The Best Running Shoes for Back Pain in 2018
Back pain can be uncomfortable or downright debilitating. While we recommend to always follow your doctor’s advice, sometimes simple changes can make a difference.
The type of shoes you wear can often make a difference. Meaning, changing the shoes you wear can lead to instant relief.
Running shoes and the technology built into them often help to aid back pain. These shoes have plenty of cushioning and ample support.
We’ve outlined our top pick for the best running shoes that ease back pain. Changing footwear won’t work for everyone. But we’ve seen many of these models help people suffering from back pain.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Hoka One One Bondi 5
The Hoka One One Bondi 5 is an excellent pick for anyone who suffers from back pain. It may look funky, but you’ll find this shoe is most cushioned on the market. The cushioning helps to ease back pain.
While it looks bulky, Bondi 5 is very lightweight. A breathable upper keeps your feet cool on hot days.
The Hoka One One Bondi 5 also provides a great deal of stability. The sole is very thick without too much flex. This also helps if you have arthritic toes.
To help smooth over the transition while running and walking, the shoe has a slight rocker feel on the sole. This takes some getting used to – some people feel like they are rocking backwards. But once you do, it’s easy to move around. Without this, the Bondi would feel clunky when you ran.
The outsole of the shoe is a durable rubber material. This provides traction and keeps you in place while running and walking.
In the end, the cushioning and stiff sole are what will help back pain. The Bondi 5 is the most cushioned shoe available today.
- Tons of cushioning
- Stable design
- Put your vanity aside, the shoe looks funky
- The thick sole might make people feel unbalanced
New Balance 1080v8
New Balance’s 1080v8 provide runners with comfort and cushioning. This combination is ideal for anyone suffering from back pain.
Like the Hoka Bondi’s, these are well cushioned shoes, but they are a bit more “shoe-like” than Hoka’s.
The midfoot of the shoe allows for the foot to flex while in motion. Meaning, you won’t feel any stiffness while walking and running. Even with the cushioning, it’s has a responsive ride.
The cushioning around the shoe also provides some stability. This keeps your feet and body aligned while walking. But it’s not a full-on stability shoe – so it’s recommend for people with medium to high arches, not low arches.
The seamless upper is soft and breathable. The lack of stitching helps to prevent hot spots from forming.
The high cushioning and traditional design in the 1080 will win runners over. It will minimize impact and ease back pain while running and walking.
- Cushioning with a nice look
- Stable and supportive
- Soft upper for comfort
- Expensive relative to other shoes
Hoka One One Elevon
The Hoka One One Elevon is an ideal pick for people with back pain. The shoe provides both comfort and stability while running. It’s soft, plushness cradles your foot and absorbs pounding while running.
Like Hoka’s other shoes, the Elevon has soft, marshmellow cushioning. This is most notable in the dual-layer midsole. The first layer hugs your foot while you walk. The second layer provides the soft cushioning.
The Elevon has a soft upper. There are no annoying seams to irritate your feet. This also keeps the shoe light and zippy.
With its max cushioning, the Elevon acts like a shock-absorber for your back. It’s a great choice if you want a lightweight shoe.
- Duel layer cushioning for softness and support
- Lightweight design
- May fit slightly narrow
On Cloud Cloud
The On Running Cloud comes from a Switzerland to provide a “cloud-like” ride. This company has grown in popularity due to its stylish and comfortable shoes.
The On Running Cloud uses the latest On technology. Zero-Gravity foam in the outersole makes for a super lightweight shoe. It’s so thin it allows for a natural flex.
Despite the lightweight material, the shoe is stable and soft. Thanks to CloudTec, the Cloud provides a soft landing. But as you transition forward, the CloudTec locks into place to propel you forward.
Besides the lightweight features, the shoe comes in some very vibrant designs. And a soft upper completes the comfort of this shoe.
The On Running Cloud is best for runners who want the protective cushioning to ease back pain. But also want a lightweight, stylish shoe.
- Made of a very lightweight material
- Lots of cushioning
- Stable and supportive
- Flexible material to adds propulsion
- The lightweight material may not withstand rough conditions
Altra Paradigm 4.0
The Altra Paradigm 4.0 has been re-designed to provide a soft, stable ride. The wide toe box lets your feet relax. And the Ego foam gives you a cushioned ride with energy return.
Like all Altra shoes, the Paradigm features a foot-shaped toe box and zero drop. The wide toe box lets your feet and toes splay as if you weren’t wearing shoes. And the zero drop keeps your heel and toes flat – also as if you were barefoot.
But the awesome cushioning means you get the protection against hard asphalt – like regular running shoes.
The upper is seamless mesh. Your feet can breath and stay cool. A guiderail and stabilipods built into the midsole keep you stable when overpronating.
The outsole of the shoe features a long-lasting and durable rubber compound. This material works to withstand even the toughest of conditions.
- Made of breathable material
- Added cushion for comfort
- Thick sole not visually appealing
- Not many colors or styles to choose from
Hoka One One Clifton 5
The Hoka One One Clifton 5 is a super lightweight shoe. It’s also fast, but maintains it’s plush, Hoka-style cushioning. Like the other Hoka’s we’ve reviewed, the soft cushioning helps to ease back pain.
