Not so long ago, stability in a running shoe meant a maximalist approach to correcting an overpronator’s stride, and often unnaturally muscling around the runner’s form. Now, stability shoes take a less aggressive approach, thanks to some fine-tuning, new technology, and evolving biomechanical research. Instead of “fixing” your gait, shoes these days are designed to improve your comfort on runs and reduce injury risk, whatever your unique running style may be.
Stabilizing Midsole Tech
Overpronation occurs when you push off from the big toe and second toe, which causes the foot to roll inward. This is perfectly normal; however, ankle or shin pain are common ailments when your gait exaggerates these mechanics—which is where stability shoes can help. “Bars,” “rails,” and medial posts are buzzwords for the tech brands build into shoes’ midsoles to aid in alignment and relieve your feet from that constant rolling-inward motion. Brooks, for example, uses Diagonal Rollbars and GuideRails for a smoother heel-to-toe transition. Altra also uses a Guide Rail to help steer your feet, as well as Stabilipods—three regions of firmer midsole material spread between the heel and forefoot.
How We Test
You don’t need to know all the technical ins-and-outs of how brands build stability and support into a shoe. All you need to know is that a stable experience feels as though the shoe perfectly braces your foot, while guarding against extra motion that can cause injury. Every shoe here has been tested by Runner’s World staff or our team of wear testers, and has also been evaluated in our Shoe Lab. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience to determine the best options. Based on value, our test impressions, and how the shoe meets overpronators’ motion control and support needs, the 10 stability running shoes below are our top picks for feeling secure.
—BEST FOR NARROW FEET—
361 Degrees Strata 3
This flagship shoe from 361 has all the tools to fight excessive overpronation: There’s a medial post constructed of higher-density foam that supports your foot as it rolls inward, and a thermoplastic polyurethane spine that reinforces the post and makes the shoe torsionally stiff. The two-layer Jacquard mesh upper is also designed for stability with an internal webbing at the midfoot to hold your foot steady, while three straps span from the lateral side of the shoe to allow you to customize the fit. Testers noted that the shoe felt stable mid-stride, but pliable when it came time to toe-off, and delivered above-average rebound.
—BEST FOR MODERATE OVERPRONATION—
Asics GT-2000 8
Once choppy and overly stiff, the new Asics GT-2000 8 feels fluid and responsive. From the top down, your foot meets a substantial Ortholite sockliner, and then a single layer of FlyteFoam Lyte, the company’s lightest foam. The rear half of the shoe uses a slightly higher-density foam to slow overpronation forces, where you’ll also see some Gel peeking out of the heel’s crash pad. The combination works wonders: Whereas previous (stiffer) GT-2000s slapped the pavement as your foot met the ground, the new shoe touches down softly and immediately sets you up for a smooth toe-off. But, the shoe loses none of its stability—guidance trusses beneath the midfoot add torsional stability to keep the shoe from twisting as your foot transitions from heel to forefoot.
—BEST FOR MILD OVERPRONATION—
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
With its 20th iteration, Brooks’s support all-star has retained its beloved responsive and cushioned ride, even after undergoing a “holistic” makeover. Like a steady hand guiding a kid on a bicycle, the GuideRail system, introduced with the Adrenaline GTS 19, stabilizes your run without overcorrection or uncomfortable pressure below your arch. The 20 is slightly lighter than its predecessor as well; almost half an ounce was shaved off by omitting the stylistic add-ons that decorated the 19’s engineered mesh. A soft padded heel collar hinders any rubbing, and a wide forefoot ensures toes won’t feel cramped.
