7 Best Running Shoes For Heavy Men in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Running Shoes For Heavy Men in 2024
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Running shoes for big guys have loads of cushion to keep the feet protected. And more importantly, they're built durable. 

Whether you're running on pavement or on the trails, these shoes can take a beating. 

Choosing from a bunch of running shoes for big guys can be a demanding task. To help you out, we put them under the microscope (figuratively and literally) and tested each of them rigorously. Then we filtered them and only selected the optimum ones, resulting in our list that's trimmed down to the best of the best from different categories.

How we test running shoes

To keep everything as bias-free as possible, we buy all the shoes we examine with our own money. And to be objective, we have our own shoe testing lab for a more data-driven review. 

On top of these, we also: 

  • Run in each shoe for at least 30-50 miles. We get the big guys among us testers to run the show to really provide an authentic review from their POV.
  • Cut them open to assess what's inside. We evaluate every little detail that we encounter.
  • Measure each part and parameter. We analogize the results we obtain to our experiences while trying on and testing the shoes.

Best running shoes for heavy men overall

What makes it the best?

The Glycerin GTS 21 is Brooks’ stability version of its well-loved daily trainer, proving its comfort and gentle support in and out of the lab. Its generous DNA LOFT v3 cushioning complements the GuideRails system to deliver a balanced and surefooted ride, making it our top choice for heavier runners.

The pillar of support is the GuideRails system, which integrates firm foam pieces in the sidewalls and heel to increase rigidity. This design enhances support by resisting excessive movements and maintaining our foot alignment. Our manual assessment confirms its stiffness, scoring impressive ratings of 4/5 and 5/5 in torsional and heel rigidity, respectively.

Another stability element is the vast platform that gave us solid footing. Our caliper reveals one of the widest landing bases in our lab at 117.3/100.2 mm in the forefoot and heel, respectively.

Glycerin GTS 21 breaks the norm by keeping its ride comfortable. It features a taller-than-average stack, particularly its 37.2 mm heel for dampened impact. We measured this protective foam using our durometer at a balanced 20.9 HA, aligning with our lab average. This strikes the balance between comfort and stability no matter where we stride.

However, the knit upper’s focus on comfort sacrificed ventilation. The shoe felt warm and stuffy during summer runs. Those who prioritize breathability should explore elsewhere.

Pros

  • Reasonable weight gain over non-GTS version
  • Super comfortable upper
  • Fantastic non-intrusive stability
  • Responsive supercritical foam
  • Built-like-a-tank outsole
  • Roomy toebox
  • Ready for marathon training

Cons

  • Knit upper lacks ventilation
  • Not suitable for faster paces
  • Could be lighter
Full review of Brooks Glycerin GTS 21

Best comfortable running shoes for heavy men

Nike Vomero 17
87
Great!

What makes it the best?

Nike’s Vomero 17 is a steadfast companion, highly versatile for different workouts, and cushioned for repetitive impact. It delivers a premium in-shoe feel, allowing us to soak up the miles mindlessly. Supported by our lab and run tests, we find it provides the best comfort for heavier runners.

This daily workhorse offers dual-density cushioning: the top is a plush 11.9 HA ZoomX foam that feels exceptionally soft and gentle underfoot. Meanwhile, the bottom foam is a firmer 22.0 HA to enhance stability and to ensure it doesn’t compress unevenly under heavier loads. Further adding support to our strides are the midsole sidewalls in the heel area, offering a helping hand to neutral runners when the fatigue sets in.

Underneath is a waffle-patterned outsole with strategic cutouts for flexibility. The shoe feels easy to maneuver, making it versatile for other activities as well. Our bend test confirms it’s 36.2% more malleable than average.

Last but not least is the dual-layer mesh that delivers both a soft premium feel and ventilation, which our lab confirms with a 4/5 breathability score. This makes it the perfect trainer for any season.

However, we didn’t feel as surefooted on wet pavements. We recommend staying away from wet conditions while sporting this pair.

