For a very long time, brands have made a killing selling products targeted at runners who were supposed to be “over” and “under” pronators.
There’s very little scientific basis to support the idea that runners should be matched with running shoes based on their level of foot pronation. Even today, many running shoe stores and brands will ‘analyze’ your gait and suggest a ‘suitable’ running shoe – all based on how your foot rolls during running.
For example, if the ‘gait analysis’ indicates that the extent of inward foot roll was minimal (supination/under-pronation), then a neutral running shoe is likely to be recommended.
Conversely, a person with excessive foot roll (over-pronation) would be paired with stability running shoes.
We’ve been saying for years that all this is hogwash. If you want proof, just look around. Brands are divesting traditional stability shoes in favor of supportive neutral shoes.
The same logic applies to supinator-friendly running shoes.
Conventional wisdom states that a person with a supinating foot (with a limited inwards roll) should be matched with a soft, neutral shoe. In industry parlance, a neutral shoe is a type without stability features like a medial post.
Does this approach work? If the shoe is cushioned, supportive, and fits well, most runners should have no problem. That being said, dispel the notion that a running shoe is going to have a significant effect on your gait – unless the shoe is really soft or/and doesn’t fit the way it should.
High arches and supination are often used interchangeably, so why do two different buyer’s guides exist? Well, even high-arched runners can over-pronate, so both circumstances shouldn’t be conflated.
From our experience, all supportive neutral running shoes are a safe bet. This is regardless of whether you classify yourself as someone with supination or over-pronation.
We’ve divided this guide into four groups. The first has soft running shoes; no explanation is necessary.
The second category contains shoes with a medium-soft ride – the kind that delivers cushioning without excessive softness. That’s followed by running shoes that are tinged with firmness. Lastly, we’ve recommended the Saucony Kinvara 12 as the low-profile, low heel offset option.
So what you pick depends on your cushioning preference and use-case.
Category 1: Soft running shoes for underpronation
1) adidas SolarGlide 3
From the outside, the SolarGlide 3 appears to have a midsole made only partially of the soft and responsive Boost foam.
The reality is more comforting; the Boost foam extends right up to the toe area. The EVA rim is just that – an additional overhang that makes the ride supportive through the mid-section and forefoot.
The important part of the midsole is single-density, so that makes the ride consistent yet compliant enough for most loading patterns. The upper gets the standard adidas treatment. A no-sew shell with a plush heel makes the interiors smooth and secure.
2) Asics Gel-Cumulus 22
The Cumulus 22 is a transformed Cumulus, so forget what you thought you knew about this model.
The latest update morphs into a neutral trainer with a soft, comfortable ride – the kind that allows the foot to work through the gait cycle naturally. The upper is smooth-fitting, true-to-size, and is available in various widths.
Making the magic happen is a reformulated Flytefoam midsole that dials up the levels of cushioning and step-in comfort. The 22 is an upgrade from the 20 and 21 in more ways than one, so that’s a reason why you should give this neutral running shoe a try.
3) Asics Gel-Nimbus 23
This year and the last has been a great time for running shoes, and Asics in particular. There’s been a flurry of new releases from the Japanese brand – both old and new.
The Nimbus 23 is one of the ‘old’ legacy models. While an alternate Nimbus exists in the form of the ‘Lite’ version, the 23 retains the ‘Nimbus-ness’ it’s been known for. And the 23 is perhaps the best traditional Nimbus to date.
The midsole looks a bit old-fashioned with its visible heel Gel pad and plastic half-shank, but all the parts come together to deliver a cushioned and supportive ride. Considering the triple-density midsole, the ride is very smooth. We see the Nimbus 23 as a great daily trainer at easy speeds regardless of the mileage.
This Nimbus now comes with a tongue gusset, yay. The fit is secure, very smooth, and plush – all while sizing true.
4) Saucony Triumph 18
The Triumph went under the knife in 2019, and what emerged was a renewed Triumph. It ditched the firmer Everun midsole in favor of the softer and bouncier Pwrrun+. Not only that, but Saucony also widened the midsole to increase the volume and stability.
The Triumph 18 is similar to the 17, except that it has an improved and less constricting upper. The midsole delivers the same cushy ride experience that accommodates a variety of gait patterns without any instability.
There’s ample Pwrrun+ foam available under the foot regardless of the gait pattern. The Triumph 18’s neutral ride quality is an important trait in the context of this guide.
Category 2: Medium-soft running shoes for supination
1) adidas Supernova
The newly released adidas Supernova is one of the better-looking running shoes from the German brand. The upper even has embroidery, and details like the vented forefoot and midfoot panels show that someone has spent time on the shoe’s appearance and functionality.
Not bad for $100, we say. The selection of soft upper materials makes the insides comfortable as well. And like most adidas shoes, the Supernova fits a bit snug.
But what’s under the aesthetically pleasing upper is more important. That’ll be the midsole with its full-length Boost core that produces a very neutral ride experience. That doesn’t come at the cost of stability; a firmer EVA frame covers the Boost foam on the sides and top to prevent the shoe from becoming overly soft.
2) Asics Gel-Kayano Lite
There’s a recurring theme among recently introduced ‘stability’ running shoe variants – they feel nothing alike when compared to their identically-named predecessors. A case in point is the Asics Kayano Lite.
While it’s named after the venerable Kayano – which still exists in a medial-posted form – the Lite variant is not even remotely similar. For instance, there’s no medial post, and the ride is noticeably softer. In short – this isn’t the Asics Kayano we all grew up with.
