10 Best Stability Running Shoes in 2021

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best Stability Running Shoes in 2021

Stability running shoes are helpful in providing runners the additional arch support, especially if they feel that the lack thereof is preventing a natural and comfortable movement. As a beginner, it could be a worthy investment for you, but make sure to identify first if the features are truly beneficial to your run.

In this article, we define stability shoes and the top-rated stability running shoes on the market to help you narrow down your choices.

We have tested 100+ stability shoes in our lab to pick out the best models in several categories.

How we test and review stability running shoes

It is our mission to save your time in picking the best shoe out of 250+ stability running shoes on the market. Here is how:

  • We research hundreds of studies on foot biomechanics and running footwear to understand what a good stability shoe is.
  • All shoes are purchased with our own money to prevent bias and brand loyalty.
  • Our testers run at least 30-50 miles in each pair before delivering their feedback.
  • With our RunRepeat lab, we cut each shoe into pieces and measure 30+ different parameters that contribute to its performance. From cushioning softness to lace slippage.
  • We also gather all available user and expert reviews (nearly 1,000,000) from the web to keep our reviews comprehensive.

In the end, each shoe receives a CoreScore, a number in the 0-100 range. The higher the number, the better the shoe is.

And the best stability running shoes make it here.

Best overall

Having overpronation or the excessive inward rolling of the feet can be uncomfortable if not aided with the right stability running shoe, and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 gave us that sweet spot between support and comfort - something most stability shoes can’t achieve.

Among the 250+ stability shoes we have tested, this is the best of the best!

We LOVED every bit of this shoe from the upper down to the outsole.

It provides that form-fitting wrap, keeping the foot tucked in place without being constricting.

The midsole is the real show-stopper! It balances both rigidity and softness so well, you don’t get that mushy nor rock-hard feel. Its supportive elements - the GuideRails - are not pronounced nor harsh either.

It’s there when you need it (when the feet go too far on the sides), and are unnoticeable when you don’t.

In short, it can be just as enjoyable for neutral runners as it is for those who need extra arch support!

And who could miss that tank of an outsole? After several rough wear testing, it’s practically untouched, and the midsole intact and bouncy. It can very much last 400-500 miles!

This shoe is not loud nor does it have a lot of gimmicks. It's a true Brooks - plain and simple but gets the job done!

At $130, it’s a shoe that will eat up miles without falling short on durability. So if you want a ride that’s supportive, comfortable, and protective, this shoe will wow you!

See our full review and facts

2 decades and 8 years later, the Asics Kayano continues to be the talk of the town, and we are just curious why.

50 miles in, we totally get the hype!

The Asics Kayano 28 is just so splendid, it even makes it to our list of best running shoes! And here it is again, sealing its place in the best stability running shoes.

It’s a shoe that does not conform to the traditional ride of most stability shoes - it’s neither rigid nor dull. On the contrary, it rides with loads of pop, has enough give for comfort, while keeping the foot well-supported through all the paces.

To determine that we got the cream of the crop, we also reviewed the Kayano 28 vs. its precursors. This shoe just stood out, and it did so terrifically!

Unlike previous iterations, the shoe’s Flyte Foam Blast makes the ride more fun! It’s also a lot more flexible!

And finally! We now have a Kayano that’s lighter. At 10.6 oz, it’s still not in our roster of lightweight running shoes. But with all the support and cushion we get out of it, we can easily move past its weight.

And hey, what’s important is that it doesn’t feel clunky on foot.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

At $100, we’ve never been more surefooted than the Brooks Launch GTS 8! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, this shoe can hold a place in your rotation.

It’s a moderate stability shoe that can support mild to moderate overpronators (feet roll inward). What’s great about it is that it doesn’t feel controlling. Its stabilizing system is only there when you need it, and is almost invisible when you don’t.

And although we find its midsole on the firmer side, it inspires speed. In fact, we found it to run best in tempo paces (a shocker, if we were honest!)

Packed with more surprises, the shoe also has a performance fit - snug in the midfoot and is roomy in the forefoot.

