Did they sell me a shoe not designed for…?

A reader asks:

I currently run 1-5 miles a week for work and I was due for a shoe upgrade due to getting older and pain starting a little bit in my body. I ran in the Nike Free’s for a while and then the running store told me that I have over pronation so they sold me a pair of Asics Gel Kayano 21’s. My shoes wear on the outsides and I strike with my heel when I run. Doing more research I think they sold me the wrong type of shoe. I have ran 20+ miles in these shoes and still feel like they have not been broken in. Every day after I run I still seem to be mildly sore. Am I correct in the fact they did indeed sell me a shoe not designed for my style of running? Thanks, Robert.


In our view, you ran with Nike Free’s which are great minimalist shoes so if you were super comfortable with those shoes, you have neutral pronation and your lower leg muscles must be strong because these minimalist shoes help develop your leg muscles and improve your form. There’s no way an overpronator can be comfortable with minimalist shoes unless he has strong lower leg muscles because these shoes don’t have the much needed arch support for overpronation.

If you don’t have known foot injuries, your muscles may have just weakened a bit because you got older, so you should go for neutral running shoes. Best examples of these shoes are Asics’ Gel Nimbus 17, Gel Kinsei 5, Gel Cumulus 16, Gel Flux 2, and Gel Sendai 2. We have a complete and updated list of the most sought after neutral running shoes, please read our article for best shoes for underpronation, which has the top list of neutral running shoes. Neutral shoes will offer more cushion than minimalist shoes.

With regards to Asics Gel Kayano 21, according to the newest Asics pronation chart, this shoe slightly supports neutral pronation, has full support for overpronation, and slightly supports severe overpronation. If indeed you’re starting to have overpronation, your better options will be Asics Gel Electro33 and Asics Gel Super J33 which have excellent support for neutral pronation up to overpronation. These shoes have FluidAxis technology, the new technology by Asics, which also improves the movement of your Subtalar joint, the joint that allows the inversion and eversion motion of the foot. This new responsive support can protect your ankle joint as it moves from side to side.

By the way, your gait can be classified as overpronation if the roll of foot exceeds fifteen percent on an impact (according to experts). If you really have this type of pronation, our best guess is that you only have mild overpronation. So, your other great options would be Asics Gel Fortitude 3 and Asics Gel Pursue which offer full support for neutral pronation up to mild overpronation. Although, it’s best to try the shoe on before buying.