Over-pronation—often also referred to as "flat feet"—means that your feet collapse inward when you walk and run, and the best way to correct the problem (and to keep you from foot pain and potential injury) is with the right sneakers. Stability running shoes offer additional cushioning and support to keep your feet from rolling inward, making them better aligned with your legs. That's why podiatrist Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare, recommends them for people who pronate. "Shoes that are made for pronators consist of a medial post support, a wedge that is built into the shoe under the arch to prevent the arch from collapsing or rotating inward," he says. "By minimizing pronation, this construct helps distribute the impact of running more effectively."
Flat-footed friends aren't the only ones who could benefit from having a little bit more support in their shoes when they run. "Some runners are able to maintain their preferred motion path when going from walking to running, but some runners deviate from their preferred motion path when going from walking to running," says Jon Teipen, senior manager of footwear at Brooks Running. "The runners that deviate more will benefit from a support shoe."
The benefits of wearing a stability running shoe
There are a few different characteristics of stability running shoes, each of which brings along its own particular benefit. According to Dr. Cunha, they've got:
1. A spacious toe box, which allows your toes to move freely and minimizes the discomfort placed on flat arches.
2. A well-cushioned footbed and arch support to hold the plantar fascia and prevent it from collapsing to minimize fatigue and pain associated with flat feet.
3. A deep heel cup to maintain proper foot realignment and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia when your heel strikes the ground. This will help maintain proper sagittal motion and minimize frontal plane motion which can lead to excessive pronation, collapse of the arch, and ultimately foot pain associated with flat feet," says Dr. Cunha.
Even if you don't have flat feet, Teipin says that the brand's stability running shoes can "help reduce stress and strain on the knee and other joints, which may help the runner stay healthier with less discomfort." Plus, they can "keep a runner in their preferred motion path, reduce muscle activation, and reduce fatigue throughout a run."
When you're out shopping for sneakers, you'll be able to spot the stability shoes in the bunch by way of their stiff composition—usually, they'll only flex near the toe area. "When picking shoes for running pick a shoe with stabilizing roll bars to help protect the arches," says Dr. Cunha, adding that you should look for shoes that have a dense, supportive arch, which helps provide reinforcement and keep your arches from collapsing. To make things easier, shop some of the best pro-approved stability running shoes, below.
New Balance 860v10, $130
Cushioning plus mid-sole support helps to prevent over-pronation and makes these sneaks a stability win.
ASICS Gel Kayano, $75
Kayanos are known among runners as the best of the best for stability and support. The shoe's impact guidance technology reduces the amount of weight you're putting on your foot when it strikes the ground.
These sneaks have a near custom fit thanks to breathable mesh and a contoured, form-fitted footbed.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS, $100
According to Teipen, these sneaks are lauded for being "great balance of cushion, responsiveness, and stability." Plus, they're comfy as hell.
Here's how to know when it's time to trade in your running shoes, plus why one Well+Good editor has held onto ever single pair she's ever said goodbye to.
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