We’re all unique. With running shoes, we all have different needs and pun intended, no one-size-fits-all.
If you’re reading this guide, the chances are that you consider yourself to be on the heavier side, potentially with a BMI upwards of 27. You may be choosing to get into running to improve your health, or simply looking for a new hobby.
If you enjoy running or are just getting into running, we can’t stress enough the importance of selecting the right running shoe – you need a shoe with an excellent performance that caters to your unique body and running style.
If you are a heavy runner, it’s essential to look for a shoe that has high shock absorbency and good support, as running can put 1.5 to 3 times your body weight of extra shock on the joints than merely walking.
If you’re new to running, there’s nothing more off-putting than a shoe that just doesn’t work for you and it may even hinder your progress. If you’re a seasoned runner, a poor choice of footwear can cause additional problems such as metatarsalgia or other types of running injury.
Best Running Shoes for Heavier Runners
No matter whether you’re a new runner or someone who’s been running for a while, we’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for the best running shoes for heavy runners.
Hoka One One Gaviota Men’s Running Shoe –
- Arch-Lock wings for superior mid-foot support
- 3D puff print frame for additional lightweight, detailed support
- Late stage meta-rocker
- Flat-waisted geometry provides inherent stability
- 5mm offset
The Hoka One One Gaviota Men’s Running Shoe is coming first place on our list for running shoes for heavier runners.
The Hoka brand has also made its way onto some of our other lists, and it’s not unwarranted. Hoka make fantastic quality running shoes that are great for a variety of different people and lifestyles.
This shoe in particular is also great for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis due to its plush cushioning. It even works on any kind of trail, so it’s very versatile.
The Gaviota is particularly suitable for heavier men due to its additional support and stability. It’s got great pronation control too.
The shoe is more suited to distance runners than for speedrunners due to it lying on the slightly heavier side, but this is a good thing if you’re just starting to get into running. The Arch-Lock Wings in this shoe also secure the foot into place, and this combined with the padded tongue and collar give the shoe that extra added security.
The shoe has a High-Abrasion Rubber outsole, which is specifically designed for durability. These shoes will last the extra miles, no doubt about it.
This is also a fantastic shoe for extra cushioning, but it’s not too soft – it’s firm enough to provide enough support. Furthermore, the Hoka One One Gaviota also combines technology with practicality.
The added Orthalite sock liner even has anti-bacterial and anti-moisture properties to keep your feet and shoes fresh as a daisy all day long. The mesh is also highly breathable.
Aesthetically, this shoe is a dream. It has a variety of colors and patterns that make the shoe stand out from its competitors. There are some more neutral colors like black and gray, but also some more unique color combinations.
The bright green/blue combo is particularly intriguing, and the pattern on the heel makes it look as though flecks from a paintbrush with black paint have been dotted over it. These shoes should match any workout apparel nicely.
The only potential downside to this shoe is that it’s not for someone with a light wallet – this footwear is expensive, but it’s more than worth the price tag for a pair of shoes that will go the distance with you.
- Color selection
- Orthalite sock liner
- Good stability
ASICS Foundation 13 Running Shoe
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- Guidance Trusstic System Technology - This Trusstic System Technology integrates Guidance Line construction for enhanced gait efficiency while providing midfoot structural integrity.
- Guidance Line Midsole Technology - Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency.
- Seamless Construction - The use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by traditional stitches and seams.
- SpevaFoam Midsole Material - Improves bounce back characteristics and decreases midsole breakdown.
Another notable entry in the ASICS running shoe repertoire, the ASICS Foundation 13 running shoe is a smart choice for the heavier runner.
This mostly comes down to the gel – the gel on the forefoot and heel helps to absorb shock from every stride and is extremely plush and comfortable to boot. The DuoMax support system to the midsole also provides extra support.
This stability running shoe has a highly durable protective outsole, and the breathable mesh upper means this shoe has great ventilation in all the places it matters the most. They provide a natural, smooth ride and helps the runner to maintain good balance with a vertical flex groove.
It has a wide mid and toe box, so it’s ideal for inserting your own orthotics if you have them. You can even go sockless due to the breathable mesh material used!
