What is the Last on a Running Shoe & Which Ones Are for Who?

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Last is a solid form in the shape of a human foot, which has been used for centuries as a tool for making and repairing shoes.  It’s like a tailor’s dummy only for feet!

Running shoes are produced from three main last forms to provide straight, semi-curved or curved shoes.  Each last is specially designed to support or correct the three main foot types and running patterns.

Identify your foot type

To find out which last is best for you, you first need to identify your foot type. So wet the sole of one of your feet and make a footprint on a piece of paper or a concrete surface.  Then take a look at the Foot Types below:

1.    Flat Foot - Pronated

Your feet are pronated if the footprint shows the complete sole of your foot. The characteristics of flat feet are:

  • Severe pronation - The foot strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inward too much
  • A lot of over-use injuries are connected with flat feet
  • About 60% of the population have pronated feet

Flat Feet need a straight or semi-curved last for stability and strong motion control with medial support for the inside of the foot.

2.    High-Arched Foot - Supinated

Your feet are supinated if the footprint shows a narrow band connecting the toes and heel. The characteristics of high-arched feet are:

  • Supination - The foot is rigid and doesn't pronate/roll inward enough to be a good shock-absorber
  • About 30% of the population have supinated feet

High-Arched Feet need a semi-curved or curved last to encourage foot motion and a well-cushioned shoe for absorbing shock.

3.    Neutral - Ideal

Your feet are ideal and have neutral pronation if you have a broad band connecting the toes and heel. The characteristics of neutral arches are:

  • Neutral pronation
  • You land on the outside of your heel and roll inward slightly to absorb shock
  • At normal weight, you’re the most bio-mechanically efficient type of runner
  • About 10% of the population have neutral/ideal feet

Ideal Feet need a straight or semi-curved last with moderate cushioning and maybe a medial post for a little motion control.

And that’s all there is too it!  Armed with this useful info you’ll now be able shop for running shoes as if you were a world-record holder!

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