If you’re looking to get into running, then you’re probably trying to work out what the best shoes for the job are.
There are plenty of shoes out there that are specifically designed for running, but did you know that there are different types of running shoes for different things?
There are two main types of running shoes you should look into neutral running shoes and stability running shoes. In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about neutral running shoes, including what they are. So let’s get right into it!
What Are Neutral Running Shoes?
Neutral running shoes are designed for runners whose feet move in a neutral motion. Over half of all runners run in a neutral motion.
Neutral motion in terms of running is when the heel of your foot makes contact with the ground first. The heel then rolls in a smooth fashion and the rest of your foot follows by coming into contact with the ground.
Finally, the whole foot then pushes off the ground with all the toes in unison.
The other form of running is called pronation, but we will get into that a little bit later. Most runners will run in a neutral motion though. Out of 100%, over half of that percentage ends up being neutral motion runners.
Typical Features Of Neutral Running Shoes
The typical features of neutral running shoes include:
- Having a much greater cushioning level, specifically in the heel. The reason for this is that the whole foot comes into contact with the ground when running, so additional cushioning in other areas isn’t wholly necessary. The extra cushioning level in the heel actually distributes the weight of the shoe evenly, making it easier for you to run.
- Neutral running shoes are lighter than other styles of running shoes. Because they don’t need the extra support, it makes the overall weight on the shoe extremely light, which means you won’t feel them on your feet as much as you are running.
How To Know If You Need Neutral Running Shoes
You can visit a specialist to work out if you need neutral running shoes, and this is definitely the recommended way of finding out if you need them.
However, there are some ways you can work it out for yourself. So let’s have a little look at those ways now:
1. Check the way you stand
The first thing you can do is to put on a pair of normal shoes and see how they look when you’re standing normally. If your feet both face forward, then you’re more than likely a neutral runner and neutral running shoes will be the type of shoes you need.
If your feet spread out from back to front and look more like a “V” shape, then you will probably need stability shoes.
2. Arch Test
The other thing you can do to test which type of shoes you will need is an arch test. All you need for this test is to put a newspaper on the ground and dampen your feet. Once you’ve done this, you will need to step onto the newspaper, wait for a second and then step back off.
Now you need to check the imprint that your foot has left on the newspaper. If practically all of the foot’s outline is visible on the paper, then you have flat feet, which means you will need stability shoes.
If only the heel and the front foot are visible and some but not all of the middle of the foot, then this means you will need neutral running shoes.
What Are Stability Shoes?
If you’ve tried both the tests and it turns out that you aren’t a neutral runner, then this means that your feet pronate. Around 30-40% of runners overpronate and 5-10% underpronate. Regardless of whichever one your feet does, you will need stability shoes.
Stability running shoes have additional features added to them that help to reduce how much your feet pronate.
They emulate neutral running through these features and help to even your feet out. Stability running shoes are great for pronating feet, and really help you with your quality of running.
If your feet are underpronate or overpronate, it’s definitely in your best interest to avoid neutral running shoes altogether and go for stability shoes. Neutral running shoes will be harder for you to adapt to and will actually ruin your overall performance when you run.
Stability shoes usually use denser foam over all areas of the shoe, not just the heel. The denser foam provides more stability and support for the arches of your feet and it also stops your feet from rolling any further.
How To Pick The Right Running Shoes
There are two things you can do that will help you pick out the right running shoes for you. You can have your gait analyzed and you also need to try a few different options.
You can go to professionals to get your gait analysis done, but there are also lots of websites that will do it for you too. Even with your gait analyzed, you will still have to go by feel, but having it analyzed will help speed up the process a bit.
The best thing you can do is be open to as many different options as you can. Before you use the internet to buy your shoes, go to some in-person shoe stores and try some on, this way you’ll be able to know what feels right and comfortable for you.
It may take a few fits and a bit of trial and error, but you will eventually find a running shoe that feels right for your feet.
Neutral running shoes are the style of shoe that is worn by the vast majority of runners, but if you have pronated feet, you will need stability shoes.
Have your gait analyzed and see which shoes feel right for yourself. It may take a few tries, but once you find the right shoes, you’ll be unstoppable!