Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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We kind of consider these our signature categories. For years, we've spent a lot of time breaking down the stability category and trying to work to raise better awareness of how this worked. We helped open discussion of the stable neutral category - shoes with some stable mechanics, but none that are obtrusive to the runner like posting or GuideRails - and build a better conversation around the types of stability that exists and who they actually are for. In this feature, we locked down our favorite stability and stable neutral shoes of the year. Note that despite our stability picks, some people may need a post and others aggressive guidance. Some of our picks may not specifically target your specific demands. This means a shoe not listed may still be the best shoe for them. We ask that you refer to our Guide to Stability for more details and options to meet your running needs.


HOW WE CHOSE

In this year's Best Of, we decided to NOT have consensus picks as we couldn't come to terms with just picking one shoe as the best daily trainer, or stability shoe, or racing shoe of 2022. With so many variances and specifications for runners, we decided to leave it a bit broader due to the differences in many of the picks and let the shoes do the talking. For our Best Stability and Stable Neutral feature, our contributors considered the shoes that suited them best in the category this year. With many of us falling into different situations, we hope our picks capture a wide scope of runners with varying needs.


WRITER'S PICKS: STABILITY SHOES

CONTENT MANAGER BACH PHAM


ON CLOUDRUNNER
DOR REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN


The problem with most stability trainers is that they can be a bit overly complicated. The On Cloudrunner provides a well-fitting, modestly stacked trainer with mild stability methods built in. The shoe has firmer pods on the medial side to provide stability, but these are so mild that most runners should be able to train in the Cloudrunner if they’d like some support. The shoe eats up miles without issue or complication while serving its purpose of providing a solid base for a wide range of runners. It is not as versatile as say the Tempus, but is less rockered and much more mild mannered. I'm a little sensitive to rockers over longer mileage, so a shoe like the Cloudrunner suits my needs just a touch nicer.

Honorable Mention: Mizuno Wave Horizon 6


CONTRIBUTOR ANDREA MYERS


SAUCONY TEMPUS
DOR REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN

I normally shy away from any shoe that is in the stability category, because I tend to land too far on my lateral midfoot and do not need a shoe pushing me further in that direction. The Saucony Tempus is really a game changer when it comes to the concept of a stability shoe. This shoe helps center my foot from initial contact to push off, but I never feel like I am fighting any element of the shoe. The combination of a PWRRUN PB midsole with a PWRRUN rim strikes the right balance for me between cushioning and responsiveness. The Tempus has become my easy run shoe when I feel like my feet need a little guidance that my beloved New Balance Beacons do not provide. I have used the Tempus for easy runs up to 16 miles without any discomfort and it is my #2 go-to easy day shoe during my current marathon training block. Like Nathan, I am also impressed with how versatile the Tempus is in appealing to runners with greatly varying biomechanics.


SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR DAVID SALAS


MIZUNO WAVE HORIZON 6
DOR REVIEW | SHOP

No posting? No problem. The Horizon 6 delivers an incredibly stable ride throughout the gait cycle without making the shoe feel too stiff or overly modified in any specific regions. It is a little on the heavier side but I have not run in anything this year that I have felt matched stability elements of the horizon for my mechanics. The usage of sole flaring, dual density midsoles, and solid underfoot traction create a good option for the stability category.

Honorable mention: Saucony Tempus


 
 SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR NATHAN BROWN


SAUCONY TEMPUS
DOR REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN

When it comes to stability shoes, I typically have issues with formal structure that is built up on the sides of a shoe, whether a post or guiderails. This simply wasn’t the case in the Tempus. You get a PEBAX midsole (new-age foam with high energy return properties) with a wrap around EVA rim that has built-up structure under the arch and extensions that go all the way to the toes on either side. Despite this rim, my stride never felt impeded. Despite typically running in neutral shoes, the Tempus has the second most miles of any shoe that I’ve worn this year (second to the Novablast 3). What makes it stand out, though, is that it doesn’t just work for me, but also those with higher stability preferences. Many of my patients have gravitated toward this shoe and has been widely accepted by our DOR team as well. This is a versatile model, both in its ability to do everything from daily training to workouts and the way it seems to suit a variety of runner types. 

