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Stability running shoes used to be differentiated by having a firmer, medial post or wedge that helped to prevent excessive inward ankle roll, also known as over pronation.
These days, things are a little more complicated. Many brands are doing away with traditional support wedges and are instead introducing other features to prevent over pronation.
Stability shoes can now be categorised into 2 categories: those with medial wedges and those without.
However just because a stability shoe has a traditional medial wedge, it doesn't mean that it is more stable or has a more prominent arch sensation than a modern stability shoe without a medial post. There are other factors that can affect stability such as how wide the midsole base is or how built-up the medial side of the midsole is.
Some runners like the feeling of having a prominent support feature against their arch while other runners prefer stability shoes which ride like “supportive neutral” shoes.
This is a comprehensive list of various types of supportive shoes, all which can be categorised as stability running shoes.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 28
The stalwart GEL-Kayano is the godfather of stability trainers as it's been around for so long. The Kayano has a traditional, firmer, non intrusive Dynamic Duomax medial post which can't be felt while walking or running in the shoe.
Version 28 has been updated with softer 3D Space Construction Zones in heel and forefoot (for women) and in just the heel for men. It also has Flytefoam Blast foam in its midsole which is lighter and provides more energy return than the older FlyteFoam variants.
GEL units in the heel and forefoot provide the extra shock absorption for a smooth, cushioned ride. The Kayano is a stable trainer that is loved by both neutral runners and over pronators.
Nike Air Zoom Structure 24
The Structure 24 is a very different beast compared to previous Nike Structure models. Nike removed the firmer medial post from the Structure 23 and instead introduced other stability elements such as raised midsole sidewalls and a built-up medial side so it rides like a supportive neutral shoe.
The difference between the Structure 24 and other supportive trainers is that it has a soft, cushioned ride with an abundance of long-distance comfort. Version 24 has a similar ride to version 23 because it’s just an upper update, while it maintains the same midsole/outsole.
A thick forefoot Zoom Air unit inside the midsole of the Structure 24 provides extra pop on toe-off and gives the Structure 24 a faster feeling ride.
New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5
The Vongo v5 takes inspiration from the neutral 1080v11 and is a highly cushioned stability trainer. Previous versions of the Vongo didn’t have a medial post but New Balance has done the opposite of what most brands are doing and have introduced a medial post in v5.
The medial post of the Vongo v5 is a unique one because firm pellets are mixed with soft Fresh Foam before being molded. This results in zones of the medial post being different densities so the medial post zones offer different levels of support.
The Vongo v5 also has a wider midfoot for a more stable base as well as an upper which is more traditional compared to a bootie construction on the Vongo v5.
Hoka One One Arahi 5
The Arahi 5 is a mild stability trainer in the Hoka One One lineup and offers less support than the Gaviota. Hoka also has a unique way of providing support without the use of a traditional medial post or wedge.
They use technology they’ve coined as the “J Frame” which is a firmer piece of EVA foam shaped like a “J” that sits along the entire medial side, continues around the back of the heel and stops on the lateral side of the heel.
The Arahi 5 also features Hoka’s signature Meta-Rocker which makes transitions feel less sluggish and a thick, soft EVA midsole which is best suited to relaxed runs.
Saucony Guide 14
The Saucony Guide is the stability version of its neutral counterpart, the Ride. Both daily trainers use PWRRUN midsole foam.
The Guide is another shoe that follows the trend of stability trainers which have ditched their firm medial posts. The Guide 13 was the first Guide version to lose its medial post.
Saucony instead introduced a plastic stabiliser on the medial side where the medial post used to be in order to prevent over pronation. The stabiliser is a more subtle approach than the prominent medial wedge.
The Guide 14 has a brand new midsole and outsole and has a ride which is on the firm side so there is very little lean bias.
ASICS GT-2000 9
The GT-2000 has been around for almost a decade and is one of the most popular stability trainers in the world. It has a more cushioned ride and uses more premium materials than the entry-level GT-1000.
It provides stability through elements such as a traditional medial post and a plastic shank but the GT-2000 9 still feels very much like a supportive neutral trainer.
The GT-2000 9 rides slightly firmer than its more expensive cousin, the Kayano 28 but it shares features such as a heel GEL unit and cushioned Flytefoam in its midsole.
Saucony Fastwitch 9
The Fastwitch is one of the few racing flats which feature mild stability features. It has a small medial wedge that offers support while not being overbearing.
The Fastwitch has a breathable upper combined with an SSL EVA midsole in a lightweight package. This speedy racer has a 4 mm drop and is best suited to short races such as 5 K and 10 K’s.
New Balance 860 v11
The New Balance 860 is a supportive daily trainer with a cushioned ride which is on the firm side. The “6” in its name implies that it is a stability trainer in the New Balance lineup.
The 860v11 is toned down in terms of stability compared to previous versions. It doesn't do away with the medial post entirely but it has a smaller medial post compared to the 860v10.
The 860v11 now has a Fresh Foam midsole which gives it a softer, more cushioned ride. The upper features a new Ultra Heel design which makes the heel tab flare away from the Achilles for irritation-free runs.