Determine Your Foot Type Before Choosing Running Shoes

Running shoes are the most essential piece of gear you will need for running. A good running shoe should deliver the comfort and support necessary to keep you from soreness, injuries and should help enhance your running performance.

Unfortunately, there is no one single answer to the question about which running shoes are the best, simply because this depends on your foot type, your gait type, as well as on the running conditions for your runs and races.
Before choosing running shoes for yourself, you need to determine your foot type first. Apart from the size and shape, you should define your arch type as well.

To determine your exact arch type, you can try the simple wet test. Wet your feet and step on a brown paper bag or a piece of cardboard. Make sure that you stand up so that your entire body weight is put on your feet during the test. Step away and examine the footprints carefully. Here are the three main footprint types and results which you can see during the wet test:

  1. If you have normal arches, you should be able to see a noticeable imprinted curve around the middle of the arch connecting the toes, heel and ball of the foot. If you can see this, then this is good news, because it means that your arches are able to properly handle and absorb the stress and impact from running, walking and other activities. Normal arches allow for an even distribution of the impact and weight, and thus prevent soreness and injuries to the feet, legs and lower back.
  2. If your arches are high, the imprint will consist of only the toes, heels and the balls of your feet. High arches cannot absorb the impact from hitting the ground with all body weight properly. This means that extra cushioning for proper shock absorption is needed, especially for running.
  3. The imprints of flat arched feet will look like complete feet, with no or very little inward curving in the middle. Flat feet cause pronation, or inward rolling. This can lead to injuries to the ankles and legs as well as to painful plantar fasciitis, especially when running with unsuitable running shoes.

Other ways to determine your arch type

High arches can be detected if you tend to feel pain in the balls and heels of your feet, especially during or after running, or any other sports activity with high impact on the feet. Getting shoes or insoles which provide proper support for high arches is crucial to keep you safe from pain, discomfort and possible injury.

People with low arches or flat feet tend to experience fatigue and pain in the heels and arches when standing or running. You can tell that you have flat feet if you find it difficult to stand on your toes, because an arch is needed for this movement.

The appropriate shoes for different arch types

  • Flat feet: If your arches are flat, then opt for running shoes which will prevent the feet from rolling inward. They should have cushioned, thick soles and a good lacing system to keep the feet in place when running.
  • High arches: Runners with high arches should pick shoes which have extra cushioning and are more flexible. Adding insoles for high arch support can also help improve the shock absorption and reduce the impact from running on the feet and legs.
  • Normal arches: For normal arches choose running shoes with good cushioning, have thick and firm soles and provide proper heel stability.

Guest Post supplied by Robert Brown, founder of