Choosing the appropriate footwear for running is a challenge, which is easy to solve if you are aware of all necessary factors and know your foot type. If you have high arches and other issues, then neutral running shoes may become your salvation! They are lightweight, comfortable and give efficient shock absorption. Besides, they allow you to use orthotics if you need additional support.
Here is the list of the best neutral running shoes in 2018, which will make your training a smooth, safe, and pleasant experience.
Top 10 Best Neutral Running Shoes For Men and Women
Top 5 Best Neutral Running Shoes For Men
Nike Air Zoom Elite 8
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This neutral running shoe meets all requirements an amateur or an experienced runner may have. The shoe with the 8mm heel-to-toe drop gives a great traction on different terrains of variable intensity.
The shoe has a combination of unique Nike technologies, which makes it perfect for neutral runners. Thus, the Flywire technology implies the application of strong Flywire filaments to the shoe upper. They function like cables and ensure a perfect support. Also, a Flymesh technology is used in the upper. It provides excellent breathability of the upper.
The midsole ensures a smooth and cushioned ride. It is made of Phylon, this material is lightweight and durable yet cushy. In the forefoot area, there is a Zoom Air unit, which increases the connection between the forefoot and the ground.
The rubber outsole is grippy so that you may use the shoe on different surfaces. Besides, there are crash rails on the sides, which provide additional traction and padding.
- May lack
- Isn’t very flexible
Mizuno Wave Creation 18
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Creation 18 offers maximum cushioning for a smooth and comfortable run. This model is best for high arches.
The upper of the shoe features a double-layer mesh material, which is both breathable and durable. An open construction allows air to enter the foot-chamber so that the foot is well-ventilated. The synthetic overlays, used on the medial and lateral sides, give structure to the shoe, promote a secure and snug fit and add an aesthetic flair to the overall look.
On top of that, the Dynamotion Fit features a stretchy material in the forefoot area and the collar. It allows the upper to adapts to the natural movement of the foot and in the meantime, it doesn’t sacrifice durability. The Ortholite Sockliner, used in the model, adds cushioning and has antimicrobial and anti-moisture properties.
As for the midsole unit, it features a fusion of different technologies and systems, which work together to ensure perfect shock absorption and cushioning. Thereby, the Infinity Wave technology provides the return of energy to the foot when it strikes the ground so that there is an energized toe-off.
The midsole has a U4ic material, which is lightweight and absorbs shock perfectly.
The last but not the least, the outsole unit of the shoe gives perfect traction and flexibility. The outsole is made of the X10 durable carbon rubber, which is grippy and resistant to abrasion and wear. Besides, there are flex grooves in the forefoot area enhance flexibility and boost performance.
- Runs small
Saucony Zealot ISO 2
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Running is one of the best ways to manage your weight, but a heavier person faces additional challenges during running. If the shoes are designed for heavier individuals, then the run becomes longer and more comfortable. Saucony Zealot ISO 2 offers superior support and comfort, that is why it is one of the best for heavy runners.
The shoe has a 4mm heel-to-toe offset, which means that it delivers a more natural stride.
The upper of the shoe is infused with many technologies so that it is super comfortable, lightweight, and breathable! There is a Flexfilm technology in the upper. A strong and lightweight material is melded to the upper that is why you get a seamless and flexible feel. Also, there is an ISOFit system in the upper. It means that the upper adapts to the foot.
What is more, the EVERUN topsole gives additional cushioning. It contributes to the overall comfort.
As for the outsole, it has a Tri-Flex technology, which increases force dispersion over a greater surface area, improves flexibility and traction.
- Runs narrow
ASICS GEL-Venture 5
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ASICS offers a line of performance-driven shoes and ASICS GEL-Venture 5 is the best for half marathon & marathon training & long distance. You may choose between different colors, but regardless the color spectrum, the shoe is very functional.
The upper is made of durable yet breathable materials that is why it is very protective and durable because these materials didn’t tear up easily, which is crucial for long-distance running and marathons.
You won’t have any problems concerning comfort because the inner lining is breathable and comfortable that is why you receive a wonderful in-shoe feel and prevents blisters.
There’s something more interesting.
Cushioning is superior in this shoe. The EVA midsole is lightweight, responsive, and comfortable. Also, there is an additional GEL cushioning system, which is placed in the rear section of the shoe. It absorbs shock and gives additional cushioning for heel strikers.
Do you love trail running- The outsole, made of AHAR rubber will make it a pleasing experience because it was specifically designed for trails. It features gripping lugs, which hold onto the surface well, that is why your run becomes more supported and controlled. Besides, you will get enhanced flexibility, which is provided by flex grooves.
- Runs narrow
Nike Flyknit Racer
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This colorful shoe is known for its flexible and sock-like fit.
