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With so many running shoes out there, it can be a real challenge to narrow down your longlist and find the right pair for you. A good place to start is your running style – so if you have a neutral running style, it obviously makes sense to invest in a pair of neutral running shoes.
If you’ve had your running style tested before and know you need neutral trainers, you’re already halfway there. If you’re not so sure, it’s worth reading our guide on different running types, or visiting a specialist running shop to confirm what type of runner you are.
Let’s look at what we mean by ‘neutral’ running and find out what makes neutral running trainers different to other kinds of shoes.
What is a ‘neutral’ running position?
First, the basics. When you’re doing regular running or jogging (as opposed to sprinting), a neutral runner’s feet follow this order:
- The outside of the heel makes first contact with the ground
- The foot then rolls inwards by around 15 degrees
- The whole of the foot then comes into contact with the ground
- The foot rolls forward in a straight line
- The foot pushes off from the ground using all the toes at the same time
Neutral runners follow this process with every stride they take. This is different to other kinds of runners who either ‘overpronate’ (which means in step 2, the foot rolls in too far) or they ‘supinate’ (which means in step 2 they don’t roll inwards enough). For these kinds of runners, there are a range of trainers which are designed to correct their feet, so they come closer to the desired neutral position.
How are neutral running shoes designed?
Since they don’t need to use any special features to correct foot motion, neutral running trainers tend to feature a fairly straightforward design. They include all the common features in a running shoe, including:
- Heel cushioning: This helps reduce the impact of repetitive pressure on the foot.
- Built on a curved last: A ‘last’ is the mould that shoes are built on – thanks to the use of a curved last, neutral running shoes can help add that little bit of extra speed to your run.
- More lightweight: Since they have no motion-control features built in, neutral trainers tend to be more lightweight.
While neutral running shoes will do the job for many runners, it is sometimes recommended that people who weigh 13 stone or over should consider stability trainers to give additional support for their feet. Stability trainers offer more cushioning than neutral shoes and could therefore help further reduce the risk of injury or strain.
There’s also some evidence that the most important choice when choosing running shoes should be comfort – if they feel good, that’s as much of a sign that these are the pair for you as anything else.
How to find neutral trainers
If you know you need neutral footwear for your workout, the next step is to narrow down your options from among the many shoes that are out there. A good place to start is our shoe finder tool, which helps figure out which kind of trainer will be right for your particular exercise – try our shoe finder here today.