Stability Shoes Are Not For Everyone
Neutral runners dont need any extra support for pronation. Added cushioning could actually throw off a neutral runners stride and cause injuries. The same is true for supinators. As they naturally roll their feet outward, support for over-pronation could actually cause a supinator to roll their feet outward even further.
As weve discussed, stability trainers are for people with mild to moderate levels of over-pronation. They will most likely not provide enough support for someone who has extreme over-pronation.
What features should my stability shoes have?
If you fall into the category of mild to moderate over-pronation, then here are some features you should expect to see in a good stability shoe:
This type of foam is essentially a wedge that goes between the midfoot and midsole. Its purpose is to support and help the foot to roll inward less. This high density of this foam allows it to provide this support without having to make the shoe extremely bulky. This foam also helps to provide some extra shock-absorption for the arches.
A lot of brands that create stability shoes like to put plastic pieces between the outsole and midsole. These are called midfoot shanks. These shanks offer the structure that helps to support the natural build of the foot during running. It also helps to support the structure of the shoe and prevent the early breakdown of your new pair of stability shoes.
Which Type Of Shoe Should You Get
- High-arched runners are the most compatible withneutral shoes. These shoes are well-cushioned to make the runner feel more comfortable and their foot more flexible.
- Stability shoes are for runners with mild overpronation. Runners with feet that tend to move inward will benefit from a shoe that offers support and controls the excessive rolling of the feet. Stability shoes offer adequate cushioning but have a firm midfoot area to reinforce arch support.
- For runners with severe overpronation, motion control shoes are most suitable. These shoes are similar to stability shoes in that they provide support and keep the foot from rolling inward. However, motion control shoes have stiffer parts, especially in the heel area. The aim of this is to make the shoe a bit heavier to prevent the foot from moving inward extremely.
Types of arch support in running shoes from least to most supportive:
neutral or no support
stability: support for mild to moderate overpronation
motion control: supports severe overpronation
Stability Running Shoes Terms
To understand how stability running shoes works, its important to know a few basic shoe terms.
- Medial side. The medial side of a shoe is the inside edge. Starting at your big toe, trace a line back to your heel, and thats the medial side.
- Lateral side. Opposite the medial side, the lateral side is the outside of your foot. Starting at your small toe, trace the outside of your foot back to your heel, and thats the lateral side.
- Medial post. The firmer piece of foam or rigid plastic insert that improves durability on the medial side of the shoe.
- Overpronation. Pronation is the natural inward roll of your foot when you transition through the gait cycle. Overpronation happens when your foot spends too much time on the instep as you transition from heel to toe.
Also Check: How Many Miles On Shoes
Why Do Some Runners Need Stabilizing Shoes
Every athlete has a slightly different body. Some runners are most comfortable in a minimalist running shoe which most closely mimics running barefoot. Shoes like this have very little cushioning or structure to them. These minimalist runners may gravitate toward a Nike Free or other type of free-running shoe.
Other athletes pronate or supinate and find they need a different structure than a minimalist shoe would provide. Although athletes do sometimes transition from a support shoe to one with less support, this should be done cautiously and gradually to fend off possible injury.
Myth : Runners Need Several Different Pairs Of Running Shoes
Our running form benefits from a variety of training stimuli. This maintains our dynamic motor skills and puts more spring in our step. Sascha said, This mainly concerns a variety of speeds, surfaces and running shoes.
Bottom line: Using a variety of different shoe types forces our feet and running form to adapt to a wider range of training loads. This then helps refine our running technique step by step. Joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles become stronger and are therefore less susceptible to injury. Two pairs of shoes are plenty for recreational runners, advised Sascha.
Also Check: Dhgate App Review
How We Chose Our Selection Of Stability Running Shoes
Brand – The quality of any product is mostly guided by the ethos of the brand that manufactured it. It is essential that potential buyers are aware of the different design ethos of brands and see how that is related to their design of running shoes. This will provide them with enough information on the durability and quality their preferred shoes are going to offer.
Reviews – The best way to find out how effective or efficient a product is it to ask people who have been using it for a while. With this, our team turned to various user feedback platforms online, to have a fair idea of the multiple experiences users have recorded. This offered an average review on each running shoe, which enables the team to shortlist the final ten shoes for this article.
Support – The level of support provided by running shoes is vital to its performance. That being said, the list of recommendations above features some of the very best help one can ever experience.
Which Type Of Runners Will Need A Pair Of Stability Running Shoes
From the three, it is the over-pronator who is best suited to get a pair of stability running shoes. But that depends on the extent of the over-pronation. If it is mild to moderate, then stability running shoes are the way to go. If it is excessive, then the runner might want to look at maximum support trainers.
