Best Walking Shoes for Flat Feet

Support and Stability for Fallen Arches

What are the best shoes to wear for walking if you have flat feet or fallen arches? As many as a third of adults have flat feet, but it may or may not cause further symptoms. You may only notice that you have flat feet when you begin to have discomfort after standing or prolonged walking. With adult acquired flatfoot deformity, you may have some deformity of the foot and ankle as well.

Pain can occur because the arch serves as a natural shock absorber and guides your foot through a walking step. Many people with flat feet also overpronate. When this occurs, the foot rolls too far inward with each step, placing stresses on the joints and ligaments. However, not every person with flat feet is an overpronator. The shoe solutions will be different for those who do and do not overpronate.

Experts from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons say it is important to support your natural arch when you have flat feet. This can mean choosing footwear that includes arch support or using inserts or orthotics that provide the correct amount of support. Note that if an arch support is too high, you will end up with foot pain and even bruising.

Choosing Shoes for Flat Feet

When choosing walking shoes for flat feet, look for these characteristics:

  • Stability shoes if you have a neutral stride or mild overpronation.
  • Motion control shoes if you have a high degree of overpronation.
  • Comfort shoes for daily wear that are constructed to support your arches and do not bend in the middle of the sole. Shoes should bend at the toe to allow natural foot movement rather than having a completely rigid sole.
  • Shoes with removable insoles and enough volume so you can use over-the-counter or prescription orthotics.

If your foot discomfort is keeping you from exercise, ​seeing a podiatrist is a good first step. A podiatrist will be able to recommend insoles or orthotics. For choosing fitness shoes, go to the best running shoe store in your area and get properly assessed and fitted for the type of shoes you need. They will be able to determine whether a stability shoe, motion control shoe, or neutral shoe is best for you.

Everyone will have a different "best" shoe. These are good choices to start your search for the best shoes for your flat feet.

If you have mild to moderate overpronation, the ASICS GT-2000 is a good choice in the stability category. It has arch support for flat feet and a sole designed for stability and shock-absorption. You have enough cushioning for walking longer distances and proper flex in the sole for a natural stride.

The GT-2000 is available for both men and women and comes in four color combinations for each. While different widths are available, you can only get narrow or wide in one color combination, while the regular width is available for all colors.

The GT-2000 also comes in a trail running version that you can take off-road. It has rugged soles to grip softer surfaces and protect your feet from rocks and roots. If you love the regular GT-2000, then you might add the trail version to your walking wardrobe.

Heavy shoes simply weigh you down and put more pressure on your fallen arches. Nike Lunarglides provide stability using flywire cables, and they also have lightweight cushioning, resulting in a shoe that weighs ounces less than many others.

The sole has flex grooves for a natural range of motion. If you have a neutral foot or only mild overpronation, these shoes may be perfect. However, they have an internal bootie fit. If you use a custom insole or orthotic, be sure to see how the shoes fit when you add it. These shoes only come in a single width, but men's and women's versions are available.

If you have a high degree of overpronation, you will likely do better with motion control shoes. The Brooks Beast for men and the Ariel for women are classics for major motion control. They come in an extended range of sizes and widths to accommodate the smallest and biggest feet. The drawback is that they are heavy shoes.

If you have a neutral stride and don't overpronate, the Brooks Ghost is an excellent choice for the flat-footed fitness walker. It has medium to high arch support built in and a removable insole if you need to add your own custom insole or orthotics.

As with most other Brooks models, these shoes come in narrow, regular, and wide. The Ghost is available in styles for both men and women and in several different color combinations, from flashy to muted. Further, if you are going to be walking in the rain, the Ghost GTX models are waterproof and will help keep your feet dry.

If you need to be standing or walking all day, whether on the job or at home, this shoe combines support with stability and correction for mild overpronation. It's available for both men and women in job-friendly colors. These include bone, white, and black for women and white, black, and tan for men.

The Addiction Walker comes in a range of widths. If you need velcro straps rather than laces, they have those models as well. The uppers are made with full-grain leather and velvet nubuck for classic styling. The insole is removable so you can add your own arch support insole or orthotic. They are well-cushioned, which can help relieve the fatigue when you have to be on your feet all day. Unlike some rigid "walking shoes," the Brooks Addiction Walker flexes in the forefoot so you can enjoy a natural walking motion.

Dansko shoes feature arch support and they can provide all-day comfort when you need to wear more feminine footwear. These flats have enough structure and stability to keep your feet happy while looking great with slacks or skirts. The contoured footbed is removable if you prefer your own insert. These shoes have a TPU arch and heel stabilizer. They come in classic taupe or black but only in regular width.

You can wear the Dansko Jackson slip-on with a suit, slacks, or khakis for all-day support and comfort. The TPU arch and heel stabilizer provide the structure you need when you have flat feet. The triple-density EVA footbed will provide more comfort, or you can remove it to add your own insert or orthotic. These leather shoes come in mahogany or black calf. Dansko has many other styles that might be a good fit for you as well.

When you want to slip out of your shoes and into some flip flops, you can be in for a world of hurt when you have flat feet. But Vionic sandals and flip flops have the structure and arch support you need with their biomechanically molded footbeds. The Bella is a stylish choice, but you might also want the simpler Tide model, which comes in a wide variety of colors.

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Sources:

Flat feet. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001262.htm.

Flexible Flatfoot. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/flexible-flatfoot.

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