Did you know that you can begin to figure out the best running shoe for you for only sixteen cents? I know, you think that must be crazy! You are right in thinking that you can’t buy anything for that price, but you are “buying” information, not a tangible product. There are several ways to get to sixteen cents, but we’ll go the most direct route – a dime, a nickel, and a penny. We will be using the coins to measure the first piece of the “best running shoe for you” puzzle.
Podiatrists (Doctors who specialize in the health of feet) categorize feet into two general classifications; cavus feet and planus feet. Cavus feet are arched; planus feet are flat. There are almost an infinite number of possibilities in individual feet (currently at 8,000,000,000 and counting), from the flattest feet to the most extreme high-arched feet. Determining how much arch your foot has can be difficult, so after a flash of insight I’ve developed a method I call the Coin Test. First you will need sixteen cents, a dime, a nickel, and a penny.
Stand on a firm surface, with your knees slightly flexed. Have someone assist you by placing the nickel (21.21 mm) on edge under your medial arch, by the instep. If it fits comfortably, you have a high arch. The height of a penny (19.5 mm)would be lower, a medium arch. The same measure with a dime (17.91 mm), your arch is medium to low cavus arch. And finally, if the only thing which fits under your arch is a thin piece of paper, then your foot is flat.
High arches means that you have curved feet. You need a curved, or at least a semi-curved shoe. If you are a man, and we eliminate the racing shoe models and the semi-straight and straight shaped shoes, we are now down to approximately 90 different running shoe models, at any given time. Women have roughly 80-85 choices, though that has improved in recent years. Medium arched feet, being the largest group, have the greatest number of possible shoe shapes available to them. Some arches are high enough to wear curved shoes; some low enough to wear straight shoes. Semi-curved or semi-straight lasts are aimed at this foot shape.
Flat feet means you have straight feet. You need a straight, semi-straight, or very slightly curved shoe. The shape will be indicated as straight lasted or semi-straight lasted. Typically, out of more than 100 models of running shoes, there are usually no more than 10-12 straight lasted shoes, and there may be fewer in actual stores. Another consideration, which will be covered later, is that most flat (planus in scientific jargon) feet overpronate, that is they roll inwards excessively, so need some additional strategies for your running success.