‘Walking shoes for overpronation’ may seem familiar to you for one reason or another. You probably saw a list on the internet with those exact words while searching for a new pair of walking shoes. Some of you might have clicked on that link because you know what they are for, while others clicked on it out of curiosity. But the question is, do you need walking shoes for overpronation?
What is overpronation?
When you walk, the foot naturally moves from one side to another as the weight shifts from the heel to the toes. This is called pronation. However, some people tend to under- or over-roll their feet. This lack or excess in side-to-side movements of the foot can cause discomfort and, if left unchecked, can lead to walking issues or even chronic pain.
Underpronation (also referred to as supination), is when the individual bears the weight on the outer side of the foot. Meanwhile, overpronation is when someone puts more of their weight on the inner side of their feet.
What causes overpronation?
Overpronation is caused by several factors:
Arch height. It has long been believed that people with flat feet or fallen arches are prone to overpronation. The reasoning behind this is that the arch isn’t strong enough to counter the weight of the person.
However, there have also been studies wherein it was discovered that people with high arches also experience excessive rolling in of their feet. The possible cause is that people with high arches experience pain on the outside of their feet. To reduce this sensation, they deliberately roll their feet inwards. The problem with this is that it can cause more foot issues to develop.
Weight gain. People who have put on a significant amount of weight can also experience overpronation as the feet are not used to carrying that much load. An increase in weight can happen because of several reasons, such as sedentary lifestyle, health issues, pregnancy, muscle gain, to name a few.
Muscle weakness. The feet and legs are comprised of more than 30 muscles that work together to make the foot move like a well-oiled machine. If one of these muscles suddenly becomes weak, say the calf muscle, the natural movement of the foot would then be affected.
Physical discrepancies. Anatomical flaws such as uneven leg length, bow legs, or loose ligaments, can also contribute to a person’s pronation issues.
How to check for overpronation?
There are several ways to determine if you are overpronating. Most of which are easy to perform as it is a matter of observation.
Shoe wear. The quickest way to know if you are excessively rolling in your feet is by looking at all your shoes, especially the ones you wear regularly. People with normal pronation will have wear patterns at the back of the heel and under the ball of their foot. People who supinate have the wear patterns on the outer side of the outsole. As for overpronators, their shoes will show signs of corroding on the outer edge of the rearfoot and the medial side of the forefoot.
Foot issues. Have you heard of the expression that if you do something repeatedly, it becomes a habit? The same can be applied to a person’s foot. When you overpronate, your toes get pushed against one another. And if done regularly, the shape of your feet and the position of your toes get changed. Bunions and hammertoes are some apparent indications of overpronation.
The angle of the ankle. For this one, you either need a phone with a camera or a reliable pal to help you out. Put the camera on your phone to a timer mode, place it on the floor, making sure the camera is pointing to where you will be standing. Face away from the phone, so the back of your feet are visible. This allows you to see if your ankle is bending inwards. If it is, then you are an overpronator. Now, if you can’t get a good photo on your own, ask someone to help you with this task.
Remember! The best way to determine your type of pronation is by visiting a professional. You can either go to a podiatrist, an orthopedic surgeon, or a shoe salon that can analyze your gait.
Why do you need walking shoes for overpronation?
If you are overpronating, there’s a good chance you’re already experiencing some discomfort. You might have noticed some pains in different parts of the foot as it compensates for the excessive inward motion, pain in the muscles and joints of the legs, and lower back soreness.
If left unresolved, the discomfort can intensify and could possibly lead to injuries. Wearing overpronation walking shoes can help alleviate current issues and reduce the chance of a person’s condition worsening.
What to look for in the best walking shoes for overpronation?
Arch support. This is probably the most crucial feature of walking shoes for overpronation. It usually comes in the form of a bump in the insole that is positioned under the arch of the foot. This firm structure prevents the arch from collapsing as the foot transitions from the heel to the toes. By supporting the medial side of the foot, rolling in is prevented.
Dual-density midsole. In some cases, walking shoes for overpronation lack an arch support. They do, however, have a dual-density midsole that helps control the foot’s movements. The inner side is made of a dense foam that doesn’t easily compress when pressure is applied to it.
Heel counter. A rigid piece of plastic may be placed at the back of overpronation walking trainers. They assist in controlling how much the rearfoot moves, thereby preventing the foot from too much rolling in.
Wide sole. Another feature to look into when selecting walking shoes for overpronation is the width of the sole unit. Go for models with the base flared out, like an outrigger of sorts. It prevents the foot from wobbling as the wearer goes through the walking gait cycle.
Soft insole. In most cases, people with overpronation already suffer from some type of foot issues that leads to discomfort. To ensure that walking is not a difficult task to wearers, walking trainers should be equipped with a plush insole. This layer aids n shock absorption and keeps the foot comfortable upon impact with the ground.
Structured top. Most walking shoes for overpronation feature a leather top. This material provides a secure hold as it doesn’t quickly lose its shape. However, not many are a fan of leather shoes because they can get too warm when worn for long periods.
Another option is walking shoes with mesh with synthetic overlays. The fabric allows for ventilation of the interior while the overlays keep its structure and, in most cases, enhances the aesthetics of the footwear.
Frequently asked questions
I have flat feet, do I need walking shoes for overpronation?
Not necessarily. In some cases, people with flat feet feel more discomfort when they wear shoes with prominent arch support since they are not accustomed to the sensation of having a bump under their arch.
What are the best walking shoes for overpronation for men?
The Brooks Addiction Walker, the New Balance 813, and the Saucony Grid Omni Walker have been considered as one of the best walking shoes for overpronation for men.
The Progressive Diagonal Rollbar in the Brooks Addiction Walker makes it comfortable for overpronators to walk. It is a rigid foam placed under the arch and the heel sections that keep the foot in an aligned position.
The New Balance 813 also features a stabilizing element, also called a Rollbar. However, in this case, the Rollbar is made up of two posts on either side of the heel. These are connected by a plate that runs under the heel. It is meant to prevent the excessive inwards or outwards rolling of the foot, to maintain a neutral stride.
As for the Saucony Grid Omni Walker, its Grid cushioning provides wearers with stabilized feet. It makes use of interwoven Hytrel thermoplastic elastomer filaments that create the lattice pattern that adapts to the varying pressure caused when the wearer transitions from foot landing, to midstance, and to toe-off.
What are the best overpronation walking shoes for women?
The Brooks Addiction Walker is also one of the top choices for ladies looking for walking shoes for overpronation. Other models also considered are the New Balance 1865 and the Vionic Alaina.
The New Balance 1865 uses the SBS Stabilizer. It is a firm plastic that is made up of a post on the medial side of the heel. It is anchored between the outsole and the midsole. Like the New Balance Rollbar, it serves to prevent excessive rolling in. However, it lacks the lateral post to prevent supination. It also has a hard plastic at the back of the heel that enhances rearfoot stability.
Meanwhile, the Vionic Alaina has a removable insole with a built-in arch support. This layer provides comfort to wearers, but what users appreciate is that it can be easily replaced with custom orthotics if needed.