Choosing the right running shoe: Neutral or Stability?

Some shoes use rails of denser material , which provides a more holistic style of support. The theory being that this may help align the rest of the leg better. The position and shape of denser foams used in shoes are all different. Brands use a variety of shapes and sizes of denser foams within their ranges, to try and cater for varying movements in runner’s feet and legs.

This is beneficial when trying to run at harder paces because running faster requires feet to be in contact with the ground for less time. Some shoes even have carbon plates or inserts in them to increase energy return when running faster. Softer midsoles will stop joints flexing as much as legs and muscles do not need to absorb as much impact. For example, imagine jumping on to sand from a height versus jumping on to concrete from a height. We will flex our legs more when jumping down to the harder surface to absorb the impact.

This type of runner is – as the name suggests – optimally advised with neutral running shoes. -Stability for a large portion of the running industry has been focused on rearfoot and midfoot posts. Posts usually involve sections of the midsole material being firmer than the rest of the shoe on the inner or medial side of the shoe. Since motion occurs through the path of least resistance, the post is designed to resist motion and facilitate it toward a different direction. Most of the time the posts are in the medial heel and midfoot. While posts have long been the forefront of stability shoes, recent years have shown a sharp turn from posts for alternative forms of guidance.

We will guide you towards what shoes are suitable options but ultimately you have to decide on what feels right. Working collaboratively is the most effective way in getting the right shoes for you. Running in shoes with firmer cushioning will result in muscles doing more work, as joints will flex more. This is beneficial when running at harder or faster efforts though.

That is still considered overpronation because heel strike commonly happens on the outer part of the heel. The wearing on the inside part of the shoe and less of the outer part indicates that the foot rolls excessively inside resulting in uneven wearing. Softer cushioned shoes are in theory more beneficial for slower paced running or when we are tired.

How much you can handle will depend on your individual mechanics, strength and endurance. While frontal plane motion at the foot/ankle has been the biggest focus, we know now that just because someone may move excessively in a certain area does not mean they are going to have problems. Most people focus on pronation, which is the inward collapse of the foot during normal shock absorption. However, it also refers to supination, whereby some people actually collapse outwardly AFTER they land . This is not to be confused with landing on the outside of your foot and rolling in (that’s still pronation). Just because someone pronates or supinates doesn’t mean they are going to have a problem.

When running shoes are comfortable and complementing the feet you’re almost unaware and forget you’re wearing them. As the outer edge of a stability shoe is designed slightly differently to a neutral shoe, as the aim is to hold the foot on the outer edge for longer and reduce the speed at which the foot rolls in. The upper part of stability shoes use stronger fabrics and overlays than neutral shoes. The top part plays an integral part in helping controlling excessive movement in feet so support features are increased. This quick video explains the different technologies used in stability running shoes – midsole, duomax, arch-support and foot profiling.

Full Ground Contact Outsole- A fully connected to the ground outsole helps provide controlled contact between the runner and surface to help a smooth transition forward. These are inherantly more stable as more surface contact means more inherent stability. Firmer shoes won’t slow down pronation as much as softer shoes because the crash pads are stiffer.

Plates or Rods- Although most people think of these as being propulsive, plates and rods really stabilize the ride and stiffen the sole . They also add torsional rigidity, which tends to keep foot motion centered . Adidas Stable Frame – Used in the Solar Glide ST series, the what goes with red shoes for guys Stable Frame is firmer material that sits at the outer edge of the midsole that guides the foot forward along the more soft center . Mizuno’s Wave Plate – Utilized for years instead of posting, Mizuno typically uses a fan shaped design in their rear/midfoot wave plate.

So, how much your feet pronate will be an important factor in determining the right shoe for you. With the exception of a few, the majority of road running shoes have some form of support. That is because the primary purpose of a running shoe is to help you run. Every person runs in a slightly different way, so running shoes are designed with different levels of support to accommodate varying ranges of motion in our feet and legs. Lastly, if you are an overpronator, you require shoes with good support from the inside to prevent your ankles from turning inward on impact. Such runners need shoes with enough midfoot and midsole support.

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