Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Running Shoes - Pronation and Supination

The first and most important step in finding the right brand and model of running shoe is to work out which type of foot you have. When running normally, the outside of the heel strikes the ground first in a supinated position - this is why the wear is common in this area. The foot then rolls inward and flattens out along the longitudinal arch-pronation. The foot should then supinate by rolling through the ball – thus the foot becomes a rigid lever for efficient propulsion. These are the normal and healthy movements of the foot, but a number of biomechanical flaws can occur disrupting this pattern. A well chosen running shoe can help compensate for this and in most cases will restore normal motion. An inappropriate running shoe can actually have the effect of interfering with this normal function. Most runners who encounter injury either over pronate, which means the foot rolls inward or over supinate, which is the opposite.

Over pronation is the most widespread cause of running injury. A pronated foot rolls inwards at the ankle, the midfoot bulges inwards and the longitudinal arch flattens. Over-pronators usually have very flexible and unstable feet. To compensate for this they need running shoes with a lot of motion control. Motion control running shoes give a high level of support - a firmer anti-pronation post on the inside of the midsole; a firm or dual density midsole; and a a firm heel counter.

A supinated foot has a high arch and rolls forward at the ankle. The feet are quite rigid and are not good at absorbing shock. Supinators will need neutral running shoes with a lot of cushioning. Cushioned shoes tend to be poor at motion control. I am an example of this and use Nike Air Max Moto + 6 Wht/Sil/yellow



  1. What is the best way to determine what you are? I am just beginning to run and get shin splints, I'm hoping that by getting the correct shoe, it will decrease the intensity of pain.

    1. I used to get shin splints too, regrettably it is a fitness issue and not a shoe issue...
      Pushed through it and running 10km runs without any issues!