Over Pronating vs. Under Pronating

9 09 2011

Everyone’s mechanics are slightly different when it comes to running. You may have heard the terms overpronation and supination, but what do these terms really mean and how can proper shoes help correct these issues?

Neutral Pronation

First, let’s talk about neutral pronation. Neutral pronation is the ideal type of gait. Neutral runners keep the foot in a stable, lateral position throughout the heel strike and toe off. There isn’t any excessive rolling or collapsing of the arch.

A neutral runner should wear “neutral” shoes, like the one below. Neutral shoes don’t have any movement control of the foot. Neutral shoes allow the foot to move naturally without trying to stabilize the foot.

Over Pronation

A vast majority of runners/walkers over pronate to some degree. Over pronating is when a foot rolls in excessively or collapses toward the arch.

A runner who over pronates will want to wear a shoe that has some movement control. This is provided by a stronger, more rigid matieral at the inside sole and arch of the shoe. This stabilizing material is usually visible on the medial side of a shoe, marked by a darker color.

As opposed to the neutral shoe above, the grey part of the midsole is firmer than the white part and provides some guidance for the foot to try to maintain a more stable gait and correct the excessive pronation.  The firmer portion of the midsole also makes the shoe more durable for the wearer.

There are varying levels of stability in running shoes. The shoe below has more of the darker, grey material than the shoe above, meaning it provides more control of excessive motion.

Under Pronation (Supination)

The least common type of gait is that of  under pronating (some call it “supinating”) feet. These runners do not roll in toward the arch or pronate quite enough. Runners or walkers who under pronate should wear very flexible, neutral shoes to allow as much movement of the foot as possible.

Analyzing Your Gait

Now that you know a little bit more about different gait types, how do you know what your mechanics are like and which type of shoes to wear? At Fleet Feet Sports here in Sunny Memphis, we watch customers run or walk on our treadmill while we take a quick video of the customer’s feet in motion. This helps us get a good idea of each person’s mechanics when their feet are under a little stress. Don’t YOU stress, though — if you’re not comfortable on a treadmill, we can do the same process on the sales floor or outside.


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20 07 2015
How to Make Your Business Stand Out From Competitors

[…] fit your running shoes. They watch how you walk or run and recommend the proper shoe depending on how you pronate. They even allow you to run in the parking lot to see how they fit and feel. On top of that, they […]

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