When it comes to selecting the correct running shoe, or any fitness shoe for that matter, you must figure out what type of foot you have. The best way to achieve this is by going to your local speciality running shoe store and having them perform a professional gait analysis. It is free, takes no time at all, and best of all takes the guessing out as far as which shoe to buy and why. But, if you are like a lot of runners, you might not have access to a speciality running store and will have to take accountability for your own foot health. For these people I recommend a basic foot test to find your foot type which is outlined below. This test will determine which distinct category your foot falls into of the three most common.
How to perform the Basic Foot Test
- Submerge one of your feet all the way into a bowl of water. Be sure you have all of your weight on this foot to get it completely wet.
- Next, take your foot out of the bowl of water and stand on top of a blank piece of brown grocery store bag.
- Last, remove your foot and observe the footprint you have left on the paper. (You might want to snap a quick photo of the footprint with your smart phone before the water evaporates)
1. Flat feet – Flat feet can be the hardest type of foot to fit. People with flat feet will typically roll inward when they run (over-pronate) which can lead to achilles tendinitis and shin splints. The best shoe for a flat footed person is a stability shoe. Orthotics are often worn by people with flat feet, but starting with the correct type of shoe first before determining you need a podiatrists intervention is the way to go.
2. High Arch – People with high arches will often under-pronate (supinate) when they run which can lead to painful running injuries like plantar fasciitis. The best shoe for this foot type is a neutral cushion shoe with a softer midsole and more flexibility.
3. Neutral foot – For those with neutral feet, your foot will be the easiest foot type to fit and also the most common. You will have an inward curve to your foot print, but not more than ¾ of an inch. The best shoe for this foot type would be a neutral shoe without added support so don’t reach for a stability or motion control shoe.
There you have the 3 basic types of feet and what kind of shoe to look for. Do yourself a favor and take care of your feet. I have seen countless running injuries that could have been voided if the person was running in the proper type of shoe!