New fine-tuning technology and the ever-evolving field of biomechanical research have brought about a less aggressive and more effective approach to stability shoes. Nowadays, these shoes are designed to improve your comfort while walking or running while also minimizing the risks of injury, rather than "fixing" your gait. Accordingly, we've put together an extensive guide of the best shoes for pronation that'll contour around your form naturally and boost your comfort.
What is Pronation? Why Does it Matter?
Pronation refers to how your foot naturally rolls inwards when it hits the ground to distribute impact upon landing. Three main pronation patterns emerge from how someone walks (gait): neutral pronation, overpronation and underpronation (supination). Understanding how your foot rolls inwards (pronates) is key to finding comfortable running shoes.
- Neutral pronators can wear a wide range of shoes.
- Overpronators need running shoes that offer support or structured cushioning - orthotics and motion-control shoes.
- Underpronators (supinators) need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility to prevent strong impact.
a). Neutral Pronation
For neutral pronators, the foot hits the ground outside the heel, subsequently rolling inwards to absorb shock while also supporting body weight. This is considered a normal-size arch. As the foot pushes off, there's an even distribution of impact from the front of the foot.
This effective shock absorption means the considered injuries are less likely, but this doesn't mean people with neutral pronation are immune to injuries.
An overpronator's foot lands on the outside of the heel, then rolls inwards too much. Consequently, their weight is transferred to the inner edge rather than the ball of the foot. Such people are said to have low arches or flat feet. Therefore, as the foot pushes off, the big and second toes do most of the heavy lifting.
People with overpronation are more likely to be affected by heel spurs, bunions, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.
c). Underpronation (Supination)
A foot with underpronation hits the ground with the outer side of the heel but at an increased angle. This means the foot hardly rolls inwards, forming a high arch. As a result, there's an excessive transmission of shock through the lower leg. Inevitably, there's far too much pressure on the smaller toes towards the outside of the foot during push-off.
People with underpronation are at risk of ankle strains, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
How to Check Your Pronation Type
Knowing your gait pattern is key to finding your best shoes for pronation. Generally, we recommend getting a professional test to establish your specific pronation type. This includes getting a foot analysis, having an athletic shoe expert examine how you walk or run, or simply visiting a podiatrist for a medical diagnosis.
That being said, you can also get an idea of your pronation type by checking wear patterns on your shoes:
- If you have neutral pronation, your shoes probably wear in a sort of S-shaped pattern, from the big toe to the outer heel. Therefore, your shoes might not have a tilt when placed on a flat surface.
- If your feet overpronate, there's additional wear on the inside of the heel as well as beneath the ball of the foot, particularly the big toe. Therefore, your shoes will typically tilt inward on a flat surface.
- If your feet underpronate, then your shoes wear on the outside mostly. As such, they'll have a slight outward tilt when put on a flat surface.
With this in mind, let's dive into our front runners for the best shoes for pronation:
1. Asics Gel-Kayano Lite
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- FlyteFoam Midsole Technology - Our FlyteFoam technology provides exceptional bounce back and responsiveness no matter the distance, utilizing organic super fibers to help reduce packing out that...
- AGAR Sponge - ASICS high abrasion resistant (AHAR) rubber on the outsole that is softer and lighter to deliver a plush ride, flexibility and overall comfort.
Kayano 27 is already a titan of a stability running shoe and it's hard to think of how it could have been improved. Nevertheless, Asics Gel-Kayano Lite presents an even greater forethought for pronation. These exceptional running shoes come with even better cushioning and stability, thanks to the single-piece midsole foam.
As the name suggests, the Kayano Lite is lighter than your average stability running shoes. The standard version of this running shoe comes with a dual-density post located on the medial side and a hard plastic Trusstic bridge in the midfoot. These two elements combine to offer a degree of cushioning and stability so high that we reckon not every runner requires this level of protection.
The Lite's outer (lateral) edge is scalloped to fortify the foam's medial side to help guide pronating feet. This design also helps the sole to compress accordingly on landing, then provides additional resistance as you roll to midstance. On top of this, these stability running shoes retain some of the brand's high-end features, such as a collar and soft tongue, all adding up to extra comfort for long runs.
2. Saucony Guide 14
- Women 9.4oz (266g)
- Cushioning: PWRRUN
- Offset: 8 mm (32.5mm / 24.5mm)
- Category: Structured Cushioning
The Saucony Guide 14 is an improvement on the Ride, combining a lightweight TPU medial post and a solid heel counter for extra support to the new Pwrrun midsole. The reformulated Pwrrun makes up the biggest portion of the cushioning, which offers even softer and more responsiveness. Additionally, a thinner layer of Pwrrun+ sits on top to offer additional shock absorption.
These are undoubtedly sturdy stability running shoes designed for long distances; it never gives in or gives up. The pair provides solid support without feeling restrictive to the stride. Considering it also offers fairly more cushioning than previous models, it's hard to point at better Saucony running shoes than the Guide 14.
The running shoe also features a revamped and well-engineered mesh upper that holds the arch in an inner gusset under an equally new closed non-stretch mesh. This means it also provides a more secure fit around the midfoot. And for even more comfort, these running shoes come with thick, soft laces and plush padding that makes sliding your heels a breeze.
