Running Shoes for Underpronation
Underpronators can improve comfort and promote normal pronation of the foot by choosing running shoes for underpronation; however in contrast to overpronators, there is no specific shoe designed solely for the supinator, and instead the best running shoes for underpronation are those which are designed with the neutral runner in mind. Running shoes fall into three main categories; two of which are aimed at overpronators and these need to be avoided. Between 70-80 percent of all runners are overpronators, so most running shoes are designed to cater to this particular gait.
Types of Running Shoes
- Motion Control Shoes
- Stability Shoes
- Neutral or Cushioned Running Shoes
Motion Control Running Shoes
Motion control shoes are designed with an overpronator in mind and are also well suited for heavy runners. They offer the maximum amount of motion control to prevent pronation of the foot. They are heavy and highly durable, and utilize a number of features to control movement of the foot. Motion control shoes are constructed from a straight last and usually feature a medial post to control rearfoot motion. They are best suited for runners with flat feet and moderate to severe overpronators.
Underpronators should not wear motion control shoes as they are likely to limit what little pronation exists and if anything will make an injury even more likely to be sustained.
Stability shoes are also designed for overpronators, although they are also well suited to runners with normal foot arches. They offer greater cushioning for comfort, but also tend to feature a medial post to control rear foot motion and to prevent pronation of the foot. Stability shoes are constructed from a semi-curved last, often feature dual density midsoles and are best suited when there are no problems with motion control. They tend to use firmer EVA foam densities on the inside edge to prevent pronation and maximise stability.
Underpronators should not wear stability shoes as they will prevent pronation of the foot.
Neutral or Cushioned Running Shoes
Neutral running shoes are the most lightweight and flexible shoes you can buy although this type of shoe can vary considerably between manufacturers and from model to model. Even a shoe which is fine in one version may not be so good when the yearly update is made. When you find cushioned running shoes which work for you, buy a few pairs while you can, although try them out first before you buy up all the local stocks! Cushioned running shoes tend to be constructed from a curved or semi curved last, which benefits the underpronator more as they promote pronation of the foot. In contrast to stability shoes which tend to feature firmer foam (especially on the inside edge), neutral running shoes have the softest midsoles and are better suited for high arched feet and underpronators. These shoes are more flexible and encourage motion of the feet rather than preventing it, which is exactly what an underpronator needs.
Neutral running shoes are the best choice for underpronators, as they will encourage pronation and will offer much better cushioning.
Features of Underpronation Running Shoes
You should avoid any shoes with a medial post if you are prone to underprontion or have high arches or rigid feet. The medial post is an extra support device which is inserted into the heel of shoes to provide greater rearfoot control to limit motion. It is often simply firmer density foam located on the inside of the arch towards the rear of the shoe.
Flexibility is a very important aspect of running shoes for underpronators, as this will help to maximize inward movement of the feet and will promote natural pronation. Look for for a soft midsole and avoid dual density midsoles as these feature reinforcements on the inside edge to control pronation. You want the shoes with the minimal amount of medial – inside – support. Look for any shoes in the cushioning category and try to find shoes contrasted from a curved last, or semi-curved last as these are the best running shoes for underpornators.
Popular Choices of Running Shoes for Underpronation
With such a wide range of shoes for underpronators on the market, it is not possible to single out the best running shoes for underpronators; however listed below is a brief guide to running shoes which are highly flexible and ideal for underpronators. The shoes have been broken down by manufacturer, with the most popular choices of shoes for underpronators summarized. These are not the only choices by any means, but have been selected based on a general consensus of opinion from running shoe manufacturers, but most importantly, from underpronators who have tried these shoes before.
Brooks Running Shoes for Underpronators
Seattle based Brooks is a leading running shoe manufacturer much loved by road runners the world over. Brooks® DNA technology provides custom cushioning and is one of the best cushioning technologies from any running shoe manufacturer. Omega Flex grooves in the forefoot are a common feature in Brooks shoes, and these maximize flexibility. In the lightweight cushioning category there are two excellent models to choose for the neutral runner or underpronator which are detailed below, also take a look at the Brooks Burn; this gets mostly good reviews from supinators.
Brooks Ghost 4
The Brooks Ghost 4 was voted Editor’s Choice in the Runner’s World’s Fall 2011 Shoe Guide, and boasts a highly springy midsole, and is a very well balanced running shoe. The Brooks Ghost 4 is a relatively new Brooks model, but it is certainly winning support fast. It boasts Brooks® DNA technology for custom cushioning, Omega flex grooves in the forefoot for maximum flexibility, and for all weather running there is a GTX Gore-Tex version.
Its certainly one of the most impressive new models and its a great choice for underpronators, although now that the Brooks Glycerin has had a weight reduction it is probably a better choice. It gets almost universal good reviews from supinators.
