Step this way for stability running shoes to suit every runner, whether you’re looking for a racer or a durable trainer
If you’ve ever wondered what the gait analysis done in running stores is primarily looking for, the answer is overpronation. This is where your foot rolls excessively inwards upon landing, which means your body isn’t absorbing the impact of that landing as efficiently as it would with a neutral footstrike.
Overpronation can be a contributory factor to injuries, and so runners who are spotted doing it during gait analysis are frequently recommended a stability shoe. If you’re in need of such a shoe, then we have picked out the very best options for a range of uses and budgets below. But first, here’s a general guide to what to look out for when buying.
How to choose the best running shoes for overpronation
How is a stability shoe different from other running shoes?
A stability shoe will have extra support within its design to guide your foot into a neutral position when it lands during a run. This generally means extra structure on the medial – inside – side of the foot to gently block that roll.
How do I know if I need a stability shoe?
Most dedicated running shops will offer free gait analysis on a treadmill in the store, where someone will film you running and then analyse the footage afterwards to see if you’re overpronating. You can also film yourself running to look for overpronation yourself of course, and there are now apps available that can walk you through the process.
The wet foot test is another way to check if stability shoes are something worth checking out. This involves wetting the bottom of your foot and stepping onto a piece of paper. You then check out how much of your footprint is filled in, which will show if you have high or low arches. If the inside arch of your footprint is filled in, you could have a flat or low arch, which could well mean you overpronate when running.
However, it’s important to state that even if you have been identified as an overpronator, you might not get on with the shoe recommended to you. If you don’t enjoy using stability shoes and aren’t getting injured, then you should stick with whatever neutral running shoe you like. Similarly, many neutral runners might still enjoy the extra support of a stability shoe.
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What are the key features?
The key features of a running shoe for overpronation are the ones that add stability. Traditionally this has been done by adding a stiffer element to the midsole of the shoe on the medial side, whether it’s a plastic shank or a firmer section of the cushioning on the shoe.
There are other ways to add stability though, such as a heel counter, which extends around the back of the shoe to add more support for your landings. Some stability shoes also use guide rails, which run along both the inside and outside of the foot to guide it into a neutral position.
An increasingly common feature is a very wide base, which is important for creating stability in shoes with a high stack of cushioning in particular. Shoes for overpronators in general will have firmer foams than neutral shoes, since extra soft cushioning can increase instability.
It’s also worth noting that there are more neutral shoes incorporating some of these features these days, since stability is a benefit for many runners when logging regular runs. If you’re not a severe overpronator you might find that you prefer this kind of light stability shoe.
What else should I look out for?
Aside from the stability features, running shoes for overpronation are like any other running shoe, so the same considerations apply. Key to a shoe’s performance is the foam used in the midsole, and the amount of that foam. More foam means more cushioning but generally also more weight, so it’s about finding the balance of speed and protection you’re after. Note that, in general, stability shoes are heavier than neutral shoes owing to the extra features introduced to counter overpronation.
There are different kinds of stability shoes, too, with a few dedicated racing options alongside the more common everyday trainers. However, dedicated stability shoes for trail-running aren’t really a thing, since off-road surfaces tend to be uneven, lessening the importance of a neutral landing, and trail shoes mostly use firmer foam than road shoes, which makes them more stable in general. If you’re running on fairly hard and flat trails, you might consider using a stability road shoe if worried about this.
How much do I need to spend?
New launches in popular lines of stability shoes will cost a lot – generally around £110 to £160. However, if that’s beyond your reach, you will generally be able to bag a bargain on the previous version of those shoes, and the differences between them and the new edition could be as small as the colours used. There are also cheap stability shoes that will come in at around £50 – £100, and if you’re not especially fussy about the brand you’ll almost always find a high-end model in that bracket in a sale somewhere.
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The best stability running shoes to buy
1. Saucony Guide 16: Best lightweight stability running shoe
The Saucony Guide 15 isn’t the most springy or bouncy of daily trainers but it’s a stability shoe (for mild to moderate overpronators) that excels in many areas.
It’s light and nimble at a mere 249g – much more so than many rivals, such as Asics’ Gel-Kayano P30, which comes in at over 300g. The fit around the mid foot and heel is secure and snug, helped by an extra pair of straps that wrap around and cradle the mid foot.
Saucony‘s “hollow tech” frame does a decent job of preventing your foot from collapsing inwards without the discomfort associated with medial post designs.
And combined with a decent chunk (35mm at the heel, 27mm at the forefoot) of PWRRUN foam, the Guide 16 provides just the right level of cushioning for all types of running, from interval sessions to long Sunday runs. In short, it’s our favourite all-day stability shoe.
Key specs – Best used for: all-rounder; Weight: 249g; Heel-to-toe offset: 8mm (35mm heel / 27mm forefoot)
2. Asics Gel-Kayano 28: Best overall running shoes for overpronation
This ever-popular shoe is so beloved by stability-seeking runners that Asics tends to keep its updates to the shoe as minimal as it can for fear of offending existing users. The Gel-Kayano 28 (yes, it’s the 28th edition of this shoe!) bucks that trend with some sizable changes that do alter the feel of the shoe, but we reckon most runners will prefer it. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of Asics’s bouncy FF Blast foam to the midsole, which is softer than the materials usually found in stability shoes.
