Foot Analysis

Foot Motion Characteristics

What is your foot type? Do you overpronate? What kind of arch do you have?

The Running Lab Footbalance analysis is designed to answer these questions and more. We will help you learn more about how your feet affect your overall well-being. During the foot analysis we take into consideration the gait cycle, foot strike, foot motion and arch height to suggest the appropriate shoe for you.

Gait Cycle

The gait cycle consists of two movement periods: swing and stance. The swing period is the movement of one leg while its foot is in the air. The stance period is the period of movement of the leg and foot while the foot is in contact with the ground. The stance period may be divided into the following three phases:

Impact (heel-strike) Phase:

The impact phase is initiated when the foot makes contact with the running surface. Forces of two to three times the runners body weight is imparted to the body during the impact phase.

Support (mid-stance) Phase:

The support phase consists of the foot supporting the body as the foot transitions from heel to toe. A controlled elongation of the arch of the foot maintains proper support and allows for neutral pronation. Too much elongation of the arch will tend to result in over-pronation while limited elongation of the arch will tend to result in supination.

Propulsion (toe-off) Phase:

Forces are distributed across the forefoot and the arch stiffens as the foot prepares to leave the ground.

Foot-print / Foot-strike

A foot-strike characterizes the movement of the foot as it goes through the three phases of stance: impact, support and propulsion.

Ideally a foot should contact the ground and roll slightly outward before rolling slightly inward. Before the foot leaves the ground, it should roll slightly outward again. Collectively, these slight movements allow the foot to function correctly in absorbing or dissipating ground forces and are said to result in a neutral foot-strike. Too much or too little movement usually leads to problems. See below to learn about the three common foot-strikes.

Supination:

Supination is the lack of an inward roll or a rolling out of the foot during its foot-strike. This motion inhibits the foots ability to absorb ground forces. Also referred to as under-pronation, a foot that supinates needs a soft ride and quick heel-to-toe transition. Also, excellent flexibility in a shoe is desirable. Minimum neutral shoes and moderate neutral shoes work well for supination.

Neutral Pronation:

Neutral pronation is the slight inward rolling movement of the foot during its foot-strike. Neutral pronation is considered to be the ideal motion of the foot during running and walking and greatly reduces the risk for injury. People with neutral pronation tend to find success in neutral shoes or mild support shoes.

Over-Pronation:

Over-pronation is excessive inward rolling (pronation) of the foot during its foot-strike and often creates alignment problems within the legs. There is a wide range of degrees of over-pronation. Minimium support shoes, moderate support shoes and maximum support shoes are designed for feet, which need some guidance to steer the foot along a path of neutral pronation. Moderate motion control shoes and maximum motion control shoes are designed for the most excessive degrees of over-pronation and work to control the motion of the foot.

Arch Height

Although the relationship does not always hold true, there is a tendency for foot motion to be associated with arch height. Generally, the higher the arch the less the foot will pronate and the lower the arch the more the foot will pronate. Either stand on a hard surface and view the medial side of your foot in a mirror or take a picture of your foot and compare it to the images below.

Arch height works best as an indicator of foot motion for people at the extremes. However, there are people with high arches that over-pronate and people with no arches that supinate.

Normal Arch

High Arch

Flat Arch


Shoe Fit

Sizing may vary between shoe models, even from the same manufacture. The variation is due to the construction process of attaching the upper to the midsole.

A proper fitting shoe should be snug in the heel and fitted in the midfoot to keep the foot in place. Feet expand during a run and a proper fitting shoe should have room around the toes to allow for this expansion. It is better for a shoe to be too big than too small. Always fit the larger foot.