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Find Your Foot Pronation Type: Neutral, Pronator, or Supinator

Updated on May 27, 2017

Foot pronation is an important factor to consider when buying any type of shoe (not just running shoes.) It's a good idea to know what type of pronator you are before going to the shoe store so that you can select the right pair of shoes for your feet. Depending on your type, you may need something with shock absorption or you might need something for boosted stability or support.

As important as pronation is to foot health, many people don't know what type of pronator they are. And even still, some people are not aware that foot pronation is an important consideration when selecting shoes. However, it plays a vital role in what kind of shoes you should wear as wearing the wrong shoe can be detrimental to the health of your feet.

What type of pronator are you?
What type of pronator are you?

What Is Foot Pronation?

Running shoes should be chosen by how the wearer runs. Pronation describes the motions that feet go through when running and it varies from person to person. Thus, it's important that runners select shoes based on their personal pronation. Different shoes work for different people, so it's important for runners to select a shoe that matches their distinct pronation.

There are three different types of foot pronation. Each running shoe fits under at least one category of pronation. When a runner's foot naturally rolls inwards during the heel-to-toe transition of their gait, this is called neutral pronation. When the runner's foot rolls excessively inwards and the arch collapses, this is called over-pronation. Under pronation (also known as supination) occurs when the runner's foot does not roll in enough. It is easy for people to find out what type of pronator they are and this doesn't even require a trip to the podiatrist!

How to Find Your Foot Type

Want to know what type of pronator you are? Follow this simple test to determine whether you're a pronator, supinator, or neutral.

  1. Wet your feet and step on a piece of paper.
  2. Take a look at the footprint on the paper.
  3. If it shows a perfect footprint, then you are a neutral pronator. If the paper shows that the arch has also been left in the print, you are an over pronator. Supination (also known as underpronation) is shown by those whose footprint shows a gap disconnecting the top and bottom portions of the feet.

The right shoes can help correct for pronation and supination.
The right shoes can help correct for pronation and supination.

The Importance of Shock Absorption in Shoes

Running has become much easier and comfortable due to the usage of shock absorption in running shoes. This feature in shoes is fairly new, but since the arrival of shock absorption technology in shoes, many people have felt much more comfortable and have incurred fewer injuries that were a result of wearing the wrong type of shoes.

Scientists have applied the knowledge that the pavement below a runner's feet applies an equal amount of force up toward the runner as the runner is applying upon the pavement. Because of the speed and pressure in a jog, runners often apply forces as high as eight times their body weight toward the ground. Because of the equal and opposite motion from the pavement, this force is pushed back up throughout the runner's body.

The body has a natural suspension system, much like a car, but prolonged, regular running can cause health problems such as joint and knee pain, leg problems, etc. This is the reason that scientists have been spending more effort in improving the running shoe industry. As science brings more shock absorption to running shoes, more health problems due to running and jogging are being prevented.

What type of pronator are you?

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Selecting The Right Running Shoes

Shock absorption in running shoes can prevent a lot of health problems, but it is extremely important for those buying shoes to aid them with their type of pronation. If a person with over pronation wears shoes for those with under-pronation problems, they can be hurting their bodies more than helping. The same goes for a person using another other pronation shoe type than the type they are supposed to wear.

When a person wears the correct shoe type with shock absorption for their pronation type, they can help get rid of any current physical problems related to pronation issues. Runners can also prevent major problems by wearing the correct shoe type. Those who over-pronate are urged to wear motion control shoes, while those who under-pronate should wear cushioned shoes to enhance shock dispersion. Neutral pronators (those who have no natural pronation problems) are urged to wear stability shoes to make sure they stay a neutral pronator.

Many sporting goods stores carry shoes made for people with different types of pronation. The comfort and fit of shoes are very important regardless of what type of pronation is occurring. Regardless of this, it's a good idea to shop around Online for different shoes to find reviews and learn more about the different types of running shoes that are available that can help you with your particular foot condition whether it be a pronation problem or plantar fasciitis. This allows you to make an educated decision as to which shoes to try to which to avoid when you make your purchase.


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    • profile image

      david 5 years ago

      I.m a non pronator. I have no feet you see.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Great hub, I'll try that water test and see what type of pronation I am. I think most likely I have neutral pronation as I haven't ever had any foot problems, but I will only know for sure once I do the water test. You get a vote-up, useful and interesting for this hub.

    • dablufox profile image

      dablufox 6 years ago from Australia

      This is a really important topic for someone looking to start running to get fit. I think I am an overpronator, I have very expensive orthotics provided for me during my naval service and was prescribed Brooks shoes as they best suited my gait and foot shape. But most people don't get professional qualified medical assistance when purchasing running shoes and very few give it a second thought.

      If I go for a run without my orthotics I would be a cripple the next day.

      Top hub, very useful!

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 7 years ago from South East Asia

      I am actually doing some homework before buying a pair of running shoes. I think I am a neutral pronator too. Thanks for the pointers.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 8 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      I am a neutral pronator, but my mom is an under pronator and my dad is an over pronator. I guess I'm the average of those two!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      yes im a suprinator I took a couple of year before I stopped buying runners that were meant for pronators...

    • roezer profile image

      roezer 8 years ago from Ireland

      Nice info I noticed when did do a lot of running I often concentrated on my steps and how hard I was hitting the Ground shock absorbing in shoes really helps this and prevents long term damage.