Being an overweight man presents some challenges.
Whether you have a naturally husky constitution or have simply taken dad bod to the next level, it can be difficult to find clothes that fit and get enough elbow room on planes.
And because you have more mass to move, running is just harder for big fellas.
As a person who has had a BMI over 25 since 1st grade (the clinical standard for being overweight), developing a passion for running has not been easy for me. There were many days when the struggle didn’t seem worth it.
But when I finally broke through, the results were glorious, and I couldn’t imagine a life without hitting the trail and enjoying nature a couple of times a week.
Thankfully, I had some excellent running shoes that helped make my runs feel like less of a chore as I was honing myself as a runner. I have always been a fan of the Asics Gel-Kayano series, and the Gel-Kayano 28 makes the list here, but after digging deeper and comparing dozens of sneakers, it seems like the Hoka Gaviota 3 is the most tailor-made shoe aimed at large men.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at the best running shoes for overweight men!
The Best Running Shoes for Overweight Men
- Best Overall – Hoka One One Gaviota 3
- Most Cushioned – Nike ZoomX Invincible Run
- Best Stability – Asics Gel-Kayano 28
- Best Long Distance – Hoka One One Rincon 3
- Best Value – Men’s Alphacross 3 Trail Running Shoe
5 Best Running Shoes for Overweight Men Reviewed
A detailed review of the best running shoes for overweight men.
Best Overall – Hoka One One Gaviota 3
The Hoka Gaviota 3 is so well-designed for large runners that users think it was made specifically for big guys. While every type of runner can benefit from the Gaviota 3, it certainly does seem like it was created with husky gentlemen in mind.
At the heart of its big-guy features is one of the thickest, most well-cushioned midsoles on the market. It features a base fabrication of EVA foam, supported by J-frame stabilizing technology to help keep runners on the correct path.
In addition, the Gaviota 3 has an extremely lightweight and breathable upper with synthetic seamless overlays, helping runners avoid the feeling that their big frame is further bogged down by cumbersome shoes.
- Durable rubber sole
- Open engineered mesh upper with seamless synthetic overlays
- Laces closure for a secure and comfortable fit
- The thick, techy midsole is aesthetically unappealing to some runners
- Reported to be a poor choice for sports and other activities that require a lot of direction changes when running
Most Cushioned – Nike ZoomX Invincible Run
If you thought that you couldn’t beat the midsole cushioning of the Gaviota 3, think again. The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run, while not quite as gaudy (it’s close though!) as the Gaviota 3 in terms of its midsole appearance, has supreme midsole cushioning that provides runners with an extremely responsive, springy stride.
Ideal for long runs, the midsoles are made from Nike’s proprietary Pebax-based foam, with the company claiming that the shoe will provide runners with 70% energy return with each stride.
It’s not just about the comfortable midsole with this shoe, though, as the Flyknit upper provides a lightweight, breathable upper for the big fellas.
- Stretchy, breathable upper is good for runners with wide feet
- Purported to be an excellent choice for runners battling plantar fasciitis
- Extremely bouncy and responsive ride
- Some runners report an inconsistent fit
- Like the Gaviota 3, the thick midsole appears “dorky” to some
Best Stability – Asics Gel-Kayano 28
It seems like the Asics Gel-Kayano line makes nearly every top running shoe list thanks to its diverse array of features. For the Gel-Kayano 28, we specifically like its ability to keep the foot secure during strides.
In addition to the most innovative heel clutching system on the market, Asics uses Dynamic Duomax technology in the insole to keep runners from experiencing overpronation and foot stress. It also equips the middle part of the sole with a male-specific Trusstic system to prevent additional torque on the foot.
All in all, if you are a big guy looking for a shoe that combines all of the latest stability technology in one spot, this is the shoe for you.
- Unmatched stability features
- FlyteFoam and Gel midsole makes for outstanding cushioning
- Great option as a daily trainer for heavy runners
- Not a great shoe for neutral runners
- Some runners feel like this model is too squishy and like older versions of the Gel-Kayano better
Best Long Distance – Hoka One One Rincon 3
Although some people think big guys are only good for building up a full head of steam in short bursts, there are times when big fellas want to get out and hit the road. When these occasions call, the Hoka Rincon 3 is the shoe to turn to.
The Rincon 3 gets the nod for long distances because of its super lightweight fabrication. Despite an ample midsole and 5mm heel-to-toe drop for premier comfort, the Rincon 3 checks in at an astonishingly low 7.7 ounces, allowing heavy runners to feel like they can go forever without getting bogged down.
The breathable mesh upper with seamless synthetic overlays, combined with a breathable mesh lining for abrasion-free comfort, make this shoe a dream to run in, mile after mile.
- Among the most lightweight running shoes on the market
- Highly cushioned, responsive midsole
- Durable rubber outsole to stand up to extra weight demands
- Very pricey compared to other options on this list
- Asymmetrical tongue is annoying to some runners
Best Value – Men’s Alphacross 3 Trail Running Shoe
No matter what type of runner you are, there will always be a demand for a value running shoe. After all, who doesn’t like to get a great bang for their buck?
For large men, the Salomon Alphacross 3 fits the bill.
With a durable outsole with amazing grip (Contagrip TD technology), it is one of the best running shoes on the market for big men looking to hit the cross country trail. In addition, it also provides a woven nylon upper for increased durability and a snug fit, all at a price conspicuously less than many other options for large men.
- One of the best options for running in the backcountry
- Heel clutching prevents foot slippage
- On the heavy side
- Not as good for road or track running
Buying Guide – Factors to Consider When Buying Shoes for Overweight Men
Finding the perfect shoe only happens on a case-by-case basis. However, it’s worthwhile to look at some of the most common considerations husky men weigh prior to purchasing a running shoe.
