How can I figure out my arch height?

Houston podiatrists like myself spend a ton of time talking about choosing the right shoes for your foot and arch height. But, if you haven’t been to podiatry school, you may be at a loss as to what type of arches your feet have been given.

Here’s my fool-proof guide to determining your individual arch-type, as well as a few pointers on how to dress your foot to avoid pain.

  1. Get a sheet of paper and put it on the floor.
  2. Wet your foot.
  3. Sit down on a chair and place your foot on the paper.
  4. Repeat process with second foot
  5. Your footprint will reveal your arch type (see the image at right for a guide.)

Once you know what type of arch you’re dealing with, choosing the right shoes becomes much simpler. If you have:

High arches, you should choose shoes that have lots of extra cushioning and stay far away from hard-or-thin-soled footwear. 

Low arches (also known as flat feet), you should look for well-supported, firm shoes with lower heels. Since your body will naturally want to rotate forward to the balls of your feet, high heels will be extra difficult for your foot-type.

Neutral arches, you have a carte blanche when it comes to selecting shoes. Just make smart choices and select a comfortable, supportive pair that you can wear for long periods of time or for walking/exercising.