Best Stability Running Shoes of 2023

We tested a variety of stability and light stability shoes to help overpronators choose the right ones for their feet and running needs.

By and on June 9, 2023 | Comments
Best Stability Running Shoes - wearing stability shoes on roads

Stability shoes are an excellent option for road running for overpronators. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

For most of us, the foundation of a long and healthy lifetime of running starts with our shoes. For overpronators or people with flat feet who spend a lot of time on roads, it could be all about finding the best stability running shoes to help keep their ankles from rolling inwards. If you walk into a specialty running store, a knowledgeable employee will likely ask you several questions, including what surface you like to run on, and they’ll analyze your arches and watch you walk or run. This latter analysis helps the employee determine whether you might need stability shoes.

In addition to visiting a running store, there are ways to determine whether stability road running shoes might be the best option for you. Below, find additional buying advice, answers, frequently asked questions, and a list of common running terminology. If you’re here because you already know you want stability road running shoes, we’ve narrowed down a list of the best to help you decide. See our testing methodology below to learn how we got there.

Finally, if you’re looking for everyday neutral road running shoes, cushioned road running shoes, or trail shoes, we’ve got guides that can help you with that, too.

Best Stability Running Shoes

Best Overall Stability Running Shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
Best Stability Running Shoe – Runner-Up: Hoka Arahi 6
Best Light Stability Running Shoe: Nike Structure 24
Other Great Stability Running Shoes: Altra Paradigm 6, Saucony Guide 16, New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13, On Cloudflyer 4

Best Stability Running Shoes - Dawn run in On Cloudflyer

Alli Hartz runs at dawn in the On Cloudflyers. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Best Overall Stability Running Shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 ($140)

Overall Rating: 8 | Upper Comfort: 8 | Underfoot Feel: 7 | Responsiveness: 6.5 | Stability: 9.5 | Cushion: 7.5


  • Great stability support
  • Comfortable upper
  • Breathable


  • It can feel too stiff out of the box
  • Not as springy as other top picks

It’s no wonder our testing team rated the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 as the best stability running shoe. It’s been a favorite among runners for more than twenty years. The shoe provides a balance of cushion and support with a traditional shape and fit that works well for a variety of feet. It’s a shoe designed for overpronators and ideal for daily running, whether you’re training for a marathon or logging miles for pure enjoyment.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 - product photo

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The shoe’s stability support comes from Brooks’ GuideRails technology, which consists of two firm pieces of foam inside the shoe on each side of the heel. Brooks likens this design to training wheels on a bike, as the foam pieces keep the foot from rolling too far toward the inside or outside throughout the stride. The added foam helps stabilize the ride without overcorrecting a runner’s natural gait. Our testers noted that the shoe feels good out of the box and gets even more comfortable as it breaks in with each run. The cushion is soft, the ride is smooth, and testers noted the shoe’s breathability. Although the shoe lacks the springiness we like during our speed workouts, we have very few gripes and would highly recommend it for anyone seeking great support and moderate cushion for everyday road running.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 10.6 ounces (301 grams) | Drop: 12 millimeters

Shop the Women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22Shop the Men's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

Best Stability Running Shoe Runner-Up: Hoka Arahi 6 ($140)

Overall Rating: 8 | Upper Comfort: 8 | Underfoot Feel: 8 | Responsiveness: 8.5 | Stability: 9 | Cushion: 9


  • A stable shoe option for fans of the Clifton
  • Firm cushion
  • Lightweight feel


  • They run a tad narrow
  • They bugged our arches if they weren’t laced just right

Ranking in second place is the Hoka Arahi 6, an incredibly lightweight shoe for its stability, support, and cushion. For fans of the Hoka Clifton, one of the brand’s popular neutral road running shoes, this shoe will feel familiar in fit and cushion. It is slightly firmer and stiffer, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a bit more support.