You don’t usually get that in daily trainers. But hey, Brooks always has a couple of tricks up its sleeve for a brand known for its simple, no-frills running shoes.

After putting it through the paces, this shoe is swell in the durability department. After clocking up 100 miles, there is NO noticeable wear. Expect this to last 250-400 miles.

Well, that’s a lot of mileage for such a pocket-friendly price!

See our full review and facts

If you’re looking for a solid stability shoe that won’t break the bank, we can’t recommend the Asics GT 1000 10 enough. It’s great for beginners, and it sure isn’t a letdown for seasoned runners. 

The best thing about this shoe is it skimps on price, but it definitely doesn’t when it comes to support. The upper has a very locked-in feel, while the midsole has kept our feet nice and secure. We had ZERO issues with our ankles rolling or any in-shoe movements while maneuvering the road. 

And what’s surprising is that it rides just as flawlessly as its expensive siblings like the Kayano and GT 2000! It’s got a terrific blend of energy return and surefootedness. 

Even better, it’s not taxing to the feet. Unlike the other support shoes on our roster, it’s not rock solid. It’s forgiving and it’s bouncy, it’s almost like we’re walking on clouds! 

If there’s one thing that held it back as our best pick, it’s the rather stiff forefoot. This made impact dampening suffer. But don’t worry, it’s not a deal-breaker. 

Ultimately, if you’re new to the running scene and you want a shoe that you can train in up until your first race, the Asics GT 1000 10 has got you covered!

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

Responsiveness and plushness? Take both in the Saucony Hurricane 23!

After putting it to the test, this stability shoe just wowed us with its marshmallowy comfort and lively ride! Now that’s a combo you don’t get every day.

Even more, the shoe does not cut corners on support. It’s still pretty much in its A-game in this arena, but it does so that’s unobtrusive. It doesn’t scream, and it’s just there when the feet need it.

And of course, excellent stability shoes are never without good fit. In the case of the Hurricane, it hits the bull’s-eye between not being too snug nor too loose. It just keeps the foot locked in place.

There’s also no need to fret over wet conditions. This shoe nailed it when we took it out for a couple of spins on slick roads.

At $160, it’s a premium among our ranks of stability shoes. A fault or a virtue? We’d go for the latter. It’s worth every penny spent!

If you’re looking for a couch for the feet in your easy long runs, buy the Saucony Hurricane 23!

See our full review and facts

Brooks just can’t stop bringing the goods to the table, can they? Everyone, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19. The stability shoe that won us over with its neutral-feeling ride!

Yes, it’s an odd sensation, but in all the good ways possible. It’s not less of a stability shoe just because it runs almost like a neutral shoe. NO. It still provides all the support you need to run with ease and balance!

What makes it our top pick for best cushioning is that it has luxurious plushness. Yes, it oozes with comfort!

The fun doesn’t stop in the midsole. The upper is also very breathable and soft, we didn’t have any issue with rubbing or hot spots. Our feet felt snugly wrapped in it!

Stability is as good as it gets! We took this shoe out for some runs on wet, dry, and snowy roads, and hallelujah! The shoe breezed through all conditions.

If there’s one thing this shoe struggled with, it’s gotta be the tempo paces. It just falls short on snappiness.

Overall, if you’re looking for a superbly comfy stability shoe that’s going the distance, we couldn’t recommend the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 enough!

See our full review and facts

Best for wide feet

We have wide feet, and we just can’t help but adore the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21. It’s accommodating and flexes well, catering to those with larger feet.

The upper is the real deal in this field. It has enough give, and it’s coupled with some stretchy laces that keep the feet locked securely in place.

Working hand in hand with the upper is the shoe’s midsole. It’s supportive but its stability elements take a back seat - which for us, is one of the makings of a good stability shoe.

It’s also not mushy. In fact, it strikes a good blend between softness and rigidity. It keeps the foot free from any wobbling sensation, while maintaining a cushy ride.

And if you’re in search of the most durable stability running shoe on the market, we strongly recommend getting this! It’s built to be heavy-duty and it delivers just that. It aced our wear tests, and we expect it to go 400-500 miles before retiring.

