5 Best Hiking Shoes for Bad Knees

Are you looking for the best hiking shoes for bad knees? Considering hiking when you have bad knees or any sort of joint pain may seem absurd.

The truth is that even if you have perfectly great joints and experience no pain whatsoever, hiking may cause them to hurt.

This is common especially if you are not careful or if you are not wearing the right gear. Joint and muscle sprain is a common occupational hazard. 

Best Hiking Shoes for Bad Knees

Photo Name What We like
Skechers Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker They have a memory foam insole. They have provision for wide feet. They are very comfortable.
ECCO Rugged Track GTX Tie Hiking They are heavyduty shoes. They provide good arch support. They are known to be durable.
Danner Mountain 600 4.5" Hiking Boot They are comfortable right out of the box. They provide good arch support. They are fairly lightweight.
KEEN Voyageur Hiking Shoe They are lightweight. They usually run true to size. They are comfortable right out of the box.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot They are reasonably lightweight. They are very comfortable. They provide tremendous ankle support.

It does not have to happen and this is why it is important to know your body well and how far you can push it.

Ignorance can lead you to pull or strain a muscle that you can not afford to hurt on a hike. But what happens in the event that you want to go on a hike and you already have bad knees? Is there a way to avoid further injury? 

Thankfully, hiking gear and equipment have continued to evolve with each passing year. As the number of hiking gear manufacturers increases, they have also had to step up their game or risk becoming redundant. You can find shoes that will help you with your bad knees as you hike. 

The good news is that walking can help reduce joint pain and inflammation, so you know that walking and hiking will not make your knees any worse if you do it right.

In this article, we take a look at these shoes and what you will need to be on the lookout for. Some shoes may be perfectly alright for a great hike, and yet they may be the absolute worst thing to happen to a hiker with bad knees.

In a Hurry

Do you need a quick guide to buying the best hiking shoes for bad knees?

There are a couple of things that you will need to look for and also keep in mind if you are to enjoy your hike despite your knees.

Always make sure that you consult a doctor first before looking for specialized shoes. You need to know what the doctor recommends before you go out and buy shoes to help rectify symptoms you are feeling. 

Make sure to choose shoes that are flexible and allow your feet to move in the way they should. Also, look for shoes that are relatively flat or that have a low heel to toe drop.

Also, look for shoes that have a wide toe box. If your toes are pinched then there is a higher risk of the strain transferring to your knees. 

Also, look out for the shoe arch support. You need to steer clear of shoes that have any sort of arch support. Your feet need to be able to move as naturally as possible and this means no artificial arches.

Our Top Pick

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot

We have done our research and found our absolute favorite pair of hiking shoes for bad knees, to be the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot. It has advanced technology and handy features that your knees will thank you for. This is a lightweight waterproof boot with a durable midsole. The cushioning in this shoe is top grade and makes for a comfortable hike. The easy to lace-up closure helps keep the boots on your feet. It is also made of breathable material which means you can sweat and not be worried about lugging it around everywhere you go. 

Product Reviews of the Best Hiking Shoes for Bad Knees

Skechers Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker 

Skechers Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker

That after Burn from Skechers comes in 10 different designs. What they are quite similar in the way they look. They have a few touches of colour and patterns that might differentiate them.

For most people, these are subtle enough to pass. The main choice will come down to whether you’re looking for a shoe that is dark coloured or light coloured. Beyond aesthetics let us look at the functional side of things.

The shoes are made out of a combination of leather and synthetic material. The leather is pure which is always a great indicator for shoes that will last. The soles as with others from Skechers are made out of rubber.

They sit on a fairly large platform. The presence of the platform is to provide a foot with ample cushioning. Having this much cushioning reduces the pressure that your feet and knees are put under.

As you can probably tell from the image these shoes are lace-up sneakers. They have a mesh upper layer which comes with some supportive overlays and a pedicure.

The presence of the mesh layer means that the shoes are quite highly breathable.

This means that it can be worn in warm weather comfortably. The cushioning of the tongue also means that the upper part of your foot will just be as comfortable as the underfoot.

