Although running is a full-body exercise, it mainly uses the legs. It makes sense then, that most running injuries happen to the legs and feet.
IT band syndrome is one of those injuries. It presents as a sharp pain on the outside of the knee (in the iliotibial band of connective tissue), which can radiate either up or down. It’s generally seen in runners who overpronate and also have weak hip abductor muscles.
The first step towards reducing the pain (so you can work on strengthening the muscles) is to invest in a pair of the best running shoes for IT band syndrome.
We’ll answer your questions below in the FAQs section, but if you’re ready to run out the door and buy shoes to help reduce the pain, we recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21.
It’s a stability shoe with a built-in Rollbar, Guide Rails for extra support, and an asymmetrical saddle for better security.
Check out all the shoes on the list to find the perfect pair for you!
Top 3 Best and Favorite
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
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New Balance Fresh Foam 860V11
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Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
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1. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
The Adrenaline GTS 21 is our first choice, and it’s geared towards preventing overpronation and keeping your feet as stable as possible. It’s a stability shoe with high-energy cushioning that’s meant for the road, so it’s built for both stability and comfort.
A new engineered mesh upper is soft and comfortable, and an asymmetrical 3D Fit Print saddle comes up from the heel, wrapping around the arch for extra structure and security.
Brooks’ DNA Loft foam gives the ideal combination of soft shock-absorption and responsiveness.
A great anti-pronation feature is the addition of Guide Rails. These are firm external overlays on either side of the feet near the heel, which reduce side-to-side movement and take pressure off the knees and ankles.
Some runners may be put off by the 12mm heel-to-toe drop, but others may be happy with it. The lace-up closure allows each runner to tighten the shoe to their own comfort.
A plush tongue, ankle collar, and fabric liner make these shoes comfortable as well as stable, and you can remove the insole if you wish to add a custom orthotic.
- Comfortable, cushioned shoe
- Guide Rails for support
- Asymmetrical 3D Fit Print saddle
- 12 mm drop may be too much for some runners
2. ASICS GT-2000 9
The ASICS GT-2000 9 is a close runner-up. It’s a lightweight shoe that’s also made to counter excessive overpronation, but provide comfort while doing so.
It has a slightly lower heel-to-toe drop than our top choice, at 10mm. It’s only 2mm, but it can be quite noticeable on your feet! Some runners may prefer this as it takes some pressure off the toes, although there is still a forward lean.
These shoes use ASICS’ Dynamic DuoMax Support System to give your feet relief from overpronation. It’s a section of firm SpevaFoam on the inside sole of the shoe, which stops your foot from turning inwards and throwing everything out of alignment.
To add to the supportive features, ASICS uses its Impact Guidance System (I.G.S). There are four different parts to this technology:
- DuoMax System
- Heel Clutching System to prevent excess ankle movement
- Guidance Trusstic System keeps the midfoot in place and sees the gait through efficiently
- Guidance Line technology, which uses a flex groove in the sole to promote a stable heel-to-toe transition.
For shock absorption, the FlyteFoam Lyte midsole with SpevaFoam coupled with GEL cushioning in the forefoot and rearfoot offer plenty of impact absorbing properties.
All of these features, plus traditional lace-up closure for a snug fit, help keep the foot perfectly aligned and reduce the chances of placing pressure on the IT band.
- Guidance Trusstic System
- Dynamic DuoMax system
- Impact Guidance System (I.G.S)
- Guidance line technology
- The plush tongue may be too thick for comfort
Best For Heel Support
3. New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11
Overpronators who are also heel strikers would appreciate the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11. It offers solid support for rolling feet but also impressive support at the heel.
The “elf ear” heel collar may be the first thing you notice about this shoe. It may look unusual, but it gives great shape to the heel and fits comfortably around the heel bone without aggravating the Achilles. It holds the heel firmly in place and reduces the chances of heel slippage, which could lead to misalignment.
The midsole is wider than usual, which is not surprising for New Balance. This works hand-in-hand with the UltraHeel technology to keep the foot very secure.
FreshFoam in the midsole gives an ultra-soft, cushioned ride that’s also responsive enough for most runners, with a little spring in its step.
A medial post helps to reduce overpronation, keeping the foot as neutral as possible and preventing any unnecessary movement or twisting up the leg. The engineered mesh upper is slightly stiffer than usual, offering a great locked-in feel to complement the stability element of the shoe.
- Firm medial post
- Dual-foam midsole
- 3D molded UltraHeel
- Slightly stiffer mesh upper
- May be narrow in the forefoot
Top Lightweight Support Shoe
4. Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
It’s a well-known fact that stability shoes can be heavier than regular shoes. The Mizuno Wave Inspire is our top choice for a lightweight support shoe, if you’re looking for something that will give you structure and stability without weighing you down.
The lightness is largely due to Mizuno’s U4ic Midsole. The material is made to be unusually light without sacrificing shock-absorption, comfort, and durability. This is paired with ENERZY foam in the heel, which is impressively responsive and gives you a bit of a bounce in every step.
