Before purchasing any pair of athletic shoes it is important to understand your arch type. There are several ways that you can determine your arch type including inspecting a worn pair of shoes. Below describes the “wet imprint test” that you can quickly do yourself in four simple steps. A video has also been included below that provides further instruction. Note that there is no wrong or right arch type, but it is important to know which type that you are, so that you buy the right shoe that provides the necessary support and the least harm to your body.
Pour a layer of water into a shallow pan.
Wet the bottom of your foot.
Step onto a paper towel, paper bag or any surface that will leave an imprint of your foot.
Look at the imprint and match it to one of the arch types below.
Normal (medium) Arch – A Normal or Medium Arch will leave an imprint of the heel and the forefoot connected by a wide band. After heel strike, this foot type will pronate or roll inward slightly to absorb shock. This is the most common foot type. This foot type is best suited for stability shoes that use support devices such as dual density midsoles and medial posts for mild overpronation.
Flat Arch – A Flat Arch will leave an imprint of almost the entire bottom of the foot. This foot type is usually an indication of the excessive inward roll of the foot after heel strike commonly referred to as overpronation. The arch collapses too much which may cause overuse injuries. This foot type is best suited for stability shoes and motion control shoes. These shoes have firmer medial support devices and flatter soles that are best for moderate to severe overpronators as well as heavier runners.
High Arch – A High-Arched Foot will show an imprint of the heel and the forefoot connected by only a thin band. This type of foot does not overpronate at all, so its not an effective shock absorber. This is the least common foot type. Lack of pronation is generally called supination or under-pronation. The High-Arched Foot is best suited for neutral cushioning shoes that do not have stability devices or a medial post. This type of shoe has a softer midsole and more flexibility that will not inhibit natural pronation.