Runners have never had so much choice when it comes to footwear. With major sports brands like Nike and Asics investing millions of dollars in research and development each year, the running shoe market has diversified like never before. Now, no matter what your running needs you’ll find a trainer designed specifically to meet them, and we’re here to talk you through the most common shoe types to help you find the shoe that’s right for you.

Motion-control shoes

As the name suggests, these running shoes are designed to control the motion of the foot. Recommended for runners whose feet overpronate – when the foot rolls inwards excessively as the foot hits the ground, and for bigger runners who need extra support and protection against impact forces – these are also ideal for runners with low arches looking for added support on the arch (medial) side of their shoes, providing enhanced control of rearfoot motion.

Stability shoes

These running shoes offer a combination of robust support and midsole cushioning. Stability shoes are designed for runners with low to normal arch height, who are mild to moderate overpronators.

Cushioned shoes

Cushioned running shoes are designed with normal to high arches in mind. Featuring enhanced midsole cushioning and minimum medial (arch-side) support, they’re ideal for biomechanically efficient runners with neutral pronation. As the cushioning is concentrated in the midsole area, they’re also the perfect shoe type for those who strike the ground with their forefoot or midfoot rather than heel strikers.

Trail shoes

These shoes are specially designed to take you off-road. They’ll give you enhanced support and shock absorption when you’re running on unsteady terrain, where you encounter uneven ground, mud, rocks, twigs and other obstacles that can be tough on the feet. They feature greater traction, are often weather-resistant, are built low to the ground for extra stability, and are generally tougher all-round.

Racing shoes

These shoes have been optimised for speed, designed to be incredibly light and aerodynamic. Like spikes, they don’t offer much by way of support or protection against impact, so they should only be worn if you’re free from current injuries and have a neutral stride. While many racers wear these competitively, others prefer spikes or performance training shoes on the track.


With their glove-like fit, these trainers are designed for speed. While they don’t offer much by way of support or shock absorption, their spiked soles are designed to grip the soft surfaces of race tracks. They’re an essential piece of kit for competitive racing, and for those doing speed workouts on the track.

Performance training shoes

Performance training shoes come in a range of support and cushioning types, based on your own individual foot shape. What really sets them apart from other trainers is that they tend to be far lighter in weight, and have a closer fit, designed to hug the foot like a second skin. These shoes are built with the race track in mind, but are also ideal for training, provided you are a neutral pronator.