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Running Sneakers and Foot Arches

Your Feet Are Trying to Tell You Something

If you've ever purchased a pair of running shoes then you know that there is a lot of talk about your arches and pronation and it can all be very confusing. I came across this great illustration from Outside magazine that simplifies looking at your arches and using that info to buy proper running shoes. If you've ever wondered what kind of shoe fits your arch then here are some tips:

  1. Motion-Control Shoe: You have flat arches and probably pronate heavily (roll your foot inward) when you stride. You need a shoe with severe pronation control.
  2. Stability Shoe: You have a normal arch. You probably pronate slightly (roll your foot inward when you stride). You should look for a shoe with light or moderate pronation control.
  3. Neutral/Cushioning Shoe: You have high arches. You probably don't roll your foot when you run. If anything, you underpronate (roll outward). You should look for a soft, shock-absorbing shoe.

If you're not sure what your arch looks like, wet your bare foot and step onto a piece of paper or pavement to get your footprint.


Join The Conversation
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
Interesting! I saved this to, because it's something good to know.
ht1979 ht1979 9 years
One other thing to note about this is that some people have different levels of pronation when they're running versus when they're walking. I'd highly suggest getting someone at a running shoe store to analyze your gait (while running or walking depending on what you'll be doing with the shoes) instead of trying to analyze yourself.
cottonpoots cottonpoots 9 years
I need to invest in some good old tennis/running shoes, pronto. Trust me, "Sasquatch" feet are not pretty after a few miles in Converse sneakers. :oy:
emalove emalove 9 years
I guess I need cushioning sneakers...I have SUCH high arches.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
I am an over-pronator as are three of my siblings. One brother is actually flat footed. My parents are over-pronators too. Unfortunately, everyone in my family (except for flatfoot) has suffered horrible ankles and foot injuries as a result. Both my mom, my sister and I have suffered torn ligaments in our ankles from stepping improperly on the outside of our feet and having our feet flip to the top and rip those ligaments. Actually my mom and sister both broke their foot as a result of their overpronation. Me- I usually wear ADIDAS or ASICS tennis shoes meant for over-pronators or I used to wear Doc Martens so that I could control the distribution of weight on my feet. It's not pretty but neither is wearing a cast because you've re-injured your ankles yet again. I used to wear NIKES but they consistently failed to offer proper support against my over-pronation. The more active I became the more the shoes failed to support me. Finally my podiatrist said ADIDAS or ASICS or wear braces in my NIKES.
tibs457 tibs457 9 years
I have very high arches and know that Sauconys and Brooks and Adidas are best for my feet-but I got a really nice pair of Sauconys about 8 months ago and my feet hurt after running more than 6 miles in them! Really annoying, especially considering I'm going to run a marathon this summer, and I can't make it through 6+ miles without getting blisters under my big toes and the insides of my feet(I'm kind of grossed out by the feet talk, but oh well)! I got these shoes at a running store where they watched me run on a treadmill and saw that I don't under or over pronate. I know it could have to do with the socks I wear, but I'm looking for some advice at this point....Anyone?
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
This is great! Thanks Fit.
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 9 years
There are several running stores here in Atlanta that will also help (Fleet Feet, Big Peach Running Co.) in figure out the proper shoes. I went to Big Peach and had my gait analyzed before I started training for my half marathon - I am a slight pronator on my right foot (moderate on my left), and I LOVE my Asics GT-2130s like nothing else! Also, don't forget to use moisture-wicking socks (Dri-FIT - Nike) or the like, as they will help prevent blisters.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
In conjunction with jrw.... Playmakers in Okemos, MI will also analyze your feet and running form along with, if you bring in your old running shoes, tell you what might help you in a new shoe. Also, The Running Company, located in (NJ) Princeton, Ridgewood, Morristown, Westfield, Georgetown (DC), and Chevy Chase (MD), will also analyze your feet and running form. Both stores were extremely useful in the making of my running shoe purchases.
jrw1012 jrw1012 9 years
That's a great article. I live in the Albany area of New York and we have a store here called Fleet Feet and they will analyze your running pattern, step, and arch for free and then recommend the different types of shoes that are best for you.
aSLAMMINhottie aSLAMMINhottie 9 years
I have a really bad right knee after a dislocation 4 years ago and then a surgery about a year ago, and that leg pronates moreso than my left leg. I have normal arches, but I wonder if it would be worth it to go ahead and get the shoes with severe pronation control; all of my physical therapists have mentioned that my right leg likes to roll inward when I exercise.
missyd missyd 9 years
I am so flat-footed it's INSANE
azucar_ame azucar_ame 9 years
AHAHA! !azúcar! Ame
missyd missyd 9 years
Wow ashcwebb that was SO nice of them!!!
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
My left foot is flatter than my right :( So i bought motion-control aasics, but they don't really seem to do anything. The only time I ever wore running shoes that didn't hurt were basically flat reeboks (no extra cushioning or anything) because they were more of a track shoe than long distance running. Otherwise my left foot/calf just hurts all the time regardless of what type of shoes i wear.
noid19 noid19 9 years
I also think that by looking at where you callus on your foot you can tell how you step down...I underpronate and therefore I get calluses on the outside and my little pinky toe...ouch! I love asics...
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
this is great - thank you for posting about it. i'm never sure what shoes are best for me, and now i'm going to go home and see what my footprint looks like to make sure that i have the right shoes. i've been favoring asics for a while now and they've been pretty good - so maybe that's the right one for me. i know that i used to have HIGH arches when i danced for years and years, but now that i've stopped i think they are falling (OUCH!!!!) and are more normal.
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
i am flat footed (which sucks) so i need good arch support... and even then, sometimes it hurts because if i wear flats with no support then go to the gym and jump around with arch support... that can sometimes hurt... but then if i do yoga and have to put all my wight onto one foot... that hurts too... no arch support with bare feet :P I need new shoes though, mine are 2 1/2 years old :S
Swedeybebe Swedeybebe 9 years
This is a great way to check pronation. I severly pronate to the point that I get peroneal tendonitis. The absolute best shoe for me is Brooks Adrenaline GTS, and I still need to get insoles as well!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I get new runner this weekend! The guys at my gym made fun of my runners one day and totally embarrassed me (i couldn't afford new runners at the time) and they felt bad, so they got togetehr a bunch of coupouns and I get 75% of any runners I want!
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