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Buying running shoes online isn’t easy, but by carrying out one simple test we can eliminate a lot of the guesswork that goes into finding the correct model that’s comfortable and suitable for your feet. There’s a simple test, designed for running shoes, to understand your feet better and move one step closer to finding the right pair of trainers for you. We love the ‘Cardboard Test’, intended to help you figure out whether you’re a pronated, supinated or neutral runner. Everyone’s feet are different and shoes on the market are designed to reflect that, so by carrying out this super simple test, we hope you’ll be able to make a more informed decision the next time you treat yourself to some new running shoes!
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The Cardboard Test

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of cardboard, big enough for you to make a footprint in.
  • A pan of water, filled up just enough to get the bottom of your feet wet.

How to carry out the Cardboard Test:

  1. Step into the pan of water with one foot, dipping just enough to get the bottom of your foot wet.
  2. Carefully remove your foot from the pan and step directly onto your piece of cardboard. Make sure you put your weight on that foot so you can get a true understanding of how your foot impacts the ground when you’re out running.
  3. Lift your foot directly up and away from the cardboard, then take a photograph of your footprint so you can reference it later on.
  4. With your other foot, repeat the process on your second piece of cardboard.

What your footprint means - are you a neutral, pronated or supinated runner?

Pronation:

Overpronation is a common problem for runners; however, it’s easy to find shoes with proper support that prevent overpronating from causing injuries and pain. Pronators leave a flatter footprint than neutral or supinated runners, meaning your arch collapses inwards. This causes your ankle to roll excessively and can lead to aching, discomfort and injuries that could ultimately prevent you from running at all. While pronating means that your feet naturally absorb a lot of shock when you run, overpronating in particular can cause damage to your knees and the plantar fascia ligaments that stabilise your feet and act as your natural shock absorbers. By choosing a pronation shoe that stabilises and corrects your gait, you can prevent this excessive rolling and protect your body, as well as promote a more comfortable running experience that is less likely to lead to injuries.
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Best running shoes for pronation

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Neutral:

Neutral runners leave a footprint that is about half as wide in the middle of the foot as it is at the toes. This means that the arch of your foot is naturally the correct height to absorb shock and distribute your weight in a healthy and efficient way without leading to discomfort, injuries and excessive wear on your joints. While this doesn’t mean you can go out running with just any type of shoe on your foot, you don’t need the same level of arch support required by pronators and supinators to maintain a healthy gait cycle. Choosing a neutral shoe that has more balanced support across the sole of the shoe allows your plantar fascia ligaments to naturally absorb shock for you, just as nature intended.

Best running shoes for neutral runners

Supination:

Supinators leave a particularly thin footprint, showing mainly the heel, the ball of the foot, and toes without much of the middle of your foot making contact with the cardboard. Supination is the opposite of pronation, meaning that you have particularly high arches that make it harder for your feet to naturally absorb shock when running. Rather than causing your ankle to roll inwards like a pronated runner, supinators place more weight on the outside of the feet, which in many cases could lead to severe pain, injuries to the joints and even stress fractures in extreme cases. By choosing a neutral running shoe that’s heavily cushioned, a supinator can correct their gait, support their feet and prevent the pain and discomfort that comes with having especially high arches.
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Best running shoes for supination