BACK ON YOUR FEET
A Runner’s Guide to Getting the Right Type of Shoes For Your Unique Feet
I had no idea just how crucial shoe support was to my feet until I got shoes with sizable support.
When I started running, I was much heavier than I am today — and my feet were flat.
My form was a joke. I hurt myself constantly and developed terrible habits that cost me both in physical pain and in the time I lost to achieve better fitness. I struggled through the early stages of that journey until I realized my shitty, old shoes were just not going to cut it. I needed serious support for my weak ankles, and I needed to start paying attention to my gait while I ran (which is comically difficult to do).
As a result, I started upgrading my running shoes and buying them with much more intention. Going back to 2017, I largely relied on two different shoes.
They both provided me the stability I wanted and got ever closer to the lightness I was searching. The more support your shoe has, the more it’ll likely weigh. That’s not terribly bad. My 270-pound frame in 2016 allowed me to more easily lift shoes that might’ve been some ounces heavier than others. As I lost weight, though, heavier shoes became more noticeable — but so did my decreasing reliance on them.
Pronation Determines Shoe Support and Stabilization
If you’re going to be buying shoes in the near (or far) future, you’re likely going to get one of three different types, and it’s all got to do with your feet and their pronation. That’s the rotating mobility in your feet that partly determines how your foot impact the ground on landing. Here’s an extremely basic breakdown of the three dominant types of pronation most people contend with:
- Basic pronation is the control group, wherein you land on the ball of your foot and a small portion of your heel. It’s a good balance and means you need less supportive shoes because you’re more on track (no pun intended)
- Overpronation results in impact on the inside edge of your feet (and shoes), an effect of rolling your feet inward during movement.
- Supination results in impact on the outside edge of your feet, an effect of rolling your feet outward.
As with most divisions on Earth, we all fall on a grid somewhere along the gamut. A good way to determine your place is to take a look at the soles of some well-worn shoes. At eye-level, do the bottom of their soles slant one way or the other?
Shoes For (Basic) Pronated Feet
You need the least support, but that doesn’t mean your run or other activities won’t benefit from as much of it as you like. Definitely opt for cushion but also feel free to prioritize lightness and a semi-curved structure.
Here are some best sellers that should do you well:
Nike Odyssey React GPX RS, $106 at Zappos
Saucony Kinvara 9, $83 at Zappos
adidas Running Solar Glide ST, $89 at Zappos
Shoes For Overpronated And Supinated Feet
You need more support, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to sacrifice all the other features you’re looking for. Important to note here is that a good shoe is an investment and so are your feet, ankles, knees, and back — each of which is vulnerable to the instability of a less-supportive shoe.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 25, $160 at Zappos
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, $130 at Zappos
New Balance M1540 v2, $165 at Zappos
ASICS GEL-Contend 4, $50 at Zappos
ASICS GEL-Venture 6, $50 at Zappos
No matter what shoes you’re getting to help you keep (or start) running, high five for being here and heading there in the first place. And be sure to treat your feet well, you only have the two.
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