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As the name implies, stability running shoes support stability while running by supporting the foot’s arch more than a typical running shoe.
If you experience overpronation while running, when the arch collapses downwards with each foot strike, then a pair of stability running shoes could help you enjoy a more comfortable running experience.
If you would like to know more about stability running shoes and the many ways they can help certain types of runners, you have come to the right place! We will provide a detailed description of these cutting-edge running shoes and highlight some of the best stability shoe options on the market today.
So, What Are Stability Running Shoes?
As mentioned above, stability running shoes are specialized running shoes that were first designed to provide added stability and structure. More specifically, stability running shoes add support and stability to the midfoot region and heels of the wearer’s feet.
Throughout the early 2000s, many running shoe manufacturers focused on making minimalist running shoes. A more lightweight minimalist shoe was believed to improve the wearer’s speed and overall running performance. Unfortunately, these types of shoes can lead to injuries and discomfort, especially if the wearer has a heightened susceptibility to injuries and pain in the midfoot region.
Stability running shoes were developed as a solution to these issues.
How Do Stability Running Shoes Help?
To help reduce injuries, stability running shoes provide more cushioning and protection through this vulnerable region of the foot. Stability running shoes are more rigid and supportive than a typical pair.
Not only does this protect the bottom of the feet from muscle injuries, but it can also help reduce the frequency and severity of Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, patellofemoral pain, and other types of common overuse injuries.
All of the following running injuries can be caused and aggravated by running with a shoe that does not offer proper support:
- Mild to severe heel pain
- Stress fractures throughout the feet and lower legs
- Lower back pain
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendonitis
- Severe inflammation within the knee ligaments (runner’s knee)
- Plantar fasciitis
As you can see, running in an unsupportive running shoe can be dangerous, especially if you have overpronation issues while running. By wearing stability running shoes, you can reduce the chances of developing these types of injuries.
Do Stability Running Shoes Offer Benefits Beyond Injury Prevention?
While the prevention of common running injuries and running-related discomfort was the primary reason stability running shoes were first introduced, there are other reasons why they are becoming so popular with amateur and advanced runners.
The added support and cushioning you get with a pair of stability running shoes can be incredibly beneficial for long-distance runners and those that train numerous times per week. For long-distance runners, muscle fatigue within the feet and lower legs can disrupt form, making all the difference in competitive running. If a runner’s muscles become sore and tired earlier in the run, they will naturally slow their pace.
Sore muscles following a run can also impact recovery time, meaning the runner must rest longer between runs. Again, this can disrupt the runner’s training schedule.
How Do You Know if You Need Stability Running Shoes?
If you are unsure if you should wear stability running shoes or more neutral running shoes, there are a few quick ways to assess your needs. These simple, at-home tests will give you a rough idea about your step pattern, which is the main factor determining whether a runner would benefit from a more supportive pair of running shoes.
The easiest test you can perform is known as a “wet test.” Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to conduct and assess. To start, wet the bottom of your bare foot with water. You do not want to thoroughly soak the foot to the point that it is dripping, so a thorough misting with a spray bottle is ideal.
Once your foot is wet, step onto an absorbent surface that will display your footprint, like a piece of paper, cardboard, or clean concrete. Once you have done so, evaluate the footprint in the following ways:
- If there is no visible arch in your footprint, meaning that you can see the entire foot printed out, and it is thick through the arch, it indicates that you have flat feet or a low arch. You could benefit from a pair of stability running shoes because you would be classified as an overpronator or even a severe overpronator.
An overpronated step pattern means your foot rolls slightly inward while you step. Stability shoes are designed to correct this issue by supporting the arch of the foot, which can also help with ankle stability.
- If the area where the arch should be is very thin or not visible, there is a good chance you are an underpronator with a high arch. With this type of step pattern, you should be wearing something other than stability running shoes.
- If the area through the arch is narrow but not excessively narrow, you have normal pronation, so wearing stability running shoes or neutral shoes would be your personal choice.
If you find that the bottoms of your feet ache during or after runs, you should try a pair of stability running shoes, as this may help to correct the pronation issue.
Other Ways to Tell if You Should Wear Stability Running Shoes
Another easy way to tell if you need to wear a running shoe with more midsole support is to check for excessive wear on the inside edge or medial side of your current running shoes.
If you notice that the underside of your running shoes is worn away in this area, there is a good chance that you are overpronating while you run, which also means that you could greatly benefit from a pair of stability running shoes.
While these tests and checks are undoubtedly helpful, they should not be considered decisive and conclusive. We recommend speaking with a trained professional, like a podiatrist, for more accurate results. They can tell you what is the best running shoe for your feet and running gait. That said, doing so is only necessary if you suffer from severe pain in your feet and ankles after running.
A certified medical professional and trained running shoe customer support professional will be able to assess each of your feet and your step pattern. From there, they can recommend the right running shoe for your feet and running gait, whether you need a more neutral running shoe, cushioned shoe, or stability shoe.
What Should You Look for in a Pair of Stability Running Shoes?
While there are plenty of high-quality stability running shoes out there, you want to make sure that you choose the right pair. To help you choose the right pair, we highly recommend reading our guide to stability running shoes – Should You Use Stability Running Shoes?
Not only will this guide explain in further detail whether or not you could benefit from wearing stability running shoes, but it also goes over some of the most important features you should consider when shopping for a new pair of stability running shoes.
The Best Stability Running Shoes
If you could benefit from wearing stability running shoes, we want to help you choose the right pair. This is why we assessed numerous pairs of stability running shoes from various brands.
Read through this guide and assess the pros and cons for yourself. You never know; a pair of stability running shoes could prevent serious injuries and pain, making all the difference the next time you go out for a run!