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Wednesday, June 12, 2013 If the Shoe Fits - Play In It! Pt 1
For new players, buying tennis shoes can be a daunting task – tennis shoes are a specialty category, with specific functions, technologies, and characteristics that distinguish them from other athletic shoes. Even for a seasoned veteran, picking out one style from the hundreds available is a challenge. But never fear! We want you to play your best tennis yet, which means playing in the best shoes for your feet. This is part one of a series on how to buy the perfect tennis shoe. sweet feet
Dem Bones Before you even go online or visit the store, you need to spend a little one-on-one time…with your feet. Figuring out your arch height, how much you pronate, and all the little idiosyncrasies in your step is crucial to finding a shoe that fits, feels, and functions the way you want. How does one go about getting to know one’s feet? Two ways – you can study an old pair of shoes or you can take the wet test.
To perform the wet test, take a piece of newspaper or a paper towel, wet the sole of your foot, and step on the paper. When you lift your foot, there should be an imprint left, and this imprint can tell you what your arch height is. Find the graphic below that most closely matches your foot's outline. Then, read the section below that corresponds to your type of foot to get personalized shoe suggestions. wet foot
low arch


If your whole foot is outlined on the paper, without any line breakage or indent, you probably have a low arch, which makes you an overpronator. Overpronators need support in their shoes, especially on the inside (or “medial” side), because their feet tend to tilt inward at a sharp angle, which makes them at high risk for ankle rolling and other overuse injuries. If you’re an overpronator, your feet might angle away from each other slightly when you run. Another way to tell if you’re an overpronator is to look at the tread on an old pair of shoes – if they’re worn in mostly the inside forefoot area, you’re overpronating. Mid-cut shoes like Prince and Wilson tend to work out well for pronated feet, and their lateral support takes strain off your knee and ankle joints


If you can see only the ball and heel of your foot, you have a high arch, also known as a supinator or underpronator. Another way to tell if you have this foot type is to take a look at an old pair of shoes. If they are worn in the heel and forefoot areas and virtually untouched in the arch or midfoot area, you are probably an underpronator. Supinators should look for shoes that offer great shock absorption and cushioning for their high arches, especially if they’ve had problems with sore feet in the past. They also tend to have wider feet, so this foot type should look for shoes that come in larger widths (like New Balance), as well as shoes with a wider toe box.

high arch
normal arch


If your foot has a moderately full outline, with part, but not all, of the arch visible, then consider yourself lucky – you might have a neutral foot! An old pair of shoes from a neutral runner will show even wear across the sole of the shoe. Neutral feet are very versatile, and can wear many kinds of shoes because they have foot problems less frequently and put less stress on their joints and arches. But be aware that even with a neutral foot, there are many factors to consider when buying a tennis shoe, like playing style, court surface, and speed. 

Well, you know your foot type - now what? Tune in next week to find out what to look for in a shoe, what different brands offer, and other considerations in picking out the perfect shoe for you!




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