Choose the Right Shoe For Your Body, Not Just Your Style
Is There Really a “Right” Shoe?
When shopping for shoes, you usually consider the brand and the design. These two aspects of style can be important, but functionality and support should be at the forefront of a shoe purchase decision. Instead of deciding on design and brand, you need to consider the type of cushioning and support that you need based on the arch of your foot and the way that your foot rolls upon striking the ground. The support and cushioning in your shoe is vital to helping your body absorb the shock that is created when your foot strikes the ground while walking or running.
Why is this Important? Why Can’t I Just Get the “Cool” Shoe?
The arch of your foot and the style of your step are two important factors to take into consideration before purchasing the right shoe. The way that your foot strikes the ground and rolls inward, or the style of your step, is called pronation. Below you’ll find an outline of the three types of pronation that exists. Based on your pronation, you can determine the type of shoe that you need.
- Neutrally Arched Feet: People whose feet are arched ‘normally’ have a neutral pronation. This means that the outer edge of the heel strikes the ground and the foot rolls inward and flattens out. This type of pronation allows for the foot to absorb the shock naturally and function properly. Individuals with this type of pronation can wear just about any shoe they desire because they don’t need extra support or cushioning anywhere in their shoes.
- High Arched Feet: People who have high arches in their feet suffer from under-pronation. Under-pronation means that the outer edge of the heel strikes the ground and the foot doesn’t roll inward properly. This causes the smaller toes on the outside of the foot to absorb most of the force causing injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. These individuals want shoes that are highly flexible and allow for a natural motion of the foot inward. Cushioning in the midsole and along the outside of the shoe is important to help absorb shock. Underpronators want to avoid shoes that have a lot of support and cushion on the inner edge of the shoe.
- Low Arched Feet: People with low arched feet have over-pronation. This means that his or her foot excessively rolls inward causing the big toe to absorb the shock instead of the ball of the foot. An overpronator wants to search for a motion control shoe that does not allow for the foot to roll inward. These shoes have good cushion and support on the inner edge of the shoe and are normally heavy and durable. These shoes are meant to keep the foot from excessively rotating inward so that the forces are distributed evenly.
Finding out how your foot strikes the ground will determine where you need more cushioning and support in your shoes. This may sound a little confusing at first, but understanding your body is vital to keeping you pain-free. I’ll be honest; I used to be a huge brand guy and only went for the Nikes or the Adidas. Understanding that shoes have an impact on my body’s health made all the difference and kept me pain and injury free. Here is a great resource to find the right shoe for you.
Warning! Do Not Wear Improper Footwear:
Improper footwear negatively affects your body and can cause chronic pain. Injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints, and heel spurs are some of the most common results of improper footwear. You may not notice the pain at first, but once it sets in it can become very painful and have a negative ripple effect on your body. As a former Division 1 Soccer Player, I know how important running shoes are for staying injury-free. No one wants to sit out of a game or practice because they wore the wrong shoe and ended up with shin splints or a stress fracture. As humans we take thousands of steps a day. Take the initiative today and find out the type of shoe that best fits you.