Know Your Feet


When you are running and walking the only thing that hits the ground is your feet. Your feet are designed to absorb shock, stabilize your legs and create power for the next stride. Your foot type determines whether you are a better shock absorber or a better stabilizer. If your foot is better at absorbing shock, by being flexible, it will tend to have problems with stability. Also, if your foot is better at being stable, it will be more rigid and not absorb shock as well. If you are lucky, your foot will be a good blend of the two.

How can you tell, and what does this mean to me? There are a couple of ways to tell if your feet are rigid, neutral, or flexible. One of the easiest ways to tell is to measure your feet while you are sitting and then when you are standing and note the difference, if any, in the length of your foot. While sitting on a chair, put your foot on a ruler and measure from your heel to the tip of your toes. Then stand up on your foot and see if your foot changes length or not. If your foot remains the same length, it is a rigid foot. If it grows by 1/8 of an inch, it is neutral (a good blend of cushioning and stability), and if it grows by more than ¼ of an inch, it is flexible (absorbs shock well but not stable).

Shoes are designed with these three foot types in mind and it is important to get into the right type of shoe. All running shoes have cushioning. The difference is in the softness of the midsole and the thickness of the foam. If you are a runner with rigid feet, you will need to concentrate on shoes that have the softest foams. For you to run for any distance, you will need to get shoes that absorb shock very well. If you have a neutral foot, you can get shoes that blend cushioning and stability. Your shoes will have a soft midsole, but will have a wider base and a second density on the medial side (arch area). If you have a flexible foot, your shoes should have a slightly firmer midsole and thinner midsole to stabilize your foot. You are already good at absorbing shock and will need less cushioning and mores support. The higher you lift a flexible foot off the ground, the more unstable it becomes.

Another element of footwear is insoles. The manufactures insoles are not the best available. For the rigid foot, a soft shock absorbing insole can do wonders to make running fun. And for the extra flexible foot, a supportive insole can add to your running.

It is very important to understand your foot and body type so that you can be a successful runner. So many people fail because they are in the wrong shoes or the wrong sized shoe. Take the time to understand your foot and then make sure your foot wear is right. If you are having any trouble with pain and injury from your lower back down to your feet, you should check into your footwea