What Are Neutral Running Shoes? Are They Good for You?

What are neutral running shoes

Let's take a look at what are neutral running shoes that best fits you and how to choose the brand that makes the most sense for your needs

Whether you're a competitive runner or you're just hitting the pavement to drop a few pounds, your running shoes matter. You should learn how a running store can help you decide what type of road running shoes make the most sense for your cushioning, pronation, and foot strike needs.

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Neutral Running Shoes: What Are They?

Neutral running shoes are shoes that support feet that pronate naturally. If you're a natural pronator, your foot doesn't roll inward or outward when you run. When your foot strike is neutral, a neutral running shoe is usually a good choice. 

Neutral running shoes don't stop the feet from rolling inward, so they don't offer medial posts or correcting insoles. Instead, neutral running shoes offer a nice amount of underfoot cushioning, provide comfortable contact with the road with each foot strike, and allow a flowing transition from the foot strike to the toe-off of each step. 

Are Neutral Running Shoes A Good Fit for You?

Are neutral running shoes a good fit for you?
Neutral running shoes are a good option for about 30% of runners

It's easy to assume that neutral running shoes are a good fit for most people — but this isn't the case. Neutral running shoes are a good option for about 30% of runners.

Neutral shoes are not a good fit for:

  • Overpronators
  • Runners who have flat feet or a low arch
  • Runners with high arches
  • Runners with stability needs

For these runners, motion control shoes with support features or stability running shoes may be a better fit. 

The best way to learn more about the type of shoe that's the best fit for you is to visit a local running store for a gait analysis. You'll learn more about the level of shock absorption, toe box, and cushioning you need. You'll also get to ask questions about durability and other factors that may affect your decision on buying a new pair of shoes. 

Prior to your gait analysis, it's smart to create a list of any questions that you have. Questions about supination tendencies, whether you overpronate, and whether you need stability features are all factors that a running store employee will be able to address. 

Brands That Offer Neutral Shoes

If you decide that neutral running shoes are a good fit for your needs, you'll have plenty of options. 

Popular neutral running shoe brands include: 

  • Adidas 
  • Altra (a new-ish company gaining popularity among both competitive and hobby runners, the Vanish-R model offers a minimalist running shoe option)
  • Asics (Asics gel in the cumulus and nimbus varieties are especially popular, known for its soft cushioned feel)
  • Brooks (the popular Glycerin model provides a breathable feel with a balanced midsole that offers both comfort and stability)
  • Hoka 
  • Mizuno
  • New Balance (the 1080 model offers high-level cushioning to keep you comfortable on all surfaces)
  • Nike
  • Saucony

Of course, many of these brands offer other types of running shoes as well. Luckily, neutral running shoes are easy to find. After you work with your local running store to decide whether a neutral running shoe is a good fit for you, they'll be able to point you in the direction of several models that will meet your needs. 

Many running stores offer treadmills to allow you to take your new shoes for a spin before you commit to a purchase. While you may feel silly, hop on and give your new shoes a spin. Like beds and tires, running shoes separate you from the ground, and they're worth spending some time and money to find the right fit for you. 

Final Word on What Are Neutral Running Shoes

Neutral running shoes aren't a good fit for everyone, despite their one-size-fits-all moniker. If you're an overpronator, have a high or low arch, need extra cushioning or stability features, or have other special concerns, you may not be a neutral runner — and that's ok.

Your local running store can work with you to help you choose the type of shoe that makes the most sense for your running needs. 

FAQs About What Are Neutral Running Shoes

Are neutral running shoes a good fit for most runners?

Surprisingly, no. Less than a third of runners are a good fit for neutral running shoes. 

How can I decide if neutral running shoes are the right fit for me?

Reach out to your local running store for a gait analysis. They'll be able to work with you to help you choose the right type of running shoe for your needs.

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