WHEN THE SHOE FITS

Your Baby & Toddler - - Exercise -

It can be over­whelm­ing when you buy run­ning shoes for the first time, es­pe­cially when the sales as­sis­tant bom­bards you with all sorts of tech­ni­cal jar­gon.

So is it any won­der that we walk out of the store with the shoe that was rec­om­mended to us and not nec­es­sar­ily the right shoe for the job?

Equip your­self with the right in­for­ma­tion be­fore you even walk into that store.

Re­mem­ber that your feet swell slightly when run­ning so try run­ning shoes on to­ward the end of the day when your feet are a lit­tle swollen, as this will pre­vent you from buy­ing shoes that are too small.

ALL ABOUT THE ARCH

It is im­por­tant to de­ter­mine what type of arch you have, to en­sure that you buy shoes that meet your biome­chan­i­cal needs. The Wet Test is a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive way of de­ter­min­ing this. First, put your bare foot in wa­ter and stand on any flat sur­face that will leave a foot­print. You could also stand on wet sand. Now com­pare the shape of your foot­print to these three main arch types:

THE NOR­MAL OR NEU­TRAL FOOT

Char­ac­terised by a wide band con­nect­ing the fore­foot and the heel, the biome­chan­ics of a nor­mal foot starts with a heel strike on the out­side of the heel. It then moves through the heel and slightly in­ward to the mid­foot (this al­lows the foot to ab­sorb what­ever shock is ex­pe­ri­enced), lev­el­ling out­ward slightly as it reaches the toes to spring off from the ground form­ing your next stride. The foot does not over- or un­der­pronate and has an arch sup­port that is ac­tive or work­ing. The wear pat­tern is cen­tralised. The best shoe for a neu­tral run­ner is a sta­bil­ity shoe on a semi­curved last.

THE HIGH ARCH

Char­ac­terised by a very nar­row band or no band at all be­tween the fore­foot and the heel, this foot tends to supinate and is quite rigid with a lim­ited abil­ity to ab­sorb shock due to the in­flex­i­bil­ity of the joints of the foot. As a re­sult, this type of foot sets the stage for other joints to ab­sorb shock such as your knees, hips and spine, and of­ten re­sults in a high risk of in­jury. It is marked by wear and tear along the lat­eral or outer edge of the shoe. The best shoe for a supina­tor is a cush­ioned shoe that of­fers good flex­i­bil­ity on a curved last.

THE FLAT FOOT

Char­ac­terised by an im­print show­ing the en­tire sole of the foot, this type of foot has a very low arch. It also tends to­ward over­pronat­ing as the joints of the foot are hy­per­mo­bile (too flex­i­ble). The foot strikes on the outer edge of the heel, rolling in­ward ex­ces­sively to­ward the arch and ends to­ward your big toe. An in­di­ca­tor of wear on the in­side of the shoe edge shows a typ­i­cal pronat­ing foot type. The best shoe for an over­prona­tor is a mo­tion con­trol shoe which goes a long way in re­duc­ing the de­gree of prona­tion. The best last is a straight or semi-curved one. An­other way of suc­cess­fully de­ter­min­ing what type of foot arch you might have is to look at your ex­ist­ing pair of run­ning shoes for wear and tear pat­terns.

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