The midsole has tons of cushioning. But unlike other cushioned running shoes that are heavy, the Clifton is lightweight. The midsole is firmer than older versions, but this makes it more durable.
The upper of the shoe is made of engineered mesh. It’s breathable, ideal for runners who want to keep their feet dry and sweat-free while running.
The shoe also features placed rubber on the outersole. The rubber used on it provides support but doesn’t cover the whole sole – one of the ways Hoka keeps this shoe light.
The breathable material, lightweight design, and cushioned sole make the Clifton ideal for runners with back pain.
- Breathable upper
- Cushioned midsole
- Extremely lightweight
- High Arch on foot may cause pressure
- May not be wide enough for some runners
Hoka One One Arahi 2
The Arahi 2 has Hoka One One’s plush cushioning, but with added stability for overpronators. The cushioning and support make this shoe ideal for runners with back pain and flat arches.
The shoe has a seamless upper that’s light and breathable. Some find the Arahi 2 a bit narrow – especially compared to other Hoka’s. But for most runners, it’s a nice, secure fit.
The soft cushioning is the highlight of the Arahi 2. The cushioning helps to provide comfort for runners who suffer from back pain. And the stability keeps your feet neutral and aligned.
The Hoka One One Arahi 2 has many attractive colors and a unique style. A reflective heel adds a nice safety feature for low light conditions.
The Arahi 2 has less of a rocker sole than other Hokas. This allows for more ground contact while walking and running. And more ground contact means a more stable ride. This, combined with the J-Rocker stability, makes the Arahi 2 plush and soft yet very supportive.
- Soft, plush cushioning
- Stable and supportive
- Visible even in low light
- The support may be too stiff for some runners
- Runs narrow compared to other Hokas
Saucony Liberty ISO
The Saucony Liberty ISO combines responsive cushioning with a sleek, supportive ride. The EVERUN foam absorbs pounding to ease pressure on your back. But it’s speedy feel means you’ll stay light and fast on your feet.
The heart of this shoe is the midsole made entirely of EVERUN foam. EVERUN does three things: it absorbs forces when you run. It then provides energy return as you toe off. Finally, it stays consistent in extreme temperatures. The foam is also virtually indestructible and will last much longer than other shoes.
Unlike its sister shoe, the Freedom ISO, the Liberty ISO has a touch of stability. This adds support for mild overpronators. It also keeps the shoe in check when running. The Freedom has a tendency to bounce all over the place. The Liberty ISO is more forgiving for runners who don’t run with perfect form.
The upper is super lightweight and breathable. ISO lacing provides for a custom and secure fit. While it still manages to stay flexible.
The Liberty ISO is not an inexpensive shoe. And its 4mm drop can be too low for some runners. But if you need a speedy shoe and have back pain, this is a great option.
- Made of a lightweight and flexible material
- EVERUN cushioning for energy return
- The upper part of the shoe allows for breathability
- There are not many colors options
Saucony Hurricane ISO 4
The Saucony Hurricane ISO 4 has loads of cushioning plus added. stability. Unlike other support shoes, the Hurricane remains soft and flexible. Combined, it’s an ideal pick for runners who experience back pain and overpronate.
Featuring full-length EVERUN foam in the sole, the Hurricane is soft and responsive. EVERUN also helps to keep the shoe flexible. And it provides a soft landing and energy return on your next stride.
ISO lacing keeps your feet locked in. But it cradles your feet without added pressure or tightness. ISO lacing also stays flexible through out your run.
The upper is lightweight and breathable. This ensures your feet stay cool and dry.
The Hurricane is a nice looking shoe. It’s cushioning combination along with stability makes it a great shoe if you have back pain.
- Made of a lightweight, flexible material
- Extra cushioning for support
- The upper part of the shoe allows for breathability
- They have stylish colors and design
- Not for neutral runners
Altra Torin Knit 3.5
The Altra Torin Knit 3.5 offers a slipper-like fit with tons of room in the toe box. This shoe accommodates the foot’s natural structure. It lets you run as if you were barefoot, but offers the cushioning of a running shoe.
It works well for runners with back pain who want cushioning plus a more natural running feel. The zero-drop design keeps your feet flat. This may ease pressure put on your back.
The Torin has a foot-shaped design. The wide toe box lets your feet splay – as if you weren’t wearing shoes. But the midfoot and heel are standard widths to keep your feet secure.
The zero-drop – which means your heel and toe are the same height – allows for a natural stride. When you are barefoot, nothing artificially props up your heel. The same is true with the Torin.
The Torin has nice cushioning and support. So unlike barefoot running, your feet are protected from stress and pounding.
The upper material that on the shoe is a knit mesh. This mesh is breathable and has a great look.
The Torin Knit 3.5 is a good option for runners with back pain. If you want cushioning, but want to run naturally, they are a great choice.
- Natural running feel
- Comfortable with the wide toe box
- Well cushioned
- Nice look with the knit
- Zero drop design can take getting used to
- Funky look/style – may not appeal to all runners