Top Ten Running Shoes for Plus-Size Runners


Top Ten Running Shoes for Plus-Size Runners

By Mattie Schuler

Nothing should stop you from logging miles, especially incorrect gear. For some runners, that means finding the right shoe for their body type, even if that body type is plus-sized. Running is already a stress to the joints, as is extra weight, so cushioning in a shoe is a great place to start.

"Extra weight places additional stress on bones, tendons, and ligaments," says Rick Muhr, a Boston Marathon running coach and co-founder of The Marathon Coalition. "Choosing an appropriate shoe based on foot type, biomechanical needs, and preferred running surfaces can reduce discomfort and the possibility of an injury."

Think about what type of surface you'll be running on (paved roads or rocky trails), injury history (shoes won't fix a previous injury, but they can offer the extra stability or support needed for specific ailments like achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, or shin splints), and previous running experience.

From there, look for shoes with a firmer midsole. Most midsoles are made of EVA foam or air blown rubber. Those with a denser midsole will provide a base of greater stability for a plus-sized runner and will be less likely to prematurely compress. Having more than one pair will help too. Aim to rotate between at least two pairs of shoes to extend the life of the midsole and minimize the possibility of an injury.

"Running is a repetitive impact sport with tons, literally, of force," Muhr says. "The likelihood of incurring an injury is extremely high without proper running shoes and efficient running form."

Shoes with maximum cushion can help decrease some of that shock and stress on your body. So too will a smaller differential in heel-to-toe drop, which is how much the shoe differs in height from under the heel down to the toe. Typically, running shoes have a drop around 10-12 millimeters; anything less is moving toward the natural or barefootstyle shoe. With a lower drop shoe, runners are naturally striking on their mid-foot (rather than their heel), which will send less shock to stressed joints.

Check out this list of the top 10 shoes for heavier runners. It includes shoes with maximum cushion as well as lightweight, flexible ones that still offer top support and will keep your joints feeling good.

1. Brooks Ravenna 9

This responsive road runner shoe is ideal for runners who need extra stability and support, like those who tend to over-pronate.

With a full-length cushioned midsole (the added support between the grippy outsole and the insole or footbed), a medial post to add firmness for secure transitions from rearfoot to forefoot strike, and a stiff shank under the arch to lessen twisting or torsion of the foot and shoe, the Ravenna 9 is made for runners who need a lightweight, yet fully supportive shoe.

The sneaker has a 10-millimeter drop and a shock-absorbing crash pad in the heel.

2. Hoka One One Bondi 5

For a shoe with ultra cushion, try out the Hoka One One Bondi 5. In the Bondi 5, road runners get 33 millimeters of cushion in the midsole for the men's version and 31 millimeters of cushion for the women's with a 4-millimeter drop from heel to toe. This version of the Bondi also added a wider toe box for more comfort and stability. Wide sizes are available.

3. Saucony Omni 16

The Saucony Omni 16 road runner is a plush shoe that is ideal for runners who tend to overpronate or runners who simply need a bit more cushion and support.

The upper is made from a breathable mesh and a sturdy, yet flexible frame for added support. External heel structure helps keep your heel in place with added guidance, while the midsole and outsole have added cushion without compromising flexibility. This shoe has an 8-millimeter drop and comes in wide sizes.

4. Saucony Redeemer

Designed for runners who severely overpronate, the Saucony Redeemer is a road shoe that will help keep your feet in line throughout your entire stride with maximum support and structure. The shoe is lightweight, yet has an added flexible support frame in the upper to hug from all sides, as well as the midsole and outsole. This shoe has an 8-millimeter drop and comes in wide sizes.

5. On Cloudflyer

For serious stability while logging serious miles, opt for the Cloudflyer by On. This road runner aims to guide the foot strike to help lessen moderate overpronation. The upper has an extra layer of structural support to secure the foot in place, along with a heel cap to prevent your heel and foot from slipping forward. The midsole has responsive, lightweight cushion and the outsole uses grippy rubber to ensure top traction. This shoe has a 7-millimeter drop.

6. New Balance 1260v7

With the New Balance 1260v7, you get a road runner that helps mitigate some of that impact. The crash pad in the heel helps absorb shock in the first part of the foot strike, Contently 3 while the dual-density midsole with stability posting ads comfort, cushion, and control to keep your foot upright with neutral pronation. The shoe has an 8-millimeter drop and is available in wide sizes.

7. Asics GT 2000

Another shoe that aims to lessen over-pronation is the Asics GT-2000 6 road runner. The shoe uses a lightweight foam in the midsole that not only adds cushion without weight, but also has the ability to bounce back after each stride. This technology helps eliminate the problem of cushion getting packed down over time and thus loosing maximum support. The GT-2000 also has an added stabilizing heel counter to keep your foot locked in place, as well as gel cushioning in the rear-foot and forefoot to lessen shock from your heel strike to your toe-off. This shoe has a 10-millimeter drop and comes in a trail version.

8. Mizuno Wave Rider 21

The Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is not a crazy cushioned road running shoe, but is a supportive one that is lightweight and flexible with a 12-millimeter drop from heel to toe. The shoe uses a top midsole layer that provides bounce-back and response when striking. It also has a Mizuno Neutral Wave plate, which is an extra layer of support between the midsole and the outsole to help make transitions from heel to toe smoother and without any inward or outward rolling. Wide sizes are available in the women's version

9. Nike Flex RN 2017

Another lightweight, less plush, shoe is the Nike Flex RN 2017. The Flex offers the same stability of a more cushioned shoe, but without any added weight or bulky feeling. It features a dual-density cushion in the spongy midsole, which adds an extra layer of firmness to aid in stability, and the shoe also has a flexible, yet protective outsole. The heel-to-toe drop is 8 millimeters.

10. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 focuses on cushion, support, and lightweight flexibility to keep you moving comfortably through all parts of your stride. The main element of this road runner that adds support to your transitions and aid in over-pronation is the triple-density rollbar. For Brooks, this is in the midsole of the shoe and has an added internal post to help create neutral pronation. The Adrenaline GTS also has a removable foam insole that molds to your foot so you'll get the exact support you need, where you need it. This shoe has a 12-millimeter drop and comes in a wide size.

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