Choosing Shoes: What is pronation and supination?

When you try to find a pair of running shoes fitting YOU, one thing that is important for you is to learn if your feet and ankles are pronated or supinated. So let us first look for an answer to the question: What are pronation and supination?

The movement in your foot

Pronation is about how your foot mechanism, how your foot roll against the ground when pushing forward. There are three main types of pronation:pronation

Neutral Pronation is when the movement is very centralized, and follow a natural inward roll when the heel hits the ground. It says that 20-30 % of the runners are neutral pronators.

Over Pronation is when the most of the sole hits the ground, the arch stretches inward and gives an exaggerated form of the natural inward roll the neutral pronators has. This gives a big risk for injuries and pain in knees. To regulate this stabilizing and motion controlling shoes is to recommend for over pronators, which is very usual.

Supination or Under-Pronation is a quite unusual roll of the foot where it as an outward rolling motion. The feet don’t flex so much making the impact with the ground very hard. This makes a need for a lot of flexibility and cushioning in the shoes, to minimize the risk of injury.

How do you know which pronation you have?

As you probably have understood now, the pronation at your feet matters a lot when you determine how much stability or cushioning your running shoe need to have. So how do you know which pronation your feet has?

There are a couple of more or less easy ways you can check this if you do not know it already. One option is to take an old shoe you have used a lot, and see how the sole has been worn. Does it follow any of the patterns of the footsteps for the pronation-types?

The second option is to dip your bare feet in water and walk on the floor, or maybe a blank paper if it’s easier to see. How do your wet steps fit with the footsteps for the different pronators?

If you still not sure, you maybe need an expert help looking at your steps. In some sports stores, they can film your step to make an analyze and see in detail how your foot hits the ground in the movement. If you are unsure about your result after the first easier tests here above, this should be my recommendation. It’s foolish to take a risk if you don’t need to 🙂


I personally am an over pronator. Do you know what type of pronator you are? Would love to know how you did to find out. Give a comment below and tell me….




  1. Heck, I had not heard of the terms pronation or supination. I can see by your description, that I am definitely a neutral pronation which is good right? Interestingly enough, when I take my shower at the gym and walk back to my locker my feet are wet, and I have noticed my footprint. Crazy that this came to mind, which easily made me see what my footprint is 🙂

    • Sounds like you are a very observant person. But that’s a very natural place to see the shape of your foot step. I hadn’t thought about that one 🙂
      Neutral pronation is good, when stable in yourself. But just a thought about your knees according to your other comment. Do you know what type of shoes you use now? Do they fit to neutral pronation?

  2. I am like you as I am an over pronator and I found out when I went to visit my local Athlete’s Foot store, Before fitting me with any shoes, they got me to walk on a platform on the floor where they filmed my walking gait.

    They analysed my gait and showed me the results and told me that I am an over pronator and then gave me three pairs of shoes to try on which help to balance this out.

    I picked out a pair that I thought was best for me and the shoes have been very comfortable and I think that they are doing their job as I haven’t had any injuries or pain in my knees.

    • Adrian, I for sure believe it’s a good idea to get that kind of help from an expert if you not sure what typ of foot/step you have. Glad you did got good help 🙂

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