The name of the model says a lot about the quality of the upper. Nike has implemented a Flyknit technology, which means that the upper is woven using ultra-thin yarn. Thanks to it, the upper is lightweight, flexible, breathable, and supportive. On top of that, the shoe features a Flywire technology in the upper. It gives a lockdown fit.
The midsole of the shoe is made of Phylon (it is made of EVA foam pellets). Therefore, the midsole is lightweight and responsive.
Also, you will feel stable and secure on any surface thanks to the waffle-style carbon rubber. It is durable, rigid, and provides excellent support.
- Less durable than its counterparts
Top 5 Neutral Running Shoes For Women
Brooks Dyad 7
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The Dyad is one of the best neutral running shoes for orthotics due to the highly cushioned midsole and a low arch structure that easily adapts to orthotics.
Besides, these sneakers give superior support and comfort so that you handle any activity with ease. The upper of the shoe is made of breathable and stretchy fabrics so that the upper encourages the natural movement of the foot and keeps it cool and dry. Besides, the upper features synthetic overlays so that the foot stays in its place during the session.
A real pride of this model is a BioMoGo DNA midsole. It is a full-length foam, which is made of biodegradable materials. This midsole provides responsive cushioning. As for the DNA technology, which is used in the midsole, it adapts to the foot’s shape, contours, and the motion. So that your stride becomes easier and more comfortable. On top of that, there is the unit, called Forefoot Hydroflow. It absorbs the impact.
There’s something more.
The outsole features an HPR rubber, which is extremely durable. In the forefoot area, there is a blown rubber, which is extremely responsive. Also, there are dual stability arch pods in the midfoot area add stability and provide necessary support, particularly during the long runs.
- Runs small
ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 18
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Gel-Nimbus is the iconic footwear, presented by Asics. Gel-Nimbus 18 is a perfect choice for neutral runners as they give excellent grip, support, and comfort. These neutral running shoes ASICS feature a bunch of technologies, which make them one of the best shoes for neutral runners on the market.
So, firstly, the shoe amazes with its FluidFit upper. This ASICS technology combines a multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements so that the upper accommodates the runner’s foot and creates a glove-like fit. Besides, the shoe features a seamless construction, which means that the risk of irritation, caused by traditional seams, is reduced.
The forefoot of the shoe is also worth attention. It features a blown rubber, which is soft, lightweight and cushioned with small air pockets. There’s something more.
The midsole is exceptional thanks to the rearfoot and forefoot GEL Cushioning systems. They promote smooth transitions during through the gait cycle. In addition to it, ASICS has implemented a FluidRide technology. It gives additional cushioning with reduced weight and greater durability.
Also, there is a heel counter, which gives a great heel fitting environment and improves support.
As for the outsole, it is highly durable, flexible, and cushy because it is made of Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR).
- Lacks responsiveness
- A narrow toe box
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2
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If you are a newbie in the running world and need a simple yet functional running shoe, this New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2 is what you need. This one of the best neutral running shoes for beginners. It features a breathable mesh upper so that you enjoy a sweat-free stride. A traditional lace-up keeps the foot in its place and a padded mesh tongue contributes to the overall comfort.
The insole of the shoe is made of EVA foam, which is lightweight, cushy, and comfortable.
As for the midsole, the shoe features an IMEVA (injection-molded EVA foam) midsole for firm yet flexible cushioning.
The rubber outsole of the shoe is grippy and firm yet it is flexible enough for a comfortable stride.
- Lacks durability
Saucony Kinvara 7
This one is the best shoe for Plantar Fasciitis due to the several reasons. The upper features a multi-knit mesh and FlexFilm overlays, that is why the shoe is breathable and supportive.
The PowerGrid technology gives exceptional cushioning to your feet and it is combined with Powerfoam, which also gives cushioning and stability. A high level of cushioning in this model protects the heel and offers stability. It means that the foot stays in the neutral position when you run.
The insole of the shoe is removable and it has anti-microbial and moisture-absorbing properties, so you enjoy a comfortable and dry environment.
The Kinvara 7 is equipped with new EVERUN cushioning, so the ride becomes safe and comfortable.
As for the outsole, it is made of XT-900 carbon rubber and it features Saucony TRI-FLEX technology, which provides optimal flexibility and traction.
- May wear out quickly
Adidas Energy Boost 3
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Adidas Energy Boost is the combination of the best features of Saucony Kinvara and Brooks Ghost. This is a perfect neutral shoe with great traction, nice cushioning, and perfect comfort.
The upper of the shoe is made of a breathable knitted material so that it is lightweight, breathable, and durable. The TPU cage and the lace-up provide a sock-like fit. The collar is padded, which also contributes to the overall comfort.
