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Baring your Sole: What your Running Shoes Say about You

Posted Oct 30 2012 12:00am

When it comes to buying new trainers your existing pair can tell you a lot about your running shoe needs. Giving you and indication of your arch height, your individual foot shape, and the way that you run, taking a look at your soles is one of the best ways to determine what kind of running shoe will offer sufficient support and comfort the next time you hit the pavement, track or trail.

When your heel is worn down significantly more than the ball of the foot, it’s an indication that you...

overstride. This means that when you run, most of your foot rotation happens in the air, and that your foot lands too far out in front of your body. As a result, your heels absorb the full force of the impact with each stride.

Your next pair: Look for shoes that offer enhanced cushioning at the heel, to help absorb some of the impact and offer increased protection. Thicker cushioning should mean that your running shoes last longer, but keep a check on your soles – when the heel tread wears smooth, it’s time to replace them.

Heel and forefoot
If you encounter heavy wear to both the heel, particularly the inner heel, and ball of the foot, particularly up to the big toe, it’s a sign that you overpronate. Pronation is your foot’s natural method of distributing weight evenly as you run, by rolling the foot as it lands. When you overpronate it means that, as your heel strikes the ground with each stride, your foot rolls too far inwards, causing extra wear in these areas. Overpronation can be a sign of flat feet or low arches, but can also be caused by too much rolling of the hip or knee.

Your next pair: You want to look for shoes that control the inward roll movement of the foot. As overpronation means that your weight is borne by the inner edge, or medial part, of the foot rather than the ball, you should opt for shoes that offer enhanced arch support. Motion control and stability running shoes are designed specifically to counteract the impact of overpronation, and if you’re still having problems, a podiatrist will be able to recommend orthotics to help the issue too.

Even wear
If your soles show even wear, typically in an S-shaped pattern, from heel to toe, then this is an indication that you’re running with an even stride, and neutral pronation. This is the most common wear pattern amongst runners.

Your next pair: Neutral runners have a far wider choice of viable options when it comes to shopping for running shoes. An even wear pattern like this suggests that the shoes you’re already running in are just fine. If you’re a heavier runner, however, you might want to consider a shoe that offers increased stability and cushioning, as these will tend to be more durable.

If your shoes show heavier wear at the outer edges of the shoe, this is a sign that you’re underpronating. Basically the opposite of overpronation, it means that your foot isn’t pronating enough when you hit the ground, and could well be an indication that you have high arches.

Your next pair: Because underpronation means that your body weight tends to be borne by the outer edge of the foot rather than the ball, you want to look for trainers that will encourage an inward rolling motion. This means opting for lighter weight shoes that allow for more foot motion, and trainers that offer enhanced cushioning.

**This is a sponsored post**

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