The Best Running Shoes for Heavy Runners in 2018
Unlike other sports, there’s no perfect type of body for running. Runners come in all shapes and sizes.
Still, runners need to take a lot of individual traits into consideration when buying shoes. Foot size and shape make a difference, but so can your weight.
Running can place as much as three times your body weight of shock on your joints. Runners who weigh more see the number go up accordingly. Needless to say, support, stability, and cushioning are essential parts of a running shoe.
Without these elements, you may find yourself with sore knees, shin splints, and general injuries at a greater rate than other runners.
Whatever your race or pace, there’s a shoe out there designed to carry you across the finish line. We’ve put together a list of our favorite running shoes, including neutral, stability, and motion control, for heavy runners.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best for Extra Support
Brooks Addiction 13
Top for Orthotic Wearers
Saucony Echelon 6
Top Asics for Runners with Flat Feet
Asics Foundation 13
Asics Gel Foundation 13 is a motion control road shoe designed for use as a regular trainer.
As with many of Asics’ other shoes, it includes all the gel you could want as well as SpEVA in the mid-sole. The benefit of gel over foam is not only in the amount of cushion but the ride. Placing the gel on the forefoot and the heel absorbs the shock of every strike and adds a plush platform to run on.
The Foundation 13 is a good shoe for heavy runners in part because of the gel, but also the added midsole components that provide an extra layer of support including the DuoMax Support System.
One of the most common issues with heavy cushion is a lack of circulation and the shoe’s tendency to retain moisture. A ComfortDry Sockliner was added to the Foundation 13 to prevent both moisture build-up and bacteria.
Because this is a motion control shoe, it’s best for runners with low to flat arches. Runners with higher arches will likely find this shoe too stiff. A better option is the Asics Fortitude, which we’ll cover below.
- Plenty of cushion
- Guides foot to help runners with severe overpronation
- Broad mid- and forefoot for large feet or orthotics
- Possible to go sockless
- Toe box may be too shallow for large feet or toes
- Stiff and heavy shoe
- May run big
Best Brooks Running Shoe for Extra Support
Brooks Addiction 13
The Addiction 13 is one of Brooks’ motion control road shoes for everyday training.
Brooks included its BioMoGo DNA midsole in the shoe, which provides an extra layer of fluid gel cushion for those who like a lot of support. Although the shoe has plenty of cushion, it also features great stability and support.
While the shoe is suitable for heavy runners, it was designed specifically for overpronators. The addition of the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar to the midsole provides stability. The rollbar is supported by the outsole’s flex grooves, which keep an otherwise well-cushioned shoe flexible.
The outsole also includes a slightly new form of MC Pod Configuration, the rubber pods used to absorb shock during your run.
Brooks also includes a mesh designed to promote comfort without sacrificing ventilation. Although a mesh can only go so far, Brooks also added a moisture-wicking interior lining to wick sweat and water from the shoe.
- Comfortable right away; little to no break-in period
- Fluid gel provided by BioMoGo DNA midsole
- Highly stable shoe
- Best for severe overpronation
- Toe box smaller than other shoes
- On the heavy side of motion control shoes
Most Cushioned Running Shoe for Heavy Runners
Hoka One One Gaviota
The Gaviota is easily identified as a Hoka shoe. It’s has tons of cushioning, a thick sole, and extra support.
The Gaviota is a stability shoe rather than a motion control shoe like many others on the list. It provides a combination of stability and cushion for a comfortable ride even in long runs.
There are three primary features contributing to the ride. The first is the thick layer of foam included in the shoe for comfort and shock absorption. Foam also contributes to the shoe’s stability – a feature Hoka remains relatively famous for.
The second is the rocker platform that made Hoka famous. The rocker allows for a smoother toe off during the running gait cycle.
Finally, Hoka added its Arch-Lock Wings to the midfoot section. Ideal for those needing extra arch support, the wings connect to the shoelaces, allowing you to choose the exact amount of support required for your individual gait.
- Significantly lighter than motion control shoes
- Large toe box to accommodation big feet
- Plenty of underfoot foam for comfort
- Good looking shoe with good color selection
- Foam decreases responsiveness
- Midfoot may feel tight for some
- Costs more than most shoes (~$150)
Best Brooks for Orthotic Wearers
Brooks Dyad 9
The Brooks Dyad 9 is a neutral everyday road shoe designed specifically for comfort. The shoe has enough volume in the upper to fit an orthotic well but works fine for runners without custom inserts.
