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Explanation of Pronation

Are Your Running Shoes Holding You Back?

The way your foot rolls when it hits the ground is known as pronation, and if you're a runner, it's essential to know what type of pronator you are. There are three types: normal pronation, overpronation, and underpronation (supination). Figuring out your running pattern will help you buy the right running shoe. Not only will this make running more comfortable, but it can also help prevent future injury. Here's a chart to help you figure out what is going on with your feet when you're running.

Normal Pronation Overpronation Underpronation
Description After the heel strikes, the ankle rolls inward slightly and the foot comes down flat and forms a stable platform for the runner to push off from. After a heel strike, the ankle rolls about 15 degrees inward as the foot makes contact with the ground. Then the runner pushes off with the big toe. After the heel strikes, only the outside edge of the foot hits the ground. Then the runner pushes off from the outer toes.
Type of Arch Usually have normal arches Usually have low or flat arches Usually have high arches
Wear on Sole of Sneaker Even wear along the heel and front of the foot Wear on the heel and inside of forefoot Wear on the outside edges
Recommended Sneaker Neutral or stability running shoe Motion control or stability shoe Neutral running shoe with extra cushioning


Tell me: which type of pronator are you?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
gurlyfries gurlyfries 1 year
Anyone know shoes in the picture are?
Audrey14572331 Audrey14572331 1 year
According to the bottoms of my shoes, I am normal, as they wear evenly. I do have high arches and a very narrow foot. Asics are the only shoes I can wear--and the AA and I add superfeet insoles for the extra arch support. Their AA width has been getting wider the last few years, I am worried :( New Balance AA are too wide for me.
Darlene15365878 Darlene15365878 2 years
I've got really high arches and really severe underpronation. I wear out the outside edge of my shoes long before the inside wears out. I've been wearing New Balance with arch support inserts for several years and they barely work. Finding shoes that work for my wide feet and offer the support I need is next to impossible.
Naomi15343793 Naomi15343793 2 years
This is really helpful thanks! I underpronate luckily my shoes fit the criteria needed!!
digibron digibron 6 years
I overpronate. Sports shoes aren't a problem because there are so many different types available for different types of feet, it's casual shoes I have a problem with! No cute ballet flats for me. :( (Unless I know I won't have to walk too much in them, shhh!) I have orthotics but if I put them in shoes like ballet flats the shoes won't stay on my feet.
Carrie14884290 Carrie14884290 6 years
Underpronation here, bigtime. I have super-high arches that make pull-on boots a no-go. I took a kinesiology class a couple of years ago and we did gait analysis on each other at the end of the semester. It was pretty interesting, there was only one guy in the class who didn't have anything abnormal with his gait!
Flack Flack 6 years
I have terrible overpronation. The arch support on my Adidas runners looks like a massive set of jaws!
taratootie taratootie 6 years
I think I have normal pronation? I strike a couple mm off center (outside) with my heel and roll off in the center or a couple mm inside... def not to one side or the other to any appreciable degree. I totally went and checked my shoes. :) I think this is because I have a "dancers walk" from being in dance for 11 years. Everyone tells me I walk very straight, lol. I do have super high arches and I wear inserts in all my shoes all the time. If I wear my chucks without then I automatically feel a gap and my knees will hurt, lol.
alethia037 alethia037 6 years
I am the same as NiceDriveway... I overpronate, but I have super high arched and danced ballet for 20 years. I, too, LOVE New Balance. I have tried several other brands, but I always go back to NB
NiceDriveway NiceDriveway 6 years
Over, but I have super, super high arches. I also danced forever and did it while dancing too (bad!). I've been wearing New Balance for a few years--whichever iteration currently helps with overpronation (I think I'm on 585). Never had a problem with them--they're great!
NiceDriveway NiceDriveway 6 years
Over, but I have super, super high arches. I also danced forever and did it while dancing too (bad!).I've been wearing New Balance for a few years--whichever iteration currently helps with overpronation (I think I'm on 585). Never had a problem with them--they're great!
LilLucyT21 LilLucyT21 6 years
Definitly overporantion - my feet roll something wicked!
AMP AMP 6 years
under. i think its b/c of my super fat thighs that i walk on the outsides of my feet.
porkypocky porkypocky 6 years
I have normal pronation when I run, but when I walk my sneakers always get worn out on the outside part of the heel. I guess that's underpronation?I always wondered what was up with the weird worn out spots, it drove me nuts!
porkypocky porkypocky 6 years
I have normal pronation when I run, but when I walk my sneakers always get worn out on the outside part of the heel. I guess that's underpronation? I always wondered what was up with the weird worn out spots, it drove me nuts!
lindssaurussss lindssaurussss 6 years
underpronate. my arch is super high and outer side of my heels seems to control how i walk. saucony are the best!
QueenSki QueenSki 6 years
Tidal Wave-The shoe might be the start but you probably need to add an insole. Beware of cheap shoes because they don't have supportive midsoles and you will break down the shoe in about a month and have even more pain and more problems. I would suggest trying a pair of Superfeet in your stability shoes because they will help your foots biomechanics work better and should help aleviate some of your pain.
Faylinn Faylinn 6 years
I underpronate, defnitely. I can't wear Nike running shoes, they're just awful for me (too narrow and not enough cushion from my experience). My pair of Asics, however, are heavenly. :D I can't recommend them enough; I haven't had any foot or arch problems since using them.
shannon625 shannon625 6 years
I'm an overpronator. I wear Brooks' Adrenaline GTS with Superfeet insoles--the combo keeps me running without a problem.
pandacn pandacn 6 years
Definitely overpronate - that's why I always have blisters on my big toe! I don't think I've found a pair of shoes that supposedly corrects overpronation that's worked for me.
aimeeb aimeeb 6 years
I'll have to check mine out when I get home.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I'm a big-time overpronator. My feet are built like Fred Flinstone's--wide and flat with barely any arch. I have to have orthotics and a motion-control shoe, which really helps.
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 6 years
I was just looking at a similar chart on the Asics site last night. I'm an under, so I buy the Nimbus. I can't use any of my old Nikes, etc. anymore.
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 6 years
I was just looking at a similar chart on the Asics site last night.I'm an under, so I buy the Nimbus. I can't use any of my old Nikes, etc. anymore.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I'm staring at my shoes and still can't tell. Guess that means neutral.
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