Last week I walked into The Walking Company, a shoe store and was approached by a salesman. He asked, "Can I help you find your soulmate?" No, he wasn't moonlighting as a matchmaker; he wanted to figure out what type of arches I have. [Ahh, sole mate.] Your arch tells you what kind of shoe is best for your foot. I stepped onto an electronic gizmo that produced my footprints. It was impressive and cool, but you can perform the test at home without the gizmo to get the same information. Here's how: 1} Pour water into a shallow pan, 2} Step in to wet the soles of your feet, 3} Step out and make left and right footprints on a flatten brown paper bag.
Now look at your footprints. There are three main types of arches, and each one requires shoes that offer different kinds of support:
You see almost all of your footprint.
You have low arches and tend to over pronate, meaning you roll inward excessively. This can cause injury when walking or running. So look for shoes labeled “motion control.” They offer more structure (or barriers) to prevent your arches from rolling inward.
You see about half of your footprint.
You have medium arches and are a normal pronator. Your arches collapse inward just as they should do to absorb shock when you move. You can wear almost any shoes. But shoes marked “stability” or “neutral” arch support will prevent you from over pronating and cushion against shock.
You see your toes, the ball of your foot, a missing section and your heel.
You have high arches (the rarest type). This means you tend to under pronate when walking or running. Buying shoes labeled “neutral-cushioned” will encourage high arches to pronate safely and softens the blows of your steps.
Now that you know your own foot, you are ready to find your sole mate and live happily ever after.