When running, the right shoes can mean the difference between being in pain and staying pain-free. While many walkers can continue their sport late into the years with little problem, running can accelerate the effects a bad gait can have on your ankles, shins, knees and before you know it — even your lower back.

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6403e216-7dbb-11dd-b0a2-000b5dabf613.flvLuckily, the right shoes can make all the difference and even help correct a bit of mal-alignment you may have. But finding the right shoes requires mastering a couple of new terms and simple concepts. Once you’re equipped with this information, you’ll never look at running shoes the same way, and look forward to years of enjoying the sport pain-free.

For a new runner, the word “pronation" sounds more like something wrong, than something right. In reality, pronation is pretty normal. If you ever tape yourself running and slow down the footage, you’ll notice that your ankles and feet roll slightly inwards, providing natural shock absorption.

Some people however, roll inwards a lot more than usual (over-pronation). Others do the opposite and roll outwards a lot more (under-pronation or supination). Either way, this means a lot more strain on your ankles, knees, hips and even your lower back (!).

How can you tell if you do either? Try the “wet test" or “newspaper test:"

Spread three newspaper center-sheets onto the floor.

Wet your feet in a shallow pan of water.

Step onto the newspapers, leaving a clear imprint of your feet.

(You can also try adding poster-colour to the water if you want a clearer imprint that will last longer).

There are three imprints most runners usually have:

*Normal or neutral

*Flat-footed or low-arched


Normally, flat-footed runners tend to over-pronate. While high-arched runners usually supinate or under-pronate.

Another easy way to figure out if you over-pronate or not is to pick up a pair of your old shoes or sneakers, flip them over and look at where they’re worn out the most (hint - look at the heels).

Here are a couple other things to keep in mind:

*Your feet swell during the day, so consider shopping later in the day.

*They also swell during exercise – don’t buy shoes that could chafe your feet!

*When you go shopping, consider wearing the socks you usually wear when you run.

*Visit several stores and get a good idea of what’s available out there.

*Lace up in the store and run stationary to make sure the laces don’t come undone.

*Keep in mind that you want your feet to be able to “breathe" when you run. Take a look at the material your shoes are made of – they should allow for air to flow through.

Well-informed shopping, means happy feet, and only happy feet can mean happy running.