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When you go running, your feet must constantly adapt to changing surfaces, speed and pressure to help you exercise as efficiently as possible. However, if you tend to overpronate, stability running shoes are a useful way to give your feet that extra support to make even more of your workout.

What exactly are stability running shoes then, how do they work and who do they help?

Stability running shoes are ideal for overpronators

Many runners ‘overpronate’. Essentially, pronation is the technical term for the motion of your feet as you walk or run. In ‘normal’ pronation, the outside of your heel makes first contact with the ground, and the foot rolls inward by around 15 degrees before the whole foot comes into contact with the ground prior to pushing off with all your toes at once.

As the name suggests, overpronators land in the same way as neutral runners – on the outside of the heel. However, the foot rolls inward more than 15 degrees so not all of the foot is on the floor, and they push off from just the big and second toes. As a result, weight and impact isn’t distributed as evenly and certain parts of the foot must absorb more pressure. Overpronation has been linked to a number of running injuries, including:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Heel spurs
  • Achilles tendinitis

The best stability running shoes are designed to counteract the way overpronators’ feet roll too far inwards – aiming to give you a more ‘neutral’ foot position.

How stability running shoes are designed to reduce overpronation

There’s a real science involved in building shoes that reduce the effects of overpronation, with the goal being to encourage your feet into a more neutral position when running. If you overpronate, look for shoes which include:

  • A medial post This is the most common stability features you’ll find on a trainer designed for overpronators. A medial post is basically an element of harder foam which is usually found on the inside of the trainer, extending from the mid-heel towards the front third of the shoe. It is designed to correct the tendency of the foot to roll too far inward by providing extra support there. You can typically immediately spot the medial post, as manufacturers tend to select a different colour foam for this feature.
  • Heel counter The heel counter is the part of the shoe that wraps around your heel to keep it in place as you run. Here, you’re looking for strong structure and close fit to help counteract that natural inward rolling motion of the foot and ankle and keep your foot centred.
  • A contoured footbed The footbed is the inside part of the shoe which your soles come into contact with – on a neutral shoe this will be more on the ‘flat’ end of the spectrum (although not entirely). For overpronators, you should select a contoured footbed with a more cupped base, in order to add additional support and correction.

Find the right running shoes for you

If you’re not sure if you overpronate or not, it’s definitely worth visiting a specialist store to find out what your running style is before investing in shoes – especially if you’ve never done so before. (We’ve also written a guide on pronation.) If you already know your running style, you might find our shoe finder a useful resource for narrowing down footwear from our range of men’s and women’s stability running shoes.

By choosing the right running shoes, you reduce the risk of injury and run more comfortably – and that means you maximise your exercise.