What is a neutral running shoe?

25 November 2021

When you’re shopping for running shoes, you first must ask yourself,
“Do I need a stability or neutral running shoe?”
And then this will no doubt lead to your next question,
“What’s the difference?, Do I currently wear a Neutral or stability shoe?"

Of the two shoe categories, Supportive (or Stability) running shoes are more self-explanatory – these shoes are designed with additional features aiming to keep your foot and ankle stable and in the correct position while you roll through your running gait cycle.

Kinvara 13

Neutral running shoes on the other hand, are designed to be “neutral” across the shoe, meaning that their primary focus is not towards additional support to help offset pronation and control movement, but instead aiming to provide shock absorption, while allowing freedom & natural movement while you run.

Neutral running shoes are typically:
  • Flexible and responsive
  • Lightweight for pace
  • Durable for everyday
While neutral shoes share these general qualities, they vary in terms of cushioning, support, material, offset, and more. At Saucony we know that every runner has individual needs and preferences, and our goal is to get you laced up and running for good in the best runner for you. We don’t believe shoes need to fall strictly into categories, which is why some of our neutral shoes are built with extra support for those who need it, while others are more minimal.

Endorphin Pro 2

Saucony's Top 5 neutral running shoe collections

  • Triumph Collection:Our most cushioned shoe ever, made for runners who want pillow-soft comfort with a springy underfoot feel throughout your longest runs.

  • Endorphin Pro Collection: Born from speed with a design focused on increasing your pace on race day. The Pro 2 is our super shoe with an ultralight PWRRUN PB and carbon fibre plate.

  • Ride Collection: This shoe hits the marks in comfort and fit, with super-plush cushioning plus all-new fitting technologies that adapt to the shape and motion of your foot.

  • Kinvara Collection: This lightweight runner featuring a low offset (4mm) and extra-responsive underfoot feel for powerful finishing kicks.

  • Endorphin Speed Collection: With the PWRRUN PB cushioning combined with a responsive nylon plate, from workout to race day, speed or endurance, this shoe is the ultimate lightweight everyday training shoe.
Historically, neutral shoes have featured less cushioning and emphasized a closer-to-the-ground feel than other running shoes. The idea was that neutral shoes promoted the natural movement of the foot, and extra cushioning would presumably interfere with runners’ natural form. But nowadays, we know that a neutral shoe can also have super-plush cushioning so we’ve designed our cushioning to be lighter and more responsive than ever, so you can run comfortably without sacrificing speed.

If you’re looking for a neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning, then you can’t go past either the Triumph 20 or Ride 15. Then for those Neutral runners more focused towards speed, you can't go past the Endorphin range led with the carbon plated super shoe Endorphin Pro 3, and the Nylon plated lightweight Endorphin Speed 3.

Ride 15

How do I know if I need neutral or stability running shoes?

Common 'overpronating' signs that you might need a stability shoe:
  • Your ankle rolls inwards a lot while you run
  • Your arch in your feet collapse excessively when your bodyweight is applied
  • Your knees rotate excessively inwards (or even touch) while you run

If you are an overpronator (i.e., your ankle and/or your knees rotate inward while you run), you’d likely benefit from stability shoes, which are designed with a medial post on the inner edge of the shoe to help secure your foot. If left uncorrected, overpronation can lead to overuse injuries most felt through Arch pain, Achilles or knee pain.

Triumph 20

Even neutral runners can benefit from shoes with a bit of stability, especially during hard workouts or longer races when the lower leg muscles can fatigue, and technique gets a little out of whack.
A lot of runners find it beneficial having both a neutral and stability running shoe within their weekly shoe rotation, this keeps the feet awake and in constant need to acclimatize to their surroundings and support levels, keeping your feet strong, and more importantly, keeping you running.