Running is great cardio for burning calories, toning your lower body, firing up your core, and giving yourself some mental space after a long day. And like most things, there are many ways you can incorporate it into your workout. You could map out a five-mile scenic run through your town. Or, if a HIIT treadmill session at the gym is more your thing, there's that too. (This 30-minute HIIT treadmill workout comes straight from an Equinox trainer.)
If you're a hardcore runner, you might be familiar with the term "pronation." This simply refers to the way your foot moves when it hits the ground during a walk or a run. For pronation to be considered "normal," after a heel strike, the ankle rolls slightly inward and the foot comes down flat. If you overpronate, your foot rolls too far inward and downward, so you have to rely heavily on pushing off of your big toe. This is common in people who have flat feet, but even those who aren't flat-footed can overpronate (like Maggie Ryan, our assistant fitness editor, who says she overpronates on her left foot only). If you have this problem when you run, you can suffer from shin splints, heel pain, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue from your heel to your toes), and even lower-back pain.
Westin Galloway, global product line manager for Performance Run and ASICS, explained to POPSUGAR in a previous interview that there are two main types of running shoes: shoes without additional stability, called "neutral," and shoes that help prevent overpronation with extra stability. We spoke to podiatrist Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare, who further explained that you can visibly tell the difference between the two because "neutral" running shoes have flatter soles. Sneakers for people who overpronate have a supportive wedge built in under the arch to prevent the arch from collapsing or rotating inward too much.
The Best Running Shoes For Overpronators
Dr. Cunha gave POPSUGAR the names of five main brands he ranks superior:
- New Balance (Example: New Balance 1080)
- Saucony (Example: Saucony Triumph)
- Brooks (Example: Brooks Ariel 18)
- ASICS (Example: ASICS Gel-Nimbus; ASICS Gel Kayano)
- Mizuno (Example: Mizuno Wave Runner)
Dr. Cunha said these brands stand above the rest because they "invest more of their time and money into the medical research of human gait, biomechanics, and shoe design to develop a more well-engineered shoe." For people who overpronate or have flat feet, the key, he explained, is to find shoes with spacious and flexible toe boxes, firm midsoles, and rigid heel counters. Basically, you want "flexibility in the forefoot, where our toes naturally bend, while maintaining rock-solid rigidity in the heel of the shoe to protect our heels, where we absorb all the impact and shock with each step," he explained.
Here are some bonus features that these brands tend to have: a rubber sole to help absorb some of the shock, gel padding at the heel, and footbeds made from polyurethane or memory foam to alleviate pain and pressure and to provide cushion for your arches. It all sounds very good to us, but when in doubt, we recommend going to a store that specializes in running shoes because they're pros on pronation. (Plus, read up on Dr. Cunha's tips for replacing old sneakers here.)