 
CHIEF EDITOR MATT KLEIN


SAUCONY TEMPUS
DOR REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN

As light stability and stability shoes have almost all but disappeared, a gap in the market for a well cushioned but lighter stability shoe was clear. The Saucony Tempus not only fills that void, it adds so many new components. Coming in at 8.9 oz for men’s size 9 AND being one of the first stability shoes to feature a super foam (PWRRUN PB), this shoe is light enough for faster running but is plenty cushioned for daily and longer efforts. The unique guidance system, made of outer walls of PWRRUN with an internal PWRRUN PB, creates a stable ride that will work for those with neutral mechanics to those with high stability needs wanting a lighter and faster shoe. This is a true example of a new age stability shoe that many will find makes an excellent marathon racer for those that want something lighter. I have run through two pair of these this year (>150 miles each) and used them from tempo runs to 30 mile efforts helping pace my professional runner wife. If I didn’t have so many shoes to test, this would be my go to shoe.    

Honorable Mention: Asics Kayano 29

 

WRITER'S PICKS: STABLE NEUTRAL SHOES

  .
CONTENT MANAGER BACH PHAM


ON CLOUDGO
DOR REVIEW | SHOP


On really needed a basic, no-frills daily trainer in their lineup and they did an excellent job of introducing that with the Cloudgo. A moderately cushioned trainer overall in the Pegasus territory feel-wise, it provides a nice ride that wavers right in the middle of firm and soft. It features really classic - though more subdued - On elements that helps stabilize the shoe. There’s a very thin, less obtrusive Speedboard that provides just enough rigidity under the foot. A guidance line cuts through the center to encourage forward movement. There’s good width throughout the shoe as well to provide a large platform. All these have worked well for everything from frothy environments to hills to sharp turns. It has a nice reliability that’s made it a standout for me in my line-up. This is an easy recommendation for new runners and those looking for a really basic, reliable trainer to eat up everyday miles.  

Honorable Mention: Saucony Endorphin Shift 3


CONTRIBUTOR ANDREA MYERS


NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM MORE V4

DOR REVIEW | SHOP

The More v4 is one of the few shoes that I feel actually helps me land less severely on my lateral midfoot. New Balance utilizes multiple non-traditional stability methods in the shoe, including significant sole flare throughout the length of the shoe, medial and lateral sidewalls, a wide base, and rearfoot and forefoot rockers. I definitely feel a difference in my landing pattern when running in the More v4 as compared to other neutral trainers, specifically that I do not feel as much pressure posterior to my 5th MTP at initial contact. My landings feel more centered and transitions to push off smoother. In addition to its stable neutral elements, the thick Fresh Foam X midsole provides ample underfoot protection and cushioning without feeling like a marshmallow. 

Honorable Mention: Saucony Endorphin Shift 3


SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR DAVID SALAS


ON CLOUDGO
DOR REVIEW | SHOP

The On Cloudgo is another shoe where I start to forget they are on my feet when I am running. In large part it is because I trust the platform. This shoe is still a neutral offering at its core, but due to the supportive upper and slight guidance from the geometry the shoe feels stable on foot. Though the plate is a little more flexible, it still helps with stabilizing the foam as well. This is a solid stable neutral offering. 

Honorable mention: Mizuno Wave Rider 26

 
 SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR NATHAN BROWN


SAUCONY ENDORPHIN SHIFT 3
DOR REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN

In some ways, the Endorphin Shift was one of the shoes that first got our team thinking of the concept of a stable neutral shoe. It didn’t have any particularities like a post, but the wide platform, strategically built heel counter that dipped into the midsole, and sidewalls created a shoe that guided the foot very well. The third iteration refines the heel counter with a cup that sits both on the inside and outside of the heel and supports the midsole. It also maintains its wide base and sidewalls. The one population this may not work best for as a stable neutral shoe is those with imbalance in the forward/backward direction given the stiffer forefoot and rocker geometry. It also is geared toward road running versus being as stable on the trails given the high stack.

Honorable Mention: Brooks Ghost 15 (review coming soon)

 
CHIEF EDITOR MATT KLEIN


NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM MORE V4
DOR REVIEW | SHOP

This shoe has done everything right as a stable neutral shoe. Tall sidewalls on both sides of the heel and midfoot work well with a posterior lateral bevel to provide a guided but not forced ride forward. A widened midfoot along with a wider sole creates an inherently stable platform. The mild forefoot flexibility and rockered profile make for easy transitions forward regardless of the distance of the run. This has been my go-to shoe when I needed a stable ride but did not want a stability shoe for both easy and longer miles. The Fresh Foam X has an excellent balance of cushioning, providing protection without being mushy. The New Balance Fresh Foam More v4 has been my go to shoe when I want something stable neutral or when I am suggesting a stable shoe for those with sensitivities to stability shoes. 

Honorable Mention: Saucony Endorphin Shift 3


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our next Best Of feature on Performance Trainers coming soon.

Find our Best Max Cushion Shoes of 2022 here.

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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