Running Shoe Category Information
Alex Ranton | March 14, 2016
At JackRabbit, we specialize in helping you determine which running shoes are the right match for you. Here is some general information about the types of running shoes available. Running Shoes can be broken down into 3 major categories- Stability Plus, Stability, and Neutral Cushioned. It is important to remember that the type of shoe that will work for you best depends on many factors, and your support needs can change over time. Ideally, runners need shoes which don't allow them to over-pronate or supinate, but be kept in the Neutral position.
Stability Plus running shoes are designed for runners who need maximum stability.
This type of runner has arches that pronate excessively with each step, and often have flat feet (little or no arch). Runners who have low arches typically over-pronate more than runners with higher arches, although this is not always true. The runner who over-pronates has arches that collapse as their body weight comes down, allowing their feet to roll to the inside (or medial side). To determine if this might be you, take a look at the wear pattern on the bottom of your current running shoes. Over-pronators typically wear out the tread on the outer edge of the heel, and the tread near the ball of the foot. To prevent your feet from over-pronating, Stability Plus shoes feature midsoles with supportive features, usually a firmer area of EVA foam called a dual density post. The post is a usually a darker color, and works by reinforcing the medial side of the shoe. This allows the over-pronator to run with their feet and legs in proper alignment, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
Stability shoes are a slight step down from Stability Plus shoes in terms of support.
Runners who need a Stability shoe have arches that over-pronate (or collapse inwardly) just like runners needing a Stability Plus shoe - but not as much. Stability shoes also feature dual density material in the midsole to prevent the foot from over-pronating, but are more mild than the correction present in a Stability Plus shoe. Stability shoes also have plenty of cushioning as well. Most runners - ranging from the beginner jogger to the well-seasoned marathoner - over-pronate mildly and require at least some stability from their running shoes.
Neutral Cushioned shoes are intended for runners who have a higher arch that does not pronate, or collapses in very slightly.
Neutral Cushioned shoes have very little or no pronation support, and usually offer substantial cushioning. Runners who require a neutral shoe usually show wear the outside corner of the heel, and in the center of the forefoot or the outside of the forefoot. Supinators also require Neutral Cushioned shoes. Supination happens when your foot strikes the ground on the outer edge of your heel, and instead of the arches collapsing in and over-pronating, they do the opposite and roll slightly out. A supinated wear pattern will show wear at the outside corner of the heel, and significant wear along the entire outside edge of the shoe. As Neutral shoes do not have stability features to correct over-pronation, they work best for the runner who supinates.
Keep in mind every foot is different, and shoes that work well for one foot may not work well for your foot. It is important to get fit for your running shoes by an expert who can help to show you exactly what type of shoe will work with your foot type.