Often times body pain originates from the the feet up. If your foundation isn’t stable, level, and properly aligned, you risk increased ground reaction force impacting your joints and spine. Here are tips regarding foot types, gait types, and shoe types, to determine what’s right for you.
Normal (medium) Arch
A Normal or Medium Arch is the most common foot type. The foot will pronate or roll inward slightly to absorb shock with gait negotiation. This foot type is best suited for stability shoes that use support devices such as dual density midsoles and medial posts for mild overpronation.
Flat (low) Arch
A Flat Arch is noted by overprontation, excessive inward roll of the foot after heel strike. This foot type is best suited for stability and motion control shoes which increase support medially and prevent excessive flattening with gait negotiation.
A High-Arched Foot is generally noted by it’s position in supination or weight bearing laterally. This foot type is best suited for neutral cushion shoes to assist with shock absorption during gait negotiation. This type of shoe has a softer midsole and more flexibility that will not inhibit natural pronation.
Overpronation: After the heel strikes the ground, the foot rolls inward excessively and improperly absorbs the ground reaction force following contact. The best shoes for overpronators are motion control/stability shoes to limit medial translation with ambulation.
Neutral: The outside of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls inward gaining energy in midstance. The foot pushes off with mild pronation, using the big toe as the rigid level for propulsion. The best shoe for this foot-type is a neutral cushioning shoe.
Supination: The outside of the heel strikes the ground first but does not pronate to roll in. Instead, the foot remains weight bearing along the lateral border, causing increased demand of the forefoot for push-off. The best shoes for supinators are more neutral cushion shoes.
A cushion shoe is best for those who have a high arch while standing at rest. These shoes provide midsole cushioning which assists with lack of pronation at mid to end range stance phase. The midsole will provide the extra shock absorption that the lack of pronation is missing.
Motion Control Shoe
Motion control shoes are for those who have a low or flat arch in stance, or overpronation. These shoes provide medial support to limit the amount the foot rolls in and stabilize the midfoot with walking/running. Tip: these can often be noted by a gray insert along the medial sole.
Minimalist shoes provide a barefoot-like experience, but with protection from the elements to avoid abrasions or infection. They support the feet to utilize natural mechanics while strengthening your muscles. These are commonly associated with similar components of motion control shoes as they limit excessive pronation when the foot is close to the ground. These shoes require a slow weaning process to prevent injury. Seek assistance from a gait analyst or physical therapist before determining if this shoe type is right for you.