There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right running shoe—comfort, style, fit… and with so many options on the market catering to all different foot types, it’s no wonder it can get confusing. Not only are there many injuries associated with wearing the wrong shoes, knowing your foot type will ensure comfort, improve performance and increase longevity. So whether you’re on the hunt for your next pair of running shoes or not sure if you’re current ones have had their day, keep reading as we consult ASICS to help us cover the basics when it comes to determining your foot type, choosing the right shoe for you and knowing when it’s time to replace them. As we find out here, it’s more important than you think!
Determining your foot type:
If you need help determining your foot type, first and foremost, ASICS recommends talking to a qualified expert (ie. a registered podiatrist). Secondly, checking the patterns on your running shoes is another way to figure this out. “While they don’t provide a full picture, certain signs on your shoes can reveal useful clues about the way you pronate. Shoe wear patterns can show where your foot is being impacted and where you might need extra support or extra cushioning. When you check your shoes, look for parts that are more worn down, and how your shoes sit when placed on a flat surface.”
3 main foot types:
1. Neutral foot
If you’re a neutral foot type, you have the ideal movement for effective shock absorption,” explains ASICS. “It means your foot rolls inward when striking the ground and slightly rolls out when toeing off. This gait cycle can be described as an ‘ideal’ foot type.” Common injuries: Because of effective shock absorption, injuries are less likely. However, you can still suffer from common overuse running injuries. Wear pattern: S-shape pattern on soles of shoes from the outer heel to the even wear through the forefoot. Shoe recommendation: The ASICS GEL-NIMBUS®
These two ranges provide neutral cushioned shoes that promote natural foot motion. Beginners may want to start with a cushioning shoe for support as they build muscle strength and some runners may like natural running shoes that provide a feeling of more ground contact.
Overpronation is when your foot rolls inward excessively when it hits the ground, putting the pressure on the inside of the foot. Common foot types include low arches or flat feet and require additional support. Common injuries: Shin pain, plantar fasciitis (arch pain), heel pain. Wear pattern: More wear on the outside of the heel and under the ball of the foot.
Features of shoes that provide extra support are:
Since overpronators need maximum support, structured cushioning, and stability, the GEL-KAYANO® is most suited to this foot type. Stability running shoes like GEL-KAYANO® help distribute the impact of running more effectively to minimise pronation and provide medial post support, sometimes extended through to the heel. The firm midsoles provide arch support for flatter feet—however, it is best to visit an ASICS Store for specific recommendations.
“Supination is a sign of poor shock absorption, which means your foot does not roll inward as much when it hits the ground.” This foot type is usually categorised by high arches and require the need for extra cushioning. Common injuries: plantar fasciitis, shin pain, ankle strain. Wear pattern: Excessive wear on the outside of the heel all the way to the forefoot of the shoe. Features of shoes that provide extra cushioning are:
GEL inserts to improve cushioning
Midsoles with materials designed to reduce energy loss
Increased thickness of midsole to provide more cushioned material under the heel and foot
Shoe recommendation: ASICS GEL-NIMBUS®.
The GEL-NIMBUS® is focused on midsole cushioning for extra shock absorption, cushioning along outside of running shoe to counter outward roll of foot, and cushioning on the heel.
How often should you be replacing your running shoes?
As a rule of thumb, ASICS recommends replacing your running shoes between 750 to 1,000 km.“ Like any product used regularly, they will wear out eventually. How quickly this happens is determined by your mileage, body weight, foot type and technique.” Here are a few tell-tale signs of needing a new pair:
The outer sole has worn through to the white midsole
The midsole feels too soft and collapses easily under pressure. You may see longitudinal creases in the midsole
The heel counter becomes mobile and less supportive
Your toes wear through the toe-box, and the shoe upper tears
One shoe sole becomes asymmetrically worn compared with the other
One or both shoes no longer stand up straight when placed on a flat surface
Read to find your perfect match? You can get a detailed running analysis at any of ASICS stores or Running Expert stores, located throughout Australia. Trained staff will take you through a detailed video gait analysis which records the way you run on a treadmill. By slowing down the footage, they can analyse in detail the way your foot strikes the ground, rolls and pushes off, which will determine your foot type. Pretty nifty, huh? To find the right fit for you, check out your closest ASICS Running Expert!