The shape of our feet can affect how our shoes fit, and it’s helpful to know what type of foot we have before we go athletic shoe shopping. Our feet generally fall into one of three shape categories – pronated, supinated, or neutral.
An easy way to determine your category is by examining your wet footprint. You can also get some idea by looking at where your current shoes show the most wear. Here is what to look for:
Once you determine what your foot type is, you will have a better idea of the type of athletic shoe that would work best for you.
If you have a pronated foot, you should look for a shoe with motion control and maximum support. With flat feet, you don’t have the natural shock absorption that comes from higher arches. Your foot strikes the ground with more force, which can make you more prone to foot or leg injury. An athletic shoe that helps your foot hit the ground properly and/or offers extra impact absorption is a good choice.
If your foot is supinated, a shoe with cushion and a soft, flexible midsole will probably work best. It should be lightweight to allow a more natural foot motion, and cushioning along the outside of the shoe can help guard against the foot rolling outward.
People with neutral feet have a wider variety of shoes to choose from. A shoe with stability and an even amount of cushioning and support will probably be right for you.
With this being said, some studies show that there really is no physical need to wear different types of shoes for different pronation types. I could cite some of them here, but the bottom line is that it’s a matter of opinion. And the opinion that counts the most is the person buying the shoes.
I include this information about foot type so that you understand the different things to consider when you are looking for the right athletic shoes. If you know what foot type you have, you will be better informed of your options. But you don’t have to rigidly follow these guidelines to find the right shoe. It all comes down to your comfort with the shoe you pick.