When I was training for my first marathon and went to
a running store in Chicago, I was given 4 different
running shoes for my foot type - I am flat footed and
overpronate severely (I did not know of either), and was
asked to wear each and tell the sales rep which one I
preferred - they were all white, all much more expensive
than anything I had bought so far and I had no clue!! I
had chosen running shoes so far based on the colour and
Know whether you are flat footed, or high arched which gives you a static snapshot of your feet and whether your feet roll inwards a lot when you run (over pronation), which gives you a dynamic view of your gait and is the clincher for deciding what shoes suit you the best. This will arm you with the information you need, to get the most suitable running shoes for your feet. Do not go by what your friend has bought unless you know you have the same type of feet.
A simple test for checking out your arch is the WET TEST - wet your feet, step on a newspaper, and check the imprint. If you only see your heel and toes - then you are high arched and probably need running shoes which will provide you with the stability your feet need. If you see a pretty complete imprint of your feet, then you are flat footed and your feet probably need a 'motion control running shoe' with a hard arch in the midsole - normally a very stiff mid part of the shoe. If you are normal arched then you probably need a normal stability running shoe.
The clincher is whether you overpronate – ie your feet roll in too much or supinate ie your feet do not roll in much. Pronation is your body’s shock absorption system where your foot normally rolls in around 4 degrees at the arch when it comes into contact with the ground, just before lift off. A simple way to educate yourself is, next time you are walking or running in a park – just focus on the people in front of you and see how their feet at rolling inwards. You will also start noticing some really worn out shoes. The next step is to either run and view yourself in front of a mirror, or get someone to take a video of your foot contact on the floor – from the rear, or get someone to run behind you and talk to you about your pronation. The other is to flip your 3-6 month old running shoes over and see where they are worn out. If it is more worn out in the inner sides, you are probably overpronating and need an appropriate shoe.
The thumb rule for starters is – MOST flat footed people tend to overpronate – and most high arched people tend to supinate. So for starting off, the wet test may be good, but for future and more researched buys, definitely check your stance and gait. That will really get you to enjoy your runs. Educate strangers in the park too about what they need to do about their shoes. Most will appreciate you for it.
When we buy jeans, we look for hip, waist, length,
inseam and a whole load of other things. We never look
down to the soles of our feet. But we suggest you do the
wet test above, once, choose your running shoes, and
experience the difference.