Are you a neutral runner? Or an over/underpronator? Pronation during running is often represented as something negative in the running community. But did you know natural pronation is very common among every runner? Yes, everyone naturally pronates more or less. Runners who pronate to a higher degree need stability shoes to correct their overpronation. Those who pronates to a normal degree are neutral runners. But can neutral runners wear stability shoes? Do stability shoes support and benefit them or make things worse? If you are looking for some answers, let us be your guide.
No, neutral runners cannot wear stability shoes. Stability shoes are specifically designed for runners who overpronate. Neutral runners on the other hand pronate, but only to a certain normal degree. The level of support stability shoes provide helps overpronators correct their running style. When neutral runners wear them, it disrupts their natural style of running. So they don’t need the assistance from stability shoes and cause more harm than good.
Can Neutral Runners wear stability shoes?
Recent scientific studies have truly contributed to the advancement of footwear and gears. Within the past few years, running shoes have had significant changes. There are different support-providing and motion-correcting running shoes we can find in the market. Not everyone can wear any shoes they want. Therefore, it is important to know which one suits you best. Since we’re talking about stability shoes, neutral running, and pronation, let’s stick to the topic.
First thing first, what is exactly your running style? Are you an overpronator, an underpronator, or a neutral runner? Our human bodies are built in a way that when we run, our arches collapse inward as feet hit the ground. This distributes the impact energy safely and equally throughout the body so that no damage is done. The way the arches collapse is referred to as pronation. It is necessary to pronate as we run or walk. But the level of pronation differs among people. Some runners do it on an excessive level which we call overpronation, and some don’t do it enough which we call underpronation. Runners who have a normal level of pronation during running are neutral runners.
Those who overpronate often face minor to major pain and injuries. Overpronation- this particular gait can be problematic if not fixed on time. Excessive pronation can lead to some really bad physical pain and injuries. Some of the common injuries are Achilles tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome, shin splints, and patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee). So what can you do to correct that? Of course, a gait-correcting stability shoe that reduces the level of overpronation.
Stability shoes are designed to prevent overpronation so that you don’t keep on hurting your feet and can enjoy running without any bad consequences later on. Simply put, stability shoes control your pronation. So when you roll your foot inward, the shoes prevent it from happening and will resist that directional movement. So what happens when a neutral runner runs in a pair of stability shoes? As mentioned before, neutral runners pronate on an acceptable level. For someone who doesn’t over/underpronate, what you need is a pair of neutral running shoes, not stability shoes.
Many neutral runners have relatively high arches that allow them to achieve a neutral running gait. The support element in stability shoes modifies your natural gait. This prevents you from pushing off over the big toe, and as a result, can cause all kinds of foot injuries from the feet up, meaning, besides your feet, your calves, ankles, muscles, knees, lower back, hips, back, and even shoulders will start to hurt. Who wants that, right? Hence, we’d highly suggest you evaluate your running gait first.
Which category your running style falls under? If it is neutral, then you should never wear shoes that are designed to stabilize your running motion, where in reality, you don’t need any correction whatsoever. If you unknowingly end up running in one, it will make you underpronate. It prevents your arches from collapsing which is also seriously harmful to your body.
To ensure safe and sound running, make sure you wear the right kind of running shoes. Without proper running gear, you shouldn’t even dare to step out of your house. We know how tempting it can get when companies are constantly promoting stability shoes. Unfortunately, what they don’t mention is, not everyone needs one. So don’t fall for their marketing trap.
Our human body is designed in a way where going barefoot is considered the best kind of support we can get. As a neutral runner, if you wear neutral shoes, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of going barefoot as there isn’t any extra support to customize your running gait. Run in a pair of neutral shoes. Don’t go for the shoes that won’t do you any good and have fun running as you generally do.
Who Need to Wear Stability Shoes?
Once you analyze your running form (doesn’t matter whether you do it at home or get it done by a professional) and find out whether you overpronate or not, the next step is to find a shoe that fits you best. If you’re an overpronator, you should generally go for shoes that provide some sort of stability. Hence, the stability shoes. The stability shoes will correct your excessive arch collapse and make your feet roll the same way neutral runners roll theirs. So basically, these shoes will change your running style and bring it back to normal.
Bottom line is that- anything (footwear or gear) that transforms your normal gait can lead to common yet serious physical injuries. Human bodies have the capability of accommodating all kinds of anatomic variability as well as running conditions. So any sudden altercation to those variables can never do you any good. So better stay away from stability shoes if you’re naturally a neutral runner.