(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)
Although running appears to be one of the more straightforward and straightforward sports logistically — lace up a pair of sneakers and go, right? — there are entire books, articles, and lectures devoted to its technicalities. This is particularly true for your primary piece of equipment: your feet.
Heel strike, push-off, stride, and arch are all terms related to the foot that you may have heard while trying on shoes in the store. However, they all boil down to comprehending the critical element of pronation, or the foot’s natural side-to-side movement. It is essential to understand this movement because it dictates how well your feet absorb shock and how evenly you can push off the ground. Without the proper corrective footwear, you could be wasting energy and, worse, risking injury if your foot rolls in or out too far. This can appear to be an impossible task to solve. However, do not be alarmed. If you’re new to running and unsure of your running style — or which running shoes to purchase — this guide will help you get started.
Pronation occurs in a variety of ways.
Depending on your stride and arch, you may pronate in one of three ways:
- Pronation can be normal or neutral. Neutral pronation occurs when your foot naturally rolls inward about 15%, allowing it to absorb shock and maintain proper alignment of your ankles and legs. This reduces your risk of joint injuries associated with other pronation styles.
- Suprapronation (aka supination). When your foot rolls outward from the ankle, it puts pressure on your outer toes. It is most commonly associated with individuals who have high arches and can result in Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, and other shock-related injuries.
- Pronation in excess. Overpronation occurs when your foot rolls more than 15% inward or downward. Individuals with this condition are colloquially referred to as having “flat feet.” This can result in iliotibial band syndrome, which causes pain on the outside of the knee.
Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned paving potter with a disgusting habit of picking accidents, it is undoubtedly worth it to check your gait. Most running shops perform a fundamental gas analysis free of charge, providing some insight into the kind of trainers likely to suit you. For example, if the gait analysis shows that you overpronate running – your foot rolls excessively inside while landing – you might have your best bet on a stability shoe.
Overpronation means your body does not absorb the impact of running as efficiently as possible, which can contribute to injury. Stability shoes have strengthened sections on the arch of the shoe designed to distribute the effects of running evenly. Almost all of your running shoe brands offer neutral stability shoes, with different support levels depending on how much you overpronate. If you are a severe overpronator, you may require a motion control shoe, which provides more support than a stabilisation shoe but is also heavier and more rigid, making running inside less comfortable.
Pronation is rolling the foot through the foot strike from heel to toe. Initially, a proper or neutral foot strike pattern strikes with the outside of the heel and moves evenly up to the football. This is how your foot reduces impact stress. Overpronation is called when you roll too much into your foot during your walking cycle. This is usually the case with a low arch or flat foot. Underpronation is when your foot rolls too far outside. This usually happens when you’ve got a high turn.
You probably have heard the word “pronation” when you are a runner, and you understand that it may affect the way you run and the types of running shoes you should wear. But why? But why? Pronation is about the degree to which the ark of your foot collapses and your ankle rolls inside when you run.
When your foot makes contact with the ground, the arch of your foot naturally collapses to assist your body in absorbing the impact shock. This effect of the collapse of your arch is called pronation. Those with arches that collapse relatively little are said to supine, while those with excessive arches collapse are said to overpronate. If the average amount of your arch collapses, you are said to be a neutral runner.
If you overpronate, your arch’s excessive collapse causes your knee to roll inside during running. Some runners develop pain and discomfort on the legs, tendons, shins, outer knees, outer hips, arcs, and heels over time.
- The Wear Test
The Wear Test is the simplest method for determining your pronation level. To accomplish this, you’ll need a pair of running shoes that you’ve worn extensively. Examine the bottom of the shoe to determine the area that has the most wear.
The shoe shows excessive wear from the foot ball, along the inner rim, to the big toe.
On the outer, pinky toe side of the foot, the shoe is the most worn down.
In the center, the shoe is the most worn down.
- The Wet Foot Examination
By examining your footprint, the Wet Foot Test enables you to determine your pronation. Wet your foot and then step onto a piece of cardboard to accomplish this. Then, as shown in the graphic, match your footprint to the corresponding level of pronation.
The Significance Of Selecting The Appropriate Shoe
- Choose The Appropriate Running Shoes
“Choosing the proper running shoes is critical for injury prevention,” Feller says. “If you run in shoes that lack sufficient stability, are the wrong size, or are simply uncomfortable, you will alter your running form and, very likely, become injured. And no runner wishes to sustain an injury!”
