If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Footwear News may receive an affiliate commission.
If you’re a runner who’s often sidelined by plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, shin splints or IT band syndrome, these foot issues may be signs you overpronate and could use a pair of stability running shoes.
“Stability running shoes should be reserved for runners who have been diagnosed with overpronation (via a gait examination) and the associated symptoms of it,” says Dr. Stefanie Flippin, a board-certified podiatrist and surgeon and high-performance running coach.
So, how do you know if you overpronate, exactly? First, let’s break down what it means to pronate.
What is overpronation?
Pronation is the way your foot rolls inward when walking or running. “Pronation is a natural, unlocking movement that occurs in the foot as a way to adapt to the terrain and absorb impact forces,” explains Dr. Emily Splichal, podiatrist and CEO of Naboso. Everyone pronates to some degree after their heel strikes the ground, but some do it more than others.
“Pronation involves eversion of the subtalar joint that connects the foot to the ankle (aka when the heel begins to roll inward); dorsiflexion of the ankle joint (when toes bend toward your shins), as well as abduction (outward movement) of the forefoot,” Dr. Flipin says.
For those who overpronate, this means that all of these motions are exaggerated to the point that your arch is collapsing and your foot becomes unstable, Dr. Flippin explains.
“Overpronation is excess or uncontrolled unlocking and destabilization of the foot, which can result in transfer stress, foot fatigue and inefficient movement,” Dr. Splichal says. “This is common in feet that have ligament laxity (loose ligaments), weak muscles or prior injury to the muscles that stabilize the foot.”
Without strength in these ligaments and muscles, it creates instability in the foot and leads to injuries and pain. This explains why people who overpronate tend to also have foot, lower back, knee and ankle pain. Your joints work in a kinetic chain, so if one joint is stressed, it affects the way the other joints above and below it operate.
“Outside of structural flat feet (in which the pedal bones are sitting in an abnormal and ‘flat’ position), overpronation is often a compensatory mechanism to overcome limited range of motion, whether that’s due to the joint itself or tight musculature,” Dr. Flippin says. “It’s important to have a gait examination and bring a physical therapist on board to assess for more proximal issues, like tight hip flexors or hamstrings, that may be contributing to overpronation.”
What do stability shoes do?
Stability running shoes can help limit some of the excess motion and stress that’s placed on overpronated feet, Dr. Splichal says. Special features found in running shoes for overpronation can help improve foot control and posture to prevent injuries and strain from impact forces.
“Wearing stability shoes can certainly assist in providing medial support and holding the heel in a secure position, which helps limit excessive eversion of the subtalar joint,” Dr. Flippin says. “When we overpronate, we unlock the midtarsal joint (the S-shaped joint in the middle of the foot that contributes to inversion and eversion at the subtalar joint), which leads to less forward propulsion at the great toe joint.” The result is a less stable foot and low running efficiency.
By wearing the best stability running shoes, you can keep your feet in a more neutral position and improve your efficiency.
To help you find the right pair of running shoes for overpronation, here are some features to look for:
- Heel counters. These provide extra padding around the heel to help stabilize your rearfoot and boost support. Some stability running shoes also feature heel wedges in the insoles to help reduce pronation.
- Stiffer midsoles with a medial post in the arch area. Medial posts are dense and firm devices embedded in the midsole that help stabilize the foot and slow down or decrease pronation, according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. “Many brands have moved toward creating a wide, stable base for their stability running shoe models with durable components that won’t wear unevenly, versus the more traditional aggressive medial posting design,” Dr. Flippin says. “There are varying degrees of stability shoes, and it’s important to be sure the amount of stability within the shoe is appropriate for the runner’s foot structure and gait.”
- A rigid upper to lock down the midfoot, Dr. Flippin notes.
Keep in the mind that wearing stability running shoes can’t resolve issues with your gait and biomechanics. That’s why Dr. Flippin recommends getting a gait analysis and working with a physical therapist to set you up with a mobility and strength-training routine that addresses muscle imbalances and range of motion in your joints.
Stability running shoes vs. neutral running shoes
The main differences between running shoes for overpronation and neutral running shoes is that neutral running shoes don’t tend to include the same stability features, such as medial posts, heel counters and heel wedges, Dr. Splichal says. “However, many neutral daily trainers are now being made with wider platforms and more secure heel counters that are both inherently stable,” Dr. Flippin says. “I have seen many overpronating runners do quite well in the right neutral trainer due to recent trends in improvements in midsole components.”
That said, it’s important to get fitted for running shoes at your local running store and be evaluated by a podiatrist or physical therapist to ensure you’re purchasing a pair that truly works for you.
To jumpstart you search, we compiled the 10 best stability running shoes, according to our experts. Keep scrolling to shop podiatrist-recommended pairs for overpronation.
Hoka Arahi 6 Running Shoes
Best Lightweight Stability Running Shoes
You’ll truly feel like you’re running on clouds with this weightless pair from Hoka One One. Dr. Flippin, a Hoka-sponsored professional runner, recommends these running kicks for their lightweight feel, cushioning and stability features. “Hoka employs its signature J-frame technology, which serves as a medial post, that helps secure the heel in a neutral position,” she says. “These shoes also feature early-state meta-rockers that assist with smooth transitions.”
