Importance of Footwear

By Scott Blankenship

Wearing proper footwear is one aspect of daily life that people tend to pay very little attention to. Most of the pain that people have throughout the day such as back pain and shin splints may start at the feet. Yes, everyone has 10 toes but not every foot is the same. Feet run narrow and wide. Some people’s feet pronate and some peoples supinate. If your foot pronates it means your ankle roles toward the inside of your foot. If your foot supinates it means that your ankle roles toward the outside of your foot. This has to do with having high or low arches in your foot. Shoes are made in all different types but some shoes are made to correct that slight tilt inward or outward. These shoes balance out your feet and align them with the rest of your body. If your feet are thrown off, the rest of your body will be as well. So know your feet before you go buy a shoe.

How do you tell if your foot pronates or supinates? There are two simple ways to check. You can wet your foot and step on a piece of cardboard to see the outline of your foot, or simply just take the insole out of one of your older shoes. With either method, look at how your footprint is outlined on you imprint. If your insole is worn down more on the inside of your shoe, then you most likely pronate. If your insole is worn down on the outside of the foot then you most likely supinate. If the wear is even, than you have a neutral foot. Once you know your wear pattern, go to the shoe store with a purpose. Ask for shoes that fix a pronation or supination. Also go to the store later in the day. Feet swell as the day goes by, so a shoe that fits before physical activity might not fit after running a mile. Remember that walking shoes are not the same as running shoes. Walking shows are made stiffer and have less cushioning, running shoes are more lightweight and flexible with more cushioning to absorb more shock. 69% of people with stress fractures in their foot came from not having enough cushions in their shoes. If you don’t want to go buy a whole new shoe but need more cushioning, get an after-market insole such as a total support or a preform, either will give you that little extra support and cushioning. If you know you have problems with your feet and they bother you, go to a specialty store. The level of employee knowledge will be more advanced than a normal shoe store.