Shoe wear patterns can provide valuable insight into your walking gait, foot alignment, and any potential biomechanical issues you may have. Addressing any biomechanical issues and selecting the right type of shoes can help improve your comfort and performance when walking or engaging in other activities.
Different shoe brands and styles offer varying levels of support, cushioning, and stability. Knowing your wear pattern can help you select the correct shoe type to provide the appropriate support and cushioning for your feet.
Overall, understanding your walking shoe wear pattern can help you take better care of your feet, prevent injuries, and improve your overall comfort and performance. Monitoring your shoe wear patterns can also help you determine when it is time to replace your shoes.
As shoes wear out, they may lose support and cushioning, increasing the risk of injury. Learn how to recognize the three types of wear you may see on the soles of your shoes and what each means.
The Three Types of Pronation
Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls too far inward, leading to instability, reduced shock absorption, and increased risk of injury. With this condition, you will see wear on the medial portion of your foot on the bottom of your shoes.
Neutral Pronation is the foot’s natural inward rolling motion that helps absorb shock during movement. With normal pronation, you will only see neutral wear on the soles of your shoes.
Underpronation, or supination, occurs when the foot rolls outward, placing excessive stress on the outside of the foot and ankle. This extra pressure can also increase the risk of injury. With underpronation, lateral wear will be on the bottom of your shoes.
Medial Shoe Wear Pattern- What Is It a Sign Of?
Medial wear on the soles of your shoes means that the inner side of the shoe sole, closest to the arch of the foot, is wearing out more quickly than the rest. This type of wear pattern is often associated with overpronation when the foot rolls too far inward during walking or running.
Overpronation can put excess stress on the arch and inner side of the foot, leading to several foot, ankle, and knee problems. Wearing shoes with appropriate arch support or custom orthotics can help to correct overpronation and reduce the likelihood of medial shoe sole wear.
It is essential to provide adequate support to the medial longitudinal arch, as the lack of which is likely the cause of the overpronation. Shoes with appropriate arch support and motion control features can combat overpronation. Shoes with good arch support will help prevent the hook from collapsing excessively during movement.
Simultaneously, motion control features (such as a firmer midsole or additional support structures in the shoe) help control excessive inward rolling of the foot. Custom orthotics or insoles can also provide additional support and control for individuals with more severe overpronation.
Neutral Shoe Wear Pattern- What Is It a Sign Of?
Neutral wear on the soles of your shoes means that the wear pattern on the sole is relatively even across the entire shoe width. This is the desirable wear pattern, as it indicates a normal or neutral foot strike and gait.
The shoes are wearing out evenly, with no areas of excessive wear, and suggests that the individual’s foot is making good contact with the ground during walking or running and that the shoe is providing appropriate support and cushioning. However, it’s still important to regularly check your shoes for signs of wear and replace them as needed to ensure continued comfort and support.
Lateral Shoe Wear Pattern- What Is It a Sign Of?
Lateral wear on the soles of your shoes means that the outer edge of the shoe sole is wearing out more quickly than the rest. This wear pattern is often associated with supination (also called underpronation), which is when the foot rolls outward during walking or running.
Supination can put excess stress on the outer edge of the foot and ankle, leading to a range of foot and ankle problems. Wearing shoes with appropriate cushioning and support for the outer edge of the foot can help to correct supination and reduce the likelihood of lateral wear on shoes.
Underpronation is usually caused by a lack of support for the lateral longitudinal arch, so focusing on adding support to the outer arch is essential. Shoes with good cushioning and flexibility can combat supination.
Shoes with good cushioning help to absorb shock and reduce the impact of landing on the foot, while increased flexibility can help to encourage a more natural foot motion. Additionally, shoes with a curved or rocker sole can promote a smoother heel-to-toe transition and reduce the risk of injury.
Individuals with more severe supination can use custom orthotics or insoles with additional cushioning and support. It’s essential to choose shoes that are appropriate for your foot type and gait and replace shoes regularly to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the orthotics.
Keep Shoe Wear to a Minimum by Supporting All 3 Arches
The goal of a good insole is to evenly distribute your weight over your foot. Both underpronation and overpronation can be prevented with custom orthotics. Many conditions can be avoided by properly supporting all 3 arches of the foot.
The lateral longitudinal arch runs along the outside of the foot and provides stability during lateral movements.
Adding support to the lateral longitudinal arch can combat overpronation while alleviating pressure from supination, flat feet, and plantar fasciitis.
The medial longitudinal arch is the most well-known arch and runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is responsible for shock absorption and weight-bearing support during activities like walking and running.
Added medial longitudinal arch support can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of shin splints and alleviate pain from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction as well.
The anterior transverse arch runs across the foot and is responsible for maintaining the foot’s shape and providing support during weight-bearing activities. Arch support for this part of the arch doesn’t do much to combat underpronation and overpronation, however, it can alleviate many other conditions.
Anterior transverse arch support is more likely to help states like Morton’s neuroma and hallux rigidus.
Prevent Wear with Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics can help prevent wear on the soles of your feet by providing proper support and alignment to your feet during standing, walking, and running. When the feet are properly supported, the pressure is distributed more evenly across the soles of the feet.
Now that you know more about what wearing on the bottom of your shoes means it’s easy to believe that custom orthotics are the best insoles to protect your feet. These insoles are made from a mold impression and customized to your every need.
Custom orthotics can combat both supination and overpronation, and more. Take our free online analysis to narrow down the type of custom orthotic that will be best for you and your lifestyle.
Order your first pair today and find out how custom orthotics can effectively prevent wear on the soles of your feet by providing proper support and alignment, correcting abnormal foot mechanics, and improving shock absorption.
Frequently Asked Questions?
- What does your shoe wear pattern mean?
Shoe wear patterns give insight into foot alignment, walking gait, as well as any potential biomechanical issues.
- Where do your shoes wear if you overpronate?
Overpronation usually occurs when your feet toll too far inward.
- What does it mean when one shoe is more worn than the other?
It can be due to many issues such as high arches or flattened arches.
- What does the wear on the soles of shoes mean?
Wear on the soles of your shoes means you pronate or turn your foot inward.