Have you wondered how to choose the best walking shoes for flat feet? Most returns of a perfectly good pair of shoes happen because customers didn't really know what to look for and they simply didn't choose the right shoe for their needs. A shoe that was “too small” may not have been wide enough or didn't provide the right kind of support.
When you dip a flat foot in water and then press it against a piece of paper, you'll notice that the imprint shows a greater area of the sole of the flat foot than one that has a normal arch.
This happens because more of the sole presses against the surface it touches. When choosing the right shoe for your needs, measuring your arch using the imprint method and also measuring your level of pronation can help steer you in the right direction.
Flat feet can occur because the development of the feet tends to be neglected toward childhood in cases where there aren't any obvious problems and the arches may not have fully developed.
They can also occur later in life due to injury or normal “wear and tear” on the feet. Heavier people tend to be more prone to flat feet because they're putting more weight on their feet, which presses down more on the arches.
Do you have high arches? Then read my guide about shoes for high arches.
People who have flat feet usually don't notice them, especially if their feet are getting the right kind of support. However, flat feet can sometimes cause pain because more of the tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot is pressing against surfaces that people with flat feet walk or stand on, which makes feet with a flatter arch than normal more vulnerable to the painful inflammation of the tendon known as plantar fasciitis.
Flat feet is also commonly associated with overpronation, which causes the ankle to roll inward too far while walking or running. While having a reduced arch is not the only cause of overpronation, the combination of flat feet and overpronation can lead to misalignment in the joints that can lead to ankle and knee pain, shin splints, and extra wear and tear on the joints.
Overpronation also decreases the stability of your gait and puts more pressure on your big toe, which can lead to bunions (see article "best walking shoes for bunions) and greater risk of sprained or twisted ankles if they roll too far.
Dealing with flat feet is usually no more complicated than choosing a shoe that can provide the right kind of support. A podiatrist or the staff of a retailer that specializes in athletic apparel should be able to guide you through the process of choosing the right kind of shoe.
Motion control shoes (see best overpronation walking shoes) have a thicker midsole to provide support for the part of the foot that is most affected by having flat feet. Additional features may include an upper body that comes up higher on the ankle to provide better support for overpronation and heavier materials that are strategically placed in the shoe design to help discourage the tendency of the ankle to roll too far inward.
Motion control shoes may have removable insoles that make it possible to put in your own customized insert or use it with an orthotic device. A good motion control shoe is rarely lightweight or cheap, but it's worth the extra cost for eliminating complaints of sore feet and possible foot and leg issues stemming from having flat feet and an overpronation issue.
Brooks Addiction Walker
Available for both men and women, the Brooks Addiction Walker features an award-winning MOGO midsole that provides extra cushioning for the flat arch and reduces the amount of shock from the stride that actually reaches the sole. People who have had surgery to correct an ankle problem but still have to deal with flat feet tend to like this shoe for providing the support they need. These shoes tend to be pretty plain even though they have three color options, but nobody really cares when wearing them in an environment that requires them to be on their feet for most of the day because there's nothing fashionable about limping because your shoes aren't providing the support you need. The Addiction Walker helps overpronators with flat feet get through the day with no sore feet, blisters and inflamed tendons.
Saucony Grid Omni Walker
This shoe for both men and women includes a compression molded midsole designed to reduce the rate of pronation. Overall, the sole has been engineered to provide a better fit for people with flat feet and a smoother transition while you walk. This shoe works well with orthotic inserts though, as one reviewer noted in a mini-rant about inserts, you do want to talk to your podiatrist to see what kind of insert will work best for your unique needs. This shoe is a little cheaper than many shoes designed for people with pronation problems but, as many reviewers noted, they could simply spend the savings on their own inserts if they were needed.
Asics Gel Foundation Walker
This shoe keeps things simple with a leather upper body and rubber sole. It includes Asics' patented DuoMax and Trusstic systems to provide support and a breathable mesh to help keep your feet cool. This walking shoe is especially popular with people who have wide feet and might have had trouble finding a shoe that actually fits. The men's version seems to only be available in EEEE and the women's version is available in EE and B(M). It provides good cushioning and a lot of people liked that it helped with their bunions. Some people did add their own inserts but liked this shoe for the extra width.
This shoe for men is popular for its ability to accommodate wide feet and give them the support they need to keep running even when they've suffered from frequent flare-ups of plantar fasciitis before trying this shoe. It's highly recommended by podiatrists and longtime Brooks loyalists say that the latest version of this shoe is a definite improvement over past model years. The insoles are removable so you can wear these with your own insert or orthotic device. It does run a bit small, so be sure to buy it one or two sizes bigger than you think you need.
The Bottom Line
Even when you already have a good general idea of what you need in a new pair of shoes, there's no “one size fits all” answer for the best walking shoes for flat feet. You might have very wide feet or a foot and leg condition that requires the use of an orthotic, which can make choosing a walking shoe a bit of a challenge.
It's not uncommon to get frustrated when searching for a pair of shoes that can actually support your flat feet, but your podiatrist may be able to steer you in the right direction by recommending brands that specialize in creating shoes for people with pronation and arch issues.
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