From men’s neutral running shoes through to running shoes designed for those with over-pronating feet, there are a wide range of specialised shoes available for runners nowadays. However, with all the options available, finding the right shoe for your type of foot can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to determine which shoe is right for you, including the wet test – a method used to identify certain foot characteristics. It can be an excellent way to help find out what type of shoe you should be looking for so you can narrow down the field when you’re shopping for a new pair of runners.
How It Works
The wet test is easy to perform and can be done by following these four steps:
1. Pour some water into a shallow pan or bath tub and place a black piece of paper close by.
2. Step into the pan or bath tub and ensure that the sole of your foot becomes wet.
3. Remove the sole of your foot from the water and step onto the piece of paper.
4. Step off the piece of paper and inspect the print that has been left.
By analysing the foot print that’s left behind, you’ll be able to identify what foot type you have and start searching for specific types of running shoes.
Generally speaking, there are three distinct foot types: normal arch, flat arch and high arch.
The terms ‘flat arch’ and ‘low arch’ are used to describe footprints that are filled in. Because the sole of the foot is relatively flat, the footprint will be clearly defined on the paper. Individuals with flat or low arches may suffer from excessive rolling in of the foot, which can add undue stress to the feet and knees and possibly increase the risk of injury. It is generally recommended that individuals with flat arches wear running shoes with internal wedges that are designed to build up the arch side and provide support.
If when observing your footprint you see approximately half of the arch region filled in, you will fall into the normal arch category. Most people have this foot type and it is likely that women’s or men’s neutral running shoes will be an appropriate choice of shoe for you. In general, people with normal arches can expect their foot to naturally support their bodyweight and roll in (pronate) in a normal manner.
Those who have a footprint that shows very little or no contact along the outside edge of the foot between the ball and the heel have a high arch. High arch feet do not pronate much, so in most cases a well cushioned running shoe will be the best choice.
Using the wet test is a good indicator of arch type and can drastically narrow down the field when it comes to buying running shoes, helping you to decide between neutral shoes and other types of runners.