If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are that you already know you exhibit underpronation, also called supination, and you want to correct this.
If, on the off chance, you want to know what underpronation is and if you have it, you’ve come to the right place! Pronation, firstly, is simply the way you step on the ground when you walk or run. There are three types of pronation which we’ll talk a little bit about in just a sec.
Underpronation means that, after your heel strikes the ground, you foot tends to roll outward in order to meet the ground. That way, the outer edges of your foot feel the weight of your landing. After this, you tend to push off from the outer toes.
A simpler indication of underpronation can be seen by the arch of your foot. You might hear runners say that they have high arches and need shoes to help support them. Well, this is underpronation!
If you’ve decided that you are certainly a runner who underpronates, here’s a curated list of some of the best running shoes for underpronation.
Best Running Shoes For Underpronation Compared and Reviewed
#1 - Mizuno Wave Rider 23
It was a tough choice between our top 2, but the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 really takes the top place! Combining the years of experience that Mizuno has in the world of sports and the way this shoe is constructed, I think you’ll be getting the best quality here.
The first thing I noticed about this shoe is the soles, particularly how they are designed to be a bit bulkier than most shoes.
You’ll see that, by the heel, they’ve mixed it up by adding different weights and even some gaps that would be great at absorbing the impact. They are designed like waves (thus the name Wave Rider) that make running smoother. They call this the U4ic and U4icX technology.
These rubber soles also seem to be durable, especially with its thickness. Plus, because of the added height and cushioning, it would be great for underpronators! Mizuno estimates that this would be great for up to very slight overpronation.
I also really like the mesh material that the upper part of the shoe is made of. It’s comfortable, light, and will make for a breathable shoe.
The only problem I see with this shoe is the sizing. It seems Mizuno didn’t really make it true to size, and experts have been recommending going half a size up. Even that didn’t seem to do it for other runners, though, so be extra mindful of that. Otherwise, great shoe!
What have others said about this product?
“These look really great compared to the last models, so I’m very happy with these. I find them to be super comfortable. I went half a size up as you all recommended. Thanks!” – Jane L
#2 - ASICS Gel-Cumulus 20
The ASICS was a really close competitor with its Gel-Cumulus and could very well be at the top. Its quite basic design may fool you, as I was, but its features are really great for those who underpronate.
I’ve really noticed how much attention to design was poured into the shoe. The outsole is wider than most running shoes to accommodate a range of foot postures.
Because the shoe tends to help you feel the ground at full contact, runners with underpronation will tend to correct their foot posture by themselves.
You will also notice that the heel has that extra support and cushioning that most neutral shoes catered to underpronators have. This added foam is called their FlyteFoam Propel technology.
It even incorporates their GEL technology by the heel, which helps absorb the shock that happens every time your foot lands on the ground.
You already know how much I like the mesh upper on running shoes, and this one does not disappoint. This will make it much easier to put on, and your feet will be able to breathe.
The only thing that might be a bit disappointing is how, despite all this added cushioning, its insole doesn’t seem to keep up with that comfort! This is quite disappointing since the added outer features would mean nothing if the interior is uncomfortable.
#3 - Saucony Triumph 17
Some people, like me, tend to like their shoes cushioned as much as it can be without compromising the weight of the shoe. The Saucony Triumph 17 seems to have found that balance; its thick soles extend from the heels to the forefoot, making for a great neutral shoe.
These soles are also designed to save your feet from failure on your longer runs. A thinner layer spreads itself on the underfoot for an extra spring to your step.
The heel-to-toe drop is not as drastic as other shoes catered to runners who underpronate. This means that the height difference between the cushioning at the heel and at the forefoot are almost the same, with just a bit of offset.
Flatter shoes are said to make your stride lower impact compared to hitting the ground heel first. You will probably tend to land on your midfoot with these shoes, which spreads the impact evenly and prevents injury.
Durability is somewhat of an issue, though; at least, that’s what some users report. The soles have been said to crack open after only a few months of use. Purchase with caution!
#4 - New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9
You might be worried about the foam material — after all, foam usually makes for a squishy shoe — but the 1080 V9 actually catches that balance of soft and supportive. This is especially great for longer runs; your foot is going to need that extra cushioning in the long run.
Its outsoles are made of a harder material by the heel and softer towards the forefoot. New Balance has clearly taken into consideration the usual heel strike of runners. The lighter material at the front makes it easier to spring and push your foot off the ground.
Users are raving about the comfort of these shoes, and I agree! The inside hugs your feet, and you might want to thank the Ortholite Sockliner for that. They are foam insoles that are great for long runs.
In my opinion, though, these aren’t the best shoes for underpronation. They have all the basics of a neutral shoe but that’s pretty much it!
#5 - Brooks Men's Glycerin 18
This shoe tends to protect your feet from those blisters you get at the end of a run with the wrong shoe. Some users with underpronation even talk about how they love this as a walking shoe, as it gives them the right amount of comfort and neutral support.
