Q&A: What is the difference between neutral, stability and motion control shoes?

Q: What is the difference between neutral, stability and motion control shoes? Your website has these classifications and I am a little confused by what they mean. – Jenna

A: These three classifications are used in our Footwear Performance Characteristics chart (found in the product description) to help customers find a shoe that works with their level of pronation. Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot as it makes contact with the ground, and varies for each runner. Running in the wrong type of shoe for your pronation level can lead to injury. If you are unsure of what your pronation level is, we offer a free gait analysis service.

Neutral: If you are a neutral runner, it means that you do not overpronate (roll too far inward) or you supinate (roll outward) as you are running. Simply, it means that your ankle remains aligned as you pass through the gait cycle. A neutral running stance is an efficient way for your body to absorb the shock of running, and neutral shoes will keep you running as efficiently as possible! 


Stability: Stability shoes are those that are designed for a runner who pronates past the point of neutral. This is known as overpronation, and these shoes are designed with supportive features in the midsole (specifically under the arch area) of the shoe for people who mildly or moderately overpronate. The technology in stability shoes helps bring the foot into a neutral alignment. The supportive features on these shoes are often referred to as “a post” or “posting,” so look for that in product descriptions when making purchasing decisions.


Motion control: Motion control shoes are designed for the severe overpronator, a runner who rolls drastically inward during the gait cycle. These shoes have heavy-duty support features to correct for the overpronation – by adjusting the foot into a neutral alignment – not just under the arch but generally beginning in the heel of the shoe as well.


Important terms defined:

Midsole = material between the place your foot sits and the outsole

Medial = the inside portion of the shoe (the interior part of the midsole)

If you still have any confusion, please watch our Learning Center video about pronation and shoe selection.

Sierra balances an overflowing schedule of work, college, and running, and can relate to any 20-something who’s trying to figure out life. Her running is her kind of self-care – and also the small amount of time that she gets to spend with herself every day, coming before all else (except her dog, Butters).

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