3. Brooks Glycerin GTS 19
- THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: The Glycerin GTS 19 is perfect for runners who think there is no such thing as too much cushioning and want trusted GuideRails support. The plush internal fit and soft...
- GREAT SUPPORT: The Glycerin GTS 19 is the more supportive version of the Glycerin 19. The integrated GuideRails holistic support system keeps excess movement in check to keep you moving comfortably...
- MAXIMUM CUSHION AND SUPPORT: Provides maximum support while offering the maximum amount of cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them!
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: The ultimate in softness and supreme comfort, designed for runners who want pillowy soft cushioning. The Glycerin 19 with DNA LOFT offers our most plush underfoot experience yet...
- SMOOTH TRANSITIONS: The plush transition zone makes every move from heel to toe feel incredibly soft and smooth.
The Glycerin GTS 19 is an excellent choice for stability running shoes, thanks to the brand's holistic guide rails system. Like other models from Brooks, this one also features denser foam on the medial and lateral sides that reduce erratic knee movement normally caused by overpronation. While this extra foam makes the shoe marginally stiffer than the neutral version, it still offers plenty of "give", which allows your foot to flex freely as you push off.
The running shoe also features a DNA Loft midsole that offers responsive cushioning. This means the shoe is easy on your joints during recovery runs and equally dependable when you decide to run longer -although it's not particularly suited for speed sessions. If you've been in search of a running shoe with ample support and stability with a soft heel and more heel cushioning, then the GTS 19 is certainly worth your consideration.
4. New Balance Fresh Foam 860 V11
The 860 V11 is one of the latest additions to the New Balance Fresh Foam lineup. It comes with a new top layer, made of softer material, to give this running shoe a plusher step-in feel. The rest of the midsole, including the sturdy medial post, combine to give you a stable ride. This allows you to switch up your pace at your own will without any worries.
These stability running shoes feature a flared ankle collar that cradles the heel more closely while also preventing the shoe from rubbing around the Achilles tendon. They are pretty light and responsive such that they might even feel a tad overbuilt for neutral runners. But if they're your ideal fit, then you can rest assured of nothing but smooth rides.
5. Hoka One One Men's Stinson ATR 5
The Stinson lineup offers great support to overpronators, thanks to the dense EVA J-Frame that wraps around the medial side and heel in a J shape. The Arahi 5 features a heel collar and a padded tongue to secure ankles firmly without creating friction. These running shoes also feature a new pull-tab that allows you to slide your feet in without creasing the back.
The Stinson ATR5 has a slightly curved rocker sole that allows for quick transitions and light and smooth rides. These running shoes allow you to cruise comfortably at an easy pace, including sufficient get-up when you spontaneously extend your walk or run. If you're looking for everyday stability running shoes, even on fast days, the Stinson ATR 5 is just right for you - its more textured grip offers solid traction even on slippery surfaces.
Factors to Consider in Stability Running Shoes
Stability shoes must provide solid support, mostly using a firm foam feature usually located in the middle of the shoe. This feature helps to control your motion from side to side. Additionally, some motion control shoes go a step further to feature guide rails that limit excessive movement.
Dr. Grace Torres-Hodges, a reputed Podiatry Specialist in Pensacola-FL, recommends going for stability running shoes with straight lasts and firm heel counters. She also adds that you must ensure the shoes match how your foot bends. A good stability running shoe must always contour to the shape of your foot.
Today's stability shoes come with a well-cushioned footbed that provides sufficient support and shock absorption. Overpronators require the most support around their midsole and heel -if you are one, go for extra cushioning in these key areas. You can also consider getting running shoes with air, foam or gel midsole cushioning, which significantly reduced impact as you walk or run.
The best shoes for pronation are built to withstand wear and tear during walks and runs, as well as holding up to all-day tear. Sturdy rubber outsoles offer the most durability we've seen on a stability shoe. The trick to finding a durable, high-quality pair is to stick with well-known and trusted brands like those featured in this guide.
A good stability shoe should have a roomy toe box so that your toes can move about freely. You should have at least half an inch of space between the tip of the shoe and your longest toe. It goes without saying that a properly fitting stability shoe feels good the moment you try it on, with no break-in period whatsoever.
If you need to wear inserts or customer orthotics, we recommend looking for a walking or running shoe that's deep enough to fit them. Alternatively, you can have removable insoles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on Shoes for Pronation
1. Is overpronation risky?
Not particularly, but if it causes chronic pain, it's definitely a call for caution. Since the impact is not distributed evenly across the foot as it hits the ground, overpronation can result in injuries like plantar fasciitis or shin splints. This is why it's incredibly important to get a stability shoe that matches your running gait.
2. What happens when an overpronator runs in neutral shoes?
The most likely thing to happen is the problem becoming worse. While pronation is somewhat normal, excessive stress on the foot -particularly when running- can increase the risks of injury. Research has shown definitively that overpronators benefit most when using running shoes for overpronation since such stability running shoes boost rearfoot eversion and reduce the risk of injury.
3. How is overpronation fixed?
The good news is, (mild) overpronation can be easily corrected with the right footwear. This entails finding the appropriate shoes, insoles or orthotics designed specifically to control excessive motion as well as help you maintain a neutral gait.