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
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.
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
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
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.