Sneaker Diaries

Sneaker Diaries – Neutral vs Stable

By February 16, 2024 No Comments

One of the key considerations we factor in when selecting shoes is to determine if our customers is in need of a neutral or stable shoe. There are many reasons why someone would pick a neutral shoe over a stable shoe but I wanted to give a quick explanation on the differences between the two categories and perhaps one will resonate with you and it can help you when you’re in the market for your next pair.


When I think of a neutral shoe, I think of a model that does not force you to move in a way that is not natural to you. When we’re looking at a customer’s wear pattern on an old pair of shoes, a neutral pair makes the job much easier. If you have been wearing a neutral pair of shoes, like a Brooks Ghost, and we see you’ve worn much heavier on the medial side of the shoe, than we might suggest a shoe with a little more stability to it. If we look at the same Ghost and see minor wear on the outside but the majority of the wear pattern is more centralized throughout the length of the outsole, then a neutral model should continue to be a good option.  If your wear pattern looks too far to the outside of the shoe and it’s a very supportive model on the medial side, we may suggest a little less stable model.


Our goal, is to line up a shoe that when we look a the bottom after a few hundred miles, looks more worn as close to the middle as we can get it. From a running perspective, I want to see as much wear down the middle of my shoe because I look it in terms of efficiency and injury prevention. If we can mitigate the amount of wasted energy but running on the sides of your foot, then we can keep your momentum in front of you. By keeping your momentum in a straight-line moving forward, we can hopefully take some of the load off parts of your foot not designed to take that kind of repetitive pressure. The outside of your knee does not want you tugging at it every step for a run so by keeping your wear in front of you, we can maybe reduce the wear on parts of your body not intended to be trashed on a run.


When you think in terms of injury prevention, the question than becomes, why not always wear a stability shoe. For us, we see loads of dead on neutral runners who just like stable shoes. Maybe you prefer a firmer shoe so a stable shoe is something you naturally gravitate towards based on feel and not the shoes design. From what we see, more people if given their druthers, would pick a neutral shoe because it’s more comfortable out of the box. They’re typically softer and lighter than their stable counterparts. If you knew nothing about two shoes and tried them both on and one was a marshmallow and one felt denser and heavier, it’s easy to see why you’d grab the neutral one.


Additionally, there are people who even needed a more stable shoe, simply do not want a stable shoe. We have plenty of customers who even feel that a stable shoe may aggravate an old injury or put strain on an already inflamed arch. So, there may be a reason to pop on both styles to see what works with you individually.


I hope that helps give a little more insight on shoes. I think it’s important to think about the kind of shoes you need before you look for a new pair of shoes. Are you healthy and happy an just need fresh cushion? Are you dealing with an injury? Are you increasing miles? There are plenty of factors and reasons on why you may search out one model over another but typically, the first question you need to consider is, neutral vs stable.