Heavy runners may like the Dyad 9 because it has great cushioning. The shoe includes Brooks’ DNA Midsole cushions, which are found throughout Brooks’ products. However, the Dyad also includes dual stability arch pods for additional arch support.
The Dyad 9 also features a straight last – meaning the sole is fairly straight from the toe box to the heel. This allows more ground contact and a more supportive shoe.
All the added cushion and support is enough to remain comfortable for heavy runners. Although other Brooks shoes may feel flat or fail to provide arch support, the Dyad 9 provides both while still leaving room for custom orthotics.
- Added cushion makes shoe comfortable for runners of all sizes
- Arch support differentiates it from other shoes
- Cushioned but still easy to add orthotics
- Far from lightweight, added cushion weighs the shoes down
- May have more wear and tear on outsoles
Top Saucony Shoe for Orthotics
Saucony Echelon 6
Saucony’s Echelon 6 is a neutral road shoe for daily use. It’s very similar to the Brooks Dyad but features a wider toe box and a generally wider fit.
This is a long-lasting, sturdy shoe that doesn’t sacrifice cushion or durability for design.
Although it is a neutral shoe, there’s a good amount of cushion provided by the SSL EVA, POWERGRID, and SRC Impact Zone components found in the midsole. The added layers also contribute to the shoe’s durability, allowing it to remain springy and absorbent over time.
Saucony’s Echelon 6 is a good choice for heavy runners for two reasons. First, the Foundation Platform is decidedly straight, allowing wider feet to find their own path rather than forcing them into a specific shape.
Additionally, the shape is also larger than other shoes, which works well for large feet especially those who use orthotics or other inserts.
- Ideal for wide feet and inserting orthotics
- Comfortable and shock absorbent
- Support provided around the midfoot
- Not good for narrow feet
- Lack of support and stability technology leaves it decidedly neutral
- Only one color option
Best Motion Control Saucony for Overpronators
Saucony Redeemer ISO 2
The Redeemer ISO 2 is another stability shoe for those who overpronate.
One of the greatest selling points of the Redeemer ISO 2 over other stability shoes is that it provides a supportive, guided ride without damaging the flexibility of the shoe. In fact, it does this so well that you might find it beats out the Asics Gel Kayano in providing responsive ride.
In addition to guidance, you’ll also find the midsole provides arch support as well as 20% more cushion than many other midsoles.
The feature that heavy runners often appreciate most isn’t in the cushion but rather the upper. Saucony designed an upper that protects and secures without restricting the foot.
- Fits like a comfortable sock
- Supportive ride for overpronators without hurting flexibility
- Generally comfortable, especially with the free movement of the upper
- ‘Natural’ foot shape may not suit all runners
- Some runners experience heel slippage
Top Neutral Support Asics Running Shoe
Asics Fortitude 8
The Asics Fortitude 8 is a neutral road shoe with plenty of cushion. It’s very similar to the Foundation but doesn’t have the extreme stability found in that model.
When we say cushion, the Fortitude is what you’d imagine walking on a cloud is like. That being said, it’s a good running shoe with decent flexibility.
The gel in the Fortitude is supported by several other features of the shoe. The AHA DuraSponge outsole and Trusstic Guidance Line System keep your foot stable while absorbing some of the shock from running. It allows the cushion to focus on supporting your feet rather than taking the brunt of the hit with each stride.
Finally, the shoe includes the ComfortDry Sockliner. The sockliner combined with the mesh keeps the shoe cool even during long, hot runs.
- Great to wear with orthotics or inserts
- Excellent cushioning system for extra comfort
- Responsive despite all the cushioning
- Heavy for a neutral shoe
- Sturdy, not for speed work
Top New Balance Heavy Support Running Shoe
New Balance 1540v2
New Balance created the 1540 to be a motion control shoe for road running. Like other motion control shoes, it stabilizes your feet and legs to prevent severe overpronation. But there are other things to appreciate about the shoe even if you don’t need the corrective measures.
