The Best Running Shoes for Large Runners

Big runners—referred to as Clydesdales (men) and Fillys or Athenas (women), who weigh more than 180 lbs. and 150 lbs., respectively—require more substantial shoes than their sinewy counterparts. Shoe descriptions usually highlight foot characteristics (width, arch height, and pronation, which is inward or outward foot rotation), average weekly mileage and terrain. With this information and some shoe-specific terminology, a larger runner can more easily find her best-fit shoe. According to “Runner’s World” magazine, an authority on distance running and proper gear for the sport, cushioning, motion control, and stability are three key aspects of shoes that larger runners should consider.


Because large runners break down shoes more quickly than lighter runners, these athletes need running shoes with ample and resilient midsole cushioning. The midsole is located between the shoe’s upper and sole and is often made of foams, gels, plastics and air. More cushioning in shoes can also help absorb shock and minimize common aches in larger runners, such as in shins, knees and hips.

Motion Control

With sturdy structure in the rear of the shoe to control heel movement, as well as good arch support, motion-control running shoes help keep a Clydesdale’s feet in the right place at all times. Motion control prevents over-pronating (feet rolling inward toward the arch) or under-pronating (feet rolling outward), which can be a problem for a heavier runner whose shoes don’t adequately support his weight.


Stability running shoes generally emphasize durability, overall support, and midsole cushioning, but they especially target runners who need greater arch support and tend to over-pronate, common issues for the large runner.

Finally, a running specialty store is a great place to find the right shoe for the particular needs of a big runner. These retailers typically employ knowledgeable, experienced runners who will lead you in the right direction.

About this Author

Beth Somerset has been a freelance health writer since 2005. She is also the head cross country/assistant track and field coach at Mount Holyoke College. An ACSM-certified health fitness specialist, Somerset previously worked as a wellness coach and physical education instructor. She holds a B.A. in public health from Wellesley College and an M.S. in exercise and sport studies from Smith College.