Running shoes are the most basic equipment that a runner has. It gives you support where it is needed, absorbs shock from the impact, prevents road injuries and lets you perform better. For this very reason, the shoe market industry has grown vastly. These companies invested substantial amount and effort in incorporating new science and technologies to meet every runner's needs. |
For this very reason, there are hundreds of choices for running shoes that leave runners, especially those who are still beginners, clueless. While most of the running shoes will feel comfortable when you first try them on, the real test of the shoes' performance and supporting abilities is when you hit several miles on the road. You can figure out that the ideal shoe for you won't be your running buddy's perfect shoe, not even the shoe's brand, but has more to do with the shape of your foot and your running style.
The Wet Test and Gait Analysis
Your chances of landing in a quality pair of running shoes increases when you know your foot shape and your running gait. The "wet test" is a test to give you a basic idea of what kind of shoes you will need based on the height of your arch. You just have to take an imprint of your wet foot on a brown paper bag and examine the contours especially the band between the balls of the feet to the forefoot.
If the imprint shows almost your whole foot is left behind, with hardly any curving inwards where your arch is, then you have very low, flexible arches or flat feet. Most overpronating runners are flat-footed and they can be better off with stability or motion-control shoes.
On the other hand, if there is a very big curve between the ball of your foot and your heel or it might seems like the band between your heel and toe is non-existing, then you have high-arched feet. High-arched runners need more impact protection. It means that neutral-cushioned shoes are recommended for them.
If your foot is somewhere between the two descriptions mentioned before, then you have a normal arch. There is a slight curve inward but not too much. Depending on your weight, you can choose shoes from all running shoe categories.
On the other hand, the Gait Analysis is a more elaborate wet test that takes in your running gait style in consideration. It is conducted in shoe stores so the shoe specialist can correctly identify the ideal shoe for you. They will look at your foot in motion so they can assess the proper biomechanics and your rate of pronation. Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot. A biomechanically efficient runner is someone who follows the natural gait cycle: landing on the outside edge of heel and rolling through to push off from toes. If you have excessive inward rolling of foot, also known as overpronation, or excessive outward rolling of foot, or supination, you have poor biomechanics and more vulnerable to injuries. Getting your gait analyzed is very advantageous because you would be able to buy the correct running footwear to avoid future problems.
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