Running shoes are designed to suit the individual needs of beginner, intermediate and advanced runners. Diverse types and styles are available to accommodate varied skills, environment conditions, running forms, foot mechanics, performance and training regimens. However, road running shoes can be categorized into three main types: neutral cushioned, stability and motion-control. Wearing the proper running shoe is important, as appropriately-fitted shoes will keep potential injuries at bay, help stabilize the foot, provide comfort for the duration of a run and encourage optimum running performance.
Neutral cushioned running shoes are the most flexible of all running shoe types, designed to help runners with moderate and high arches to run with a natural, healthy foot motion. Runners who tend to roll their feet outward (underpronating) while running will find cushioned running shoes to suit their fitness needs. Added midsole cushioning features promote shock absorption, and minimal arch support encourages running efficiency. Neutral cushioned running shoes may feel soft on the bottom of the feet; however, limited stability and motion control features are provided in this type of running shoe.
Stability running shoes provide support for runners with normal or flat arches who tend to overpronate when they run. This common type of runner tends to roll his foot inward while running, facilitating the need for running shoes that stabilize the foot with minimum-to-moderate control features. Stability shoes help combat overpronation with firm, supportive materials in the medial (inside) of the shoe. Additionally, stability running shoes are a durable and long-lasting type of running shoe. Runner's World magazine offers seasonal reviews of all shoe models, including stability running shoes that withstand rigorous testing methods.
Motion control runnings shoes are designed to limit excessive rolling-inward (overpronation) of flat-footed runners or those with low arches. Extreme overpronation strains the foot, tendons and ligaments. Left untreated, these individuals can suffer lower back pain and complicated foot injuries over time. Advanced foams and features (such as a medial post) in the shoes provide stability on the inside of the foot. Heavy or larger runners should consider motion control running shoes for optimum arch support and maximum rearfoot control. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine offers recommendations for motion control running shoes, based on tested models and critic reviews.