The Best Running Shoes for Overweight Beginning Runners

Updated June 13, 2017

For anyone who runs, it soon becomes understood that the feet are the foundation, and the right running shoe will fill that bill. For a beginning runner, the most important thing is putting on the right running shoes for protection from the impact of each foot strike. This is especially true for an overweight beginning runner, as each foot strike when running is equal to three to four times the runner's total body weight.

The Basics

Jim Fixx states in "The Complete Book of Running", that the best part about running is that very little equipment is needed. With this cost effectiveness in mind, an overweight, beginning runner needs to pay special attention to getting the correct running shoe for their foot type. A little research will reveal that there are specific running shoes for specific foot types. It is essential to wear a running shoe that keeps the foot and leg in a mechanically correct, neutral position. Well-reviewed shoes that keep the foot from over-pronating or rolling inward include the Brooks Adrenaline; those that keep them from supinating or rolling outward include the Mizuno Wave Rider. Both of these are priced between £60.00 - £100.00 as of January 2012.


An overweight, beginning runner should pay particular attention to the cushioning in a running shoe. Many new runners make the mistake of wanting the lightest shoes possible, but the force of the runner's foot strike is great. A brand that specialises in effective cushioning, such as the Asics Gel Nimbus or the New Balance 1226, can compensate. Jim Fixx notes that a runner's foot hits the ground 800 times per mile, and uses the example of a 68 kg runner producing 272 pounds of impact per foot strike. Over a 10 mile run, that's 8000 foot strikes, and 272 tons of total impact. In choosing a superior cushioned shoe specifically designed for the runner's foot, an overweight runner is wisely protecting feet, knees, legs, hip and back from excessive impact.

Shoe Life Span & Rotation

Pete Pfitzinger's Lab Reports states in the article, "Reducing Shock to Prevent Running Injuries", that most good running shoes have a life span of 400 to 800 miles. One of the most important things a beginning, overweight runner can do is not let the shoes get too worn out. Continuing to run in shoes that have gone far beyond their life span almost always leads to injury. Now instead of the shoe absorbing the impact of 3 to 4 times the runner's body weight per foot strike, the body is taking the brunt of the shock. Pfitzinger also recommends rotating a couple of different pairs of running shoes to help alleviate any repetitive impact injuries by wearing the same running shoe for every run.

Shoe Costs

Many new runners gasp at the average cost of running shoes ranging from £60.00 to £65.00, with other shoes running upward of £90.00 a pair. With the perspective of the overall cost effectiveness of running equipment, specifically shoes, and the overall impact of each foot strike when running, the runner should not be swayed into going to the discount store to buy a lesser, cheaper shoe. The money that is saved now is the money that will be paid to the orthopaedic doctor later on down the road.

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About the Author

Karl Gruber is a runner and triathlete who is a practicing Law of Attraction Life Coach. He is also the author of a book about marathon running, a sport he also coaches and competes in. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Ohio State University.