Quick Test for Arch Type

Some people have feet that are flat as a pancake; others practically have their own mini-Gateway Arch lifting their midfoot high above the ground. Every foot is different, and different arch styles sometimes require different shoes, inserts, orthotics, or other special accommodations to keep feet working and feeling their best.

So which arch type do you have? Most people don’t actually know the answer to this question. However, there’s a handy way you can check for yourself which category you likely fall into: the wet test.

The idea is pretty simple. All you need is water and a surface that will let you clearly see your own wet footprint, like some construction paper or a brown paper grocery bag. Just get your feet wet, take a step, and take a look at your print! How much of your arch can you see?

If you have a “normal” or “neutral” arch, you should see about half of your arch, a sort of half-moon shape that extends just out to the middle of your foot. By contrast, flat-footed people should see their entire foot in the print (or nearly so), while a person with high arches may see just a sliver of connection between toes and heels—or even none at all.

So why does it matter? While it’s true that people can live healthy, active lives with a wide variety of arch types, if you know your foot shape, you can do a much better job selecting the kinds of shoes or inserts you need to prevent injury and foot pain before they even start, keeping you out and about longer, healthier, and happier. For example, a flat-footed person may need shoe styles with more stability and firmer midsoles, while high arches (which tend to be more rigid) may benefit instead from extra cushioning and a more flexible construction.

If foot pain is getting you down, preventing you from activity, try the wet test and see what your arches may have to say about what your foot needs. Then, call Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic for a full evaluation and to see if you may benefit from any additional aids or orthotics. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 855-972-9512.


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