This shoe, at 10.2 oz, tips our scales. Even for a max-cushioned trainer, it’s heavy (the average weighs in at 9.5 oz, in our lab testing). But for all the benefits it’s loaded with, it’s one that we can write off.

And hey, this is a promising start for the Adrenaline GTS. All the previous models we’ve tested were WAY heavier, and shedding off some weight is always a positive for running shoes. So kudos to Brooks for this!

See our full review and facts

Another marvelous work from the upper, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 kept our wide feet secure and snug. It’s form-fitting and wraps around the contours of the feet comfortably.

When we say comfortably, we mean it’s soft and breathable, preventing hot spots and abrasion.

And where the magic happens, hello midsole! Our feet felt right at home in this shoe. Unlike other stability shoes we’ve tested, the Glycerin is not stiff. It’s cushy and only generates support when you need it.

This makes it an all-runners shoe, catering to neutral runners who need extra support, supinators (feet roll outward), and overpronators.

With its comfy midsole, we’d pick this when our feet demand an enjoyable, cozy ride in long distances.

See our full review and facts

Best for trail

The Asics GT 2000 9 road shoe was just so good, we needed a trail version of it! And here we are with the GT 2000 9 Trail.

Spoiler: We love it just as much!

To give you a picture of how good it is - this shoe smashed it in the stability arena! It did so excellently that we are just as astonished as we were when we tested the Kayano!

Apart from having a great deal of support, this shoe also rocks in muting out all that impact! So much so, our feet didn’t feel beat up after some hard pounding on the trails.

To attest to how much of a superstar the GT 2000 9 Trail’s cushioning is, we didn’t have to go through any break-in period AT ALL. In fact, we have so much faith in its comfort and protection, we are confident you can run in it straight from the box!

There’s just one teeny bit of a downside to this shoe - it’s not for the technical trails. The tread is just a tad insufficient to bite deep into rocky and loose surfaces.

Other than that, we think this shoe is a solid choice for slow to moderate paces. And with its generous cushioning, it can reach distances up to a marathon.

See our full review and facts

If there’s one shoe that mixes all the key elements of trail shoes and stability shoes, what comes on top of our list is the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8!

It’s supportive from the ground up, keeping the foot free from unsteadiness, while protective and durable to dampen all the harsh trail elements!

To start, the shoe’s upper is very well-padded, keeping the feet sealed in place. Contributing to its locked-in fit as well are the cushioned collar and tongue that prevent slippage all throughout the run.

Even better, the midsole has a great blend between comfort and stiffness for that supportive and lasting ride. For a trail and stability shoe, this is out of the ordinary (in a good way). Both tend to be on the firmer end, but this shoe fares against that!

The trails are not the friendliest, and the Salomon XA Pro 3D makes it seem like it’s nothing. When we tested this shoe on icy and muddy surfaces, it swept through!

If there’s one thing we didn’t like about this shoe, it’s that it’s clunky. It’s a whopping 12 oz! This shoe needs to go on a serious diet!

Generally, if you want a stability shoe that’s going to ace the challenges on the trail, there’s no better option than the XA Pro 3D V8 from Salomon. It’s a heavy-duty beast that’s an exceptional selection for both running and hiking.

See our full review and facts

Do I need a stability running shoe?

Yes and no.

If you are a beginner, or if you don’t have any pain in walking or running, a stability running shoe is not absolutely necessary. You may find that neutral shoes are comfortable enough and can get you across Point A to Point B without problems.

neutral-vs-stability-support.jpg

neutral shoe (Saucony Ride) vs. stability shoe (Saucony Guide)

However, if you have excessive inward foot movement or if you are experiencing injuries related to it, you might have overpronation. In this case, a stability running shoe could help alleviate these issues.

What is overpronation?

To better understand overpronation, we will first define pronation. Pronation is the natural movement of the foot as it lands, such as during walking or running.

Types of pronation.png

Normally, pronation is a side-to-side motion, which results in the foot rolling inward with each step. To some, this happens in higher degrees (could be mild or severe). When this occurs, you may have overpronation.

