Your running shoes, walking shoes and/or trainers should protect your feet from stress while permitting you to achieve your maximum potential and enjoyment. Selecting the right shoe for your foot arch can be confusing without the proper knowledge.
Low Foot Arch, Normal Foot Arch, or High Foot Arch?
If you were to stand on a large piece of paper or cardboard with a wet foot, you’d see an imprint of your foot, which will give you a clue as to whether you are a pronator (have low arches), supinator (have high arches) – or perhaps have normal arches.
If you see your entire footprint, then you have a flat arch. If you look at your shoes, you’ll see wear on the inside of your heels because your foot likely rolls in when you walk or run. Low arches may be contributing to muscle stress and joint problems. You could benefit from a shoe with motion control to help stabilize your ankles and feet.
If you notice that the middle part of your arch is about half filled, then you have a normal arch. It means your arch naturally supports your body weight under a normal load. That’s great!
High Arches (Supinators)
If you only see a bit of your footprint (i.e. toes, balls of the feet and heel), you likely have a high arch. Your feet may not be absorbing shock very well, especially during high impact or jumping activities. High arches can cause excessive strain on joints and muscles. Shop for shoes with cushioning. This will compensate for your foot’s lack of natural shock absorption.
Shoe Shopping: What To Look For
When you’re shopping for your next pair of running shoes, walking shoes or trainers, choose a store with knowledgeable staff and a wide variety of shoes. Try on a range of brands and styles. What works may surprise you! Here are the three main features to consider when selecting the best shoe for your needs:
Shape: To find out a shoe’s shape, look at its sole. Draw a straight line from the middle of the heel to the top of the shoe.
- If you have low arches (pronation), this line should pass through the middle of your toes, making it a straight-shaped shoe, with the added stability you need.
- If you have high arches (supination), this line should pass through the outer half of your toes, making it a curve-shaped shoe, your most comfortable fit.
Construction: Take out the insole and look at what type of stitching is used on the bottom.
- If you have low arches (pronation), board construction shoes, which have no stitching on the bottom, are built specifically for you.
- If you have a mild-low (pronation) or mild-high arch (supination), combination shoes, which have stitching that begins halfway, are the best construction for you.
- If you have high arches (supination), slip-constructed shoes, which have stitching running the entire length of the shoe, provide you with the flexibility you need.
Midsole: The midsole determines most of a running shoe’s cushioning and stability.
- If you have low arches (pronation), dual-density midsoles will give you shock absorption, as well as some stability.
- If you have high arches (supination), single density midsoles offer the cushioning you need but without the extra stability you don’t need.
More Helpful Articles from the Cleveland Clinic
How Chiropractic Can Help
Your Chiropractor can assess your gait (manner of walking), as well as the mobility of the joints in your feet, legs, pelvis, and spine to help you avoid running, walking, or sports related problems. They may also suggest orthotics to help correct pronation (low arches) and supination (high arches).