The neutral runner, on the other hand, needs neutral running trainers. Because ones running stance is considered ideal, there is nothing to correct. If the runner is still building muscle strength, then some cushioning or support can provide comfort. However, some runners of this type who prefer the feel of more ground contact can go for natural running shoes.
Meanwhile, the underpronator or supinator, who is most susceptible to shock-related injuries, can benefit from cushioned running shoes. They are neutral running shoes, just with more cushioning.
Also Check: Dhgate Shoes Review
Are You Wearing Insoles
If you already wear insoles, make sure to bring factor them into your fitting as they can change the fit and feel of the footwear. If you havent tried insoles before, maybe now is the time to consider it? Insoles allow you to personalise the fit to your foot and help provide additional comfort in the heel, arch and across the ball of your foot, while reducing problems like slipping, blisters, hot spots and shin splints.
Designed to match the contours of your foot, insoles can compliment your trainers to take your training to the next level.
Maybe Barefoot Wasnt For Me After All
I couldnt work on it or modify my form or do anything to keep myself running in minimalist shoes. The only fix for the pain was to go back to a traditional running shoe, and, if needed, get a custom orthotic from him to suit my foot. Dr. Coffin did say, however, that I didnt need all of the features touted in the Kayano since I like ASICS, I could try the less-expensive Nimbus and get what I needed for stability. Hmm My half-hour appointment lasted over an hour and a half as a highly-experienced foot doctor found a readily-listening ear to go over his experience with New York road-runners in the 70s, to how feet work, and on into unnecessary marketing mechanisms that companies put into stability shoes. Well little did I know that Id be returning six years later for a full interview on the subject!
After that fateful appointment I happily ran in Nimbus 14 for a couple years before wanting to see if a more traditional-looking minimalist shoe would work for me. I tried a pair of Altras zero-drop shoes, and the pain returned on my first short run in them. I sent those back and got by on some discount-store Mizunos for a year or so before returning to the Kayano 21. After a few-year break from the line, I was pumped and sent a short review to Womens Running Magazine which led to my first few shoe reviews for their website.
Read Also: Dress Shoes For Problem Feet
My Experience With Stability Running Shoes
Summing up 22 years of running experience so that you can find the right shoe in much less time!
Running became a standard fixture in my life in 9th grade1995, and its been my companion, stabilizer, necessary discipline, and joy ever since, inextricably linked to who I am today.
Im reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Dr. George Sheehan:
And since my entire persona is influenced by my running program, I must remain constantly in training. Otherwise, the sedentary life will inexorably reduce my mental and emotional well-being. So, I run each day to preserve the self I attained the day before. And coupled with this is the desire to secure the self yet to be. There can be no let up. If I do not run, I will eventually lose all I have gained-and my future with it.”
Along the journey Ive learned some things the hard way , and my shoe needs and preferences have shifted in the process, as has my running, itself.
Stability shoes are something I happened upon by good marketing and comfort, moved away from after college to test something new, and learned a lot more about this past year when trying out the brands various technologies as well as through talks with my podiatrist who has been looking at shoes and runners feet since before I was born! Which, Im 36, so its probably good that Im finally learning to listen up ).
How Do Neutral And Stability Running Shoes Function
First things first: Whereas neutral shoes have no stabilizing features, but instead allow the foot to flex and move without any guidance, stability shoes and motion-control shoes are designed to help offset excessive pronation, or the inward rolling of a runners feet after impact with the ground.
Every runner naturally pronates to some degree and thats OK, but excessive pronation can lead to common overuse injuries like Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, and patellofemoral pain .
While the minimalist revolution of the early 2000s led to many shoes with little or no cushioning or protection, it also cued shoe brands and their designers to build both neutral shoes and mild stability shoes with slightly fewer guidance features that are lighter, more nimble, and more flexibleultimately shoes that allow feet to move more freely and naturally through the gait cycle.
The advent of mild stability shoes helped melt away the old-school belief about the need for rigid control in running shoes, and as a result, the motion control category maximum support/stability shoes that greatly limit how a foot moves while running has become almost non-existent and stability shoes have become less domineering to a runners stride. And generally speaking, those changes have been a good thing.
You May Like: Design My Own Nikes Shoes
How Much Support Do You Need
How does your foot hit the ground when you run? Pronation is the natural way your foot rolls inward when it strikes the ground and then propels forward. There are three different types of pronation, and you may want shoes with features that support your pronation level. Brands use different footwear technologies and features that reduce excess movement. The technologies are meant to guide the foot through a smoother transition.
