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Neutral Running Shoes

An Important Note: We at CushionRunningShoes.com would love to standardize what shoes for high arched supinated runners should be called. Currently they are referred to in a variety of names which include our very own topic for this page, Neutral Running Shoes. It should be noted that it also depends on where you are located; a lot of people refer to running shoes as sneakers in America for example.

What should we really call these running shoes for neutral feet?

In light of our little editorial above we will discuss briefly how we should call this type of shoes. To oversimplify things runners with high arched feet need shoes that do not control pronation. Pronation is a natural rolling motion of the foot that relieves your lower body from the stressful forces it goes through when running.

So what exactly do Neutral Running Shoes do for (over)pronation control?

Zip? Nada? Nothing. Or at least that is how I felt when examining with my own hands dozens of them over the past few months. What these shoes for supinators possess however are generally more pliant soles when it comes to twisting.

This supposedly allows neutral shoes to coax the foot into that much needed pronating. The absence of motion control elements and the relatively soft pliable sole are designed to encourage the foot to roll towards the inside (from outside to inside).

A few would argue though that a neutral running shoe is all about the absence of pronation control rather than it actually coercing pronation. I’ve talked to a few runners who felt that even the best neutral running shoes never really guided their feet to pronate at the proper levels.

Does this mean that Neutral Running Shoes are useless?

Of course not! Although they do not actively encourage pronation, (hence the term “neutral” aka, it does not do anything) they also do not prevent it from happening. A runner with a high arch who suffers from supination (the opposite of overpronation) will very quickly find discomfort in shoes that actually stop pronation. Long term use of shoes meant for the anti thesis of neutral running shoes will often lead to injuries.

So now we know why supination running shoes are called Neutral. To recap: The absence of motion control elements that prevent the excessive rolling of the foot makes them impassive or inactive or Neutral. Hence the name, Neutral Running Shoes.

Next. Why is there confusion using the term Cushioned Running Shoes and Neutral Running Shoes.

Cushioned Running Shoes – Why they are called that way?

Because shoes meant for a supinator are almost always softer than normal (Stability or Motion Control) they generally are considered to have “cushioning” properties. A high arched runner will often require cushioning and a softer platform to press their feet on because they generally lift off larger portions of their feet before they even touch the landing surface.

This is opposite to an overpronator whose foot will almost always leave a complete and powerful mark on the surface. Too much cushioning (or softness) on the shoes will mean that the ankle will collapse into the middle too much. So they need more a stiffer platform to support their collapsing ankles.

This is probably why most manufacturers refer to their shoes for underpronators as cushioned running shoes. Cushion, Cushioning and Cushioned terms you should look out for when looking for shoes like this.

The confusion comes in when people think of the term cushioning. Outside of running shoes “cushioning” would mean a plush, soft, cottony or relaxing feeling. So a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their feet need “cushion” and therefore Cushioned Running Shoes.

Older runners particularly seek out softer insoles in the mistaken notion that it alone will solve running foot pains. The reality is that getting the right type of shoes for your gait, whether overpronated, normal or underpronated is the biggest contributor to a comfortable and pain free running career.

Yes, too much cushioning or softness can actually be bad for MOST people. Why MOST People? Because only a very small minority (around 5%) of people actually underpronate or supinate. So too many people buy cushioned running shoes when they would actually be needing motion control (for overpronators) or stability (for people with normal arches).

You may want to make sure if you really need these shoes by reading