable forefoot pod to promote the correct foot positioning and maximize stability, and the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar which stabilizes the midfoot while providing movement to the heel and forefoot. The outsole is made of blown rubber, light, adherent and flexy, providing excellent traction on various surfaces.

For the upper, the Brooks Addiction 13 combines mesh and synthetic elements, to provide superior breathability. It has a classic lace-up closure. The collar and tongue integrate a lot of cushioning, so the shoe provides a custom fit. The lining is also made of synthetic material, featuring moisture-absorbing properties.

Asics Gel Kayano 24 Stability Running Shoe

Asics Gel Kayano 24 Stability Running ShoeAsics makes quite a few types of outstanding running shoes, and the Gel-Kayano 24 is one of them. As its name suggests, this sneaker integrates several gel elements in its sole construction. To begin with, it features rear and forefoot GELÆ cushioning systems to reduce shock and allow for a smooth transition to midstance. The combination of GELÆ and FlyteFoamô technologies promotes a lighter weight and build, while the FluidRideÆ midsole delivers an excellent bounce back and extra cushioning. The versions available for this sneaker are in many colors.

The Gel-Kayano 24 from Asics features a synthetic upper with FluidFitô technology designed for multi-directional stress. This being said, the shoe will adapt perfectly to the movement of your foot. It also features several stretch synthetic reinforcements for extra durability, plus, it integrates reflective elements which makes them visible in low-lighting conditions.

Just as for any other running sneaker, the Gel-Kayano 24 features a plush tongue and collar, designed to provide a custom, snug fit around the ankle and eliminate chafing. It’s lined with breathable fabric which feels great on the skin, while the ComforDryô X-40 sockliner provides anti-microbial and moisture-management for a healthy, dry and comfortable in-shoe environment.

Just as for other types of Asics sneakers, the outsole is made of flexible and durable rubber, with AHARÆ elements strategically placed in high-wear areas. The Guidance LineÆ vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression which promotes a smooth ride. The outsole provides excellent traction especially on the road, but for other surfaces as well.

Active individuals who engage in running or walking exercises are better off with the Gel Kayano 22. This is a good model of stability running shoe that supports the needs of those who are prone to knee pain. Whether you have wide or narrow feet, you can find the right size for you as various widths are available to meet the demands of all people.

Vionic Women’s Walker Classic Shoes

Vionic Women's Walker Classic ShoesThe Vionic Women’s Walker is a classic sneaker designed for maximum comfort during walking. It’s one of the Vionic sneakers that has received the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which pretty much means that the comfort they provide is outstanding.

The Vionic Walker is built with a full-grain upper which has water-resistant properties. However, it does integrate several synthetic mesh elements and perforations for extra breathability, and for a sporty appeal. It has a lace-up design, with a combination of punched and webbed eyelets. Needless to say, since it’s a lace-up sneaker built for maximum comfort, its tongue and collar integrated a generous layer of cushioning. Therefore, when wearing these sneakers, you will not experience any chafing.

The lining consists of a breathable, moisture-wicking synthetic mesh material, made to keep your feet dry and fresh all day long. The footbed is made of polyurethane material, designed to reduce friction against the skin. It’s non-removable but does provide excellent cushioning, so you may not need orthotics with this shoe.

The EVA midsole is much lighter than other materials, which results in a feather-light shoe construction. It has excellent shock-absorption properties, and on top of that, the firm TPU heel counter provides rear-foot stability and protection. It also has an excellent flex, enabling the sneaker to adapt well to your walking, and offers optimal arch support.

The outsole is made of TPR material; it’s also light, durable, and provides excellent traction.

The Vionic Walker is available in four versions, at least for the moment. These are White / Blue, White / Pink, Taupe, and Black.