Unsure Of What To Buy
If you are still unsure of what kind of shoe to buy, there are two pieces of advice. First, consider visiting a local running store for a shoe fitting. Often these local establishments have specialists who can help guide you to the right fit.
Second, purchase shoes you can take for a ride. Or actually, purchase shoes you can take for a run. Many shoe stores are equipped with treadmills so you can try before you buy. Also, many online running companies offer full refund money-back guarantees for 30-90 days satisfaction guaranteed.
If you need a neutral shoe, stability shoe or cushioned shoe is not a cut and dry decision. Ask questions. Try on a lot of pairs. Purchase from a reputable company. Your feet will thank you!
Also Check: How Often To Change Running Shoes
Are Minimalist Running Shoes Better Than Normal Running Shoes
So, why might someone opt for minimalist running shoes over traditional running sneakers? The thought process is that minimalist shoes allow runners to strengthen the muscles within their feet, which may reduce injury.
One September 2021 study published in Scientific Reports found that wearing minimalist footwear during daily activities for six months increased foot strength by 57 percent. Another August 2018 study published in European Journal of Sport Science found that when runners gradually incorporated minimalist options into their training over the course of 26 weeks, their feet got stronger. The jury’s out on whether or not that translates to fewer overuse injuries.
Ultimately, some people simply prefer low or zero drop, and like how lightweight barefoot shoes are. And the best running shoes really are the ones that fit well and feel good on your feet.
Do I Need A Stability Running Shoe
Yes and no.
If you are a beginner, or if you dont have any pain in walking or running, a stability running shoe is not absolutely necessary. You may find that neutral shoes are comfortable enough and can get you across Point A to Point B without problems.
neutral shoe vs. stability shoe
However, if you have excessive inward foot movement or if you are experiencing injuries related to it, you might have overpronation. In this case, a stability running shoe could help alleviate these issues.
You May Like: Are Orthofeet Shoes Any Good
What Are Minimalist Running Shoes
Loosely put, minimalist running shoes are any sneakers that lack significant stability or cushioning, Levin says.
“Without both of those things, the heel and forefoot are essentially at the same height,” she says. “Minimalist running shoes generally have a heel drop range of zero often referred to as barefoot running shoes to 8 mm.” Traditional running sneakers range between a 10 to 12 millimeter drop.
Zero drop running shoes don’t have to mean zero cushioning. Over the past few years, more and more brands have expanded their lines to include zero-drop options with higher stack heights the amount of material between the runner and the ground. Which means you can find barefoot running shoe options with some cushioning and other options with absolutely none.
Features To Look For In Stability Running Shoes
Stability – Like cushioning, stability is an important element in running shoe construction, helping to minimize the risk of injury and to protect the joints, tendons, and bones. Another essential function of every stability running shoe is its ability to offer runners with maximum durability while they’re on the road.
The stability of jogging shoes is achieved by processing solid materials, additional supports in the shaft, a corresponding profile, a reinforced midsole and a straight last. In addition, these running shoes have a more effective heel cushioning and a reinforced heel cup.
The construction material may determine the level of balance, the construction method and the additional features included in the design of the shoe. It is vital that every potential buyer looks out for stability in their running shoes before they make a purchase. If possible, the shoes can be tried on to have a vague feeling of their expected stability levels.
Material – The material used in making running shoes must be durable, breathable and reliable. This means it must be able to withstand all weather conditions and must enable your feet to breathe while you move around. There are some models of stability shoes that feature the use of water repellent materials. These materials prevent your feet from coming into contact with moisture, even if you step into puddles and mini water bodies.
You May Like: Dr Comfort Mequon Wi
How Does A Custom Orthotic Help With Stability
While many of us can find the support and stability we need among the great variety of options on the ready-to-buy market, some may choose to go for a custom-made orthotic.
Custom orthotics are actually prescribed by a podiatrist after performing an assessment of your body and health history. From this valuation, a doctor determines what material is needed to give you the appropriate amount of rigidity or flexibility needed to correct your situation or ailment.
Harvard Health likens the difference between over-the-counter inserts and prescription orthotics to the difference between reading glasses you purchase at the drug store and those you get from a licensed optometrist. In short, the OTC inserts can do the job, but the custom ones have fitted more accurately to the individual. As you would expect, you pay for the professional assessment fitting, prescription, and product up to $500. However, another major difference is that custom orthotics will last you five years or more, while purchased insoles will have to be replaced twice a year.