Running (cont.)

Medical Editor:

What type of foot strike do I have?

You can tell by the wear pattern of your shoes, particularly on the heel, if you pronate or supinate. If your shoe wears out on the outside, then you probably supinate, and if it wears out on the inside, then you probably pronate. You can also ask a salesperson at a reputable shoe store to evaluate your gait and foot strike, or you can have your doctor or podiatrist do this. You can also try the wet test at home. To do it, wet your bare foot, and then step on a piece of paper or other surface that will show your footprint. Stand normally when you do this with slight pressure toward the front of your foot. You're a pronator if most of your foot hits the floor, a supinator if very little of your foot hits the floor, and neutral if the footprint is somewhere between pronation and supination.


Avoid shoes with excessive cushioning because they lack stability and motion control. Shoes that feel as soft as bedroom slippers, lack support, or are excessively bouncy are not a good choice for over-pronators. Instead, purchase shoes with firm midsoles and pronation-control features. I also recommend over-the-counter full-length arch supports for over-pronators. Powerfeet and Superfeet full-length insoles are two good choices and can be located online.

Supinators and individuals with high arches

Purchase cushioned shoes that do not limit motion. Your foot doesn't shock absorb very well if you have high arches and you supinate, and too much stability and control in the shoe will decrease shock absorption even more.

Neutral foot

Wear any type of running shoe that feels comfortable. Your foot strike is efficient with a healthy amount of arch support and shock absorption when your foot is neutral.

Speak with your doctor or consult with a podiatrist if your feet hurt when you run. It will be difficult to stay motivated to exercise if your feet hurt. Your doctor can help.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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