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Neutral road running shoes are designed for runners who do not overpronate (i.e. the feet do not roll inwards too much), in other words they have a naturally stable foot strike. The midsole doesn't feature any form of support for stability – like medial posts or guide rails – as a neutral gait doesn't need any correction.
In our experience only 20% to 30% of runners need neutral running shoes. A very small percentage of those are supinators – i.e. runners whose feet roll outwards. A supinator would also usually a neutral shoe with plenty of flexibility. Here’s the pick of this season's neutral shoes from our range...
Most Cushioned / Most Flexible / Lightest Weight / Zero Drop
It's very important to get the right level of support and flexibility when running on road. If possible, come into our store for Natural Gait Analysis and a proper fitting, so we can make sure you end up with suitable shoes for your foot strike and foot shape. It also gives you a chance to try out different brands and types of cushioning. We also offer Online Gait Analysis.
The shoes in this category would suit a long-distance runner (such as marathons or ultras), a heavier runner, those prone to aches and pains in the feet or legs, or simply those loving the extra comfort of soft, bouncy cushioning.
Brooks Glycerin / Hoka Bondi / New Balance 1080 / Saucony Triumph / Asics Nimbus
The Glycerin is Brooks’ plushest neutral road running shoe. It has a softer feel than the Ghost due to the full-length innovative nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 midsole, which is also super-light. Even though the midsole is super soft and bouncy it still gives you a responsive feel. The double jacquard mesh upper is incredibly soft and breathable, and stretches where needed, enhancing the comfort this superior running shoe offers. Comes in a wide fitting – 2E for men, and D for women.
The Hoka Bondi is the ultimate in softness. All Hoka shoes feature double the amount of cushioning in comparison with any other running shoes. The Bondi has a 4mm heel drop, compared to 14mm in standard shoes. (This is the difference between the height of the heel and forefoot.) A low heel drop encourages you to land on your midfoot rather than your heel, which means significantly less impact on your knees, hips or Achilles. The double EVA cushioning in the midsole comforts and protects your feet. The early stage Meta-Rocker rocks you forward from midfoot to forefoot and toe-off. This can feel very different to other shoes, especially in the beginning. Start the transition slowly and give yourself enough time to get to used to it. There is no limit to the distance: you can use the Bondi on your short, or long runs, for distance running or walking, or even ultras.
Top of the New Balance neutral range. FreshFoam technology in the midsole delivers outstandingly soft cushioning to take away the impact forces from your running. The Hypoknit upper is breathable and seamless to hold your foot in comfort. The UltraHeel heel counter has a very different look to a traditional heel counter. This latest design has been made according to the data collected from hundreds of runners to make it fit very precisely, alongside of the soft materials used, so it offers you security and comfort. The 1080 has a very similar feel to the Hoka Bondi, with its ultimately soft cushioning and the rocking feeling, even though the 1080 is built on a higher (8mm) heel drop. Available only in the wide fit.
The Triumph is Saucony’s premium neutral road running shoe. The PWRPUN plus cushioning in the midsole is incredibly soft, similar to Adidas Boost cushioning. It provides you with an amazing energy return and excellent shock absorption. The foot strike to the toe transition is very smooth, thanks to the shoe geometry. Every element of the FormFit upper – the breathable mesh with 3D print, the padded tongue and heel counter, the soft and antibacterial sockliner – is designed to give you ‘a made for me feel’. Overall, the Triumph is an incredibly cushioned and super smooth road running shoe.
Nimbus is the top-end neutral running shoe in the Asics range. An extra layer of gel cushioning in the midsole makes this shoe extremely soft and bouncy. It also delivers you a step-in comfort and excellent impact absorption. The memory foam heel counter adapts to the shape of your heel to offer you additional comfort. The seamless engineered mesh upper adapts to your feet to deliver you a premium fit without any irritation. In comparison with the Cumulus the Nimbus is the higher-class shoe – you get more softness and bounciness in the cushioning and in the heel counter as well.
Neutral running shoes with the increased flexibility are designed to empower the runner who likes a natural ride. They would also suit a supinator (under-pronator).
