Best Shoes for Heavier Runners
Not all runners are created equal; they come in all shapes and sizes. Similarly, not all trainers are made to work for every type of runner. Runners who are built a little bigger than others are going to need footwear that provides more shock absorption to protect knees and joints, especially when training on hard surfaces. What you want when shopping around for a good pair of trainers is something that can provide your foot and ankles the most support possible to prevent injury and pain to your knees and back. We have created this buying guide to help you find the pair that is best for your individual needs. Read on to see our top picks, fully reviewed.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
- Trusted brand
- Strong yet flexible
- Adidas Thrasher 1.1 M
- ASICS GEL Venture 5
- Saucony Cohesion 10
- NIKE Air Max Torch 4
- New Balance 420v4
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
- ASICS Gel-Contend 4
- Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2
- Brooks Launch 4
- ASICS Gel-Nimbus 19
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Adidas Thrasher 1.1 M
- Trusted brand
- Strong yet flexible
If you were looking for a pair of trainers that are built like a tank, look no further. The Thrasher has all of the features that bigger runners would want in a trainer, but it also as a good deal of flexibility so that you can work on perfecting your gait without being held back by stiff materials.Read more
The design of these trainers is pretty basic and has a little bit more of a utilitarian look to them more so than other designs of adidas. This particular model is only offered in a black base with gray accents. It has the classic adidas three lines in the gray fabric along the side of the foot.
Leaner athletes typically want something that is a little more lightweight so that their foot doesn’t feel encumbered while they are traversing various types of terrains, whereas runners carrying considerably more weight need something that has more structure to provide stability. In the case of the Thrasher, runners don’t necessarily need to give up flexibility because the rubber sole is made to move. It is injected with EVA so that you can achieve full range of motion in your gait while the top sole still provides you with ample support. It also doesn’t rely too much on cushioning, allowing this model to be able to take you a lot more miles than some of the others out there.
The cost of this model will likely set you back about what one would expect to pay for a brand name sneaker. It is priced too high to be considered inexpensive, but it is nowhere near some of the higher end designs that are out there on the market. Considering the comfort and design of this model- it is set at a really great price.
If you are in the market for something that is built to last, but also provides you great support without sacrificing flexibility- this is going to be a welcome addition to your training routine.
2. ASICS GEL Venture 5
- Brand recognition
- Thick rubber sole
- Padded collar and tongue
Laces come untied a lot
Asics is in the business of making quality athletic gear, and they really rise to the occasion with the GEL Venture 5. It is built like a tank from the ground up, and it also is incredibly comfortable to wear, especially if you are training on hard surfaces. These will be the perfect addition to your training routine, and will likely last you a long time.Read more
Unlike the adidas model, athletes will have a lot of different colors and designs to select from to appeal to their personal taste. All models come with a base of gray (with some variances on shade) and they are accented with electric colors such as yellow, red, blue, orange, white, or black. They sit pretty night on the foot to offer maximum comfort around the collar and ankle.
This design is built like and tank- and for athletes that are built a little bigger, that is exactly what you need. You might not have the flexibility or range of motion that you would have with something that is a little bit lighter, but you can jog with the confidence that your ankles and joints are protected. The top sole is made from stiff and ridging materials, but they also have a mesh underlay that is breathable to keep your feet cool and comfortable. The rubber sole is incredibly thick, and it has the addition of AHAR rubber on the outsole on high wear areas such as the heel. It also has additional cushioning especially in the heel which will help take pressure off of your lower back as well as keeping your feet comfortable. Additionally, if you require the use of special orthotics, the sock liner is able to be completely removed.
The cost of these trainers runs pretty par for the course. They are not the most expensive out there, but they are far from being the least expensive. If you are in the market for a good pair of trainers, this is going to be the price you pay for quality.
If you are looking for a trainer that is built like a tank, but it has a lot of support in a thick rubber sole, this is going to be the perfect addition to your training, and it is set at a reasonable price point.
