I know, I know, big guys like us aren’t exactly the first body type people think of when they envision a runner.
They think of those wiry Olympians who weigh as much now as we did when we were toddlers.
As men with larger frames, we are used to adjusting.
We deal with clothes that are too tight.
We sleep in beds where our feet hang off the edge.
And we definitely have issues when it comes to getting the seat belt buckled on roller coasters.
We deal with a lot, so why shouldn’t we make some adjustments when it comes to our running shoes?
Ah, yes, running. You either love it or you hate it. But you know what can make you hate it real fast?
Poorly fitted shoes.
We have all been there. The squished toes, sore knees and blisters in all the wrong places. That feeling that something isn’t quite right and giving up on even trying to run because of it.
Running is a great way to get outside, stay active and get some exercise. You don’t need much equipment to get going, so running shoes are something you should prioritize.
Your feet take a beating when you run, especially as a big guy.
We need something tailored to us.
I mean, think about it, your feet are supporting your entire weight and the shoes are supporting your feet. They have a big job to do!
Us big dudes need a few additional features to have a pleasant run.
The basic things you want to look for when shopping for our type of running shoes are support, cushion, shock resistance, durability and style.
So, what is my #1 recommendation when it comes to running shoes for fat guys? Easy. The Saucony Guide is the clear winner by a country mile and you can see it on Amazon by clicking here.
I’ve been running in these shoes for about two years now and let me tell you, they are a game changer. I’ll go into more detail about this awesome pair of running shoes for big guys.
But first, if you’re desperate for a new pair of shoes and want an overview of our picks, here is the run (get it?) down:
- Best Overall: Saucony Guide
- Most Supportive: Hoka One One Rincon 2
- Best Quality: Mizuno Wave Inspire
- Best for Big Feet: Brooks Beast 20
- Most Traditional: Saucony Echelon
- Best for Style and Function: Asics Gel Nimbus 22
- Most Comfortable: New Balance 1260 V7
- Best for Trail Runners: Reebok ZigWild Tr 5.0
What to Look For in Running Shoes for Heavy Guys?
Let’s break down what big guys need in big running shoes so you know what I considered for these reviews.
The main thing to note here is that you want your arches supported to prevent over or under pronation.
Backup – what are arches and pronation?
The arch of your foot is how high or low the inner, middle part is from the ground. So, if your foot has a high arch, there’s a lot of space and if you have a low arch your foot is very flat.
Overweight runners tend to have less arch to their feet and the running shoes need to compensate for this.
Pronation describes how your feet naturally roll based on your arch. Basically, it’s whether you favor the inside or outside of your foot as you run.
When it comes to support, us bigger guys want to look for a firmer midsole. That’s the center part of the bottom of the running shoe.
A denser midsole will give your feet and legs more stability because of the stronger base. Your feet will be less likely to roll back and forth.
The more supportive the shoe, the more balanced you will feel.
It’s worth noting here that you want to stay far, far away from any shoe that’s described as “barefoot” or “free.” Those shoes have very little support and trust me, you need that support.
When it comes to cushion, more isn’t always better. You need just the right amount.
You might be tempted to grab the running shoes with the most cushion you can find, but that could actually be unstable considering our amount of body weight.
Think of it this way. If you drop a brick on a stack of pillows, it’s probably going to slide off the side (or smoosh right in the middle).
The stacked pillows are soft and protect a fall, but don’t do much when it comes to stability. You don’t want that to happen to your feet and shoes.
Furthermore, softer shoes often aren’t as durable and we need durability with all the pounding we will be doing.
Shoes with the right amount of cushion can help decrease some of that shock and stress on your body.
Think about how much you weigh.
Now double it.
Now triple it.
That number is the amount of shock that hits your joints every time you run. Running puts anywhere from 2-3 times your body weight as pressure on your knees and ankles.
The shock resistance features on your running shoes are going to protect your joints from pain now and in the future.
Your shoes need to be able to last through all that pavement pounding. Keep an eye out for thicker soles and sturdy materials.
Look for sturdy construction in the laces, tongue and side materials.
Breathability is important here too. You want a material that’s strong enough to withstand the elements, but doesn’t suffocate your feet. They need some air.
Plus, the stink factor goes waaaaay up if there’s no air flow. Yuck!
Ok, so this isn’t technically a necessity, but we still want our shoes to look cool, don’t we?
As you well know, there are a ton of weird colors and patterns on the market. I mean, WHY do runners need to attract so much attention with their attire?!
