Beginner’s Guide to Running #3: Foot Type And Shoes

Running is really a great sport. It challenges our body and our minds, and gets us outdoors for fresh air and often a great view. It is no-frills in nature. You need no bats, balls, complicated equipment and you don’t need to master a complicated scoring system or game strategy if you prefer to just go for it.

The one thing that is important to your run, though, is a good pair of shoes. Don’t let the flashy neon colors throw you off though, running shoes are not all just for show. The right pair of shoes for your foot and running motor pattern is very important to preventing injury.

How To Buy the Right Shoe For You

We are lucky in Syracuse to have a couple of locations of a great running store, Fleet Feet Sports. We recommend visiting their stores to have one of their Fit Professionals assess your foot type, gait pattern and consider your running goals in order to get you in the best pair of shoes for you.

When you head out to get fitted for a pair of running shoes, take a few of things into consideration.

  • Head to the store to purchase shoes at the same time of day that you would normally go out for your run. A certain amount of swelling in feet and lower legs occurs throughout the day for all of us as we stand and walk. Depending on the amount of swelling, it could affect the fit of your shoes if you bought at a lower-swelling time of day than you would normally go for your run.
  • Test out the shoes in the store first for as long as you feel you need to feel sure they’re the ones for you. The right store will let you do this and not rush you along! This is another reason why we love Fleet Feet!
  • Do not purchase shoes based on style or color. Now is not the time to be a trendsetter. You need to be in the best pair of shoes considering your foot type, gait pattern and running goals in order to optimize your time running and avoid injuries.
  • Do not assume what size running shoe you need. Leave it to the professionals. Be sure to be fitted by a professional and try the shoes on. Different brands vary in size and platform/shape of the sole, and again, swelling of the legs and feet are taken into consideration as well. You might be surprised by how great the proper, professionally suggested size can feel!

How Often Should You Swap Your Running Shoes?

Shoes should be traded out every 200 to 400 miles depending on use and wear & tear on the shoe. Check out your old shoes, are the wear patterns even from the left to right shoe? For the most part, both shoes should display the same wear and tear on the side edge and bottom. Consider if there are any signs that gluing or stitching is losing its strength and integrity and if laces are still intact and strong as well. 

If your shoes hurt to weight bear or even run/walk in, they might be getting worn out, or maybe you’re even in the wrong shoe for your foot type! The right shoe starts with knowing what foot type you have. Keep reading to learn more about the different foot types.

Know Your Foot Type

There are three-foot types that are the most typical. This graphic illustrates each type from different perspectives.

  • Normal arch – a typical foot with sufficient arch (left column)
  • High arch / “pes cavus” – those that have a high arch along the length of their foot (middle column)
  • Low arch / “pes planus” – those with a very flat arch or none at all (right column)

No matter the foot type, proper support for the arch and heel will help to minimize foot pain and risk for injuries during running. 

A high arch requires support along the longitudinal arch (bottom of the foot) and likely requires lateral foot support. With a high arch, the foot tends to land laterally (outside edge) as your foot hits the ground. Often times this will lead to lateral foot pain. A shoe with lateral support will help to minimize the asymmetrical foot strike. 

A low arch also requires support along the longitudinal arch because the foot itself does not have an adequate arch. As the foot hits the ground, it lands flat which leads to over-stretching of the plantar fascia (bottom of the foot). Often times plantar fasciitis is next. A solution can be as simple as an over-the-counter shoe insert with adequate arch support.

When To Seek Help For Your Feet

If you are certain you are in the right pair of shoes for you and that they do not have too much wear & tear on them but you are still experiencing foot, ankle, leg or any pain during or after running, it might be time to contact us to be evaluated by one of our Physical Therapists.

We are Movement Specialists and experts in treating and preventing injury in runners. We can help you recover from pain or injury. We can help you become a better runner.

Keep Reading…

By |2021-04-26T14:17:33+00:00April 13th, 2021|Running|Comments Off on Beginner’s Guide to Running #3: Foot Type And Shoes

About the Author:

Mary Smith, PT
Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville Location.
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