At a fundamental level, the current assortment of running shoes can be divided into two halves – one with a firmer medial post, and another without it. This categorization is commonly known and marketed as ‘stability’ (with a medial post) and ‘neutral’ (without a medial post).
But when you wade through the vast selection of stability shoes, you soon realize that you cannot paint every model with the same brush. Some stability shoes have a small medial wedge while others have a gigantic post that extends from the heel to the forefoot. And these days, the number of models without a wedge has seen a steady rise.
Then there are countless other variables such as the difference in the shoe weight, midsole softness, or the outsole footprint.
Due to the sheer breadth of available features and models, stability shoes can be further divided into sub-categories. Some stability shoes exhibit a noticeable ‘motion-control’ behavior. This means that the outer midsole is easier to compress than the inner side.
Other stability shoes feel like neutral shoes or lightweight trainers. They lack the sensation of hardness that comes from the medial post.
If you’re keeping up with recent running shoe releases, you must have noticed that the medial posts are going extinct. Newer stability shoes have evolved to edit the firmer wedge in its entirety. ‘Supportive-neutral’ is the term Solereview uses to describe them.
So why do conventional ‘stability’ shoes exist? All brands that promote stability running shoes claim that the latter minimizes inward foot roll, and how only ‘over-pronators’ should wear the said category of running shoes. We’ve spent enough time discussing this subject in the past, so we’ll skip that today.
Whether a runner prefers a stability shoe (or not) is purely a matter of personal preference. Some like the sensation of a firmer medial post under the foot, and that’s reason enough to buy them. In the same vein, not all stability shoes are the same, so a subjective decision-making process will apply.
We can help make your search less arduous by sorting stability running shoes into three different sub-categories.
The first category is the most popular assortment of stability shoes. These shoes are your daily trainers with mild support features. The medial post isn’t very intrusive, and in most cases, you don’t feel it at all. Familiar models like the Brooks Adrenaline have been reintroduced without the medial post.
The Asics Kayano 26 did not feature on the previous version of this guide, and nor does the recently released Kayano 27. The way we see it, the Kayano’s softer rearfoot makes the ride bias a little pronounced, and its motion control character is too obvious.
The second category is max support.
Here, the weight and dimensional considerations go out of the window, and brands build the most stable running shoe with no holds barred. Design features like an over-sized medial post, an ultra-wide outsole footprint, and a high shoe weight are commonly seen on such shoes. Even here, models like the Brooks Beast have let go of the firmer wedge.
Lastly, there are lightweight trainers with mild stability treatment. These shoes are fast trainers, but with a difference – the midsoles are fitted with a tiny medial-post.
Our recommended list of running shoes is arranged by stability sub-categories:
Daily stability trainers – mild support
1) Asics GT-2000 9
There’s no dearth of information about the Asics GT-2000. This prolific running shoe is, after all, one of the most popular stability models of all time. Though the ‘9’ suffix in the shoe’s name suggests that the GT-2000 has been around for nine years, most of us forget that the GT-2160 existed long before this model.
What makes the GT popular is its balanced ride character. One that melds everyday cushioning with mild motion-control elements like a barely noticeable medial post and plastic shank. The stability features aren’t overdone, so the GT-2000 feels like a supportive neutral shoe. Well, almost.
There’s only a slight hint of a medial-post on the inner side. The rest of the midsole has a generous amount of cushioning that is made possible by the Flytefoam core and rearfoot Gel. As such, the GT works well as a supportive daily trainer that is also capable of long-distance runs.
The upper is basic yet comfortable and fits proportionately. The insides fit smoothly and true-to-size. The GT is also available in an optional wide (2E).
2) Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
The GTS 19 and 20 were a marked departure from the Adrenaline series. The 19 traded the medial post for a set of raised ‘Guiderails’ on the midsole. This transformed the Adrenaline GTS from a traditional ‘motion control’ shoe to a near-neutral one.
