We all love shopping -except perhaps when it comes to shopping for the right running shoe. With all the new and different shoe technologies out there, who knows where to begin?
To make shopping for your new footwear easier and less confusing, there are a couple things you can do to determine your needs and what type of shoe fits those needs.
The first thing to do is to determine your foot type. An easy way to do this is to do the “Wet Test.” Simply wet the bottom of your foot and stand on a flat, dry piece of blank paper to make a footprint.
Normal (medium) Arch
If you see about half of your arch, you have the most common foot type and are considered a normal pronator. Contrary to popular belief, pronation is a good thing. When the arch collapses inward, this “pronation” absorbs shock. As a normal pronator, you can wear just about any shoe, but may be best suited to a stability shoe that provides moderate arch support (or medial stability).
Flat (low) Arch
If you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot, which means you’re probably an overpronator. This means that your arch collapses inward too much, resulting in excessive foot motion. You need a stable shoe, which uses devices such as dual-density midsoles and supportive “posts” to reduce pronation.
If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type. This means you’re a supinator, which can result in too much shock traveling up your legs, since your arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb it. Supinators are best suited to neutral-cushioned shoes because they need a softer midsole to encourage pronation. It’s very important that a supinator’s shoes have no added stability devices to reduce or control pronation.
You can also do the “Table test.” All you have to do is place your current running shoes on a flat, level surface (such as a table top) and examine them while they’re sitting side by side. If they tilt inwards, you overpronate. If they stand relatively straight, you are a normal pronator. If they tilt to the outside, you supinate. Always shop at a store with knowledgeable staff and consider the following when shopping for the right shoe:
Since your feet expand when you run, shop later in the day or after a workout. Check for adequate room in the toe box. Your thumb’s width should fit between the end of your longest toe and the top of the shoe. . Make sure your foot fits snugly in the heel counter, and the uppers hold your foot securely without irritation. Check for adequate shoe width at the widest point of your foot. . If you wear orthotics, bring them with you to make sure they fit in the shoes. Test the shoes by lacing them up and jogging around the store for a few minutes.
Now that you know your foot type, and have determined what your needs are, the next step is finding a shoe that fits those needs. Be realistic- shopping takes time. Set aside at least an hour so that you have time to try on several pairs of shoes. Keep in mind that each shoe brand is unique and the most suitable brand and model will be dependant on the degree of pronation as well as your foot size and shape.
The final factor in finding the perfect fit lies in recognizing that no good shoe can last forever. Depending on the frequency of wear, the type of training you are doing and how well you care for them, your shoes will last you between three to six months on average. This means that you may have to toss a few pairs of shoes in your closet that have overstayed their welcome. The good news is -you get to go shoe shopping.