Since our clinic is so focused on treating foot conditions, patients often ask questions such as, “what type of tennis shoes should I wear?” Although we may be able to provide some guidance on this, it really comes down to knowing how to select the best shoe for you personally based on proper fit and comfort.
An important thing to know when you’re searching for a new pair of athletic shoes is how to identify the shape of your foot, and how to match it with the appropriate shoe. The three basic shapes of feet are: pronated, supinated and normal.
Shoes are designed with different shaped patterns (or “lasts” in shoe making terminology). Some shoes are straight, others are curved and yet others are semi-curved.
If you inspect the bottom of a shoe and draw an imaginary line from heel to toe, you’ll notice that it will either have a straight or curved appearance. Furthermore, as you look at multiple curved shoes some have a subtle curve (or semi-curve), whereas others have a more dramatic curve.
A pronated foot is one in which the main arch of the foot tends to roll inward or moves into a lower arched position. Sometimes the arch may appear to completely flatten while standing or walking. A pronated foot will usually benefit most from a shoe with a straight last. Straight lasted shoes tend to be more rigid and will provide better support for an overly flexible or flattened foot.
A supinated foot is very rigid with limited flexibility and a noticeably higher arch. This foot pattern may be referred to as a curved foot and perform better with a curved lasted shoe. Curved lasted shoes are more flexible allowing a rigid, higher arched foot to move better throughout the gait cycle.
Feet that have normal appearing arches while standing and walking usually do best with a shoe that spits the difference between straight and curved. These are referred to as shoes that have a semi-curved last.
Take your time when shopping for the right shoe and try on multiple pairs. Once you identify the general shape and foot type you have, you’ll be able to more consistently find the best shoe for your feet. Keep in mind that merely buying a new pair of shoes won’t cure a foot problem. If you are currently suffering with a foot pain condition, you should consider getting your feet evaluated for a misalignment problem during your next visit.
Chiropractic adjustments to your feet can correct the underlying misalignment pattern allowing you to stand, walk and run more comfortably. A good pair of shoes will then aid in providing ample support for your newly adjusted feet.