That’s true for the GTS 21 as well. The new Adrenaline GTS almost feels like a Ghost 13, but with additional under-arch support. The GTS 21 has a firmer ‘Guiderail’ (raised sidewalls) on the arch side, whereas the outer Guiderail (softer) is made of the same material as the midsole.
Regardless, the Adrenaline is a cushioned and supportive running shoe that works for most use cases. The softer ride makes it suitable for daily runs and longer distances while offering adequate stability. The upper locks the foot down in upholstered comfort and a true-to-size fit.
3) Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
If you’re worn the Inspire 13, 14, 15, then stepping into the Inspire 16 is a classic case of déjà vu.
The 16 has a similar set of materials and features that were the ingredients of the past models. For example, the molded TPE ‘Wave’ plate works together with the foam midsole to produce a cushioned yet highly stable ride. If you’re looking for a medial post, you won’t find it here – the Wave plate does all the heavy lifting. It always has.
There’s plenty of room inside the upper without any sloppiness. The forefoot midsole has a wide base that helps increase the interior room and stability.
Also see: The Mizuno Wave Rider 24.
4) New Balance Fresh Foam 860V11
The 11th version of the 860 gets a Fresh Foam update, hence making the ride softer than the V10. That’s not the only change; even the firmer medial post has shrunk in size to further tone down the motion-control aspect of the ride.
Most stability running shoes are transitioning over to the ’supportive-neutral’ side, and the 860V11’s evolution is no different. While the midsole still delivers ample stability for daily runs, it’s a pale shadow of its former medially-posted self.
The newer upper designs from New Balance have been a hit or miss, and this pertains specifically to the heel counter design. The 860V11’s flared heel design will divide opinions. As they say, some things are better left untouched.
5) Nike Zoom Structure 22
The Structure 22 has a very firm ride quality with a snappy forefoot. The rear midsole is made of firm dual-density foam and the front has a Zoom Air unit that makes the toe-offs responsive.
The upper fits smooth and holds the foot well – thanks to Flywire and the sleeve based construction.
The redesigned – and softer – Structure 23 is out now, so it’s the last call for the legacy model. If you prefer the much firmer 22, grab a few pairs while you can.
6) Saucony Guide 13
Another medially-posted running shoe has been archived. And we’re not talking about the Guide 13, but its predecessor – the Guide ISO 2.
Till last year, Saucony’s popular stability trainer came with a traditional firmer wedge. In 2020, that’s no longer the case.
The Guide 13 borrows the plastic stabilizer from the Liberty ISO 2 and affixes it to the inner midsole. The cushioning is firm, so here we are – the Guide is a supportive neutral shoe now.
There’s no ISOFIT on the upper either. The new upper uses a cleaner design sans the midfoot strapping system. What you have here is a comfortable and smooth fitting upper that does a fairly good job at keeping the foot locked down.
If you do need a stability Saucony shoe with a medial post, we recommend the Omni 19.
7) New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo V4
Which stability shoe features a 4 mm offset, no medial post, lots of cushioning, and a split outsole? It’s the New Balance Vongo V4!
Instead of a medial-post, the Vongo has a raised inner midsole with filled-up hexagonal patterns for support. The groove running down the center of the outsole helps center the weight to give the Vongo a very directional feel.
The Vongo’s true-to-size upper has a sock-like bootie upper and a knit collar panel for increased comfort. An asymmetrical internal heel counter is taller on the medial side than the lateral side for support.
Stability shoes – Maximum support:
1) Brooks Beast 20
The 2020 Brooks Beast is, uh, a different beast.
This is the first time in the Brooks Beast’s history that its multi-density wedge is missing in action. Now the Beast 20 feels a lot like the Transcend.
So what is the difference between the two models? Good point.
The Beast has a more cushioned ride than the Transcend. It’s also more stable. And it’s easy to see why. The Beast 20’s midsole and outsole footprint is wider.
