Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes: Which Is Better?

Natalie Cecconi
Written by
Last update:

Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes

Which Is Better?

When looking for running shoes, runners say there are two main factors that are important to them: comfort and performance. And most times, neutral versus stability running shoes are the main factor when it comes to performance.

But are stability running shoes a lot better than neutral shoes? Essentially, no. The midsole of the shoe supports the arch of your foot. The arch is just an area where a lot of people pronate (the motion of the foot rolling inwards), which is a naturally occurring motion in the foot.

So for lots of people, shoes designed for neutral feet might provide them with ample support. However, if you have a history of over-pronating or you have developed a lot of problems due to overpronation, you would probably benefit from a shoe designed specifically to support stability or motion control. That being said, even runners who suffer from overpronation can successfully use neutral running shoes.

High Arch Foot

High Arch, Flat Foot,Normal, and Low Arch Foot? When it comes to foot care, there are always so many questions revolving around your anatomy, biomechanics, and what type of foot you have. By now, I hope you have an idea of what the high arch foot is.

You may have read some exceptional reporting on different types of feet: flat foot, normal foot, high arch foot, and low arch foot. So what’s the truth about foot types? Since there are plenty of different opinions out there, it’s hard to get to the bottom of it. I’ve seen a lot of confusion and mixed reviews on what type of foot you have; if you have flat foot, high arch foot, low arch foot, or normal foot. Listed below is some valuable information to help you understand the different types of foot; and how they fit in with your running and training style. Don’t get stuck on a one-dimensional foot type … high arch vs. normal arch feet, or natural running vs. traditional running. And remember, there’s no right or wrong arch type; just different people, running, doing different activities in different shoes.

Medium and Low Arch Foot

Pronate.

In order to properly determine which type of running shoe is best for you, it is important to first identify your arch type and foot type. While there are several different types of pronation, the three that you most commonly encounter are: neutral pronation, slight over-pronation and moderate/severe over-pronation.

Each of these different variations requires a different type of running shoe. You might ask,

“Why am I having to choose a running shoe that is specific to my type of foot type? Shouldn’t I be able to use one running shoe for all foot types?”

The answer to that question is, no. You need to know both your foot type and arch type in order to properly select a running shoe that is most appropriate to your needs. It is the most important aspect of selecting a running shoe since you want a running shoe that is beneficial to your particular running style and your particular foot type.

You also need to carefully assess your pronation rate (how far you pronate) as this will determine which running shoe is best for you.

The following are 10 foot types/arch types and the types of pronation that they represent:

Type 1:

Flat Feet / No Arch

These runners need shoes with firm, flat arch supports to keep the foot from over-pronating. Type 2:

Overpronation

Can you imagine going out for a run on a crumpled washboard road? There's no way you will be able to run on it comfortably.

Similarly, if you have neutral running shoes, running on washboard roads will be hard on your body. So you need to have shoes that absorb shock and cushion your muscles.

One of the reasons why runners get injured is a very simple issue. Without proper shoes, your feet are absorbing shock.

The absorbent is your bone, and the shock is being absorbed thru your footrun.

This is why you need shoes designed for the way you run.

The most common foot types are neutral, overpronation, and supination. If you are not sure how you run, you can use the wet foot test to find out the way you run.

Overpronation and supination are the opposite of neutral.

Overpronators generally run on the outside of their feet. Their ankles are more flexible than normal. When they run, they run on the outside of their feet to compensate for poor stability in the ankle area. While this is better than running on the inside of their feet, it still causes overpronation. This leads to certain injuries such as plantar fasciitis.

The Cushion Level of Running Shoes

What Is Too Much?

You should always remember that running shoes have different types of cushioning and support.

And the more support a running shoe provides, the more rigid it will be when cushioning hits the hardest. Rigid running shoes are more stable and with less risk of inverting and overpronating.

Leaving you with that stability comes with a heavier and bulkier upper, and more weight on the heel rather than the balls of your feet. As a result, you will land on your heels rather than your toes.

That’s why it’s also best to remember that the thicker the cushioning, the longer it’ll last, and that the thicker the cushioning, the more you’ll hear your footsteps on the ground.

You will feel less shock impact and the shoe will be gentle on the bones and joints in the feet. But the downside of such cushioning is that it’s also heavier and bulkier up top. Meaning you may have trouble running in the shoe, and you may have to pair a more rigid, protective shoe with a more cushioned and flexible shoe.

For this reason, many neutral running shoes are placed in the moderate cushioning category.

Conclusion

Although there are a few key differences in the neutral vs stability running shoes, I recommend that beginner runners try a both styles and then decide which one they like best.

You can’t go wrong with either one as long as the shoe fits your foot shape well. The important thing to remember is the shoe type is just a starting point.

You need to invest in good quality running shoes and break them in before you use them for running. This will ensure that you don’t cause injuries out of the gate.

Once you start running, your body will naturally adapt to the motions needed for running and doing so in neutral and stability shoes will help enhance your performance. Also remember to listen to your body and don’t push it too hard when you start out.