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Friday, June 17, 2011

Running Shoes and Pronation


Sounds confusing doesn't it? Well, I watched this clever video from Runners World that helped me out. It's super easy to test what kind of foot you have. I tried it too!

NORMAL -- Your foot evenly distributes the force of impact when you hit the ground and you push off evenly from the front of the foot.
OVER -- The foot and ankle don't stabilize the leg as well and you push off with the big toe and second toe. (Typically people with flat feet suffer from this)
UNDER -- The force is distributed on the outside of your foot and you push off with your smaller toes.  (Typically people with high arches suffer from this)

I didn't have a paper bag but I had something similar to it. Here's the picture in case you're interested. You can't see it very good at all because it started drying super quick! But I have a normal arch, which is the most common type of foot.

 I recommend doing this with an authentic paper bag and soaking your foot well in the water. Have a camera handy as well just in case.

CAVEAT: I do wish, though, that I could have a professional look at my gait and give me an undeniable answer. Basically because I don't think this test is completely accurate. It shows your foot in normal movement not in running movement. 

However, it is incredibly important that you do find out how you pronate to avoid injury when running.

I actually think that when I run I moderately overpronate because most of the shock impact is distributed on the inside of my foot. (The arch area). I actually read that a common overpronation injury is iliotibial band syndrome. You already know that this is the injury I suffered from last year preventing me from running the marathon. Some people with flat feet even say they believe they suffer from underpronation and I'm sure the list goes on.

So, I say listen to your body, especially your feet and running shoes. Pay attention to where your aches and pains are after a run. Pay attention to the wear and tear of your shoes as well.
  • Overpronators: more wear and tear on inner side of soles
  • Underpronators: more wear and tear on outer side of soles
  • Normal pronators: wear and tear even on soles 
Then do some research on pronation and what it means. I gave a super condensed version above, but this article is very useful and I know there is a lot more information out there.

I said I moderately overpronate because the wear and tear on my shoes is evenly distributed but I do feel the shock more in the arch. The running shoe I have is great for overpronators because it is a stability shoe with extra cushioning in the arch area. This is supposed to help create a normal gait when I run and redistribute the shock when my foot strikes the ground. (Be sure to check out my Summer Running Gear Part 1 and 2 to see my shoes)

My personal opinion is that when in doubt, get an all-purpose, cushioned shoe. Also, check out this article from Runners World.

Happy shoe hunting!

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