Good Content from: Team Saucony
When you’re shopping for running shoes, you first have to ask yourself, “Do I need a neutral or stability shoe?” And then you might be wondering, what’s the difference between the two?
Of the two shoe categories, stability shoes are more self-explanatory – these shoes are designed with structures to keep your foot and ankle stable and in the correct position while you roll through your gait cycle.
Neutral running shoes, on the other hand, are designed to be “neutral” across the shoe, meaning that they feature little or no structural support to help offset pronation and control movement. In neutral shoes, your feet are free to move and flex naturally while you run.
Neutral running shoes are typically:
- Low to the ground
- Flexible and responsive
- Lightweight enough for race day
- Durable enough for everyday training
While neutral shoes share these general qualities, they vary in terms of cushioning, support, material, offset, and more. At Saucony, know that every runner has individual needs and preferences, and our goal is to get you laced up and running for good in the best shoe for you. We don’t believe shoes need to fall strictly into categories, which is why some of our neutral shoes are built with extra support for those who need it, while others are more minimal.
Here, we’ll share a few of our favorite neutral shoes and help you figure out which shoe type you need.
Men’s neutral running shoes
- Triumph 17: Our most cushioned shoe ever, made for runners who want pillow-soft comfort with a springy underfoot feel throughout your longest runs.
- Ride ISO 2: This shoe hits the marks in comfort and fit, with super-plush cushioning plus all-new fitting technologies that adapt to the shape and motion of your foot.
- Kinvara 10: Your staple lightweight training and racing shoe, featuring a low offset (4mm) and extra-responsive underfoot feel for powerful finishing kicks.
- Freedom ISO 2: For runners who like a more minimal ride but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, this super-plush cushioned shoe with a low offset (4mm) is for you.
- Kinvara 10: One of Molly Huddle’s favorite training shoes for a reason—lightweight, springy, and built to race or do repeats.
- Ride ISO 2: A flexible upper offers pressure relief plus an extra-cushioned underfoot feel ensure your feet will be happy no matter the mileage.
Neutral cushioned shoes
Historically, neutral shoes have featured less cushioning and emphasized a closer-to-the-ground feel than other running shoes. The idea was that neutral shoes promoted the natural movement of the foot, and extra cushioning would presumably interfere with runners’ natural form. But nowadays, we know that a neutral shoe can also have super-plush cushioning. We’ve designed our cushioning to be lighter and more responsive than ever, so you can run comfortably without sacrificing speed.
If you’re looking for neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning, check these out:
There are a few ways to tell whether you need a neutral or stability shoe. First, you can visit your local running store and ask to have a gait analysis test, which is where you run on the treadmill while an expert examines your form. You can also ask a friend to film you running facing forward on a treadmill. Additionally, your shoes can give you a hint that you a stability shoe.
Signs that you need a stability shoe:
- Your ankle rolls inward while you run
- Your knees rotate excessively inward or rub while you run
- The treads are more worn-down on the inside (or medial) edge than the outside (lateral) edge of the bottom of your shoes
If you are an overpronator (i.e. your ankle and/or your knees rotate inward while you run), you’d likely benefit from stability shoes, which are designed with a medial post on the inner edge of the shoe to help secure your foot. If left uncorrected, overpronation can lead to overuse injuries in the shins, Achilles, and knee.
Even neutral runners might benefit from shoes with a bit of stability—especially during hard workouts and races, when your lower leg muscles and feet tire out and your form gets sloppier. Need help picking a stability shoe? Here are some of our favorites.
Whether you’re looking for a neutral or stability shoe, we want to help you find the right pair for you. To help with your search, start by telling us about yourself in our Shoe Advisor tool, which will match you with a shoe that fits your needs.
Want more Saucony scoop? Be sure to keep checking our blog at Saucony.com for tips and insights about shoes, training, racing, and more.