Overpronation running shoes, also known as stability or support shoes, are designed to help runners whose feet land in a particular way when running.
Everyone has their own running style, but these tend to be categorised according to three types of pronation: Supination (when the landing foot rolls to the outer edge), overpronation (meaning the inward rolling of the foot) and a neutral running style (when no significant rolling occurs).
Different models of running shoes are built with each of these pronation types in mind, to help maximise support and shock absorption, and to help mitigate the risk of injury. Some brands refer to these as stability running shoes.
Just over 50% of runners overpronate, so a large number of running trainers are built as stability and support shoes. Tech built into the shoes' midsoles on the medial of the shoe, called 'medial posts' or 'rails', help to steer the foot, mitigating the risk of injury caused by excessive inward-rolling.
Stability shoes also tend to have a higher density foam on the inside of the midsole to provide extra structure, as well as support near the big toe, under the ball of the foot and on the inside of the heel.
Who are overpronation running shoes suitable for?
Trainers built with overpronation support are most suitable for runners who roll their feet inwards 'excessively' during running, and push off with their big toe. A level of natural pronation is normal, but excessive pronation is typically associated with a roll angle of more than 15 degrees, explains Emily Codd, validation sport scientist and product analyst at INCUS Performance.
How can you determine if you need overpronation shoes?
Getting the right pair of trainers is essential for runners, considering the force we put through our legs when we run.
'Research suggests the most important part of shopping for the right trainer comes down to comfort more than anything else, but I would say finding out how you land is also very important,' says Codd.
New research by Asics has found that over a third of UK runners do not know their running style, despite running at least 2km per week, with 68% of 5000 respondents having never had a gait analysis. Seeing a running specialist to get a gait analysis is an easy process, you'll simply run on a treadmill while being filmed, so that the footage can be replayed in slow motion to analyse your footfall and the interaction with the ground.
Runners who overpronate will typically see wear on the sole at the ball of the foot and on the inside of the foot near the toes.
But what does independent research say about these types of shoes?
When different types of pronation were first discovered, the differences between them were thought to be the leading cause of injuries in runners.
However a leading 2013 study of novice runners wearing neutral shoes dismissed the belief that moderate foot pronation is associated with an increased risk of injury. In another study in 2010 it was suggested that 'our current approach of prescribing in-shoe pronation control systems on the basis of foot type is overly simplistic and potentially injurious'.
More recent research is still contradictory. A 2016 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found injury risk is lower for overpronators wearing motion control shoes. But the same year research published in Sports Orthopaedics and Traumatology concluded that cushioning is not protective against running-related injuries.
'With the development of carbon fibre plates and the emergence of super shoes, there's still a long way to go to fully understand the effect of different running shoe designs on running performance and injury risk,' adds Codd.
What are the best overpronation running shoes in 2023?
Our mixed-ability team of male and female editors and contributors have put the latest stability shoes to the test. Here are our top picks.
Durability and versatility make the Cloudflyer stand out from other Cloud models, with the Helion sole great at tackling miles off road but also hard-packed trail. Heel strikers will benefit from the deeper drop while the midfoot stability tube keeps overpronation in check. Comfort and support are integral to the design with the moulded heel and wider outsole. Strangely the women's version is one of the lightest stability shoes currently available while the men's is not.
Ideal for long runs when you just want to sink into some cushioning and saunter along at a slow or steady pace. One tester, who is a big fan of sister shoe, the Cloudflow, says the Cloudflyer was the perfect accompaniment. 'I’m a big Cloudflow fan and wear them for everything but I get through them quickly. The Cloudflyer will now run alongside them and take the brunt of my daily miles, saving the Flows for speed, parkrun and racing.'
Hoka Arahi 6
Boosting the same stabilising J-Frame as its predecessor, the Arahi 6 remains a reliable and comfortable support shoe. The latest model has just a few small tweaks integrating a thicker tongue and lighter upper which has helped it to shed a few grams. The minimal weight and low cushion profile means it is slightly firmer but has the benefit of placing the foot closer to the ground which testers said made for a 'tactile run'.
'This is a very supportive shoe, which although not necessarily a model for racing in, can be used for pretty much all training sessions and lends itself well to runners doing longer miles,' reported one tester. Coming in both a regular and wide fit it is a great all-rounder for most runners.
Asics Gel-Kayano 30
The Gel-Kayano is one of Asics' longest standing running shoes, and the latest iteration sees some significant changes to the shoe's technology to provide runners with adaptive stability and a new level of comfort. Asics calls this its '4D guidance system', which consists of four factors: width, length, depth and time - the latter being a new addition to help runners reduce time spent in overpronation.
There's 20% more FF Blast Plus cushioning in the midsole for added comfort, which also means the stack height has increased by 4mm. The shoe includes Asics' new PureGel technology too, used in the Gel-Nimbus 25, to provide softer landings and keep the shoe lightweight.
The recycled knitted upper provides breathability but also cradles the foot comfortably ensuring there is limited slippage. This was a particular highlight for one of our testers, who found the stretchy 'buttery soft' mesh upper created a pleasing sensation of 'gently hugging the foot'. Together with the padded heel collar, the shoe offers a secure fit around the achilles.
