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Picking the Correct Shoes

When it comes to being involved in an activity, whether it’s competitive or for fun, the last thing you want is an injury, especially an injury that could be avoided. By knowing the type of foot you have and what type of shoes would compliment your foot type and gaining the knowledge of what type of pronation you do and what type of shoe can try to fill in to obtain safer and optimal results can be highly beneficial for any individual.

Pronation and Tread Pattern

Neutral or regular pronator – You will notice an S shaped pattern from the outer heel to the big toe. This happens because the heel hits the ground first and rolls towards the toes and your arch lowers to absorb the impact.

Under pronator (supinator)- When looking at your running shoes, if you notice the outer part of the soles by the heel and forefoot are worn down, then you could be an under pronator. This is common in runners with high arches. Due to the way the foot hits the ground, it absorbs a great amount of shock through the lower leg which makes them susceptible to stress fractures and reduces the efficiency of running.

Over pronator – When you look at your shoes, if you notice the inner part or inside of the sole of your shoe by the ball of the foot and by the heel is considerably worn that could mean you over pronate and is usually experienced by runners with low to flat arches. With this type of foot action, the ankle and feet experience difficulty in stabilizing the body and the shock isn’t properly absorbed. This type of pronating can lead to leg, hip and knee soreness or injury as a result of trying to establish the proper balance when your foot hits the ground.

Best Types of shoes for your feet

From a foot test

  • Neutral or normal – can choose from a variety of shoe support but it’s best to not pick shoes that say ‘motion control’ or ‘stability’
  • Flat Feet – look for ‘motion control’ or ‘stability’ on the box label; depending upon the degree of your flat feet you may need a custom made shoe insert
  • High Arched- look for flexible running shoes with soft midsole that absorbs shock. Look for shoes labeled ‘cushioned’ or ‘flexible’

Shoes based on Pronation

  • Neutral Pronator – stability footwear with condition that provides support; can choose from a variety of shoe types but choosing shoes that offer cushion and support can be beneficial
  • Over pronator –  motion control shoes and structured cushioning that can provide stability and cushioning with an emphasis on medial support by having dual density midsoles, foot bridges or roll bars which helps slow down the rate of over pronation.
  • Under pronator (supinator) – look for shoes with cushioning. A variety of shoe manufacturers add materials to enhance cushioning in the heel and forefoot like gel, air or hydro flow along with the cushion designed to disperse shock in midsole and outsole design.

In addition to knowing the type of feet you have and the pronation that you do, your weight could be a factor in determining the support you need. Did you know that with every foot strike the impact is 3 times as much as the individual’s weight? That means if you weigh 200 pounds, then there is 600 pounds of force. However, when running, the force could be as much as 8 times your body weight. Therefore, it is crucial to have the proper support for your weight and the type of exercise you will be performing.

Be a tester

Did you knowthat shoe companies actually let people test the products before they market them? Here’s a list to get you started but feel free to look for additional name brands.

  • New balance feels that people should be the ones to help their development team to design shoes that are comfortable and designed to help individuals achieve optimal results from shoes they wear. Therefore, they give people the opportunity to test out their shoes in the design process. Find out more here:
  • Reebok accepts shoe testers in order for them to be able to continue developing products that can meet athletic needs. Find out more about product testing including the requirements:
  • Mizuno USA also accepts product testers. Fill in the form to apply:

For great prices on great shoes check out these online sources with great return policies:

Asics Nimbus

These are great shoes for an under pronator. It’s designed to keep your feet dry and provide cushion, absorb shock and energize the neutral to under pronator. Compare prices here:

Asics Gel-Foundation Men’s Running Shoes

This is a great shoe for flat feet or over pronator runners. It provides good cushioning and motion control. Compare prices here:

Neuton Running Gravity

  • This shoe is built for neutral feet or neutral pronators.  It provides a springy mid sole cushion.

Regardless of the name brand of the shoe, running shoes typically come in 3 categories: Stability Shoes, Motion Control and Cushioning Shoes. In addition to knowing the type of shoes you will need, it’s important to know what to look for to get good fitting shoes.

Stay tuned to this blog to find out if different platforms and activities play a part in your shoes benefits.