If you're ending your runs with excess soreness in your feet and calves, there's a good chance you need to upgrade your footwear. If you're over-pronating or under-pronating, your body isn't absorbing the impact of your run correctly. Pronation-specific running shoes can correct this. Having the best shoes for your specific pronation issue will often eliminate soreness and leave you ready to tackle your longest runs in comfort.
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Prone to Injury
Pronation occurs when you land on the inside or outside edge of your foot, which adversely affects the absorption of impact and the action of the muscles throughout your feet and calves. To correct a pronation issue, shoes with varying densities of rubber and foam in the insole can redistribute your weight correctly. A denser foam in the areas that impact hardest will cause some of your weight to shift to areas with reduced density, subtly redistributing until your body weight is more or less even across both sides of your foot.
If you are an over-pronator, you consistently land on the inside edges of your feet. Landing on the inside edges of your feet causes the arches of your feet to collapse quickly, flattening the bottoms of your feet. Without arches to absorb the shock of impact, over-pronating can leave you with very sore feet and redistribute impact to the bones in your calves. The best shoe for an over-pronator has high-density foam underneath the inside edges of your arches for additional support.
If you are a supinator, or under-pronator, you land on the outside edges of your feet, which is rarer than over-pronation and potentially more dangerous to your foot health. The outside edges of your feet are rigid and firm because they are most involved in the propulsory part of your stride, allowing you to push off from the road more efficiently. Landing on this rigid section of your feet provides little to no absorption of shock. Shoes designed for supinators have a high-density foam underneath the outside edges of the shoes to help encourage a healthier step and absorb the damaging impact that can otherwise leave you sore.
Finding the Best
The best running shoes have a good lacing system that keeps the shoes secure. This allows the specific placement of different foam densities to correct pronation. A proper fit for individuals with especially wide or narrow feet is also key. You can see a podiatrist, sports clinic or running shoe specialist to have your pronation issue measured, which can help you choose the perfect shoe for your specific foot profile. If you experience considerable pain in any shoe, it's best to stop running and consult an expert so you don't do any serious damage.