3. Saucony Cohesion 10
- Brand recognition
- Thick, durable sole
- Comfortable padded collar and tongue
Some find the arch to be too narrow
Saucony has been making excellent footwear for all types of athletes for over 100 years, so it is no wonder they are landing at the top of this list. The Cohesion 10 has a simple design, and it doesn’t sit as high up on the foot as some of the others. What is great about this model is what is found in the sole.Read more
There are many different styles and color choices available in the Cohesion 10 that are sure to appeal to most tastes. Colors include solid black, royal blue and silver, gray, and gray with electric yellow accents. It sits pretty high up on the foot and has a lot of padding around the collar and tongue for a comfortable ride.
What makes this design special is the sole. It has one of the thickest soles out there on the market to really help you push past all of your fitness goals without putting a lot of extra strain on your joints. If you are someone that prefers to train on harder surfaces such as concrete or asphalt- these are going to be your best bet. The sole is crafted from Saucony’s GRID technology, which utilizes high-quality rubber in conjunction with injection molded EVA. It does not have as much traction on the bottom as some of the others that are designed for all terrain, which makes it great for evenly distributing weight across your entire foot to relieve specific pressure points that could cause excess pain. They are also slightly curved at the toe to help improve the ease of movement for a full gait execution.
The cost of these is surprisingly inexpensive, especially coming from the trusted brand that is Saucony. If you were looking for something you could wear while training on hard surfaces, and that won’t break the bank- these are offered at a really great price point.
For those that are looking for something that offers a lot of comfort, and it is built to allow for a fully executed gait while still providing a lot of comfort and stability. It also comes at a really reasonable price point, these are going to be a welcome addition to your fitness routines.
4. NIKE Air Max Torch 4
- Brand recognition
- Phylon forefoot
It wouldn’t be a party is Nike wasn’t invited! The Air Max Torch 4 is great because it offers runners a lot of support on the top sole, while still being very breathable. It also is constructed to give you a lot of shock absorption while giving you added stability through the full motion of your gait.Read more
While there aren’t a lot of color options to select from, there are a lot of different top sole designs. Users can select from a base color of black or white, and choose which accents they prefer. Accent color options available include orange, black, and various shades of gray. It sits pretty high on your ankle and gives you a little bit of extra cushioning along the collar and the tongue.
When you are jogging, there are certain spots in your gait where you add a little bit of extra pressure, and this pressure is intensified depending upon how much you weight. The more you weigh, the more pressure is applied. Over time, this can really do a number on your joints, especially in you are training on hard surfaces. The Air Max Torch 4 takes this into consideration and provides extra padding on the very points where pressure is added throughout your gait.
The cost of these is going to sting your wallet a little bit. By far, these are the most expensive designs to hit this list. However, if you are looking for something that is designed to truly take pressure off your joints, and it also incredibly comfortable and stylish- these are well worth the padded price tag.
If you are in the market for something that will really provide you a lot of support and comes for a brand that athletes from all over the globe have come to love- this design is going to be well worth the price.
5. New Balance 420v4
- Trusted Brand
- Some find that the heel is a little too hard
If you are someone that would really like a lot of extra cushioning when you hit the road, the New Balance 420v4 is going to be the right fit for you. Not only does it have a lot of cushioning in the sock liner, but it also has a lot of extra padding around the collar and tongue to ensure that every step is easy on your feet as well as all of your joints.Read more
New Balance did not set out to reinvent the wheel here. This design is pretty basic, but it is offered in various different colors that will match your personal style. Each color- such as gray, black, and red- is a neutral shade, so there is no need to worry about standing out in a crowd is that is something that concerns you. The tongue and collar sit pretty high on the ankle, offering superior support to your ankles.
Comfort and stability is the name of the game when it comes to the 420v2. Upon first inspection, it has a sole that is significantly thicker than many others out there on the market. The thick sole is composed of high-quality rubber and injected molded EVA that with conform and bend to your foot over time without being overly soft and squishy. It has a harder top sole that is padded on the inside to be nice and comfortable to your feet while also offering ample support.
New Balance products are typically pretty reasonable priced, and the 420v2 is no exception. Considering that it utilizes some of the best materials on the market, and had a tough exterior that will last you for many miles- it is a really great deal.
If you are a jogger that wants something with a lot of cushioning that is designed to be used on hard surfaces that won’t do a lot of damage to the joints and ankles- this is a really great value from a trusted company.
6. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
- Padding in the tongue and collar
- Superior sole for landing and take off
You might not have heard of Brooks before, but they have been in the business of making really great footwear for over 100 years. They are known for using top of the line materials, as well as innovative designs that make them one of the best set of trainers out there on the market. The only downside to Brooks is that they are a little bit pricey, and will take quite a bite out of your wallet.Read more
The design of this model is really basic and doesn’t set out to do anything new. It comes in a variety of neutral colors such as basic blacks and greys, but it also has some fun bright colors available as well in bright shades of blue. The tongue and collar sit just a little bit lower than some of the other models out there, providing just a little bit less ankle support.
Everything about this design is well thought out and expertly crafted. The sole of this design is made from a high quality rubber and is incredibly thick, so it will be great for shock absorption as well as being incredibly durable and will last you for many miles. The stitching on the midsole saddle is asymmetrical so that it won’t rub up against the foot the way that some of the other brands tend to do and cause blisters. It also sports a very padded tongue and collar to give you maximum cushioning with every impact of your gait.
This is going to be where it stings a little bit. The cost of these trainers runs way higher than many of the other on this list. In fact, they are one of the most expensive brands out there on the market. However, if you are someone that is willing to spare no expense in the search for superior footwear- Brooks is your answer.
For those that are willing to spend more on their footwear, and want something that is expertly crafted, made from the best materials out there, and will last for miles or outdoor adventures, Brooks is going to be your best bet.
7. ASICS Gel-Contend 4
- Excellent shock absorption
- Users find they hold up after many miles
Some find the toe box to be too small
Sometimes it’s difficult to find a trainer that has a lot of additional support on the sides and top of the foot but is also designed to be used on harder surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. The ASICS Gel-Contend 4 has all of the structure that larger joggers will need to keep pressure off of their joints, but is lightweight enough to provide a lot of flexibility to really get you moving.Read more
The colors options offered for this model will appeal to those that long for neutral colors, and those that perfect more colorful options. Neutral colors include solid black, gray, or white with black accents. Color choices include electric blue with yellow accents, and red with black accents. All models come with the trademark ASICS design along the side of the foot.
Due to the fact that these sit a little bit lower on the ankle, they don’t offer a much support as some of the other designs on this list. However, what they lack in ankle support they make up for in flexibility. Where these trainers really shine in the shock absorption department. They were specifically made to take much of the impact when you land on both the beginning and end of your natural gait, to take off pressure from your joints. It executes this by utilizing their Rearfoot Gel Cushioning system. It also has a removable sock liner so you will be able to put whatever orthotics that you may need on your jogs.
The cost of these runs pretty par for the course. They are not the most expensive out there on the market, but they are far from being the least expensive. Considering their superior design that is specifically crafted to focus on shock absorption- they will suit your needs perfectly without costing you a lot of money.
If you are in the market for something that will really work to take a lot of pressure off of your joints, while providing a comfortable ride and being easy on your wallet- these will be an excellent addition to all of your outdoor adventures.
8. Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2
- Offered in fun colors
Mizuno may not be a brand that you are necessarily familiar with, but they have been in the market for making really great athletic gear for over 100 years. The Wave Catalyst 2 has a really great foundation that is perfect for running on hard surfaces without putting any undue pressure on your knees and lower back.Read more
Mizuno designs are all a little bit more fun and colorful than many of the others making this list. Colors available include electric blue and orange, red and grey, red and black, and red and green. It has a collar and tongue that sits higher on the ankle to offer superior support as well as comfort.
There are variances and improvements in the sole that offers athletes superior support, while also offering a good deal of flexibility. The midsole has been reinforced for added shock absorption, and the breathable top sole is designed to move with the foot through the full execution of your gait.
The cost of the Wave Catalyst 2 carries quite the price tag and is one of the most expensive models that are currently out there on the market. However, if you are looking for something that is offered in really fun colors and is made from superior materials that won’t let you down as you push yourself farther than possible, it is well worth the padded price tag.
If you have never heard of Mizuno before, we feel they are definitely worth checking out if you have the extra money. Users that have tried their products have been very satisfied not only by their comfort, and execution but also in their durability in the long run.