Mizuno is known for its Wave technology, and these shoes feature a fan-shaped wave plate nestled inside the midsole. It’s designed to prevent overpronation, and runs the full length of the shoe to provide comprehensive support.
The plate features a double fan on the medial side, which serves the same purpose as a medial post.
Lastly, a snug mesh upper, lace-up closure, and durable X10 outsole provide even more support and sturdiness.
- Fan-shaped wave plate
- ENERZY heel wedge
- Medial and lateral overlays
- Double-layered mesh upper
- The midsole of the shoe might be too stiff for some
Best NIKE For IT Band Syndrome
5. Nike Air Zoom Structure 23
The Air Zoom Structure 23 has been reworked to be less chunky than the previous versions, but it still offers great support for those who need it most. If you’re transitioning up from the Structure 22, you may be disappointed in the large differences the 23 brings to the table.
Surprisingly, there’s no built-in anti-pronation system, but they have some interesting support features. Nike has added sidewalls in the midfoot and heel, which both cradles the foot and guides it through its gait.
An 8mm drop is a decent number and offers more stability than something higher. The midsole is slightly wider than usual, providing a stable platform for both walking and running.
Other helpful features to reduce pressure on the IT band include a Zoom Air cushioning unit in the forefoot, which provides a smooth toe-off and a crash pad at the heel for attenuating some shock when you land.
- Forefoot Zoom Air unit
- Crash pad placement at the heel
- Wider midsole profile
- 8 mm heel-to-toe drop
- May be less breathable than others due to heavy padding in the upper and inner sleeve
6. Hoka One One Arahi 5
If cushioning is your aim, you can’t beat Hoka One One. Their cushioning is known for being eye-catching and soft, and this is their version of a stability shoe for mild to moderate overpronators.
The shoe has a wide platform, which means you’ll feel stable on your feet before the other tech even comes into play. This platform is structured for stability (this is known as a straight last), what Hoka calls “flat-waisted geometry”.
Hoka’s J-Frame technology is their version of a medial post, which keeps the foot from rolling when it hits the ground. It’s made from firm EVA foam, which gives added structure and support underfoot.
The early-stage Meta-Rocker hidden in the midsole helps to provide a smooth and propulsive ride, although this shoe isn’t built for speed. Despite the soft, shock-absorbing cushion (which Hoka labels as “responsive”), you’ll get a good energy return and an effective heel-to-toe transition.
It’s worth noting that this shoe seems to be slightly wider than most. This wouldn’t be a problem if it could be tightly laced, but the laces appear to be too stretchy to get a great, tight fit. This may not be an issue for most, but runners with narrow feet would definitely need to think carefully about this shoe.
- EVA J-Frame
- Flat-waisted geometry
- Wide platform
- Stiff heel counter
- Wider than average, which may make it hard to find a good fit
Best Daily Trainer
7. ON Cloudstratus
The ON Cloudstratus is eye-catching, but it has some excellent features packed into its unusual frame. They’re made for medium to long runs, and we recommend them as a daily trainer.
ON’s CloudTec platform features two layers for cushion and stability. One, the midsole, is made of Swiss-engineered helion foam that absorbs impact and returns energy for an excellent toe-off without sacrificing flexibility.
The other, the outsole, is immediately noticeable for its pod-type design. It’s surprisingly effective at reducing shock and taking pressure off the feet, while remaining light.
To make sure the wearer’s foot stays neutral, a CloudTec Speedboard layer helps guide the foot into a natural motion as it transitions through its gait.
Other features we appreciate include an external heel counter, an asymmetrical upper that reduces pressure points, a deep outsole groove for guidance during landing, and a moderate but comfortable 8mm heel-to-toe drop.
- CloudTec outsole technology
- Asymmetrical mesh upper
- Speedboard to prevent overpronation
- External TPU heel counter
- A little clunky and heavy
Top Wide Toe Box
8. Altra Paradigm 5
If your toes are cramped, your whole foot can alter its position. You may be surprised to learn that something as simple as this can lead to IT band syndrome, as your foot is no longer moving naturally!
The Altra Paradigm is our top choice for runners who need a wider toe box. Their unique FootShape toe box is designed specifically to give enough space for the toes to splay while keeping the rest of the foot stable.
It’s a zero-drop shoe, which keeps the foot in as natural a position as possible. Altra uses its own StabiliPod technology, which uses varying densities of foam to stabilize three areas of your foot in a triangular shape.
The Altra EGO midsole is dual-density and gives the best of both responsiveness and cushioning. Unique FootPod technology in the midsole and the outsole gives this shoe an impressive bit of flexibility, by mapping the bones and tendons of the foot and moving with them as you run.
A Guiderail underneath the shoe helps guide the foot through its natural heel-to-toe cycle without pronating.
A nice feature is Altra’s Fit4Her technology, which tweaks the female version of each shoe slightly to cater to a female foot. This includes longer arch support, a narrower heel, specific metatarsal spacing, and a narrower midfoot.
- Zero-drop platform
- StabiliPod technology
- Guide rail feature for stability
- FootShape toe box
- May be uncomfortable for runners who prefer a narrow toe box
Best For Road Running
9. Saucony Guide 14
If the road is your domain, the Saucony Guide 14 could be your new best running buddy. Saucony is known for having a spacious and comfortable toe box and good responsiveness, and their stability shoe doesn’t disappoint.