The ABZORB cushion in the midsole is soft, and it’s supported by other types of foam including ACTEVA LITE and ENCAP to protect your joints and soften the landing. We like it because all this foam is added without adding an incredible amount of weight. However, it is a heavy shoe.
Still, it’s a comfortable shoe with plenty of durability and the added benefit of a wide toe box well suited for those with wide feet.
- Supports people with flat feet or who overpronate
- Plenty of cushion
- Durable outsole supports cushion
- Better than average ventilation
- More expensive than other shoes in the category
- Much heavier than neutral/supportive shoes
Top Mizuno Shoe for Heavy Runners
Mizuno Wave Horizon
If you have trouble with pain when you land, consider trying out the Mizuno Wave Horizon.
Mizuno added in several types of stability mechanics to help every step feel as light as the last. For example, the platform’s forefoot section remains flexible, allowing you to run as you would naturally rather than repositioning your feet like certain types of running shoes.
It remains flexible despite being fairly stiff from the extra foam cushioning put into the shoe. This is thanks for the Mizuno wave plate that adds responsiveness and road feel to the shoe.
The stabilizing technologies include a full-length foam platform serving as the primary cushion. Mizuno also added the Cloudwave, which corrects pronation. Finally, the midsole is made of a U4ic flexible foam for a long-lasting, comfortable experience.
The final bonus is the OrthoLite sockliner, which is often found in Asics shoes. The liner adds a touch more cushion and works together with the mesh upper to keep your feet dry.
- Flexible foam for a natural stride
- Plenty of cushion for comfort
- Lightweight for a stability shoe
- Solid and durable
- Base of shoelaces is tight for large feet
- Cushion may compress after a long run
- Can be too stiff for some runners
Most Cushioned Saucony Support Shoe
Saucony Omni 16
The Saucony Omni 16 is for heavy runners who want stability but don’t want to be hit with a speed limit.
The construction of the show is worth discussing because it’s unique for a stability shoe. Although the shoe includes both cushion and other measures for support, the shoe almost encourages you to run faster.
Saucony achieves the unique ride with the EVERUN foam. It’s a foam that is bouncy and provides a nice energy return for every stride. EVERUN is also more durable than standard foam. So you can expect the shoe to feel better for longer.
You’ll find the biggest difference between the Omni 16 and other shoes is in the drop. While most manufacturers create stability shoes with a high drop, Saucony added only an 8mm drop. This helps provide a more natural running gait.
- Rare combination of speed and stability in one shoe
- Plush but still adaptive
- Spring helps get heavy trainers off the ground
What should I look for in running shoes if I’m a heavy runner?
Minor issues like mild overpronation or high arches – which are less of a problem for small and petite runners – become a more pressing concern for heavy runners. Flat arches become flatter and high arches need more protection. It’s for this reason that you need to make sure your running shoes have enough support and cushioning.
If you have flat or low arches, be sure to find running shoes with enough support to prevent overpronation. It may be necessary to try a motion control shoe – a running shoe with the highest amount of stability – to provide enough support.
Runners with medium to high arches need to look for a shoe with support, but also a running shoe that has plenty of cushioning to protect your feet. Hoka One One shoes are a good running shoe to consider for runners who need extra cushioning.
If you are not sure whether you overpronate, supinate, have low or high arches, check out our article on choosing running shoes.
Can heavy runners wear minimalist shoes?
Yes, but we’re going to put a large asterisk next to that.
Any runner, regardless of body type, should have good running form to run in minimalist shoes.
- taking short, quick strides
- leaning slightly forward
- landing on the ball of your foot (as opposed to landing on your heel)
Most runners don’t run in this manner naturally. It takes practice and thoughtful running to master running this way. If a runner has sloppy form, there is a very likely chance of running in discomfort or getting injured.
For heavier runners who land with more force and impact, running in a minimal shoe with bad form intensifies the likelihood of injury. You don’t have the crutch of a cushioned, structured shoe to protect your feet when you run.
That being said, if you have great form, then you should be able to run in minimalist running shoes. Just watch out for aching joints or acute pain – symptoms you may be nearing injury.
What if I also have high arches? What type of shoe should I look for?
Heavy runners with high arches need a well-cushioned running shoe with enough support to keep your feet aligned as you run.
