How your foot strikes the ground is an important factor when choosing athletic shoes. Often referred to as under-pronation, supination refers to when the foot rolls to the outside. While there are numerous options for shoes that correct over-pronation -- when the foot or arch excessively collapses to the inside -- there are fewer shoe options for correcting supination because it is far less common. There are key considerations when purchasing shoes for supination.
Why Does Foot Strike Matter?
The body's natural shock absorber is the foot. When the foot strikes the ground, most commonly it naturally rotates inward to absorb shock and help you push off the ground with less effort. This is important when walking but more important when you are running. While running, the foot has to absorb more force -- up to eight times your body-weight. Using a shoe to correct your foot strike can keep you free of injuries.
What to Look for
There are a few things to look for that will show supination. First, stand on one foot and then the other and see what happens. Does your foot roll to the outside? Next, look at a well worn pair of athletic shoes. Turn the shoe over and examine the sole. Where is most of the wear on the shoe? If it is more worn on the forefoot and outside of the shoe, you supinate.
Types of Shoes
Although there are no supination-specific shoes, there are shoes that work better for this type of foot strike than others. There are three key features to look for, flexibility, cushion and low profile. Purchase shoes that are flexible on the inner side of the shoe to allow your foot more motion. Purchase shoes with good cushion to counteract the extra pounding. Also, supinators tend to roll their ankle often; buy shoes that are lower to the ground to help avoid ankle strains.
Aside from purchasing a shoe for supination, there are a number of things that supinators can do to stay healthy. Be sure to spend more time stretching the calves, quads, hamstrings, and the iliotibial (IT) band. This will keep your leg muscles loose and lessen the negative effect that supination can have on the body. Another consideration is to make sure you replace your shoes every six to eight months or after 300 to 400 miles.
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