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The Best Running Shoes for Back Pain in 2022


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.

Common treatments like physical therapy, meditation, and other lifestyle changes often help alleviate back pain. 

But the type of shoes you wear can also 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 7


  • Lightweight
  • Tons of cushioning
  • Stable design


Hoka One One Clifton 8


  • Breathable upper
  • Cushioned midsole
  • Extremely lightweight


Hoka One One Arahi 5


  • Soft, plush cushioning
  • Stable and supportive
  • Visible even in low light

1. Hoka One One Bondi 7

The Hoka One One Bondi 7 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 7 is very lightweight. A breathable upper keeps your feet cool on hot days.

The Hoka One One Bondi 7 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 7 is the most cushioned shoe available today.


  • Lightweight
  • Tons of cushioning
  • Breathable
  • Stable design


  • Put your vanity aside, the shoe looks funky
  • The thick sole might make people feel unbalanced

2. New Balance 1080v12

New Balance’s 1080v12 provides 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 recommended 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

3. Hoka One One Elevon 2

The Hoka One One Elevon 2 is an ideal pick for people with back pain. The shoe provides both comfort and stability while running. Its soft, plushness cradles your foot and absorbs pounding while running.

Like Hoka’s other shoes, the Elevon has soft, marshmallow cushioning. This is most notable in the dual-layer midsole. The first layer hugs your foot while you walk. The second layer provides 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.


  • Dual layer cushioning for softness and support
  • Lightweight design


  • May fit slightly narrow

4. On Cloud Cloud

The On Running Cloud comes from 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 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

5. Altra Paradigm 6

The Altra Paradigm 6 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 protection against hard asphalt – like regular running shoes.

The upper is seamless mesh. Your feet can breathe and stay cool. A guide rail 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

6. Hoka One One Clifton 8

The Hoka One One Clifton 8 is a super lightweight shoe. It’s also fast but maintains its 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 softer than last year’s version but still durable.

The upper of the shoe is made with 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

7. Hoka One One Arahi 5

The Arahi 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 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. 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 5 has many attractive colors and a unique style. A reflective heel adds a nice safety feature for low light conditions.

The Arahi 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 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

8. Brooks Launch 8 GTS

The Brooks Launch GTS shoes replace the Ravenna. They’re just about the same as the original Launch shoes, but they contain GuideRails support to keep your feet aligned.

GTS stands for Go-To-Support, and they add extra stability, which is very helpful for relieving back pain. The GuideRails system keeps your feet in the right position and prevents back pain as a result of improper alignment.

As well as great support, the cushioning is the typically impressive Brooks cushion. A BioMoGo DNA midsole provides a firm foam cushion that’s very lightweight. It may feel too firm for some, but it offers a lot of support too, which can help with back pain.

The heel structure keeps the foot locked in and secure. An air mesh upper is fitted and provides a tight and secure fit in the midfoot, adding to the stability of the shoe. This textile and synthetic upper stretches nicely to accommodate a wider foot and allows for the toes to splay naturally, which helps with the foot alignment.


  • GuideRails support
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Increased rubber on the outsole of the forefoot
  • Textile and synthetic upper


  • Some may find that the cushioning is a bit too firm
  • Not as soft as other shoes

9. Saucony Hurricane 22

The Saucony Hurricane 22 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.

FORMFIT – made up of 3 layers in the midsole – provides a comfortable, customized fit. The upper is lightweight and breathable. This ensures your feet stay cool and dry.

The Hurricane is a nice looking shoe. Its 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



10. Altra Torin 5

The Altra Torin 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. The latest version features a thicker, plusher midsole plus a softer insole. Unlike barefoot running, your feet are protected from stress and pounding.

The upper material on the shoe is a knit mesh. This mesh is breathable and has a great look.

The Torin 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
Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner