While knowing your pronation pattern is the key to choosing your running shoes, you can’t evaluate it without specialized equipment or appropriate training. However, it is useful to determine what kind of arches you have as this has a direct relationship on how you run and can be a good starting point on figuring out what shoes you require.
There are three types of arch height. People with a flat foot, or very low arches, tend to overpronate. Conversely people with high arches are more likely to underpronate. If you have normal arches you will usually have a normal pronation pattern. The Wet Test is a simple way to figure out what type of arch you have.
Overpronation is when the foot rolls too far inward as it moves through the gait cycle.
Underpronation is when the foot does not roll inward enough as it moves through the gait cycle.
The Wet Test
1. Fill a basin of water and place a piece of paper beside it. A dark coloured paper works best.
2. Stand into the basin and then step out onto the dry paper.
3. Then step off the paper, and have a look at the prints left behind.
If a print showing almost your whole foot is left behind, with hardly any curving inwards where your arch is, then you have very low arches or flat feet.
On the other hand, if there is a very big curve between the ball of your foot and your heel, then you have high-arched feet.
If your foot is somewhere between the two descriptions above, then you have a normal arch: there is a slight curve inward but not too much.
The Wet Test is a fun test to do to gain a basic idea of what kind of shoes you might need. However, it is not a basis on which to purchase shoes. For instance, while having normal arches you might still overpronate.