Anyway, this section of criteria may be a bit subjective but don’t worry. If the color in the photo isn’t your cup of tea, most of them have multiple color options.
So, whether you love bright, neon orange or prefer a muted grey, you’ll find what you like when it comes to style.
Best Running Shoe For Big Guys
With the background information out of the way, let’s dive into the individual reviews starting with my favorite and our best overall!
Best Overall: Saucony Guide
- New PWRRUN cushioning provides just-right softness that's responsive enough to tackle as many miles as...
- The new medial TPU guidance frame quickly and quietly guides each foot through its natural gait cycle for...
- FORMFIT surrounds the foot with a made-for-me feel that can accommodate a wide range of foot shapes...
The name is hard to pronounce (saa·kuh·nee), but this shoe is hands down my top recommendation.
These are the running shoes I wear myself! I’ve been running in them for a while now and keep going back for more. The fit is amazing. The fabric hugs every curve of your foot. It’s a memory foam that molds with you the more you wear them.
You will feel like this shoe was custom-made for you. The sturdy midsoles feature PWRRUN cushioning technology that has just the right amount of softness but also protects your joints. The shoes are supportive and especially helpful on hard surfaces.
If you run on city streets, this shoe will keep your foot protected against the harsh concrete. They’re durable and built to last. The special material around the ankle opening stretches around your foot like a sock to keep them securely in place while you run. With a variety of colors and styles to choose from, this shoe will guide you to the perfect run.
What I Love About It: It’s got the perfect amount of cushion (at least for me) that gives me the support I need on hard city surface.
What I Wish It Had: All that comfort comes at a cost and these shoes are on the heavy side. While that’s a good thing for big, heavy and fat runners they might not be the best fit if speed is your number one goal.
Most Supportive: Hoka One One Rincon 2
The Hoka One One Rincon 2 looks pretty clunky at first glance, but this stability shoe will keep you moving fast.
The reason for the deception? The effective use of super lightweight materials.
The supportive midsole of the shoe looks like a platform shoe, but it’s even bouncier and lighter than you think. How is that possible?
The unique RMAT material. It’s a special blend of rubber and EVA foam that gives the sturdy feel and light quality.
The RMAT material makes for a smooth ride and protects your joints from the painful impacts of shocks.
The body of the shoe features mesh panels to keep your feet securely in place. The breathable material forces the hot air up and out of the inside of the shoe to keep your feet cool and dry.
One of the things I like best about Hoka shoes are the colors and style. It’s what the brand is known for! This model specifically has a cool two-tone pattern that looks like a tiger stripe.
Bright colors not your thing? You can opt for one of the more neutral patterns and still feel fly.
You can read more reviews and check the current price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: I’m a big fan of the unique design but I also love the mesh panels that add extra breathability to this supportive shoe.
What I Wish It Had: Sizing runs a little small so watch out for that.
Best Quality: Mizuno Wave Inspire
- This favorite stability trainer is a workhorse. Use for fast track workouts All the way up to a marathon...
- Smoothride support wave brings an ideal balance of cushion and lightness in every step
- Premium Sockliner for increased cushioning and comfort
This incredibly versatile shoe from Mizuno performs just as well for short track sprint workouts as it does for a marathon.
The flat lace design is a key component that keeps the shoe from shifting around while you run. This keeps your foot supported and stable.
The Smoothride support technology brings the ideal balance between cushion and lightness to keep that spring in your step.
It’s just the right amount of cushion to keep you comfortable without weighing you down. The padded sole absorbs shock to keep you moving freely.
The high abrasion rubber outer sole is durable enough to withstand rocky terrain and trails.
With comfort in mind, the Wave Inspire uses the highest quality materials.
The sock liner around the inside of the shoe increases your cushion and comfort factor. The all new mesh design is engineered to a soft and breathable fit.
The colors are more muted, but easily complement any outfit.
You can read more reviews and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: This shoe is ready for anything you could possibly throw at it and is perfect for almost any surface or distance. I also love the amount of cushion they’ve added without making the shoe too heavy.
What I Wish It Had: It’s a premium shoe so if you’re looking for a budget option, this isn’t it.
Best For Big Feet: Brooke Beast 20
- THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: The Beast ’20 is perfect for runners who want to turn up the dial on support,...
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT cushioning provides a soft, luxurious feeling underfoot without...
- ENHANCED FIT: Enjoy comfort front to back with a spacious yet secure fit thanks to an engineered-mesh...
