How to Choose Running Shoes

Running Shoes

One of the best ways to choose the correct type of running shoe for your feet is to determine your level of pronation. Pronation is most often directly related to your arch height and can be checked by completing what is known as a Wet Test

How to do a Wet Test

The Wet Test is a simple process and can be completed by following a few easy steps.

  1. Get a paper bag and spread it out.
  2. Wet the bottom of each of your feet and stand as normally as you can on the paper bag.
  3. After about a minute, step off the paper bag and notice the imprint that was left by your feet.
  4. Match your imprint to the images listed below. Based on matching your imprint, you now know your pronation (over, under, or neutral) and can proceed to choose the right running shoe for you!

Understanding Pronation

There are three main types of pronation: neutral, flat feet or overpronator and high arch or underpronator.

The person that has neutral pronation is going to want to get a motion-control running shoe. The person with overpronation is going to want to get a stability running shoe, and the person with underpronation is going to want to choose a cushioned running shoe.

After you have determined your foot type and the degree of pronation that you have, one other important characteristic in choosing a running shoe is to look at the shoe shape. To get a clear picture of the shape, look at the bottom of the shoe.

Running shoes will usually come in three shapes which are straight, semi-curved and curved. It is believed by most experts that:

  • An overpronator should try choosing running shoes that have a straight shape.
  • An underpronator should try choosing running shoes that have a curved shape.
  • A neutral pronator should try choosing running shoes that have a semi-curved shape.

If you overpronate and have flat feet, then you should choose a motion-control running shoe. This kind of shoe will keep your foot from rolling in very far, it will give maximum support to your foot due to its straight shape and they are the most control-oriented and rigid running shoes.

If you underpronate and have high arches, then you should probably be choosing running shoes that are cushioned. These allow your feet to absorb shock and thus roll inward. These shoes have a curved shape and have a very soft midsole with the least medial support.

If you pronate normally and have normal arches, then you will be choosing running shoes that offer stability. These kinds of shoes offer a good blend of cushioning, durability and medial support. These running shoes often have a shape that is semi-curved, and they do not control the foot motion as much as the motion-control shoes.

If you have followed all of the above steps, then you probably have a good idea about the type of running shoe you should look for and how to go about choosing running shoes. It would be a good idea to go to a specialty store so that the staff there will be able to guide you to the appropriate type of shoe.

Tips for Fitting Running Shoes

The most important step in choosing running shoes is to ensure that there is a proper fit. You want a shoe that is snug but not tight. The most common mistake is buying running shoes that are too small. Here are some tips to go by that will ensure you a proper fit to your running shoe:

  • Check for enough room at the toebox. Your thumb should be able to fit in the space between the top of the shoe and the end of your longest toe.
  • See that there is enough room at the widest part of your foot. Your foot should not slide around but the shoe should not be tight either.
  • The heel of your foot should not slide up or down while you run or walk.
  • The upper portion of the running shoes that wraps around and over the top of your foot should fit both securely and snugly. It should not irritate or press on your foot too tightly.
  • Once you think you have found the perfect pair of running shoes, walk, jog or run as much as you can. Some stores even have a treadmill set up. You need to be able to feel the shoes in action.

Running Shoe Recommendations (Based on Pronation/Foot Type)

Listed below is a recap of the type of shoe you should get based on foot type and pronation:

  1. Flat footed and/or Overpronate - Motion Control Running Shoes


  2. High arches and/or Underpronate - Cushioned Running Shoes



  3. Normal arches and Neutral Pronation - Stability Running Shoes



If you know the correct type of running shoes for your feet and want to shop online, my Top Recommendation for an online running shoe retailer is:

  • Zappos
    Top notch selection of every kind of running shoe, great prices, FREE Overnight shipping, FREE Return shipping, 365-Day Return Policy, and 110% Price Protecton. You cannot go wrong with Zappos!

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