Each pair of shoes is unique in terms of the amount and placement of support and cushioning used to correct the rolling movement inward or outward. For example, under pronators require a cushioned running shoe with a flexible midsole, outsole, and heel support to counteract the foot rolling outward. On the other hand, overpronators should seek a shoe with maximum stability, a firm midsole, and more structured cushioning under the heel.
Even if you have normal pronation and are likely to be comfortable in various running shoes, it’s best to stick with a neutral pair. This means that the cushioning is positioned to allow for natural foot motion, rather than pushing it to one side or the other, as is the case with different types of corrective footwear. If you’ve complained of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, IT band pain, or any other ailment, it could simply be a result of not wearing the proper shoe. While you may not feel any aches or pains the first few times, you go for a jog. If you do not wear the correct running shoe for your pronation situation, you risk developing various minor to more severe injuries over time. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix.
- Calculate Your Gait
Once you’ve determined your arch height, you can use it to assess your gait, which is a fancy way of saying how your feet behave while you run. Identifying your rate is a critical step in this process because you want to choose the most compatible shoe with your gait type.
There are four basic gait styles:
- Severe overpronation occurs when the heel of the foot strikes the ground first and then rolls excessively inward. When someone overpronates, their ankle is unable to stabilize the body properly. Typically, this is someone who has a flat foot or a severely low arch. A motion control shoe is the best shoe type for an overpronator.
- Mild overpronation: This occurs when the outside of the heel strikes first, and the foot rolls slightly inward to absorb the shock. This is typically someone with a low to moderate arch who should opt for a stability shoe.
- Neutral: In a neutral gait, the middle/slightly outer portion of the heel strikes first, and the foot rolls inward slightly to absorb the shock. An impartial gait individual typically has a medium arched foot. A neutral runner’s best shoe choice is a neutral cushioning shoe.
- Supination: Supination occurs when the outside of the heel strikes the ground first and, rather than rolling inward, the outside of the foot remains on the outside of the foot throughout the foot strike. This reduces the ability of the foot to absorb the impact of the foot strike. This is usually someone with a high arched foot, and they should also choose a neutral cushioning shoe.
- Select The Appropriate Running Shoe for You
After determining your arch type and gait, you’re ready to find a shoe that fits your specific needs. I discussed the three types of shoes and which ones are appropriate for each arch type/gait in the previous step. Thus, how do you determine which shoe is which?
There are two methods for determining the shoe’s type. To begin, consider the shape of the shoe.
Shoes with motion control: These shoes are constructed on a straight last. Examine the bottom of the shoe by turning it over. If the shoe is broad and straightforward, it is a motion control shoe. This is the shoe for you if you have a flat foot and overpronate. This type of shoe will keep you from rolling too far into the room. It will provide maximum support and control for your foot.
Stability shoes will have a semi-curved shape. If you have a normal arch and only slightly pronate, opt for a stable shoe. Stability shoes strike an excellent balance between cushioning and support.
The most curved shape will be neutral padded shoes. If you have a high arched foot and supinate, a neutral cushion shoe is best for you. Cushioned shoes absorb the impact that your foot is incapable of absorbing naturally.
Along with examining the shoe’s shape, there is another “cheat sheet” provided by the shoe. To achieve stability in a shoe, manufacturers use a wider last and a dual-density foam on the inside to prevent you from rolling in and maintaining a neutral stride. Inside the shoe, you’ll notice either a darker color or speckled foam. If the discoloration is concentrated in the center, close to the arch, the shoe is a mild stability shoe. If the dense foam begins at the arch and continues to the back of the heel, the shoe is a motion control shoe.
- Put On & Choose Proper Fit
The final phase is to try the shoes. Different companies employ various technologies to accomplish the same goal, so try on several pairs to compare the feel.
When trying on shoes, there are a few points to keep in mind.
- Ensure that you have sufficient room in the toe. An excellent general rule is to keep the distance between the top of your toe and the end of the shoe to about a thumb’s width.
- Ensure that there is sufficient width. You want the shoe to be snug enough that your foot is not squished inside but with enough room for your foot to spread out and swell during your run.
- Run on a treadmill or around the store a few times to ensure no hot spots or heels are slipping.
Follow these simple steps when shopping for a new running shoe. You will not only avoid an overwhelming shopping experience, but you will also end up with a shoe that fits your unique needs and makes running even more enjoyable!
Replace your running shoes every 400–600 miles, as the shock absorption capacity diminishes with each mile. The white midsole material should not be visible through the outsole, and the sole beneath your heel should not appear crushed.
Recommended Readings (Capeziodance)