If you’ve ever been called Big Foot, this is the running shoe for you.
Seriously, this is the Clydesdale of all running shoes. It features extra space in the toe and comes in a wide variety of widths.
Your feet will no longer be squished!
The soft cushioning sole is comfortable, yet supportive.
Brooks introduces guide rails with this model. The unique side supports give an extra focus to supporting runners’ knees. After all, that is the most injury prone area.
The design is shock-resistant so that you won’t feel the negative impacts from the pounding.
As great as this shoe is for running, it is also a fantastic walking shoe. So, if you need a supportive shoe for your neighborhood stroll, it’ll do that job too.
The colors don’t pop much, but if you want a neutral style, this black or grey shoe is for you.Check out the latest price on Amazon.
What I Love About It: Plenty of room for big feet with additional shock resistance for hard surfaces. It’s also designed so that it can function well as a walking shoe, too.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see more style options for this shoe. As it stands, you’re stuck with black and grey only. So if you’re a big guy that loves flashy footwear you might want to grab another one off this list.
Most traditional: Saucony Echelon
- More feel-good cushioning: New PWRRUN cushioning provides just-right softness and a springy, more...
- Stable as ever: The shoe’s solid foundation feels even more stable thanks to a new lightweight midfoot...
- Generous and secure fit: Those with orthotics, or flat and voluminous feet find comfort in the spacious...
The second model from Saucony on our list makes the cut because it’s tried and true.
You might call it “old school,” but I call it reliable. It may not be the flashiest option out there, but it’s stable and reliable for a reason.
The sole is lightweight and flexible while still supporting your feet at the level you need.
The FORMFIT technology mesh caresses your foot in a way that’s secure but still comfortable. You’ll feel well supported from the toe box all the way to your heel.
The springy midsole is great, but the best part are the TRI-FLEX crystal rubber outsoles.
What does crystal have to do with a shoe? Glad you asked.
It helps to spread the landing impact force over a larger surface area. As fat runners, this is especially helpful for us because it takes the shock pressure off our joints.
Another plus about this shoe is that you can easily swap out the insole for a personalized orthodontic one if you have it.
And if your feet are SUPER wide you’re in luck. The sizing goes all the way up to X-Wide.
The black and grey colors are classic and the metallic silver logo adds a fun twist.
Click here to see the latest price on Amazon and read more reviews.
What I Love About It: Simple style with a great sole design that balances out heavy loads.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see a few more styles available. The shoe looks great but the colors are a little lacking.
Best For Style And Function: Asics Gel Nimbus 22
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off...
- FLYTEFOAM Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a...
- EVA Sockliner - Removable sockliner that provides cushioning performance
If you’re on the hunt for a running shoe that perfectly marries style and function, meet the Asics Gel Nimbus 22.
The cool patterns and colors will grab attention, but the supportive features will solidify your loyalty.
The FlyteFoam Lyte sole has premium shock absorption. It’s the lightest weight midsole formulation that provides cushion from its organic nanofibers.
It also features unique AHAR rubber sole materials that extend the life of the shoe. That makes it one of the most durable shoes on the market.
Not only that, but it reinforces support for key parts of your body like your heel, knees and joints.
Your feet will breathe easier than ever because the entire shoe is made from one continuous piece of mesh that gives you a seamless fit and breathability.Click here to see today's price on Amazon and read more reviews.
What I Love About It: If you’ve been waiting for a shoe that has style…this is it! With more than 25 color combinations to choose from big guys can be fashionable, too!
What I Wish It Had: The sizing is a little narrow and I’d love to see it widened up a bit to help bigger guys with bigger feet.
Most Comfortable: New Balance 1260 V7
- Upper features no-sew construction for a sleek fit and feel
New Balance probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind when you think about running shoes, but don’t let that keep you from considering it. Especially since it is hands down the most comfortable shoe on our list.
The sole is amazingly supportive because of the shock-reduction technology.
A big guy needs big support and this shoe does not disappoint.
It even includes a “crash pad heel.” Yep, this shoe can take a beating and can support your weight to keep you feeling good.
Whether you have a high arch or flat feet, this shoe is engineered to mold to your unique shape. The advanced technology means you won’t feel any pinches or pokes.
These New Balance running shoes come in a variety of sizes that will fit even the widest feet. The no-sew material looks sweet and keeps your feet cool.Click here to see the latest price on Amazon and see more reviews.
