Determine your foot type and gait
Many athletic shoe stores, including Foot Locker, have associates trained to help you to determine the correct running shoe by identifying your foot type and gait. You can also get a head start at home with the Wet Test.
To do the Wet Test, wet your foot and step onto any flat surface that allows you to see your footprint, such as a paper grocery bag or construction paper. Here are the common foot types and gaits:
Foot Type: Neutral
If you see the ball and heel of your foot connected by a solid band and a distinct half-moon shape where your arch is, you most likely have neutral arches. Many people fall into the neutral arch category. Neutral arches are the most balanced foot type, which allow your feet to absorb the most shock and cushion your ankles, knees and hips against the forces of running.
Gait: The neutral foot is able to absorb shock in the body’s most efficient way. During each stride, the heel touches down, and while rolling through the step, the foot gently rolls inward to defray the shock of touchdown. Toe-off is propelled primarily by the big toe and two or three other center toes.
Your Ideal Shoe Type: Neutral arches should utilize cushioned running shoes to assist natural shock-absorption and to provide additional control.
Foot Type: Flat
If your wet footprint shows a very solid, triangular shape with very little curve on the inside, you most likely have flat arches. This foot type needs extra support in the arch region to maintain a neutral gait and to dispel the shock of running.
Gait: Flat arches often lead to overpronation, or strides that cause the foot to roll inward moderately or severely, depending on the individual.
Your Ideal Shoe Type: Because the arch doesn’t provide as much support, runners with flat arches benefit from support shoes with firm midsoles and control features that counteract their natural overpronation.
Foot Type: High, Rigid
If the ball and heel of your footprint are connected by a thin strip on the outside (or no strip at all), you most likely have high, rigid arches. This is the foot type that needs the most assistance with shock absorption, since the rigid structure doesn’t dispel impact forces very well.
Gait: High, rigid arches generally hit on the heel and roll on the outside of the foot in an underpronated or supinated step.
Your Ideal Shoe Type: Opt for a cushioned, flexible shoe that aids in foot motion. Support or stability shoes are not a good option because they prevent free movement of the foot.