9. Brooks Launch 4
- Superior sole construction
- Excellent shock absorption
- Lightweight and comfortable
Brooks is making this list yet again with their superior Launch 4. This design is built like a tank to provide you with exceptional stability on all side of the foot without weighing you down too much with unnecessary materials. It is also available in many fun colors that will appeal to many different kinds of tastes and styles.Read more
While there are a few neutral designs out there on the market for athletes looking to blend in rather than stand out, there are a few designs that are solid black with subtle red highlights. They also offered a bright blue design with red and white accents, and orange model that bleeds to black by the heel, and a solid royal blue and white design. It has a high collar and tongue that will feel incredibly comfortable.
If you are looking for something that feels like you are jogging on springs- this is going to be your best bet. The Brooks Launch 4 invites you to defy gravity with their superior cushioning, and past users have claimed that the sole of this model feels like it does exactly that. It has a BioMoGo DNA midsole for cushion and shock absorption, and a insole board that increases flexibility.
As with any Brooks product, be prepared to spend a little bit more than a lot of the other models out there on the market. However, if you want to invest a little bit more money on a brand that is used by some serious athletes- this is well worth the padded price tag.
For athletes that are willing to spend a little bit extra money on superior design, and rock something that is a little bit more flashy than some of the others you might come across- this is going to be an excellent investment for all of your fitness goals.
10. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 19
- High-padded collar and tongue
- Flexible sole
A tad expensive
This style of ASICS is designed to give a little bit extra help through every step that you take. It provides excellent stability on the top sole, great shock absorption on the sole, and comes in many fun colors that all look incredibly sharp.Read more
Users can select from many different color options that include gray, blue, black, red, and navy blue. It has electric accents that really pop, and the trademark ASICS logo along the side of the foot. This model also has a higher collar than most to give you superior comfort and stability.
The build of the sole is what really makes this model stand out from the rest. It utilizes FlyteFoam Midsole Technology and Fluid Ride Midsole that offers something that joggers love: bounce back. It’s what makes you feel like you aren’t pushing off of the hard ground, but off of something squishy and soft. This feature is what takes a lot of the pressure off the joints. The top sole is also a little bit different because it conforms to the shape of your foot over time so that the entire sneaker will feel like it is a simple and lightweight extension of your foot over time.
The cost of these are a little bit more than many of the others that are making this list- but not by a lot. It is by no means the most expensive model out there on the market. If you are looking for something that offers support and flexibility- it is well worth the slightly higher price point.
If you are in the market for something that will take a lot of extra pressure off of your knees and your lower back, and it is incredibly comfortable and will make you look forward to lacing up and hitting the trails- this will be an excellent addition to your training.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When shopping for anything, you probably take a look at the design, and then immediately check the price tag. While we conducted our research, we did the exact same thing. We wanted to make sure that we selected gear from brands that are trusted within the industry and were also made from high-quality materials. Then, we checked the price tag to ensure that they were still within the realm of reason. Some of the brands out there- such as Brooks and Mizuno- are considered to be situated at the higher end of the price scale. These brands are going to cost you significantly more than some of the others out there such as Nike and ASICS. However, if you wanted to make sure you got something that is the best of the best- these are the brands that you want to look out for. If you wanted something that will provide you excellent support while still being priced affordably, you are going to want to go with brands such as New Balance, Nike, Adidas, and ASICS.
The longest journey begins with a single step, and that is true every time to lean down to lace up your trainers and hit the road. Athletes that are carrying a little bit of extra weight have a few difficulties to overcome, but it doesn’t make their journey impossible. Besides, adversity is something that is required to build a strong foundation for great structures. However, you want to make sure that you suit up with the right gear to protect all of your joints so that you can achieve all of your fitness goals. There were a lot of things that we took into consideration while we researched the best trainers for those that carry a little extra weight.