Brooks implements the best technologies for a balance of softness and responsiveness in their cushioning. Brooks’ most popular neutral running shoe, the Ghost, combines firmer DNA and the softer DNA LOFT 2 to deliver great shock absorption and a smooth ride. In addition, the Ghost has an amazing fit. The engineered, breathable mesh upper gives your foot space to breath, but the structure also holds your foot. The outsole rubber is very durable, with a bit of grip, just in case you need to use it for occasional off-road runs. Available in wide fittings – 2E or 4E for men, and D for women.
New Balance have introduced their FreshFoam super soft cushioning into the midsole of the 880 to deliver you a bouncier ride. The newest upgrade makes this neutral running shoe more comfortable, and with better shock absorption, than ever before. It has a responsive feel, very similar to that of the Brooks Ghost but the heel counter in the 880 is deeper to hold your ankle more securely. Available in standard width (D for men / B for women), wide (2E for men / D for women) and extra wide (4E for men).
This is the most popular neutral On running shoe ever. The Cloudflow has a natural, responsive, close-to-the-ground feel. The Clouds – the rounded white bubbles on the sole – squeeze under your body weight to give just the right level of cushioning when you run. You strengthen your feet while running in the Cloudflow because it's extremely flexible. The 6mm heel drop makes it closer to the ground and stable. It also encourages you to midfoot strike for a more natural landing and to decrease impact. The fit is more generous, but it is not wide enough for runners with wide feet.
If you're a lighter weight runner or like the freedom of a fast feel, you could try these.
This latest version has the new upgraded PWRRUN cushioning, which is EVA based, but it gives you 88% more energy return compared to standard cushioning. It is also more durable and temperature resistant. As with all Saucony road running shoes the Ride is built on an 8mm heel drop, to keep your body in more natural alignment by encouraging a midfoot strike rather than heel strike. The new FormFit upper construction is designed with soft and breathable materials to keep your feet comfortable and secure.
As with all Asics shoes, the Cumulus features gel technology, offering a sense of spring with each stride and reducing the impact on landing. The FF Blast plus midsole foam in the Cumulus is 2mm thicker, providing a soft landing and a plush step-in feeling. The upgraded lightweight and flexible upper mesh adds to the shoe's stability, which is further improved by a wider base.
Zero-drop shoes are very specialised. Runners landing on their forefoot or midfoot will appreciate the natural, close-to-the-ground feel. Forefoot or midfoot landing has less impact on your body and decreases stress that can lead to injury. These are also a great option for runners who are transitioning to midfoot landing. If you are not used to a zero-drop shoe, it can take time to adjust. Make sure you build up your mileage gradually, or you may encounter calf or Achilles problems.
A natural foot shape and a zero-drop midsole are the two main characteristic of all Altra shoes. The forefoot shape of the Escalante is broader, to give your toes more space and allow them to spread naturally. The zero-drop platform encourages you to land on your midfoot or forefoot rather than your heel. There is still plenty of energy return cushioning in the Escalante's midsole for a smooth, energised ride and rebound. It can be use for any distance – from short up to ultra runs.
The Altra Torin features the same attributes as the Escalante: the natural wide foot shape and the zero-drop midsole, encouraging a natural midfoot strike and giving you comfort in the form of extra space in the toe box. The Torin has a thicker sole than the Escalante, so more cushioning for extra soft comfort and a more luxurious ride.
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Debbie McDonaldMay 8, 2020 at 8:29pmDo you have any advice on what trainers would be next best for me to get? I usually wear Gel Foundation Motion Control Asics trainers and have done for years. I also need a lot of support and I wear insoles. I have been looking for these kind of trainers or trainers similar as I know you can’t get them anymore. Could you tell me which trainers would be next best to get? Thank you. Reply
Nandanti MartaskovaMay 12, 2020 at 3:34pm
Thank you for your comment. The shoes on this blog post are neutral. If the Asics Foundation worked for you well I would suggest you to look at our blog post with the supportive shoes for over-pronation, as they are closer to your Asics Foundation– strong support to reduce the over-pronation in the foot.
Within different brands there are few options. The closer in our range would be Brooks Addiction, Mizuno Paradox, or Saucony Omni.
Each brand is different. They shape their shoes in a different way, they put different type of cushioning in their shoe. The best would be to try the shoes on for a comparison and see how they fit and feel on your feet.
I hope that this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions. All the best with your running.Reply