So, now you know your foot type—flat-arched to high-arched, and overpronator to supinator (for those of you who came in late, check out Treadmill on 4 March—The sole of the matter).

Extra firm arch support which cannot be depressed

Running shoes are designed for forward motion, so they don’t support you well when you move in other directions. So don’t use them for a variety of sport and expect them to perform well there—no matter how expensive they are.

The heel

Running shoes have additional cushioning and strength to absorb shock as your foot hits the ground (normally close to the heel). They take three times your body weight on impact as opposed to walking shoes. So, ensure they have a strong heel—the brands have different names for their materials and technology, such as, adiprene, absorb, gel, shox, air and dmx but, the basic function is similar.

Flexibility

Running shoes should be flexible and light.

Your foot type

Shoes for an over pronator. See how the arches are supported. The shoe seems to tilt outward

Look for shoes with extra cushioning (not firm) at the arch area to help absorb the added impact on your foot strikes, if you are a supinator.

Stephen Pribut, a Washington, DC-based podiatrist specializing in sports medicine, has a three-phase sequence for checking stability. First, bend the shoe toe to heel to see where it flexes. If it’s not at the forefoot—where the foot actually bends—be afraid. Then grip both ends and twist in opposite directions. If you can wring it like a towel, that means there’s zero support. Finally, squeeze the heel in both directions, right above the midsole. A stable heel won’t cave in.

(Rahul S. Verghese is a management consultant and founder of runningandliving.com.)

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