Home Health Get to know your feet
Types of feet
Photo: iStock

Get to know your feet

Most people have one of three arch types: normal arches, high arches and flat feet. It’s important to know which type you are so you can purchase the right supportive footwear and prevent injuries.

Fortunately, figuring out your arch type can be done with a quick test:

  • Pour water into a shallow pan that’s big enough to fit your foot and deep enough for the entire bottom of your foot to get wet.
  • Step into the water with one foot, then carefully remove your foot from the pan of water and step onto a flattened surface that will show your footprint, such as a brown paper bag or piece of cardboard. Be sure to put your weight on your foot to get the best imprint.
  • Remove your foot from the bag/cardboard and take a photo for reference.
  • Repeat the process with your other foot.

If the arch (middle portion) of your footprint is about halfway filled in with a noticeable curve, your arches are normal and at the proper height to absorb and distribute the impact from walking and other physical activity. Consider buying shoes that have firm, thick soles, proper cushioning and that keep your heel stabilized.

If all you see in your footprint is your heel, the ball of your foot and your toes without much in between, you have high arches. This means your feet have a hard time absorbing impact and would benefit from shoes with extra cushioning and proper arch support.

If your footprint looks like a complete foot without much of an inward curve in the center, you likely have flat feet. Flat feet tend to roll inward when you walk or run, which can strain your knees and legs. Look for shoes with a thick, cushioned sole and lacing that restricts movement inside the shoe.