what is a neutral runner

What Does It Mean To Be A Neutral Runner? We Have Answers!

When it comes to running, you are probably that individual who loves nothing but the feel and thrill of going for long, intense miles every single day. Besides the feeling of breathlessness and sore muscles, you also love the amazing runner’s high at the end of it all.

At the same time, however, you might be wondering just what is a neutral runner, as opposed to other types of runners out there. You are not quite so sure what it refers to, whether it is the way the foot is shaped or the running form of the individual. It can be a bit confusing, which as a result you might be curious to discover in order to help you improve your running lifestyle.

That said, we are here to help you out! Read more in this article to find out more about a neutral runner, as we answer some of your frequently-asked questions related to the topic. Soon enough, you will be able to distinguish just what it is from the other types of runners, as well as get yourself into even better shape than you already are now.

Without further ado, let’s get started!


What is a neutral runner?

More specifically, this refers to how the individual’s feet strike the ground when in motion, especially when it comes to running. For a neutral runner, the heel hits the ground first before transferring the shock over to the arch, which absorbs it, and then ending at the toes for pushing off. The process is then repeated throughout the entire run. Another term to describe just what a “neutral runner” is is having a medium arch of the foot.

What are the differences between the different types of runners?

When it comes down to it, what makes it different for runners when it comes to various running forms is how the feet pronates, or in other words, moves from heel to toe. Not every single runner has the same type of pronation, and some types of running are more efficient and safer than others. Here, we break them down for you:


1. High arch.

For this particular foot shape, it refers to runners who have an average heel strike, but a very light, if not barely noticeable imprint in the middle of the foot, i.e. the arch. From the imprint, it appears that the runner is shifting directly from heel to toe, with little to no arch transition in between. As a result, much of the shock impact from striking the ground is heavily focused on the heel and toes only.

2. Medium arch.

This is where neutral runners’ feet fall under, for it demonstrates a balance not only between the heel and the toes, but also the arch itself when it comes to how the shock from striking the ground is distributed over the entire feet. That said, there is a smooth arch transition that happens from this specific foot type.

3. Low arch.

Also known as having “flat feet,” low arches are those in which the runner strikes the ground hard with the heel, and then leaves a heavy imprint on the arch as the shock from the impact is being transferred. As a result, it gives off an imprint which appears to be “flat,” as appropriately nicknamed for runners with this foot shape.

If you are curious to see which type of foot shape you have, you can do what is known as the “Wet Test” in which you submerge the bottom of your feet in water and press it onto a dark paper towel before lifting it up and checking just how your arch curves. This is the easiest and least-costly method, and it can yield quite accurate results. Here’s a video to demonstrate it: 

On the other hand, you can get more professional, precise service by heading to your local running store and test out your gait on a motion-sensor machine to measure all of the pressure points on your feet. Whichever strategy you choose to do, it can help you determine just which foot shape you have.

Is it ideal to be a neutral runner?

Considering that it is center between two extremes (high and low-arches), being a neutral certainly is more advantageous to be compared with the other possibilities. Having a medium arch demonstrates a good sense of control and balance when it comes to running well, as well as giving you a solid running form to help you move forward more smoothly and efficiently.

However, it is not without its problems. Just like with high or low-arched runners, neutral ones are still susceptible to heel pain and ball-of-foot issues. Usually, this is merely a sign of overworking your foot from running too many miles, so it is a matter of taking it easier on yourself.

How do I become a neutral runner?

Although you cannot really change your foot shape, you can change just how you run, as means of imitating and eventually adapting the “neutral runner’s” running form to your daily workouts. You can do so through these steps:

1. Have good running shoes.

Really, running shoes can make a huge difference not just on how you run, but also how you feel when doing so. Purchasing an incorrect size or for the wrong foot shape can be disadvantageous, if not detrimental. Read our article here to find the perfect pair for you.

2. Use a soft footbed.

Similar to an insole, this is that layer found at the bottom of the shoe which can cushion your feet while also gradually adjusting it to move in a certain way for maximum, efficient output. It is worth a try!

3. Consider a personal trainer.

If you are serious about changing your running form, having a trainer who knows their stuff can be worth the investment, especially if you acquire useful information to apply to your next run.


Overall, being a neutral runner is a matter of having a medium foot arch, as well as having a good running gait to complement that. With a bit of research and practice, you can change just how you run for a more satisfying running experience.






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