Running has many well-known benefits, but it can also result in some less favourable side effects, especially when it comes to your feet.
I’m not talking about bad odour, although if the shoe fits… you might want to wash your trainers.
Your feet are the first point of contact with the ground when you’re pounding the pavement. The impact they absorb travels up your legs, past your hips, and all the way to your spine.
As I know from experience, this can cause some painful lower back issues along the way.
If you’ve been given the all-clear to continue running, there are a few simple steps you can take to help deal with the root of the problem, which in turn will help to reduce your aches and pains.
More often than not, this begins with taking care of the bottom of your body.
Finding a pair of shoes that are specifically designed to provide enhanced comfort and support while you’re running is going to help lessen the pain and (as some research has shown) can even start to work on correcting the issue.
Unless you’re a foot expert, you may not know where or how to look for the perfect pair of running shoes.
Luckily for you, I’ve reviewed 5 of the best running shoes for lower back pain that are currently available for you to compare and consider.
Before you continue, I wanted to let you know I will potentially make a small commission from any purchases you make via the links on this page, it helps pay for the upkeep of the site amongst other things.
Best Running Shoes For Lower Back Pain Reviews
Don’t be put off by their price! The Salomon Men’s SpeedCross 4 Trail running shoes are a solid investment for anyone experiencing lower back pain, as their biomechanical design helps to correct your form.
If you skipped a few science lessons, this basically means they encourage you to run in the most efficient and effective way, which helps to improve your overall performance as well as minimizing any pain you’re experiencing.
SenfiFit and Quicklace technology ensure a close fit that practically moulds to your foot shape for a secure foothold from the midsole to lacing.
A sculpted OrthoLite sock liner provides additional comfort and allows your feet to breathe to avoid that sweaty shoe smell I mentioned earlier. Seriously, nobody likes smelly shoes.
Simultaneously lightweight and durable, these trainers also offer excellent grip thanks to a Contragrip outsole, which is particularly when you’re running on softer trails or uneven terrain.
Each element of their design works together to alleviate lower back pain, which is why I highly recommend them for anyone dealing with this problem.
- Contragrip sole for unparalleled grip
- The precise foothold improves stability and comfort
- Effectively helps to reduce lower back
- Lightweight and long-lasting
- No waterproof protection
The best option for women with lower back pain is undoubtedly these Cohesion 10 running shoes from Saucony, a respected brand that focuses on supporting athletes from sole to soul.
Their trademark fit is based on extensive biomechanics research so your feet feel snug and comfortable at all times without being constrictive.
Plus, IMEVA cushioning makes even the most concrete floors feel like running on clouds.
You can go the distance without worrying about your back feeling the consequences, as the advanced cushioning supports your feet during impact to protect your joints.
They don’t offer full arch support, however, thus may not be the best choice for runners with high arches.
The injection-moulded EVA midsole can withstand general wear and tear, and they last longer than other affordable shoes.
Coupled with the heel grid design, these shoes offer impressive stability for the price.
- IMEVA cushioning
- Shock-absorbing EVA midsole
- Improved outsole with grid design
- Less supportive for the arches of your feet
- No waterproof protection
The ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes are great for dealing with neutral or under-pronation.
Despite being the predecessor to the newer Gel-Venture 7s, many runners prefer this version of the ASICS running shoes, proving that newer isn’t always better.
If the shoe’s style is as important to you as support is, you’ll be pleased to find multiple colour options are available.
The design is more than just aesthetically pleasing, and these shoes are proven to help with lower back pain. If you don’t believe me, just look at the customer reviews!
Rearfoot gel cushioning technology guarantees higher levels of comfort and absorbs the brunt of the impact that your feet usually bear, for which your joints and lower back will thank you.
You can actually tailor the shoes to any medical orthotic requirements as the sock liner is removable, leaving space for one that suits your needs.
Add this to the trail-specific outsole and you’ve got another great pair of running shoes that will help to alleviate back pain.
If wet weather isn’t enough to put you off your run, the AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) provides extra durability where it’s most needed and will improve your traction on all surfaces.
