First things first. Knowing your gait (what kind of feet you have) is just as important as knowing all the lyrics to SWV’s “Weak”! Exactly how do you get to know your runner self? I am glad you asked. If available, I highly recommend you seek out a fit specialist at your local running store.
With the use of multi-angled cameras and a treadmill, the specialist will carefully observe how much your foot rolls in (pronates) or rolls out (supinates) with every foot strike. Based on the results they will then suggest the proper pair. Another option however in figuring out your foot type is a simple self administered test. By either running in the sand or stepping on paper with wet feet you can quickly create and observe your footprint. So test your toesies, match your results below and run until your hearts content!
Foot Type #1: Flat Feet
If when you look at your feet you don’t see any arch you’ll know you have flat feet. During the footprint test your foot will look like a solid shape and an inward curve from your big toe to your heel will be nonexistent.
The 411: If you’re flatfooted then you’re most likely an overpronator, which means that your feet roll inward when you run.
Your Sole Mate: A stable pair is just what you need. So when out and about look for the words “motion control” and “stability.” However if your overpronation is severe (like mine) you may even need to also wear othotics. I invested in custom made ones this past training season and the quality of my runs are night and day! Not ready to drop that kind of dough? No worries there are several store bought orthotics that are fantastic. My favorite brand: Superfeet.
Foot Type #2: High-arched Feet
High arches are very easy to identify. When you look at your feet you’ll notice a high and definite arch and during the footprint test, the imprint of your foot will curve inward making the middle part of your foot appear very thin.
The 411: If you have high arches, you most likely supinate or underpronate when you run. This means that your feet roll outwards as you run. Running will eventually cause your arches to fall so get retested regularly.
Your Sole Mate: A flexible shoe with cushion for the pushin’ is your boo worthy pair. Minimalist, flexible, or cushioned are words to look for when in the sole mate dating pool.
Foot Type #3: Neutral Feet
If you look at your foot/footprint and it doesn’t look flat or high-arched then you most likely have a neutral foot. While your footprint will have a noticeable inward curve inward, it wont be more than 3/4 of an inch.
The 411: Neural feet are the most common foot type out there and therefore the least susceptible to injury. Your only concern is to avoid shoes that goes against your foot type (ie. a stability shoe); as running in an unnecessarily over supportive shoe can bring on deviations to your oh so perfect feet.
Your Sole Mate: Get ready to get your love search on! If you have normal feet, you can choose from a wide variety of running shoes. While neutral shoes with some cushioning are your best best, you can even get a way with a slightly supportive shoe as well. However once again stay away from the controlling ones (motion control and stability shoes).
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Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!