Fit Feet - A Guide for Buying Running Shoes
Rachel Ingle, store manager at the Running Fit store, Novi location, explains my results from the Aetrex iStep Digital Foot Analysis system.
The red zones on the monitor of the Aetrex iStep Digital Foot Analysis system indicate the pressure points on the feet.
- Flat Feet - If you have flat feet, you have no, or a very low, arch.
- High-Arched Feet - The opposite of flat feet, high-arched feet have an unmistakable arch between the heel and the ball of the foot.
- Neutral/"Normal" Feet - If you have neutral/"normal" feet you tend to have a medium arch (neither flat-footed nor high-arched).
- Wet your foot with water.
- Step onto a solid, flat surface such as a cement driveway.
- You have flat feet if your foot leaves a complete or near complete impression.
- You have high-arched feet if your foot leaves an imprint with a very narrow band connecting the heel to the ball of your foot.
- You have neutral/"normal" feet if your foot leaves an imprint that shows a wide band connecting the heel to the ball of your foot.
- Neutral/Normal - Occurs when your foot strikes the ground on the outside of your heel and then slightly rolls inward.
- Overpronate - Occurs when your foot strikes the ground on the outside of your heel and then excessively rolls inward. People with flat feet have a tendency to overpronate.
- Oversupinate - Occurs when your foot strikes the ground on the outside of your heel but doesn't roll inward enough. Individuals with high arches have a tendency to oversupinate.
- Motion Control - These shoes are made for individuals who have flat feet. They have a control-oriented design. They tend to be more rigid than other running shoe types. Ingle describes these shoes to have a flat, straight bottom that is wider through the arch. These shoes have a denser/firmer material at the inner side of the arch (called the medial post) to provide stability and to prevent overpronating.
- Stability - These shoes are designed for individuals who have a medium arch and tend to be neutral in their stride pattern. Stability shoes offer a good combination of cushioning and support. Ingle describes these shoes as being less firm than motion control shoes. She also notes that they have a smaller medial post and are narrower through the arch. When you look at the bottom of the shoe it will have a slight curve to it.
- Neutral - These shoes are similar in construction to stability shoes in that, upon looking at the bottom, you will notice a slight curve to the shoe. However, these shoes do not have the dense material on the inner side of the arch. Ingle states that these shoes tend to be more comfortable for individuals with a higher arch.
- Your foot should sit all the way back into the heel counter (the back part of the shoe that cups around your heel). You should not feel your heel slip when you walk.
- Through the lacing it should be snug, but not tight. Your foot shouldn't slip back and forth and you shouldn't feel the edge of the shoe along your foot.
- The toe box (the area between your big and little toe joints) should be loose enough that you are able to grab a little bit of material on the top when you stand.
- At the very front of the shoe, there should be a thumb's width between your toe and the tip of the shoe.
- Ingle recommends that your running shoes be replaced every 300-500 miles. "That would be about every 6-8 months if you run 3-5 miles, 3-5 days/week," she states.
- To care for your shoes, do not put them in the washing machine or dryer. This tends to warp the shoes, according to Ingle. If your shoes get wet, she recommends that you take out the insoles and stuff the shoes with newspaper while they air dry.
- Before you run in your new shoes outdoors, Ingle recommends that you do a test run of 3-5 miles on the treadmill. She says this is a good way to tell if the shoes will cause problems with your feet. If you experience problems during this test run, it is likely that the shoes aren't a good fit and that they will continue to cause problems. If this happens during your trial run, then you should take your shoes back to the store and get a different pair (make sure you do not wear them outdoors first, you will not be able to return them if a problem arises).