How to Use the Footprint Test

Use this footprint test to find out whether you have normal feet, flat feet or high arched feet. This is very helpful when you are looking for shoes that will be comfortable for your feet!


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    Dunk your feet in water or paint.
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    Walk on cardboard and make sure you have a clear print of your foot. Can you see the entire silhouette of your foot, or is it more of an outline, with just heels and toes showing?
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    Look for the classic "footprint in the sand" footprint. There will be a noticeable curve inward, but not by more than 3/4 of an inch at its greatest part. If this is the kind of silhouette your foot makes, then you have normal feet. Otherwise...
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    Check to see if the entire foot shows. Your footprint will look like a foot-shaped blob. There will be almost no inward curve from your big toe to your heel; there may even be an outward curve. This means that you've got flat feet. If your footprint looks like neither, then...
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    See if your footprint curves decidedly inward, making the middle of your foot look very skinny. Your toe and heel show, but there is little in between. If this is the case, you probably have a high arch foot.
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    Shop for shoes that best fit your foot type.
    • Normal Feet - Stability shoes offer a good blend of cushioning, medial support (to limit excessive inward rolling of the foot, which can cause injury) and durability. To provide stability, they have features that provide a firmer density under the inner edge of your foot. They are usually built on a semi-curved last.
    • Flat Feet - Motion control shoes are the most rigid, control-oriented running shoes. They're designed to slow down or limit extreme inward rolling of the foot and ankle, which can cause injury. These are heavier but very durable.
    • High Arched Feet - Cushioned shoes generally have the softest mid-soles and the least added stability. They’re usually built semi-curved or curved to encourage foot motion, which is helpful for runners who have rigid, immobile feet.


  • Having something other than the average foot isn't anything to be ashamed of. People with flat or high arch feet can function normally, though most end up with pain as a result as they age. The military wouldn't accept flat footed people during world war 2 because they believed they couldn't march for long periods of time.


  • If you're not sure what kind of feet you have, it's best to see a foot doctor to make sure. Purchasing the wrong kinds of shoes consistently may cause long-term damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Water or Paint
  • Cardboard

Sources and Citations

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