Does it hurt when you run? We’ve all been there, but some more than others. Motion control shoes like the Brooks Ariel can help a lot.
Fallen arches and pronation problems are common issues that can cause lots of pain and injuries. Running requires many complex joints to line up the right way, and it’s not always possible. Unfortunately, these problems are prevalent among large-framed people. It can make it hard to stay in shape. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A good pair of modern motion control shoes can alleviate these problems. The Brooks Ariel is one the most popular and recommended shoes for women with over-pronation issues. Let’s take a closer look at how it performs.
The Brooks Ariel Women's Running Shoe
Unless you’re new to motion control shoes, you’ve probably heard of the Brooks Ariel running shoe. It’s the benchmark shoe in the women’s motion control category. Brooks has pioneered the motion control market since the 1970s, and many of their modern shoes rank among the best. The Brooks Ariel is the female version of the best-selling Beast shoe.
When it comes to stopping over-pronation, few shoes can come close. On top of the exceptional stability, there’s lots of cushy comfort and forward momentum. If you want solid performance along with the extra stability you need, a pair of Brooks Ariel shoes is a great place to start.
A full-length segmented crash pad delivers fast and comfortable transitions throughout the stride. There are Omega flex patterns for more flexibility. Overall, it’s a springy shoe that invites you to speed up and push your limits.
The Super DNA midsole has two layers of foam that reduce impact and provide a nice bounce. An extended diagonal roll bar supports your arches and counteracts any tendency to roll your foot inward. Together with the external heel counter, this stabilizes your gait and ensures a natural movement.
Brooks Ariel shoes feature a seamless mesh upper that improves airflow and reduces irritation. The conformable saddles help keep your mid-foot in place. There’s also an Ultimate sock liner which gives the Brooks Ariel a snug, cushy fit that adapts to your foot.
The Brooks Ariel has a standard 12mm drop which protects your heel and corrects heel strikes while also boosting forward momentum. At about 11.8 ounces, it’s a pretty heavy shoe, but that’s normal for motion correction shoes. I like to think of it as more exercise for your leg muscles. If you’re using these shoes to recover from injury or correct a bad gait with the intention of returning to ordinary trainers in the future, you’ll appreciate the extra boost.
As for general build quality, there’s nothing to complain about. They’re high-quality, durable shoes and you can expect hundreds of miles before you notice any degradation. You can run with Brooks Ariel shoes on most terrains. They have a reliable grip and generous cushioning.
Brooks Ariel is the kind of shoe that provides strong support in all directions. It’s excellent for over-pronators with or without flat feet. There’s plenty of padding, a snug upper, and special designs that keep your foot firmly in place. And you can lace it very tight without discomfort.
The most notable TPU technology is the extended diagonal roll bar. A plastic bar in the sole strengthens the medial side and improves arch support. It keeps your foot from rolling and collapsing the medial side. This makes it very hard to over-pronate your foot.
The Brooks Ariel has a pretty spacious toe box, and your forefoot can splay and push off naturally. They designed it with large-framed runners in mind. You can get the shoe in three different widths. While it may seem a bit stiff at first, it doesn’t take long to break it in.
A seamless design means less risk of irritation and hot spots. The shoe hugs your midfoot, which reduces both ankle and knee pain, as well as the risk of rashes and blisters. There’s also a toe cap, so you won’t have to worry about curbs and tree roots.
With so much padding, you can expect a plush feel with very soft landings and a gentle bounce. If you have plantar fasciitis or pangs in your joints, the Brooks Ariel will help alleviate your pain.
The sock liner lets air through and wicks away moisture, and the mesh upper provides excellent breathability. You can expect the Brooks Ariel to stay dry and airy even on longer runs.
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How The Brooks Ariel Compares To Competition
It’s important to get a more nuanced perspective on the shoes you’re considering. Let’s compare the Brooks Ariel to its primary rivals. We’ve chosen the New Balance W1340, Hoka ONE ONE Gaviota, and Asics Gel-Kayano.
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Like the Brooks Ariel, the New Balance W1340 is a durable motion control running shoe that also works as an everyday shoe for over-pronators. The most visible differences, other than the style, are the drop height and grip pattern. It’s less suitable for trail running but excels in urban environments.
The W1340 has a wide base and a strong rubber outsole with a diamond traction pattern. An Abzorb foam midsole soaks up the impact when you land. It has a plush feel thanks to the Acteve Lite foam cushioning. There’s a TPU Stabilicore under the heel and midfoot that helps to keep your foot from sliding and rolling. It also softens transitions. A T-beam strengthens the medial and lateral sides to reduce over-pronation.
If your feet tend to get hot and sweaty, you’ll like the W1340s. It has a high-breathability synthetic mesh upper with protective overlays. It’s snug but flexible. An Ortholite sock liner completes the plush, airy feel.
The New Balance W1340 has an elaborate support structure like the Brooks Ariel. The T-beam and Stabilicore support your arches and entire midfoot. A wide platform helps keep your foot level.