According to Hoka, these meta-rockers support a runner’s natural gait cycle, helping you move more efficiently. They also come equipped with a breathable mesh upper to help your feet stay cool during intense runs and feature an Ortholite sockliner for added comfort. What’s more, they have heel pull tabs that make it easier for you to slip them on or off.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
Best for Moderate Stability
Dr. Splichal likes these moderately stabilizing running shoes because they help strengthen the foot while supporting your natural stride. They’re built with Brooks’ GuideRails technology, featuring two pieces of foam strategically placed on both sides of the heel to help reduce excess shin and heel rotation and keep the foot in a neutral position. They’re so supportive, in fact, they’ve even earned the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health.
Asics GT-2000 8 Running Shoes
Best Stability Trail Running Shoes
If you decide to take your runs off-road, these trail running shoes from Asics give you the stabilizing support and durability you need. Inside the Dynamic Duomax midsole is a firm sponge that helps decrease the inward rolling of the foot that happens with overpronation.
An earlier model of one of the best Asics’ running shoes available, the GT-2000 8 also features Asics’ iconic Gel cushioning technology throughout the entire foot to help reduce shock from impact forces. The grippy reverse lugs on the outsole offer traction when you hit slippery and rocky terrain. “Great for trail running or a long hike,” writes one reviewer. “The tread is perfect for dirt trails with inclines, and the shoe is very cushioned and comfortable.”
Mizuno Wave Horizon 5 Running Shoes
Those who severely overpronate could benefit from the max support and cushioning these running shoes offer. They’re built with Mizuno’s Enerzy, a new highly responsive foam midsole that gives you a boost with each stride while stabilizing your feet. Reviewers say it has more plush cushioning than the Inspire, Mizuno’s other popular stability running shoe. “I walk/run each morning and night, and as a result, I have plantar fasciitis,” one shopper writes. “My doctor recommended I try Mizuno for high stability, and I’m so glad I took his advice. This is the best shoe I’ve ever purchased. The comfort is like no other and makes my feet feel incredible.”
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit Running Shoes
Reviewers say these Nike running shoes provide the perfect balance of cushioning and stability. “I had tried some of the other models with the Zoom cushion and found the platforms to be a little too narrow,” mentions one. “I was always worried about rolling my ankles on uneven terrain. These are very plush [thanks to the a lightweight responsive foam midsole] but have a wider platform under the heel and a wider toe box, so they feel more stable.”
Additionally, the Swoosh style boast a stabilizing panel at the heel and upper made of Nike’s revolutionary Flyknit, which has a tighter weave in certain areas so your feet feel more secure.
New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 Running Shoes
These lightweight stability running shoes are designed with New Balance’s FuelCell midsole that has a rebounding effect to help propel you forward with each stride, as well as medial posts to stabilize your feet. Reviewers say these offer more mild stability features, so they’re your best bet if you don’t need much support. “I overpronate just a teeny bit, but not enough to justify a big, clunky stability shoe, so I was very attracted to this relatively light stability trainer,” one shopper writes. “It’s got just enough stiffness in the arch to keep your ankle from running over.”
Adidas SolarGlide 4 ST Trail Running Shoes
Whether you’re training for a half or full marathon, these stability running shoes from Adidas are created to cover long distances. They have a denser midsole and heel counter to keep your feet secure mile after mile. Designed with durable and grippy outsoles, they also give you traction to run on varied terrain and in all kinds of weather conditions — making them one of the best Adidas running shoes you can buy.
“Great feel to the shoe and amazing stability that you can feel in the first steps right out of the box,” one reviewer says. “Very spacious in the toe.”
Salomon XA Pro 3D v8 Gore-Tex Shoes
For those who run on rocky terrain, consider these Salomon trail runners, which have grippy outsoles for traction and an Ortholite sockliner for cushioning and comfort. They also feature a waterproof Gore-Tex material to help keep your feet dry while running through wet and muddy trails. For stabilizing support, they feature SensiFit technology in the midsoles to lock your feet in place.
“I personally need a stability shoe because of knee problems, and this shoe has helped me get past a knee injury,” one customer writes. “They are roomy, but I like my running shoes to be slightly bigger. Definitely recommend this style if you’re in the market for a stability trail running shoe.”
Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 Running Shoes
Best Cushioned Stability Running Shoes
While stability running shoes are usually made with stiffer materials, it doesn’t mean they always compromise comfort. These Brooks running shoes feature the brand’s signature DNA Loft max midsole cushioning. The DNA Loft cushioning not only gives you a super plush feel but is responsive and lightweight. As with all of Brooks’s stability running shoes, this pair also has GuideRails technology.
“I started running as a 50-year-old woman and had a lot of pain in my hips and feet,” one reviewer says. “On a recommendation from a friend, I tried the Glycerin GTS 19 and it eliminated the pain right away. The cushioning is a lifesaver and has allowed me to stay active and healthy,”
Hoka One One Bondi X Running Shoes
Another ultra-cushioned running shoe, Hoka’s Bondi X delivers on support and comfort for your longest runs. It has a breathable mesh upper to promote air flow, and the EVA midsole and Ortholite sockliner cushion your feet. It also comes with meta-rockers to help drive your feet forward during transitions.
“The Hoka Bondi X is not technically marketed as a stability shoe, but it features a wide, stable base with an extended crash pad, as well as a carbon plate to assist with propulsion that many runners who are used to a heavier stability shoe would likely enjoy,” Dr. Flippin says.