Running Shoes 101 – Foot Types and Function (Part 4)

Feet can be divided into 3 general categories based on their appearance.

Normal Arch / Neutral

Normal arch height. This describes the foot standing still. It is also important to assess the foot in motion. Some individuals who appear to have normal arch height while standing still can also display overpronation while running and suffer problems akin to someone with flat feet.

Low Arch / Planus (Flat) Foot







The flat foot is the most common abnormal variant of foot shape seen. During the gait cycle, the arch collapses excessively (over pronation) and puts abnormal stresses on various structures of the foot. This gives rise to overuse injuries and pain.

High Arch / Cavus Foot







This foot type is less common than the flat foot. The high arched foot is also a rigid foot. If you recall the discussion in the previous installment, flattening of the arch during the gait cycle is an in-built cushioning mechanism of the foot to resist shock of the heel strike. The foot with a high arch loses this mechanism as the foot is stiff and does not allow the arch to collapse.


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