When you are looking to buy running shoes, you might find yourself confused by the range of different options. There are shoes for overpronation, underpronation, supination, plantar fasciitis, normal pronation, and many others, and it can be hard to work out what all of these mean unless you have a strong background in foot care, which is not something that most people have! Working out which type of shoe is right for your feet can be difficult, but we’re here to make it a little bit easier. If you want to know more about gait analysis, types of shoes, and the mysteries of over pronation, under pronation, and other problems, then read on below to find out more and learn how to choose the right running shoe for you!

What does Pronation Mean?

Pronation is a term that comes up a lot when talking about running shoes, but what IS pronation? It sounds like a legal term that you might find at the bottom of a document (Pronation, all rights reserved…), but it is not that complicated. Fortunately, it’s actually a fairly straightforward concept and one which also affects many people. Pronation is the term for a medical condition in which your foot rolls inward when you run. It’s a common condition that many people suffer from, and it’s one that can make the experience of running very uncomfortable whenever your foot strikes the ground and rolls inward.

Pronation is the general term for how your foot strikes the ground. If you overpronate, then your foot rolls inwards too far when you run, putting more pressure on the ball of your foot. If you under pronate, then your foot rolls outwards and does not pronate enough for normal gait.

Working out whether your foot pronates too much or not enough can make a huge difference to your comfort when running. If you wear neutral running shoes but overpronate, then you’re going to experience pain and possibly other conditions as a result,

How do I know my Pronation?

The best way to find out about your pronation, or any other foot problems that you may have will always be to consult a qualified podiatrist. There are a couple of things you can try in order to get a rough sense of whether you suffer from overpronation or not without needing to check with a qualified expert, though.

Take your current pair of running shoes, even if they are regular neutral running shoes, and turn them upside down. Inspect the soles of your shoes for wear in order to find out which parts of your foot are striking the ground hardest and wearing down the soles of your shoes.

Normal levels of pronation in your foot mean that most of the wear should be even, running from the heel to the ball of the foot evenly from one side to the other. If you find that there’s a lot of wear on your shoes along the inside, from your big toe down to the inside of your heel, then this will be because your foot tends to contact against the ground more than it should do along this side, and you suffer from overpronation.

On the other hand, if you find that there seems to be very little wear on the inside of your foot by your big toe, and all of the wear gathers on the outside side of your foot, then your foot will be rolling outwards when you run, and you suffer from underpronation.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to buy orthotic insoles to help correct both overpronation and underpronation, which can make conditions such as plantar fasciitis, lower leg damage, and joint strain much less likely and increase your comfort. This may help a great deal, but it may also be worth looking into buying running shoes specifically designed for your particular type of foot condition.

Difference Between Overpronation and Underpronation

You may have encountered both “underpronation” and “overpronation,” which look confusing. What’s the difference between these two terms, and what do they mean?

Overpronation is the same as the condition also known as pronation. This means that your foot rolls inwards when you run, and orthotics designed to raise and support the inside of your foot and your arches may help to reduce this.

Underpronation is the opposite and may also often be known as supination. This means that your foot rolls outwards when you run, putting too much pressure on the outside edge of your foot. Orthotics designed to raise and support the outer edge of your feet may help with this, as may wearing motion control running shoes designed to keep your gait as normal as possible.

What does it mean to Pronate and Supinate?

If you pronate, then your feet roll inward when you run, twisting your ankle inwards and risking damage to your lower legs and joints. This is a very common condition that affects an enormous number of people across the world.

If you supinate, then this is the opposite. Your feet roll outwards when you run, which also twists your ankle and risks damage to your lower legs and joints.

Both of these have very similar effects, despite being opposites, and both can be fixed with motion control shoes.


Many people suffer from this common condition, which means that supports and aids for this condition are extremely common and easy to find. It’s nothing to worry about, as you should easily be able to find shoes designed to help with either overpronation or underpronation, whichever you happen to suffer from.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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