The shoe also uses firmer materials in the midsole to ensure a stable landing, something enhanced by the new heel counter design which cradles the rear of the foot, but the feel becomes softer and springier as you move through your footstrike to make for a more energetic toe-off, and a livelier ride in general.
Overall, the Kayano 28 should please both long-term fans of the line while also converting some new runners to its side. It’s durable and comfortable enough to log a lot of training in, while also having enough bounce in it to work well for long distance races as well.
Key specs – Best used for: All-rounder; Weight: 308g; Heel-to-toe offset: 10mm
3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22: Best cushioned stability shoes
Like the Gel-Kayano, the Adrenaline GTS is another popular, long-running line of stability shoe, having been around for over two decades. The standout feature on the Adrenaline GTS 22 is its DNA Loft cushioning, which offers a similar plush and soft ride to neutral trainers – stability shoes in general are a bit firmer in order to avoid exacerbating overpronation.
To ensure the soft midsole doesn’t create instability on the run, the Adrenaline GTS 22 features Brooks’s GuideRails system. This consists of firm pieces of foam either side of the heel that run toward the midfoot and support a stable landing, reducing the roll of the foot and rotation through your shin during running with the aim of protecting your knees and hips.
Bargain hunters will usually be able to find the previous edition of the Adrenaline GTS in a sale somewhere, but it still offers reasonable value at its full RRP as the outsole and midsole are both durable.
Key specs – Best used for: Training; Weight: 289; Heel-to-toe offset: 12mm
4. Asics GT-800: Best stability shoe under £100
Asics has a large range of stability shoes that come in cheaper than the Gel-Kayano, and the GT-800 is the cheapest option with an RRP of £90 – although it’s usually available for less on third-party sites.
The shoe has a midfoot panel to support the inside of your foot, and while the ride isn’t as responsive or comfortable as the pricier options in the Asics range, the G-800 is actually a much lighter shoe and still sufficiently cushioned to use for a lot of training.
Key specs – Best used for: Training; Weight: 241g; Heel-to-toe offset: 8mm
5. On Cloudflyer: Best all-rounder stability shoes
The Cloudflyer is that rarest of beasts – a genuinely good-looking stability shoe. You can wear it around town as well as on your runs, which is a nice bonus, but obviously we’re mainly here to talk about the running.
There’s good news there, too. The Cloudflyer offers a fairly light level of structure, so it’s not overbearing at all while still providing the stability you need. It’s well-cushioned, though On’s pod system produces a firmer ride than that of most other brands, and has enough speed to be used for racing as well as your training runs. It’s a shoe that neutral runners looking for a touch of stability will enjoy as well, and despite the generous amount of cushioning it comes in under 300g, making it pretty light for a stability shoe.
Key specs – Best used for: All-rounder; Weight: 280g; Heel-to-toe offset: 7mm
6. Saucony Fastwitch 9: Best racing shoes for overpronation
One area where overpronators tend to miss out is with racing shoes, since the high-stack, very soft carbon plate shoes that now dominate racing are the very opposite of stable. However, there are some great racing options out there for overpronators, and the minimal Fastwitch 9 is our top pick.
The Fastwitch is a great racer for 5K to half marathon distances in particular, and it will fly on the track as well. The midsole has a medial post to provide some extra support for your foot strike, and the low profile, firm design of the shoe is inherently stable as well. Unless you’re a very lightweight runner you might want more cushioning than the Fastwitch provides for a full marathon, but for any shorter, speedy stuff it’s fantastic.
Key specs – Best used for: Racing; Weight: 190g; Heel-to-toe offset: 4mm
7. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2: Best running shoe with light stability features
The Nike Infinity Run 2 is not a stability shoe, per se, but it is designed to help runners rack up a lot of miles while reducing the risk of injury, through the addition of features that make it more stable. These include the long plastic heel clip that runs around the back of the shoe, extending to the midfoot on each side, and the very wide base, especially in the forefoot.
With a rocker design, the Infinity also helps you transition from heel-to-toe smoothly on each stride, and the React foam used in the midsole is fairly firm while still being comfortable over any distance.
The Infinity is another shoe with a high price, but it’s renowned for its durability, so you will get your money’s worth. The previous version of the shoe is available in sales, but the upper is less cushioned and supportive, which isn’t ideal if you’re buying the Infinity for its stability features.
Key specs – Best used for: Training; Weight: 302g; Heel-to-toe offset: 9mm (men’s), 8.4mm (women’s)
8. New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12: A durable and comfortable stability shoe
The Fresh Foam X 880v12 has many classic stability features, such as a medial post and a moulded heel counter, but the support it offers remains subtle enough that it never feels intrusive on the run, and it works well for neutral runners as well as people who overpronate.
While the shoe is fairly heavy, the Fresh Foam midsole provides a fairly responsive ride, which means you can use the 880v12 for a variety of training, even if it is best at cruising through long easy rather than thrashing out a speed session down at the track.
A lot of the weight is down to the thick outsole, and while we wouldn’t mind seeing a little rubber shaved off to bring down the weight, it does provide excellent grip and will last a long time, so you can rely on the 880v12 seeing you through many hundreds of miles.
Key specs – Best used for: Training; Weight: 323g (UK 9); Heel-to-toe offset: 10mm