Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Buying a pair of sneakers that will get you through your day and help minimize pain involves more than just picking a pair you like. You'll soon realize that the ideal sneaker has more to do with the shape of your foot than it does with the logo stitched on the side or how much you paid for them.
Way too often I ask patient’s what type of shoe they’re walking/running in as that could be part of the problem as it relates to their particular condition and way too often the response is “they’re good shoes, they were expensive.” An expensive pair of sneakers may be right for you but so could a less expensive pair. In order to know if you’re wearing the right shoes for your feet, you need to know the kind of feet you have as there are 3 different types. The three are based on your arch and are flat feet, high arches and neutral.
If you’re not sure what type of feet you have, there’s a simple test you can do at home called the “wet test” to help you determine it. To perform this test, put some water in a shallow pan, wet the sole of your foot, step onto a blank piece of thick paper, step off and look at your footprint.
The results of the Wet Test is the first step toward helping you find the right type of sneakers for your feet. The three different types have common characteristics and show wear patterns on your shoes.Low/Flat arches: Typically causes the foot to excessively roll in on at impact, overpronate. Shoes will show wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe.
High arches: Typically causes the foot to roll in only slightly at impact. Foot supinates or under pronates. Shoes will show wear patterns along the outer edge of your shoe.
Normal: Typically causes the foot to roll to a healthy spot. Shoes will show wear patterns centralized to the ball of the foot and a small portion of the heel.
If you're still unsure, I recommend going into a running shoe store or visiting your chiropractor for a foot evaluation. So now that we figured out what type of feet you have, let's talk about what type of sneakers are best for your feet. Typically sneakers will be categorized as Motion Control, Stability or Neutral.
Motion Control: These shoes are typically the most rigid and heavy shoes available. They have more support and cushion than other running shoes. They're typically recommended for people with flat feet, or who are heavy runners.
Stability: Stability shoes are recommended for people who overpronate. This means your foot tends to roll inward slightly when you're running. These are also typically recommended for people with flat feet.
Cushioned/Neutral: As the name suggests, neutral shoes are designed for people with a neutral foot aka “normal” and those with high arches. Typically they have a bit more cushioning.
I hope this helps you gain a better understanding of your feet and the type of sneaker that is best for them. Your feet are probably doing way more than you give them credit for, so they need shoes to match. We only get one pair of feet and they are the foundation of our body so make sure you give them the care and support they need.