These days, purchasing the correct running/walking shoes can be a difficult decision with the amount of choices on the market. Recently, I glanced over the list of different types and styles of running shoes and came up with over one hundred different choices. Where is an individual supposed to go and start when there are so many different options?

One place to start is the shower. A simple “wet test” can help you determine what type of foot you possess. This simple test starts with getting the bottom of your feet wet and then placing them on the ground and looking at how much arch is left on your foot print. If an individual has a distinctly seen arch, it would be considered a high arch foot type and likely need cushioning type running shoes.

The second type of foot that has a somewhat visible arch in the foot print, considered a “normal” arch, would likely benefit from stability type shoes.

Finally, the third foot type is where the entire foot print or only a small part of the arch is still present. This type of foot is usually best suited for a motion control type shoe.

Although the “Wet Test” described above has been around for many years and is considered to be the standard for measuring foot type, there are many problems associated with this test.

For one thing, a runner places five to eight times his body weight through his foot during running versus standing. The arch of the foot is a movable body part that should absorb energy and release it during running. With that in mind, let us look at the foot with regard to the arch.

The high arch foot type is unable to absorb this energy and likely needs to have a significant amount of cushioning in the running shoe.

An unusual foot type that “appears” to have motion control type needs is a flat foot or pes planus. A pes planus foot type is considered to be a rigid foot and would also benefit from cushioning type shoes.

The normal foot, consisting of an arch appearance during the wet test, may fool you into purchasing stability type running shoes.

To pin point the appropriate shoe type, take a good look at the bottom of your foot. Now step down and put your entire weight through your foot. What does the arch do? Does it fall down like a motion control type foot? Does it maintain it’s height like that of a cushioning type foot (not very usual)? Or does it appear to have a small “absorption” in the arch more like that of a stability shoe foot type? Depending on what the arch does, this will help to narrow down what shoes should be purchased.

A majority of people will need to have someone help them in the assessment of their foot type. Take your time in determining your foot type and match that to the shoes that are meant for your feet.

I recommend the novice runner get their feet professionally looked at by a reputable specialty running store. These stores should have a wide selection of shoes as well as brands. Make sure to do your research and change your shoes every three to six months.

Remember that as you age, your foot will continue to grow up to two sizes and possibly two widths, so get your foot measured correctly each time you buy shoes to give the foot the proper amount of room it needs.

Now go out and enjoy your injury-free physical training.