If you have flat feet and need to know how to go about choosing the best pair of running shoes, then what you are about to read here will clear all your doubts...
You must have noticed, read, or even heard that the soles of our feet touch the ground in various ways. This means, some people, while running or walking, touch their feet from side-to-side; the tilt of our feet is different. Some people notice that the inside, the arch of their feet touches the ground, and for others, it's a different scenario, the outer edge of their feet touches the ground. This difference depends on the pronation, or in other words, the rotation of the feet while development. Before talking about the shoes, let's first see what pronation actually means.
Most people with flat feet are considered to be overpronators. So it is required that you understand pronation before you get to the running shoes for flat feet. Overpronation means that while running the feet roll inwards. In fact, they will roll inwards while walking, as well. There are basically 3 types of overpronation:
- Severe Overpronation ~ In this condition the heel will hit the ground first and the foot will roll inwards. The entire shock is taken by the heel and the ankle cannot balance the foot. There are major chances of accidents and injuries due to excess pressure and stress.
- Mild Overpronation ~ In this condition, the heel hits the ground first. However, the inward rolling of the foot is relatively less. The ankle cannot balance the foot completely. There are chances of injuries and accidents in this case, as well.
- Neutral Pronation ~ This condition means that there is perfect pronation. This is a very rare case for flat footed people.
Now that we have a clear idea as to what you are supposed to be looking for, while purchasing running shoes, we shall now move on to the specific requirements for men and women.
What to Look For
As a general idea, keep these points in mind when you are searching for running shoes at your favorite store.
- The Chosen One ~ These shoes will be specifically marked flat feet. You need to specifically ask for running shoes for flat feet. They mostly come in a different range.
- Added Support ~ Mostly, these running shoes will be with "added support". They will clearly state on the packing that they have added support. One needs to keep an eye out for that, as flat feet require more support as compared to others.
- Single Layer ~ Most running shoes come with several layers of padding for comfort. However, these running shoes will have a single layer of padding and not much curvature. This is to keep the overpronation in consideration, as well.
- Balancing Act ~ As overpronation leads to improper balance, the running shoes for flat-footed people will help you maintain the right balance. They will provide the right support, so that the ankle also stays in balance. So, when buying, keep an eye out for the balance.
- Weight Loss ~ The running shoes for women, needs to be as lightweight as possible. This is, simply to make sure that undue pressure is not put on the feet or the leg muscles.
- Shock Factor ~ There needs to be appropriate shock absorption in the running shoes for flat feet. This is because, due to overpronation, most of the shock is taken by the heel, leading to injury. As such, the shoe should help in absorbing the shock and prevent injuries.
- Ventilation ~ It is mostly preferable to have some breathing space in the shoes, to avoid suffocation. Women often face skin allergies due to suffocation of the feet. So, these shoes should give some breathing space, so that the skin is saved from allergies.
- Cushioning ~ Due to overpronation, the feet often feel a lot pressure on the ankle and heel. The running shoes need to have adequate cushioning and added support. This helps to 'cushion the blow' and relieve some of the unneeded pressure.
- Right Weight ~ The running shoes for men need not be lightweight as such, however, it is strongly suggested that you don't go for heavy running shoes for flat feet. Many brands have heavy weighted shoes. Avoid these shoes as they may put undue pressure on the leg, in general.
- Pronation Specific ~ As overpronation is more severe for men, the running shoe for flat feet must be appropriate for the feet pronation type. This should help avoid accidents and injuries.
- Support System ~ As men prefer a more stringent running schedule, running shoes need to provide comfort and support. Again, this will help balance the shock and the pressure.
- So Sweat! ~ Men tend to sweat more at the feet, especially, if they are runners. So, the running shoes for flat feet need to have breathing space for men. This is required to avoid sweating as far as possible and avoid skin problems that it might cause.
Companies like Nike, Reebok, Puma, Adidas, and FILA have a wide range of shoes that cater specifically to people with flat feet. While running, whether on a treadmill or outdoors, if you don't have the right shoes on, you are taking a huge risk with your health. Your feet need to be protected at all times; avoiding any twists and turns that may occur. So be sure to follow the advice mentioned in this article and ask for suggestions while at the store as well. Take care of your feet; they'll reward you for your concern.