This shoe was super comfortable out of the box, with a secure fit and a roomy toe box. The stability comes from Hoka’s J-Frame technology, which places firm-yet-flexible foam along the inside length of the shoe to cradle the heel and help guide the foot from an overpronating position into a more neutral stance. The result is a stable and smooth ride that’s supportive without being overly stiff or structured.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Hoka Arahi 6 - product photo

The Hoka Arahi 6. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Light and responsive enough to hold its own during speedwork, this shoe still has ample cushion to keep feet happy mile after mile on paved and gravel roads. Our testers noted that if these shoes weren’t laced just right, they felt quite intense against our arches. Stopping to adjust the laces, whether to loosen or tighten them, fixed the issue, but it’s worth noting because it could be more of a problem for wider feet or especially low arches.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 9.2 ounces (262 grams) | Drop: 5 millimeters

Shop the Women's Hoka Arahi 6Shop the Men's Hoka Arahi 6

Best Light Stability Running Shoe: Nike Structure 24 ($130)

Overall Rating: 7.5 | Upper Comfort: 8 | Underfoot Feel: 8 | Responsiveness: 7.5 | Stability: 6 | Cushion: 7.5


  • Great fit
  • Light and responsive
  • Springy


  • Slightly less supportive than other top picks

For runners seeking a touch of stability, we found lots to love in the Nike Structure 24. Light stability shoes, also called stable neutral shoes, incorporate design features that provide mild stability without the level of support found in shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 or Hoka Arahi 6 above. For runners who overpronate just a tad or run with a neutral stride but want some support, a stable neutral shoe could be a perfect choice.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Nike Structure 24 - product photo

The Nike Structure 24. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The shoe provides support through a firm midsole and Nike’s “crash pad” in the heel that helps to cushion, smooth, and stabilize the heel-to-toe transition. The heel design locks in the rear of the foot for additional support, and the Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot facilitates a responsive toe-off. Our testers honed in on this responsive feel, noting that the shoe feels light and springy and has a comfortable and breathable upper. They recommended this shoe as a great everyday running option. One tester noted that this shoe feels quite different from its predecessors, so if you’ve run in a previous version of the Nike Structure line, keep this one in mind but don’t expect the same experience.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 10 ounces (285 grams) | Drop: 8 millimeters

Shop the Women's Nike Structure 24Shop the Men's Nike Structure 24

Other Great Stability Running Shoes: Altra Paradigm 6 ($170)

Overall Rating: 8 | Upper Comfort: 9 | Underfoot Feel: 8.5 | Responsiveness: 7 | Stability: 7.5 | Cushion: 9


  • A perfect balance of support and cushion
  • Oh-so-comfy right out of the box


  • Not everyone’s feet like zero drop
  • Not as snappy or responsive as other top picks

Among our highest-ranked stability shoes is the Altra Paradigm 6. In fact, it may have topped the list, but for the fact that its zero-drop design won’t work for every runner. That said, our testers absolutely raved about this shoe and its oh-so-luxurious cushioning. Designed with input from Kara Goucher — Altra athlete and two-time Olympian — the shoe incorporates Altra’s GuideRail technology, which works similarly to the Brooks and Hoka models above. Firmer foam along the inside of the shoe helps steer an overpronating foot into a neutral position.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Altra Paradigm 6 - product photo

The Altra Paradigm 6. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Our testers took the shoe for spins on the treadmill, gravel roads, and pavement, unanimously agreeing that these shoes were super comfortable out of the box and felt adequately supportive, yet were more flexible than the Hoka Arahi 6. They loved the balance of plush cushion underfoot, the locked-in feeling around the heel, and the roomy toebox for which Altra is well known. While the shoe lacks the snappy responsiveness of others in this guide, they promise many miles of cushioned support.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 10.3 ounces (293 grams) | Drop: 0 millimeters

Shop the Women's Altra Paradigm 6Shop the Men's Altra Paradigm 6

Other Great Stability Running Shoes: Saucony Guide 16 ($140)

Overall Rating: 7.5 | Upper Comfort: 8 | Underfoot Feel: 7 | Responsiveness: 7.5 | Stability: 7 | Cushion: 7.5


