The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and more than 100 ligaments. Pound out 20-plus miles a week on these precious extremities, and you’re bound to get foot pain of some sort.
That’s where the right shoe Opens a New Window. comes in. Whether you have pronation problems, high arches, or narrow feet, a shoe can add protection, support, and hopefully eliminate (or even prevent) pain. So Men’s Fitness paired the most common foot problems with the best shoes Opens a New Window. to solve them, focusing in on the features—extreme cushioning, tight lacing, arch support, and more—that will give you the protection you need.
PROBLEM: High Arches
High-arched feet come with incorrect pronation and poor shock-absorption, which will set you up for trouble. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have high arches, walk barefoot on wet grass, step on blacktop, and then examine your footprint. A normal arch has an imprint that connects the forefoot and heel with a wide band; a high arch has an imprint with no connecting band or a very narrow band between the forefoot and heel.
SOLUTION SHOE: The Adidas Adizero Adios 2 supports high arches by offering stability and allowing the front and back of the foot to transition independently when moving from heel to toe. For your heels, which absorb the most shock, the material underfoot iprovides superior cushioning. ($115, adidas.com Opens a New Window. )
PROBLEM: Flat Feet
Although very few people have truly flat feet, many runners do have low arches, which can lead to overpronation and foot pain. If your footprint (tested on wet grass to blacktop) comes almost completely filled in, you have low arches—and need shoes with stability and motion control.
SOLUTION SHOE: The Asics GEL-Fortitude 5 is a shoe made for flat-footers that have a neutral gait. The cushioning system decreases shock in both the rearfoot and forefoot, and two layers of memory foam esnure a customized fit that molds to your heels. ($100, asicsamerica.com Opens a New Window. )
PROBLEM: Severe Overpronation
Overpronation happens because your foot rolls inwards while you are running. So take a look at the insides of your shoes—if they are worn down more than the outsides [are we talking about the inner part of your foot versus the outer, or the inside of your shoe vs. the outer sole?] and tilt inwards when placed on a flat surface [the entire shoe], you probably overpronate, meaning your big toe and second toe do most of the pushing off when you run. Knock knees, flat feet, and other ailments might contribute to overpronation, but certain shoes can help.
SOLUTION SHOE: The Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 is a lightweight shoe with a flat midsole, high support, and wider base that deliver the structure a severe overpronator needs. Train in them for a few weeks, then check the insides of your shoes again. If the inner and outer edges are worn down the same amount, then the shoes have helped. ($115, mizunousa.com Opens a New Window. )