In my last post I talked briefly about the very common problem of pronation. (In case you forgot you can review here). So we established that it is important for our feet to be able to pronate, but it is also necessary to make sure that they do not pronate too much.  The easiest way to control over-pronation is wear supportive shoes.  Below are some of the most extreme examples of supportive shoes that help to control serious pronation. Most people won’t need this much correction – but these three shoes provide excellent examples of features to look for when you are shopping for anti-pronation footwear:

Example #1: the Brooks Beast.  The first thing you need to notice about this shoe is the fact that the foam in the midsole is two different colors. The dark grey foam is a bit harder than the white foam. This means that as you put your weight onto your foot the shoe squishes less where the grey foam is. This design helps to guide your body weight more towards the outside of your foot.  Fortunately, most shoe companies consistently use the system of coloring the harder foam grey.  If you see sneakers with a grey patch under the arch it is generally safe to assume that they are anti-pronation shoes.

Example #2: The Saucony Stabil.  Now that you know what the grey foam means, you will be especially impressed with this shoe. The grey foam extends all the way to the big toe in this sneaker.

But there is another feature that I want you to notice about this shoe. Many running shoes have a gap cut out of the arch, in order to make the shoe lighter. This is ok for most people, but for pronators it is just like taking a stone out of the foundation of your house or trying to build a bridge across a river that is too wide – your foot will sag into the gap. If you are a pronator, always try to find shoes without a gap.

Example#3: New Balance 1540. This is the shoe that we very often recommend for people who pronate excessively. It has both of the qualities that we just talked about in the last two examples, plus a little something extra.  Many New Balance shoes have a special feature called “Rollbar”. This is piece of plastic imbedded in the midsole that works just like a guardrail on a highway – it stops your foot from rolling off the edges of the shoe. The plastic Rollbar is an extra reinforcement, adding even more support to the shoe and guiding your heel in the right direction with every step.

Don’t worry…there’s more. We haven’t even scratched the surface of ways to control over-pronation. For some people, a stabile pair of sneakers is all they need. For others, good shoes are just the start.  In the up-coming weeks we will explore other solutions, ranging from exercises (yes, your feet can be flabby) to orthotics and arch supports.

Walk well.