When you have high arches, your feet don’t flex in a manner that allows them to absorb the pounding they take while running. A foot with medium arches flexes, almost like a spring, to help protect your feet as your run. A high arch is too rigid to flex in this same manner.
Because your feet aren’t able to absorb this pounding, you need the cushioning in a running shoe to do it for you.
At the same time, you want a shoe with enough support to keep you foot secure with each foot strike. You want the shoe to keep your foot centered to allow the cushioning to protect your feet.
If I have low arches, what type of running shoes should I look for?
Runners with low to flat arches typically overpronate. This means your feet severely roll inwards from heel to toe as you run. This can create excessive pressure on knees, ankles, and hips leading to discomfort and sometimes injury.
For heavy runners, this overpronation is more pronounced. There is more downward force exerted on low arches, causing more a inward roll as you run.
It’s important to find a shoe that has enough support, stability, and cushioning. The support and stability will help reduce the amount your foot overpronates (and it’s not a bad thing if it overpronates mildly). And the extra cushioning will help protect your feet from the forceful impact as you run.
What are some running tips for heavy runners?
As a heavier runner, it’s important to follow a few tips to ensure you get the most from your runs and help you avoid injury.
Run with good form
Being an efficient runner will help you run farther, longer, and more comfortably. This will help you get in better shape and lose more weight, if that’s your goal.
The best way to become more efficient is to work on your running form. Make sure you take short, quick strides. Land on the ball of your foot and with your feet under you – not out in front. Also, practice a slight lean forward as you run. And keep your arms at your side, moving them straight back and forth in sync with your legs.
Don’t be afraid to walk
If you are new to running, don’t be afraid to take walking breaks. Even better, try a run/walk program where you alternate running with walking breaks (for example, run for one minute, walk for one minute – repeat).
Walking breaks give your body a chance to recover. You’ll be able to run longer in a way that’s less aerobically stressful. This keeps the run from being too hard, which can lead to a frustrating experience, burnout, and ultimately giving up!
Build up your mileage slowly
Many new runners get injured early on after starting to run. Then, they never seem to find their way back to running once healed. The problem is most runners begin by running too much, too soon.
A common scenario is – after a few weeks of running – when you are just starting to get in the groove – you feel so good, you start running farther. And farther. And farther. Every day you run a longer distance and at a faster pace. Then, you get hurt and have to stop completely. Once you stop, it’s just hard to get back into it.
To prevent this from happening, you should slowly build up your mileage. A good rule of thumb is to add 10% more miles per week. Also, use one week per month as a recovery week to let your body heal and get stronger.
Chafing is a common running problem. It’s a bigger issue with heavy runners carrying more weight. The solution is to use BodyGlide before you run to lube up those problem areas and prevent chafing.
Replace your running shoes
Heavier runners put more stress and impact on their running shoes than other runners. This means the shoes wear out faster, losing their cushioning and support. It’s important to replace your shoes frequently (start checking them when they have around 200 miles on them) and replace them before all the cushioning and support is lost.
How long do running shoes last for heavy runners?
The standard guidelines about replacing running shoes are that they should be retired somewhere between 350-500 miles. This depends on the type of runner, the way they run, and the shoes they are running in. Lighter shoes typically wear out faster than sturdier, more cushioned shoes.
For heavy runners, there is more force and impact put on a pair of shoes. Combine this with an increased chance of injury when running in shoes that have exceeded their lifespan and it’s important for heavy runners to replace their shoes more frequently than lighter runners and to do so as soon as necessary.
Heavy runners should be monitoring their shoes for wear and loss of cushioning when they’ve reached 175-200 miles. The shoes might last longer than that – but that’s a good time to start checking.
How do you know if they should be replaced? Look at the wear on the sole. Excessive wear (the tread is low or wearing through) combined with cushioning that feels hard and dense, not springy and soft, should be replaced. (**If you wear stability shoes, check the cushioning on the outside of the shoe. The foam on the inside of the shoe is designed to always be hard and dense.**)
Choose Support and Stability
Gravity takes its toll on all runners, and when you have a higher body weight, you’ll feel the shock of the asphalt more acutely. As a result, support and stability are key for runners with a higher BMI.
Whether you’re an overpronator or a prefer a neutral shoe, there’s a shoe available to protect you when you hit the road.