My feet physiology to help you interpret my shoe reviews

It’s hard to use my running shoe experience to predict your experience without a bit of quantitative reference points. I am including some measurements of my feet while standing up (weight on feet).

I didn’t measure my arch in the second photo, but I hope you can use it as a visual reference. I would describe myself as having average arches but when I take the footprint test or see my footprints in the sand, it would seem that I have high arches.

I run without over-pronating or under-pronating–the wear of my shoes says that I roll from the middle/slightly outside of my heels and then take off with my big toe. This was not always the case, which I will describe in further detail at the end of the post for those who are interested.

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As I mentioned above, my gait has changed a bit in the past two years. I used to under-pronate, walking on the outsides of my feet. My shoes always showed wear along the outside of the soles. Two years ago, I began to address this as well as my mild bunion. I consciously tried to strengthen my feet and simultaneously loosen my legs, hips and glutes so as to “stack” my legs as straight as possible. I worked on increasing toe splay with gel inserts and by wearing Vibrams around the house. With the foot tendons more flexible, I then began to try and strengthen the different foot muscles, training my toes to spread away from the center of the foot. I used to get cramps in my arches a lot during these exercises, which I think indicated weaker adductor muscles for my big toe.

Really important in my work towards healthy foot/ankle/leg alignment was stretching. I stretched my feet a lot but also my hip flexors and glutes. Having a tight piriformis makes me walk duck-footed, with my toes pointing outward, and I can tell I need to stretch out my glutes when I walk down the stairs this way. A lot of the lower body muscles are thick and run deep, and benefit from deeper muscle releasing apart from the usual stretching. I use foam rollers and baseballs to pin a deep knot while I stretch the muscle until I feel the knot release, or at least feel much looser. For those of you who want to address your gait, I would recommend focusing on obtaining and maintaining relaxed achilles/calf muscles, hip flexors, IT bands, gluteus medius, and piriformis muscles.

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