Finding the Right Running Shoe for Your Body Type
Life isn't always easy if you're a bigger guy. Clothing doesn't always fit. Even if it does, it's not necessarily built for someone a little bigger or heavier, so it often doesn't last. Finding the best running shoes for big men can be a tricky thing, especially if you want something that will promote good joint health, last a long time, and not cost an arm and a leg.
As I see it, the challenge larger men face when running is twofold: you need to find a pair of shoes that will protect your health by offering sufficient support and shock resistance for your size and weight, and you need to find something that will fit and not fall apart after a short period of time. The best running shoes for big guys will be an intersection of these qualities, and it's not impossible to find.
This article will look at five of my favorite running shoes for big men available today. We'll review each pair and talk about what kind of running and what sort of physique each pair is best suited towards. We'll also touch briefly on a few of the health issues a larger man in search of good running shoes might face, and how to avoid such issues.
Let's get started!
5 Best Running Shoes for Heavy Men
1. Progrid Guide 8
Neutral, but provides good support for over-pronation and arch issues.
Good support for mild to moderate over-pronation.
3. Wave Inspire 14
Lightweight with ample support even for moderate over-pronation.
4. GT-2000 6
GEL cushioning technology supports over-pronation.
5. ZigWild Tr 5.0
Lightweight with ample support for over-pronation.
What Large Men Need in a Running Shoe
Beyond pure sizing restrictions, there are other reasons why it makes sense to do your research. The best running shoes for large and heavy men will save you a lot of pain and actually make running and jogging a more pleasant experience by increasing your stride and energy level.
Pronation is something you should definitely keep in mind. It's essentially mother nature's shock absorber. It's how much your foot or ankle will roll when it hits the ground on each stride. Some people have a lot of pronation, while others hardly have any. When you're a large man, pronation is especially important because the wrong shoe can enhance the shock to your knees and joints.
A good pair of running shoes for big men will provide a proper level of cushioning and support, and if you experience pronounced under- or over-pronation, support will help stabilize your gait and keep your knees healthy. Take a look at where your current runners are wearing down.
- If it's on the outside edges, you have under-pronation.
- If it's on the inside edge, you have over-pronation
- If there is an S-shaped wear pattern from heel to toe, you have a normal level of pronation.
If you have over-pronation, you'll want a shoe with extra support and stabilization. If there's under-pronation, you'll want extra shock absorption. For all others, a neutral runner is probably best. Most of the best running shoes for bigger men will compensate for over pronation, because it's a common issue.
- Arch Support
Heavier runners can tend to have less arch to their feet. As a result, any good runners for large men will compensate for the lack of arch to prevent pain, discomfort, and joint pain.
Overall, you should probably be looking for a shoe that advertises itself as having support. I don't recommend 'barefoot' style shoes at all, as nice as they can be.
1. Saucony Progrid Guide 8
The popular and affordable Progrid Guide 8 by Saucony is an ideal running shoe for large men for a number of reasons. As the name implies, the shoe is built to "guide" your gait and provide a decent level of support in all aspects, making it ideal for anyone with over pronation or arch issues.
I'd still classify this shoe as a neutral runner, but it's got a good deal of support and it will be effective and comfortable for a wide range of people.
A great advantage of the Guide 8 is the fact that they are quite light — just over 500 grams (around 10 ounces) for the pair. They also boast Saucony's Progrid sole construction which provide a good amount of support and shock absorption without draining energy from your stride.
The shoe makes use of memory foam technology to make sure it's ideally fitted to your feet, and they feel snug, secure but yet lightweight and cool. It's definitely a great running shoe for big men in a lot of ways.
2. New Balance M1260-V7
New Balance is a company that has long understood how pronation works and that it affects a runner. They have a wonderful series of runners that I'd recommend to just about anyone.
The light and excellent New Balance M1260v7 is a bit pricier, but well worth the money you'll invest. This is a great set of running shoes for big men because it combines comfort with big support and advanced technology.
The outer shell is perforated and provides a good amount of coolness while you run. The sole is flexible and has a lot of support, cushioning and shock absorptive qualities, especially if you opt to use the ABZORB cushioned insole.
It's definitely a shoe that's meant for anyone with mild to moderate over-pronation, so if your ankle tends to roll somewhat with each stride, this may be one to consider to make running more comfortable.
In any event, it's one of the best running shoes for heavy men or anyone who experiences pain as a result of low arches or pronation.
3. Mizuno Wave Inspire 14
The attractive Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is an excellent example of the fact that a stability running shoe doesn't have to be big, heavy, or clunky.
This is a lightweight, practical, and fun shoe that's a dream to run in. It provides enough support that even those with moderate over-pronation will likely experience great results.
It has a springy quality that boosts your overall experience, providing a sense of energy to each stride you take. The 'Wave' in the name refers to the midsole, and it allows such a sleek, lightweight shoe to have pretty great support and cushioning.
