How To Choose The Correct Running Shoes
Posted on March 14 2019
When it comes to shoes, how the shoes fit is arguably the most important factor in deciding what to buy — especially when it comes to running shoes. Sure, those Nike/WMNS Epic React Flyknits might be the best looking running shoe on the market right now, but if you have a wide foot and a low arch, they might not be the best shoe for you.
At Laced. we love shoes. We love how they look and we love the history and art that they embody — but if you buy shoes that don't fit properly you will never wear them — and that kind of defeats the purpose of buying them in the first place. Because it is so important that your athletic shoes fit properly, today’s blog post has been dedicated to outlining all of the factors and considerations that should be made to find the perfect fitting pair of running shoes.
Step 1: Understand Pronation
The first step to finding the perfect fitting pair of shoes is to understand the dynamics behind how your foot strikes the ground. Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe during each foot strike. When done correctly, a healthy and proper foot strike will start with the outside of the heel making contact with the ground — then evenly rolling forward to the ball of the foot. Proper pronation reduces the stress of impact — saving your feet from injury.
Overpronation is the opposite of healthy or neutral pronation and refers to the overuse of the inside of the foot during the footstrike. Overpronation can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons are poor posture, low arches, or flat feet.
Once you understand pronation and your particular footstrike, you can now shop for a pair of athletic shoes confidently.
Step 2: Determine What Kind Of Arch You Have
There are hundreds of different variations of foot arches. That being said, most arches can fit into four basic categories — no arch, low arch, normal arch, and high arch. When shopping for athletic shoes, it is important to determine what style of arch that you have.
The easiest way to do so is known as the “wet foot test” (a super technical term, we know). To determine what kind of arch that you have you simply have to wet your feet and then stand on a piece of paper, concrete, or any other material that will show the outline of your foot when wet. Below, we have listed how to determine your arch type based on the footprint that you observe.
Flat Footed - If you are flat footed, the outline of your foot will be apparent right away. The easiest way to tell that your arch is non-existent is that the moisture that is left behind by your foot continues all of the way between your heel and the ball of your foot. If you were to have an arch, you could expect to see some dryness between the two.
Low Arch - While being flatfooted is painfully apparent after a wet foot test, low arches are a little harder to diagnose because they do lift up slightly — leaving a small dry part under your foot. The best way to self-diagnose a low arch is to look for an almost-full footprint that has a minor curve along the inside of the foot.
Normal Arch - A normal arch is the most optimal type of arch to have. The best way to tell if you have a normal arch is to look for a distinct curve along the inside of the footprint. Additionally, the arch should create a wet print between the heel and the ball of your foot that is half the width of your entire foot.
High Arch - If you have a high arch you will notice a very extreme curve on the inside of the print and a very minimal band of moisture connecting your heel and the ball of your foot. In some cases, there might be no moisture at all connecting the heel and the ball of the foot.
Once you have determined your arch type, it is time to determine your gait.
Step 3: Determine Your Gait
As you can probably tell already, the way you move, the arch of your foot, and your gait are all incredibly important factors to consider when choosing a new pair of shoes. Gait, while seemingly technical, is actually rather simple — referring to how your limbs move as you run or walk. When shopping for athletic shoes, it is more so how your feet move as you complete each striking motion forward.
In fact, there are four main ways that people’s feet move when they run:
Severe Overpronation - Severe overpronation is when your heel strikes and then your foot rolls inward excessively. When someone makes a severe overpronation movement their ankle is unable to stabilize the body properly. This can lead to frequent ankle injuries. The best shoe for this gait is a shoe that controls and normalizes movement.
Mild Overpronation - Mild pronation is when the outside of the foot strikes first — rolling inwards as the momentum is transferred forwards. Typically when someone has a mild overpronation they suffer from having little to no arch. The best shoe for someone with a mild overpronation is a shoe that enhances stability.
Neutral - A neutral gait is often paired with a mild arch and refers to when the middle of the heel strikes first, then rolling slightly inwards as the foot moves forward. People with neutral gaits can usually get away with any athletic shoe.
Underpronation - Underpronation, known as supination, refers to when someone strikes the ground with the outside of their heel and rolls forward on the outside of the foot instead of rolling inwards as it should. If someone suffers from underpronation it is important that they do not get a running shoe with too much cushion — otherwise, they can become injured easily.
Step 4: Take What You've Learned To Our Los Angeles Shoe Store
Now that you have determined the individual characteristics that affect you as a runner, it is now time to head to the store. When you come to visit us at Laced., you can expect to have a specially tailored shoe shopping experience where one of our experienced professionals. Our team will take the information that you have provided to us in regard to your gait, arch, and running ability to find you the perfect stylish running shoe. Contact us today or stop by our Los Angeles store to find your new favorite pair of athletic shoes!