  • Light and snappy
  • Smooth ride
  • Good stability without being too stiff


  • Not as plush as other picks

Another stability shoe that perfectly balances support and comfort is the Saucony Guide 16. Among the lightest shoes in this guide, it cradles the foot in a stable yet not-too–stiff fit and provides a light, smooth ride with a seamless transition from the heel through the toe. The shoe has a medial post, which consists of a firmer midsole foam along the inside of the shoe, similar to the technology in Brooks and Hoka stability shoes, that helps prevent overpronating by guiding the foot into a neutral position.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Saucony Guide 16 - product photo

The Saucony Guide 16. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Testers appreciated the stable ride, with “smooth” being a word that came up repeatedly in tester feedback. Testers also noted the support around the medial heel without the over-the-top stiffness of other stability shoes that did not make it into this guide. The cushion was also deemed just right, with a comfortable underfoot feel that was light and responsive without feeling mushy. Note that the cushioning is not as plush as some other shoes, but it provides enough give while remaining lightweight and responsive. Our testing team agreed these shoes make a great everyday running shoe for any distance and can hold their own in speedwork.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 9.3 ounces (264 grams) | Drop: 8 millimeters

Shop the Women's Saucony Guide 16Shop the Men's Saucony Guide 16

Other Great Stability Running Shoes: New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13 ($140)

Overall Rating: 7 | Upper Comfort: 8.5 | Underfoot Feel: 6 | Responsiveness: 6 | Stability: 9 | Cushion: 8


  • Good balance of stiffness and comfort


  • A lot of shoe
  • It looks like a “dad shoe”

A reliable everyday workhorse, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13 is a solid everyday stability road running shoe with moderate cushion and plenty of support without being overly rigid. Among the heaviest in this guide, this shoe offers a solid foundation and confidence in its durability. On the flip side, it could feel a bit clunky to some.

Best Stability Running Shoes - New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13 - product photo

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Like Saucony above, New Balance uses a medial post along this shoe’s inside heel to guide feet that tend to overpronate. Its Fresh Foam X in the midsole provides the soft cushioning that New Balance fans know and love. Our testers described this shoe as cushioned, comfortable, and well-built, though it lacks the responsiveness of lighter shoes in this guide. This shoe thrives on day-in, day-out training runs of any distance where reliability and durability are paramount.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 10.5 ounces (297 grams) | Drop: 10 millimeters

Shop the Women's New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13Shop the Men's New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13

Other Great Stability Running Shoes: On Cloudflyer 4 ($170)

Overall Rating: 7 | Upper Comfort: 8.5 | Underfoot Feel: 7.5 | Responsiveness: 7 | Stability: 7 | Cushion: 7.5


  • Light stability
  • Great everyday training shoe
  • Sleek design


  • Won’t be supportive enough for extreme overpronators
  • Fit some feet better than others

Rounding out our list of the best stability running shoes currently available is the On Cloudflyer 4. A relative newcomer to the running shoe marketplace, On entered the scene in 2010, gaining steady momentum over the years and becoming an exceptionally popular shoe brand. The brand stands out for pushing innovation and technology and its clean design aesthetic that draws the eye and appeals to runners, walkers, and non-runners alike.

This shoe’s stability comes from its heel counter, which locks the heel in place, as well as subtle sole flare where the bottom of the shoe is slightly wider than the midsole, creating a stable platform. A rocker profile helps direct the foot through the heel-to-toe transition. That said, our testers agreed that this shoe falls within the light stability category since it lacks a medial post or similar midsole technology. As such, it’s less supportive than the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, and Hoka Arahi 6, but this shoe is worth considering for runners who only need a touch of stability.

Best Stability Running Shoes - On Cloudflyer 4 - product photo

The On Cloudflyer 4. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Additional testing feedback noted that the shoe feels comfortable and light, despite its relatively heavy weight, adequately responsive, and flexible. The flip side of being flexible is that some testers found it shallow in the toebox and lacking sturdiness. All testers loved the design aesthetic, and in case you’re wondering, we did not have issues with rocks getting stuck in the outsole.

