Daily Archives: October 15, 2010

Fitness Friday – All About The Shoes Part I

Happy Fitness Friday! As promised, I am here to talk all about sneakers today. For the past month, I’ve been training on how to fit people for proper running shoes at a specialty running store. I finally feel like I can start sharing all my new knowledge!

Ironically, we aren’t really talking about shoes that much in the first post of this series. Instead, we’re starting at the beginning with the feet. 


Be thankful I kept my socks on for these photos ;) I want to demonstrate the three most common foot types. Keep in mind, the shape of your foot will change from standing, to walking, to running. So you may require different shoes for all these needs. Also, running shoes are not cross trainers. The former is meant for a forward motion, the latter for lateral motion. I don’t recommend wearing your gym shoes for running or vice versa. Yup, it’s an expensive habit. Now how many pairs of pumps do you own? :P


The above photos represent a neutral stance. I’m not the best example of this because my arches are quite high to begin with and you can see my weight coming to the side a little. But in general, the arches are a good height and the ankles are above the heels.


This is an example of how a neutral runner strikes the ground. Almost everyone hits on the outside of the heel first (that’s why shoes have extra cushioning there) and then curve to come off on the inside of the forefoot. If this is where the wear patterns are on the bottom of your shoe, then you’re in the right one!




Supination is when you come to the outside of your foot. You will immediately notice a high, or “rigid” arch. The knees will sometimes come apart when a person squats and you will see the toes spread out to the side when the person walks.


Most noticeably, the ankles will turn to the outside of the heel. There is nothing you can do to correct this in a regular running shoe. So supinators go for a general cushioning shoe. No arch support required, just something to make the ride a little comfier!

This is where you’ll see wear patterns on the shoe of a supinator. The worst thing you could do for a supinator is put them in a shoe with arch support, because it will only push their foot out further.




Pronation is actually the most common form of gait. More people pronate than supinate or run neutrally. Again, my foot here isn’t the best example for this, but you will notice the flatter arch right away. You’ll see the inside of the foot pushing toward the ground when they walk or run. The knees will come together when they squat.


The ankles here come to the inside of the heel. Pronators need varying levels of arch support and most commonly wear a stability shoe. The above example would need just mild arch support to push the feet up from leaning inward when running. Some people however overpronate and have flat feet. They require a motion control shoe with super duper arch support.

No surprise where the wear patterns will be on a pronator. If this is where your shoes are wearing down, it’s time to consider something with extra support.


And just so you get an idea of what the varying levels of support look like:


Cushioning (neutral/supinator)

Stability (pronator)


Motion Control (overpronator)


Press on the cushioning on the inside of the shoe and you can tell where the arch support begins by how hard it gets. Also, the more support, the more expensive the shoe!

It’s also worth noting that people with orthotics are typically put in a cushioning/neutral shoe because the orthotic is already doing the correction for them. If you have flat feet and wear a supportive orthotic, a shoe with extra support can actually overcorrect you and do more damage.


So that is my introduction to running shoe classifications! Next week I am going to cover the popular running shoe brands and how to find a brand that suits you as a runner. Per usual, leave any questions you may have below.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!