The Best Sneakers for Your Knees Need These Features

The Best Sneakers for Your Knees Need These Features
WWhen it comes to sneaker shopping, how new kicks feel on your feet—roomy in the toes, sturdy in the arch—and whether they give your ankles enough support are usually the top criteria people want to check off . (Aside from good looks, of course.)

What you may not know is that the structure of your shoes can also affect parts of your body that are higher up, especially joints like your knees and hips. That’s because they’re all connected, forming a kinetic chain that allows movement – something to consider when shopping for the best sneakers for your knees.

Every time you take a step, many things happen in your body that propel you forward, says Jensen Henry, MD, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “Throughout the stride, your hip muscles contract to stabilize your hip, your quads and hamstrings fire at specific times, and the muscles in your lower leg are activated in a chain of events,” explains Dr. Henry. Meanwhile, your knee mobility stabilizes your center of gravity, reduces your energy expenditure, and absorbs the shock of your heel hitting the ground.

Your knee is at the center of this kinetic chain and is affected by the health and function of the muscles and joints that live both above and below. For example, tight hips or hamstrings can affect knee stability. So can the sneakers you wear. “A simple change in footwear and foot position can completely alter gait and affect your performance and balance,” says Dr. Henry.

What the best sneakers for your knees all have in common

“I typically recommend a sneaker with a stable, supportive sole and a design that wraps the foot,” says Dr. Henry. “Ideally, this maintains ankle motion and absorbs shock when your heel hits the ground, both of which are important factors in minimizing excessive force across the knee.”

To check this, Dr. Henry conducted the following test: “If you can pick up the sneaker and roll it into a ball, it’s often too flexible for patients with foot/ankle or lower extremity problems,” she says.

Other factors to consider when buying the best sneakers for your knees

Because fit is so important, Dr. Henry proposes to look at sneakers designed specifically for male or female feet. “Some shoe brands make gender-specific shoes that account for differences in heel or forefoot widths that may be better tolerated by some people,” she says.

Additionally, finding your Cinderella sneaker is certainly a happy ending, but it won’t last forever, especially if you’re someone who loves to regularly walk with hot girls or otherwise stay active. “It’s important to routinely replace worn-out old shoes,” says Dr. Henry. “Running experts typically recommend every 300 to 500 miles, or about every six months.

Finally, before you replace your worn-out sneakers, take a moment to inspect them. “If you notice your shoes wearing unevenly, it may be time to see a professional – we can determine if there is an alignment or gait issue that can be addressed,” says Dr. Henry.

With that in mind, below are options that include all of the features that Dr. Henry says the best sneakers should be for your knees.

Hoka Clifton 8

Hoka Clifton 8 – $140.00

A perennial favorite of editors and hot girls alike, these ultra-snuggly sneakers will keep your legs feeling fresh for 10,000 strides and beyond.

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 – $200.00

The instability of unfamiliar, often changing terrain underfoot can be hard on your knees and other joints, but this trail sneaker’s shock-absorbing soles help mitigate those effects. The high-top design offers extra support for your ankles, something that also helps your knees and hips.

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