Brooks Glycerin 9
Brooks Glycerin 9’s are arguably the best running shoes for underpronators from the Brooks range. They offer smooth heel to toe transition, are rather plush, and are highly comfortable with excellent underfoot cushioning. The latest Glycerin 9 claims to ensure improved gait efficiency and certainly has the maximum flexibility thanks to the Omega Flex grooves. Full length Brooks DNA technology offers custom cushioning for the runner, and for the environmentally conscious, they feature the BIOMOGO midsole; the world’s first fully biodegradable midsole. The Glycerin 9 is very soft underfoot making it an ideal shoe for underpronators, and one of the best running shoes for underpronators of any brand and is worthy of inclusion on any shortlist.
Asics Running Shoes for Underpronators
It’s hard to fault the Japanese manufacturer when it comes to running shoes. Asics are certainly up there with the best and with good reason. Extensive research and development goes into each and every model and they are highly comfortable shoes for all runners. Asics running shoes for underpronators are numerous but the best two appear to be the Cumulus and the Nimbus, although careful with the Nimbus as the 12’s are a little heavy – the 13’s are far lighter.
Asics Gel Cumulus 13
The Asics Gel Cumulus 13 is named after those large fluffy white clouds, and it is a fitting name for such a highly cushioned running shoe. The shoes are soft underfoot, well balanced and highly comfortable for the neutral and high arched runner, and are ideal underpronation shoes.
For the women extra gel cushioning has been added to the forefoot for even greater comfort in the latest Asics Gel Cumulus 13, and there is a significant weight reduction from its predecessor. These are now down to just 338g for men and 262g for women; not the lightest on the market it has to be said, but certainly not bad. They are ideal shoes for middle to long distance running and a great running shoe for underpronators and for anyone with high arched feet. They come highly recommended.
Asics Gel Nimbus 13
The Asics Gel Nimbus 13 is another great cushioned running shoe from Asics, and one which is ideal for underpronators. The Asics Gel Nimbus 13 is a significant improvement on the Gel Nimbus 12 it has to be said. This model has changes significantly over the years, not necessarily for the better, but with the 13 model at least Asics are back to winning ways again. The design of the Gel Nimbus 13 sees a substantial weight reduction without sacrificing any of the cushioning; in fact this model sees an improvement on the cushioning front as well. The Gel Nimbus 13 is very soft underfoot and a great choice for underpronators, and is lighter that the Cumulus at just 329g for men and 226g for women. A great choice for beginners, heel strikers and all underpronators.
Nike Running Shoes for Underpronators
The biggest sneaker manufacturer and the most popular brand across the board when it comes to trainers, although hardened runners may prefer one of the more specialist running shoe brands. The latest Nike Free Run +2’s are certainly winning many fans, but may not so good for heavy runners; neither severe underpronators. They are maybe a little unorthodox choice and will not be for everyone, so the best all round Nike running shoes for underpronators are the Nike Zoom Vomero models.
Nike Zoom Vomero 6
The Nike Zoom Vomero is probably one of the best offerings yet from Nike for the underpronator. They are highly flexible and lightweight, and in contrast to many cushioned running shoes feature cushioning is pretty thin. However thin as it may be, it is pretty efficient.
The cushioning runs the length of the midsole and the gender specific design has seen some more tweaks in the latest version to improve the fit and comfort for female runners. Seasoned runners may find the Nike Zoom Vomero a little too soft, but it certainly gets top marks for flexibility and if you want a super cushioned Nike shoe it is hard to beat.
Nike Free Run +2
The Nike Free Run +2 is the closest to barefoot running you can get without having to sacrifice cushioning (apparently!) although barefoot runners will no doubt slate this shoe for even claiming to be similar to barefoot running shoes which have no cushioning at all. However, if you want the cushioning underfoot and a natural feel without going barefoot and fancy something a little different they are certainly worth a try. These babies are ultra lightweight and highly comfortable, and plenty flexible thanks to the deep grooves in the sole which ensure a highly natural movement. The shoes are lightweight with minimal support which means maximum comfort and flex for an underpronator. They are pretty attractive too and can double up as everyday trainers thanks to the cool looks. Probably better suited to slight underpronators than severe underpronators and they may not be as durable as other brands and models, although for all but the heaviest runners it will probably not make that much of a difference.
New Balance Running Shoes for Underpronators
New Balance running shoes have a good many staunch fans, and brand loyalty is strong with NB. New Balance running shoes certainly win top marks for comfort, and plenty of tech goes into each shoe. The New Balance R&D is top notch and the fit is universally praised. For the underpronator I have picked out one of the latest models, which seems to be one of the best running shoes for underpronators released by the brand to date.
New Balance 1080
The New Balance 1080 is a plush and well cushioned running shoe that is lightweight with a very springy ride making it a great running shoe for underpronators. It’s lower to the ground that its predecessors thanks to ultra thin cushioning, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it will not be soft and squishy underfoot. The NB 1080 is highly flexible with more N-ergy® cushioning gel in the midfoot area than its predecessor, although maybe not the most comfortable choice for wide footed underpronators due to a slim toe box. It’s light and responsive though, and the ABZORBb® technology ensures a smooth heel to toe transition. For New Balance fans at least, and they are one of their best shoes for underpronators.