This shoe is ideal for runners with flat feet as it’s a motion control shoe, but people with high arches may find it a little too stiff, so this may not be the best option for you if you have high arches.
Sadly, this shoe is lacking in its options for look and style. This shoe only comes in the shade dark blue, and while it looks good, the lack of selection may be off-putting for those who don’t want dark blue.
This shoe is a good one for if you want a slightly cheaper shoe without compromising on comfort and stability.
- Protective outsole
- Wide mid and toe box
- DuoMax system for extra support
- Gel for extra comfort
- Only one color option
Saucony Women’s Omni 16 Running Shoe
- SAUC-FIT for a highly adaptable, dynamic fit in the mid-foot
- EVERUN Topsole for continuous cushioning and enhanced energy return
- Updated TRI-FLEX outsole for the optimal blend of flexibility and protection
A great stability shoe with comfy midsole cushioning, the Saucony Women’s Omni 16 Running Shoe is a good choice for heavier runners.
Why? To start, it’s excellent for overpronators due to its high stability construction and 8mm heel to toe drop. The midsole is highly responsive with the Saucony EVERUN cushioning, and also has a cushioned tongue. It’s got a fantastic ride that allows your feet to glide effortlessly as you stride!
The upper has a breathable mesh that makes it so that the shoes do not feel too warm on the feet and they’ve got a roomy toe box. It’s also not too heavy as far as weight is concerned, though not the most lightweight either.
Regardless, you’re sure to run with a spring in your step with these on your feet. It’s also great in a variety of terrains, and there’s no need to worry about the weather – these shoes will weather any climate, despite not being waterproof.
The design of these shoes is very sleek and look stunning as you’re running. They come in a wide variety of colors, the teal/citron edition in particular having a little extra pizzazz. They also come in a variety of sizes including wider version for if your feet are slightly bigger. The pricing highly varies depending on shoe and color, but it’s nevertheless a great shoe for what it offers.
- EVERUN Cushioning
- 8mm Heel to toe drop great for overpronators
- Cushioned tongue
- Roomy Toe Box
- Great in inclement weather despite not being waterproof
- Can be pricey
New Balance 1260V7 Running Shoe
The New Balance brand are a reliable creator of running shoes with a range of that support you while running.
The New Balance 1260 V7 Running Shoe is no exception and has its own unique qualities that are worth the cost. These stability shoes have great arch support with an 8mm heel to toe drop and work best on roads.
With a sturdy outsole, there’s no need to worry about these shoes not standing the test of time. These shoes will last through many uses and would work well on the track or on the gym without any issues.
The midsole has fantastic shock absorbency and is very protective of your feet, and overall has great cushioning making for a comfortable ride throughout. These shoes are highly versatile with a roomy toe box and a variety of sizes including ones with a wider fit.
The shoe only comes in three different colors, so there aren’t many choices, however the choices that are available look fresh and attractive.
As far as pricing is concerned they’re hardly a wallet pleaser, and these shoes are a little heavier than most running shoes, but with a multitude of other reasons that these shoes can outrun the competition? We think the New Balance 1260 v7 Running Shoes are worth the try!
- Good arch support
- Modern look & feel
- Variety of colors
- Roomy, including the toe box
- Can be expensive
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
- Cloud wave offers a soft, lively, and lightweight feel
- Engineered Mesh Upper for a sock like yet breathable fit
- u4iCx cushioning enhances cloudlike feel
- Fit in motion upper
- Soft anatomical sock liner for extra arch support and cushioning
The Mizuno Wave Rider claims a ‘superb underfoot sensation’ which eases heel pain. Its foam sole cushions the foot while also still being firm, so it’s definitely one for those who prefer a slightly firmer shoe without compromising comfort and support.
It works well for runners with conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
This is a shoe ideal for both walking and for running, so it’s ideal for practicality purposes. The breathability in this shoe is fantastic for warm days, but can make this shoe a little on the chilly side in colder weather.
With the Mizuno Neutral Wave Plate, your feet can be extra supported between the midsole and the heel, which makes heel to toe transitions much smoother. They’re great for long and short runs, and have plenty of cushioning on the heel, making them ideal for heel strikers.
One other downside though is that while the cushioning is pretty great as a general rule, larger runners may find there’s not quite enough cushioning. It may be worth investing in some sole inserts or custom orthotics in this case.