The softness doesn’t come by sacrificing stability. The wide and upsized midsole creates a supportive foundation under the foot, one that works for all gait types. Removing the visible Gel and different midsole densities (vs Kayano 27) translates into superior ride smoothness. We tested the Kayano Lite just recently; here’s where you read it.
The true-to-size upper is very comfortable and packed with typical Asics plushness.
3) Brooks Glycerin 19
The Brooks Glycerin 19 hits the sweet spot of running shoes. With a balance of cushioning comfort and ride smoothness, the Glycerin’s road manners are polite enough to please most runners. As a bonus, it’s very neutral too.
The cushioning is plush enough for all-day comfort while being smooth and supportive enough to let the foot do its thing. We share a similar opinion of the upper. The knit mesh exterior combines rearfoot plushness with a smooth, seam-free interior.
In short, the Glycerin 19 works for most runners, even if it lacks a cutting-edge cushioning tech or an exciting ride character. Like the Nimbus 23, it works as a reliable daily workhorse for most distances.
4) Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
If you saw this shoe on a list of ‘stability shoes for overpronators’ on another website, take that with a large grain of salt.
The new GTS 21 (and the 20) is nothing more than a supportive neutral. In other words, there’s none of the ‘motion control’ ride behavior that is the result of using a medial post. The Adrenaline stopped using a medial post a few years ago, and that holds for the 21 too.
The midsole has an unbiased yet cushioned ride quality that works for most runners. Though it is marketed as a stability version of the Ghost, both the shoes share a similar ride quality. So if you want to get the Brooks Ghost 13 instead of the GTS, that will work too.
That being said, the GTS has one thing that the Ghost 13 does not – an internal gusset that keeps the tongue from sliding. Else, the interiors of both the models fit true to size and smooth with no discernible difference.
5) Reebok Floatride Energy 3
Reebok had a hit on their hands with the first edition of the Forever Floatride Energy.
The 3rd design refresh retains most of what was good in the first shoe, and that’s the reason why it’s here. The ride is nearly identical and has a better outsole grip. The $100 retail price hasn’t changed, and that makes this shoe excellent value for money.
The expanded Polyurethane midsole is cushioned but far from soft. It’s also dense enough to be supportive while being reasonably flexible.
These design elements combine to create a neutral ride experience that works with the foot during transitions. There are no ‘support’ features that restrict the movement. On this guide, that’s a good quality to have.
The upper is pretty straightforward, albeit a bit basic. The tongue and heel have just enough padding to make the fit secure, and the lacing is skewed asymmetrically – a design that has been carried forward from the V2.
6) Nike Air Zoom Structure 23
For this year’s edition of this guide, we’ve replaced the Nike Pegasus 37 with the Structure 23. On the surface, that may appear strange; isn’t the Structure a ‘stability’ shoe?
Well, it was, but is no longer.
In our in-depth review, we described in detail how – and why – the Structure was a true neutral running shoe with a balanced cushioning delivery. The wide midsole doesn’t have a medial post, and its just-right softness makes it comfortable as well as versatile enough for most gait types.
And unlike the Pegasus, the Structure’s midsole feels smoother due to superior uniformity. In other words, the forefoot and rearfoot do not feel like separate parts of a midsole. Though there’s a Zoom Air bag in the front, it doesn’t feel stiff and unyieldy due to its grooved construction.
It’s an excellent shoe to do it all – be it everyday runs or slightly spirited workouts.
Category 3: Firm running shoes for under-pronation
1) Saucony Ride 13
Despite the Saucony Ride 13’s switch to the new ‘Pwrrun’ midsole foam, this shoe has a very familiar ride. The kind with a firm cushioning, and one which is also neutral and supportive.
This unique blend of cushioning attributes makes the Ride 13 versatile. The said versatility doesn’t just apply to different run types. This supportive and cushioned midsole also works with most foot-loading patterns, supinating or not.
The strappy mess that was ISOFIT no longer exists on the Saucony Ride (Hence the omission of the ‘ISO’ suffix). In its place is a regular-looking engineered mesh outer shell that fits smooth on the inside and locks the foot down.
2) Mizuno Wave Rider 24
This is a running shoe that’s different from the rest. What sets the Rider 24 apart is its ‘Wave’ plate – a thermoplastic insert between the soft foam layers. Though this is limited to the rear and midfoot, it has a major impact on the ride quality.
Though the Rider 24 has a softer midsole density, the Wave plate makes the heel very stable and neutral. For this guide, this character trait is very desirable in a running shoe. The midsole picks no side, with both the inner and outer sidewall being pretty balanced.
Similar to the past Mizuno Riders, this version too comes with a wide forefoot midsole and an upper to match. It is softer than the 23, so there’s nearly no break-in period required.
Also see: The Wave Inspire 17
Category 4: Lightweight running shoe for supination
1) Saucony Kinvara 12
So far, most shoes on this guide are mid-weight trainers. But what if you wanted a lightweight and efficient running shoe for fast-paced runs? One that was also comfortable for up to half marathon distances?
The Saucony Kinvara 12 is the answer. The 12 is one of the best Kinvara versions in a long time. The midsole has a wide flare for support, whereas the firm-ish foam midsole adds a protective layer of underfoot cushioning.
Along with the removable insole, Saucony uses a Pwrrun+ topsole (an e-TPU foam) over the midsole for added comfort.
We like the redesigned upper too. The design returns to the basics, so the single-piece upper is smooth, well-fitting, and breathes well.