- Multiple colour options
- Removable sock liner
- Gel cushioning technology for maximum comfort
- Limited breathability
- Some reports of poor quality control resulting in wear and tear
Another excellent option for neutral feet, the Brooks Women’s Glycerin 18 running shoes provide the highest level of cushioning they have to offer for a softer, proactive fit.
These shoes will put a spring back into your step as the DNA LOFT cushioning zone ensures each stride transitions smoothly into the next.
Additionally, the 3D Fit Print breathable upper material works together with the OrthoLite liner for ultimate comfort.
A clever balance of stretch and support is employed which allows the shoes to adapt to the specific contours of your feet for added flexibility and a plush feel.
Whether you’re running on concrete pavements or treadmills, from training for cross-country to practising your short sprints, the Brooks Women’s Glycerin 18 running shoes are a great, versatile choice.
- Protect your feet with every step thanks to an OrthoLite insole
- Versatile use
- Reduces lower back pain
And last, by no means least, there is the UnderAmour Charged Pursuit 2 running shoes, specifically designed for neutral feet which research suggests requires more comfort, cushioning, and flexibility.
Foam padding is strategically placed around the shoe for ultimate support and comfort, particularly around the ankle collar and below the tongue.
The upper shoe also features lightweight mesh material for sweat-resistant breathability.
The snug fit is further improved by a Charged Cushioning foam midsole that moulds to the shape of your feet, and a sock liner provides additional comfort with extra padding near the heel to break the force of impact as your feet hit the ground.
Well-made, synthetic outsoles feature a design that’s similar to the pattern found on car tires for even better traction and flexibility during long runs.
Not only will you feel like you’re running with shock absorbers, but you’ll drastically reduce the impact shock from constant foot-fall which will ultimately do wonders for your lower back.
Plus, they’re a relatively affordable option which is great for someone on a budget.
- Extremely comfortable and lightweight
- Charged Cushioning midsole
- Great traction due to the tire-inspired outsole
- Sizing runs slightly on the narrow side so you may require a wide fit option
Best Running Shoes For Lower Back Pain Buyer’s Guide
Minor Back Pain No Longer Has to be a Major Problem!
If, like me, you’re someone who runs regularly, you’ll know that dealing with lower back pain is no joke. It’s the last thing that’s going to motivate you to go for a run, especially on cold, dark mornings when your bed just seems so much more comfortable…
But in order to make things better and not worse, it’s imperative that you choose the right pair of shoes.
Just like Cinderella, you’ll need to make sure you find the perfect fit. I wouldn’t recommend running in glass shoes, though, and you certainly won’t want to lose one along the way.
Shoe design might be important to you, but remember you’re not going to the ball – you’re trying to ease your lower back pain, so the following factors are what you should look out for when searching the kingdom for your next pair of running shoes.
Finding The Perfect Pair
First, you’ll need to consider which type of shoe designed for lower back pain is going to best suit your needs. The 3 main options are motion control, stability, and cushioning.
Motion Control Shoes
Often made for durable, long-lasting wear, motion control shoes offer the firmest support.
The shoe’s stability encourages you to stop rolling your foot inward as you follow the step through after hitting the pavement heel-first.
They’re designed to correct your feet by reducing the extent of pronation, which is reportedly particularly helpful for anyone with low arches as this is a common cause of lower back pain.
Stability shoes will provide modest support and cushioning to help lessen the effects of the shock your feet absorb on impact.
They also tend to naturally improve your running form which research shows is proven to relieve lower back pain.
The midsole is specifically designed to help with mild overpronation and they’re the best option for anyone with normal arches and a neutral stride.
This style of trainer provides the best type of cushioning and support for your feet, which helps to correct severe under pronation by naturally realigning the foot.
If you tend to roll your foot outward (supinate) during a run, your arches are probably being put under a lot of repeated strain.
The extra cushioning in these shoes distributes the impact of the shock and absorbs a lot of the force for you to stop it from travelling up your joints and affecting your lower back.
Get to Know Your Foot Type
To know which type of shoe will best fit your feet, you’ll first need to know your foot like…well…the back of your hand 🙂
If you’re unsure what pronation you have it’s best to visit your podiatrist or local running shoe store to find out, or alternatively check to see what foot pattern you have.