The midsole is made from the iconic Boost technology. This is a unique technology, used by Adidas. It means that solid granular material known as TPU was blown up and reshaped into miniature energy capsules. These capsules create a styrofoam-esque midsole. It gives a superior energy return, which ensures a smooth and comfortable ride.
The rubber outsole is grippy and you receive enough stability and traction on different surfaces.
- Runs small
What To Look For When Choosing Best Neutral Running Shoe: A General Guide
Studies show that there are two paradigms that help to elucidate the association between footwear and injury. They are ‘the preferred movement path’ and ‘the comfort filter.’ If the running shoes meet these two requirements, then the injury risk is reduced. However, these two paradigms encompass the range of certain factors, which you should consider before buying.
If you have some foot and ankle issues and wear orthotics to correct them, then choosing the right neutral shoes may be a daunting task. There are key factors you should consider:
– Pronation support level
Go for the shoes, which don’t offer pronation support because an orthotic provides enough pronation support on its own and if you add it to the shoe with pronation support, you may over-correct your pronation, which can lead to injuries.
– The volume of the upper
The insert requires more volume in the shoe than a traditional insole, so think about buying a wide shoe, which offers additional volume. Then, the foot will feel comfortable.
– Shoe Size
If you choose a lower volume running shoes, they purchase a half or a full size bigger for a comfortable fit. If the shoes are designed for orthotics, then choose your standard size.
For Flat Feet
People with flat feet often face the problem of the lack of cushioning and a narrow shoe. So, when you look for neutral shoes, consider the following factors.
– The toe box
The toe box should be wide so that your toes can splay naturally and you don’t experience any discomfort.
– The level of motion control
Runners with flat feet require more stability and support as they are prone to overpronation. So, the shoe should feature a reinforced upper construction, which locks the foot and provides additional support. Also, the shoe with a heel counter gives stability to the arches and prevent the foot from rolling.
– Shock Absorption
The shoe should have decent cushioning to prevent stumbling while running. Also, the shoe should have additional cushioning in the forefoot area and the heel
If you have flat feet and experience the problem of slip during your run, you should pay attention to the outsole, which gives good traction. It should be made of a high abrasion rubber and feature traction pods for a good grip on any surface.
A running shoe should ensure a comfortable stride. Thus, the upper should be breathable and have good moisture control properties because the lack of ventilation may lead to foot issues.
A neutral running shoe should ensure a natural motion of the foot. The upper materials should be stretchy, the outsole should have flex grooves and the midsole should be flexible.
For Heavy Runners
Usually, runners are considered ‘heavy’ if they have a BMI of over 27. Thus, they should go for shoes that give additional support. Consider these factors.
– Shock Absorption
Heavy runners tend to overpronate that is why they require a firm and supportive outsole, which will give them superior shock absorption together with good stability.
Heavy runners need great stability in order to enjoy a comfortable and injury-free ride. An arch support, a great cushioning system, a grippy outsole and the upper, which gives a sock-like fit, contribute to the overall stability.
During running, much weight is put on the shoes of the heavy runners, so they should be made of high-quality materials, which make them durable. AHAR rubber, TPU overlays, the EVA or Phylon midsole, synthetic overlays make the shoe durable so that it lasts longer.
For Half Marathon & Long Distance
If you are a fan of long-distance running, it means that you need another pair of running shoes. The main key consideration is your pronation. However, there are other factors you should take into account.
They should give you enough stability and cushioning because comfort is the key in long-distance running.
– Speed & Comfort
Define the goal of your marathon: whether you should focus on time or on completing the course. If time is your aim, then go for lightweight shoes with a good arch support, padding in the tongue and the collar, a good grippy outsole with flex grooves, it will encourage the natural motion of the shoe. However, this option may lack cushioning.
If you want to complete the marathon, then focus on comfort. An additional cushioning will may your ride more comfortable and you won’t experience any foot or ankle pain. Besides, a cushy insole with anti-microbial properties will make your feet happy.
– A Toe Boxs
You should feel comfortable in your running shoes that is why if you have wide feet, go for the shoes with the increased width. If the shoe is too narrow, it may result in pain, fast fatigue and injuries.
– The Upper
Long-distance runs and marathons may take place in any weather conditions, so you should make sure that your shoes give you the necessary comfort. To avoid sweating and blisters, the upper should be breathable yet durable and stable. If it is necessary, choose the water-resistant upper, which will protect the foot from adverse weather conditions.
If you are into running and want to choose the best shoes for beginners, consider the following factors.
The last thing you want to experience during your first run is a wet environment. So, make sure the shoe is breathable enough to give you the required level of ventilation.
