What Are Motion Control Running Shoes? The Pros and Cons

Natalie Cecconi
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What Are Motion Control Running Shoes?

Motion control running shoes are specifically designed with heel control as the primary focus. The best running shoes in this category deliver maximum comfort and support to runners who pronate (roll their feet inward) excessively.

Not all motion control running shoes are created equal. Some are designed specifically for overpronators, whereas others cater to a variety of foot types. Look for a pair that’s recommended by a trusted podiatrist who understands your individual needs.

Motion control running shoes feature a stiffer sole, anatomic footbed, nylon shanks and extra layers of cushioning that dampen shock absorption around the heel. The most restrictive of the motion control running shoes are classified as stability shoes. Such shoes feature a snug fit, while the least restrictive ones are flexibility shoes.

Regardless of the type you are most likely to buy, the most popular motion control running shoes are the ASICS Gel Kayano, Mizuno Mega Flex and Brooks Adrenaline GTS. However, be careful. Make sure to follow a shoe fitting guide when buying a pair of motion control running shoes. Depending on your choice of size, many running shoes come in various widths. For instance, while ASICS Gel Kayano comes in six width options, Mizuno Allegro features five.

Advantages of Using Motion Control Running Shoes

Motion control running shoes are constructed with enhanced stability, cushioning and arch support in mind. These features help to reduce the risk of injury and associated costs. Running injuries are quite common due to the repetitive use of joints and muscles. Motion control running shoes help to reduce the risks of this type of injury.

Motion control running shoes are constructed to encourage a runner to land on their mid foot instead of heel striking, which can have a negative impact on running form and may lead to injury.

The extra cushioning in motion control running shoes will be enjoyable for a runner who is looking to reduce the pain associated with impact.

Motion control running shoes also promote good foot health and may help to relieve the aches and pains associated with overuse, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and shin splints.

The changes in running form can really help to improve the runner’s speed, endurance and efficiency, so if the runner is interested in improving their running performance, the motion control running shoes can really help to bring those results about.

Motion control running shoes are also great for runners who have postural alignment issues or for runners who are elderly or have arthritis and are looking for a shoe that will meet their specific needs.

Disadvantages of Motion Control Running Shoes

Motion control running shoes may have a simple, minimalist design, but there are definitely some drawbacks to these models. The biggest drawback of wearing motion control running shoes may be the high price tag. The price of these models can be twice as much as other categories.

Motion control running shoes typically have a bulky, chunky look that may not appeal to everyone.

Motion control running shoes are often hard and rigid. This can make them uncomfortable to wear.

Many models of motion control running shoes do not have a lot of shock absorption, which makes them a poor choice for the avid runner. They can cause blisters and discomfort during long runs.

Are Motion Control Running Shoes Best for You?

Most running shoes will provide adequate support for the majority of runners. But for those with an unusually high or low arch, or a pronated or supinated foot, a motion control running shoe may be the best option.

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of purchasing a motion control running shoe, and explore the pros and cons of doing so.

Motion control shoes are designed for people with flat feet … or high-arched feet that overpronate … because they have shock absorption features designed to reduce pronation.


A motion control running shoe usually has a thicker midsole and a higher heel-to-toe drop than a standard running shoe.

Pronation means that your foot rolls inward after hitting the ground.

Motion control shoes strive to keep it from rolling by adding cushioning and arch support, providing additional stability.

Manufacturers use different terms to describe their motion control running shoes, including:

  • Energy absorption
  • Energy return
  • Energy stability
  • Heel support

Tips For Buying Motion Control Running Shoes

Motion control running shoes are designed to reduce the shock caused by every step by offering good support and stability to the foot and ankle. This allows athletes to run longer and faster with less pain than they would have in a cushioned or neutral shoe.

It’s usually best to choose a motion control shoe if you’ve been told that you over pronate, or have been diagnosed with a slight form of flatfoot. Also, if you have a history of knee pain from running, choose a motion control shoe and have your orthopedist or running coach examine your form to make sure that you’re really a overpronator.

Motion control running shoes also have the added benefit of being slightly more stable than neutral running shoes. The added stability can help keep you from turning your ankle on unsteady trails or running surfaces. If you’re a trail runner who doesn’t want to give up cushioned shoes, consider choosing a motion control shoe that’s designed to be lightweight and agile enough to run on the trails.

If you’re a new runner, choose a cushioned shoe to help you ease into running, and then choose a motion control shoe once your body gets used to the stress of running.


Buying running shoes can be a complicated task. The technical jargon, specification and price of the contemporary running shoes can leave the average runner confused. The mainstream media seems to swing the buying decision in favor of high-end running shoes. But, it is important to know that there are some significant trade-offs between the performance of high-end running shoes (like the Nike FSB–Freerun–3) and the contemporary running shoes. In my opinion, the trade-offs between the different features and technologies of the Saucony Hurricane ISO and the Nike FSB–Freerun–3 are worth the extra money spent on the shoes. As a disclaimer, my wife and I both run in Saucony Hurricanes, and have been very happy with them. I have not been able to personally demo the Nike FSB–Freerun–3, so this comparison is based on my research of the two shoes.