Brooks Levitate GTS 6
This springy road shoe delivers on bounce giving a peppy energy returning ride. The DNA AMP midsole definitely sends energy back into the foot as you strike the ground, making it ideal for shorter, faster runs. Our testers were impressed with the comfort and spring during interval and tempo runs but also assured by the guide rail support which aids feet, knees and hips.
One tester, who suffers from running-related hip injuries, praised the excellent arch support, the ankle support provided by the circular-knit upper and the roomy toe box. Overall they thought these were the perfect shoes for an 'enthusiastic amateur looking for a supportive and comfortable shoe for shorter distances at faster speeds'.
Brooks Glycerin GTS 20
This cushiony shoe is ideal for runners who love a super spongy feel underfoot. It is packed with supremely soft nitrogen-fused DNA LOFT technology, making it Brooks' most cushioned support shoe. Despite the extra plumpness they don't feel excessively heavy but remain sturdy underfoot. Our testers praised the 'good bounce' and 'well supported feeling'. This is due to the improved fit with the breathable upper holding the foot more securely in place, plus the guide rail midsole which keeps the striking foot aligned. A great shoe for runners looking to cruise along in comfort. One tester who usually requires a wider fit remarked that the standard size 'fit perfectly' but a wider option is available, too.
One of the lighter support shoes on the market, On's Cloudmonster still manages to squeeze in plenty of bounce. 'Amazingly soft underfoot without being wobbly,' remarked one tester who preferred to use these for shorter, faster runs.
Technically this shoe falls into the forward rolling range rather than stability but the softness means they are ideal for people who suffer from achilles tendonopathy or plantar fasciitis. That being said, one reviewer did find their feet tired on longer runs. Meanwhile the striking design led one tester to complain that there were 'just too good looking to get dirty'.
Puma Eternity NITRO
Runners requiring stability around the ankles will love this shoe which maximises the mid-foot wrap and has a snug-fit lacing mechanism. Additional support is provided through the Runguide technology firm-density rim, which keeps the foot centred with each strike. But it also doesn't skimp on comfort, with the Nitro Foam midsole providing fairly lightweight cushioning and a decent amount of responsiveness. Testers also commented on the 'great grip' provided by the Pumagrip outsole which adjusts nicely to hard pavements and lighter trails.
Decathlon Kiprun KS900
Featuring an ultra-soft EVA foam called MFOAM, offering deluxe cushioning, the Decathlon Kiprun KS900 is a plush long-mileage shoe, which even has a 1000km guarantee. Rather than incorporating a medial post to align overpronation, this shoe has a wider sole to create a bigger surface area to distribute forces more evenly, particularly over long runs. The slipper construction and soft foam generate a greater level of comfort than other models in the Kiprun range, as our testers confirmed. 'There is good padding across the heel and good cushioning in the midsole. These were good for various distances but I feel they are better suited towards longer races,' commented one runner. Another tester praised the roomy toe box but was less sure about the grip in wet conditions, particularly when increasing intensity.
An impressive training and racing shoe which combines superfoam bounce with plenty of motion control. Our testers found the PWRRUN PB cushioning 'light and bouncy' and said the shoe performed well during easy half marathon runs, hard parkruns and threshold intervals.
As a stability shoe, the fitting takes a little getting used to and one tester reported the high stack coupled with the 8mm drop was 'initially a bit awkward'. This is due to the support created via a contoured frame starting above the midsole, together with the deep fit to hug the feet, allowing you to sit deeper into the footbed. 'The support is obvious in the shoe and pronation is notably stabilised,' reported one runner. They were also impressed with the grip on wet surfaces and the lightness of the shoe.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v13
Despite this being the heaviest shoe in the round up, the general consensus on the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v13 was that it's a very comfortable pair of stability shoes, particularly adept at taking the strain over long slow runs. And that is exactly what they are built for – reliability over the long haul and sustained comfort over all distances. Runners remarked on the excellent cushioning, responsiveness and comfortability 'straight out of the box', although the fit was slightly bigger than the 880. The shoe comes in a narrow, standard, wide and extra wide fit, making iy a great choice for both lighter and heavier runners.
Saucony Guide 16
If you're looking for a reliable, daily workhorse - designed for munching up daily miles - Saucony's Guide 16 fits the bill. While the thick stack of PWRRUN cushioning is definitely on the firmer side, it feels generous and well balanced, and there's plenty of structure alongside the plushy interior. Our tester found themselves reaching for this when they wanted a trusty stability shoe for the bulk of their miles. They reported a 'slipper-like comfort' as soon as you put them on – and they 'remain just as comfy from the first mile to the last'.
Nike Structure 25
This everyday hero trainer is for those who need – unsurprisingly – structure and stability. The latest iteration ticks those boxes neatly, with plush cushioning and stability in spades.
The midsole is made from Nike's more standard Cushion 3.0 (rather than premium ZoomX foam) so while you get comfort, you don’t get quite the same peppy ride. But then, the Structure isn’t designed for speed – it’s made for eating up long, slow runs for those who need the enhanced arch support, a substantial heel counter and the sock-like fit that’s certainly provided here. There’s also even more cushioning in that midsole than the previous model. Having said that, the Zoom Air unit in the forefoot offers energy return and propulsion if you pick up the pace.
With its solid construction and a grippy outsole, this is also a seriously durable shoe that should see you through a lot of miles.
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