Do you love running? This activity not only serves as a form of leisure but also as a form of exercise. It helps you lose weight and stay in shape. To serve its purpose, runners should wear appropriate shoes at all times. Learn what is a neutral running shoe and a stabilizing running shoe to be able to decide on what suits your feet best!
What Is a Running Shoe?
A running shoe is designed to handle the shock of your body weight that is caused by the impact of your foot as it strikes the ground. It comes with a wide range of choices depending on your running needs and styles. Most of the running shoes vary with the amount of cushioning, heel height and flare, and flexibility.
In choosing a perfect pair, you must look into your biomechanics, weight, surfaces available, as well as the shape of your feet. Keep in mind that what's ideal with one person can be terrible to another. To help you find the best running shoe, let’s take a look into two of its main categories: stabilizing and neutral.
What Is a Stabilizing Running Shoe?
A stabilizing running shoe, also known as structured shoes, is highly recommended for runners with mild to moderate overpronators. This also works best for those with low to normal foot arches.
Runners need this type of shoe, a combination of good support and midsole cushioning, to provide better structure in the instep of the shoe.
What Is a Neutral Running Shoe?
A neutral running shoe, also known as a cushioned shoe, is designed for people with a neutral gait. They work best for mild pronators, and those who supinate - wherein the tent of the foot tends to roll outward.
This type of shoes is recommended for most runners since it has little to no built-in support. It can either have little cushioning such as in a racing flat or maximum cushioning like in long distance trail shoes. Neutral shoes are best for biomechanically efficient runners and midfoot or forefoot strikers with normal to high arches.
Additionally, these shoes provide shock absorption and some medial support, especially on the arch-side. In fact, some super-cushioned shoes provide greater shock absorption and as much as 50% more cushioning.
What Is the Difference Between Stabilizing Shoes and Neutral Shoes?
Neutral and stabilizing shoes involve two different footwear patterns that help support not only your feet but the entire body. Some of their well-noted differences were as follows:
- Common Foot Patterns
During walking or running, the feet tend to roll inward naturally in an action known as pronation. The excessive rolling of the feet causes overpronation making you prone to knee problems, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions.
On the other hand, a supinate refers to a high-arch foot that rolls outward. This condition also puts you at risk to splints, sprain, and fractures. Those whose foot pronates in just the right amount is known to be a neutral runner.
- Fixing the Cause of Feet Ails
Stability shoes are designed for over-pronators. They have added support in the midline of the arch to prevent excessive inward rolling.
Those with supinate should avoid using stability shoes since it will only aggravate the outward rolling of their foot. The stability shoes are also inappropriate for neutral runners who require no corrections. Neutral shoes support those who usually pronate and those who supinate.
- Levels of Support
People suffering from severe overpronators should look beyond stability shoes to motion-control shoes. These shoes combine all the stability features into one to help correct serious flat arches and overpronation.
The stability and motion-control shoes tend to be heavier than the neutral shoes to help the significant wear a pronator puts on the shoes.
What Are the Other Considerations in Choosing a Running Shoe?
- Shoe Size
When you run, the amount of force you put through on the foot increases. In turn, this causes the foot to spread inside the shoe to a greater degree as compared to walking. The shoes may feel a bit small after a few miles of running. It is therefore important to get your feet measured at a reputable running store before buying a running shoe.
Make sure that your heel is sitting correctly at the back of the shoe once it is fastened. There should be a space, about thumb width, between the top of the big toe and the front of the shoe.
- Foot Strike
Foot strike refers to how your foot makes contact with the floor during running. This will help determine the shoe choice when it comes to cushioning and impact absorption of the foot landing. Some of the common foot strike patterns include heel strike, midfoot strike, and forefoot strike.
- Heel Strike - The heel is on the first part of the shoe during for contact.
- Midfoot Strike - The midfoot is the first part of the shoe during floor contact.
- Forefoot Strike - The ball of the foot is the first part of the shoe during floor contact.
- Changing Shoes
It is highly advisable to replace your running shoes after six months or 300 miles. This is due to the shoe cushioning which tends to lose its springiness and responsiveness through time.
Running seems to be a simple workout for staying fit and in shape. However, there are factors to be considered to identify the best shoes to use. One of which is pronation or the natural movement of the foot as it lands on the ground. Every person has different pronation which basically dictates the appropriate type of running shoes to be worn.
Learning what is a neutral running shoe and its difference with the other types of shoes is important. The neutral shoes are best for runners who give excessive tension on the rearfoot and forefoot. They help absorb the shock and allow you to run comfortably and efficiently. On the other hand, stabilizing shoes are perfect for over-pronation to bring the foot to its natural alignment.
With that, the kind of running shoes will depend greatly on the arch type, foot structure, running activity, and pronation of the runner. Always choose the right one to help minimize or prevent the risk of injury.