Let this 15-minute analysis be your best running investment. Best of all, it’s free. By Estelle Low
The Asics Foot ID System at #02-04 Plaza Singapura offers a detailed 3D analysis of your running form. Photos: Estelle Low
In my 10-over years of running and wearing more than 20 pairs of running shoes, I’ve known these to be facts:
- I’m flat-footed.
- I have bunions, so I need shoes with a wider-than-average toe box.
- I overpronate (my feet roll inwards) when I run, presumably because I’m flat-footed and have insufficient support at the arches.
- I’m a heel-striker. That is, my heels are the first to come into contact with the ground whenever I land.
Every time I fill up running questionnaires or join a conversation about running, I’ll inevitably talk about how flat my feet are, how I need stability or motion control shoes (because overpronation), and how I can't fit into 50 per cent of shoes that are designed for people with slim and problem-free feet.
But guess what: A recent session at the Asics Plaza Singapura store debunked one of my strongly-held beliefs. It also unearthed many shrewd observations about my running style, making me wonder if I really know myself at all.
This “session” is known as the Asics Foot ID. It’s a complimentary foot shape and gait cycle (stride) analysis for anyone who wants to find out more about her running style, suitable shoes, as well as how to improve running performance. As long as running is part of your lifestyle, it's worth spending 15 to 20 minutes of your time to do this.
The Asics Foot ID is available at the #02-476 Suntec City and #02-04 Plaza Singapura stores. The Plaza Singapura store carries the latest version, which offers a 3D analysis that can tell how much stress you place in your lower limbs while running. From there, you will receive advice from Asics staff on how to lower your risk of injuries. It’s like a running clinic!
The Asics Foot ID involves the following steps:
Fill in a short questionnaire about your running habits, history and goals. This allows the staff to advise you on what shoes and gear you need.
2. Preparing for foot analysis
Tiny sensor stickers will be placed on your feet, to enable the measurement of your feet via a laser scanning device. You’re required to remove your shoes and socks.
3. Foot analysis
Step into a scanning machine that looks like a photocopier, one foot at a time. The machine has four lasers and eight cameras to measure your feet length, width, circumference, instep height, arch height, as well as toe and heel angles down to 0.1mm and 0.1 degrees! The impressive part: All this is done within a minute! A special software processes your data and compares them with a reference database that contains more than 5,000 individual data sets, so you can see how you measure up to the average values.
4. Preparing for gait analysis
After measuring your feet, the sensor stickers will be removed and you’ll be asked to step on the treadmill. Markers will be placed around your ankles and calves, to capture your running gait and 3D movement of the legs.
5. Gait analysis
With those markers around your legs, start running on the treadmill until you reach an easy, comfortable pace. Maintain that pace, and continue running. The staff will activate a camera that captures your running movement for three seconds. It’s a really short time, but sufficient to generate results.
This video will give you an idea of how it works.
You'll receive two printouts. One contains your vital foot measurements, including length, breadth, height of instep and foot size. With this, you can ensure you get the best fit of shoes wherever you shop! The other printout indicates your pronation type, running form, plus recommendations for running shoes and support gear.
I got my foot size accurately measured so I can buy right-fitting shoes
Estelle's feet dimensions as measured by the Asics Foot ID System.
My foot size was determined to be 23.5 D for left foot, and 24.0 E for right foot. The letter corresponds to the width of shoes I should be wearing. D width shoes are wider than the standard B width shoes. Not all brands carry shoes in D width, though Asics does.
I don’t have overpronation like I thought
At a glance, this result slip shows your pronation type, running form and recommended shoes plus gear.
I was surprised to learn that I had a neutral pronation, not overpronation like I thought. In fact, my left foot was leaning towards the underpronation side! The staff explained that it’s hard to determine your pronation based on your feet type. For instance, people with flat feet do not necessarily overpronate. How you think you run may not be how you actually run.
My knees are not properly aligned when I run
Based on the analysis, my knees point outwards instead of forward while running. This adds stress to the joints, so the staff recommended me to wear compression tights to help stabilise my knees.
While running, I take bigger steps than necessary, so my foot lands in front of my body. According to seasoned marathoner Andy Neo, the assistant manager for sports and marketing at Asics, overstriding causes my knees to lock, reducing the muscles’ ability to absorb shock. Ideally, I should increase my cadence, by taking smaller and more frequent strides, so that my foot lands directly under my hips and my knees are slightly bent.