Editor’s Note: This post has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best running shoes for women with knee pain.
Are you tired of feeling that every single medical professional you see about your knee pain just doesn’t care? Knee pain is not normal. It’s not normal for women to feel like they can’t walk or run from being in constant pain.
As soon as women start experiencing joint pain they begin to lose quality of life. Before you start thinking of using anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots, or even knee replacement, let’s take a less invasive and more affordable approach.
Most doctors agree that the most common causes of knee pain are related to aging, injury or repeated stress on the knee.
Women can experience knee pain for many reasons and there’s no easy answer for how to make it go away. However, one of the most overlook and common reasons why women experience knee pain is their feet —the foundation for our entire body.
For example, I have seen several women with knee pain that were also flat-footed or had rolled ankles. On the other hand, I have also seen women with high arches deal with knee pain. If you have a foot condition or a foot imbalance it’s highly likely that you will deal with biomechanics problems at some point in your life.
The image below shows the feet of a woman with flat feet and rolled ankles.
Let’s Start by Checking Your Feet!
Most women make the common mistake of assuming that their feet are fine simply because they don’t hurt.
Keep in mind that all of the structure and joints above the feet depend on the feet, so you might not be dealing with foot pain, but that pain might be on your knees, hips, back, etc.
While some women are born with flat arches, for others, their arches will gradually fall over time due to age or the pressures of heavy or high impact activities. For example, women over the age of 40 and pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing adult acquired flatfeet. In addition, women with medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity are also at a higher risk.
If you are unsure whether you have flat feet or rolled ankles I suggest that you take a look at a different article I wrote. Even if you don’t have flat feet I will be able to tell you what your exact arch shape looks likes. For example, the right shoe for a woman with flat feet is different from the right shoe for a woman with high arches.
My Experience Helping Women with Knee Pain
I have worked for a specialized shoe store that focuses on helping women with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems for the last 10 years. There are several women who walk into the store complaining about knee pain, and the first thing I do is check the shoes they are wearing and also take a look at their feet. I have helped several women with knee pain significantly reduce and, in some cases, fully eliminate their pain, and I believe I can help you as well.
Did you know that the correct type of shoes affect the amount of impact that your knees take every time your feet come in contact with the ground? Wearing the correct type of shoes is the first line of defense in dealing with your knee pain.
What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Knee Pain?
To put it in a simple way, the running shoes I recommend provide 2 key features that help minimize the impact that your feet and heels take every time they come in contact with the ground.
☑️ Targeted Heel Support: The running shoes I recommend provide a heel technology cushioning system that helps attenuate shock during impact and toe-off phases. The shoes I recommend provide targeted support right below your heels, which is great for shock absorption. Take a look at the image below to visualize what I mean:
☑️ Substantial Outsoles: The running shoes I recommend also provide substantial outsoles that offer superior rear foot motion control that supports and cushions the feet:
☑️ Correct Amount of Flexibility: You should always look for running shoes that are flexible and flex at the ball of your feet but no further. Running shoes that are hard to bend will restrict your foot, change your stride, and worsen knee pain.
What Are the Best Running Shoes for Women with Knee Pain?
Running shoes that have stiffer/supportive outsoles and slightly tilted insoles that help reposition the foot help reduce (or unload) strain on your knees.
One of the most common questions I get asked at the shoe store that I work for is: What is the best shoe brand for women with knee pain?
It’s very hard to recommend one specific shoe brand because of the fact that if the shoe doesn’t fit the shape of your feet correctly, you won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer. It’s all about how your foot fits in a particular shoe and how it affects your walking gait.
With that said, I can give you a general idea of my go-to shoe brands for women with knee pain:
- New Balance
Keep in mind that among each shoe brand there are certain shoe styles that provide better support than others. In addition, which shoe brand will be better for your feet directly depends on your individual foot shape.
So, before I show you a list of the best running shoes for women with knee pain I want to make sure that you know your exact foot length and shape.
When was the last time you had your foot measured to check your shoe size? Your foot shape and size can change over time, and some of the factors that contribute to this change are pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss. Over time and because of gravity, our feet will get longer and wider.
If you live in an area where you can’t have your feet properly measured, I suggest that you take a look at a different article I wrote where I describe how to figure your exact foot size and shape from home:
The correct type of running shoes will offer you more cushion and flexibility. Please remember that running shoes that fit well and are comfortable are the most important factors when selecting your shoes. The shoes I recommend below are available in different widths such as narrow (N), medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW), so make sure that you choose your foot with accordingly.
Best Running Shoes for Women with Knee Pain
Simply take a look at the description below each image to check what foot shape that shoe is capable of accommodating. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
What Shoe Size Should You Order?
Take a look at the description below the shoes that I recommended to find out what shoe size you should order.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you are looking for a different pair of shoes to help treat and prevent your knee pain. Sneakers are always more effective than seasonal or dress shoes when it comes to treating knee pain. However, I will be happy to recommend a different pair of shoes for your feet:
Please keep in mind that every single foot is different, and what might work really well for several women, might not work as well for others. This means that how effective these running shoes will be in significantly reducing or completely eliminating your knee pain directly depends on individual foot anatomy.
I have spoken with women who were able to eliminate their heel pain by simply wearing supportive shoes in the correct size, while some others had to try an orthotic for extra support.
My Final Thoughts on Women with Knee Pain
There are studies that show that women are more prone to developing knee pain because of their relatively wide hips that can place extra stress on their joints, and female hormones are another reason as they seem to weaken ligaments. There is nothing we can do about this, but there are other factors that are within your control and we should take advantage of them.
Physical therapy can be really effective for women with knee pain as it might help strengthen the area around the knee, the pelvis, and the core.
When women experience foot, knee, or hip pain the goal in most cases is to avoid surgical intervention as long as possible.