Finding the Right Running Shoes – Determining Your Foot Type

I’ve been running for damn near half my life and have worn more trainers than I could possible remember.  Until recently, I bought my shoes based on reviews, recommendations and aesthetic appeal. This methods worked just fine for many years.  Maybe it was youthful invincibility or the fact that I kept my mileage relatively low, but I could get by with about any shoe. Last winter, I drastically upped my mileage in pursuit of conquering the infamous twenty-six point two mile distance. I was naive and stubborn as always. I went in thinking, I knew what I was doing. I quickly found out; I had a few things to learn. I suffered a series of injuries that cost me nearly two months of training. During my down time I became obsessed with finding the root of my injury. I discovered a few mistakes. The most paramount and in retrospect the most obvious discovery. Was that I was wearing the wrong shoes.

The proper shoe will help to obtain a proper strike.  Allowing you to absorb the shock and minimize the impact of running in the most efficient manner. Here are some simple tips to help you figure out if you are wearing the right shoes.

First measure your arch by tracing an outline of your foot on a piece of paper. Compare your shape to the graph below and you should be able to get an idea of your arch type.

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Next, you will need to figure out your pronation. I am going to assume everyone is a forefoot striker. The easiest way to set up a video camera in front of a treadmill. Make sure to get a low angle shot with the camera facing the toe or heel of your foot. Depending on how you strike one angle could be more useful than the other. Play back the video and watch the angle of your foot strike. This is called pronation. If you foot tends to turn outward and you are landing on the outside of your foot, you’re underpronating. If your foot tends to turn in and you are landing on the inside of your foot you are overpronating.

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This last image show the difference between a shoe designed for a overpronator and a underpronator. As you can see the shoe designed for the underpronator has a taller wedge on the outer edge of the forefoot. This helps to turn the foot inward. The shoe designed for the overpronator does just the opposite. It turns the foot outward.

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With this information and a little research you should be able to find a good fit. However, there are other things to take into consideration. I make no claim to being an expert and would highly recommend finding a shoe expert. A good one should be able to measure your arch, analyze your stride, determine your pronation, and set you up with the proper shoe.


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