Choosing a Shoe

Health > Choosing a Shoe

The importance of correct footwear

When choosing a shoe, there are several factors which need to be taken into consideration to ensure the shoe is most appropriate for the individual. Because everyone’s feet move differently and are different shapes, the ideal shoe for one person may differ completely from the next. In addition many shoes are built with different characteristics which make them ideal for certain activities on specific surfaces. The perfect shoe for an individual therefore needs to be selected to suit their feet and their specific needs.

Choosing a Shoe

Figure 1 – Choosing a Shoe

Injuries due to poor footwear

It is well documented that inappropriate footwear and poor foot posture are major contributing factors in the development of many lower limb injuries. Some of these may include:

It is therefore vital that you choose the correct shoe to assist in injury prevention and injury rehabilitation.

Which shoe should I buy?

It is important to choose a shoe that is designed to support your foot type. There are three main categories of foot types:

  1. NEUTRAL – normal foot
  2. PRONATOR – flat foot
  3. SUPINATOR – high arch foot

Having your feet assessed during standing, walking and running by an experienced physiotherapist or podiatrist is the best way to determine your foot type. There are also many shoe stores that can assess your feet to determine your foot type. The Athlete’s Foot in Australia is one example.

Alternatively, a simple test to determine your foot type is the wet test. After having a shower, with your feet still wet, step onto a dry surface and have a look at your wet foot print. If your foot print does not have a C-curve on the inner aspect of the foot print (figure 2) you are likely to be a PRONATOR (flat foot), if you have a very prominent C-curve on the inner aspect of the foot print (figure 3), you are likely to be a SUPINATOR (high arch) and if it’s somewhere in between (figure 4) you’re likely to have a NEUTRAL (normal foot).

Choosing a shoe - Pronated Foot Print

Figure 2 – Pronator Foot Print (Flat Foot)

Choosing a Shoe - Supinated Foot Print

Figure 3 – Supinator Foot Print (High Arch Foot)

Choosing a Shoe - Neutral Foot Print

Figure 4 – Neutral Foot Print (Normal Foot)


  • Ideal shoe should not be designed to support the foot in any way, but should provide good cushioning, comfort and stability.


  • These foot types require a motion control or stability shoe with a firm mid-sole and good arch support
  • The aim with these shoes is to try and slow down pronation.


  • These foot types require a comfort shoe with extra cushioning.
  • The shoe should encourage pronation.
  • Motion control or stability shoes are not appropriate.

Once you have determined your foot type, it is important to choose a shoe that supports your foot type and requirements. This is important since there are many shoe types designed with different properties for specific activities (e.g. walking shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes, cross trainers etc.) For example, if you want shoes for walking and you have pronating feet (flat feet) you should choose a walking shoe for pronating feet.

Fitting a shoe

For information on Fitting a Shoe ‘Become a Member’

Already a Member?

to view the complete article.

Shoe flexibility

For information on Shoe Flexibility  ‘Become a Member’

Already a Member?

to view the complete article.

How can I make my shoes last longer?

For tips on making your shoes last longer ‘Become a Member’

Already a Member?

to view the complete article.

When should I replace my shoes?

For information on when to replace your shoes  ‘Become a Member’

Already a Member?

to view the complete article.

Choosing a Shoe Summary

For a detailed summary on the key points to assist with choosing an appropriate shoe ‘Become a Member’

Already a Member?

to view the complete article.

Find a PhysioFind a Physio

Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can help to determine the most appropriate shoe for you.

Injury Information

Click on the appropriate link below to view detailed injury information:

More Information

Become A Member 1

  Become a Member

Become a PhysioAdvisor Member and gain full access to our complete Health, Injury, Exercise and Diagnostic Guide Database. Our experienced physiotherapists are updating PhysioAdvisor’s Members Only articles to include the most important information to help our members take control of their injury, hasten their recovery and save money on expensive physiotherapy consultations.

For more information see Become a Member.

Return to the top of Choosing a Shoe.