Actual Weight (U.S. men’s 9): 10.8 ounces (305 grams) | Drop: 11 millimeters

Shop the Women's On Cloudflyer 4Shop the Men's On Cloudflyer 4


Heel-to-Toe Drop – Also called “offset” or “drop,” it is the height difference (measured in millimeters) between a shoe’s heel and forefoot. Example: A shoe with 35 millimeters of stack height under the heel and 25 millimeters under the forefoot has a 10-millimeter drop.
Midsole – A layer of foam that connects a shoe’s upper to the shoe’s outsole.
Outsole – The exposed material on the bottom of a shoe that makes contact with the ground.
Upper – The top of the shoe, including the entirety of the shoe above the sole.
Toebox – The front of the shoe surrounding the ball of the foot and toes.
Heel Collar – The shoe’s opening, which wraps around the heel to help hold it in place.
Arch Profile – Arch profile, or arch height, describes how much of your foot touches the ground when you stand. Knowing your arch profile can help you understand how your foot absorbs impact when you run, including pronation and supination, and what injuries are common to each arch type. You can find your arch profile (low, medium, high) by dipping your feet in water and standing on a piece of cardboard. Note that your arches may not be the same profile and can change over time.
Pronation – The natural inward collapse of the foot’s arch as it absorbs and distributes impact during running or walking.
Overpronation – When the arch’s inward collapse exceeds the normal range. This can lead to pain in the arches, ankles, Achilles tendons, shins, outer knee, and/or outer hip.
Supination – Also called underpronation, it is when the arch barely collapses, and the outside of the foot absorbs the impact during running or walking. Supination is often correlated with high arches and can be associated with plantar fasciitis and/or pain in the pelvis and lumbar spine.
Plantar Fasciitis – Inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone and the toes. It is often associated with intense pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel.
Metatarsal – The five forefoot bones connecting the ankle with the toes.
Stable Neutral Shoes – Generally neutral shoes with features that provide light stability, such as a wide midfoot geometry, excess foam around the platform of the shoe known as sole flare, midfoot sidewalls, and/or a rocker profile design to help guide the foot’s forward motion, and/or a relatively firm midsole. This category of shoes is a good option for neutral runners who want some stability without the structure or rigidity of a stability shoe.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Testing the Hoka Arahi 6

The Hoka Arahi 6 performed well on pavement and smooth dirt roads. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

How to Choose

How should I choose a running shoe size?

To determine your running shoe size, measure your feet, or have them measured at a running store and size up one-half to a full size. For example, if your foot is nine inches long, start with a size 9.5 for running shoes. You can also measure in centimeters and use European sizing. Running shoe sizing should be the same as your regular street shoes since we always want a little room at the end of our toes. While there can be some variation between brands or even between models of shoes by the same brand, this is generally a good process and will likely land you in a shoe that fits.

To determine whether the length is a good fit, stand up in the shoes and place your thumb along the toe of each shoe. You should be able to measure about a thumb’s width between the tips of your toes and the end of the shoe. If your shoes are too tight, you’ll risk blisters, bruising, and all sorts of uncomfortable foot issues.

To check the width, use your hand to feel around the widest part of your foot, which is often the forefoot, and make sure your foot does not spill over the shoe’s midsole platform. A shoe that’s too narrow will feel uncomfortable and probably won’t last as long since your foot will likely cause the upper to tear. If you tend to have wider feet, a shoe with a wider toebox, like the Altra Paradigm 6, might fit you better than some narrower options.

A good fit should feel like a supportive hug, with enough room to wiggle and splay your toes but not so much that your feet can slide around inside the shoe. Be sure to check the fit on both feet since feet aren’t always the same size.

Should I choose stability or neutral running shoes?

If you have a medium or high arch profile and don’t overpronate, you likely don’t need a full stability shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 or the Hoka Arahi 6. But if you know that you have low arches or overpronate, stability shoes will be a good choice. Additionally, if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your arches, ankles, or knees when you run, stability shoes may help, though we recommend consulting a physical therapist or podiatrist to determine the root cause of any issues. If you need help determining your arch profile or gait style, we have some tips in the FAQ section below.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Road running in the Hoka Arahi 6

iRunFar’s Alli Hartz tests the Hoka Arahi 6 shoes in the desert. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

How much cushion should I choose?

