Finding The Best Walking Shoes for Bad Knees - A Step-By-Step Guide

There is probably not a single person who hasn’t experienced knee pain. Various conditions can cause knee pain, ranging from mild injuries to severe medical conditions that require professional medical attention. Although there are lots of causes and contributing factors of knee pain, initial therapy is always the same – simple home methods like rest, ice, compression and elevation.

After the pain is gone, you should start identifying factors that contribute to knee pain and correct them. Getting a proper fitting shoes is one of the first things that everybody with bad knees should do.

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*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

However, finding the best walking shoes for bad knees is not an easy job. Various causes and contributing factors make the decision even harder. That is why I’ve decided to review some of the best walking shoes for bad knees currently available on the market and also talk about things that you should consider when buying them.  

What to consider when buying walking shoes for bad knees?

Because there are various different factors that can cause knee problems, finding the right shoes is not an easy job. It is even harder if you have some type of foot abnormality, since in this situation you need to find shoes that should manage more than one condition. These are some of the features that you should look for when buying walking shoes for bad knees.

  • Size

You should carefully choose size when buying any type of shoes. It is important to find the size that is right for you. Having shoes that are too small or too big will cause additional discomfort and aggravate knee pain.

  • Materials

There are two types of materials that are used for these type of shoes – mesh and leather. Mesh is more flexible and breathable, allowing long walks with less foot sweating and better comfort. However, because they are thinker and not water resistant, you can’t use them in all weather conditions. On the other hand, leather is more resistant and durable, but less breathable and sturdy.

  • Fit

Fit, along with size are one of the most important things to consider when buying any type of shoes. When it comes to fit, you should pay attention to room for your wide or narrow feet, size and shape of the toe box and heel space.

  • Support / stability or cushion?

Most researchers are divided into two groups – those who recommend stability and motion control shoes for bad knees, and those who recommend flatter, flexible shoes with enough cushioning for shock absorption. Both of these theories are supported by various studies, but they are still not entirely confirmed.

Many people with flat feet who overpronate also have knee problems. The inward roll of the foot also causes inward roll and instability of knee, causing more stress on it. That is why many researchers recommend stability and motion control shoes that will prevent overpronation and stabilize feet.

On the other hand, there are studies that showed that wearing flatter, flexible and lighter shoes with enough cushioning alleviate knee pain for people with various knee problems.

Because these claims are still debatable, I’ve included both types of shoes on this list.

  • Durability

Walking shoes should last longer, because there is less wear and tear during walking than running. Durability depends on materials used and production quality.  

Now that I’ve told you what to consider when buying shoes for this medical problem, I present you the best walking shoes for bad knees in my opinion.

5 Best Walking Shoes for Bad Knees - A Step-By-Step Guide

*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Via Amazon.com


The first thing that you’ll notice when you get these pair of shoes is that they are really lightweight and flexible. The upper is made of mesh with synthetic overlays at toe and heel areas for added durability. This mesh gives you high breathability, so you don’t have to worry about feet sweating during long walks. Moreover, the footbed is lined with bamboo that will that will prevent unpleasant odors.

The Go Walk’s innovative and highly responsive 5GEN midsole cushioning along with Goga Max insole will provide better shock absorption, stability against overpronation and support. This is really important because many people with knee problems have flat feet that tend to overpronate and cause knee injuries.

However, not everything is perfect. The toe box is pretty narrow, especially for people with bigger toes. The size is smaller than usual, so I recommend getting at least half size bigger than your usual shoe size. Mesh is a material that is good for spring or summer. Because they’re not water resistant, I don’t recommend using them in cold, rainy or snowy weather. Moreover, the outsole is not slip resistant, so be careful if you use them on wet ground.


Pros

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    Lightweight and flexible
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    Mesh upper with bamboo lined footbed give you high breathability and prevent odors.
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    Midsole cushioning along with cushioned insole give you great stability and shock absorption.

Cons

  • Mesh is not water resistant, so avoid using them on wet weather.
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    The outsole is not slip resistant
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    The toe box is pretty narrow
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    The fit is smaller - get at least half size bigger

Women

Men


Via Amazon.com


For walkers who don’t have severe feet abnormality and want shoes that have lots of cushioning for shock absorption, this New Balance’s walking shoes may be the right choice.

The New Balance 877 combines athletic with modern design, making them good for both everyday use and longer walks. The upper is made of combination of mesh and suede while the outsole is made of rubber.

Their ABSORBZ midsole is a blend of foam cushioning and compression set, featuring rubber. This midsole along with high quality insole will give you more than enough cushioning for greater shock absorption, which is great, especially when there is a long road ahead.

Even though they are not primarily designed for motion control and stability, the outsole with Walking Strike Path technology will guide the foot through the walking gait cycle and provide certain stability.

Although the combination of mesh and suede for the upper looks more fashionable, it also makes these shoes less breathable. Long walks can make your feet sweat in these shoes. Moreover, the manufacturer didn’t note if they have antibacterial or anti odor feature.

Many researchers recommend flatter shoes with less arch support for knee pain. Although this product partially has these features, it can be uncomfortable for some people, especially for those with foot deformities like flat feet or high arches.


