3 Types of Running Shoes and How to Choose Your Type

Whether you just want enjoy to enjoy a leisure run on a Saturday afternoon, or are training for a marathon, choosing the right types of running shoes is critical to your performance and comfort. There are a wide variety of sports shoes available, and it can be confusing to know which types of running shoes to get. The fact is that they are all designed for different foot types, so before you can choose your shoes, you have to find out which type of foot you have.

3 Main types of running shoes

When you run, or do any sport that involves running, you pronate — that is, you land on the outer edge of your foot and then roll inwards. The main foot types refer to the extent to which you do this, and are related to the height of your arch.

  • If you have a normal or neutral arch, your foot rolls in to just the right degree, which makes you a normal pronator.
  • If you have low arches, that is, flat feet, you overpronate, that is, you roll too far inwards.
  • If your arch is very high, your feet do not roll in far enough, so you are an underpronator or supinator.

How to determine best type of running shoes

If you are already involved in sport, an easy way of determining appropriate types of running shoes is to look at the soles of the shoes you currently use.

  • If you are a normal pronator, you will see an even pattern of wear on the soles, with a perpendicular shape.
  • If you overpronate, you will see that the inner sides of the soles are worn down.
  • If you are an underpronator, the outer edges of the soles will be excessively worn.

If it is not possible to find this out from the wear of your shoes, you can perform what is known as the wet test, which consists of wetting your foot in a bowl of water, and then stepping on to a paper bag and looking at your footprint.

If the footprint shows about half of the arch, you have a neutral arch and will be a normal pronator, while if you see almost the whole of your foot, you have a flat arch, meaning you are probably an overpronator.

If the prints of your heel and the ball of your foot are almost separated, you have a high arch and are an underpronator.

How to choose best type of running shoes for your feet

The main types of sports shoe are motion control, stability, barefoot and cushioning shoes.

  • If you are a normal pronator, you have the least risk of injury, so you can wear almost any type of shoe, including barefoot shoes.
  • If you are an overpronator, your arch moves inwards too much, meaning there is excessive foot motion and thus a higher risk of injury. For mild overpronation, you should be looking for stability shoes, whereas if it is severe, choose motion control shoes, which provide extra-firm support devices made of high-density foam, fiberglass, or plastic.
  • As an underpronator your arch does not drop enough to absorb shock, so you risk injury from shock traveling up your legs. The most suitable shoe is a cushioning shoe, which provides maximum cushioning and the minimum of rigidity, so as to encourage pronation.

Remember that however suitable your shoes may be for your foot type, they are no use if they do not fit correctly. Knowing the types of running shoes there are and which one is a bit fit for your type will increase comfort during wear and also your shoes will last longer because they’ve been designed specifically for your movements.

When you go to try on your shoes, go later in the day, and wear the socks you would normally wear. For more information, click to see more information on barefoot running shoes.

How about you? Do you know what types of running shoes you currently own?

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