Pros

  • Outstanding durability
  • More ZoomX cushioning than ever before
  • All-day comfort
  • Ideal for long-distance training
  • Top-notch material use
  • Can double as walking shoe
  • Truly a beefed-up Pegasus
  • Finally dips under 10 oz

Cons

  • Limited wet traction
  • Could benefit from more ZoomX
  • Possible heel slippage
Full review of Nike Vomero 17

Running shoes with best cushioning for heavy men

What makes it the best?

After rigorous testing in the lab and on the streets, we confidently choose Mizuno Wave Sky 7 as the ultimate choice for heavy runners seeking indulgent cushioning. With a hint of stability, we devoured miles while keeping unsteadiness and leg fatigue away. On top of that, it features the X10 Carbon outsole with world-class durability.

Our caliper reveals a staggering stack height, notably its 40.9 mm heel. The luxurious cloud-like cushioning feels endless, assuring supreme comfort at any distance and foot strike. The ride has a satisfying bounce that makes the miles melt away.

Remarkably, despite its plush foam composition, the Wave Sky 7 maintains our balance through its innovative dual-density foam construction. Beneath the forefoot and heel lies an ultra-plush 3.0 HA foam, offering unparalleled softness, while the main Enerzy foam boasts a balanced 22.0 HA so that we don’t sink into the midsole.

The outsole proves its resilience, enduring double-digit miles with barely any scratches. Our measurements reveal it has an extra 1.4 mm of rubber compared to the average. Furthermore, it exhibits superior durability by impressively resisting our rigorous Dremel.

However, since Wave Sky 7 mainly focuses on comfort and support, its heavy weight is a burden to bring up to speed. Our scales reveal it’s 10.4 oz (296g), 11.3% above the average trainer.

Pros

  • Great cushioning for long runs
  • Fantastic outsole quality
  • World-class durability
  • Comfortable for all-day use
  • Well-ventilated upper
  • Outstanding stability
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Stable despite high stack

Cons

  • Too heavy
  • Limited energy return
  • Clunky at fast paces
Full review of Mizuno Wave Sky 7

Best stability running shoes for heavy men

What makes it the best?

Gel Kayano 30 has substantial stack height combined with the soft FF Blast+ foam to mute out the landing impact in our runs. Even with its flexible build, it holds supportive features to ensure safe and sound strides for all types of runners. Our actual runs and lab tests confirm it's the leader of the stability game for big guys.

GK30 proves a cushioned shoe can be stable through its 4D Guidance System and vast platform. It integrates a softer foam under the arch and adjusts to our feet for custom protection. The wide midsole provides enough allowance for steady landings. It accommodates even the widest feet with an extra 11.2/15.3 mm in the forefoot and heel.

The FF Blast+ — ASICS' softest cloud-like foam — gives a homey feeling, measuring 31.4% softer than average. Its skyscraper stack sits well above the average to ensure a smooth and bouncy ride for heavier runners. Beneath the cushion, its outsole promises durability by providing an extra 1.0 mm of rubber.

Unlike most stability shoes, this pair isn’t stiff. Its loose build allows us to move naturally and supports us without much restriction. Our flex test confirms it’s 17.5% more adaptive than average.

As expected from a cushioned shoe, GK30 sits heavier at 10.7 oz (303g) vs. the average running shoe (9.5 oz/268g).

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best running shoes for heavy men for wide feet

What makes it the best?

After rigorous testing in and out of the lab, we've identified the ultimate running shoe for heavier runners with wide feet: the Mizuno Wave Inspire 20. Balancing comfort and support seamlessly, it guides our strides subtly, promoting a natural gait. The robust X10 rubber outsole provides unwavering support, promising both traction and durability.

At its core, the Wave Inspire features a broad platform and the Wave plate for stability. Our caliper reveals the midsole is 2.1/3.9 mm wider than average in the forefoot and heel. The widened base provides secure landings, while the Wave plate under the arches enhances support, preventing ankle rolls and lateral movements. Overall, these features don’t feel intrusive, but we feel their presence when needed.

Setting itself apart from typical stability shoes, the Wave Inspire prioritizes comfort. Its flexible design allows unrestricted movement, requiring 28.6% less force to bend vs. the average. Despite its plush feel, it keeps us surefooted by making the foam a balanced 22.0 HA, per our durometer. We had no worries about the cushion collapsing unevenly.