To do this, simply wet your feet before stepping onto a paper towel to leave an imprint that outlines your foot pattern. Think Bigfoot leaving footprints in the snow, but warmer for your toes.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
People with flat feet will leave a clear, full-sized footprint behind when they step off the paper towel.
Stability or motion control shoes are a great choice for the flat-footed runner, as without proper support you’re likely to experience issues such as lower back pain a lot sooner.
To see if you have a neutral arch foot pattern, check to see if the watermarks transferred onto the paper towel show a wide band that joins the heel and the forefront of your foot.
Stability or neutral shoes are the two styles that are best suited to a runner with neutral arches, as these will be the most effective at absorbing some of the repeated impact shock your feet experience during a run.
High arches are easy to spot using the wet foot and paper towel test, as they’ll only outline a part of your heel and the forefront of your foot.
The constant shock absorption during running can be particularly taxing for those with high arches, and it’s believed that this foot type experiences the most pain.
Runners with high arches therefore need to look for shoes that offer maximum cushioning to reduce the effects of repeated impact.
If it Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Force it
Getting the sizing right is so important, or the effort you’ve put in up until now will have been for nothing.
Wearing the wrong size shoe means you might as well pick up some paracetamol the next time you’re at the store in readiness for the problems this can cause.
I’m sorry to say it, but just like the rest of your body, your foot shape will change with age, so it’s a good idea to check back in with your feet over the years.
Just like those size 10 jeans that no longer fit, you may find that you need to go up or down a shoe size.
When you measure your feet, it’s best to do it toward the end of the day, as this is when they’re the most swollen which is likely to be the biggest size they’ll naturally reach while you’re on a run.
One good tip to keep in mind when you’re trying shoes on at the running store is to wear a pair of socks that you would actually put on for a run, as this will help you get a more accurate feel for the shoe while you wear it around the shop.
Other things to look out for include:
- The Heel: Does it feel snug around the heel? If it doesn’t, the shoe can end up rubbing against your skin which will cause blisters – any runner’s worst nightmare!
- The Toes: Can you comfortably give them a wiggle? Or are they squashed up against the front of the shoe? Running on curled toes will only exacerbate any back pain you’re already experiencing, so make sure that each little piggy has enough space to stretch out flat in.
- The Gap: Do mind the gap in this case, as there should be enough room in your shoe to accommodate any foot swelling, but not enough that you’ll be sliding around in there.
- The Feel: Are they comfortable on your feet? Do they provide enough support? If there’s any discomfort in the store, you can bet they’ll lead to discomfort after being worn for extended periods of time where your feet are already under stress.
It may sound contradictory, but one of the best ways to deal with lower back pain is to keep running.
Just to clarify, I’m not advising that you should go against any doctors’ advice to rest! If the pain is persistent, always seek medical help to rule out any more serious issues.
While there are other ways to help with lower back pain caused by running, like stretching or choosing to run on softer surfaces such as asphalt instead of unyielding concrete, purchasing a pair of shoes that are intended for lower back pain is your best bet.
Forget about a fairy godmother – this article is all you need to find the perfect pair of shoes.
After reading this, I hope you’ll be able to walk into your local shoe store, ready to run back out with new shoes on your feet, heading straight for your favourite trail.
Just don’t forget to pay first, or you’ll have guards chasing after you for different reasons…
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I’ve measured my feet and one is longer than the other?
Well, you’ll probably have to cut off your big toe. Just kidding, this isn’t the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella. If you find that one foot measures bigger than the other, choose the shoe size based on the larger foot.
When should I change my running shoes?
You should try to buy a new pair of shoes whenever you notice a difference in the size/needs of your foot or when they become worn enough to affect the level of support you’re getting.
Can my running shoes be causing my lower back pain?
Yes, they definitely can! While there are obviously many different reasons that someone could be experiencing lower back pain, a worn-out pair of running shoes or poorly fitted sneakers are often one of the most common causes, hence why it’s so important to choose the right shoes for you.