Pros

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    ABSORBZ midsole along with high quality insole for great cushioning and shock absorption.
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    Walking strike path technology for guiding the foot through the walking gait cycle and certain stability.
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    High quality, durable materials

Cons

  • The materials are less breathable.
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    There is no anti-odor and/or anti-bacterial feature.
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    Although it is recommended, some people may find less arch support and flatness of these shoes uncomfortable.

Men


Via Amazon.com


As I’ve previously mentioned, many people with flat feet and overpronation also have knee problems. For these people, New Balance 813 walking shoes can ease their problems, because they belong to motion control type of shoes.

Although there is still controversy about their effectiveness, motion control shoes are usually recommended for people with flat feet and severe overpronation in order to reduce the severe inward roll of the foot.

New Balance 813 shoes correct this deformity with Rollbar system, a molded plate placed under the heel, connected to postings on the inner and outer edges of the shoe. Rollbar prevents the foot from rolling inward and provides great support for those with severe overpronation.

Because this plate is also present on the outer side of the sole, it also corrects the outward roll of the foot or oversupination. In addition to Rollbar technology, they also have lightweight foam midsole for supportive cushioning.

Although manufacturer claims that the upper is made of leather, I’m not sure if this is true. It looks more like some other material than leather. Moreover, I also question the quality of the sole. I’ve noticed a few tears on the sole after just a couple of weeks.


Pros

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    Roll bar technology for correction of both overpronation and oversupination.
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    Lightweight foam midsole for supportive cushioning.
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    Can be worn in any weather conditions.

Cons

  • The upper doesn’t look like genuine leather.
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    Questionable quality and durability, especially the sole of the shoes.
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    I recommend getting at least half size bigger than your usual size.


Via Amazon.com



As I’ve previously mentioned, many researchers recommend using running shoes for walking, especially for people with bad knees. That is why I’ve decided to review a couple of running shoes for making of this list. Since many athletes and walkers with knee problems recommend Asics Gel collection, I’ve decided to try Asics Gel Nimbus.

Gel Nimbus running shoes are one of the most comfortable running shoes that I’ve tried. Their Fluid fit upper mesh technology allows multi-directional stretch with reinforcements that adapt to your foot, making glove-like fit. Moreover, they have seamless, stitch free design which prevents irritation and friction. This material also allows high breathability and less foot sweating.

Fluid ride technology along with rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning allows greater shock absorption, while heel clutching system provides improved support. All these features are packed in shoes that are lightweight, but still durable.

However, there are couple of disadvantages. The slightly narrower toe box can cause discomfort in people who have wider and bigger toes. Because the upper mesh is seamless and thinner, I’m also not sure about the durability of this seamless upper mesh, even though it has stretch reinforcements. I didn’t expect to worry about this because of their higher price in comparison to other products from this list.


Pros

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    Seamless upper mesh that provides glove-like fit that adapts to the movement of your feet.
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    Gel cushioning allows great shock absorption and helps with knee pain.
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    Decent breathability allows less feet sweating and comfortable longer walks.
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    Lightweight and flexible.

Cons

  • Higher price, especially in comparison to the other shoes from this list.
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    Questionable durability of upper mesh.
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    Slightly narrow toe box can cause discomfort in people with wider and bigger toes.
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    Can’t be used in all weather conditions because of the materials.

Women

Men


Via Amazon.com


Brooks’ Glycerin shoes are neutral running shoes with maximum cushion that provides great shock absorption for people with knee pain. Moreover, because of its cushioning, they also provide good arch support.

The mesh upper gives you plush fit with the ability to move and expand your foot freely while providing more than adequate stability. There is a so called Super DNA material in the midsole that helps offload the outer side of the knee, relieving knee pain and discomfort.

In comparison to previous products, this one is on the heavier side. Heavier shoes can cause additional knee pain and discomfort in people with bad knees. However, overall comfort makes up for this additional weight.

Unfortunately, they don’t have any type of stability for those who are severe overpronators. People with bad knees who roll their foot inwards should probably skip this product.


Pros

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    Maximum cushioning for great shock absorption.
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    Midsole technology that provides great arch support and takes the pressure from outer knee, relieving knee pain and discomfort.
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    High level of general comfort.

Cons

  • They are on the heavier side.
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    Not highly secure in the midfoot area.
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    Should be more flexible for easier walk.

Women

Men


Conclusion

Getting a proper walking shoes for bad knees is not an easy job, especially when there are various causes and contributing factors. Because of this, as you’ve probably noticed, my review has different type of shoes with different features.

For those with normal feet or high arches, I recommend getting cushioned shoes with proper arch support like Brooks Glycerin or Asics Gel Nimbus. People who also overpronate should get stability or motion control shoes like 813 by New Balance.

It is also important to know that getting proper shoes is just a part of the puzzle. Acute injuries like sprained knee also require physical therapy. Knee supports like sleeves may also help with knee problems and rehabilitation. If you want to know more, you can check my knees sleeves for running article, as well article about physical therapy for sprained knee that I wrote.

In my opinion, these are the best walking shoes for bad knees. There are probably some readers that won’t agree with me and that’s perfectly fine. Either way, I hope that you’ve found this article at least little bit helpful and that I’ve made your search for the right pair of shoes easier.

Bella Williams
 

Hi! I'm Bella. I love running. I write this blog to share everyone about running.

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