That translates into more foam – and better stability – under the foot. The simpler design also makes the Beast 20 an ounce lighter than the 18.
The engineered mesh is spacious and fits plush towards the rear – courtesy of the padded heel collar and tongue. The shoe is also available in a choice of 2E (wide) and 4E (extra-wide).
2) Brooks Addiction 14
If you’re already missing the Brooks Beast 18 and its firmer midsole wedge, then consider the Addiction 14. It isn’t far-fetched to think that Brooks intended the Addiction to indirectly replace the older Beast.
Because when you look at the Addiction 14, it has a lot of the previous Beast in it. There’s a visually prominent – and sizeable – medial post, along with a broad midsole that offers both cushioning and stability. Even the full-coverage outsole has a wide footprint similar to the big B.
Also, the spacious upper is Beast-like. The secure-fitting heel is generously quilted with foam, and the engineered mesh forefoot has plenty of splay room. And of course, the obligatory smattering of sizing widths is available too.
3) Brooks Transcend 7
Back in 2014, it was the first running shoe to pitch the idea of a supportive-neutral. It swapped the medial post for a set of raised ‘Guiderails’, and the stability running shoe universe hasn’t been the same since.
Be it the Brooks Beast, Adrenaline, or even competing brands, many have ditched the ‘motion-control’ design. So whatever the Transcend’s original intent, it succeeded in nudging the running shoe industry towards a different path. Even Nike has a similar concept now, so that’s saying something.
Though the Transcend 7 isn’t the polarizing shoe the T1 was, it accomplishes a few things with aplomb. Take, for instance, the single-density DNA Loft foam midsole that delivers lots of high-volume cushioning. Or the supportive ride character that is made possible by the medium-soft midsole and the raised ‘Guiderails.’
At just below 11-ounces, the T-7 isn’t the epitome of lightness. But hey, it’s not bad either. This is a daily trainer for those easy runs where the ride comfort and support take precedence.
The upper is very Brooks-ey. Meaning that the interiors are smooth and soft along with a true-to-size fit profile. Still no widths though.
Stability shoes – Lightweight support:
1) Asics Gel-DS Trainer 25
Our lightweight stability favorite was completely refreshed last year, and the DS-Trainer 25 carries forward most of the niceties.
We loved the DST-24’s new upper, and the V-25 is more of the same. The upper fits snug but extremely smooth. The knit design has a soft hand feel, and keeps the superfluous layering to a bare minimum.
The core persona of the DST is unchanged – it is an excellent trainer for fast training runs. The fact that the midsole has a medial-post doesn’t get in the way of the shoe’s speed manners. Asics has done a great job of integrating the firmer density section into the midsole; it is barely noticeable.
The firm cushioning of the Flytefoam midsole helps build pace during runs. A full-coverage outsole grips the road very well. However, you should know that both the DST 25 (and the 24) no longer come with the aggressive dual-stencil outsole lugs. Honestly, it’s a bit of a loss, but the traction is still very good.
2) New Balance 1500 V6
The 1500V6 has been reworked from the ground-up, but these changes complement, rather than alter the 1500’s functionality. The medial-post still exists, but is now spread longer and lower under the arch.
The new Revlite foam offers supportive and speed-friendly cushioning; the reconfigured outsole geometry increases ground contact for improved traction and transitions.
The interiors of the new knit upper have a secure and seamless fit quality in addition to a performance-oriented heel grip.
3) Saucony Fastwitch 9
The Fastwitch is a breathable road racer with a tiny medial wedge for support. If the idea of a 4 mm drop racer with mild-stability sounds appealing, then the Fastwitch 9 is a good buy.
The Fastwitch goes through a design clean-up for its 9th edition. The result is, ahem, a shoe which is closer to the New Balance 1500V6 than it is to the Fastwitch 8. So there you have it – another great road-racer with a tiny medial post.
The Fastwitch 9 bumps its retail price up by $10 to $100, but is still good value for money.