"Pronation" may sound like a country inhabited entirely by paid athletes, but it's actually a concept that all amateur runners need to understand. The word refers to the way your foot rolls as it hits the ground, and understanding your pronation type is crucial when choosing a pair of running shoes.
Are you an overpronator or an underpronator? And why does it matter? To find out,
Everyone pronates, since the term refers to the way your foot progresses during a stride, from heel impact to toe push off. But as your foot rolls forward, it can also roll sideways, and that determines the kind of pronator you are.
- Normal pronation occurs when the foot turns inward by about five percent and shock absorption is distributed equally. If you have normal pronation, you are probably not flat-footed or high-arched, and you can buy a neutral running shoe.
- Overpronation means that when your foot rolls forward, it turns too far inward. This is common in flatter-footed people, and if you fall into that category, be sure to look for running shoes that offer medium to high stability.
- Underpronation refers to a foot that doesn't roll far enough inward — anything less than four percent — and this condition often affects runners with high arches. If you underpronate, be sure to look for flexible shoes with extra cushioning.
Fit's Tip: To determine your pronation type, take a look at your old running shoes; if they slant inward or out, that could be a sign of over- or underpronation. Better yet, when you go to buy running shoes, ask an employee to analyze your running gait and help you determine what type of shoes you need.