what are neutral running shoes

What are Neutral Running Shoes and who should Wear them

What are neutral running shoes? Well, If you are new to running, you may not know what neutral running shoes are.  You may not even know what type of running shoe you should be looking to buy or use.  If you are unsure what type of running shoe would be best for you, you can check out my guide that describes how to find out what type of foot you have and all the different shoe types that correspond to each foot type.  If you know that you are indeed a neutral runner, lets go into what are neutral running shoes and all the basics you should know about before choosing a shoe.

Neutral Running Shoe- A shoe specifically made for neutral runners.  Neutral runners neither over-pronate nor under-pronate.  They pronate the proper amount which optimally, is about 15%.  It is a shoe made for runners who already possess the correct running form.  Optimal pronation means a runner is able to make full contact with the ground with their foot and absorb shock at the highest degree.  Neutral running shoes often have no need for stabilizing features although manufacturers usually place in some stabilizing features to expand the buyer audience among other reasons.

Features of a Neutral Running Shoe

Unlike stability shoes and motion-control shoes, neutral shoes do not have a need for extra added stability features.  This gives neutral running shoes a big upper hand.  Because of less needed features, the other benefits of the shoe are able to be enhanced.  Whether it is added cushion or added comfort, or even less weight, neutral shoes have the upper hand over most types of running shoes.  A few examples of this would be the Hoka One One’s Clifton which is a max cushioning shoe weighing under 8 ounces as well as the Free 4.0 Flyknit which also weighs under 8 ounces.  That is not to say all neutral shoes are expected to be lighter.  There are still high quality shoes such as the Wave Prophecy 4 which focuses on great cushioning, mileage, and durability.  This neutral running shoe is probably meant more towards heavy runners.

If I over-pronate slightly, are neutral shoes not for me?

This may be a question on a lot of minds.  There are going to be three main factors when trying to answer this question.  First, how much do you over-pronate?  If you are a heavy over-pronator, chances are you will not be able to comfortably run in neutral shoes without feeling the effects.  I would say a lot of runners who slightly over-pronate get away with being able to run in neutral shoes.  Another factor is the shoe itself.  There are different grades of neutral shoes.  Some shoes such as the Clifton that I previously mentioned before, offer a few stability features.  A lot of stability runners have been able to run comfortably in the Clifton’s.  On the other hand, there are some neutral shoes that offer 0ffer basically zero stability.  These shoes are mainly meant for the pure neutral runners.  More times than not, high quality neutral shoes that offer no stability either are extremely light weight or offer a lot of cushion.

The final factor and MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR is how comfortable you feel in the shoe.  It does not matter what you do or do not know about your feet.  If you put on a shoe and it does not feel comfortable right off the bat, it probably will not work for you.  There are some shoes you may be able to ease into, but my experiences lead me to believe the best shoes are the shoes you do not have to wait for.  Sometimes a shoe’s sizing is simply different.  The toe box may be a little too wide or possibly the height is too small so it squeezes on the foot.  You should always pay attention to size and try and make sure you do not get a shoe that is too big or too small.  Leave enough air space without letting the shoe move around too much.

 Conclusion to What are Neutral Running Shoes and who should Wear them

I hope you have a good understanding of what neutral shoes are and whether or not you would be interested in them or not at this point.  If you do not think Neutral shoes are for you, you can check out my guide on What Are Stability ShoesNeutral shoes usually offer very little support and are usually for those who neither pronate nor supinate.  If you have narrowed it down to neutral shoes, hopefully now you have to look into some of the shoes of themselves.  You may start to ask yourself which features are more important, weight vs cushion or durability vs traction.  You will want to look at how and where you plan to use the neutral running shoes as well as your overall goal.  If you want a complete guide on how to pick the perfect shoe for you, we have the perfect guide from that, which covers other shoe features such as weight, traction, cushion, heavy-tread, and more.