How to Choose Running Shoes That Are Ideal for Your Foot Type

There is much to consider when buying running shoes, from cushioning to stability features. However, the most important factor is understanding your gait – how your feet strike and roll as you walk, jog, or run.

A good start is looking at the patterns of your current shoes’ wear. It can help you identify your foot type.

What to consider when Choosing Running Shoes

      1. Arch Height

The height of your arch plays a significant role in how your foot hits the ground and rolls during a run. Knowing whether you have flat feet or high arches can help you choose the best shoes to support your feet and prevent injuries like plantar fasciitis.

To determine your arch height, you can perform a wet test on your own or have a friend do it. Apply some water to the bottom of your foot and place it on a paper or other material that tracks. If your footprint shows a slight curve inward, you have normal arches and tend to pronate neutrally.

If the curve is completely absent, you have low arches and tend to overpronate. If the outer edges of your footprint show more wear than the inner ones, you have high arches and tend to underpronate (also known as supination).

While the wet test has been somewhat dismissed in running circles, it may still be useful. In addition, a more rigorous study of military recruits found that motion-control shoes reduce injury rates, especially among those with low arches.

As always, compare the arch’s feel after trying on several pairs of shoes. Pick a pair that fits and feels cozy after that. Following discovering a pair, click here to look for coupons that will allow you to reduce the cost of your buy. 

     2. Stability of the Shoes

When you start looking at running shoes, you will likely see a lot of words thrown around, like “pronation control,” “midsole stability,” and “neutral cushioning.”

Choosing the correct running shoes for your foot type and running style can be intimidating at first, but it can become much simpler once you know the terminology and how it applies to your particular requirements.

Stability of shoes also incorporates medial posts, varying foam densities, and other features to guide the foot along a more neutral path of motion when running, which can help prevent injury.

To determine if you are a neutral, moderate, or severe overpronator, wet your feet and stand on a piece of paper or a surface that will leave a clear footprint. If the shape of your footprint is barely visible or shows a complete curve inward, you have high arches and are a neutral runner.

You are a severe overpronator if you have a shallow arch or flat foot and your footprint is completely visible. You would benefit from a motion control shoe that offers added stability features.

Related: Top 15 Benefits of Running In The Morning or Evening

    3. Pronation

Pronation refers to how your foot strikes the ground and rolls inward while walking or running. Runners who tend to overpronate or have very flat feet benefit most from stability shoes that help control the excessive inward movement of the foot and ankle, taking pressure off the knees and hips.

Your foot automatically rolls inward as you move forward when you run or walk. This movement is called pronation; everyone does it to some degree, though some do it more than others.

For example, if your footprint shows that your arch flattens out when you walk or run, you overpronate and may need a shoe with extra support to prevent too much inward motion. You might also need a heavier and more durable shoe that can take the impact of your hard landings.

Mild overpronators may need a stability shoe with a firmer midsole to control the inward motion and cushion impact. However, some runners who overpronate may not need a special shoe to correct the problem – simply switching to a neutral or cushioning shoe may be enough.

You can use simple tests to identify your gait type and level of overpronation. For a more detailed analysis, consider booking an in-store or at-home fit process with one of the experts at your local store to get individual advice tailored to your foot shape and running style.

They can then show you a range of shoes that will align with your natural foot mechanics and match up with your preferred running surface, terrain, and level of pronation.

    4. Cushioning

The cushioning of a running shoe can make or break your run. While the amount of cushion is a personal preference, some runners require more to help protect their feet from impact shock and other forces during stride. The type of cushioning also impacts the weight and feel of a shoe.

Traditionally, cushioning was achieved with an EVA or polyurethane foam. These days, however, many shoes use proprietary, high-performance foams that absorb the shock of your foot strike and can give back to your stride, putting more spring into it.

Another factor to consider is the heel drop of a shoe. A higher drop means more cushioning in the heel of the shoe, and a lower drop means less.

More cushioning in the heel can help prevent injuries to your ankles, calves and feet. Once you know your arch type and pronation, getting fitted for the right pair of shoes is important.

For optimal biomechanics and cushioning preferences, a specialty running store’s knowledgeable sales staff can assist you in selecting the ideal shoe. It’s a good idea to try on a few different pairs and compare them head to head before making a purchase. You may even want to run in the shoes to see how they perform and feel on your feet.

Related: Best Time for Running: Morning or Evening