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Pronation: what it means and how it affects your run shoe choice

Wondering what run shoes you should buy, based on your pronation? Here are some tips…

Pronation is the way your foot rolls inwards to absorb the shock of landing. Too much or too little and you’re technically more prone to injuries as your whole foot isn’t absorbing as much of the shock. The force of your body pounding on the ground repeatedly puts stress on the joints, especially on tarmac, so consider pronation when looking for a run shoe. 

Jargon buster

Neutral

Those who land on the outside of their heel then very slightly roll their ankle so it’s in line with the rest of their leg. This provides the most shock- absorption and stability while running.

Overpronation

The outside of the heel makes the initial ground contact before the foot rolls inward, putting pressure on the ankle and foot.

Supinator

Or under-pronator. After the initial heel strike, the foot moves outwards during the gait cycle, resulting in the small toes and outside of the foot dominating the push-off phase. Often found with people with high arches.

What this means:

If you overpronate, look for a shoe that provides supportive, structured cushioning, with a firm midsole to support a flat foot arch. Underpronators need some cushioning along the outside of their shoe to absorb the shock of landing on the outside of their foot, and extra flexibility to evenly distribute landing impact. If you’re neutral then you’ve got a wide choice, but pick shoes for your level of experience and distances.

If you’re worried about injuries, get a gait analysis at your local run shop. You can also look at the wear on your current shoes’ soles to give an indication of your pronation type. Your style might change as you improve or tackle different distances, so take further tests when there’s a significant change to your training regime.

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