What Type of Foot Do You Have?
Foot Types Explained
It's common knowledge that everyone's fingerprint is a little different. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. It's not as well known that everyone's foot is a little different as well. When you're running, you can't just strap on any old running shoe and expect to perform your best. There are different shoes to fit different feet, and it is important to get a shoe that properly suits your foot type.
Foot types are divided into three different categories: Normal (Medium Arch), Flat (Low or no arch), and High arch. There is a simple test, called the "Wet Test" that you can do at home to determine your foot type. Play the video below for more information or click here.
Once you have your footprint, you can use this guide to determine which foot type you have. Here is a brief explanation of each foot type:
Normal (Medium Arch):
If about half of your arch shows up on your Wet Test, you probably fall into this foot type. Having a "normal" foot means that you have a moderately high arch and your foot may pronate some. A stability shoe is probably best, but some lightweight runners with this foot type can use a neutral shoe as well.
Having a "normal" foot means that you have a moderately high arch and your foot may pronate some.Pronation: When the foot rolls inward after impact with the ground. Some pronation is a natural occurrence and actually creates a more cushioned foot strike.
Flat (Low or No Arch):
It is rare to have no arch at all, but having a low arch is not uncommon. If you see most or all of your foot on your Wet Test, you likely have what is called a "flat" foot. Flat feet tend to pronate excessively, or overpronate. This results in too much foot movement and increases the risk of injuries. For lightweight runners, a stability shoe may be alright, but most people with flat feet need the extra support of a motion control shoe.
Flat feet tend to pronate excessively, or overpronate.Overpronation: A condition in which the foot rolls inward and downward more than normal which is caused by improper support of arches.
If just the heel and the ball of the foot show up with a thin line connecting them, you have a high arch. Feet with high arches tend to be rigid and will underpronate. Some feet with high arches actually supinate. Since high arches are usually more rigid, more shock from impact travels up the legs. People with high arches should wear a neutral shoe. Any stability type shoe will push this foot type further onto the outside of the foot.
Some feet with high arches actually supinate.Supination: when the foot rolls out after impact with the ground.
Another easy way to test your foot structure is to look at the wear pattern on your shoe. Most everyone strikes on the outside of the heel when starting their stride, so ignore the wear on the heel. If you look at the front part of the shoe you can tell some things about your foot. If the inside is the most worn, your foot is overpronating. If the shoe is worn evenly, your foot pronates normally. Finally, if the shoe is worn most on the outside, your foot is supinating. Keep in mind that the amount of support your shoe provides also contributes to the wear pattern. For example, a foot that normally pronates but is properly supported by the shoe could show an even wear pattern.
Be aware that these are just generalizations. Every foot is different and each one is unique. For example, it is possible to have a flat foot that does not pronate. Before making any determinations, it is best to consult a podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be best equipped to guide you correctly on foot types and appropriate shoe choices.
For more information on shoes, see our section on shoe types.