A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Running Shoes

Apr 14, 2022

ProActive Physical Therapy

by ProActive Physical Therapy

Ask any ProActive physical therapist, and they’ll tell you not to jump on running shoe trends. It is crucial to find the proper fitting running shoe for your foot shape and running. Using the wrong type of shoe or a single pair for all your exercise may leave you in pain and possible injury. So how do you decide what to buy for your feet?

The Three Main Foot Shapes

Understanding the general anatomy of your foot is a good foundation to start with to determine the proper shoe.

1. Flat arches

Flat-footed runners have fallen arches, making them flexible and prone to overpronation, an inward rolling motion.

For those with flat feet, the foot’s flexibility means needing a shoe that maintains stability and motion control. This could be further improved by using orthotics or custom-made shoe inserts to correct the foot issue.

2. Neutral Arches

Those with neutral arch shape are the most biomechanically sound in terms of step, putting them in the middle. About 20% to 30% of runners need neutral running shoes. Neutral running shoes are designed for runners who do not overpronate (i.e., the feet do not roll inwards too much).

3. High Arches

People with high-arched feet are the opposite of those who are flat-footed. With high arches, the feet have little flexibility and are rigid, leading to supination (i.e., runners whose feet roll outwards). High-arched individuals should buy flexible shoes with a cushioned midsole to absorb shock.

Save your Sole

Wearing the right kind of shoes can save you from foot and back problems that require you to visit your physical therapist. Tucson residents have a myriad of running choices due to the sunny weather and abundance of trails and roads. Trail running shoes are designed specifically for running outdoors on challenging terrain, while road running shoes are designed to pound the pavement. Minimal shoes have become very popular lately, but they’re not for everyone. Instead, experts suggest wearing a transitional shoe with some midsole to allow the foot to strengthen, as going from stability shoes to minimal shoes can lead to injury.

For more information on running injury prevention, visit your ProActive physical therapy professionals at one of our many Tucson-wide locations! Schedule an appointment today and happy running!

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