Vionic Men’s Orthaheel Technology Walker

Vionic Men's Orthaheel Technology WalkerIf above we’ve reviewed the Vionic Walker for women, here’s the version for men. This sneaker is also APMA approved; it features the same full-grain water-resistant leather upper, with mesh panels for extra breathability. Since it’s a sneaker made for comfort, its collar and tongue integrate extra plush, to eliminate any abrasion and provide a snug fit around the ankle and top of the foot. It’s also a sneaker with a lace-up closure. The upper versions available so far are Taupe, Black, Grey and White / Navy.

As far as it concerns the interior of the shoe, the lining offers excellent breathability, it’s smooth and feels great on the skin and has moisture-wicking properties. Although the footbed isn’t removable, it’s an orthotic footbed, designed for support, with a deep heel cup for stability. It promotes a natural alignment of the feet and a healthy posture.

The midsole is made of lightweight EVA foam which absorbs a great deal of the shock generated during walking. Due to this fact, it minimized the stress on the joints, which makes the Vionic Men’s Walkers some of the best shoes for bad knees.

As the name suggests, the rear part of the shoe is reinforced with a thermoplastic heel counter. This element not only that absorbs shock, it also increases stability.

The outsole is made of durable rubber material. It has an excellent flex, with multiple grooves from toe to heel. It delivers superior adherence on various surfaces, although this sneaker is designed for walking on asphalt or concrete.

These are designed by A Podiatrist and are based on Vionic Orthaheel technology that consists of a deep heel cup, cork bed midsole that is lightweight and Vionic EVA outsole for excellent traction. They are clinically proven for relieving knee pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis. They are also recommended to correct overpronation due to flat feet.

Vionic Unisex Wave Toe Post Sandal

Vionic Unisex Wave Toe Post SandalFor the best shoes for bad knees or ankles, you may not only have sneakers in mind. Therefore, our next selection for this category is the Vionic Unisex Wave sandal.

This sandal has a minimalistic upper featuring a webbed mesh strap padded with neoprene liner to deliver an excellent feel next to the skin. Since it’s a thong-style sandal, the woven toe post is also very soft to touch and angled forward to minimize any chafing in between toes. As a decorative element, the strap features a wave print on the outer side. The versions available for this Vionic flip-flop are Khaki, Camo, Chocolate, and Black.

The Vionic Wave sandal is equipped with an exceptionally cushy EVA insole, designed to absorb shock, reduces stress on the ankles, and knees. Although it’s fairly thick, especially at the heel, it’s also lightweight, which reduces fatigue. The surface of the insole features numerous round protuberances which massage your foot as you walk, delivering an enjoyable experience. Also, it has a reasonably deep heel cup which improves stability.

The outsole is made of highly durable thermoplastic rubber, featuring a wave-patterned surface, thus the name of the sandal. It delivers optimal adherence on different surfaces.

Finally, the sandal construction is immune to any damage that water may bring to a piece of footwear. Therefore, not only you can wear them through water, but they’re also very easy to clean and maintain and dry up quickly.

These sandals have a deep cup heel to stabilize and align the feet and prevents back pain and knee pain. The outsole is durable and provides excellent traction.The midsole is lightweight and provides shock absorption. It also helps in reducing strain on knee and hip joints.

Naot Footwear Kata

Naot Footwear KataThe Kata sandal is part of the Naot Koru collection which includes medium width footwear. It reminds of a gladiator sandal, but it features a closed toe. It’s constructed with a leather combo upper, featuring textured or perforated detail on the front section, depending on version. For example, the Brown Croc Leather / Coffee Bean Nubuck / Pecan Brown Leather version features a perforated front, while the Black Crackle Leather / Black Velvet Nubuck / Black Raven Leather is not perforated.

The Naot Kata sandal has a lace-up closure, with very soft leather elements enveloping the ankle. It integrates leather and textile elements for lining, which have breathable and moisture-wicking properties.

The footbed is removable. This makes the sandal orthotic-friendly, which means you can replace the original insole with your prescription or custom orthotic. But the included footbed delivers excellent cushioning. It’s covered by a layer of suede leather and feels great next to the skin. It also integrates latex and cork elements for shock absorption. Plus, the cork will adapt to the pressure generated by your foot, so in time the footbed will assume a shape that fits perfectly with the anatomy of your foot.

