This page is dedicated to teaching those who are pretty clueless in running shoe terms, what are stability running shoes and who should wear them. Lets start out with a simple definition of a “stability running shoe.”
Stability Running Shoes- A Specifically-designed running shoe that is designed for a runner who over pronates. (To over-pronate means your foot rolls slightly inward while you run.) This is the most common form of running so most runners will typically look for stability shoes.
If you feel a little confused about exactly what are stability running shoes still, you should probably first learn what exactly is your foot motion. I have written an extensive guide on all types of running shoes and how to determine your foot type and what will fit your needs best.
So you checked it out and you have determined that you may need stability shoes like most runners do. Lets go into some of the basic features stability shoes offer so you can better understand some of the things stability shoes offer and how they can help your foot motion.
Features of Stability Running Shoes
Depending on the specific shoe, there are tons of features that stability running shoes will offer to help control the over-pronation of the foot. Lets go over what some of the things you might see.
Heel Counter– Usually made of plastic, this piece rests inside the upper and wraps around the heel. It’s purpose is to center your heel in the middle of the shoe and simply lock it into place. This should do two things. First, it helps the stability of the foot by making sure it is not out of place. Second, the heel counter also helps make sure your foot does not slip out of the shoe. Even though, it is usually made of plastic, well-made shoes will do a good job of hiding heel-counters by adding cushion around it. This ensures there is no discomfort for the runner.
Medial Post– From within the midsole extending to the outsole, the medial post’s purpose is to prevent inward and outward motion. This can be done because the medial post is usually a harder density than the rest of the shoe, making it harder for a runner to start the outward motion of the foot. The medial post reinforces both sides of the arched-midfoot (this is a very heavy pronation area of the foot.) I always tell runners to keep in mind, how much stability do you really need? There is really no point in getting a shoe with the best stability features if you only slightly-pronate. You will end up giving away things such as weight, flexibility, cushion, and overall feel.
Supportive Upper Design– Shoes these days may use the upper design to add more stability of the shoe. The upper is basically the outer region of the shoe. It is everything you can touch on the outside of the shoe except for the bottom outsole. It will cover up the sides, tongue, toes, ect ect. A lot of uppers use specific designs to keep the arch of your midfoot nice and snug. This is to help prevent extra movement within the shoe. If you have looked at running shoes before, you may have heard of the term “flex grooves.” There are many types of flex grooves but basically what they are is an upper design to help keep your foot in place.
What are stability running shoes and how much stability do I need?
The question then may become, well how much stability do I need? That all depends on two things. First, it depends on how much you over-pronate. The more you over-pronate, the more features you may want to look for to help straighten out your foot-strike motion. Secondly, it’s going to be whatever you feel comfortable with. COMFORT is such a key thing while running. Nobody is going to want to run through constant pain and discomfort. You may have to try on a few shoes and test out even a few more out, but once you find your comfort zone with shoes, it makes everything easier.
If you have been told you only slightly-over pronate you are in luck. These days, most running shoes offer some of the said stability features mentioned above, and you probably do not need to go much further. These days, shoes are advanced enough to still be light weight and offer ample stability features. That is why a lot of runners can get away with simply picking up a running shoe without ever having to deal with any pain or injuries. Sadly, they typically do not know what they could be risking by doing so. Back in the 90’s, even the best running stability shoes cannot compete much with stability feautures that might exist even in a non-stability shoe.
That is why it is best to try and find your comfort zone and determine exactly how much you over-pronate. I know a lot of runners who have tried the Hoka Clifton, are extremely happy. Even though it is a “neutral” lightweight shoe, it offers enough stability to satisfy most pronators. With it being so lightweight and having a lot of cushion, this is why this shoe gets so much acclaim for being such a great shoe for all types of runners. If you are a new runner and would like to know what may be best for you, the easiest thing to do would be to probably go to your local specialized shoe store. You can often get a free evaluation on your foot stride in hopes they can recommend a shoe for you to buy from them.
By now you should have a good understand about what are stability running shoes and the features they may offer. More than anything, you need to figure out what is in your comfort zone. Once you know your foot type, things will be a million times easier to look around in stores or online. Don’t be afraid to read my shoe reviews or various other shoe reviews sites to help determine what may be the best shoes for you in these up coming years. Hope this guide helped some understand a bit more about stability shoes. Run safe. Life Strong.