A very simple wet foot test can tell you if you have flat or high arches, which will help you to choose the right running shoes.
- Pour a little water into a shallow pan or wet a sponge.
- Step into the pan or wet the sole of your foot with a sponge.
- Step onto a paper shopping bag, card or a blank piece of heavy paper and stand on that leg.
- Step off and look down to check there is nice impression
- Compare the results with our graphics below.
- Repeat the process for the other foot.
- If you and take a photo with you phone or camera you can email us your test or show us in store (you can also repeat the test in store).
Look at the shape of your footprint and compare it with our examples to get your foot type, but the wet test only gives you an idea to help in the process of finding the right shoe.
One problem with the wet footprint test is that it is only a static measure and feet have dynamic movements while running. If possible, to make the footprint test better, compare seated (non weight-bearing) footprints with your standing (weight-bearing) footprints. If the standing footprint has a greater surface area than the seated footprint then you probably need some pronation control.
Another problem with the wet footprint test is that some people have footprints that match the images below but their feet do not necessarily move in the way usually indicated by the foot type wet test.
Normal (medium) Arch – any shoe
If around half of your arch region is filled in, then you have medium arch which is the most common foot type and means you have an arch that naturally supports your bodyweight and pronates normally under load.
Some pronation or “rolling in” of the foot is in fact desirable as it is a natural shock absorber. Most runners with this pattern can wear any type of shoe.
Flat (low) Arch – more likely a stability shoe
If the arch of your footprint is filled in, it is likely that your arch collapses and foot rolls inward when you run which although this absorbs shocks this may stress your feet and knees injury risk. The cushioning of the shoe will also more likely collapse on the inside if it is does not have stability features and an adapted mid sole.
Normally therefore we would recommend shoes with more stability features such as internal arch wedges, dual-density and or wider and more substantial midsoles.
High arch – more likely a neutral cushioned shoe
If your footprint shows little or no contact along the outside edge and you see just your heel and the ball of your foot, you have a “high” arch.
This means your foot may not roll in much when you run, meaning that it doesn’t absorb so much shock.
For high arches we would usually recommend you try a well-cushioned shoe with little or no stability or arch support features.
While many runners fall into the categories we illustrate here, some people have high, flexible arches and others might have stiff, flat feet and there are many factors that come together in making the choice of the right and comfortable shoe for you.
Other variables such as your weight, biomechanics, running experience, and fitness will affect the right choice of shoes as well as personal fit preferences. Some people might just prefer a more solid feeling shoe and opt towards a stiffer motion control shoe than a soft flexible shoe.
If possible you should try and run in any shoe before you buy it to test whether it feels right for your foot and stride, and you even can do that in the street or park next door at our Geneva store.
We are there to assist you by asking questions about your running experience, preference and injury history. We look at your old shoes, and watch you run. We can even video you to help with your gait analysis for free.
However, if you have a history of injury, you should consult a medical professional such as a sports podiatrist or physical therapist to help you with appropriate treatment, a recovery training plan and a more formal assessment of your running shoe and possible specialist insole needs.