The sole construction features a bit of a wedge at the rear which provides a bit of elevation. The polyurethane material which is typically lighter than most rubbers is used for the outsole. It offers extra shock absorption and excellent traction.

Aravon Maya Pump for Women

For people who prefer low heels, then it is best to look for shoes with wedge heels, spacious toe beds, and rubber soles. Mia and Maya by Aravon from New Balance, for instance, are right choices since these have rocker soles that ensure stability and absorb shock while minimizing the stress on your knees.

The Aravon Maya can be reimbursed from Medicare with doctor’s prescription because Medicare approves it for Diabetes. The shock absorbing midsole is made of polyurethane and provides comfort and support for on feet all day. There is a stability shank which is embedded inside the midsole for additional support and smooth gait cycle.

The removable footbed is composed of polyurethane, memory foam and Absorb cushioning. The heel height is less than two inches.

Dansko Sneakers for Women

Based on extensive studies, clogs tend to promote knee stress by adding higher load in this part of your body. These shoes are also not ideal to wear for those who have bad knees, specifically, clogs made of lightweight plastic. For people with arthritis on their ankle or arch, as well as those with swollen and stiff foot joints, clogs are poor choices.

On the other hand, you may find relief from shoes with a closed back, a rubberized sole and about 2 inches of heels. As long as these are well-made ones with quality materials, you can find these as reasonable options for your condition. Just be sure there is a closure on the back to prevent you from falling or slipping on these shoes.

New Balance 928 Shoes: Good for all foot problems

If you are leaning towards athletic shoes, you may want to consider getting one that suits you best. The New Balance 928 is perfect for individuals where overpronation is one of their primary concerns. These shoes provided great motion control and stability because of the stable and cushioned heel and midsole. So, if your feet tend to roll inward more than it should, you need shoes that promote excellent shock absorption and weight distribution such as this type of athletic shoes.

New Balance 928v2’s RollBar provides medial and lateral support to prevent overpronation and supination and thus realigns foot to its natural position. This natural alignment of the foot, leg and back alleviate the knee and hip joint pain by reducing stress on these joints.

Propet Walking Shoes for Mild to Moderate Overpronation

They come with the following features:

Rejuve Motion Technology: The Podiatrist-designed deep heel cup helps in stabilizing the feet for a natural stride and relieve knee joint, hip joint and heel pain.
Lightweight Approximately 6 OZ
Flexible and cushioned
Moderate arch support
The other styles with Rejuve Motion Technology for knee pain relief are the Helen, Hailey, and Hartley Sandals.

These Propet men sandals are also designed with Rejuve Motion Technology. With its deep cup heel and excellent arch support, they help in stabilizing and align feet and that in turn helps in reducing stress on knee joints. If you are looking for flip flops with reduce motion technology, then take a look on Propet Harrison Sandals. Propet Anderson is another style that you may like.

  1. sir,
    I am a women Size of my foot is 26.5″.Toe is wide and I am almost flat footed. My knees are very painful, making walking difficult for me. I am a patient of Rhumotoid arteritis.
    Kindly suggest what knd of walking shoes I must use?


    • Most probably you overpronate because overpronation s common in flat foot. You can confirm overpronation by seeing a Podiatrist or local New Balance shoe store or any running shoe store. If you can not do that, then look at the sole of worn out shoe. If you see more worn out on the inside then that means you overpronate. If you see more worn out on the outside of an old shoe, then you may underpronate. The knee pain may have due to overpronation. Once you find a pair of correct shoes for your foot problem, your knee pain will be reduced or eliminated.

      If you overpronate which is most likely, then you need shoes with a very good arch support with a lot of padding. I recoomend Brooks Addiction Walker walking shoe( do not run in these shoes). If you underpronate and have flat feet, then I would recommecnd Brooks Dyad. I hope this will help.

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