As the name suggests, the “wet foot” test involves getting your feet wet and leaving an impression (also known as a footprint) on a piece of paper. Remember those turkey handprint paintings you did as a kid? Something like that, but with feet instead of hands and water instead of paint. It’s also a lot less messy. The purpose of the test is to find out what type of arch you have, which is the curved area between the heel and the ball of your foot. There are three main types of bows: normal, low, and high.
Learning your bow type has two main purposes. “Understanding the biomechanics of the foot can guide what type of performance shoes should be selected as medical markers and leads to how a medical professional approaches what next exam to directly treat patients with common foot problems,” says podiatrist. Yolanda Ragland, DPM. In other words, it helps you select the best types of shoes for your feet and can guide the necessary treatment for foot-related problems.
Below, Dr. Ragland walks us through the step-by-step (sorry, had to) how to do the wet foot test. It only takes a few seconds. Once he does and learns his arch type, keep scrolling to see what it says about his feet and what kind of shoes he should wear for maximum support.
How to do the wet foot test
This is how Dr. Ragland instructs to do the wet foot test.
- Fill a shallow container or saucepan with water. Of course, it should be large enough to fit your feet comfortably. You don’t need a ton of water, just enough to cover the soles of your feet.
- Lay out a sheet of absorbent paper large enough to capture the full impression of each nearby foot.
- Submerge the soles of your feet in the water.
- Stand in the center of the sheet of paper to make the impressions of each foot.
If you have normal bows…
The wet tread of a normal arch will appear narrow in the midfoot region. “The arch impression is about half the width of the foot at its widest point,” says Dr. Ragland. This indicates that the foot has an even distribution of weight throughout the foot. Lucky for you, Dr. Ragland says you can wear just about any type of shoe. For performance shoes in particular, he recommends shoes with a neutral footbed and modest arch support to maintain healthy foot function.
If you have high arches…
Dr. Ragland says that high arches will appear about half the diameter of a normal arch tread, or they may be completely absent, meaning there is a thin line or gap in the tread between the heel and the ball of the arch. foot.
High-arched feet protrude when walking, says Dr. Ragland. Because the arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb the impact of walking or running, it ends up traveling up the legs and can negatively affect other joints in the body, such as the ankles, knees, hips, and spine.
Dr. Ragland adds that people with high arches can also develop foot disorders, such as ankle instability and stress fractures in the bones on the outside of the foot, leading to pain in the ball and heel of the foot ( metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis, respectively), bunions, hammer or claw toes.
For this type of arch, Dr. Ragland recommends wearing highly cushioned shoes with high arch support to protect against common foot injuries of this type. Alternatively, he can add inserts to whatever footwear he wears. “Good insoles can provide shock absorption, correct misalignment, reduce fatigue, increase athletic performance, and improve foot comfort and pain,” says Dr. Ragland.
If you have low arches…
People with low arches almost always have flat feet, says Dr. Ragland. So your wet footprint will look twice as wide as someone with a normal arch. In other words, he will see almost the entire footprint on the paper. She explains that the mechanics of a low arch foot are directly associated with excessive pronation, meaning the arch of the foot collapses too far inward, making contact with the ground. Flat feet are often a precursor to many foot ailments, including plantar fasciitis, bunion deformity, and hammertoes.
As for footwear, Dr. Ragland recommends shoes with built-in cushioned arch support, a slightly elevated heel, and a wide, high toe box to accommodate the wide forefoot. He also recommends seeing a podiatrist for orthotics or custom inserts for additional support.