At a basic level, running shoes can be divided into two groups – one with a firmer medial post, and another without it. These categories are usually marketed as ‘stability’ (with a medial post) and ‘neutral’ (without a medial post).
At the same time, the design variations of stability models often mean that no two shoes share an identical ride character.
Some stability shoes have a tiny firm wedge while others have a significantly larger medial post. However, it’s worth noting that stability running shoes without a medial post are a common sight these days.
Then there are other variables like 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 because of their medial post. 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 firmness produced by a medial post.
The medial post is going through a gradual demise. Newer stability shoes have evolved to edit the firmer wedge in its entirety. ‘Supportive-neutral’ is the term Solereview uses to describe these shoes.
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 ‘overpronators’ should wear the said category of running shoes.
We’ve devoted a lot of screen space to this subject in the past, so we’ll skip that today. To cut a long story short, the medial post is backed by questionable pseudo-science.
Whether a runner prefers a stability shoe (or not) is a matter of personal preference. Some like the sensation of a firmer medial post under the foot, and that’s a good reason to buy such shoes.
Here, we’ll make the search process easier by sorting stability running shoes into three different sub-categories.
The first category represents 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, they are completely absent. Recently, popular models like the Brooks Adrenaline and Saucony Guide have been reintroduced without a medial post.
The Asics Kayano 27 did not feature on the previous version of this guide, and nor does the Kayano 28.
The way we see it, the Kayano’s soft/firm midsole sidewalls result in a cushioning bias with motion control behavior. We removed the New Balance Vongo too, as the latest V5 acquires a large medial post – whereas the versions 1 to 4 did not.
The second stability shoe category is ‘max support.’
Here, the weight and dimensional considerations are disregarded GTS to allow the creation of ultra-supportive running shoes.
Design features like an oversized midsole, ultra-wide outsole footprint, and a high weight are common traits of such shoes. For this guide, we replaced the Beast 20 with the Addiction 15. The all-pervading ‘Guiderail’ midsole is making most of Brooks shoes look the same anyway.
Lastly, there are lightweight trainers with a mild stability treatment. Those models are speed-friendly running shoes with a difference – the midsoles have a tiny medial post.
Our recommended list of running shoes is arranged by stability sub-categories:
Daily stability trainers – mild support
1) Asics Gel GT-2000 10
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 ‘10’ suffix in the shoe’s name suggests that the GT-2000 has been around for nearly a decade, most of us forget that the GT-2160 existed long before the 2000s series.
What makes the GT popular is its balanced ride character. Here, everyday cushioning is blended with a barely noticeable medial post to create a ‘supportive neutral’ midsole.
What’s interesting is that Asics doesn’t advertise the medial post (aka the Duomax) on the GT-2000 10.
The plastic ‘Trusstic’ shank is also no longer a part of the midsole. However, the inner midsole is still firmer than the outer side, so there’s likely a firmer foam wedge co-molded seamlessly into the midsole. So even if Asics doesn’t say it, there’s a slight hint of a medial post.
The rest of the midsole has a generous amount of cushioning that’s delivered by the triple-density Flytefoam core. Removing the shank also makes the GT-2000 10’s ride softer than the V9.
To sum up, the Asics GT-2000-10 works well as a supportive daily trainer that is also capable of long-distance runs.
The comfortable upper has just the right fit proportions; the insides fit smoothly and true-to-size. The GT-2000 is also available in an optional wide (2E), extra-wide (4E), and a waterproof Gore-Tex version.
2) Asics Kayano Lite 2
The Kayano Lite 2 is an interesting running shoe. Though it borrows the well-known name from the standard Kayano, its ride quality is nothing like the medially posted Kayano 28.
The Lite doesn’t use visible Gel, plastic midfoot shank, or the medial post that’s otherwise seen on the regular model.
Instead, the midsole cushioning and support is delivered by the high-volume Flytefoam midsole. The thick stack and insole produce a comfortable ride for high-mileage runs.
On the other hand, the wide midsole results in a planted underfoot feel without the blocky feel. The transition groove under the heel also keeps the weight centered.
Above the cushy midsole is a plush and secure upper that helps the foot make the most of the supportive ride.
3) 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 midsole ‘Guiderails’. This transformed the Adrenaline GTS from a traditional ‘motion control’ shoe to a neutral trainer.
That’s true for the GTS 21 as well. The new Adrenaline GTS is like a Ghost 14, but with greater under-arch support. The GTS 21 has a firmer ‘Guiderail’ (raised sidewalls) on the arch side, whereas the outer – and softer – Guiderail 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.
4) New Balance Fresh Foam 860V12
In 2020, the 860V11 got its overdue Fresh Foam update. That wasn’t the only change; the smaller medial post toned down the motion-control ride behavior.
The midsole and outsole hasn’t changed between the V11 and V12, so both the 860s have an identical ride. In others words, the midsole continues to deliver ample stability for daily runs without the noticeable motion-control behavior of the older versions.
