Over-Pronate When You Run? Find Your Perfect Running Shoes

Get footwear that helps prevent injuries and pain

Pronation refers to the natural movement of the human body and the way your foot rolls and distributes impact upon landing. It refers to the way your foot rolls inward or outward when you land and it helps the lower leg deal with the shock. This will help you in purchasing a comfortable shoe for your runs for proper cushioning.

Foot Pronation Analysis. Image credit: X Body Concepts

Understanding your Gait

During activities that involve the entire body such as running and swimming, every individual has a unique way of movement. This is known as your gait. This pattern may have resulted from your lifestyle and habits, as well as your body’s stability, mobility, strength, and flexibility.

A gait analysis helps in mapping out your natural pattern of movement, which is key for you as a runner because it determines the shoes you need to wear and the amount of cushioning your feet require.

Check your pronation at home

Several methods can be used;

  1. Take a video of yourself running on a treadmill and observe which part of your foot strikes the ground first.
  2. Look at the wear pattern of your older pair of running shoes
  3. Use the wet foot method where you step on the floor or wet paper with slightly wet feet

The outcome of the tests will help you determine if you are a neutral runner, and overpronator, or an underpronator, also known as a supinator.

You can also have your gait analyzed at the shoe store or by a podiatrist. They will ask you to run on a treadmill and watch your strike so as to make a diagnosis. In case they diagnose overpronation, they will be in a good position to recommend shoes that help in correcting it as well as helping with shock absorption. Let them also measure your feet to determine the correct size.

Pronation is in itself not a bad thing, but it does affect the way you run and may increase the risk of injury. This is why your pronation pattern is an important factor in choosing the right running shoes.

Overpronation

Overpronation refers to feet that roll in excessively, or when they should not. In this case, there is too much weight transferred to the medial or inner side of the foot as stated earlier, meaning that during a run, most of the weight is borne by the inner edge of your foot rather than by the ball of your foot. This problem destabilizes the foot, and it will attempt to regain its stability by compensating for the inward motion. This creates a kind of chain reaction which will affect the biomechanical efficiency of the leg, especially at the hip and knee joints.

The shoes of overpronators tend to show more wear under the ball of the foot especially the big toe and on the inside of the heel. It is, therefore, important that overpronators consider buying shoes that offer maximum support or structured cushioning. Shoes in these two categories will help your feet distribute the impact on landing more effectively.

New Balance 860v7 are great for women who overpronate. Image credit: New England Running Co

Criteria for Choosing Running Shoes

1. The Midsole

Overpronators require good cushioning and additional support especially along the midsole of the shoe. It is, therefore, important to focus on the arch side of the midsole when buying running shoes because improper support at the midsole can lead to pain, fatigue, discomfort, or even injury.

2. The Outsole & Heel Counter

If you have overpronation, the best support comes from shoes that offer a supplemental heel wedge, such a New Balance running trainers. This leads to more cushioning and impact absorption. A rigid and snug fit at the heel counter will also help in alleviating most of the discomfort that arises from overpronation.

3. Multi-Level Densities

This can be achieved using padding and foams with different levels of cushioning, so as to give you a more customizable fit. This can be from some dual density or tri-density foams, gels, and compression technology which will assist curbing all issues that overpronation can cause.

4. Long Ride Comfort

Good running shoes should be able to offer long term comfort against overpronation. The levels of comfort that a shoe offers becomes more important as endurance demands rise.

Overpronation may also require you to try orthotics, which you can buy over the counter. These are really helpful in combination with the correct pair of shoes. In the case of a serious case of overpronation, our podiatrist may also opt to make orthotics which will help with alleviating the condition.

When buying shoes, always pick shoes that are the right size for foot length and width. Don’t forget that feet tend to swell towards the late afternoon or early evening or after a strenuous activity, so the best time to fit or measure the feet is after a run or at the end of the day.

Also, remember to replace your running shoes every 300 to 500miles as shoes of overpronators tend to wear out much faster. The support levels of running shoes diminish at a faster rate when the shoes are used back to back for days. You may, therefore, need to consider having two pairs of running shoes.