Today we are going to talk about the best running shoes for seniors. If you are a senior who likes to run, a pair of high-quality running shoes are an even more important investment than for younger runners.
This is because as you age your joint and ligaments lose natural elasticity and become stiffer and more prone to injury. When you lose the natural shock absorption your joints and ligaments offer, you have to compensate somehow if we want to continue running without pain and injuries.
This is where a pair of high-quality running shoes come into the picture. High-quality running shoes will offer shock absorption and cushioning on each step which protects your joints from wear and tear. They are the single most important piece of exercise equipment you need when running.
In a hurry? Here are the winners after several hours of research
These days the options in running shoes are endless and it can be very hard to decide what you need. The shoe will also depend on your use. If you are an experienced runner that has run for decades, your choice will probably be different from a casual jogger.
That said, seniors that are physically capable of running or jogging should definitely invest in a pair of high-quality running shoes to avoid pain and injuries. No matter at what level you are running.
Let's start by looking at what is it exactly that makes a good running shoe and what special qualities a running shoe for seniors needs to have.
What makes a good running shoe for seniors?
A good running shoe for seniors needs to have a few key qualities. Firstly It should be as shock-absorbent as possible. Like we established before, as you age your joint and connective tissues become less elastic and can't take as much of a beating than when you were younger. This means we need to compensate with technology if we want to continue running.
Running shoes use different kinds of patented technologies for shock absorption. There are airbags, polyurethane shock absorbers, different kinds of foam solutions, etc. In reality, it doesn't matter what the technology is. The only thing that matters is if it works.
The next thing we want from a good running shoe is lightweight. Running is hard enough for seniors as is. There is no need to make it harder by incorporating extra weight on your foot. Because the weight is located at the end of your leg it will move a lot and fast. This is why even a few grams of unwanted weight can add a lot of work to each step.
Thirdly you want your shoes to be easy to use and put on. Seniors often have trouble tying their shoes even if they are completely capable of running. This is because decreased mobility in the back, hips, and legs can make it hard to bend over and reach to the laces.
Lastly, some form of water resistance would be optimal so you can use the shoes comfortably in all weather conditions.
Is running safe for seniors
Before we look at the shoes you might be thinking if you should even be running in older age and if it's safe and healthy for your joints.
We have good news for you. If you are fit enough to run as a senior, running is likely keeping you younger. That study shows that 65-year-olds that ran for 30 minutes three times a week instead of walking, had similar walking efficiency to 20-year-olds and were less likely to experience age-related decline in walking efficiency.
It means that running maintains your walking capability much better than simply walking. This is likely because running requires a certain level of strength to accomplish successfully. Which in turn means that running will maintain or improve muscle strength and mass.
The same effect can be likely achieved with the combination of strength training and low-intensity cardio like walking. That doesn't mean you shouldn't run if you like it. It's clearly a good form of exercise for keeping you active and mobile.
If you are a senior looking to get into shape and haven't run in years running might not actually be the best option for you. Running is a relatively intensive exercise that requires quite a bit of leg strength, mobility, balance, and coordination. If your body is not used to it, it's very easy to get exertion injuries if you don't take it slowly. A fitness tracker like Fitbit can help you pace your training in the beginning. I think the Fitbit Charge 3 is the best Fitbit for seniors.
It might be wiser to start with strength training and lower intensity cardio and include a bit of jogging once you are strong enough for it to feel relatively light. You should always consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine and especially something demanding on the heart like running.
When you feel strong enough to run, it's wise to start a running program for beginners. You can find a good one below (Click the image).
Best Running Shoe For Over-Pronators (My Own Favorite)
My first recommendation will be the shoe I use myself. I've been through several pairs of running shoes and these are by far my favourite. I currently have two pair of them because I love them so much. I'm talking about the Nike Air Zoom Structure 22.
These are the most comfortable and supportive running shoes I've ever used. An important fact to know about them is that they are designed for over-pronators (ankles caving in from the midline). That's why they might not be the perfect option for every runner.
That said I don't actually over pronate significantly. That's why I've always used neutral shoes before because they were recommended for me. The first time I put a pair of Structure 22 on my feet I knew I had found the perfect shoe.
They have definitely stood the test of time as I'm on my second pair already and I've done plenty of running on them. I actually love them so much that they have become my daily walking shoes as well. They are very good looking and I have no shame in using them as casual shoes in town.
I actually own them in the regular and Shield version. The shield version is designed for wet and cold conditions and offers increased insulation, a wet surface grip and water resistant surface. Perfect for most of the year here in north. The regular version are great for summer use as they have a very light mesh outlining that let's your feet breathe and stay cool.
So if you have any amount of pronation I would definitely give these shoes a try. Not every shoe fits every user but I can attest this is definitely a great shoe even if you have a relatively neutral step.
