We walk every single day, and our knees have to take the weight of our whole upper body.
If you have bad knees or suffer from knee pain, even something as simple as walking can be difficult.
The best walking shoes for bad knees can help to make your day and your activities easier and less painful.
Our top pick is the Brooks Dyad 11. It has a wide platform sole with a heel crash pad, gender-friendly cushioning, and dual stability arch pods – combined, these make it an awesome walking shoe if you have bad knees.
Read on to see our other top walking shoe options for you.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Dyad 11
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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
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Nike React Miler
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1. Brooks Dyad 11
Brooks shoes are some of the most cushioned shoes you will find.
The Dyad 11 is a neutral shoe that also provides some support for supinators—those individuals whose feet roll outwards. They may not be as effective for people who overpronate.
The cushioning in these shoes is typical of Brooks shoes. Their BioMoGo DNA midsole combines two different technologies to bring you the best of both.
BioMoGo material is sustainable and plush, giving you a soft underfoot feeling. Brooks DNA is a kind of gel cushion that molds to your foot as you apply pressure to it.
This unique blend of cushioning technology makes the midsoles of these shoes suitable for both men and women, as it adapts to the foot that’s placed in the shoe. On top of this, there’s a foam insole that’s removable that adds an extra layer of padding.
In the heel, there’s a segmented crash pad that helps to absorb the shock of impact as you walk. The separate segments allow it to flex with the foot as you move, providing support in the areas that need it more. There are also flex grooves in the midsole to increase stability.
To support the arch, you’ll find two stability arch pods in a support saddle, which you can see underneath the sole of the shoe. These give good structure to the shoe from both the medial and lateral sides.
To keep your knees safe and protected in wet or slippery conditions, a blown rubber outsole offers traction on a variety of surfaces. The wide platform of the shoe also increases the stability of these shoes.
- BioMoGo DNA midsole
- Dual Arch Pods
- Wide platform
- Heel Segmented Crash Pad
- These shoes may not be suitable for people who overpronate
Top Support Shoe
2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
For those who have knee problems and overpronate, this is a stability shoe that could help ease the pain and discomfort in your knees.
If you like the sound of our best overall shoe but can’t use it because you’re an overpronator, the Adrenaline GTS incorporates much of the same technology, just with some added extras for structure.
The engineered mesh upper allows air to circulate effectively. It’s enhanced by 3D Fit Print technology, which is a screen-printed midfoot saddle that hugs your foot to keep it sturdy and secure. A lace-up closure provides a locked-in feel that you can adjust to suit your level of comfort.
Like the Dyad, this shoe features the dual BioMoGo and DNA foam cushioning, which deliver a responsive and shock-absorbing ride, as well as a light molded foam insole. You’ll also get the benefit of the heel crash pad and blown rubber forefoot for better grip.
Extra stability features include the GuideRails Holistic Support System, which are supportive structural pieces along the medial and lateral sides of the shoe to prevent unnecessary movement.
Some wearers may find that the toe box is a bit small and their toes tend to rub against it, causing chafing.
- 3D Fit Print saddle
- BioMoGo DNA and DNA Loft midsole
- Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
- Segmented Crash Pad
- Some may find that the upper tends to rub against the toes
3. Nike React Miler 2
The Nike React Miler 2 delivers some innovative technology that will benefit your knees.
These shoes are made to provide support and comfort on long runs, so if you’re using them for walking or even just standing for long periods of time, you should find that they offer the right kind of support.
This shoe has a uniquely-shaped heel, designed to reduce shock when your foot hits the ground. It also has a wider forefoot for comfort and a natural toe position.
In the midfoot, you’ll find a reinforced cage to secure the foot during movement and prevent side-to-side movement. Nike React foam in the midsole delivers a great energy return so your legs won’t fatigue as quickly.
The React Miler 2 is also an excellent shoe for all weather conditions. The upper is breathable but also features a DWR (durable, water-repellent) covering. You should be able to wear them in wet weather without your feet getting wet.
Underfoot, your grip on the road should be strong in any weather thanks to the Storm-Tread outsole, which has been inspired by winter tires.
It has grooves and multiple patterned sections to help stay in contact with the road and keep you stable on your feet. It also has specific areas of high-abrasion rubber to make the shoes more durable.
Some users may find the shoe to be slightly heavier than others, but this shouldn’t be a concern if you’re only going to be walking in them and not running.
- Wider forefoot
- Midfoot cage
- React Foam midsole
- Storm-Tread outsole
- Some may find the shoe to be a bit heavy
Top for Wide Feet
4. Saucony Echelon Walker 3
It’s hard enough to find shoes for bad knees, never mind if you have wide feet too! The Saucony Echelon Walker 3 is a shoe designed for walking, and it fits wide feet comfortably.
Unlike many Saucony running shoes, this one has a leather upper which adds some firmness to it, creating a stable and secure shell for your foot. Inside the shoe, a PWRRUN midsole offers responsive cushioning while remaining lightweight.
