Disclaimer: This blog was written with no intention to be an authoritative source of information. Nor was it intended to provide diagnosis to any physical or medical conditions. Seek out health providers and medical practitioners for expert advice in regards to the topics very briefly discussed in this article.

We're halfway through the first month of the new year. Many of us have established our New Year's Resolutions - most of them are health or fitness related. Those of us have yet to settle on anything. Well... why not try running? It doesn't cost you any special monthly membership fees, and you can literally do it anywhere. However, like any other sport, you need to have the right equipment in order to succeed: proper running shoes.

You're in luck! As a matter of fact, Shoebacca carries a wide array of running shoes, in many different brands and styles. But where do you start? Which one do you choose? Thick sole? Thin sole? And what's the hullabaloo about this minimalism movement? Well it all boils down to one factor: You.

More specifically, the running shoes you need directly relate to your running style. You've got your Normies (Neutral Pronators), your Overs (Over Pronators), and your Supers (Under Pronators - Or supinators). Pronation just refers to how your foot hits the ground and distributes weight during your gait cycle (stepping from foot to foot.)

Normies

Image Courtesy of ASICS UK.

A good chunk of people, roughly 20% to 30% of runners, are Normies. Meaning the heal-to-toe roll of the foot doesn't rotate too far to the left or too far to the right. Weight is distributed evenly across the foot, and - as you're stepping/pushing off - most of the weight is supported across all 5 toes (with a good portion - about half - on the first and second toes.)

Overs

Image Courtesy of ASICS UK.

The more common irregularity in runners is Over Pronation. The natural rotation for pronation inclines to the inside of the foot, along the arch. Over pronating happens when your foot over-rotates inwardly and weight is no longer distributed evenly along the foot. Most of the weight is displaced along the inside portion of the foot and the first two to three toes shoulder the majority of the support.

Overs who do not correct this issue often experience pain with running because the work that should be handled by the feet and ankles is displaced to other parts of the body, like the knees, hips, and lower back. Other issues could also arise even when not running, like chronic pain in the aforementioned areas.

Supers

Image Courtesy of ASICS UK.

Under Pronating (Supinating) is just the opposite of Over Pronating. During the gait cycle, the outer half of the foot shoulders the majority of the weight, forcing the pinky and outer toes to support the body, with very little help from the Big Toe (who is still involved because balance.)

Since the natural pronation of the foot is to roll slightly towards the inner portion of the foot, Under Pronation is often associated with lack of ankle flexibility. Because of this, Supers can often correct the irregularity in their gait cycle through practice and stretching.

What's My Pronation?

The best way to find out what kind of pronator you are is by seeking advice from your medical or health professional, especially if you suspect something is seriously wrong or experience abnormal amounts of pain while running. However, if you're just curious and have time to kill, we suggest the Wet Feet Test. Check out this post from Running Shoes Guru on how to setup the test and then evaluate your results.

Recommendations

So you know your pronation. What do you do? Well, you buy the right equipment and be on your merry away to New Year's Resolution fulfillment. Usually an evaluation from a professional will also come with a recommendation (and orthotics in extreme cases), but we've got you covered if that's not the case.

Many different athletic shoe brands will cater to the different pronation styles, and many won't. We recommend ASICS though, as they have specific shoe collections tackling the different kind of Pronators.

Normies: Neutral pronators can get away with wearing any shoe, really. Avoid shoes that are specifically designed for severe over pronating or under pronating. Basically, the shoe world is your oyster! We recommend the Cumulus, Noosa Tri, Excel33, and Kinsei collections for Normies, as their support systems span from slight under pronating to slight over pronating.

Overs: Over pronators should seek out moderate to high arch support to help correct the inward inclination of their feet. We recommend the GT 1000, GT 2000, Super J33, and especially Kayano collections.

Supers: Under pronators should keep padding and arch support to a minimal. This keeps the shoe from pushing the foot outward, exacerbating the over pronation. Plus it allows more room within the shoe for your foot to self-correct. Try the Nimbus, Flux, Lyte33, or Sendai collections.