. As technology advances, more and more companies are using computers and 3D graphics to produce a highly effective (and comfortable) fitness shoe. A very easy way to figure out what type of shoe to buy is to use this simple test.
The Wet Test Dip: Dunk your bare feet into a pan of water. Applying your full weight, step onto a piece of brown paper. Repeat until you get a crisp pattern of each foot. Before your prints fade, match them to those shown here. (If yours are somewhere between neutral and flexible, use neutral as your guide. If yours fall between neutral and rigid, choose rigid. If your footprints are different patterns, aim to fit the more flexible one.)
Neutral: You’ll see about a 1-inch strip of wetness in the arch area.
How you tread: Your feet are well balanced and roll, or pronate, almost perfectly. Your feet lengthen and spread out about a half shoe size when you stand, and they absorb shock well and have good stability. But put these nearly perfect puppies in poorly fitted shoes, and you could be hobbled with blisters or other foot problems.
How to fit: Yours is the easiest foot to fit because many styles are designed for your type. Make sure any shoe you buy feels good in the store–no rubbing or pinching.
Rigid: Your arch is so high that you’ll see little, if any, imprint in the arch area.
How you tread: Your feet tend to roll inward only slightly, so you underpronate, meaning you walk more on the outsides of your feet. They’re stable, but they don’t absorb shock well because they’re stiff: They tend not to lengthen and spread out much when you stand.
How to fit: You need shoes that are well cushioned to absorb shock, and flexible enough to allow your feet to roll more. Go for a roomy upper to accommodate your high arch. Choose the shoe with the highest heel if you have tight calves, which is common in this foot type. Your feet are also likely to curve inward at the ball (you can check this out by tracing your feet), so look for a shoe that does likewise by matching the tracings of your feet to the soles of shoes you’re considering.
Flexible: Your foot is flat and has a low arch. It will leave the fullest imprint, with the most arch area in contact with the paper.
How you tread: Your feet roll inward too much (overpronate) when you walk. They’re unstable, but they absorb shock well because they spread out: They change an entire size when you stand.
How to fit: Because your feet tend to flatten, you need a shoe that has less space between the laces and the sole. (To judge height, move your feet up and down inside the front of the shoes while you’re wearing them.) You don’t need a lot of cushioning, but you do need good arch support so your feet don’t completely flatten when you step. Also, a lower-heeled shoe, as compared with other shoes, will help keep your feet more stable while you walk.
Under Armour Breaks Out
One company seems to have the slight edge in building the right type of shoe for almost any type of athlete and weekend warrior is Under Armour, a relative newby in the $5 billion fitness shoe industry. Under Armour is high-tech. It uses sophisticated software and technology systems to create all of its products. Known widely for its top-of-the-line moisture-wicking apparel, the company is using the same expertise to introduce a line of running shoes with 3D computer software which will hopefully decrease production time.
Using a digital camera and software that records information about the way feet, legs, and other body parts behave in motion on a treadmill, that biometric data helped Under Armour validate that its shoes were doing what they were built to do – to stabilize the foot, or counter over-pronation. The running shoes are built with two basic options, which are very close to the Wet Test Dip above.
Built for athletes that normally pronate, and have medium to high arches, the neutral shoes provide balanced cushioning.
Built for athletes who overpronate, and have medium to low arches, the stability shoe provides foot-strike guidance.
Under Armour also sells cleats and cross-trainers, but those are a relatively small part of its overall business. A soccer boot is coming in May.
Prices for the running shoes range between $84.99 - $119.99, and $79.99 - $99.99 for trainers.
With an established brand name like Under Armour, many people acknowledge that this entry into the fitness shoe market is a big first step for the company. This action could easily catapult Under Armour from a niche company to a major player in the global shoe competition.
For more information on running shoes or fitness information, visit our website at www.seniorskeepingfit.com.
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