I would like to draw to your attention a fantastic article written by Pete over at RunBlogger.com on his experience observing a shoe fitting and his further thoughts.
He starts with the unfortunately ever-so common first questions, when you sit in front of the shoe store employee, “Do you pronate?”
This entire exchange reinforced for me why I hate the whole pronation model of fitting shoes. First, the question “Do you pronate?” revealed that the clerk didn’t really understand what pronation is, and was probably just repeating something she had been told to ask by a manager, brand, or store fitting procedure. The reality is that everybody pronates, and pronation is a completely normal movement. (I should note that the term pronation as used colloquially is typically equivalent to rearfoot eversion, the actual movement is a bit more complex) We might vary in how much we pronate, but asking someone if they pronate is like asking them if they breathe. I’d actually be much more concerned if the customer had revealed that no, she doesn’t pronate. At all. That would be worrisome.
Next, Pete moves onto explain a bit about the research (or lack of) behind prescribing footwear based on static or even measured foot type or shape.
And finally, even if there was an accurate assessment of how much this customer pronated, I still have yet to see strong evidence saying A) how much pronation is too much for a given individual, B) that any given shoe is effective at controlling pronation when you look at the actual movement of the foot inside the shoe (and there are no data I’m aware of showing the relative pronation-controlling effectiveness of the various shoes on the market), or C) that fitting a shoe based on amount of pronation is warranted or effective from an injury prevention standpoint.
For those interested in either reading a great article on what they already know, or are curious on more up to date science behind footwear and foot movement, please give the article a read!
Be sure to check out my Articles of Interest page for further reading as well!