Best running shoes for experienced runners
For experienced runners, my recommendation are the Brooks Ghost 11 running shoes. They are super lightweight professional running shoes that feature handmade design and rubbers soles with very good cushioning.
They offer a smooth ride from heel to toe and have almost all 5-star rating by customer reviews. You won't be disappointed with these no matter what your running background is.
The Brooks Ghost 11 has a nice cushion and many users like the shoe for its roomy interiors. It has an extremely lightweight design which allows effortless and comfortable run.
Remember than having light weight becomes more important as you get older. Running is hard enough as is without added weight of the shoe.
The shoe has one of the best arch supports in neutral running shoes on the market and many users have said they are the most comfortable running shoe they have used.
The shoe is a bit more flexible and softer compared to previous version which helps to prevent foot pain and muscle stiffness.
Even though they are a great running shoe, they are a good option for walking as well. They are also recommended for runners with any knee issues, like many seniors have.
Best running shoes for casual runners
If you are a casual runner that runs once or twice a week and are just looking for a high quality shoe for maintaining your running ability, my recommendation would be the Brooks Adrenaline
They are a time tested shoe that features a combination of reliability, solid stability and great cushioning. They offer a good balance between cushioning and stability at a relatively affordable price-point.
The Brooks Adrenaline features substantial cushioning on the sole with a well balanced arch support. Just like the Ghost 11, the shoe is super light weight which ensures a comfortable ride.
The light weight design also means the shoes will dry out very quickly after running in wet conditions.
The shoe features a sleek design which helps to shave off additional weight. Most users find them true-to-size and comfortable to wear right out of the box. The Brooks Adrenaline are available in several color options.
Best running shoes for joggers and walking
For casual joggers and walking my recommendation is the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 R. It's an affordable high quality running shoe that offers probably the best 'bang for the buck' on the market.
It's one of the most popular running shoes on Amazon and has top ratings by user reviews. They feature a lightweight synthetic fabric design with a GEL cushioning system that attenuates shocks during each step.
They also feature removable sock liners that can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic. The outsole is specially designed to offer the best traction for both uphill and downhill running and features durable high abrasion rubber reinforcements on the critical areas.
The shoes are built very strong, which makes them also great for more demanding terrains like trail running. They feature reinforced sides and a supportive heel collar.
Many users have commented that the shoe remains very comfortable even on longer runs. The shoe runs true to size and most users like the fit of the Asics Venture 6 right out of the box.
Besides the low price it's great for seniors because it offers good cushioning and a great level of support. The shoes can also be used for other activities like walking, biking and hiking.
A very affordable yet high quality shoe with a nice modern aesthetic look.
Running Shoes For Seniors Q&A
Q: Can't I just Run With My Tennis (Or Any Other) Shoes?
A: Well as you surely know, you can, but is it wise? Likely not. Like I explained in the article, seniors are more prone to overuse injuries, joint pain etc. and have less elastic connective tissue than younger people.
Running is especially demanding on your joints and connective tissue due to the repetitive impact caused by treading. If you use shoes that don't offer enough support and cushioning, you run a very high risk of causing damage to your joints.
Even young people can get symptoms like shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and leg cramps from running or jogging with shoes that are not designed for it.
Q: I Used To Run Long Distances When Younger, Does This Mean I Can Run Safely As A Senior?
A: Not automatically. Even if you run marathons in your twenties, thirties or forties but gave up on running for several decades after that you will have to take into account the limitations of your aging body.
Many experienced runners are actually more prone to injuries as a senior than people who have run for relatively little during their life. This is for two reasons: Over confidence in their prior conditioning and accumulated wear and tear on their joints and connective tissues.
You see, many people who have run for decades in their youth will likely carry the benefits on their heart health and longevity for several decades but the fact is that running is consuming on your joints, especially the knees.
Many seasoned runners also don't pace themselves because they still have the muscle memory and experience of prime conditioning from their youth. This can give a false sense of confidence. So invest in good shoes, start light and definitely listen to your body. If you get chronic aches in your joints it's time to back down.
We hope you enjoyed my tips for the best running shoes for seniors and will try them out yourself. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! Just leave them on the comments section below and we promise to get back to you as soon as possible.
Running is an excellent form of exercise to all ages, seniors included. Because running is a relatively intense exercise, not all seniors can or should run. But if you are one of the lucky ones that have kept a good fitness level to older age, you should do your best to maintain your ability and skill to run as it will likely add healthy years to your life.
You can usually safely run at least twice a week for shorter distances and once a week for longer distances. The most important thing is to listen to your body and take any joint pain and inflammation seriously so you don't develop chronic injuries that prevent exercise. So take it easy and er on the side of caution and you will keep your ability to run as long as possible.
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See you next time,