These shoes also have memory foam insoles. These are designed to enhance the comfort that you have with your shoes the more you wear them.

The final piece is, of course, the strong eyelets where the laces are threaded through. These are made of metal.

Pros

  • They have a memory foam insole.
  • They have provision for wide feet.
  • They are very comfortable.
  • They are quite breathable.

Cons

  • The soles could be more durable.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

ECCO Rugged Track GTX Tie Hiking 

ECCO Rugged Track GTX Tie Hiking

One of the features that the manufacturers of these shoes put forward as they are unique selling point are the presence of the Gore-Tex membrane.

This is the membrane that is designed to bring together waterproofing and breathability. Both of these are very important for walking shoes. 

As you walk for a long distance you will require breathable shoes. You’re also bound to find yourself caught in the rain once or twice perhaps, even more, depending on where you are located. This is the shoe that is ready to take on either condition.

The shoes are made of pure leather. They have soles that are made out of rubber. These soles are evidently durable.

You also find that they provide you with a lot of traction on both flats services as well as with their slopes. The leather that we were mentioned is full-grain. It is vegetable-tanned leather.

What you may not realise is that these shoes have direct-injected poly uterine midsole foam. They also have a foot fitted long-lasting cushioning System that is perfect for walking.

The rubber outsole is ragged. This makes it ideal for providing you with a standing grip regardless of the surface that you’re walking on.

If you’re looking to be taking on very tiring these are great shoes for you. For those with these shoes, having a shoe that keeps your stable on your feet goes a heck of a long way.

It reduces the pressure that your knees would otherwise be put under to keep you balanced.

Pros

  • They are heavy duty shoes.
  • They provide good arch support.
  • They are known to be durable.
  • They are quite comfortable.
  • The toe box is roomy.

Cons

  • The leather upper gets scratched quite easily.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Danner Mountain 600 4.5″ Hiking Boot 

Danner Mountain 600 4.5

You like a suede finish on your shoes then this is another option. Did you mention that the suede used on the shoes is waterproof? This is down to the full-grain leather out of which it is made.

You probably noticed from the image that the soles of the shoes are made out of Vibram Fuga. This is a mega grip technology that delivers great grip on both wet and dry services.

The shaft of the shoes is about 5 ¼ inches from the arch. Another thing that you love about the shoes is that they have an open sole also like a footbed. This is known to provide amazing cushioning for your underfoot.

The Vibram SPE in the midsole region of the shoes is known to give you an incredible rebound.

This is another factor that reduces the amount of pressure that your knees would usually have to endure. Your knees would usually have to take care of some of this rebounding. 

Beyond the performance side of the shoes, you will also be pleased to know that they are a range of amazing colours that you can choose from. These are not the subtle colours that we have mentioned with all the shoes on the list.

You have bright and vivid colours as part of these. From a structural standpoint, these shoes are quite impressive as well.

The lacing system is very robust, you will highly unlikely to encounter any problems with these.

Pros

  • They are comfortable right out of the box.
  • They provide good arch support.
  • They are fairly lightweight.
  • The traction is impressive.
  • The brand carries half sizes.

Cons

  • Could be more slip-resistant.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

KEEN Voyageur Hiking Shoe 

KEEN Voyageur Hiking Shoe

If you prefer something lightweight and versatile these are the right ones for you. You can probably tell from the images that these shoes are made out of leather and mesh.

The leather is put in such a way that it makes up the structure of the shoes to give it durability. As with most products from this brand you need not even wonder if the leather used is 100%.

The soles are made out of rubber. They are part of a 2-inch heel. This is a reasonable size platform without being either too low or too high.

As with already mentioned the design provides you with a shoe that is both breathable and waterproof.

The breathability is resulting from the presence of the mesh panels that are on the side of the shoes.

The waterproofing is of course provided by the leather that makes up most of the shoe.

There is a lot of cushioning that goes into the inside of the shoes as well as closer to the ankle region. There is also some padding and cushioning on the time of the shoe.

