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What Are Motion Control Running Shoes? The Pros and Cons

A runner’s stride is like a signature – unique to each individual. Still, types of running strides can be broken down into a few major categories. The major factor that distinguishes one type of runner from another is pronation.

Pronation is an inward rolling of the ankle when your foot lands on the ground. A certain degree of pronation is normal, and it helps the foot absorb shock. But too little or too much, and you might need shoes that help correct your stride. Motion control shoes are one option for this. So, what are motion control running shoes, really?

This article defines what a motion control running shoe is, and lists some pros and cons. Read on to see whether this type of shoe will suit your needs.

What Are Motion Control Running Shoes?

Motion control running shoes are intended to limit excessive foot motions by decreasing the extent of pronation. They are designed with a medial support that helps improve the stability of the foot and reduces the amount of pronation.

There is no such thing as the perfect pair of running shoes, because every runner has different needs. Therefore, choosing a good pair depends not only on your shoe size or personal preference. You have to consider your pronation as well, which is how your foot lands on the ground when you run.

Advantages of Using Motion Control Running Shoes

Are motion control running shoes for you? To help you decide, here are some advantages of using motion control shoes:

  • Motion control running shoes reduce the risk of injury for over-pronators. Many podiatrists are focused on suggesting footwear that prevents injury, rather than recommending about the shoe size, comfort, and style. And the specific kind of shoe that the experts suggest: motion control.
  • Motion control running shoes are better at triggering the quadriceps muscles, specifically the vastus medialis obliquos, to grow stronger. They also lessen the risk of patello-femoral pain syndrome. Medical language aside, if you over-pronate, it can lead to leg and foot problems. Motion control shoes help with that.
  • Motion control running shoes prevent your feet from experiencing too much fatigue, and help ease a more steady activation of lower leg muscles. This is especially true for runners with significant pronation. Hence, these kinds of shoes help reduce the overuse of certain muscle groups.
  • Motion control running shoes are more durable than other kinds of shoes.
  • For heavy runners and runners with flat feet, this particular kind of shoe is more suitable for them.

There are different kinds of running shoes—running shoes for winter, for orthotics, and more. But within those broader categories, you can still find motion control options. If you need these shoes for increased stability, be sure to include it in your description of the ideal shoe, along with size, style, and price.

See the best motion control running shoes here

Disadvantages of Motion Control Running Shoes

While it is wise not to break the bank when buying a pair of running shoes, it is wise to invest in a shoe to best suit your feet. Why would you not want to buy motion control shoes? A few reasons:

  • Motion control running shoes are less comfortable to some runners. This is because they have less cushioning. Motion control shoes have firmer midsoles than most neutral running shoes. This might make running less comfortable for people who are familiar with the cushioning of other types of running shoes.
  • Motion control running shoes are expensive.
  • The extent of their benefit is open to debate. Some runners swear by them, while others say the effect is small. Over-pronating puts stress on the joints and can cause injury, and motion control shoes are meant to help avoid this. Sometimes they help, sometimes they don’t.
  • The full support that motion control shoes claim to provide can hinder muscles from strengthening as well. Limiting your foot from its natural movement might have more negative effects than positive.
  • Motion control running shoes are heavy. Like really heavy. You might feel like you are plodding rather than running.

Are Motion Control Running Shoes Best for You?

Although some studies have been performed to compare motion control running shoes with other styles, the results are still inconclusive. Nevertheless, heavier runners and those with severe over-pronation are believed to perform better in motion control shoes than in others.

But then again, when it comes to choosing a pair of shoes, you have to be your own judge. After all, you know your feet and your running style better than anyone. That being said, it also wouldn’t hurt to gather tips from the experts.

Tips For Buying Motion Control Running Shoes

Here are some tips to consider when buying a pair of motion control running shoes:

  • Try on the running shoes before you buy them.

Don’t buy your running shoes online; always do so in person, at a specialty running store. One shoe type can fit one person but not another, so try on different types, brands, and models. Wear the socks you use for running, and try to walk or run in the shoes for a bit inside the store. Many running stores have treadmills for this purpose.

Try on shoes towards the end of the day, when you have done most of your walking and your feet are slightly swollen. This can help you find a shoe that fits you best. And don’t immediately go for a long run after getting your new shoes. Test them first on short runs.

  • Be aware of your foot shape and running stance.

Pay attention to your foot shape and the movement of your foot. Some studies and experiments say that motion control shoes are better for runners with flat feet, but this is not always true.

  • Always consider if you are comfortable in the running shoes.

Comfort is always an important factor in choosing your shoe. So, if your shoes cause you discomfort or pain in the long run, it might be that a different shoe type fits you better.


Now that you know what motion control running shoes are, you will have a better idea which type of running shoes to buy for your next training block. Remember, shoes are not a fix for injuries and certain conditions, so for your own sake, it is better to consult a podiatrist if you experience problems with your feet. A podiatrist can check the natural movements and arch of your feet, and help you choose the right type of shoe.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner