Over 30% of people have flat feet. I know, I thought I was alone as well.
As someone who has gone through the pain of flat, pronating, feet, I know what a good pair of shoes can mean. That’s why I’m sharing with you, my flat-footed companion, some of the best running shoes for flat feet.
Those of us with active lifestyles know how much of a drag flat feet can be. Arch pain, bad posture, even conditions like plantar fasciitis can really take a toll on your well-being and happiness.
Supportive shoes are out there, and the answer to all of our flat feet-related woes. They go a long way in bringing peace of mind to your feet.
So, rest easy buddy. Let’s get you support for those ankles.
What is a “flat foot”?
Simply stated, a flat foot is a foot with little to no arch on the instep of the foot. Over time, the ankle can begin to roll inward causing your arches to collapse and become flush with the ground beneath you. This rolling inward- also known as pronation- can cause the ligaments in the arch to stretch unnaturally and can become a painful burden to your everyday life.
Your feet are the foundation on which your body is supported. A weak, inefficient foundation (flat feet) can cause problems not independent to the feet. Other affected areas of the body include your ankles, knees, even your lower back.
Pain in the arch of the foot can become so bothersome that breaks from intense physical activity may be required. Yet we wish to live a life full of activity and free of pain. Ensuring that your feet are well equipped to handle a long life of activity on foot can work wonders in improving your quality of life.
A good pair of shoes with ample arch support can help your feet regain strength. By regaining strength and proper alignment of your arches, your whole body will thank you in the long run.
Best Shoes for Flat Feet
So which shoes are right for you? If you’re trail-runner, you’ll want something with good traction. If you’re a road runner, you’ll want something with high shock-absorption.
No matter the activity, you’ll definitely want a shoe that is firm, supportive, and stable. These features will help improve flat feet and over-pronation.
Without further ado, here are the best shoes for flat foot syndrome.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 21
Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail
New Balance M940V2
ASICS GEL-Venture 5
Saucony Omni 13
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21’s consistently win big on most running shoe lists. They really win first place in this list due to their dedication to added arch support.
The magic is in the extra cushioning. Dense, heavy foam lines the inside of the shoe to prevent overpronation and stabilizes the foot through the heel-to-toe transition. There are even two layers of memory foam that wrap around the heel to secure the foot in place.
The gel-lined outsole has great shock-absorption as you hit the ground, and the breathable mesh upper does a great job on top of the foot. ASICS calls it Fluidfit: a mesh that stretches and forms to the foot for a very nice secure fit.
Some added benefits include the roomy toe box and no break-in time. The tough treads will allow these to last you through consistent wear and tear.
Some may notice that the shoe seems a little heavier than other models, but that’s the price we pay for extra support for our flat feet. In the same vain, the extra cushioning will make this shoe less responsive than it could be.
In all honesty, these tradeoffs are slim when you find a shoe as good as the Kayano 21’s. The added support for your arches will aid in adding comfort to your runs. Those details begin to become a bit nit-picky when you realize the benefits of this best shoe for flat feet.
- Great all-around support, especially in arches
- Fluidfit mesh = breathability and glove-like fit
- Tough treads
- Price point
- Low responsiveness
One of my favorite trail-running shoes on the market right now are these Speedcross 3’s from Salomon. They are some of the best athletic shoes for flat feet.
For flat footed individuals like myself, the winning feature on these shoes is the Sensifit upper. The upper has been designed to cradle the foot from the midsole to the lace eyelets. This provides a precise and comfortable fit all the way around the foot.
This perfect glove-like fit goes a long way in assisting the feet to stay supported. The ortholite foot bed is helpful as well, but if you need to switch them out for your own orthotics, they will definitely make way for you. The heel is also well-cushioned, helping your feet stay supported.
Another impressive feature of these shoes is the tread. The multi-directional Contragrip tread is made for traversing loose gravel, wet rocks, even ice and snow. This kind of traction on a trail-running shoe is almost unheard of.
One flaw of these shoes (albeit a teeny-tiny one), is that the upper is not made with mesh. This could mean warm feet after extended wear. I believe you’ll find the plushness and the great look of these shoes more than enough to make up for this flaw.
To top it all off, these shoes are stunning. They’re the kind of shoes that make your heart flutter the way it does when you’re falling in love for the first time. No joke.
- Sensifit cradles your foot comfortably
- Contragrip so you’ll never slip
- Attractive, well-designed shoe
- Warm shoe
New Balance continues to have the backs of those of us with wide flat feet. The 940v2’s are no exception. They were specially made with shoe technology to help those of us who suffer from flat arches and pronation.
These shoes bring the support in a couple of key ways. The first is the T-beam shank which lines the sole of the shoe. It supports the arch from underneath and stabilizes the foot to help reduce pronation.
The second is the Stabilicore support system which gives extra stability around the ankle. It simply smooths out your stride.
New Balance shoes are known to have plenty of room inside to insert your orthotics, not to mention the roomy toe box. This company takes pride in their wide variety of widths making shoe shopping easy for people with endless foot ailments.
Of course, I’m partial to New Balance’s focus on the “wide-foot” market, but not everyone with flat feet has wide feet. For this reason, you may want to try these New Balances in-store before purchasing in case you find the shoe a little too roomy…like you could fit an extra toe or two in there.
Overall, these shoes provide fantastic support on the lateral sides of the feet where we need it most. Women, in particular, love these New Balances as they’re the best running shoes for women with flat feet. You can trust New Balance to give the most care and dedication to your foot health.
Also, these shoes are some of the best tennis shoes for flat feet.
- Made for flat-footed pronators
- Extremely supportive
- Larger sizes rejoice!
- Perhaps too large?
ASICS is a brand consistently trusted by all kinds of runners. In the GEL Venture 5, they’ve created the best sneakers for flat feet with trail-running stability meant for those who love running through rougher terrain.
Trail running involves traversing dirt paths with everything from wet grass, mossy banks, and loose gravel. This requires even more stability as you make your way through an uneven ground. ASICS has definitely taken this into account when creating this trail-running shoe.
The high-abrasion rubber outsole is made with multi-surface traction to ensure you don’t slip. It’s a very durable shoe that keeps branches and rocks at bay with the protective bumper. Most importantly for us, these offer great support.
These shoes are firm, which is what you want from a stability shoe. Stability helps alleviate pain in your arches and keeps feet from pronating. The structure of the shoe complements the structure of your foot and corrects for any misalignment or lack of arch support.
Some people may find these shoes a bit too stiff. Before you throw in the towel, remember that the firmness factor is what makes these shoes a stable ride. ASICS has attempted to counter the firmness with their famous gel cushioning system.
In my opinion, these ASICS have everything you could want in a trail-runner: structural support, excellent traction, and all-day comfort.
- Gel cushioning system for comfort
- Protection and outsole designed specifically for trails
- Structural support in overall firmness of the shoe
- May prove too stiff for some
Saucony pulled out all of the stops for their Omni 13’s. They employ Arch-lock, heel support technologies, and POWERGRID heel-to-toe cushioning to make for an excellent stability shoe.
Arch-lock wraps and secures the feet with a lightweight, stretch strap that extends to the eyelets. The mesh upper offers structural support to prevent from pronating, while also adapting to your feet for a snug fit.
The heel support begins with the carbon rubber outsole, which provides great traction no matter where you run. It then supports the rear end of your feet with the support frame. Memory foam lines the area around the heel, and, to end, the heel is beveled for a seamless heel-to-toe transition.
The POWERGRID cushioning makes these shoes soft on the inside, yet responsive throughout. IBR+ outsole complements POWERGRID by enhancing the cushioning factor.
With all of the incredible technology, the shoe clocks in at a mere 10.8 oz., making these some of the lightest shoes you’ll run in.
The only problem you may have with the Omni 13’s is the narrow-fit of the shoe. I would suggest trying some on in-store before completely writing them off.
The plethora of winning features makes these the best walking shoes for flat feet. Trust me when I say that these are a great investment.
- Support through Arch-lock, heel technologies, and POWERGRID
- Narrow fit
There are some key features you need to be looking out for when buying best shoes for flat feet. In general, you’ll want a shoe that is supportive all the way around the foot, but especially in the arch area. Look for shoes that will help realign your joints and increase ankle strength.
When most people think of fixing flat feet, they immediately think “Orthotic arch supports.” Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely important and helpful in molding the arch of the foot. But when you’re looking for a shoe, you’ll actually want to focus more on the upper.
Let me explain.
Most insoles that you’ll come across in any shoe will be of a standard type, meaning it’ll be of average arch support. Most shoe companies know that if you need extra support, you’ll add your own orthotics in. This is why you’ll definitely want to look for shoes with removable insoles.
Where shoe companies really shine is in the overall design of the shoe. If done correctly, shoes are crafted to support your feet in a holistic manner.
An upper that provides excellent lateral support through meticulously designed technologies can make a huge difference. Shoe companies will go about adding lateral support in different ways.
One example is the wrapping cradle design of the Salomon Speedcross 3’s. The design lifts the lateral sides of the feet to help prevent pronating. Look for features like this.
Shoe designers also shine with the outer and mid-sole of the shoe. Look for shoes that distribute your weight evenly across the feet.
The shock-absorption factor is key in the making of the sole of the shoe. Running is a high-impact activity that causes a lot of stress on your joints. Look for soles that are made with the best technologies to absorb as much impact as possible.
Firmness is extremely important as well. A high level of firmness goes a long way in making the durability of the shoe last and tells a lot about how supportive the shoe will be. You don’t want a shoe that is going to be twisting and turning all over the place.
With that, you'll realize how important cushioning is. Soft, plush cushion on the inside of the shoe will help mask the stiffness. Look for a nice balance of firmness and comfort when trying on shoes.
Did you get all that? Here's your checklist:
- Well-designed upper for pronation resistance
- Outsole with shock-absorbing potential
- Firmness to stabilize the foot
- Comfort in the form of cushioning
Shoes are some of the most important investments you can make. When you invest in a pair of good shoes for flat feet, you’re actually investing in strong, happy feet. Strong feet then cause a chain reaction, improving your posture, alleviating back pain, and even improving your quality of life.
Life is meant to be lived on foot. Flat feet or not, ensure your well-being is well taken care of and that your feet are not getting in the way of that. Like I said in the beginning:
Peace of feet = peace of mind.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com