The padded collar and tongue and flat shoelaces allow you to lace this shoe up tightly to stabilize it around your foot.
No matter what surface you’re walking on, the Walk-Trac non-slip outsole allows you to walk with confidence as it offers excellent traction. You won’t need to worry about slipping and possibly tweaking a knee.
Some people may find that the heel cup isn’t as deep as other shoes, which could lead to heel slippage. Although this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only walking and not running.
- PWRRUN midsole
- Full-grain leather upper
- Walk-Trac slip-resistant outsole
- Foundation Platform sockliner
- Some may find that the heel cup isn’t deep enough which can lead to heel slippage
Best for Flat Feet
5. Saucony Hurricane 23
If you have flat feet (or low arches), the best thing for your feet would be to wear a stability shoe that’s designed for overpronation.
Enter the Saucony Hurricane 23.
This shoe features a medial Guidance Frame under the midfoot to compensate for the low arches, so that you can keep a natural gait.
In the midsole, you’ll find PWRRUN+ technology, which contributes to the cushioning being light but responsive. It’s said to be up to 25 percent lighter than any other of Saucony’s midsole foams.
The FORMFIT mesh upper is designed to fit like a sock, and a seamless construction reduces the chances of hotspots. Synthetic overlays help to wrap the midfoot securely and improve the structural integrity of the shoe.
The outsole is made of tri-flex rubber that’s both flexible and durable, keeping you stable on your feet without restricting your movement. Some individuals may find the toe box to be slightly narrow.
- FORMFIT mesh upper
- PWRRUN+ midsole
- Medial TPU Guidance Frame
- Tri-Flex Crystal Rubber
- Some people may find the toe box of the shoe to be a bit narrow
Top Lightweight Shoe
6. Brooks Ghost 14
If you’re wearing heavy shoes, it can have an impact on your knees.
The Brooks Ghost 14 is a lightweight shoe that doesn’t place any extra pressure on your knees due to its weight. The men’s shoe weighs 10 ounces (per single shoe, size 10 D), and the women’s weighs just 9 ounces (size 8 B).
Although they’re light and comfortable, they contain the same high-quality Brooks technology as their other shoes.
A mesh upper adds structure, stretchability, and breathability to the shoe, and is enhanced with 3D Fit Print technology which holds the midfoot securely in its position.
You’ll find a traditional lacing system for getting a secure and custom fit around your foot. Inside, a removable foam insole is the first point of contact for your foot and is light and comfortable underfoot.
The midsole is Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA, a combination of durable, moldable, environmentally-friendly foam and Brooks DNA, which is responsive and has a plush feeling underneath your foot.
Flex grooves in the sole promote a natural flex of the foot without restricting movement. The blown rubber in the front of the outsole provides good traction.
These shoes tend to run narrow so you may need to order a wider size.
- BioMoGo DNA midsole
- 3D Fit Print
- Flex grooves
- Plush tongue and collar
- Some people may find that the shoe has a narrow fit so you may need to order a wide
Best Full Support Shoe
7. Brooks Addiction Walker 2
If you need support for overpronation, these are some of the best shoes you can buy.
They’re designed with walking in mind, and they also feature the classic Brooks BioMoGo midsole cushioning which is an excellent combination of durable, adaptable, and comfortable.
An extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB) has a medial post created from dual-density foam for firm support. This will help to protect the feet from overpronating.
Keeping the feet at the right angle will also have a significant effect on the knees, as they won’t need to twist to compensate for the incorrect foot placement. The leather upper also provides a semi-rigid support shell.
The MC Pod technology features flex grooves that run across the shoe from the medial to the lateral side, These help to increase forward propulsion and reduce side-to-side movement.
People who have used the original Addiction Walker may not like the feel of this shoe, as they’ve changed the shoe quite a lot.
- MC Pod Configuration
- BioMoGo DNA midsole
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB)
- Full-grain leather upper
- The shoes have changed quite a lot from the Addiction Walker 1 so some individuals may not like the new version
Top Shoe for Heel Stability
8. Propet Stability Walker
In some cases, a lack of stability in the heel of a shoe can cause heel slippage, which means the foot is not secure in the shoe and can be more susceptible to injury.
The Propet Stability Walker is an excellent shoe for heel stability. It features two heel counters—one external and one internal—to keep the foot locked in place. There’s also a removable footbed, which offers some padding but can be taken out if your heel doesn’t fall in the right place.
An EVA midsole is both cushioned and supportive, with impressive arch support and impact absorption which saves the feet and knees from pain. The polyurethane insole has a gel heel pad for some extra padding where you need it most.
A speed-lacing system makes tightening your shoes quicker and easier while still allowing for a custom fit. The durable outsole is made of rubber for effective traction on multiple surfaces.
The seams inside the toe box may cause chafing for some people.