What I Love About It: I’m a big fan of the crash pad on the heel which helps support the weight of big, heavy or fat runners.
What I Wish It Had: The laces aren’t the best so you should have some extras ready to go.
Best For Trail Runners: Reebok ZigWild Tr 5.0
- Comfort and performance
If you prefer to run in the wild, don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you!
If running up and down rocky hills and uneven terrain is your jam, these shoes will keep up with your rugged lifestyle. They’re light weight enough to support without holding you down. If you are constantly hitting rocks or running through brush, you need a durable material to last. The sturdy outer sections of the shoe breathe well, but won’t pull or snag on your surroundings. The moisture-wicking material reduces chafing and lets air flow. And as a plus, these are the most affordable shoes on the list!Check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: Extra-strong material so it’s durable enough for trail running.
What I Wish It Had: The design is made for durability more than anything else so it’s not great for distances running.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many calories will I burn while running?
That’s going to depend on factors like how fast you run, how long you run for and how much you weigh. You can use this calculator to input those stats and see the best estimate for you. As a starting point, a 200-pound guy who runs a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes will burn about 455 calories.
Am I too fat to run?
Absolutely not! No one is too fat to run. Now let me say it louder for the people in the back. NO ONE IS TOO FAT TO RUN! You might be slow, but hey, who cares! The tortoise got to enjoy the scenery and stop for a beer along the way, right? Getting out there and doing something is way better than doing nothing.
How should I start running if I am a newbie?
If you’re a new runner, the best thing to remember is to start slow. Don’t try to run a marathon on your very first day! Starting slowly will allow you to get used to the movement and prevent injury. Try going out around the block the first day, then go around twice the next time, and further the time after that. Increase your distance slowly and only do what feels good. Before you know it, you’ll be going longer and longer distances.
Can I use the same shoes for running as I do for other activities?
You can, but running shoes don’t last forever. Since they have a life expectancy, I recommend using your running shoes only for running. When my running shoes have reached their limit, I usually make those old running shoes my new walking shoes and then get a brand new pair for running. The running shoes likely still have some life left in them for more relaxing activities (like walking). Waste not! It’s like recycling your own closet.
How long will my running shoes last?
The standard recommendation is to replace running shoes somewhere between 350-500 miles. But as heavy runners, we need to monitor our shoes for wear and tear a little bit sooner than that. Start checking the soles and cushioning at about 175 miles. They might last longer than that, but you should give them a good check. Is anything starting to hurt or feel weird? If it is, it’s time for a new pair. One way to extend the life of your running shoes is to rotate between two pairs. Alternate running days to give the soles a break and keep your shoes looking (and feeling) fresh.
What kind of socks should I wear?
You want to wear socks that are breathable, moisture-wicking and the right thickness. This might be a weird opinion, but I wear toe socks when I run. Yes, I know they are sort of dorky, but once you try them you won’t ever go back to regular socks! My favorite are the injinji toe socks. Wearing toe socks keeps your feet dry and prevents harsh rubbing. Since your toes are not cramped together, they get more air flow. More air flow = less stinky. Halleluiah! The material between your toes also keeps them from chafing and rubbing together. I used to get terrible blisters on my toes from running. When I switched to toe socks, I never got a blister again. They might feel weird at first, but they’re awesome.
What is the proper running form?
Improper running form is to blame for most injuries. It’s important for all runners to have good form, but especially for overweight runners since we are more prone to injury. The top tips are to keep your knees facing forward (don’t let them bow into each other), strike heel to toe, keep your shoulders relaxed and back and don’t hunch.
Can I run barefoot?
For heavier runners who land with more force and impact, running in a minimalist shoe can intensify the likelihood of an injury. When you run barefoot or in a shoe that claims to be “like running barefoot,” you don’t have the dependability of a cushioned, structured running shoe. That cushion, shock resistance and stability help protect your feet when you run. Plus, what happens if you step on something sharp? Ouch! Not worth the risk of injury. So, yeah, I mean you can run barefoot or in a minimalist shoe, but I wouldn’t recommend it for guys like us.
When you’re a big guy looking for a running shoe to support your frame, concentrate on support, cushion, shock resistance, durability (and style if you care).
Spending a little extra money here is well worth it. If you don’t take care in selecting the right type of shoe, you’re going to regret it when you’re sidelined with a preventable injury.
Running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other. It takes dedication and perseverance.
But with the right shoes, you too can become a runner. No matter how heavy you are.