How to Choose the Right Running Shoe for the Overweight

Melpomenem/iStock/Getty Images

If you are an overweight person with a goal of running regularly while staying comfortable and injury-free, you may be a bit nervous when searching for the right running shoe. You can relax, because the process of finding the right shoe for a heavier runner is easier than you think. The key is getting the correct help from an experienced, knowledgeable runner or salesperson at a running specialty store.

Stride into your local running specialty store, and seek the right advice from the staff. Let them know that you are concerned about your current overweight stature, and the injuries that could result from the impact of each foot strike.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Remove your shoes and allow the running store's salesperson to get a better look at your feet. Let him watch you walk so he can better gauge what your foot type is. For example, if you have high arches, this generally means you need a neutral shoe. If you have a bit of a lower arch with a moderate tendency to roll in medially or overpronate, you may need a stability shoe. If you have a flat, no-arch foot, a motion-control running shoe with major arch support for great stability is needed.

Slip on a running shoe with superior cushioning. This is where your running store salesperson needs to step up and fit the correct shoe on your foot. Whether you need a neutral, stability or motion-control shoe, every major running shoe manufacturer makes a top-of-the-line cushioned shoe that will better absorb the shock of your foot strike.

Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Run outside the store or on the store's treadmill, to see if the shoe feels natural and comfortable. It's best to do this while wearing two different models of shoes to do a comparison. Besides feeling comfortable, as an overweight runner, you need to make sure the shoe is absorbing the shock properly. Your comparison analysis then allows you to decide which pair works best for you.


The technological advancement of the materials and compounds being used to build today's running shoes now allows most of the superior cushioned shoes to be lighter than ever, and absorb the full brunt of your foot strike. As an overweight runner this is good news, because it allows for lighter-feeling, free-flowing running stride, yet still gives you the confidence that the shoe is absorbing the impact.


As an overweight runner, don't be deceived either by a salesperson or yourself into thinking you can jump right into wearing a super light weight running shoe such as a racing flat or light weight trainer. Remember, every foot strike is up to three times your body weight in impact. So if you weigh 250 pounds that equals 750 pounds per foot strike. If you run three miles with your foot hitting the ground approximately 1000 times per mile, that's a lot of impact for your body to take. Make sure you choose a superior cushioned running shoe correct for your foot type to do the job for you and keep you injury-free.