For ease of getting in and out of the shoes, there is a pull tab located on the right hand of the shoe.

There is also one located on the tongue that will also be of assistance. Finally, you also be happy to know that you have a toe cap to protect your toes from nasty knocks.

You also be pleased to know that there are various colours that you can choose yours from. Most of the colours are on the overlays of the shoes.

Pros

  • They are lightweight.
  • They usually run true to size.
  • They are comfortable right out of the box.
  • The toe box has plenty of room.

Cons

  • Sizing is not consistent.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot 

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot

The final shoe on our list comes from a brand that we are very familiar with. We have covered quite a few shoes from this brand.

As you can probably tell the shoes and also made out of leather. In this case, they also made use of some nylon.

The soles of the shoes are made out of rubber. This is a rubber that is designed to provide you with great traction on all sorts of surfaces. The shaft of the shoe measures about 5 ¼ inches from the arch.

I know they don’t quite look it, but these shoes are quite lightweight. You’ll also be happy to know that the midsole of the shoes is designed to be durable. There is also some emphasis put on making sure that it is very comfortable.

Your knees will benefit from the rubber soles that are made to cater for slick free movement when you’re walking on rough ground.

The less you slip the less your knees will be cold on to provide you with emergency traction.

These boots are made out of full-grain leather which is why they are waterproof. The tongue is made out of mesh. It is the only part of these boots that is breathable.

Perhaps that is one of the Achilles heels. For adjustability, you have an incredible leasing system that features several fittings that are made out of metal.

The final part that we liked about the shoes is the monitoring traction system. Is the system that is specifically made to take on harsh environments. This includes surfaces such as ice and snow.

Pros

  • They are reasonably lightweight.
  • They are very comfortable.
  • They provide tremendous ankle support.
  • They usually run true to size.
  • No breaking in period required.

Cons

  • Do not completely shut out debris.
  • The laces could be better.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Buyer’s Guide

Can you hike with bad knees?

Joint pain of any sort can be debilitating. Knee pain on its own can make you want to stop walking altogether and so the mention of going on a hike may seem like something you will not be doing in the near future.

Most people hide behind the knee pain and think that going on a hike may lead to more pain. 

Firstly, ask yourself what is causing the knee pain. This will help you in knowing whether or not you can walk on it or if you should be staying off it.

If, for example, your knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, then you will need to exercise the joints rather than resting them.

 Regular careful exercise will help mobilize your joint fluid. It will give your joints the lubricant that it needs.

In as much as you may feel like giving up after the first time that you try hiking on your bad knee, because of fatigue or pain.

But you will realize that it will dissipate with time and the joint pain will also begin to get better. However, as you hike, make sure to constantly listen to your body.

If the joint pain gets worse, then you may need to stop immediately, rest, and treat the knee. 

 Does taking a shower help loosen joints?

It may sound bizarre, but taking a warm bath or shower can help with stiff joints.

Before you go out on your hike, warm your joints up a bit. You will be shocked by what a little warmth can do for you. When you get on your hike, make sure to pace yourself.

When you are done with your hike, you can apply a cold compress to the knee. This will help with any resulting inflammation.

Is walking on concrete bad for my knees?

Choosing a softer walking surface will greatly help the impact on your knees. Hikes are great because they are on soft ground.

You will find that natural paths are more forgiving on your knees. Hard surfaces such as concrete have a greater impact on your knees as you strike the ground with each step.

Conclusion

Walking with bad knees requires that you pay attention to your body. Make sure that you seek a medical professional’s opinion so that you do not put excessive pressure.

If you are not careful, you may end up doing more harm than good. Work with that advice and if you are cleared to hike, then make sure that you still take it easy and avoid making the situation worse. 

The shoes that you wear astonishingly can have an impact on your knees. Choosing the right hiking pair could be half the battle for you.

We have reviewed the top hiking shoes for people with bad knees and we hope that this helps you find your perfect pair.

Bad knees do not need to be the crutch you use to get out of hikes anymore. Get in the right gear and get walking. Happy hiking and happy shopping!

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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