Finding the right running shoe

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

When training for a marathon, everything is literally riding on your legs and feet. Barring a step in a pothole or rolling an ankle on an uneven curb, the feet are the easiest way to prevent tendinitis and other overuse injuries.

Finding the right shoe to match your foot is critical. Like fingerprints, foot size and contour vary from person to person. These variances determine a person’s walking and running style.
Basically, the area that foot experts look at is the arch, which determines foot pronation.

Pronation is the rolling motion of the foot from heel to toe when walking or running. Variances in pronation dictate different weight distributions, which can lead to injury if they stray too far from normal. Underpronation is when the majority of the body weight of each step is absorbed by the outside of the foot as opposed to being distributed equally between the outside of the heel and the center of the ball of the foot. Overpronation is exactly the opposite and happens when the weight is more on the inside of the foot. With either variance from neutral pronation, the knee will tend to try to balance things out, causing stress and even kneecap slippage in one way or the other.

Someone with a low arch will tend to overpronate his feet, which can cause the kneecap to slant inward and roll over the thigh. This leads to tendinitis, overstretching ligaments, miniscus tears or even complete knee cap dislocation.

Someone with a high arch can be susceptible to underpronation, but that isn’t always the case.

Finding out what foot type you are is simple, and you’ve probably already done it without even realizing it.

Step into a wet puddle barefoot and let the foot dry so it’s no longer dripping water. Next, take a step on dry cement. If the entire foot is imprinted on the sidewalk, you’re a low arch overpronator. If there is a very thin strip connecting your heal to the ball of your foot then you have a high arch and are likely a underpronator. Anywhere in between and you fall closer to the neutral foot type.

So how is this helpful when training for a marathon?

When selecting a quality training shoe8212;which you should if you’re serious about training without injury8212;you should know what kind of shoe will counterbalance your foot type. If you overpronate when you walk, you’re going to want a straighter shoe from toe to the ball of your foot. The more your foot underpronates, the more you want your shoe to assist in that category8212;so a more curved shoe is the way to go. If you’d like to take all the guesswork out of things and have an expert help you with the right type of shoe, Runner’s Advantage in Foothill Plaza is a nearby spot to have your foot type evaluated.

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