Neutral vs stability vs motion control shoes

For most runners, neutral shoes are the more common choice. This is relatively harmless, especially if you don’t have problems walking or running. On the other hand, if you have overpronation, stability shoes, or motion control shoes could be more beneficial. Here is a guide on how we can differentiate between neutral shoes, stability shoes, and motion control shoes.

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

Differences between arch types

  • High-arched runners have a prominent rise on the bottom of their feet. Because it is high, the risen area has little to no ground contact. This results in the foot to move rigidly.
  • Runners with moderate arches have an underfoot rise that is neither too high nor too low. Their foot rolls inward to a certain degree, which lends them impact absorption upon landing.
  • Runners with very low arches usually possess flat feet. A runner with a flat foot does not get sufficient arch support. This means, as the foot lands on the ground, it tends to roll inward excessively.

Which type of shoe should you get?

  • High-arched runners are the most compatible with neutral shoes. These shoes are well-cushioned to make the runner feel more comfortable and their foot more flexible.
  • Stability shoes are for runners with mild overpronation. Runners with feet that tend to move inward will benefit from a shoe that offers support and controls the excessive rolling of the feet. Stability shoes offer adequate cushioning but have a firm midfoot area to reinforce arch support.
  • For runners with severe overpronation, motion control shoes are most suitable. These shoes are similar to stability shoes in that they provide support and keep the foot from rolling inward. However, motion control shoes have stiffer parts, especially in the heel area. The aim of this is to make the shoe a bit heavier to prevent the foot from moving inward extremely.

Types of arch support in running shoes from least to most supportive:

neutral-shoe.jpg

neutral or no support (Nike Air Zoom Pegasus)

stability-shoe.jpg

stability: support for mild to moderate overpronation (Asics Gel Kayano)

motion-control-shoe.jpg

motion control: supports severe overpronation (Hoka One One Gaviota)

3 noteworthy attributes of stability running shoes

An efficient stability running shoe should be able to correct your pronation and alleviate any discomfort brought by the foot rolling inward. The listed qualities below help stability shoes achieve these goals.

A semi-curved shape

A stability shoe has a slightly curved shape, which allows it to provide a good balance of support and cushioning. In contrast, a neutral shoe has more curves, while a motion control shoe is almost straight. Below is an illustration for reference:

Running shoe outsoles according to arch support.png

On the left, the motion control shoe shows an almost straight layout with its shallow curves on the arch area. In the middle is the stability shoe, which is slightly curvier. On the right is the neutral shoe that displays the deepest curves among the 3.

Guide rails

A gradually increasing trend among stability running shoes, the guide rails are a special feature that prevents the inward rolling of the foot, which is the most apparent sign of overpopulation.

Guide rails of stability running shoes.png

Here you can see an illustration of how the guide rails are typically positioned within the stability running shoe. This layout effectively prevents the foot from rolling inward, as with overpronation.

brooks-guide-rails

GuideRails on Brooks Adrenaline

Overpronation correction.png

Heel support

A usual companion of the guide rails in stability running shoes is a firm (even stiff) and well-padded heel counter. It clutches the heel and ankle, preventing the foot from rolling inwards in the early stages of the heel-to-toe transition.

stability-shoe-heel-counter.jpg

Supportive heel counters on stability shoes. Left to right: Saucony Guide 14, Hoka Arahi 5, Asics Gel Kayano 28

Frequently asked questions

Will a stability shoe correct my pronation permanently?

The answer is no, unfortunately. A stability shoe provides extra arch support and it stabilizes the foot to avoid unnecessary movements. However, the shoes are only meant to guide the feet towards a correct gait, but it does not permanently fix the condition. If you are looking for a long-term solution, you may try physical therapy and some exercises aimed at strengthening foot muscles.

Should I use stability shoes even when I am not running?

A stability shoe corrects the step of an overpronator by giving a sufficient amount of arch support. If you suffer from pain and injuries that are associated with overpronation, then a stability shoe can continue to be beneficial in your other activities that involve a lot of mobility.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.