Supination, also known as ‘underpronation’, is a type of a foot strike or running gait. A supinator’s feet roll laterally – to the outside – after landing rather than staying upright (neutral) or collapsing to the inside (overpronating).
Supination is not as common as overpronation. It is often connected with either an old injury or a high, rigid arch. This limits the foot’s ability to splay out and to allow the foot and ankle to do their job properly.
As supinators often have very rigid feet, there are more jarring forces on their body while running or walking. That makes them more likely to suffer from ankle injuries, stress fractures or shin splints if they have ill-fitting running shoes or shoes that are not cushioned enough.
If you are not sure what type of running gait you have, please check out How Do I Know My Footstrike, or find out more about our Natural Gait Analysis service. As with every type of foot strike, for the best comfort and to avoid injuries, it is important to make sure you choose shoes that are suitable.
What type of running shoe do I need if I underpronate?
Although there are running shoes with support for overpronation and those for a neutral foot strike, there are none specifically designed for supination. However, depending on the running technique and overall body biomechanics, we recommend choosing based on the following criteria:
- Foot supination should be stabilised by the footwear as much as possible.
- Flexible, lightweight materials should allow for more foot motion.
- Avoid very rigid shoes and those with strong antipronation support, as these will push the foot even more to the outside.
- Avoid very bouncy cushioning, as it could magnify the lateral movement of the foot and make it less stable.
- As for sizing, same as with any other running shoes, we recommend at least a half size up from your regular shoe size. Make sure you have at least half a thumb's width between your big toe and the end of the shoe when standing.
- Some people with high arches may appreciate having a shoe with a mild support under the arch, as that can make the foot a bit more comfortable. While in-store we are able to advise whether the mild support will be helpful or not, online customers might cause themselves more damage if this is not suitable for their body biomechanics. If you are unsure, visit our stores for advice. Or just choose one of the neutral shoes below, as these are always the safest option for supinators.
If you strike the ground with your heel first, and you have high arches, then it’s best to go for neutral running shoes with a high-level of cushioning, to protect your feet from pounding forces going up into your ankle and knee.
What is supination?
Supination is an external rotation of your foot; in other words, your foot rolls outwards when you walk or run. When you put more weight on the outside of the foot rather than landing along the centre of the foot, this can lead to ankle injuries, sprains, shin splints or ITB syndrome.
Do high arches cause supination?
Yes, high arches are one of the causes of supination. Some other causes of supination can be: bow legs, previous ankles injuries, weak ankle muscles, loose ligaments or limb length discrepancy.
How do I stop supination when running?
Supination can be minimised (although in most cases not fully stopped) during running and walking by wearing suitable footwear – stable neutral running shoes with good cushioning are recommended. In addition, running insoles for high arches can also help to stabilise the outward movement of the foot. Another thing worth addressing is the root of the problem, which is the biomechanics of the body. In particular, underpronators can decrease their supination by stretching their calf muscles and strengthening their shin muscles.
Are neutral shoes good for supination?
Yes, neutral shoes with a good level of cushioning are recommended for supination, as they absorb the jarring forces coming up to their body from hitting the ground with feet when running or walking.
Is supination bad for running?
Supination can increase the impact running up the body, which can especially affect the knees and ankles. But when supinators wear well-fitted trainers that are suitable for their footstrike, the potential risk of injury can be decreased to the absolute minimum.
How do you tell if I supinate or pronate?
To be able to tell your foot strike (running gait), you need to consider both the way you land and the way you then distribute the stress of your running stride through your feet. Supinators put most of the weight on the outer side of their feet, while overpronators’ feet collapse to the inside after landing. A neutral runner lands upright and distributes the weight through the central part of the foot. These are just general guidelines. For personalised service, we offer natural gait analysis.
Are Hokas good for Supinators?
Yes, Hoka One One shoes are very good for supinators. Their Active Foot Frame technology cradles the heel and embeds the foot securely into the midsole, thus stabilising the movement of the supinating foot. In addition, Hoka One One shoes offer a great level of shock-absorption thanks to the extra amount of cushioning in their midsole. Other neutral stable shoes from Brooks, Asics, New Balance, Mizuno are also suitable for supinators.