The ideal amount and type of cushion generally comes down to personal preference, but there are some trade-offs to consider. A more cushioned shoe will keep your feet feeling fresh and comfortable for longer because your foot lands on a plush piece of foam rather than hard pavement. This experience could be ideal for a long run during a marathon training block. On the other hand, with more cushion comes less ground feel and a heavier shoe. While precise footing may not be as critical on roads as in a trail environment, you may not want boats under your feet if you’re doing a hard speed workout.

The next thing to consider is the softness or firmness of the cushion. Very soft cushion could feel extraordinary on short- to medium-length runs, but over many miles, that cushion could start to feel mushy, cumbersome, or clunky. On the other hand, firm cushion that feels bouncy or springy might enhance the shoe’s performance during speed workouts or through a long tempo run, though it may not feel as plush as the miles add up.

Most of the shoes in this guide have moderate cushioning, with the Hoka Arahi 6 and Altra Paradigm 6 offering the most cushion. The Hoka Arahi 6, Saucony Guide 16, and Nike Structure 24 were noted for their firm, responsive cushion, while the Altra Paradigm 6 and New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13 stood out for having plush cushioning, though neither were described as mushy.

What type of toebox shape should I choose?

As with cushioning, choosing a toebox shape comes down to your preference and a wide range of toebox shapes and sizes from which to choose. Some runners prefer a more trim fit in the front of the shoe, while others want their toes to relax and splay out. Runners with high arches might prefer a roomier toebox, like the Altra Paradigm 6, to accommodate their higher volume foot. The key is to ensure that whatever shoe style you choose, you have enough room in the front for your toes to wiggle and fully lengthen.

A smaller toebox will help provide a secure fit for narrow feet, and it may also offer a higher-performing experience during a hard workout or race. On the other hand, a wide toebox can feel very comfortable and may help reduce the risk of blisters between the toes.

In this guide, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, Nike Structure 24, and Saucony Guide 16 all have a fairly traditional toebox that’s not especially narrow or wide. The Hoka Arahi 6, On Cloudflyer 4, and New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13 have a slightly wider toe box, but one that is still within a moderate size range. The Altra Paradigm 6 has a wide toebox, and Altra, in general, is known for offering shoes with a particularly wide toebox that allows feet to relax and for toes to spread out comfortably.

Best Stability Running Shoes - road running

Proper pronation when running on the road can help reduce the chance of injury. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Why You Should Trust Us

This best stability running shoes guide has been compiled with the expertise and testing experience of the iRunFar team, supplemented by extensive research by author Alli Hartz and input from seasoned running shoe experts at iRunFar.

We began by compiling and considering a list of more than two dozen dedicated stability road running shoes currently on the market. We whittled down this list and sent our top picks to our team of testers, who extensively test dozens of running shoes yearly, including every shoe mentioned above. Our testers ran in the shoes for weeks, collectively putting hundreds of miles on each style and providing feedback on fit, feel, stability, cushion, performance, durability, and other factors. With this information, we further narrowed our list to the shoes in this guide.

Please note that product models are routinely discontinued in the running world, while new ones frequently come to market. At the same time, we here at iRunFar often keep using our top picks in our daily running … they’re our top picks, after all! Sometimes that continued use results in uncovering product failures. With all this — product discontinuations, product introductions, and product failures — in mind, we routinely update our buyer’s guides based on past and ongoing testing and research by our authors and editorial team. While these updates can appear to be us pushing the newest product, it’s anything but that. When we update any buyer’s guide, most products will likely remain the same. That matches our goal: to get you in the best gear you’ll use for a long time.

As with all of our guides, we invite and appreciate your input on the best stability running shoes in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stability Road Running Shoes

What are stability running shoes?

The best stability running shoes are designed with specific technology and features to help prevent overpronation, which happens when a foot’s arch collapses too far inward as it absorbs impact during running or walking. This collapse can tilt the lower leg inward and lead to pain or discomfort in the arches, ankles, Achilles tendons, shins, outer knee, and/or outer hip.

