For a runner, understanding the type of gait he or she has is critical to the sport – and to choosing the right shoes.
Runners are often given what’s called a “running gait analysis.” This test involves looking closely at how a person stands and moves dynamically, and how his or her feet hit the ground with each stride. The purpose of this analysis is to determine which running shoes will then allow the runner to avoid injury and land in a “mid-foot” or neutral position.
Runners typically fall into one of three categories when it comes to their running gait. Either they overpronate (land slightly to the inside of the foot), underpronate (land slightly to the outside of the foot), or they have neutral pronation, which means they land straight down the center of the foot.
To figure out which category you fall into and which shoes are best for your gait, there are a couple of options. For one, you can visit your local running shop to ask about a running gait analysis. They’ll assess your step to see which kind of support (structured or neutral) would be best for you.
Alternatively, to test this at home, Runner’s World recommends taking a look at your arches. If you have a medium arch, it’s recommended that you buy a structured shoe that offers moderate pronation control. Those with flat feet are more likely to overpronate and would want a structured shoe that corrects for rolling inward. And, lastly, if you have high arches, it’s typical that you would underpronate, so you’d do best wearing a neutral-cushioned shoe that will let your foot move naturally.
These days, many running shoes are made to fit a certain type of runner and his or her specific gait or pronation pattern. Below, we’ve listed a few top-rated runners that were designed to offer proper support and comfort when putting in miles.
Note: Prices below reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.
Top choice for those who overpronate
Asics GEL-Kayano 23 Lite-Show ($120, originally $160; asics.com)
This version of the GEL-Kayano is the 23rd iteration of this Asics classic. Made for those who overpronate, this is considered a structured shoe and uses innovative Asics FlyteFoam technology for optimal cushioning that still feels lightweight, weighing just 11.5 ounces per shoe. It’s also available for women ($120, originally $160; asics.com). Runners can purchase either model directly from Asics.
Now, you can shop the latest model, which is the Asics GEL-Kayano 24 ($160; asics.com). With slight modifications to the shoe’s materials, this pair also offers a comfortable ride for overpronators.
Top choice for those who underpronate
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 ($116.97. originally $119; jet.com) (in pink and gray)
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 shoe received a top rating from Runner Click among the best underpronation running shoes of 2017. It scored high for comfortable fit, roomy toe box, lightweight feel, supportive midsole and traction.
Just as an FYI, those who underpronate can typically get away with spending less on their shoes, since shoes for overpronation often require more expensive corrective technology.
Top choice for runners with neutral pronation
The Brooks Glycerin 14 ($119. 95, originally $150; zappos.com)
For runners who don’t require stabilization, the Brooks Glycerin 14 ranked first when compared with all other 2017 running shoes by Sports Illustrated. The Glycerin offers a premium level of cushioning with a stable ride and a snug-fitting toe box, according to the review. From over 100 satisfied Zappos.com customer reviews, this shoe was given a 4-star rating on average — and it’s not hard to see why. When you combine the trusted Brooks reputation with innovative new features, like the DNA midsole technology featured here, runners can feel confident about committing to these sneaks.