WHAT IS PRONATION, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Pronation is the natural movement of your foot as you walk or run. To absorb the shock when your foot hits the ground, it normally rolls inward, helpings you push off evenly from the ball of your foot, which and is an essential part of your overall gait cycle (the way you move).
Knowing your foot type will:
- Determine the type of running shoes you wear
- Help reduce the potential risk of injury
- Assist your overall running performance
- Improve the comfort of your run
How does your foot move when you run and why does correct shoe selection matter?
Your foot is a complex structure with many bones, joints, ligaments and muscles/tendons. When you run, forces are applied from the ground which in most cases causes your foot to roll in (i.e. pronate) to absorb the shock Helping your foot adapt to these forces is key, as too much or too little motion of the foot can increase the risk of injury and impact performance by placinge increased load on other parts of our body.
When choosing a shoe , we don’t want it to change the function of the foot, instead we want to provide stability, cushioning and comfort. The right shoe also depends on the speed you run, the surfaces you run on and your individual biomechanics.
3 DISTINCTIVE FOOT TYPES
Besides your foot’s ability to absorb the shock caused by forces from the ground, the structure of your foot also determines how it functions and moves when you run.
There are three main foot types for runners:
1. Neutral feet (feet that have an equal balance between cushioning and support)
2. Feet that require extra support (often referred to as flat or pronated feet)
3. Feet that require extra cushioning (often referred to as supinators or high arched feet)
If you have a neutral foot type, you don’t need extra stability or cushioning in your shoe your foot can adapt.
Neutral feet often find that:
- Stability shoes are too rigid
- Highly cushioned shoes are not very responsive
Feet that need extra support
If you need extra support due to maybe flat feet, you will likely prefer a bit of stability in your shoes when you run.
Feet that need extra support often find that:
- They have flat, low arches or poor foot muscle control
- Roll in (i.e. pronate) a lot when they run
- Neutral shoes don’t give them enough support
- Fatigue easily
Features of shoes that provide extra support are:
- A firm heel counter
- Dual density midsole
- A trusstic system in the midsole
- A supportive upper
Feet that need extra cushioning
If you have a foot type that needs extra cushioning, you likely feel the road more than neutral runners. You may have high arches, supinated foot posture or have a heavy foot strike.
Feet that need extra cushioning often find that:
- They are high arched, supinated or very stiff
- Don’t roll in when they run (and may possibly roll out)
- Hit the ground very heavy when they run
- They need extra cushioning to make running comfortable
How to find your foot type?
There are several ways to determine your foot type. In addition to checking your shoe’s wear pattern, we always recommend talking to a qualified expert.
Identifying your foot type
This is the best way to find out what type of movement you have and your running gait. You can get a detailed running analysis at any of our Running Expert stores. Trained staff will take you through a detailed video gait analysis which records the way your foot strikes the ground, rolls and pushes off, helping us to determine your foot type.
Check your shoe’s wear patterns
Another way to figure out your foot pronation type is to check the wear patterns on your running shoes by looking for parts that are more worn down or how your shoes sit when placed on a flat surface. The wear patterns can show where your foot is being impacted and where you might need extra support or extra cushioning.
1. S-shape pattern on sole from the outer heel through to the forefoot = NEUTRAL FOOT TYPE
2. Excessive wear on the outside of the heel all the way to the forefoot of the shoe = SUPINATED FOOT TYPE
3. More wear on the outside of the heel and under the ball of the foot = OVERPRONATED FOOT TYPE