If you’re someone who spends a lot of time on your feet, you need shoes that will support you every step of the way. Everyone’s feet move differently, and rolling in or out on your feet too much can leave you susceptible to aches, pain, and even injuries. But the right shoes for you can provide your feet the support they need.
Finding the best shoes to support your feet is a matter of knowing what sort of pronation you have.
What is Pronation?
Before we talk about how to find the best supportive shoes, let’s talk a little about the concept of pronation. Pronation is the natural motion your foot makes while you are walking or running, and everyone’s is a little different. Pronation specifically refers to the side-to-side movement that your feet and ankles make as you walk.
As soon as your heel strikes the ground (see below), the arch of your foot begins to flatten out to cushion the shock. As you move forward on your feet, your weight shifts from the outside of your heel forward to the big toe (see below). This is where the real difference comes in with everyone’s pronation; your toes will support different amounts of your push-off depending on your pronation.
Heel strike occurs just on the outside of the right heel. As you step forward, your body weight moves outside-in, ending with the foot push off occurring at the big toe.
Neutral Gait vs. Overpronation vs. Supination
There are three basic types of pronation: a neutral gait, overpronation, and supination, also known as underpronation. If you have a neutral gait, the line from the middle of your calf down to the middle of your heel will stay straight through your gait.
If you tend towards overpronation, you’ll put more weight on the inside of your foot as there is too much of the natural, outside-in motion of the foot. This can put more pressure on your first and second toes and can increase incidence of heel and foot pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and knee pain.
If you tend towards supination, or underpronation, you carry more weight along the outside of your foot as the foot doesn't naturally move outside-in as much as it should. This places extra pressure on the foot and can leave you more vulnerable to ankle injuries.
With that said, overpronating feet are far more common the supinating, or underpronating, feet.
Finding Shoes that Support the Natural Movement of Your Feet
The goal of any pair of shoes should be to support the foot in maintaining a neutral gait, which is the most biomechanically efficient way to move about. Depending on what kind of pronation you have, there are different shoes that can provide the support you need.
If you have moderate to severe overpronation, you should consider shoes that utilize our X-Last design. With X-Last shoes, a molded external heel counter that extends around the heel to the arch works in conjunction with an internal heel counter and composite shank in the midsole to provide high levels of motion control in the foot.
Dialing things down just a smidge, shoes with our V-Last design are great for those with mild to moderate overpronation. V-Last shoes use a multi-density midsole design with firmer materials under the arch to provide support, stability and control.
And finally, if you have a neutral gait or only a mild amount of overpronation, our A-Last design is ideal. It features a lightweight design and construction support the neutral gait in the most efficient way possible.
Finding the best support shoes for you is a matter of knowing what sort of gait you have. If you tend to roll in on your feet a lot, something with greater heel control or more arch support will work better. If your gait is more neutral, you want something lightweight that will support and stabilize your feet as you walk or run.
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