To find out which category you belong in, simply wet your foot and step on dry pavement or on a piece of paper laid out on a flat surface.
Observe your footprint to see which of the following four foot types it most resembles:
1. Neutral foot: Your big toe, ball of foot and heel are all represented in equal measure and resemble what some would say a “typical” footprint; you see only a small part of the middle of your foot, where the arch is located
2. Flat foot (low arch): You see most if not all of your foot in your footprint, including the middle part called the arch of the foot.
3. Pes cavus (high arch): Only your toes and a small part of your heel and a small part of the ball of your foot are visible in your footprint.
4. Supinated foot: Your footprint makes a C-shape, with the outside of your foot being most represented. We call this type of walking under pronation.
So, now what kind of shoes are for you?
Once you’ve figured out your foot shape, here’s what to keep in mind when shoe shopping.
- Neutral foot: This is the ideal foot type and signifies that the arches in your feet aren’t too high or too low. People with a neutral foot type can wear almost all types of shoes, provided they are comfortable. It’s important to keep in mind that wearing ill-fitting shoes that cause pain or discomfort can lead to foot arch issues over time.
- Flat foot: Contrary to what you might think, having a flat foot doesn’t mean you should wear flat shoes. In fact, flat footed people actually feel more comfortable when wearing low, 1 to 2-inch heels that offer added support to stressed arches than wearing flats and ballerina shoes. However, you can wear flats if you add supple, arch supporting orthotics.
- Pes cavus: People with a high arch foot type should avoid wearing heels of any kind, as the foot shape not only reduces stability but also can be made worse by high heels. Good arch support is a must to decrease the pressure on the heels and balls of the feet, so opt for cushioned athletic shoes or flats with orthotics.
- Supinated: This foot type signifies that you put a lot of weight on the outside of your feet. This means the best shoes for you include those with sturdy sides and heel cups to help keep your weight more evenly balanced. Try to avoid flimsy flip flops and sandals and instead go with well-made sport shoes and other supportive footwear.