—BEST FOR LONG RUNS—
Saucony Guide 13
The 13th version uses a flexible TPU frame that beefs up support on the inner arch and right along the outside of the heel, but unlike Saucony’s more aggressive medial-posted Omni, the Guide 13 remains unobtrusive enough for stability-seeking neutral runners, as well. Previous versions of the Guide have dabbled in Saucony’s “ISO” technologies, but it’s back to basics in this version: Simple, yet generous, tongue padding and a plush ankle collar fit even our narrow-footed testers snugly. Three layers of foam will set you back a few ounces compared to a lightweight trainer, but our testers found that the shoe still didn’t lag on daily runs or even tempos—it’s just not the shoe you’ll grab for speedwork.
—BEST FOR MARATHON TRAINING—
Under Armour Hovr Guardian
The Guardian dials up stability by using two densities of foam in the surrounding frame—essentially adding a medial post under your arch. There’s also a “TPU chassis,” a plastic insert in the medial post that further adds support in that area. That’s combined with an extra-stiff heel counter, which has been bolstered by an external plastic clip. The medial side of that is thick and solid, while the lateral (outer) edge is thinner and more flexible, giving relief if your foot moves in that direction.
—BEST FOR SEVERE OVERPRONATION—
New Balance 860v10
The TruFuse midsole features two types of foam and a dual-density medial post, which provides runners a firm, stable ride that cushions their stride and helps correct any excess pronation. Seven wear testers unanimously agreed that the 860v9 provided a serious amount of stability, and those who didn’t usually run in stability shoes noted that it’s not a shoe intended for neutral runners. The latest v10 model is no different. Said one tester, “The 860s felt light for a stability shoe, but they did not compromise on quality (of support). They felt secure and guided my foot strike comfortably.”
—BEST FOR HEEL STRIKERS—
Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
The midsole is a combination of Mizuno’s more responsive U4ic foam and its softer U4icX foam, which is placed below the heel’s Wave plate to soften the back half of the shoe. Indeed, the shoe’s heel registered extremely high cushioning scores in the RW Shoe Lab, and testers lauded the Wave Inspire 16’s plush heel. The outsole is grippy on roads and proved durable over months of pavement pounding, and the upper now uses a more breathable mesh and lighter overlays than the 15th version. While the lofty 12mm drop felt a little too high for some testers, other runners thought it afforded the shoe a snappy, propulsive sensation.
Hoka One One Gaviota 2
Similar to the Arahi, the Gaviota uses Hoka’s J-Frame midsole technology, which Hoka describes as “Dynamic Stability,” to naturally guide a runner’s foot with each stride. However, unlike the Arahi, the Gaviota’s J-Frame is made from a proprietary EVA-and-rubber blend known as R-Bound that improves durability and bounce. Combine that midsole with a mid-foot overlay that gently wraps your foot, a molded sockliner for an ideal fit, a late-stage Meta-Rocker for a reliably smooth toe off, and specifically placed rubber on the outsole to increase durability, and you’ve got a shoe that is ready to withstand your next marathon training cycle.
—BEST FOR RECOVERY RUNS—
To deliver stability in a nontraditional way, On has built the Cloudace on a wider platform. Previous On shoes had a sculpted shape, with a narrower waist. This model has a broader stance, especially under the heel and through the midfoot. That is then combined with a “speedboard”—a rigid plastic layer sandwiched between foam—to further enhance the shoe’s support. Plus, it’s stylish—the RW staff wears this model for both training and for casual wear with jeans—with a totally seam-free construction that will remain comfortable over long runs. The lone knock: It’s $200.
—BEST ZERO-DROP SHOE—
Altra Paradigm 4.5
By implementing a Guide Rail and StabiliPod into the outsole, the Paradigm is one of Altra’s most stable shoes, yet it isn’t too imposing on your stride. Both features come to your aid when your feet get tired and your form begins to suffer; however, some testers felt the Rail-and-Pod combo made the sole too rigid. In spite of the looser fit—you may need to drop down half a size—we still favored the Paradigm for its shock absorption, and a couple of testers noted how the ride was “easy on the joints.” It’s a great recovery-shoe option when you can’t resist eating more miles post marathon, or ultra.
You Might Also Like