The shoe is firm around the ankle, and the upper holds the forefoot down without restricting natural movement. Its weight also helps straighten out the foot for landing. You also get a multi-density polyurethane insert for further support. As for potential downsides, the new model has fewer lacing holes, which may reduce support somewhat if you need a tight fit.
There’s a nice balance of comfort elements. It’s stable and cushy but doesn’t run too hot. Air flows well, and the sock liner gives it a plush feel. The extra-wide base can reduce joint pain as well.
Compared to the Brooks Ariel, sizes run larger. It’s also a somewhat heavier shoe at around 13.5 ounces. Overall, you’ll find it a flexible and comfortable running shoe, much like Brooks Ariel. And you can choose your preferred width option.
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One look at the Hoka One ONe Gaviota lets you know that it’s a high-tech running shoe. The elaborate design features many support technologies while keeping the weight down. You can use it on roads and trails in variable conditions. If you don’t mind standing out, you can also wear it in your daily life.
What sets it apart from most is the 5mm drop and the lightweight build. It’s still durable and offers good traction. The outsole is strong and flexible. A 3D puff-print frame gives the shoe detailed support without excess weight. The midsole consists of Hoka’s signature RMAT rubber and provides cushioning without that bulky feel. It has a J-Frame design that cradles your feet for extra support, and it produces a firm rebound. You get extra midfoot support from the arch-lock wings and the rocker shape. And it has an Ortholite sock liner.
Since the midsole wraps the sides of your foot, they stay in line throughout the gait. The Gaviota is snug around your midfoot and heel but doesn’t constrict natural movement. Your foot won’t rotate or slip inside the shoe. The tongue has a snug hold, and you can lace your shoes tight without discomfort. It’s a very stable shoe that lets you run fast and still be safe.
The Gaviotas provide a pillowy feel even on hard surfaces. Compared to the Brooks Ariel, the Hoka has less room for your toes. You’ll notice that the Gaviota is lighter than most motion control shoes. While very soft, it’s also pretty responsive. It absorbs shocks but still rebounds.
It’s a very snug shoe without being cramped. But if you’re used to shoes with a high beveled heel, it’ll take some time to get used to how it feels, especially when walking.
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The Gel-Kayano by Asics has been around for 25 years. Its latest iteration has more support for over-pronating runners. It’s a strong shoe that aims to balance cushion and support with high performance. Compared to the other shoes on the list, it has a more modest look and comes in a variety of colors, so it may be more suitable for everyday wear.
Despite the additional stability features, the weight hasn’t increased notably from earlier editions. This is due to the FlyteFoam midsole which weighs less than rubber but provides generous cushioning. It weighs about the same as the Brooks Ariel.
A new stretchy jacquard mesh upper makes the shoe more snug and form-fitting. It has additional padding over the arch to keep the foot aligned. The women’s model has an additional 3mm of low-density foam in the midsole for better comfort and reduced Achilles tendon strain. The midsole also has a foam reinforcement by the toes for better toe-off power.
Compared to older Kayanos, the 25s have a stronger outsole with better traction. So you can expect great durability and performance on all normal terrains. From rough asphalt to wet grass, you shouldn’t have any problems. Like its predecessor, it has a curved groove along the underside to improve flexibility and reduce medial rolling.
The Dynamic Duomax support system makes the Kayano 25 a very stable shoe. There’s a heel exoskeleton for slip reduction and a gel layer under your heel. This gives you complete support throughout your stride. The outsole guidance line directs weight away from the inner foot. Thus, you have support in all directions.
Asics has also extended the medial plate toward the heel for a more stable ride. It prevents you from rolling too far into pronation. Compared to older Kayanos, the Kayano 25 offers much more motion control.
While it’s stiffer than average, the Gel-Kayano is still flexible. The top mesh and Ortholite sock liner provide abundant airflow and moisture control. However, some older models did this better.
With its rich polymer cushioning, it dampens impacts and gives you an energetic bounce. Since its heel is 2mm lower than that of the Brooks Ariel, it won’t relieve painful heels as much.
Brooks Ariel Pros And Cons
Are you getting confused by all those technical details and comparisons? Let’s round up the pros and cons of the Brooks Ariel running shoes.
There’s a reason why Brooks Ariel is the shoe people compare other motion control shoes against. It provides excellent support, comfort, and bounce. It has a snug fit and looks sleek enough for everyday use. If you have problems with your gait or posture, Brooks Ariel is an ideal choice.
A new pair of Brooks Ariel may feel stiff at first, but they’ll loosen up before long. Since they’re snug shoes, you’ll want to go up half a size from what you’re used to if you have big feet.
Is Brooks Ariel Your Ideal Running Shoe?
Brooks Ariel is among a market leader for a reason. It delivers on its promises with flying colors. You get reliable protection against over-pronation without sacrificing comfort and general performance. If you’re tired of aching when you run, give them a try.