This shoe has a great modern look so you can run in style. It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. One color, the clover/white version, looks fantastic without being too flashy. It’s understated but will look great with any outfit.
As with many of the shoes on this list, the price varies on size and color, but they’re slightly cheaper than some of the other options here.
The Mizuno Wave Rider provides an enjoyable ride without compromising your comfort and is an ideal running shoe for even the most ambitious of marathoners!
- Mizuno Neutral Wave Plate makes for easier heel to toe transitions
- Firm, but not uncomfortable
- Variety of colors and designs
- Padding on heel great for heel strikers
- Cold in the upper due to breathability
- May not be enough cushioning for heavier runners
Brooks Womens Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe –
- SHOE SIZE: "B" = Medium width, "D" = Wide width, "2A" = Narrow width
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: Neutral runners obsessed with softness and cushioning. Sleeker than in the past, this shoe will appeal to people who love tons of cushion but — until now — haven’t loved the style.
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT cushioning provides a soft, luxurious feeling underfoot without losing responsiveness or durability, while the OrthoLite sockliner provides premium step-in comfort.
- THE PERFECT FIT AND FEEL: The plush feel of an internal stretch bootie surrounds your foot and moves and expands with your stride. The engineered mesh upper and 3D Fit Print technology only enhance the fit.
- SMOOTH TRANSITIONS: The DNA LOFT transition zone makes every move from heel to toe feel incredibly soft and smooth.
The Brooks Womens Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe is one for those who need their shoes to have that cushioned, pillowy softness but without compromising style.
With a revamped look and all new technology, this shoe walks the walk and looks good doing it. Their marketing slogan says it all – it doesn’t get any softer than this!
Each size of this shoe comes with a narrow version and a wide version, so it’s rather versatile in size. The DNA loft midsole also adds to the overall comfort, but your feet don’t sink too far in. It transitions well and has an Orthalite insole. It’s ideal for long runs on pavements and roads as it absorbs shock well. It has a secure upper and lacing system.
It has great durability which means this shoe should last, even if you’re on the heavier side, and it’s highly responsive. Where this shoe is lacking is that it’s on the heavier side for a running shoe, so it’s not as nimble as some of the other options on this list, but it works great for basic training.
As said previously, this shoe is quite the looker! It has neutral shades, but even these have their own unique pop. The white/copper/grey version makes the classic white look striking and sleek, while the aqua is more showy for those who want more color in their footwear.
There’s something for every personality with these shoes. The price tag is quite hefty, however, so you may want to consider an alternative if you’re on a budget.
- DNA Loft Midsole
- Ortholite insole
- Sleek, versatile design and colors
- Heavy – may not be as nimble
How Do I know if I’m a Heavier Runner?
Heavier runners are usually people that weigh over 90kg or have a BMI of over 25. To find out your natural weight, ideally you should be weighing first thing in the morning before eating and after urinating. BMI Can then be calculated based on your average result over several mornings.
BMI can provide a valuable reference when searching for running shoes and for fitness in general. Though it’s not an exact methodology, BMI for fitness is measured as follows:
- Underweight – under 18.5
- Normal – Between 18.5 – 25
- Overweight – 25+
If I’m a heavier runner, what things do I need to be looking for when buying a pair of running shoes?
If you’re a heavier runner, it’s worth looking for things that help with –
Overpronation is when your foot rolls inward as you move. In laymans terms though, overpronation is when you over flatten your foot as you walk. Overpronation is a risk for heavier runners as more weight is put onto the feet.
Likewise, higher arches require more protection. In this regard, it’s worth considering a shoe that provides extra support and comfort to these at-risk areas of the feet. There are a lot of shoes out there that are ideal for heavier runners that cater to overpronation and high arches. You will need a shoe that keeps the foot central in the shoe for either of these conditions in order to keep the feet safe from injury.
In addition, there are some things you should be looking out for consistently when purchasing any pair of running shoes:
It’s handy to check reviews from other buyers when selecting a shoe. Often, other buyers will give an indication about the longevity of the shoe. The last thing you want is a shoe that will fall apart in seconds, and those that aren’t durable can lead to further strain and injury being placed on the feet.
