What Can You Learn From the Soles of Your Shoes?

What Can You Learn From the Soles of Your Shoes?

Posted by Apex Foot Health on 8th Aug 2022

The way that the soles of your shoes wear down can tell a lot about your Gait Cycle. We know you're active and take care of your health. You go walking — and even running — regularly. But when was the last time you looked at the soles of your shoes?

The Soles of Your Shoes Tell a Story

Wear patterns on the soles of our shoes will show you where your foot takes the most strain. Shoes wear out unevenly because of your natural gait: how you place one foot in front of the other to walk.

Man Walking Through Leaves While Showing Soles of Shoes

Three Basic Gait Patterns

Most people fall into one of three different gait categories. Here are the details:

Normal – Pronation

Pronation is the name given to the natural movement of your foot as you walk or run. Your foot rolls in slightly heel to toe with each step. Wear on the sole will be pretty even, with no marked differences overall from one side to the other or from heel to toe.


Overpronation describes the foot movement when the ankle rolls more inward and downward with each step than it should. That motion continues beyond the point when the toes should start to push off as you start your next step.

Overpronation is common in people with flat feet. In overpronation, undue stress is placed on the toes. What's surprising is that, if not corrected, overpronation can cause knee pain and shin splints.

As expected, wear on the sole occurs primarily on the inside edge of the areas corresponding to the ball of the foot and the big toe. This exacerbates the underlying problem of flat feet since a worn shoe provides no support at all.


Underpronation is also called supination. It causes the foot to roll outwards as you take a step and puts more pressure on the foot's outside edge and the small toes. People with high, rigid arches often have this gait.

If underpronation is left unchecked, it can lead to iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome and stress fractures.

With underpronation, there is marked wear on the outer edge of the heel, on the outer edge of the shoe corresponding to where the metatarsals are on the foot, as well as on the ball of the foot (as the foot rolls inward a little at the end of each step).

The Secret's In the Shoe

If you didn't already know, you will now be able to tell from a pair of worn running shoes or walking boots what kind of gait you have.

Woman Walking on Hill During Sunset

If you have a pronounced deviation from the normal gait (pronation), even the best walking or running shoe is going to end up feeling uncomfortable. What's more, it could cause you more problems than mere foot discomfort.

Fortunately, Apex has discovered that the secret's not in the sole, but inside the shoe. We have developed our A-Wave Orthotic Shoe Insert to help counter the effects of overpronation or underpronation.

Made of a blend of thermoplastic resins, memory foam, and gels that we came up with, the inserts are available according to the height of your arch:

  1. Flex, for medium to high arches
  2. Firm, for all arch types
  3. XFirm, for low to medium arches

You can use these inserts in almost any shoe you have to give you extra support, stability, and comfort. Remember, after about 300 miles of running or walking, you should be throwing that old pair in the trash, and buying a new pair – with the inserts that suit you best, of course.

Your Next Pair

We hope you've learned something about the heart and soles of your shoes, and what you should look for in your next pair.

For comfortable shoes that are good for your feet and available in an exciting variety of styles, shop most popular shoes. For footwear designed to prevent pain from the aforementioned Gait Cycles, make sure your shoes have the proper amount of arch support and are designed to accommodate your amount of pronation. 

We recommend a pair of X-Last shoes for those with moderate to excessive overpronation or a pair of V-Last shoes for mild to moderate overpronation. You may also benefit from a pair of our orthotic inserts.