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What Are Best Shoes for Knee Pain? A Reader Question
Hi There! I love your articles and am wondering if you have ever done a piece on the best shoes for knee pain? I have a torn, or sprained MCL and am having a rough time. I am a Dansko and huge clog lover, but am finding that I can not wear them while my knee is hurting. I’ve been living in by Blundstone boots (flat seems to help) but I need a better alternative.
We’re sorry to hear that you’re experiencing knee pain due to a sprained MCL. We’re glad you reached out to us; it’s high time we included an article about the best shoes for knee pain. You mention that Dansko clogs have become burdensome for your knees. Did you know a fairly recent study shows that Dansko clogs in particular cause high loads on the knees (force put on weight-bearing joint)? Rheumatologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, Najia Shakoor, M.D., explains, “Shoes with stiff soles make us artificially stomp when we walk as opposed to the flexible movement when we go barefoot.” This may explain why your knees hurt while you’re wearing your Dansko clogs.
But which shoes will help your knee pain? Let’s find out.
Dr. Shakoor recommends a flat and flexible shoe for knee osteoarthritis (which we’ll discuss in the next paragraph), but we’re hesitant to recommend that type of shoe for anyone with torn or sprained MCL which controls the sideways motion of your knee. You need a shoe with good lateral (side) support. Did you know that cross-trainers have better lateral support than running shoes? A good pair of cross-trainers will protect your knee from side to side movements, allowing your MCL sprain to heal. Our top picks: Inov-8 All Train 215, Asics Gel Exert or Ryka Influence trainer.
So what are the best shoes for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis? The same study that showed Dansko clogs to increase the load placed on knee joints also found that a soft, flat and flexible shoe decreased load therefore reducing knee pain caused by OA. A favorite shoe among women with knee osteoarthritis is the Skechers GoWalk (read our article about the Go Walk here). The Nike RunAllDay is another option in the flat and flexible category that offers superb cushioning: reviewers with knee pain love the feel (plus it comes in hard-to-find 10.5 and 11.5 sizes). Another favorite fitness shoe among women with osteoarthritis knee pain is zero-drop footwear by Altra (read our review of Altra shoes here). The toe box is wide, the footbed provides good arch support and amazing cushioning.
Dr. Elena Katzap, a rheumatologist with Long Island Jewish Medical Center states in an article for Everyday Health, “People sometimes protect their knees at the expense of their feet. For example, barefoot technology sneakers are good for the knees but not for the feet. These sneakers place an increased load on the joints in the toes and the feet. If there’s osteoarthritis in the foot or foot pain, shoes with a wide toe box and those that take pressure off of the arch can help,” she says.
If your knee pain is due to fallen arches or excess pronation, consider Abeo footwear, a line of comfort footwear from The Walking Company is gaining loyal customers with their three customized footbed options (the posted heel is ideal for low arches and flat feet and provides the most support and stability out of the three options). We like the low profile silhouette of the Abeo Lively sneaker (last year’s model is marked down).
We asked our Facebook fans for their recommendations of best shoes for knee pain–and they sure answered! We hope you find this a helpful resource and feel free to add your two cents.
If you’re not on Facebook, we’d still love to hear from you! Add your favorite shoes for knee pain in a comment below.