Complementing its performance is a resilient outsole that exhibits minimal wear and exceptional traction even on wet surfaces, thanks to its innovative wavy pattern and miniature lugs.

However, its significant 12.6 mm heel drop caters more to heel-strikers. Mid-to-forefoot strikers may need to explore other options.

Pros

  • Reliable, stable ride
  • Great impact dampening
  • Gobbles up miles
  • Comfy and secure heel hold
  • Generously padded
  • Breathable and roomy toebox
  • Great traction even when wet
  • Can handle light trails
  • Works well as a walking shoe
  • Just as comfy in the winter
  • Durable and sustainably produced upper

Cons

  • 12.6 mm drop may not suit all runners
  • A little wide for narrow feet
  • Somewhat heavy
Full review of Mizuno Wave Inspire 20

Best trail running shoes for heavy men

Altra Olympus 5
79
Good!

What makes it the best?

Big guys seeking a muscled trail shoe for a day in the woods might hit the jackpot with the Olympus 5. It boasts cushioning to give and sell, confidently gliding over both wet and dry trails.

A protective foam kept our feet shielded and far from the rough terrain as we ventured into the wilderness. Back in our lab, we dissected this Altra and studied its midsole with our caliper. The heel stack already stands a fair 1.4 mm above average, but it’s in the forefoot that the trick is unveiled - a stack of 31.0 mm sends this shoe far deep into the max-cushioned range, topping our database average of 24.2 mm.

While towering, the Olympus is nowhere near unstable. Its widened heel platform ensured steady landings even on uneven grounds, emerging as 11.6 mm wider than usual. As it couldn’t be otherwise, the traction of the Olympus is top-notch, with the sharp 3.0 mm lugs taking care of mud or unforeseen roots.

However, durability is a big NO! For $180, it doesn’t offer much value with the outsole showing serious signs of wear before hitting the 50 miles mark.

Pros

  • Grippy on wet and dry trails
  • Protective muscles
  • Comfort is a 10/10
  • Toe box welcomes wide feet
  • Gives out energy
  • Breathable
  • Stable ride
  • Heel lockdown is terrific!
  • Easy on and off

Cons

  • Durability couldn't be worse
  • Annoying lace bites
  • It's a splurge
Full review of Altra Olympus 5

Best budget running shoes for heavy men

What makes it the best?

Alphabounce+ delivers premium comfort, energy, and stability in our runs. It’s an excellent shock absorber with its double-foamed midsole and tough outsole. With a platform that can take a beating, this shoe offers significant support to heavier runners. The awesome part is it falls within the $100 range, making it the best budget shoe for big guys. 

The main star is the midsole, composed of a Bounce foam in the heel and a soft Cloudfoam that completes the rest of the midsole. Honoring its name, the first foam offers a lot of bounce and energy for heel strikers. Our durometer shows it’s slightly softer than average, allowing us to enjoy cushioned landings and snappy takeoffs. Meanwhile, the Cloudfoam feels plush underfoot. Our durometer confirms it’s 9.9% softer than average.

Each stride of ours met a vast platform, especially in the heel, ensuring rock-steady landings. Our caliper shows an extra 13.8 mm space in the heel vs. average!

The outsole has a monstrous build and is tough enough for abrasions. It stands thicker than average at 4.3 mm. Our durometer also shows it’s 9.3% harder than average. 

This pair feels heavy, making it difficult to perform faster efforts. It reached 12.0 oz (340g) in our scales — 2.5 oz (72g) heavier than average!

Pros

  • Great impact protection
  • Bounce midsole foam at the heel provides a premium feeling ride
  • Good for walking, gym days, as well as easy runs
  • Remarkably stable underfoot
  • Grippy and durable outsole
  • Budget friendly
  • Stylish and sustainable design

Cons

  • Very heavy for a road shoe
  • Breathability could be better
  • Not for long distances or tempo sessions
  • Lacking in upper durability
Full review of Adidas Alphabounce+
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.