Decide whether you will run indoors or outdoors. Usually, the shoes, designed for indoors, are lightweight but less grippy and durable. As for the shoes, designed for outdoors, the feature a more durable outsole with traction pods and grooves for additional traction and flexibility.
Neutral running shoes provide enough support and superior durability. But if you need additional support, then go for the shoes with a cushy midsole and a padded collar and the tongue, a stable heel counter and a good lace-up.
During the exercises, your feet become bigger, so you should take it into account while choosing the pair of neutral running shoes. It’s better to choose a half size larger than your traditional size. Also, if you have wide feet, go for shoes with the increased width.
For “Policeman’s Heel”
It is a painful disorder that affects the underside of the feet and the heel. Usually, overweight people, those people, who overpronate, have flat feet and a tight Achilles tendon have this condition. So, you should choose the shoes that support your foot arch area and control your stride. Look for the following characteristics in the shoe.
– The Width
The shoes should have a comfortable width. Once you’ve put them on, you should feel comfortable. Remember that shoes don’t have a break-in period.
– Arch Support
The shoes should give adequate arch support, so there should be a slightly elevated heel area with a firm heel counter. Besides, neutral running shoes allow the use of the orthotics. This insertion can supplement for any deficiency in heel and arch support a shoe might have.
– The Insole
The insole should be removable because then you can change the level of cushioning and support with the help of insertions.
– A Toe Box
The toe box should be firm. It will prevent the front foot from extending too much. However, it shouldn’t be too stiff.
– The Midsole
The midsole should be rigid. Pay attention that if the shoe bends in half, it isn’t appropriate for people with this issue.
Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes
Generally, all running shoes are divided into neutral (cushioning) running shoes and stability (supportive) running shoes. The criteria for the division is the height of the arches and their elasticity.
Thus, runners with high arches suffer from the inefficient ability to absorb the shock of impact with the ground. So, they need the shoes, which give extra cushioning. Usually, these shoes are lightweight and they don’t have a motion control.
The shape of the shoe is usually curved or semi-curved, which encourages a faster movement.
Neutral running shoes are suitable for people with a mild pronation or supinators.
Those people, who have flat or low arches experience the problem of collapsing under the impact, resulting in misalignment of the running gait. Therefore, stability shoes are designed to bring the foot into a neutral alignment as they give enhanced arch support. They offer a great fusion of a motion control and cushioning. The shoes are built on straight or semi-curved lasts to give necessary stability.
Stability running shoes are perfect for runners with mild or moderate overpronation.
Types Of Pronation
Pronation is a natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing during walking or running. There are several types of pronation:
– Neutral Pronation
People with normal arches have neutral pronation. The outside part of the heel makes the initial contact with the ground. The foot rolls inward about 15%, comes in contact with the ground and the forces of impact are distributed evenly.
The best shoe type for neutral pronation is shoes with good stability.
People with low arches have overpronation. The foot rolls inward more than 15%. It means that shock isn’t absorbed efficiently and there are problems with the body stabilization.
The best shoe type for overpronators is the shoes with good cushioning and motion control.
– Underpronation (supination)
Supination means that the foot rolls inward less than 15%. Eventually, the forces of impact aren’t distributed efficiently and much pressure is put on the small toes on the outside of the foot.
The best shoe type for supinators is the shoes with good cushioning, which encourages a natural motion of the foot.
If you’ve decided to choose the best neutral running shoes and can’t make your choice, consider all factors, listed above, to purchase good running shoes. Taking into account the given information, we recommend purchasing Saucony Zealot ISO 2 for men and Brooks Dyad 7 for women.
Saucony Zealot ISO 2 is a perfect shoe, which is also suitable for heavy runners. The model has numerous benefits:
– A 4mm heel-to-toe offset, which encourages a natural foot motion.
– The upper is made with the help of a FlexFilm technology, which makes it flexible and seamless and the ISOFit system, which means that the upper adapts to the foot. It enhances comfort.
– A RUNDRY moisture-wicking collar not only gives comfort but enhances stability.
– EVERUN cushioning gives enough support.
– A TRI-FLEX technology is implemented in the outsole. Therefore, it is stable and flexible.
As for the Brooks Dyad 7, women will fall in love with this model as it is designed for orthotics and it gives superior comfort and support so you won’t be exhausted after your running session. Other advantages include:
– A breathable upper is combined with synthetic overlays for additional support and stability.
– A BioMoGo DNA midsole is responsive, cushy, and it accommodates the runner’s foot.
– The outsole is extremely durable due to the HPR rubber and responsive due to the blown rubber in the forefoot area.
– Dual stability arch pods in the midfoot area give great support both in short-distance and long-distance runs.
Thus, prioritize safety and comfort and choose the best shoes, which will help you to conquer new heights and enjoy your running to the fullest.