What Your Shoes Say About You

Your shoes say a lot about your walking or running style.  Reading the wear patterns of your shoes can also help you identify potential instability that can cause pain or injury and help you make better choices when selecting new athletic shoes. 

How to read wear patterns in the following areas:

The heel – normal wear occurs at the heel on the outer edge.  Wear at the inner edge of the heel is associated with over-pronating, which is due to foot instability.

The inner arch – wear in this area indicates over pronating or turning the foot inward.

Outer sole – Wear on the outside edge of the sole could indicate under-pronating; turning outward or excessive supination.

The side of the big toe – wear in this area can indicate a shoe that is fit too narrow or the presence of a bunion.

Toe shaped ridges on the upper – this wear pattern typically occurs when the shoe size is too small or with hammertoes.

The ball of the foot or beneath the big toe – wear in these areas can indicate tight calve muscles or a tight heel cord.  Calf stretching exercises can reduce this tightness.


Most abnormal wear patterns indicate instability.  Here’s the good news; instability can be easily corrected with custom molded orthotics.  If left uncorrected, instability can lead to painful bunions, hammertoes, heel and arch pain as well as knee and back pain.  If you have bunions or hammertoes that are not yet painful, you can prevent further disfigurement by addressing your instability with custom molded orthotics.  If these deformities are painful, the physicians at Kansas City Foot and Ankle can discuss treatment options to keep you comfortable and maintain your active lifestyle.

If your shoes are trying to tell you something, or you would like more information, call Kansas City Foot and Ankle today at 816-943-1111.