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One great thing about running is that it requires very little equipment, but the equipment that is needed is incredibly important. Running shoes come in many different styles with most brands offering a variety of options largely based on an individual’s foot type and gait mechanics. There are multiple factors to consider but categories typically include supination, pronation, and neutral. Knowing your foot type or how your foot tends to respond can be helpful when selecting the right shoe for your needs. Here are some things to look for to help determine which category you fall in:

Supinator: Land on the outer portion of the heel and weight remains on the outside aspect of the foot throughout contact. Typically push off of the outer toes with minimal involvement of the big toe. Shoes will tend to be most worn on the outer portion of the sole. Can have a common tendency of “rolling” their ankle.

Neutral: Contact begins rather evenly throughout the heel with slight bias toward the outside and moves steadily through the center of the foot finishing balanced through the forefoot and slight bias toward the big toe. Wear pattern on the shoe will Resemble an S shape but will be rather even throughout the sole.

Pronator: Initial contact is on the outside portion of the heel with the rest of the foot quickly falling inward. This results in heavy bias toward the big toe at push off. The most wear will be present at these points with the inner heel and outer toes being relatively spared. This group is the most common to gain assistance from the shoe to limit this motion due to the increased forces placed on the foot and ankle.

Many people believe a low arch will automatically make you a pronator, and conversely high arches a supinator. Typically this is the case, however, both of these foot structures can be seen in each dynamic gait category. This stresses how critical it is to examine the feet both while stationary and while walking/running.

Other considerations while selecting running shoes are ensuring adequate length and width (especially within the toe box). Your feet should not feel like they are being jammed into or constricted within the shoe. Rather the shoe should feel secure while allowing your foot to move freely and naturally within.

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