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The Monday Shakeout: My Favorite Shoes of 2023 for Flat Feet
By Bach Pham

As we get into our end of year specials, I'm kicking things off with an update on my favorite flat feet options for runners in 2023! With a shift to more guidance/geometry based stability options, it was a really fun year of testing stability-oriented options from all brands. If you have not checked out my Shakeout about the do's and don'ts to flat feet shoes, check that out first before reading on!

Running shoes lined in a row



My Favorite Neutral Trainer: Triumph RFG | Full Review

I've tested a lot of sustainability-oriented trainers that have been fine, but not particularly stand out as a running shoe from a performance angle. The Triumph RFG was a real surprise as a result when testing and my personal favorite trainer of the year. Compared with the original Triumph, it is similar in shape, but just a touch firmer and the upper is just a bit more structured and able to keep you centered on the platform. These two changes helped make the shoe a little more stable for my mechanics. The similar geometry still enables the same fluid Triumph ride that many fans have enjoyed over the past two models. It's a shoe I'd have no problem taking on runs of any distance at an easy pace. The fact that it does kickstart Saucony's leap into sustainability makes it all the more exciting.


My Favorite Stable Neutral Trainer: Brooks Ghost Max | Full Review

Brooks' first modern max cushion trainer is also one of their most stable. With the combination of a mild rocker design, wide base, light sole flaring and between soft-and-firm sole, the Ghost Max provides a great daily driver that's stable and comfortable. Is it flashy? No, but it is like many Brooks shoes - a well-built, durable trainer. I've also walked a lot of miles in the Ghost Max, making it one of my favorite everyday shoes this year as well.


My Most Comfortable-Fitting Stability Trainer: Saucony Guide 16 | Full Review

There is nothing better than a shoe that ticks all the boxes. A subtle upper update from the Guide 15, the Saucony Guide 16 is one of those shoes that you slip on and know you are dialed in and comfortable from front-to-back. Normally I'm not a proponent of posts, but the hollow tech system in the Guide 16 is incredible well-integrated and given me no issues in my miles on the shoe. The base is solidly wide and foam firm, but with an ever-so-slight sponginess that is uncommon among stability shoes today. We get a lot of shoes to test year-round, but no matter how much fun I'm having in a new pair, I keep going back to how much I like the Guide 16 from a top-to-bottom standpoint. It rides well, it fits well, and it simply gets the job done which a lot of runners will appreciate.


My Favorite Premium Stability Trainer: Hoka Gaviota 5 | Full Review

This might be a surprise pick for me as my full review during the summer was not as high on the Gaviota. More miles later, especially as the seasoned cooled and midsole has slightly firmed up with the lowering temperatures, the shoe has become a really nice recovery/easy day trainer that feels balanced and accommodating throughout. Compared to the Kayano 30, which has been a favorite for many, I found the Gaviota's ride to suit me a bit better. Something about the Kayano's density didn't sit with my running styles, making the shoe only feel good at uptempo paces. The Gaviota, however, while a far cry from being a speed day king, hits the premium notes for me really nicely and is just a nicely balanced, highly modern premium stability trainer that runners should definitely consider if searching for this category. It's also one of the few - if only? - 6mm drop stability trainer in the market.


My Favorite Lightweight Stability Trainer: Brooks Launch GTS 10 | Full Review

At a bare bones $110, this mild stability trainer has been one of my favorites of the year. The majority of the stability being through some mild guidance from its GuideRail system, the shoe otherwise runs like a neutral trainer. It doesn't have the widest platform in the world, but to a greater extent than the Pegasus, it uses the GuideRails and sidewalls to help keep the runner very dialed on the platform that exists. The GuideRails are also unlike the Brooks Beast and Adrenaline, featuring a much more mild mannered design that doesn't get too much in the way of things. Its lower to the ground nature helps add to the stability as far as proprioception which is extremely rare in the stability realm now, and honestly a very welcome feeling with the majority of shoes we test year-round being max cushion. The Brooks Launch GTS 10 is a shoe I didn't want to like because it's just not a cool shoe to like, but it's honestly an absolute bargain and a great trainer all-around.


My Favorite Workout Stability Trainer: Brooks Hyperion GTS | Full Review

The lightest and most fun stability flat in the market now, the Hyperion GTS does exactly the same thing the Launch GTS does, but in a lighter, faster package. For many, this could be a good 5k-10k racing option for your local races and most definitely a solid middle distance workout trainer. I'm really hoping to see Brooks take this up a notch and deliver a long distance version of this trainer in the near future to help really complete the collection.


Honorable Mentions


This has been a great year for flat feet runners. With so many brands focusing on geometry and stability to their models, there's more options than ever before to really try out. Some flat feet runners may find that they need very little stability as long as the base is reliable. Shoes like the On Cloudsurfer, Cumulus 25, and Nimbus 25 might be options to check out if that is the case for you. I didn't speak on trail shoes, but the Sense Ride 5 features a slab of Energy Foam that's slim and nimble for short-to-middle distances. There's also a wealth of stability trainers from the New Balance Vongo v6, Salomon DRX Bliss and Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 which have also been good trainers this year. The Bliss, for me, is also a great alternative to the Kayano in it's responsive underfoot for me being a lighter runner. The Wave Inspire 19 features a really engaging new stability integration in the heel which helps really push the runner forward. It's a touch heavier than its peers which is why it is an Honorable Mention, but still a really excellent trainer that also has a highly comfortable fit. The Vongo v6 is perhaps polarizing as I was the only member of the team to like it, but I found the unique lateral guidance to work well for me. The shoe has a good level of cushioning and just fit really well for me. Those with supination issues will want to avoid this one though due to how much it pushes runners laterally. Lastly, a shoutout for natural runners, I really have liked the Altra Provision 8. It features a ride that leans stable neutral, which is not a bad thing at all. For those who want a moderate cushion, 0-drop trainer that is beginner-friendly, this is a model to check out.



PAST MONDAY SHAKEOUTS

ChatGPT Writes a Review, Take 2

How Forefoot Helps with Toe Mobility
The Science of Running with Backpacks
How Much Does Doctors of Running Make? Report #5
Changes We're Excited to See
Why Heel Bevels are Natural
Do Heavier Runners Need Different Shoes?
Shoe Rotations for Different Runners
Strength Training to Prevent Injury - A Case Study
On the Impacts of Different Stacked Shoes
The Importance of Heel Bevels in Shoe Design
Low vs. High Drop Shoes
Why is Proprioception Important to Runners?
My Favorite Flat Feet Shoes of 2023
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 2
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 1
What a Week at DOR is Like
Reflections on Saucony's Running Economy Study
Sustainable is Only Going to Work if It's Good
A Simple Guide to Footwear and Foot Health
Best Flat Feet Shoes by a Flat Feet Runner
How Long Do Shoes Last?


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Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!

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Previous Shakeout:
ChatGPT Writes a Review, Take 2

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