How do you know which is better between stability vs neutral shoes?
Wearing the correct pair of shoes should feel comfortable from the start.
Whether you are training or only having fun, your running shoes must support your body weight to prevent injuries.
What is the difference between neutral and stability running shoes? Which one do you need?
Running Shoes Anatomy
Understanding the different parts of running shoes is essential to choosing your trainers.
Here are the various elements you need to take note of:
The reinforced upper part of a shoe, typically made of different materials, hugs the top portion of your foot.
Most of these trainers have excellent flexibility, breathability, and yield, allowing your feet to move naturally while running.
The midsole, found between the trainers’ upper and its outsole, serves as the heart of running shoes.
This is where cushioning and additional support are placed.
Every brand boasts of its trademark midsole support feature and cushioning technology, usually made of gel or EVA foam air.
The drop in a running shoe indicates the height difference between the heel and the forefoot, affecting how your foot hits the ground.
This part is typically measured in millimeters.
Running shoes between 9 to 12 measurements are perfect for runners with forceful heel strike and tight calves.
The mid-drop with four- to eight-millimeter measurements are suitable for those running more into their mid and forefoot.
For those who want ankle mobility and calf flexibility, a lower drop of three millimeters and below will suffice.
The last comes in three different shapes in running shoes: straight, curved, and semi-curved.
Each one offers its unique benefit.
The straight last is for overpronators, used in increased stability running shoes, enhancing its support.
The curved last is typically used for track and field spikes and racing shoes for faster running and efficiency.
The combined features of the straight and curved lasts are found in a semi-curved shape.
Most running shoes use this type, as it offers excellent speed and support.
The outsole is the bottom of your running shoes, typically made from combined carbon and blown rubbers.
It forms the tread, which is vital in your trainers’ durability, grip, and traction.
Difference Between Neutral and Stability Running Shoes
How does a neutral vs stability shoe differ from the other?
Let’s check them individually to understand them better.
Neutral Running Shoes
As the name implies, the neutral running shoes’ construction is specific for correct running motions.
People with a neutral movement have normal walking or running stride, which means that the foot does not incline on either side.
Most neutral running shoes are lightweight and come with heel cushioning and either curved or semi-curved outsole.
Neutral trainers do not have sufficient support.
As a result, it is not suitable for runners weighing more than 13 pounds.
Who Should Wear Neutral Running Shoes?
Neutral running shoes are perfect for runners with a normal running stride.
Those with mild supination will also benefit from these types of trainers.
Since neutral shoes have no added supporting features, they allow natural flexing of the foot and ease of movement.
High-arched feet runners having trouble with normal flexing may take advantage of neutral running shoes.
Apart from foot alignment, these shoes provide more speed to the runner with a lesser risk of pain and injury.
You can check our list of the best neutral running shoes if you are looking for excellent support on your runs.
Stability Running Shoes
Stability running shoes are for pronating feet.
Runners may overpronate or supinate, which is where the feet roll either inward or outward, respectively.
These types of stability trainers come with supportive features in the arch area.
This added technology aligns the foot in a more neutral position.
Our selection of the best stability running shoes for women provides sufficient support that helps prevent unnecessary injuries.
What Does Stability Mean in a Running Shoe?
The way a person runs determines the type of trainers he needs to wear to prevent running-related pain and injuries.
Previous models of stability running shoes aim to correct an overpronator’s gait.
Current designs are less aggressive with their approach.
The stability in modern running shoes indicates the added support that counterbalances the foot’s overpronation.
These additional features came from numerous research, resulting in new technologies used in most running shoes today.
They provide enhanced comfort and reliability on every run while lessening the risk of injuries related to too much pronation.
Stability shoes help prevent common ailments caused by exaggerated gaits like ankle and shin pains.
Most of these stability features are found in a trainer’s midsole, which helps in the foot’s alignment, relieving the foot with the inward-rolling motion.
Medial post and firm midsoles provide sufficient arch support.
They help in minimizing pronation by distributing the impact of running effectively.
Do I Need Neutral or Stability Running Shoes?
Some runners, especially those new to the sport, don’t know which one to choose between stability vs neutral shoes.
You can visit a running store and ask the staff’s assistance to analyze your running gait and determine your pronation level.
There are also a few guidelines you can try at home to discover your pronation level.
The first step is to stand up straight while wearing your regular shoes.
The feet of neutral runners are both facing forward.
If your feet look like the letter V, it means that they tend to roll inward as you run or walk. If they look like the capital A, your feet are likely to move outward.
The next step is to do an arch step. Briefly stand on a piece of paper with a damp foot to make an imprint.
If you see your whole foot outlined on the paper, you are flat-footed, indicating overpronation.
If the imprint only shows your heel and front-foot, you have high arches, signifying supination.
A neutral runner’s foot imprint would show the heel, front-foot, and some portions of the middle part.
Once you have determined your pronation level, it will be easier to pick between a neutral vs stability shoe.
Can Overpronators Run in Neutral Shoes?
High-end running shoe stores typically have expert staff members who can assess your foot’s pronation degree.
After the assessment, you will receive several shoe recommendations from the staff, according to your feet’s evaluation results.
Overpronators typically have low-arches, causing them to collapse excessively, rolling their feet inward during the motion.
Therefore, overpronators should avoid neutral running shoes and wear stability trainers instead.
These come with special supportive features, preventing excessive rolling inward.
Overpronators require additional support, reliability, and structured cushioning for a more comfortable fit.
Do You Need Cushioning on Your Running Shoes?
Cushioning on running shoes is a personal preference. We all have different body types and feet shapes; thus, what’s best for one may not be suitable for others.
There are three cushioning levels, and understanding each one will help you find what is convenient for you.
Max Cushion Running Shoes
If you are the kind of person who likes a plush and comfy ride, you should pick heavily-cushioned running shoes.
It offers more shock-absorption that can lessen stress on your back, hips, and knees.
It’s also more durable, allowing you to maximize its features.
However, these types of shoes are heavier and less responsive compared to those with less cushioning.
Max cushion shoes are perfect for heavy runners who need extra protection against injuries.
Mid-Level Cushion Running Shoes
The mid-level cushion running shoes are the perfect all-around trainers for both long and short running distances.
It is the perfect training shoe for everyday wear, providing lightweight durability and sufficient cushioning.
Light Cushion Running Shoe
Less-cushioned running shoes are more lightweight and responsive, making them perfect for shorter runs.
However, they are less durable and offer lower shock-absorption properties.
Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes
There is a slight difference between neutral and stability running shoes except for the additional support provided.
All runners pronate, but some experience it more, leading to running-related injuries.
This is where you need to choose between a neutral vs stability shoe.
Choosing between neutral vs stability running shoes will be easier after you identify your running stride.