How to Select Best Shoes for Your Arch type
How to select best shoes for your arch type can be a tricky. Running shoes are designed to accommodate various arch types to reduce injuries sustained during running.
Now, some people are lucky and can get away with wearing any kind of shoes because they have a neutral or average arch.
However, most people really need to have the right type of shoes as a defense against injury. You might have heard people speak about Motion control (MC) and cushion trainer (CT) shoes. You might have wondered how these shoes effect the way you run. In this post I’ll explore that very topic.
Which means I’ll be answering the following question:
Do low-arched (LA) and high-arched (HA) runners respond differently to motion control and cushion trainer shoes?
For more information on flat feet check the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_feet
For more information on pain associated with high arches check the video below
A Caution About The Wet Test
You’ll find it all over the internet. The so called “Wet test” that is suppose to help you figure out what type of feet you have. It involves dunking one foot in some water, then stepping onto cardboard, a paper bag or other porous surface to view your foot print.
If the arch of your footprint is filled in, you likely have flat feet. If the arch isn’t very visible, you have high-arched feet. If your arch is halfway filled in, then you have neutral feet.
The problem with the wet test is that instead of people using it as a guide, which would be okay, they use it as the whole answer. The wet test as far as I’m concerned is a “static test”, and running is a dynamic event. Whenever possible, I would also advice one to get a gait analysis at their local running shop or visit a professional in biomechanics. They will watch you on a treadmill to understand the natural motion of your feet when you land or use a digital step technology that can immediately give them an X-ray like picture of your feet.
Choosing the appropriate shoe may be more crucial for LA and HA individuals because these individuals have been reported to have an increased incidence of injuries compared with individuals with average arch structure. Once you are certain of your arch type, you are ready to dwell into the matter at hand.
Understanding What Injury is
Okay, let’s talk more specifically about the root cause of injury. Generally when we use the term “injury” we mean that the load applied to the tissue has exceeded the capacity of the tissue to withstand that load.
Stand in front of a speeding bus, and the load that the bus imparts on you will exceed the capacity of many bones and ligaments to withstand that load. This is a not so lovely example of a traumatic injury.— Dr. Kevin Maggs Biomechanics expert
The Impact of Loading on Runners
When the foot strikes the ground during running the ground produces a force back against the foot. Technically speaking the force can be broken into three directional vectors, but the one that you need to concern yourself is called vertical loading.
I can almost see you nodding. You starting to get it. What happens if the force of striking the foot exceeds the capacity of the foot muscles to withstand it? You guessed it. You’ll probably have pain and maybe an injury.
Speed of Impact
Without getting deep into runner’s jargon, let’s just talk about one more concept—loading rate. This is just a measure of how quickly the impact force is applied. Don’t get thrown by the terminology. It’s really an easy concept. All it means is whether the impact happens in a rapid collision or is more spread out.
An analogy that is often used to explain the loading rate is that of hitting a wall with a bare fist versus using a boxing glove. If you use the boxing glove the impact is going to slow down and be spread out. You might be sore, but chances are that you won’t break any bones.
Years ago I was in a car accident. The car literally rolled down a hill. Even though I wore a seat belt I felt myself twisting, and ended up with bad stomach cramps. So, excessive motion can also cause big problems.
Let’s put it together. So far these are the things we need to understand.
- An injury can best be described as when load is applied to tissue exceeds the capacity of the tissue to handle the load. Think of the speeding bus analogy.
- When a foot strikes the ground it produces a force that can be measured as vertical loading
- The rate of loading refers to whether there is a rapid collision or the impact is more spread out.
- Excessive motion can cause pain
The big question than becomes which shoes if you have high arches or low arches will best help you deal with impact load, excessive motion, and thus lessen your chance of pain.
Drum Roll Please
You need motion control shoes for low arch runners. Usually LA runners suffer from soft tissue injuries such as tendintiss associated with rear foot motion. A MC shoe will lessen the risk of such injuries. It will have cushioning technology to provide a firmer midsole for better support, but less flexibility. On the other hand, high arch runners often suffer from bony related injuries such as stress fractures. They need CT sneakers that will reduce the shock of a hard landing.
As I said in the beginning of this post, running shoes are designed to accommodate various arch types to reduce injuries sustained during running. You now have the information to understand whether you need MC or CT shoes to reduce your risk of injury. You now know how to select the best shoes for your arch type. So, lace up your shoes and have a good run.
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