While various running brands use different technology and design elements to address overpronation, stability shoes commonly incorporate firmer midsole foam along the inside of the foot or heel to help guide the foot into a more neutral position. A shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 has many features that lead to increased stability.

How do stability running shoes work?

Today’s most popular stability running shoes incorporate firmer midsole foam along the medial — or inside — part of the shoe. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, for example, utilizes Brooks’ GuideRails technology, which consists of two firm pieces of foam inside the shoe on each side of the heel. Similarly, the Hoka Arahi 6 uses the brand’s J-Frame technology, a firm-yet-flexible foam along the inside length of the shoe that cradles the heel and helps guide the foot into a neutral position. Other brands, like Saucony and New Balance, use a medial post, which is also a firm piece of foam in the midsole. While these technologies vary, they function similarly to guide an overpronating foot into a neutral stance.

Best Stability Running Shoes - running on the road in stability shoes

Stability shoes can help overpronators run comfortably and reduce their chance of injury. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Do I need stability running shoes?

Overpronation is common and normal, so the answer to this question is maybe. There are several ways to determine whether you need a stability running shoe like the Hoka Arahi 6 or a shoe that provides light support, like the On Cloudflyer 4. To determine your arch profile, you can get your feet wet and stand on a piece of cardboard. If most of your foot creates a wet print on the cardboard and you have minimal arch shape, you likely have low arches and overpronate. You can also pay attention to how your feet land and transition as you run — do you notice your feet rolling inwards on your arches? This means you overpronate. Finally, you can inspect the tread wear on the bottom of a well-worn pair of shoes. If the tread is unevenly worn and smoother along the inside of the shoe, you probably overpronate.

Another way to answer this question is to visit a specialty running store. Unlike big box stores where you might peruse aisle upon aisle of shoe boxes, a specialty running store will stock a modest range of high-quality running shoes, including some of the best stability running shoes, and will have staff trained to measure your feet, analyze your gait, and assist you through the shoe selection and fit process. At such a store, the employees can help determine whether you need a stability shoe.

What is the best stability running shoe?

Our top pick among stability road running shoes is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, followed closely by the Hoka Arahi 6. However, there are tons of great shoes from which to choose. For a light stability experience, we love the Nike Structure 24 and the On Cloudflyer 4. For our zero-drop runners seeking a plush and supportive ride for miles on end, we suggest trying out the Altra Paradigm 6.

What are the best stability running shoes for overpronators?

This depends on how much you overpronate and support you need. There is a wide range of stability options, from highly rigid “motion control” shoes designed to alter how you run to very light stability options. None of the running shoes on this list are considered motion-control shoes because they incorporate technology to work with your natural gait and guide your foot toward a neutral position instead of trying to change your stride. As such, some shoes on the market are even more stable than those on this list, but they can feel too stiff and rigid for all but the most extreme overpronators, especially for running.

On the other hand, some people may run with a neutral gait most of the time and only overpronate on occasion or when they become fatigued. In this case, they might be best off with a light stability shoe like the On Cloudflyer 4. All of this is to say that if you’re an overpronator, the best stability shoe will depend on your unique gait and the size and shape of your feet. Any shoes in this guide present a good starting point in your search.

Best Stability Running Shoes - wearing the Hoka Arahi 6 shoes

Alli Hartz of iRunFar (left) runs in the Hoka Arahi 6. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Should I always run in stability shoes?

This depends on the degree to which you overpronate, whether you’re dealing with pain, discomfort, or injuries, and your preferences. If you know you consistently overpronate, and especially if you’ve dealt with related aches, pains, or injuries, then sticking with stability shoes like the Saucony Guide 16 most of the time is the right call.

However, if you overpronate just a little bit or only when you’re very tired, wearing stability shoes all the time might feel uncomfortable, as they are stiffer and more rigid than most other shoes. Instead, you might keep a pair of stability shoes in the rotation alongside neutral, cushioned, or trail running shoes. You certainly don’t need several pairs of running shoes, but it may feel good to mix it up occasionally.