It makes sense that with more weight, more cushioning is necessary to protect the runner from injury. While we will get into the accuracy of this assumption later in the article, there is no denying that larger runners have more gravity pulling them down.
Therefore, unless you are strictly searching for a performance-specific running shoe, it is best to look at options with a high level of cushioning. Focus on TPU or EVA foam midsoles, with a minimum of a 32mm forefoot stack and 36mm heel stack. This will ensure that less stress is placed on your knee cartilage and ankle tendons, helping you avoid overuse injuries.
Big guys definitely want to look for shoes noted for their durability. While many runners don’t prefer full-spanning rubber outsoles (they can restrict flexibility), these outsoles make a strong choice for big guys since they will stand up well in the face of additional weight.
It is also a good idea to look for reinforced stitching at the transitional areas of the shoes and choose options that have lightweight synthetic overlays in the upper to promote durability without adding significantly to the weight of the shoe.
Support & Stability
Large runners need to choose shoes with the correct arch support. Due to the additional weight, inadequate support can lead to uneven weight distribution, leading to both acute and overuse injuries. Therefore, you need shoes with the correct support and stability features to best absorb shock and keep your strides moving along a healthy path.
There are few situations where having a breathable running shoe is a bad thing. However, it is important to remember that for some shoes, you may have to sacrifice durability to achieve breathability.
Since big guys need a durable product, it is critical to find shoes with engineered mesh uppers that have synthetic overlays. This will ensure durability while promoting breathability. As big guys tend to be heavy sweaters, it is important to have a shoe that can keep their feet feeling light and airy and make running less of a chore.
Design Features of the Best Running Shoes for Overweight Men
Now that you know a little bit about the purchase considerations, let’s take a look at some specific design features of the best running shoes for big guys.
In addition to finding a product with a breathable mesh upper that promotes durability, large runners also want to check the amount of room in the toe box. While being husky does not necessarily mean that you will also have a wide foot, those fellas with ample girth throughout their bodies, including the feet, will need a wider toe box to improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury.
On the same note, “booty” or boot-style sneakers may not be the best option for big guys, as the higher tops can feel restrictive for people with thicker ankles.
As mentioned, large men will typically want to look for thick midsoles that provide ample cushioning, generally at least 32mm in the forefoot and 36mm in the heel. It is best to choose products that use TPU or EVA foam in the midsole.
While many shoes with thick midsoles typically employ the rocker style design that allows runners to easily transition through strides, this may or may not be a good option for big fellas. If you are a natural heel striker, a rocker midsole can reduce effort during your transitions and provide a more comfortable running experience.
However, if you are a forefoot striker, this rocker design may not be necessary. In fact, it may cause you to start developing more of a heel strike, which could open the door to some overuse injury risk. So if you are a forefoot striker, it may be best to choose a shoe with a more traditional midfoot design.
Although many runners prefer a flexible outsole with a large amount of exposed midsole foam, heavier runners can definitely benefit from a solid rubber design. This improves traction and durability, especially when pounding the heavier weight on rocks and other jagged cross country surfaces.
FAQs – Best Running Shoes for Overweight Men
Some of the most common questions large men ask regarding running shoes.
Does Being Big Put You At Greater Risk of Injury When Running?
As a big guy, the answer to this question caught me by surprise, as I have always tried to be careful when running because I assumed I was at greater risk of injury, either from my cartilage wearing down faster or for a more serious acute injury in the event of an accident.
However, scientific research has shown that there really is no correlation between body weight and injury risk while running. In fact, it is even suggested that very large men–those with BMIs over 26–were at a reduced risk of injury compared to their smaller peers.
The reason behind this finding is not clear, with scientists positing that it may be due to large runners generally moving at a slower pace or that they are like me and tend to run with a bit more caution than smaller folks.
With that said, it is advisable to use some common sense. Simple physics tells us that larger objects will create more force when velocity is equal. So if you are a big guy, make sure that you have running shoes with ample cushioning and support to put yourself in the best position to avoid a running injury.
Are Running Shoes More Expensive for Big Guys?
As mentioned, being husky or overweight does not necessarily mean that you will also have big feet. However, if you are one of those “everything is bigger” type of guys, you don’t really have to worry about shoes being more expensive.
Unless your shoe size is especially large–typically anything above size 13–where manufacturers have to use more material or specially make your shoe, then the price should be the same compared to smaller sizes.
However, it is worth noting that the best shoes for big guys are on the pricey side compared to more “average” running shoes. Any shoes that use additional midsole foam or advanced technology to ensure a smoother ride will usually be more expensive, and these are common features of the best running shoes for overweight men.
Can lightweight running shoes provide the necessary support for overweight men?
Lightweight shoes can be suitable if they also offer sufficient cushioning and support. Look for models with responsive midsoles and adequate arch support to ensure a comfortable and supportive running experience for overweight men.
In Summary: The Best Running Shoes for Overweight Men
Overweight men have some specific needs when it comes to running shoes. Lightweight uppers, highly cushioned midsoles, and ample support are three areas–while important for most types of runners–are of utmost concern for big fellas.
To this effect, the Hoka Gaviota 3 tops our list for best running shoe for overweight men. Its high-tech and responsive midsole has everything you want to see for making strides as easy as possible for big guys. However, if you want to take cushioning to the next level, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is a strong choice, while the Asics Gel-Kayano 28 (my personal favorite) offers top-notch stability.
Whatever your primary consideration, don’t let your size get in the way and use this guide to find a shoe and get running today!