Marathon Equipment

Nike Zoom 5 Vomero
SHOES 1: your foot type
Shoes are by far the most important piece of equipment in Marathon running. Choosing the right type of shoe, according to training patterns, foot type and foot strike is essential not just to improve performance but also to prevent injuries to the back and joints (knees, ankles).
There isn’t a “best” marathon shoe: the choice must fall on the shoe that’s best-suited to the individual athlete’s needs, according to foot type and strike pattern.
According to its shape, and especially that of the arch, your foot touches the ground in different ways. This determines whether you are a neutral runner, a supinator or a pronator, and this in turn will influence your choice of shoes.
Supination (or underpronation) is the insufficient inward roll of the foot after landing. This places extra stress on the foot and can result in iliotibial band syndrome of the knee, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis.
Runners with high arches and tight Achilles tendons tend to be supinators. Shoes will wear on the entire outside edge, and the side of the shoe becomes overstretched. If you place shoes on a flat surface, they tilt outward.
Pronation occurs when the outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot "rolls" inward about fifteen percent, comes in complete contact with the ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. The rolling in of the foot optimally distributes the forces of impact. At the end of the gait cycle, you push off evenly from the front of the foot.
A normal pronator has a normal foot arch and does best with a stability shoe with moderate pronation control.
For an overpronator too the outside of the heel makes the initial ground contact. However, the foot rolls inward more than the ideal fifteen percent. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn't absorbed as efficiently. At the end of the gait cycle, the front of the foot pushes off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe, which then must do all the work. This type of foot strike, typical of flat foot arch-runners, needs a motion-control shoe.
What’s my foot type and which type of shoe is best suited to it?
You can find out either by checking on your shoes’ wear pattern, which will show which part of your foot touches the ground first and more heavily, or by taking the “Wet test” below:

1) Pour a thin layer of water into a shallow pan
2) Wet the sole of your foot.
3) Step onto a shopping bag or a blank piece of heavy paper
4) Step off and look down
Observe the shape of your foot and match it with one of the foot types at the bottom of the page. Although other variables (such as your weight, biomechanics, weekly mileage, and fit preferences) come into play, knowing your foot type is the first step toward finding the right shoe for you.

Normal (medium) Arch
If you see about half of your arch, you have the most common foot type and are a normal pronator. Pronation is a good thing. When the arch collapses inward, this "pronation" absorbs shock. You can wear just about any shoe, but may be best suited to a stability shoe that provides moderate arch support (or medial stability). Lightweight runners with normal arches may prefer neutral-cushioned shoes without any added support, or even a performance-training shoe that offers some support but less heft, for a faster feel.

Flat (low) Arch

If you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot, which means you're probably an overpronator. That is, a micro-second after footstrike, your arch collapses inward too much, resulting in excessive foot motion and increasing your risk of injuries. You need either stability shoes, which employ devices such as dual-density midsoles and supportive "posts" to reduce pronation and are best for mild to moderate overpronators, or motion-control shoes, which have firmer support devices and are best for severe overpronators, as well as tall, heavy (over 165 pounds), or bow-legged runners.

High Arch

If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type. This means you're likely an underpronator, or supinator, which can result in too much shock traveling up your legs, since your arch doesn't collapse enough to absorb it. Underpronators are best suited to neutral-cushioned shoes because they need a softer midsole to encourage pronation. It's vital that an underpronator's shoes have no added stability devices to reduce or control pronation, the way a stability or motion-control shoe would.