Identify Your Arch Type
If your current running shoes are looking a bit worse for wear and the tread is worn down and offering less protection than it should, then perhaps it’s time to invest in a new pair of stability running shoes that will provide adequate protection for all the pavement pounding you intend carrying on with.
The Pro Option
You could hotfoot it into a specialist runners store and have them thoroughly assess your gait and determine which arch type you have. This is where they pop you on a treadmill and analyze your stride and step pattern and whether you pronate or supernate so that they can recommend the best pair of shoes to correct any anatomical issues you have going on with your feet. It’s not a process that would ever eliminate the need for orthotics, but it can help narrow down the choice of which running shoes are the best for you. That way you can be assured of the most comfortable fitting fitness shoes that are going to enhance, not hinder your physical performance.
Your Foot Type Can Affect Your Running Performance
If you are new to walking and running, then you might not have appreciated before now that your running and walking shoes even come with different style fittings. A vital factor to be aware of when it comes to selecting those new shoes is whether you have flat or high arches. Once you know that, you can pretty much be guaranteed of a stable and comfortable ride.
Assuming you don’t have the time or inclination to research where your nearest specialist runners store is and prefer to do your research and your purchasing online, then stick around as we’re going to run you through how to identify your arch type for yourself.
What Happens If You Choose The Wrong Running Shoes?
According to most experts in the field of podiatry, there are three main arch types classified as normal, low and high. If you know which one your feet fall into then you have a much better chance of investing in the right shoes for you. Mistakenly picking up a pair of stability running shoes on flash sale that is designed for high arches when in fact yours are low, won’t just result in an uncomfortable experience, but it could cause unnecessary damage or exacerbate any underlying issues that you already have. The wrong shoes can cause impact and stress on joints, especially to the knees and ankles.
Working out what arch type you have is way simpler than you might have realized and it certainly doesn’t require any face 3D mapping of your feet to establish. There’s a straightforward, effective and inexpensive way to determine what kind of arch you have and it’s what’s known as the “wet test.”
Do You Know Your Arch Type?
If the answer is “course I do,” then congratulations smarty pants!
If the answer is “um, no, quite frankly I don’t have a clue!”, then worry not. We’re here to help you figure it out.
Your Step By Step Guide To Identifying Your Arch Type
It’s not rocket science people.
You will need a couple of props to complete this exercise at home so grab yourself a shallow pan or bowl, some water and a piece of paper. Yes, it really is that simple!
- Cover your pan with a thin layer of water
- Dip your foot into the water, making sure you fully submerge the sole and taking your socks off first!
- Step onto a blank piece of nice and heavy paper.
- Step away and review your imprint.
What Is That You Are Looking For?
This is just one rudimentary test, and it doesn’t take account of other important considerations which, especially if you are a professional or regular runner or walker, are also worth investigating too. Things which as your gait, weight, individual biomechanics and of course the type of running you do and on what surfaces can also have a part to playing in ultimately deciding which are going to be the very best running shoes for you. However, today we’re concerned with identifying what arch type you have so let’s go back to that piece of paper next.
Look at the shape of your footprint carefully and see how it stacks up against the descriptions below. Whichever one more closely represents what you are seeing is the starting point for selecting the most appropriate running shoes.
Identifying A Normal Or Medium Arch
If you see about half of your arch region filled in then great news, you have the most common foot type which is capable of naturally and evenly supporting your bodyweight and which will pronate normally when pressure or load is applied. What this means is that you can comfortably wear just about any shoe so go ahead and grab what’s on sale!
Identifying A Flat Or Low Arch
We’ve all heard that expression, “he’s a bit flat-footed” and turns out that it really is a thing and it can make life challenging as a runner. When you look at your piece of paper, if your entire footprint is filled in then yes, you guessed it, you’re flat-footed. Anatomically what happens to you when you run or walk is that your foot rolls inwards. Over time and with repeated activity, this can cause adverse stress on your feet and knees and put you at an increased risk of injury. You are going to be best opting for a pair of stable running shoes that may feature an internal wedge and which are built up on the arch side. Opt for a pair that have dual density midsoles if possible or at the very least, pick out a pair that have more substantial midsoles that will help to counteract and balance that collapsing inwards motion of your foot.
Identifying A High Arch
If upon looking at that piece of paper you can see a heel and foot pad only, your toes but very little in the appearance of any midsection of your foot, especially along that outside edge, then you have high arches. While your foot may not necessarily roll in too much when you run (depending upon just how pronounced and high that arch really is), you will certainly suffer from feeling lots of impacts as your foot won’t be fully absorbing the shock of those individual strides. You’re in danger of putting too much strain on your joints if you don’t wear an appropriately supportive pair of shoes to counteract this. What would be ordinarily recommended for you is a pair of very well cushioned shoes with little or no arch support.
Are There Any Other Ways Of Assessing Your Arch Type?
Well, yes. You could just take a look at that pair of running shoes that you are about to replace.
Flip your shoes over and asses the rubber tread on your outsole for any visible signs of wear and tear. You should quickly be able to establish whether you over-pronate (roll inwards) or under-pronate (also referred to as supination) by how and wear those running shoes have predominantly worn down.
You should now know precisely what arch type you have and be able to pick up the best pair of running shoes for you.