It's probably not something you've ever really thought about, but knowing your arch height is really helpful when it comes to understanding your body mechanics. Once you figure out if you have sky high arches, the flattest of feet, or if you're somewhere in between, you'll get how your feet work and how they affect the rest of your body.
Determining your arch height is important for ensuring your overall foot health, especially when it comes to choosing the right footwear and insoles. Luckily, there is an easy way figure out if you have high arches or flat feet. It's called the “wet test.”
The "wet test" is as simple as stepping out of a shower or tub onto a surface that will take an imprint of your foot. A piece of heavy paper or a cardboard box works well. Compare your footprints to the chart below.
If you have flat feet, take the extra step to look at your arches in an unweighted position. The easiest way is to sit down and put your ankle on the opposite knee.
|What does your footprint look like?||Describe your arch||Your best insole arch height|
|My arch is flat when I sit or stand.||Low arch height insole|
|My arch is flat when I stand but appears when I sit.||Medium arch height insole|
|My arch is close to but does not touch the ground when I stand.||Medium arch height insole|
|My arch is high off the ground when I stand.||High arch height insole|
|No one has an arch higher than mine!||Extra high arch height insole|
Some people are born with high arches, while some develop them over time. If you're born with high arches, they probably run in your family. If you develop them later in life, you'll want to see your doctor as it could be a symptom of a neurological disorder.
Foot pain as a result of high arches can occur because of extra stress on your metatarsals, resulting in your weight shifting to the ball of your foot. Other problems that people with high arches tend to have include:
With high arches, underpronation or supination is common. This can put too much pressure on the joints and muscles of the foot, ankle and leg causing issues like:
For people with high arches, it's especially important to find an insole that offers full support across the entire arch that relieves excessive pressure on the ball and heel of the foot. The arch of the insole should mimic the arch of your foot. Insoles must fit well and be durable so they keep their shape during use and over time.
When you're selecting insoles for high or extra high arches, look for:
If your wet test shows low arches, you'll need to determine the flexibility of your feet. This is easy to do.
Many people with flat feet don't experience any difficulties, but some suffer from pain in the heel or arch (plantar fasciitis), swelling along the inside of the ankles, and knee and hip problems.
The best insoles for flat feet support your arch and stabilize your heel, preventing overpronation. Typically, the best insoles for flat feet will offer a low, but supportive arch. Finding one that matches the contours of your foot is key.
While soft, cushioned insoles might seem like the best choice, what your feet really need is structural support. All of Tread Labs semi-custom insoles come in four arch heights to accommodate arch heights from low to extra high.
If your arch is neither high nor low, you have the most common arch type - medium or moderate. But just because you have the most prevalent arch height, it doesn't mean you don't need insoles that offer arch support.
Actually, your feet still require proper support to prevent overpronation, especially if you maintain an active life. Runners, walkers, and cyclists in particular need additional arch support.
Like those with low and high arches, people with medium arch height should look for an insole that offers firm support that is contoured to their arch.
If you have worn insoles before, you have some idea of what to expect. You may find that Tread Labs offers a higher level of support.
If you have never worn supportive insoles in your shoes, break them in slowly over a few days. This is how your new insoles should feel:
Learning how to tell if you have flat feet, high arches, or somewhere in between can be a great step toward improving any foot pain you may be experiencing. Once you determine your arch height, you can find the right solutions to help relieve pain, correct foot issues and improve your comfort.
Read more about solutions for every arch height:
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