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Foot Type: Where the Foot Meets the Ground

3/5/14 4:35 PM
At one time or another, most of us have considered taking up running. Some of us have have tried, some have kept it as an annual New Year's resolution, and some of us have become addicted to the sport altogether. With the good weather around the corner (finger's crossed!), most runners in Central New York are itching to break out from under the snow and ice to get some miles in. 

Before you tackle that training schedule and hit the road or trail this spring, check your shoes first!


    • DO go shopping for and purchase shoes at the time of day you would normally run. Swelling in feet and lower legs can occur throughout the day and can affect the fit of the shoe. Shopping at the time you would normally run will help you get the best fit.
    • DO test out the shoes at the store. The right store will let you do this and offer their tips!
    • DO purchase shoes at a store with a sales rep trained to fit you correctly. We recommend Fleet Feet Sports of Syracuse for a great fit and customer experience. (They have two locations now. Dewitt for the East of Syracuse area and North of Syracuse for the Clay and Liverpool area)
    • DO pay attention to any discomfort in your shoes. If your shoes hurt to weight bear or run/walk in, they might not be the right shoe for you.

Do Not...

  • DO NOT out run a pair of shoes. Shoes should be traded out every 300 to 500 miles to ensure continuous, adequate support. Take a look at your old shoes. Are the wear patterns even from the left to right side? For the most part, shoes should display the same wear and tear on the sides and bottom.
  • DO NOT try to be a trendsetter. We know those flashy new colors look pretty sharp on a new pair of shoes, but do not purchase a pair of shoes based upon looks, style or color. (Believe it not, they won't make you run faster like your inner child wants to think!) Fit and appropriate support are the most important selling points!
  • DO NOT assume what size is best for you. Always try shoes on and if available, have a proper fitting performed.

*Pro Tip:

It helps to know what type of foot you have. Take a look at the types below. On the middle you will see a foot with a normal arch, meaning a typical foot that has a sufficient arch. 

On the top, a high arch, which means just that. A high arch requires adequate support in the right places. It is quite common for those with a high arch to land on the outside of their foot when running which can lead to various issues. The proper support will minimize that asymmetrical foot strike.

And on the bottom, a low arch. It is also possible to have no arch at all (or a flat foot). A low arch or flat foot also requires adequate support. As this foot hits the grounds, it lands flat which leads to over-stretching of the plantar fascia (in the bottom of the foot). This over-stretching can lead to...you guessed it, plantar fasciitis. Sometimes an over-the-counter shoe insert can be a simple solution. 




The trained sales team at Fleet Feet Sports will compete a thorough assesment of your walking/running pattern to fit you for the right inserts (if necessary) and shoes. If new, properly fitted running shoes don't help with any pain or discomfort you might be experiencing, an evaluation by a Physical Therapist could help.

Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, shoe fitting, running, foot type