I’ve expressed my love for a mesh upper because of how breathable it tends to be. Brooks has that along with an interior liner to hug your feet as you run.
Brooks recommends this for your long distance runs, so if you’re one to run marathons, this might be for you. Its underfoot is also designed so that, when your heel strikes, you are stabilized. After which, you transition into push off, with lines on the sole guiding you forward.
You might want to ready your wallets, though. One thing that might turn you off from this shoe is the price.
My Number One Pick
What To Look Out For When Buying Running Shoes For Underpronation
Although you do need some cushioning for your high arches, the recommended shoe for those who exhibit underpronation is the same as those with normal pronation — a shoe with neutral support.
How do you know your type of pronation, though? What are some things to look for in running shoes for those who exhibit underpronation? Let’s look at some of the things to consider.
This is the first type, and although I assume some readers might already know they underpronate, some might have no idea what I’m talking about.
Pronation, as mentioned earlier, is the way your foot strikes the ground, and how it rolls to meet the ground. This will obviously be very crucial for runners; without the proper support to suit your pronation type, you’ll be faced with a lot of possible injuries.
A way to check your pronation type is to wet your foot and place it on a piece of paper. The shape will determine your arch height:
You have normal pronation if your foot comes flat on the ground after your heel hits the ground. To meet the ground, your ankle will roll slightly inward, but not excessively.
If you have normal pronation, congrats! You’re less likely to get injured due to your foot posture. You also don’t need any special support aside from the neutral shoe.
Expect that stability is no issue for you. You also have normal arches, and the wear on your soles are even all throughout. A neutral or stability running shoe is great for you.
Although all shoes listed here may be swapped out for normal pronation shoes, the Brooks Men’s Glycerin 18 does tend to be less geared towards higher arches.
Runners who overpronate tend to roll their ankles inward excessively, about 15 degrees inward, when your foot meets the ground. You also probably tend to push off with the big toe.
Your arches tend to be low, and the wear of your sole tends to be near the inside of the forefoot.
Those who overpronate might experience some hip, knee, or back pain. Ankle pains are also familiar to you, and it’s really important that you correct this posture with the proper motion control or stability shoe.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 23 will be able to accommodate you if you only slightly overpronate. However, more than that and you might want to look for other shoes!
The man of the hour: underpronation. You tend to meet the ground by rolling more outwards, with the outer edges of your foot hitting the ground. You also tend to push off from the outer toes.
You already know that underpronators will have higher arches. You want to find running shoes that have neutral support and extra cushioning to support those high arches! Your heels are going to take the impact without the proper cushioning.
Cushioning is something to consider when looking for any running shoe in general, but it is extremely important for those who underpronate.
Your high arches tend to unevenly distribute the impact of your landing. For normal pronation, the shock of your foot hitting the ground (especially while running) is evenly distributed since the whole foot lands on the ground.
Underpronators, on the other hand, will feel the landing mostly on the heel. Then, it goes straight to the front of the foot instead of going through the midfoot.
Having extra cushioning will protect your heel from the inevitable higher impact that it will receive when it does not have cushioning. The Saucony Triumph 17 can help you out by having a flatter stride with more cushioning. The flat surface will decrease the impact of your run.
At the end of the day, you’ll be wearing these shoes for miles and miles on end, so having comfortable shoes are really important in my opinion. Sometimes, despite its extra cushioning and all these great features on the outside, the interior might not live up to that (looking at you ASICS Gel-Cumulus 20!).
Make sure the insoles will cushion the inside of your shoe like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9. Although their foam insoles are not the best, they still cushion your feet pretty well for the long runs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Running Shoes For Underpronation
Q: Are running shoes for underpronation interchangeable with gym shoes?
A: If you choose shoes that have extra comfortable insoles, then you can probably get away with using one shoe for running and for the gym. Running shoes don’t tend to have that extra soft interior like most workout shoes do, so maybe turn to removable insoles that you can buy elsewhere.
Q: What causes underpronation?
A: There are several reasons. Usually, it is inherited, but it may also be due to weaker muscles on your feet due to wearing rigid shoes all the time, or maybe misalignment of the body (like standing on one foot more than the other!).
Q: What else can I do to help correct my underpronation?
A: Aside from looking for shoes with extra cushioning, you can get yourself some orthotic insoles to really support that high arch. You can get them custom-made, but there are some on the market that are already great for you.
Running shoes can get tricky, especially if you have any conditions that cause you to get shoes that are especially for your foot posture. Fortunately, sports brands all over the world have become more and more inclusive!
Make sure to always check out reviews before buying running shoes. It’s best to check it out yourself in a physical store, especially since the people at the store will usually know what shoes are best for you as an underpronator. Have fun looking for your new kicks!
Since you’re here, check out the reviews we’ve done on running sunglasses as well as running hats for men and women. Or if you’re just interested in more running articles check out our 17 tips on becoming a better runner!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.