The traction is wonderful, and the carbonized rubber will stand up to a lot of punishment, meaning that you won't have to replace them for a while. It's a great running shoe for big guys that will encourage you to get out there and make use of them. This is definitely one to check out.
4. ASICS GT-2000 6
This running shoe by ASICS is an extremely popular offering and it's got a lot going for it. You may already recognize ASICS, given that they're a big player in the running shoe business and they're well known for their famous GEL inserts and running shoe technology.
The long-running ASICS GT-2000 6 line is an update on the now famous 2170 system, and they've improved their technology quite a bit.
The GT-2000 sports the GEL cushioning technology too. As a result, they are light, fast, and very comfortable, as well as good for your joints.
The DuoMax support system lends to a stable feel and good control of impact and over-pronation. The sole is a great for both wet and dry conditions, providing excellent traction and springiness. The Impact Guidance System (IGS) ensures a proper heel-to-toe connection with the ground, lowering the force of each stride on your body.
There's a certain sense of "bounce" in the front section of this shoe, which is wonderful for running and gives the runner a sense of energy and a boost that's missing from other models. These shoes also feature a perforated mesh top that allows airflow to keep your feet nice and cool. It's a great running shoe for a big guy from a fantastic brand name.
5. Reebok ZigWild Tr 5.0: Stylish running shoes for large, heavy guys
You may have seen advertisement for Reebok's stylish ZigWild runners already. They're an offshoot of their popular Zigtech line of shoes. Whether you buy into the hype of this branding or not, this is a solid choice for any big man looking for the best running shoe.
They are light, fast, and provide a great amount of support for bad arches or over-pronation.
The large stylized sole is built to withstand impact and absorb shock from each heel-strike on the ground. This is great news if you're after the best running shoes for big men because it addresses the primary issue that large guys tend to face when running.
The shoe also happens to breathe really well, and it's been designed to also reduce irritations like regular chafing and excess sweat by having a comfortable lining that wicks away moisture. The stride is quite energizing and you'll enjoy the sense of spring and response these runners give you.
Branding aside, Zigtech runners are among the best running shoes for big or overweight men, and they're built to last. They're also reasonably affordable.
Best Running Shoe For Large Men: Poll
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Comments or Questions? I'd love to help
PL on June 26, 2015:
I am an over weight guy - 240 lbs. I have this m condition where I slip in water, regardless of the brand I wear. I also have Plantar Fascitis and am from India. Could anyone on the forum suggest a brand suitable to me condition which are available in India.
Greg hull on April 12, 2015:
62 years young been running biking swimming for 45 years recently biked solo Calif to FL not a big deal 6 ft 200 lbs rebok zigg best I've had. I m NOT The SMARTEST PERSON AROUND but will give my 2 cents worth . NEVER EVER run on concrete. Don't over train stretch lots before during after ,eat whole organic foods eat tumeric ginger root ,ligaments and joints will thank you ,research and utilize wholelistic foods for healing and pray unceasingly be thankful through all circumstances and be joyful always
Joe Dowgiallo from Maryland on October 24, 2014:
Good article. I'd just add that I think cushion is very important for big guys. Pronation and footstrike aren't entirely linked with just weight, so stability doesn't have to be considered for every larger runner. Neutral runners or underpronators who happen to be large would be more considered with simply cushion. The survey at the end, for example, doesn't provide something like just cushioning as a solution, which is what I'd think many heavier runners would focus on getting.
Scottcped on April 06, 2014:
One thing that you didn't address, and NOBODY writing about running shoes for us bigger guys is thse CRUSH factor. Durability of the midsole. EACH of the shoes mentioned above are EVA midsoles. EVA crushes more quickly than Polyurethane. In my professional experience of 15 years as a C.Ped. fitting runners, the vast majority of Clydesdale runners who choose shoes without PU do not get 300 miles on the shoes before crushing the cush & support out of them. Of course why would the brands want to make more druable shoes? Right?
Don Colfax from Easton, Pennsylvania on March 17, 2014:
I've always been a bigger guy - Much more of a heavy lifter than an agile speed machine. Even while in the US Army I've never been below 200 lbs. I'm sitting at 220lbs right now.
I've never been quite able to find the right shoe, its always either not enough support or just too bulky to really move with.
That being said, I've got a nice pair of the Zigs from Reebok and wow, best I've tried so far. They are edging toward the bulky side though.
I still manage 2 miles in about 15 minutes =)
Foodeee from Pennsylvania on March 13, 2014:
I have purchased the Saucony brand of shoe for years. I am heavy and have a flat foot and to top it off I have a wide foot. Saucony covers all those problems perfectly for me. Thanks for your article
Chris on November 03, 2013:
I've been using the Asics Cumulus line for a while now as a 205 lb jogger. I think these are great shoes w/ a lot of support.