- EVA midsole
- Speed lacing system
- Two heel stabilizers
- Removable PU footbed
- Some people may find that the seams on the inside of the toe box may cause chafing
9. New Balance 928v3
We spend a lot of time every day walking, even if it is just around the house. The shoes we wear need to be comfortable, and the New Balance 928v3 is the most comfortable we’ve found.
The leather upper adds support and is perforated to allow airflow through the inside of the shoe. Around the ankle there’s a section of mesh, to bring in air and circulate it around the foot. This leather and mesh combination offers the best of both stability and breathability.
New Balance’s ABZORB technology is present in the midsole, which adds tons of comfortable cushion. The foam used is CMEVA, which strikes a good balance between being firm enough to support you on each step, but soft enough to offer comfort underfoot. A padded foam tongue and ankle collar make this shoe padded everywhere it needs to be.
The ROLLBAR technology posting system is situated in the heel. It’s a molded TPU unit running from the medial to the lateral side of the heel to lock the heel firmly in place. Preventing unnecessary movement in the heel also helps the knee to stay more stable, reducing pain.
The outsole consists of Ndurance rubber, which is textured and features a technology called Walking Strike Path.
This can be seen under the shoe as a line going up the foot from the heel to the toe. It’s slightly off-center, which helps to guide the foot through the natural gait movement and promote effective heel-to-toe transitions.
- ABZORB cushioned midsole
- ROLLBAR technology posting system
- Walking Strike Path technology
- Foam-padded collar and tongue
- The tongue seems to be shorter and it doesn’t go to the top eyelet
Best Hiking Shoe
10. Salomon X ULTRA 4 GTX
If you walk a lot on trails, up mountains, or on rough terrain, then a Salomon shoe would be a good choice for you. Salomons are made for rugged use, and the Salomon X ULTRA 4 GTX is what we would choose.
Similar to a vehicle, this shoe features an Advanced Chassis to support your feet, and in turn, the rest of your legs, on difficult terrain. It’s located between the outsole and the midsole, it’s designed for motion control and to prevent the outer ankle from turning over on rough surfaces.
An EnergyCell EVA foam midsole provides bounce-back and minimizes shock even on rocks and uneven ground. To prevent slipping, Contagrip traction technology keeps you light on your feet and sure-footed on all surfaces. The sole has thick, aggressive lugs made from highly durable rubber.
Form-fitting SensiFit hugs the midsole for extra structure and support, while the Quicklace system is convenient and allows for a custom closure.
On top of that, Gore-Tex waterproof technology ensures that your feet won’t get wet on the trails.
- ADV-C Chassis
- Gore-Tex waterproof finish
- EnergyCell foam midsole
- Contagrip technology
- Some may feel that the shoe’s cushioning is too firm
What to look for in walking or running shoes for bad knees?
When you’re looking for shoes that will support your knees when you walk, you should look for the following:
The shoe should have sufficient cushioning that absorbs impact when you take a step. It should be firm enough to be supportive, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re sinking into the midsole. But it should also offer some comfort and softness underfoot so you don’t feel like you have no padding.
The midsole should also have good energy return and your feet and legs shouldn’t feel fatigued after walking in these shoes.
Heel support is important. You want to prevent your heel from moving too much within the shoe, as this can throw your ankle out of alignment, which has an effect on the knees. A deep heel cup or heel counter that’s comfortable and stable is key.
A non-slip outsole is also recommended so that you can walk safely and confidently on all surfaces. This reduces pressure on the knee and you don’t have to worry about slipping and potentially jarring your knees.
The shoe you choose should be made from durable materials and if you want the most comfort you may want to consider buying a size up from your usual.
Does running or other high-intensity sports cause pain in the knee?
If you run or do sports with proper form, it’s unlikely to cause pain in the knee. If your form is incorrect, whether you’re running or doing other exercises, then you are opening yourself up to injuring your knee.
The only other time you may cause a knee injury when you’re using proper form is if you increase your intensity or the duration of your workout drastically without allowing your body time to adjust.
What helps a bad knee?
If you have bad knees, you can try the following to help relieve the pain. If you can, rest your knee by taking some time off from physical exertion.
If you’re unable to do so or don’t want to stop exercising, you may have to reduce the intensity or duration of your workouts for a while until your knees are feeling better. Try to warm up for longer before your workouts.
Another way to help a bad knee is to correct your form. This could be running form or walking form. Also, avoiding tricky or slippery terrain is a good idea.
Changing your footwear could help. A stability shoe will keep the foot properly aligned and reduce the impact of footstrikes on the knee. This will be effective both for sporting activities and for everyday walking.
Take care of your knees after running or walking too. Stretching and gentle massaging can help, as can using a cold or warming gel. Compression gear can promote blood circulation to help the knee heal faster.
Strengthen the muscles around your knees by doing exercises like leg extensions, hamstring curls, straight leg raises, wall squats, side leg raises, step-ups and calf raises.