In the market for a new pair of running sneakers? Don’t just go buy the flashiest pair you can find. For the best experience, you might need a little more support. Stability running shoes may be your best bet.
But first, understanding the use of stability running shoes requires a basic lesson on foot mechanics—and specifically the term pronation, i.e., “rolling in or inward tilting of the arch when the foot contacts the ground,” says Scott R. Lurie, DPM, founder of Park Avenue Podiatry Associates in New York City.
Why You Might Need Stability Running Shoes
As Lurie explains, while every foot pronates on contact Rick Owens Shoes with the ground and some pronation is normal, the bony structure of the particular foot will dictate the level to which the foot “rolls inward” or pronates. “In the worst case scenario, a ‘flat foot’ or pes plano valgus foot may be the end result of these pronatory forces requiring even greater stability and control,” he says, adding that shoe choices are critical for such a foot type, along with possible custom orthotic supports to be fabricated for additional control. As always, consult with a podiatrist to learn more about your specific running shoe needs and if you may benefit from orthotics.
In general, hyper-pronated feet require stability shoes, “which offer a number of components to control pronatory forces and absorb shock and impact,” according to Lurie. “These types of shoes often have wedging or what is referred to as posting in the sole of the shoe. This may take the form of various density materials placed in the sole of the shoe to control inward rolling of the arch and pitch of the heel. Additionally, variations in the length of the [back of the shoe or] counter along the inner or medial side of the heel may offer additional control.” Properly lacing your shoes can also aid in control of motion and offer much in the way of support, he adds.
What to Look for in Stability Running Shoes
Some key features to look for when buying stability running sneakers? “It is important that a stability shoe fits comfortably, is relatively appealing to the customer and is at a reasonable price point. Ensure that the stability shoes fit in appropriate width,” says foot and ankle surgeon/podiatrist Mark J. Mendeszoon, FACFAS, FACPM, a partner at Precision Orthopaedic Specialties Inc in Chardon, Ohio and the owner of Achilles Running Shop in Willoughby, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania. “Make sure that the midsole is not only firm to control pronation but also comfortable to walk in without causing pressure points, calluses or sores.
Lastly, says Mendeszoon, check that the back of the shoe (the counter) has ample room for your heel and that the Achilles notch is fitting comfortably along the Achilles tendon. “The counter is typically a bit firmer than the front of the shoe as it is designed to slow down the heel from going side to side which can reduce the amount of pronation for the foot,” he says.
How to Choose the Right Stability Running Shoe for You
Buying running shoes in-person is best. Always seek professional advice from experienced shoe fitters, as some shoes may be more comfortable and appropriate given varying foot structures and running styles, says Lurie.
When shopping online, check return policies to make sure you can exchange or return the sneakers if you have any issues. And caveat emptor: “do not buy the Kizik Shoes shoes based on one brand ,but try different brands and shoes change periodically,” says Mendeszoon. “If wearing insoles or orthotics make sure to remove shoe insoles so that the orthotics fit comfortably in the shoes.”
Our Picks for the Top Stability Running Shoes
Below, eight top-notch stability running shoes to consider if you’re on the hunt to power up your training sessions.
Asics long-running Kayano line provides plenty of support and cushion for all kinds of runners, and the brand says its a solid stability option. New to the 28 are two stability-forward features: gender-specific 3D-Space Construction units under the heel and forefoot to cut down weight and a Dynamic Duomax support system to reduce inward rolling during your stride.