5 of the best running shoes for leg pain

Running is a very simple but effective exercise because all you need is a pair of shoes and you’re set to go. However, choosing the best running shoes for leg pain can be a bit complicated especially with you all the running shoes available. 

This doesn’t mean you can just wear any pair of shoes and run out the door for your run. Although there are no single right running shoes, wearing running shoes that are specifically designed for running will keep your feet comfortable and avoid a lot of leg and foot problems. Here are some features you should keep in mind when choosing your running shoes.

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Upper shoe design

The top of the shoe matters very much. Ensure that the shoes weigh less ad hug your feet more snugly to prevent them from rubbing on your skin which will cause blisters. The lacing system is also a factor where instead of the metal-rimmed eyelets, look for the cable or speed laces that you can stretch and adjust using a pull-cord system. 

The drop

If you have pains in your calves and ankles, the amount of cushioning is also important, but different shoes differ in their ‘drop’ or the difference between the amount of cushioning under your heel and your toes. The higher the drop means you’re wearing a running shoe with a high heel. An average shoe has a 10-12 mm drop or higher, but shoes with zero drop are similar to walking bare feet, and transitioning to them quickly will increase your risk of injury because it will stress the muscles in your legs and feet than a regular running shoe. If you suffer from Achilles problems, shoes with a higher drop will help relieve some pressure off your calf and heels and this will reduce the symptoms. If your heel tends to strike the ground first, a higher drop and more cushioning under your heel will be of great help.


Cushioning in your shoe’s midsole cradles your feet and absorbs the impact when they hit the ground and different shoe brands use different types of foam. Most shoes are designed with EVA or ethyl vinyl acetate which is easy to shape, mold, lightweight, and durable while others use TPU which is also lightweight and has a bounce-back effect but it’s more expensive. Pick shoes with cushioning that makes you feel most comfortable after running in them for a minute or two. Also, check the amount of cushioning because the more the foam the heavier the shoes and the more energy you will use to move your feet when running which will slow you down. So find a balance between enough cushioning to insulate your feet from the impact and not too heavy to add extra weight.


Shoes that help stability and motion control to prevent your feet from pronating, but some people have overpronated feet which could be a result of running injuries. If you’re a runner, wearing the wrong running shoes can cause pain, discomfort, and injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, irritated nerves, plantar fasciitis, or loss of toenails. Some shoes have been designed to correct this problem by putting denser foam or plastic posts that provide stiffness to control your motion to help your feet to move more naturally. If you’re just starting your running journey, stability shoes will provide you with more comfort because they lock your feet in a specific pattern since your strides tend to be less controlled. If you have any pain or injury to the tendons in your ankles, wearing stable shoes can help to reduce the symptoms.

Carbon fiber plates

Shoes made with carbon fiber plates can help in reducing the amount of energy you will when running which means you can run faster. The thin, curved carbon-fiber plate is embedded in the foam where it acts as a lever to propel you forward from the ground with less effort. It also gives the shoe stability and the foam is lightweight with a bounce-back effect so you lose less energy every time your feet hit the ground. This way your feet and calf muscles don’t have to work so hard with every step which translates to less soreness and you’re able to recover faster after a tough workout.

Comparison table for the best running shoes for leg pain

ProductFeaturesAmazon link
Asics women’s gel-venture 5 running shoeRugged mesh upper with bright overlays, removable foam sock liner, gel cushioning system, trail-specific outsoleAmazon 
Saucony originals men’s vintage sneakersLeather and textile upper, padded tongue and collar, ionic cushioning system, Amazon 
Hoka one – one Arahi men’s running shoesLightweight 3D puff print upper, air mesh fabric, padded tongue, metal rocker midfootAmazon 
Under armor, men’s charged assert 8 running shoesLightweight mesh upper, durable leather overlays, EVA sock liner, charged cushioning midfootAmazon 
Nike men’s low top sneakersLightweight and responsive cushioning, segmented rubber sole, circular-knit mesh upperAmazon 

Asics women’s gel-venture 5 running shoe

This is a women’s shoe that is ideal for women that suffer from sharp calf pain during your workout. Most of the uncomfortable pain you experience around your foot area is mostly brought about by having an improper running style. Wearing the best running shoes can help in easing the transition and correcting your running position which will reduce the pain in your legs. These running shoes are made with a rearfoot gel cushioning system to provide you with a great fit and comfort when you’re out running. The rubber sole allows for better sole flexibility where it easily conforms to the movement of your feet so you don’t strain your muscles too much as you move. The removable foam sock liner will help in absorbing the shock impact from each step you make which increases your comfort. It also helps you to make smooth and gradual transitions to a greater stance. The removable sock liner can also accommodate different orthotics if you feel the need to get one. 


