Pronation and your shoes

When you walk, your heel should hit the ground first and roll toward your toes, flattening the arch slightly. As you push off the ball of your foot, your arch will spring back without touching the ground. That's a normal walking action. However, many people don’t walk normally. There are two ways in which the walking action typically differs from the ‘correct’ action.


Overpronation
This is when your foot rolls too much toward the inside. This can result in problems such as arch strain and pain on the inside of the knee.

Underpronation
This, perhaps self-evidently, is when your foot rolls too much to the outside. It can lead to ankle sprains and stress fractures.

If you have either of these tendencies, you can compensate for them (and therefore avoid the associated problems), but first you need to determine which way your feet roll.

One method for determining which kind of pronation you have is the watermark test: Put your feet into a bucket of water, then make footprints on a piece of dark paper.If your footprint looks like an oblong with toes, you pronate excessively or may have flat feet. When buying sports shoes, enquire about styles with "control" features—soles designed to counter the rolling-in motion. Alternatively, try moulded-leather arch supports – they’re easily purchased

If your footprint shows a gap between the front part of the foot and the heel, you probably underpronate, or you have a high arch. Look into "stability" shoes, which feature extra cushioning to counter this problem.