Wondering what are the main types of running shoes? Don’t worry! This article will shed a light on the different types of running shoes and their purpose so you can make an informed buying decision in choosing the right running shoe for you.
3 Main Categories of Running Shoes
You may not really care about this so much when you’re buying shoes for fashion. But running shoes fall into 3 main categories. The Neutral shoes, Stability shoes, and Motion control shoes. Neither one of them is better than the other. One category may be the best for one athlete and the same category could be the worst for another.
Choosing the right category largely depends on your running gait and type of feet.
Here’s a short video explaining the 3 main categories of a running shoe.
Neutral shoes are shoes without any kind of support on the medial side of the foot (where the arch is). These shoes are flexible and offer very little stability. It is best for runners with a neutral arch and high arch. Technically, runners who don’t overpronate.
A good example of this shoe is the Brooks Men’s Ghost 13.
Stability shoes are shoes that offer a little bit of stability. You’ll know this when you see a piece of rigid material in the medial side of the midsole. It is a little bit harder to bend. They’re best for overpronated runners and people with low arched feet.
Motion Control Shoes
These shoes are very hard to bend in the middle and offer the most stability in the whole category. However, they also offer the least amount of flexibility.
You’ll recognize a motion control shoe by the amount of rigid material on the medial side of the shoes as well as the little amount of twist and bend you can do with them.
They almost always are bulkier and heavier than the first two categories. These shoes are ideal for flat-footed and overpronated runners.
Think of shoes like Hoka One Arahi 5.
4 Types of Running Shoes
Lightweight shoes are generally used for races primarily because they are light and most of them are aerodynamic. They sacrifice some features such as cushioning and outsole (some running shoes have outsoles strategically placed only in areas where most contact happens to shave more weight off the shoe).
We do not, however, recommend using these for training primarily because of the lack of cushion these shoes have. The cushion is important when you’re gathering training miles because it will protect your joints and prevent injury.
Cushioned shoes are shoes with extra cushioning. They are generally a bit heavier because of the extra weight of the cushion and less on responsiveness. However, they are very soft on the landing.
These types of shoes are recommended for beginners because most beginners don’t have proper running body mechanics. Cushioned shoes will help them get to the finish line in one piece.
Trail shoes can be recognized by the depth of their lugs (the part of the outsole that provides traction). Generally, they are built like tractor tires to allow it to gain traction in all-terrain such as mud, snow, wet rocks, and loose gravel.
A good example of a high-traction trail running shoe is the Salomon Speedcross 5.
I’ve actually made a full review on the Speedcross 5, if you want to check it out, click here.
If you’re looking for a good budget option that is light, fast, and reliable, the ASICS Gel-Venture 7 is also highly recommended.
Road shoes typically have shallow lugs. Most shoes that we’ve talked about in the early part of this article are all road shoes. They are made to run on flat surfaces that do not require much traction.
Running shoes come in combination with these types and categories.
In choosing the right shoe, you have to consider multiple factors such as your cushion and heel-toe drop preference, type of surface you’re gonna run in, the type of foot you have, and your running gait.
If you wish to know more about choosing the right shoe, I made another article just for that topic.