Though the midsole stays the same, there’s a couple of performance-related differences between the V11 and V12.
The upper loses the flared Origami-like heel design of the V11 and acquires a normal-looking heel that fits better.
The V12’s upper also ditches the separate midfoot panel of the V11 and adopts a single-piece mesh upper. The embroidered details on top prevent the upper from drooping while making the upper less stiff than before.
The rest of the upper wasn’t an issue with the V11, so these small changes on the 860V12 improves the upper fit.
There are plenty of widths available with the 860V12 – four of them, to be precise.
5) Saucony Guide 14
The Saucony Guide ISO 2 was the final Guide version to feature a medial post; the Guide 13 got rid of it last year. In its place, Saucony deployed the plastic stabilizer that was first seen on the Liberty ISO.
Though the Guide 14 has a brand-new midsole and outsole, it has a near-identical stabilizer that also layers with the outsole under the midfoot area. When combined with the firm EVA-blend (Pwrrun) midsole, the Guide delivers a ride character that’s best described as supportive neutral.
There’s no bias in the cushioning, and foam layers of the insole and Topsole add the first layer of underfoot comfort. Several design improvements also take place on the new upper to make it softer and slightly roomier than the Guide 13.
On a side note, if you prefer a stability Saucony shoe with a medial post, we recommend the Omni 20.
Stability shoes – Maximum support:
1) Saucony Echelon 8
It’s slightly ironic that the lack of fancy cushioning foams and features make the Saucony Echelon 8 a very stable shoe. It doesn’t even have a medial post.
The midsole uses Pwrrun foam – Saucony-speak for a firm EVA foam that’s also used on the Ride 14 and Guide 14. And this shoe is heavy; the Echelon is a 12.5-ounce (354 gram) shoe.
This firm midsole has a wide footprint, thus creating a very supportive foundation. Only the removable insole and topsole provide the step-in softness. The insole is thick enough to be replaced with an orthotic.
There’s a thick rubber outsole underneath the midsole. The softer blown rubber under the forefoot provides padded traction, and there’s a harder rubber under the heel and toe for durability.
The stitched panels over the mesh upper give the Echelon 8 a retro aesthetic, but it works. The upper securely plants the foot over the firm midsole and helps make the ride stable.
For runners with wide feet, Saucony offers wide and extra-wide sizing as well.
2) Brooks Addiction GTS 15
Brooks’s stability shoe assortment is evolving rapidly, so it’s easy to get confused.
Brooks is deploying its raised sidewalls (aka the Guiderail) on most of its shoes to create new ‘stability’ versions of its popular models. The Launch GTS 8 and Glycerin GTS 19 are two such examples.
As far as we can tell, the medially-posted Addiction 14 has been replaced with the brand-new Addiction GTS 15.
The midsole no longer has a medial post, and instead has raised sidewalls on both sides. The inner ‘Guiderail’ is firmer than the outer side, and has a different density than the rest of the midsole. The Guiderails deliver a higher level of under arch-support than the 14.
Just like the Addiction 14, the Addiction GTS 15 has a wide midsole with a cushioned ride. The new midsole geometry makes the ride character very neutral, so the transitions and weight-loading feel very stable from the heel to forefoot.
Unlike the Beast 20, the outsole is not made of multiple slabs. Instead, a single-piece rubber outsole contributes to the ride stability with its reassuring traction.
There’s plenty of room inside the comfortable upper, and that’s not a surprise given the wide midsole – both are usually correlated. The insole can be removed and replaced with an orthotic for customized stability.
The Addiction GTS 15 is offered in four widths, ranging from a B (narrow) to 4E (extra wide).
Stability shoes – lightweight support:
1) Asics Gel-DS Trainer 26
Our favorite lightweight stability trainer was completely redone in 2019, and the DS-Trainer 26 carries forward most of the good stuff.
We loved the DST-24 and 25’s comfortable upper, and the DS-Trainer 26 is more of the same.
The upper fits snug but extremely smooth on the inside. The knit mesh exterior has a soft hand feel and limits any superfluous layering.
As a bonus, the upper has a streamlined aesthetic that’s a good fit for the speed-friendly ride character.
The value proposition of the DS-Trainer 26 stays unchanged – it is an excellent trainer for fast training runs. The medial post doesn’t get in the way of the fast ride. Asics has done a great job of integrating the firmer-density wedge; it is barely noticeable.
The firm cushioning of the Flytefoam midsole helps build the pace during runs. A full-coverage outsole grips the road very well.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the DST 26 (and the 24 and 25) no longer have the aggressive dual-stencil lugs that were a part of the older outsoles.
Honestly, it’s a bit of a loss, but the traction is still excellent.
2) 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 features sounds appealing, then the Fastwitch 9 is worth considering.
The Fastwitch goes through a design clean-up for its 9th edition. The result is, ahem, a shoe that 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.
Though the Fastwitch 9 bumps its retail price up by $10 to $100, it remains decent value for money.
And if you can find the New Balance 1500V6 on sale, that’s an option too.