Support was the number one thing that we kept our eye on while we conducted our research. We wanted to select something that would offer athletes all of the features that they would need in order to protect their joints, but we wanted to make sure that they would also help them push themselves farther by not hindering their gait execution, and were also made from lightweight materials. Often, when construction footwear that offers superior stability, it often comes at the cost of weight. However, if the materials used are lightweight, it shouldn’t feel too bulky and cumbersome.The most important piece of advice we can give to heavier athletes out there is to take good care of your joints. Equipping your feet with the proper trainers is half the battle, but the other thing you need to do is to listen to what your body is telling you. Ideally, you might want to try and train on softer surfaces such as trails and tracks because it will reduce a bit of the shock. Hard surfaces such as sidewalks and asphalt can add undue strain on knees and lower backs.
Stability is another critical factor in selecting the best trainers to fit your needs. The styles that have the lightweight mesh tops that fit on the top of your foot like a second sock might seem pretty appealing- but they aren’t going to do you any favors as a heavier runner. Pay close attention to the top sole and the midsole. The top sole will provide your foot and ankles with an extra layer of stability that will prevent you from doing something terrible such as rolling your ankle. The midsole is where all of the magic happens- is the layer of the sole that is responsible for shock absorption. Shock absorption is what takes a lot of the extra pressure off of your joints- especially knees and your lower back. For joggers that are carrying a little bit of extra weight, the impact of each stride can really start to wear on your joints and a well-built midsole will absorb a lot of that impact.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When you go shopping for suitable running shoes for heavy runners you may hear many different suggestions such as to buy a running shoe with the softest cushioning or you need better shock absorption. When it comes to heavier runners it can do more harm for you than good when you get a softer or mushy shoe. A soft running shoe can be very unstable for high bodyweight. When it comes to the midsole you need to make sure you are getting a lot of support to make sure your body is not doing double the work. Make sure you are selecting a shoe that does not have a super-soft sole for cushioning because it is less durable for your heavier runners foot and running types.
Other Factors to Consider
Everyone always looks at the style of a trainer before looking at the specs- and we are no better. Some of the models on the market that offer up superior stability can look like cinder blocks that are tied to your feet. That just wasn’t acceptable to us- especially since many of the top brands had really unique and trendy exterior designs while still having top-notch guts to keep feet and joints protected even on long runs.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What should I look for in a midsole?
You have heard us tell you that you want to keep an eye on the midsole of the trainers that you will want to use- but what should you look for exactly? The midsole is a layer of material that is sandwiched between the sock liner and the rubber sole the gives your trainer that little bit of extra bounce. It is where most of the shock absorption happens. The best materials that have proven to be superior in execution is injected molded EVA. EVA is short for ethylene vinyl acetate and is known for being extremely flexible and elastic, perfect for absorbing the impact from the ground instead of your knees.
q: Will I lose muscle mass if I take up jogging?
Perhaps you have spent the winter building muscle at the gym, and now that the weather has started to warm up you are interested in taking up jogging. You might have heard some rumors that engaging in cardio might cause you to lose muscle mass. The science behind this idea is a little tricky and complicated, but as long as you fuel your body with enough calories, going for a jog will not make you lose muscle mass. The loss of muscle typically happens when your calorie intake does not exceed how many you burn in a day. Weight loss happens when you burn more than you intake- but that weight loss often comes in the form of fat as well as muscle. If you are someone that doesn’t want to lose muscle definition while improving your cardiovascular health, you just need to ensure that you enough throughout the day.
q: Should I select high tops or low tops?
Generally, low tops are used by athletes that are looking to increase their flexibility, and high tops are for athletes that would like a little bit more stability in their ankles. For athletes that are carrying a little bit of extra weight, you are going to want to select high tops for the added stability. Cushioning around the tongue as well as the collar is a bonus in adding a little bit more stability, as well as added comfort.
q: I have never jogged before. Where do I start?
One carefully placed step at a time. The best thing to do when you get started is not to set any unrealistic expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t jump from the couch to a marathon in a matter of days. However, because you hit the road, be sure that you are equipped with the right gear. A good pair of trainers- like the ones mentioned above- can really make all of the difference and ensure that you don’t hurt yourself early on. We want to to be careful when starting a new routine because injuries often arise when athletes aren’t paying attention to their bodies and try and push past barriers that weren’t meant to be reached at that moment. Take your time, be patient, and always listen to the things that your body is trying to tell you.