Guide for heavier runners

Guide for heavier runners

Published June 01, 2017, Author John Gladwin


Two of the great things about running is that is simple and a very effective way of getting inshape. As such, it attracts people from all walks of life and in all shapes and sizes.

Everyone can enjoy running but it can be particularly challenging for people who are heavier than the norm. So, if you’re just a big person or carrying a bit of weight you may be looking to lose, you might need to take a slightly closer look at the type of shoe you’re looking to buy. Most brands make shoes that will be suitable for you so there’s no need to worry.

As you run, you exert forces through your body of between 1.5 and 3 times your body weight and this can and does lead to leg problems exasperated / exaggerated in the heavier runner, so finding a pair of shoes with good shock absorption and support is vital.

Start by looking at the upper. You will need a shoe that will support your feet; a shoe that will hold your feet in place as you put that force through your shoe. A common problem with the wrong footwear is that the upper will stretch and could tear as it just isn’t strong enough or being supported enough. Look a shoe with strong overlays; the materials brands lay over the top of the upper to give additional support. You’ll need support around the heel, around the midfoot and forefoot areas. These overlays are strategically placed and stop the upper from stretching and getting baggy.

The next thing to look at is the cushioning. Steer clear of very soft shoes. You don’t need a shoe that is going to be ‘the softest’. Soft, for a heavy runner, does not mean cushioning. You’ll destroy a soft pair of shoes in no time at all. They won’t offer the durability you’ll require and they’ll compress quickly.

Soft for a big person often means unstable. Think of that soft cushioning acting like jello. All that soft cushioning wobbling underneath you with your feet, Achilles tendon, ankle ligaments and calf muscles etc., making a ton of little adjustments to help you stabilize yourself. In short, an unstable shoe will increase your likelihood of injury. Instead, look for a firmer shoe (remember, cushioning doesn’t = softness) that can cushion your weight and offers a supportive ride through the running cycle. A firmer shoe will be more stable and more durable while offering the protection you’ll need.

Firm cushioning is good for the heavier runner and may well prove to be more cost effective!

Now you’re more aware of the pitfalls, what shoes do you go for? Well, we’ve done the groundwork for you. Here are our:

Best shoes for the heavier man

Best shoes for the heavier woman

Find the perfect shoe for you