Does heel drop matter in running shoes? Do I want running shoes with a low drop or high drop?

Heel-to-toe drop is a matter of personal preference, but there are some key factors to consider in your decision, including your natural running gait. For example, if you’re a firm heel striker, you may prefer a higher drop shoe with lots of heel cushion and a smooth transition to the forefoot instead of a low- or zero-drop shoe that might feel abrupt through that transition.

Another factor is your history of aches, pains, or injuries, if any. For example, if you’ve experienced Achilles tendonitis or have chronically tight calves, a zero-drop shoe like the Altra Paradigm 6 may not work for you. On the other hand, if you deal with tightness in your low back, a zero-drop shoe could feel great since it can help to lengthen the muscles and tendons along the rear chain.

If you’re unsure what kind of drop to go with, it’s good to choose something in the middle in the 6 to 10-millimeter range, such as the Nike Structure 24. If you want to try a different drop than what you’re used to, it’s a good rule of thumb to ease into that change by slowly rotating a new shoe into the lineup.

Best Stability Running Shoes - Testing the Asics Gel Kayano 29

Stability shoes can reduce overpronation and increase running comfort. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Are stability shoes good for plantar fasciitis?

Ah, the dreaded plantar fasciitis, that bothersome heel pain that can be tricky to resolve and, at its worst, can be debilitating. The short answer is yes, stability shoes are absolutely a good idea when it comes to dealing with plantar fasciitis. Simply put, plantar fasciitis stems from stress and inflammation in the tissue underneath the foot that connects the forefoot to the heel. Constant overpronation can certainly aggravate this tissue, which can stress the arch muscles, Achilles tendon, and other muscles and ligaments in the feet. Stability shoes, including the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 and the Hoka Arahi 6, can alleviate the problem by guiding the foot into a neutral running stance, thereby reducing that added stress.

The longer answer to this question is that stability shoes may not be a one-and-done solution depending on the severity of the inflammation. All sorts of tools and exercises can help address plantar fasciitis, and it’s often a good idea to incorporate a few of them into a regular routine to keep the inflammation at bay. Therefore, we recommend consulting a physical therapist or another medical professional if you’ve got pain in your arches or heels or any running-related pain at all, really.

Do stability shoes help with arch support?

First, the differences between neutral, stability, and motion control shoes are worth noting. Neutral shoes are ideal for people with medium to high arches who pronate within a normal range, which is generally just a little bit or not at all. Stability shoes help people who overpronate by guiding their foot, which tends to collapse inward on the arch, into a neutral position, without altering their natural running gait. This category has a wide range of stability, ranging from the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, a full stability shoe, to the On Cloudflyer 4, considered a light stability shoe. Motion control shoes generally have a wider platform and are very rigid. They are designed for completely flat feet or extreme overpronation and are intended to prevent a total arch collapse, thus altering the natural gait. It could be said that stability and motion control shoes help with arch support because they help to address the arch’s tendency to collapse inward.

Shoes in all three of these categories do not necessarily differ when it comes to arch support from the footbed. Shoe brands design their shoes to be worn by people with varying arch shapes, profiles, and flexibilities and typically have a thin piece of foam as the footbed. This factory footbed may work just fine for any individual, or someone may replace it with something that provides better support for their unique arch.

Call for Comments

  • Do you have a tried and true stability road running shoe? What’s your favorite?
  • Have stability shoes improved your running experience? How so?
Back to Our Top Stability Running Shoes Picks
Alli Hartz

Alli Hartz is a member of the gear review team at iRunFar. She’s been writing about outdoor gear, outdoor adventure, and adventure travel for 10 years. Aside from iRunFar, Alli contributes gear reviews and adventure stories to Switchback Travel, Travel Oregon, and other outlets. She also works as a ski guide during the winter season and has dabbled in run-skiing on the Cascade volcanoes. Alli is based in Bend, Oregon, where she loves to run from her front door up into the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Alli Hartz

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.