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YOUR GUIDE TO PRONATION

What is pronation and why does it matter?


Pronation is the way your foot naturally moves as you run. When your foot strikes the ground, it rolls inward to absorb the shock. This natural movement helps you push evenly from the ball of your foot and is an essential part of your overall gait cycle (the way you move).

Understanding the way you pronate is a big part of improving your shoe selection, and to potentially minimise the chance of injury. Knowing your pronation type will:

  • Determine the type of running shoes you wear
  • Help reduce the potential risk of injury
  • Assist your overall running performance

3 Pronation Types

Depending on the degree of pronation, the right shoe selection will help your natural running movement. Some runners can either roll inward too much, or not enough. There are three main pronation types for runners.

It’s important to understand where you sit on the pronation spectrum, as it will determine the type of running shoe you wear.

UNDERPRONATION

Underpronation, also known as supination, means your foot doesn't roll inward as much when it hits the ground. 

Your running cycle looks like: heel strikes first, weight transfers to the outside of the foot, and instead of distributing evenly it stays there, causing you to push off the outer toes and lateral side of the foot.

Common foot types: high arches, ridged feet, flat feet

Common injuries: plantar fasciitis, shin splints, ankle strain.

NEUTRAL

If you’re a neutral pronator, you have the ideal pronation for effective shock absorption. It means your foot rolls about 15 degrees inward when striking the ground. This gait cycle can be described as a ‘normally’ pronated foot. 

Your running cycle looks like: heel strikes, foot comes down in a stable platform, then you push off slightly from the big toe.

Common foot types: normal-sized arches. 

Common injuries: because of effective shock absorption, injuries are less likely, yet you can still suffer from common running injuries.

OVERPRONATION

Overpronation is when your foot rolls inward excessively when it hits the ground, putting the pressure on the inner or medial side of the foot. 

Your running cycle looks like: heel strikes, ankle rolls further to the inside, because of this inward pressure, there’s a significant push off from the big toe or you get very little propulsion as your foot is not ridgid at toe off.

Common foot types: low arches or flat feet.

Common injuries: shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions, heel spurs.


How to Find Your Pronation Type

There are several ways to determine your pronation type. We always recommend talking to a qualified expert, that way you can get the best analysis and advice on what shoes are right for your pronation type.

As well as talking with an expert, you can also check your shoe’s wear patterns.

Take a Pronation Test

A pronation test is the best way to determine your pronation type and will give you helpful insights into your running gait.

You can get a detailed running analysis at any of our Running Expert stores, located throughout New Zealand. Our trained staff will take you through a detailed video gait analysis which records the way you run on a treadmill. By slowing down the footage, we can analyse in detail the way your foot strikes the ground, rolls and pushes off, which will determine your pronation type.


Check Your Shoe’s Wear Patterns

Another way to figure out your pronation type, is to check the wear patterns on your running shoes. While they don’t provide a full picture, certain signs on your shoes can reveal useful clues about the way you pronate.

Shoe wear patterns can show where your foot is being impacted and where you might need extra support and cushioning. When you check your shoes, look for parts that are more worn down, and how your shoes sit when placed on a flat surface.

Wear Patterns

  • Underpronators: wear on the outside of the shoe.
  • Neutral: S-shape pattern on soles of shoes from the outer heel to the even wear through the forefoot and big toe.
  • Overpronators: More wear on the inside of the heel and under the ball of the foot and especially the big toe.

Shoe Tilt

  • Underpronators: A slight outward tilt when placing shoes on a flat surface.
  • Neutral: No tilt when placing shoes on a flat surface.
  • Overpronators: An inward tilt when placing shoes on a flat surface.


Choosing the Right Running Shoe for You

Once you’ve figured out your pronation type, then you can find the right shoe that gives you the right cushioning to support the way you move.

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UNDERPRONATION

Cushioned running shoes

Since supinators underpronate, it means you’re more susceptible to injuries like stress fractures. When choosing your running shoe, look for ones that are neutral with plenty of cushioning, so as to alleviate some of that impact.

Running shoes should be designed with:

  • Midsole cushioning for extra shock absorption
  • Cushioning on the outside of the shoe
  • Support and cushioning in the heel
  • Flexibility to help evenly distribute impact

NEUTRAL

Neutral running shoes

If you’ve got a normal pronation style, you should get a running shoe that supports your natural movement. Specialised neutral running shoes that offer cushioning and support are the best fit.

Your running shoes should be designed with:

  • Neutral cushioning that supports natural foot motion
  • Extra cushioning if you’re a beginner runner (this offers support as you build muscle strength)
  • Natural running shoes

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OVERPRONATORS

Stability running shoes

For overpronators, maximum support is needed. Running shoes with structured cushioning and stability are the best fit, as they will help you distribute impact and reduce the potential risk of injury.

Your running shoes should be designed with:

  • Stability that helps evenly distribute impact
  • Medial post support (this is the part of your shoe that supports the arch)
  • A supportive midfoot giving the foot torsional integrity
  • Firm midsoles that provides support and stability,

Thinking about which ASICS running shoe is best for you? Find more information in our guide to choosing the right running shoes.