Any athlete knows that good equipment is essential for peak performance and injury prevention. Since running shoes are a runner’s only equipment, a good shoe is a must.

To find the best shoe for you, we recommend consulting with someone at your local running specialty shoe store. Typically they will evaluate your feet and gait then provide several shoe options. You can then you can choose which is best for you based on comfort.

When you’re evaluated for your running shoe, your pronation will be determined. You may have normal pronation, overpronation or underpronation. A short video describes how you can tell for each type of pronation.

Normal pronation is when, upon contact with the ground, the foot rolls properly inward, approximately 15%. This optimally distributes the force of impact and properly absorbs the shock.

Overpronation is when the foot rolls too much inward. The step causes the arch of the foot to collapse, overstretching its muscles and tendons.

Underpronation is when the foot does not roll inward enough. It is much less common than overpronation.

Arches are also a determining factor for proper running shoes. Normal arch runners typically have normal pronation. Flat feet runners usually overpronate while high arched runners generally underpronate. You can determine what type of arches you have right now through a simple “wet test”. To do this, pour a small layer of water into a shallow pan. Step into the water then step onto a paper shopping bag or some type of thick paper. Step off of the paper and you will see your footprint. If you see about half of your arch, you have normal pronation. If you see almost your entire footprint, you likely are flat footed. If you see just your heel, ball of your foot and a thin line to the side of your arch, you have a high arch. You can also watch this short video that shows you how to perform the test.

Overpronation and underpronation can lead to foot, ankle and knee problems, but the proper shoe can help alleviate these issues. When you go to get running shoes, remember to take your old shoes with you. The wear on the shoe will help determine what running shoe is best for you. And as you progress as a runner, your gait will change so bring them in every time.

Happy and Safe Training!

Dr. Johnson