That depends on your foot type and running motion. If you’re flat-footed, your feet probably also pronate — that is, roll too far inward when they hit the ground. If you have a high, rigid arch, they’re likely to supinate, or roll outward when they hit the ground. And if you have a medium arch, they probably come down normally without rolling much either way. It’s important to find a running shoe that encourages this happy mean; otherwise you may end up with a serious foot injury.
To determine your foot type, ask a friend to measure one of your sockless feet while you’re sitting and again while you’re standing. If there’s no change in the length of your foot, you have a high, rigid arch and your feet supinate. If your foot lengthens by a quarter-inch or more when you’re standing, you have flat feet that pronate. If you’re somewhere in between, your feet are considered normal.
Nearly all running-shoe manufacturers make shoes that are specifically designed for these three foot types. They’re generally labeled as follows:
- Cushion for high arches: These shoes come with extra cushioning in the midsoles to help your feet absorb shocks; their soles have a curved or semi-curved shape (as seen from the bottom) that promotes a normal running motion.
- Motion control for flat feet: With a straight shape and a more rigid midsole than other running shoes, these help keep your feet properly aligned.
- Stability for normal feet: These shoes also have a semi-curved shape, but the less rigid midsoles allow your feet to strike the ground naturally.
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