  • Made with breathable and synthetic material
  • Has overall cushioning and arch support
  • Provides enough toe space
  • Dirt and mud doesn’t cake into your shoes


  • Don’t provide enough grip on wet surfaces
  • Shoe sizes may differ with your normal size


An excellent running shoe that is comfortable and provides enough cushioning and arch support for your feet. They’re supportive and have enough room for your toes.

Saucony originals men’s vintage sneakers

Stylish and fashionable sneakers made with 100% leather and textile material for great comfort and breathability. These sneakers are specifically designed for people with under-pronation. They offer extra and enhanced cushioning to provide your feet with extra comfort and stability as you move. The shoes are made with the ionic cushioning system that comprises of molded triangular pillars at the back of the midsole that provides extra cushioning and a comfortable landing for your heel when you’re running. Shoes with excellent arch support and proper heel cushioning helps to reduce the discomfort and pain you’ll experience around your calf and other areas on your leg. The padded collar and tongue add to your feet’s comfort and help in preventing your feet from moving a lot in all directions when you’re running. The rubber sole adds to the shoe flexibility and makes it easier to move your feet reducing the strain on your leg muscles. 


  • Has a rubber sole that provides great cushioning for shock absorption
  • Offer great support and comfort
  • Comes in very attractive colors
  • The shoes are durable


  • The design isn’t very appealing


Comfortable and supportive shoes that are designed to provide extra comfort and stability for your feet and reduce leg pains.

Hoka one – one Arahi men’s running shoes

These shoes combine cushioning and stability to help you through your run with the support that is neither too loose nor too tight. They’re incredibly cushiony and lightweight shoes designed with the J-frame technology on the outsole of the shoes which allows the density foam to be firmer by still light and flexible. It provides additional support for your arch and heel increasing your feet’ stability. The upper is made with a 3D puff print frame that is super lightweight but provides a secure and comfortable fit around your feet. The added padding to the tongue sits comfortably on your feet to prevent chafing and discomfort. The air mesh panels allow good circulation of air in the shoes. The outsole is made with a durable rubber that prevents your shoes from wearing out easily.


  • They’re lightweight and comfortable
  • Excellent shoes for plantar fasciitis and other feet problems
  • Stable shoes with plenty of response
  • Very stylish


  • They can be a bit tight out of the box


Lightweight, comfortable, and breathable shoes that you can wear all day without developing any pains at the end of the day.

Under armor, men’s charged assert 8 running shoes

Stylish athletic shoes made with a lightweight fabric that is good for your calves, unlike some running shoes that are built with heavy material that adds unnecessary weight which leads to pain. If you’re looking for running shoes that provide a balance of cushioning and flexibility, these are a great option. The lightweight mesh upper is designed with a 3 color digital print that is also breathable padding to your feet’s comfort with durable leather overlays that firmly hold your feet in place and ensure proper alignment of your shoes and this helps to reduce calf pain while promoting foot and posture placement. This helps in reducing ankle and calf pains. The charged cushioning midsole uses a compression molded foam for better durability and greater responsiveness while at the same time providing better cushioning and reduces the energy you will use when moving your feet. The solid rubber outsole increases the durability of the shoes and absorbs the shock impact leaving your feet pain free.


  • Fit great and are very comfortable
  • Have good cushioning
  • Very stable shoes
  • The groove patterns on the sole provide a solid grip


  • The front part can be a bit wide
  • Doesn’t have a well-placed arch support


Comfortable and sturdy shoes with good cushioning and a rubber sole with a solid grip. They look and feel good and you can wear them all day without any problems.

Nike men’s low top sneakers

These are comfortable running shoes with great features. The mesh fabric on the upper allows for good air circulation so your feet don’t get hot. They’re very good shoes if you have issues with overpronation. They’re made with durable Flywire technology that ensures your feet are properly supported and locked in place to avoid unnecessary movement when you’re running. This helps to prevent injuries. There is extra cushioning around your arch and heel area to avoid straining your muscles and leg while the pressure-mapped outsole that has great cushioning to your toes which helps in absorbing the shock. The soft and responsive cushioning allows your feet to move with very little effort while the segmented solid rubber sole provides enough grip and traction with better durability. The shoes come with zoom air units that help in cushioning your feet from the shock impact every time your feet hit the ground and in return, you get a more responsive energy return.


  • Lightweight and very comfortable
  • Excellent cushioning for the great support
  • Helps in preventing heel pain and high arches
  • The shock absorption works very well


  • The sole material seems to wear out fast


Super comfortable and cushiony shoes that are great for walking and running every day. The upper material is very airy so your feet don’t get hot and sweaty.


Running is a great way to keep fit and having the best running shoes for leg pain will make all difference to your feet. The Asics women’s gel-venture 5 running shoe are great running shoes with enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable and good flexibility that molds with the movement of your feet to reduce the strain on your muscles.

What running shoe you need could be determined by the level of activity you are setting out to achieve. You can look over our other guide, on the differences between running and walking & cross-trainers.

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