What is Pronation?

If you’re a runner, likely, you’ve already visited a sports medicine doctor or maybe you have undergone physical therapy, so you’ve already come across the term ‘pronation’. But what exactly is pronation, and how does it impact your running performance? In this article, we will delve deeper into the concept of pronation, its importance for runners, the different types, and how you can choose the perfect shoe for you based on your pronation type. 

So, whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting, keep on reading for insights on pronation. 

What is Pronation and Why is it Important? 

Pronation is a complex biomechanical process that plays a critical role in a person’s running performance and overall foot health. It refers to the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to optimally distribute the force of impact on the ground during each step of running. Pronation is essential for proper shock absorption, as it helps to evenly distribute the impact forces throughout the foot and lower leg. It also enables the foot to push evenly from the ball of the foot at the end of the gait cycle, providing the necessary propulsion for efficient running. 

However, the size and strength of the runner’s arch can affect the foot’s ability to roll, leading to either supination or overpronation. Understanding your pronation type is crucial for selecting the right running shoes as it can significantly impact the quality of your run. ASICS’ research has revealed a staggering statistic – a whopping 80% of runners are wearing the wrong shoes. This means that a vast majority of runners are at risk of injury if they continue to wear shoes that don’t match their running style. 

In fact, around four out of five runners are potentially compromising their foot health and overall running performance by wearing shoes that are not suitable for them. This highlights the importance of selecting the right shoes for your individual foot type and running style, as it can significantly impact your comfort, performance, and risk of injury. By understanding your pronation type and selecting the right shoes, you can enhance your comfort, improve the quality and performance of your run, and reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries.

Understanding the Different Types of Pronation 

There are three types of pronation commonly observed in runners:

  1. Neutral: A neutral foot type is characterised by even distribution upon initial contact with the ground. When the foot lands, it follows an S-shaped pattern from the outer heel to the big toe, which helps to absorb shock and support body weight. Runners with a neutral foot type are generally less likely to experience injuries related to shock absorption.

  2. Underpronation: Underpronation or supination occurs when the foot rolls outward upon impact. This can lead to additional pressure on the outside of the foot and the smaller toes, causing increased strain on the ankle and lower leg. Runners with underpronation may be more prone to running injuries such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

  3. Overpronation: Overpronation happens when the foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls or pronates inward. The inner edge of the foot takes the brunt of the impact, leading to pressure in the big toe and second toe. Overpronators may experience running injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and heel spurs.

Understanding your pronation type and selecting the right shoes can help prevent injuries and enhance your running experience. 

How to Determine Your Pronation Type

Determining your foot type and pronation is crucial when selecting the right running shoes for you and there are different ways to analyse your gait: 

  1. Wear patterns on your shoes can provide valuable insight into your running mechanics and foot type, but there are also more scientific ways to analyse your gait.

  2. You can test your pronation type through video gait analysis, where a video of your feet is taken while running on a treadmill. This footage is then examined to determine your foot type and running mechanics. 

  3. For underpronators, the outside of the shoe shows the most wear, and there may be a slight outward tilt when placed on a flat surface. 

  4. Neutral pronators have an S-shaped wear pattern from the outer heel to the big toe, and there may not be any noticeable tilt when placed on a flat surface. 

  5. Overpronators have extra wear on the inside of the heel and under the ball of the foot, and there may be an inward tilt when placed on a flat surface.

Choosing the Right Shoe

Now that you have determined your foot type, finding the right running shoe is essential. A quality running store often has knowledgeable employees who can help you select the perfect shoe that supports your foot type.

When trying on shoes, keep these five tips in mind:

  1. Try on running shoes towards the end of the day when your foot is the most swollen.

  2. Wear the socks, orthotics, and braces you typically wear while running.

  3. Stand up and check the length and width of the shoe.

  4. Perform a heel raise, walk, and jog with the shoe to ensure it is comfortable and provides the necessary support.

  5. Take your time and choose carefully, as how the shoe feels in the store is how it will feel when you are running.

When buying a new pair of shoes, it is crucial to consider that you need to replace your running shoes every 400 to 600 miles to prevent injuries. The shock absorption depletes with each passing mile, and you shouldn’t be able to see the white midsole material peeking through the outsole. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right running shoes is essential for your foot health and performance. Failing to choose the right shoes based on your pronation type can lead to injuries and negatively impact your running experience. We hope that this article has provided you with valuable tips on how to choose the perfect shoes that offer optimal support, cushioning, and comfort for your unique running mechanics. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision and shop for your perfect pair at Wide Fit Shoes.