It has an 8mm offset, and features a traditional medial post for stability, in its TPU Guidance Frame. This is a slightly denser foam section in the PWRRUN+ midsole, which offers anti-pronation support but doesn’t feel intrusive.
Together with the 3D-engineered inner sleeve in the upper, this ensures that your foot is supported from all sides. Formfit technology in the upper lets this shoe wrap around your foot comfortably and supportively.
The heel fit has been improved to prevent slippage, and the ride has a smooth feel thanks to PWRRUN+ foam in the midsole. It’s well-cushioned but dense enough to provide snappy energy return.
A Tri-Flex outsole design is highly durable and provides natural flexion thanks to its many grooves.
- Medial TPU guidance frame
- PWRRUN+ foam
- Formfit dynamic fit system
- Tri-Flex crystal rubber
- May run small
Fast And Comfortable
10. Saucony Endorphin Shift
If you’re looking for a stability shoe that’s still got a bit of speed in it and remains comfortable even with support elements, try the Saucony Endorphin Shift. It’s labeled as an everyday training shoe, but it’s got a nice bit of bounce and cushion and is ideal for mild to moderate overpronators.
The Endorphin Shift is more of a guidance shoe than a full-on stability shoe. It doesn’t have the usual stability shoe feel, but it’s noticeably different from a neutral shoe too.
With a drop of 4mm, there’s not much forward propulsion but the built-in Speedroll rocker technology gets you going. PWRRUN foam in the midsole is soft and absorbent, but offers good energy return, helping you stay on pace.
An external heel counter adds to the stability, keeping your foot firmly in place. The Formfit upper wraps snugly around the foot, but remains breathable at the same time. Get the right fit for you by tightening the traditional lacing system to your preferred fit.
This shoe is surprisingly speedy thanks to the roller technology, but it is noticeably heavier than some other stability shoes.
- SPEEDROLL technology
- FORMFIT technology mesh upper
- External TPU heel counter
- Thick PWRRUN midsole cushioning
- Heavy, at 11 ounces
Wondering how to choose the best running shoes for IT band syndrome? Here are some common questions and answers that may help you make an informed decision.
What’s The Most Common Cause Of IT Band Syndrome In Runners?
IT band syndrome is most often seen in runners who overpronate. The reason this becomes an issue is when overpronators wear shoes that don’t support their feet properly.
If your feet turn inwards while you run, it sets in motion a chain reaction all the way up to your legs. Your ankle rotates unnaturally, which causes the muscles to tighten in ways they wouldn’t usually.
That muscle tension extends to the calf, which also twists unnaturally and puts pressure on the knee. From there, the thigh bone and muscles and hip end up moving at angles that aren’t natural. This movement puts stress on the IT band and leads to pain.
This isn’t the only cause of IT band syndrome, but it’s by far the most common cause. The easiest solution is to get yourself a pair of stability shoes. If you’re already wearing stability shoes, replace them when the cushioning and support begin to wear down.
Also, make sure you’re not a neutral runner wearing stability shoes! This won’t necessarily have a bad effect on your gait, but wearing shoes with the support you don’t need can restrict your movement and lead to issues too.
How Do I Know If I Overpronate?
Sometimes it’s easy to tell if you overpronate. When you walk, your foot rolls inwards towards the middle of your body.
If you aren’t quite sure, you can do what’s called the “wet paper test”. Lightly wet your foot and step naturally onto a sheet of paper. It’s a good idea to actually start behind the paper, step onto it like normal, and keep walking for a few steps so that your walk is as natural as possible.
If your footprint is fairly solid and isn’t missing a section in the arch, it’s likely that you overpronate. This is often known as having a low arch or flat feet.
Not all overpronators have flat feet, though! Sometimes you could have quite a high arch, but when you walk or run the outside of the heel hits the ground first and the entire foot rolls forward in an almost diagonal motion, pushing off again from the big toe.
If this sounds like you, another classic sign of overpronation is pain or blisters on the toes, especially the big toe. The motion of the foot places pressure on the toes, often leaving them aching at the end of a run.
What Are The Causes?
Overpronation can be caused by many things. You could simply be born with flat feet, or an unusual foot shape.
Sometimes, having short muscles or muscles that are very tight can lead to overpronation as they can’t extend enough to allow for a normal range of motion.
If your running form is incorrect, you may accidentally be overpronating. Another reason could be wearing the wrong shoes for your feet!
Although overpronation can be a sign of an underlying problem, the main concern is fixing the issue while you’re running so you stop placing so much stress on the joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Do Overpronators Need Stability Shoes?
If you only overpronate slightly, you may be able to get away with a “guidance” shoe, which has light support.
But if you’re a serious overpronator (more than 15%), a stability shoe is recommended to help keep your foot from rolling and provide the necessary support that you need to prevent injury.
Especially if IT band syndrome is something you suffer from, a stability shoe can help to prevent that chain reaction that affects the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even bones up the legs when you run.