When you shop for running shoes these days, there’s more to just wanting to buy a pair to run with, as you’d have to know what kind of running shoes to get yourself. And it doesn’t mean what brand, color, style, but rather what you should be getting between a neutral, stability, maximum support, or minimalist. If you aren’t already familiar with these, some of your questions would be along the lines of what does neutral mean, or what are stability running shoes?
If you did some researching online, you might find that some running enthusiasts attest to stability shoes as being some of the best shoes around. Now you might be wondering if that might apply to you as well. We’d help you find out more about stability shoes and how they differ from one another.
What Are Stability Running Shoes?
These shoes are for runners with mild to moderate overpronation of their feet. They support the foot as it rolls inward during running. These shoes have midsole support, often at the arch side of the midsole, which is where there is a high impact due to overpronation.
Stability shoes are meant to match a specific type of gait. In the initial creation of stability shoes, they were made to “correct” the pronation of the feet. Neutral forms were considered the ideal form, and some shoes were designed to allow the users’ feet to readapt this pattern of gait.
Shoes were later on designed not to change the gait, but rather allow the runner to maintain the gait that is most comfortable to them. Likewise, they are also meant to provide support and stability to the gait instead of changing it, which can make the runner unstable and at risk for injuries.
Can Everyone Use Stability Shoes?
Not everyone should use stability shoes especially if their gait does not match what the shoe was made to support. There is really a risk of getting injured or destroying your feet. The alignment that your feet might take would not be your most stable form.
Stability Shoes Features
- Medial Post
There is sturdier support found on the medial side of the shoes. These are meant to catch the overpronation that the feet do.
They are designed to absorb the pressure that this motion makes. Hence, they should be soft enough to provide a cushioning effect, but not too rigid which can hamper the natural motion that your feet take.
- Contoured Footbed
There should be no stiffness of the support materials beyond the point where the shoes flex. The footbed should be roomy enough to allow the toes some room to wiggle. Before settling for final shoe size, make sure you have at least half-an-inch space between your toes and the front edge of the footbed.
- Heel Support
The heel part of the shoe should be able to snugly fit the heel of the user to prevent unnecessary movement. This is an important element of stability in the shoes.
- Lace Pattern
The lacing pattern of the shoes helps keep the feet stable. A poor design allows the feet to make movements that the shoes cannot support.
What Are Other Types of Running Shoes?
A scientific approach to designing shoes has allowed us to carefully observe human movement and formulate shoes that can support our movement better and help us perform better. As a result, we now have several kinds of running shoes available that you can choose from.
They are maximum support shoes, stability shoes, and neutral shoes. You might find some companies would include another category of minimalist or barefoot shoes.
- Maximum Support Shoes
These are also known as motion control shoes. They are usually the ones that have the most cushioning and support compared to other types.
They are appropriate for those who have moderate to severe overpronation. They also work for people who are heavy runners who might want more cushioning, as well for those who are flat-footed.
- Neutral Shoes
These shoes have some cushioning. They are designed for those with minimal pronation of their feet, as well as those who neither pronate or supinate their feet when running.
How to Find Out Your Gait?
The types of shoes do not merely differ in their levels of cushioning and support, but they were made to support the different ways our feet hit and take off from the ground when we walk or run. You’d find out which areas of your feet hit the ground first, and which areas help you push off as you go through the cycle of the motion of your feet.
The simplest way to determine what kind of feet you have is to look at the wear pattern of your old shoes. Supinators would have the wear on the outside. On the other hand, an S-shaped wear pattern indicates that the owner of the shoes is a neutral runner.
The shoes of an overpronator usually have significant wearing at the heels and at the balls of the feet, and more on the inside when the runner overpronates. Those who overpronate are candidates for stability shoes. In case the pronation is excessive, maximum support shoes are recommended.
What are stability running shoes? Stability shoes are shoes that were meant to support a runner’s feet whose gait takes a pronating pattern. The level of pronation should be between mild to moderate; otherwise, the runner may need to use the maximum support shoes.
Stability shoes were initially made to correct the overpronation, hoping to change the gait to a neutral one—a balance between pronation and supination. This idea has later evolved to be more accepting of the different gait patterns and has designed shoes to provide support and safety to pronating gait patterns.
While many running enthusiasts praise stability shoes as some of the best shoes to use, these shoes were not designed to be used by everyone. It is still encouraged that runners take note of their gait pattern and use the shoes designed for the gait that they have. This achieves maximum support from their shoes avoid potential injury.
Well-designed stability shoes will cushion the feet at the medial aspects, provide ample support, without impeding the natural movement of the feet.