Before you get on your mark, make sure to get set with some supportive running shoes. Everyone’s feet have different needs. If you’ve been trying to run with any sneaker you could find, it’s time to slow down and figure out what pair is right for you. To learn more about supporting your feet in a running sneaker, 21Ninety chatted with NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Trainer (CSCS), Reda Elmardi.

Three types of feet that could use extra support

All feet can benefit from a supportive running sneaker, but there are three types of scenarios where the foot could use an extra boost: pronation, supination, and flat feet. Pronation is when the inner arch of the foot collapses inward when you walk or run.

“This can cause pressure on the ball of your foot, which can lead to discomfort and potentially even injuries,” Elmardi told 21Ninety. 

Supination is the opposite of pronation. When your foot supinates it rolls outward when you move.

“This can cause an imbalance in the forces that are applied to your feet, which can also lead to injuries,” he explained

Lastly, flat feet (colloquially known as pancake feet) are when a person has a very low or nonexistent arch. Elmardi says this can cause problems with both runners and swimmers. It limits a person’s ability to transfer energy from their legs to the ground.

Now that you know what foot types need extra support, here’s how to shop for running sneakers that will put a pep in your step. 

What to look for in a running sneaker

No matter what your foot looks like, Elmardi says that everyone can benefit from two things: comfort and breathability. In terms of comfort, the specialist notes that all running shoes have some level of padding in the shoe. This provides cushion and stability.

“Some people prefer more cushioning while others appreciate the balance between cushioning and support offered by running sneakers,” he explained. 

As for breathability, Elmardi states that having enough ventilation in your running sneaker is important for regulating your body’s temperature as you work out. It can also prevent heatstroke and hydration levels from getting too high.

If you’re dealing with pronation you’ll want a shoe that evenly distributes your weight throughout the sneaker. Those with supination will want to find a shoe with a wide foot bed that helps spread the pressure through your foot laterally. Those with flat feet should try a shoe with sturdy arch support. Elmardi also recommends looking into orthotics depending on how flat your feet are. 

While these are tips to help you find a running sneaker that puts the pep in your step, Elmardi suggests spending time in different pairs of running shoes to find the perfect fit.

Ahead, scroll through five recommendations for running sneakers based on the unique needs of your feet.

Supination Support

Photo Courtesy of Nike

If you have flat feet or deal with supination then check out Elmardi’s recommended Nike Free Run 5.0. The sneaker has a breathable knit upper, rear toe-loop, and a lightweight cushioned sole. The specialist says these shoes have a flexible forefoot that helps reduce pressure on the ankle and heel while running or playing. These also have an OrthoLite sock liner that provides cushioning and support.

Overpronation Prevention

Photo Courtesy of Asics

Overpronation tripping you up? Try out the Asics Gel-Jadeite. The running shoes feature Duomax technology which aims to provide ample support to prevent overpronation while you run. Best of all, these sneakers are lightweight which Elmardi says reduces stress on your feet. Available in women’s sizes 5 to 13, and men’s sizes 6 through 16, there’s a sneaker for almost everyone’s foot.

Supportive and Durable

Photo Courtesy of Saucony

If you ever find yourself wondering how beneficial your running sneakers are to your foot health then meet the Saucony Womens Triumph 20 Runshield. These water-resistant sneakers have an American Podiatric Medical Association seal of approval. That means these shoes are recognized as sneakers that are good for your foot health. Plus, the geometric sole of the shoe gives a rocking feel that literally propels you forward.

Flat Foot Support

Photo Courtesy of New Balance

New Balance’s Fresh Foam X 860v13 running sneakers are here to raise your flat feet up and give total foot support while you move. These sneakers feature a medial post (a device on the inside of the shoe) that prevents your arch from collapsing along with a fresh foam cushion.. According to Elmardi, fresh foam provides superior motion control and comfort compared to traditional rubber formulations found in other trainers. You can grab these New Balance kicks in women’s sizes 5 to 13 and men’s sizes 7 to 16.

Overall Support With Traction

The Reebok Floatride Energy Running Shoes are for anyone that needs general support and decent traction. Made of plant-based materials, this sneaker won’t disintegrate on you. It provides the breathability, support, and grip you need to run. The lightweight sneakers have a tree fiber upper that contours to your foot for a secure feel, while the natural rubber outsole makes sure you don’t slip up or off the treadmill. Most importantly, the midsole is made of castor bean but, according to the Reebok site, provides the familiar cushioned support of the brand’s signature Floatride Energy Foam. 

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