Consider a shoe based on your own personal circumstances, too – if you live in a hot climate, breathability may be more important, whereas if you’re somewhere that often experiences rain then you need to make sure the shoe is highly breathable.
If your shoes aren’t breathable, you’re more likely to smell so bad after prolonged use that nobody will want to be in a 10 foot radius of you. This can be avoided if your shoes have the proper material to account for people who are more susceptible to sweating more.
To know if your shoes have good stability, take them on a test run – you’ll soon find out whether you’ve made the right choice.
Weight & Height
Lightweight shoes are generally better for runners, as heavier shoes don’t always provide as much of a smooth ride. Heavier shoes can often feel like your feet are being weighed down. You need something nimble that has easy transitions as you run.
Look out for the drop on the shoe. If your shoe is more level then when you land you’re more likely to be hitting the midsole which means you’re less likely to receive negative shock reactions on other joints. Looking for shoes that are ‘zero drop’ are your best bet as these have a low heel to toe drop.
If you’re running for long periods of time, it’s important to select a running shoe that has adequate cushioning to keep your feet comfortable. The more cushioned your shoes are the more they’re likely to absorb shock better.
Also, keep an eye out for shoes that adapt to your foot shape – these are likely to be more comfortable for you in the long run. Most running shoes will have their own brand of cushioning, such as the Saucony EVERUN. Each has its own properties – consider these as you select a running shoe.
Shape & Size
Make sure that your shoes account for your foot shape, such as if you have higher arches. In addition though, you need a shoe that has a proper fit. If you have wider feet, opt for a shoe with a wider feet.
Be wary of shoes where reviewers have said that the sizing isn’t accurate – you may want to buy a larger or smaller size. If your feet are larger, maybe opt for a shoe with a larger toe box.
Top tip: To figure out the best fit for you, try on the shoe at the end of the day. This is the time when the foot is naturally at its largest and swells, so you’re more likely to see accurately whether the shoes work out for you.
Sole & Insole Design
Look for a shoe with a firmer midsole. These will provide greater stability and less likely to compress. If you have custom orthotics, it may be worth investing in a pair of shoes that have removable insoles or a wider toe box so you can easily insert them into the shoe.
Taking Strides to be a Better Runner
As a rule, regardless of weight there are some good tips to follow to ensure good form while you run. It’s important to run with the correct form in order to ensure good posture and minimize risk of injury. If you’re just getting started with running, the below tips may be helpful for you.
The best runners out there make running look effortless, but when you’re first starting out, it can feel a lot more tiring and difficult. A lot of this feeling can be alleviated with the proper running form.
When you’re first starting, take shorter, quicker strides. Ensure that you land on the ball of your foot and not with your feet in front of you. Ensure you keep your head upright, looking straight ahead rather than looking down at your feet – this will help to create better posture. Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle, as this will help to propel you forward as you run.
If you can, try to land on the ball of your foot rather than heel or toes. If you’re a heel striker, we’ve also got an article here with the best running shoes for you. Alternatively, if you have a condition such as plantar fasciitis it may be harder to land on the balls of your feet – check out our article on the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis here.
Gradually Build Up Your Mileage
There is a time and a pace for everyone! Don’t assume that you need to be running a 10k when you’ve just started getting into it – there is no shame in starting small and working your way up to larger numbers as you get more comfortable.
A good measure to follow is to add an extra 10% distance to your run per week. Take some time, perhaps a week, to also have a more prolonged break to give your body time to heal after all the hard work. Even the best runners didn’t get to where they are over night, so you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for not running thousands of miles on day one.
Replace Your Running Shoes
Heavier runners put a little more strain on their running shoes, and as such will need to replace them more frequently. Check your shoes when you’ve done roughly 200 miles in them – if they’ve lost a lot of their cushioning and support, it’s time to opt for a new pair. Generally, it’s recommended to replace your running shoes between 350-500 miles.
Take Breaks When Needed
When you’re not used to running, it can really take the wind out of you quite quickly. For this reason, it’s essential to take regular breaks if you find yourself getting breathless. You can even try alternating between both, running for one minute, walking the next.
By giving yourself more frequent breaks, your body will be more forgiving, allowing you to have a much nicer run and making you less likely to give up from burnout.