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What Should I Look for in Shoes for Flat Feet?

By Alex Terris
Updated May 17, 2024
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When buying shoes for flat feet, you should look for extra foot arch support and a model that’s comfortable to wear. The shoe should be professionally fitted, otherwise the benefits of additional support may be negated. It’s also important to choose shoes that are built for the purpose for which you’ll be using them. Everyday shoes don’t need to be as durable as sporting shoes, while running shoes require extra support and stability.

The most important thing to look for when buying shoes for flat feet is the support they provide. Problems caused by flat feet, such as pain in the lower leg, are the result of the foot arch flattening excessively which places extra strain on the joints. In most cases, shoes for people with flat feet will be clearly labeled as having extra arch support or stability. Some manufacturers refer to these types of shoes as having “molded” soles.

Shoes for flat feet must be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It can be difficult to tell exactly how a particular shoe is going to feel just by trying it on, so it’s essential to get the shoes professionally fitted. Even if a shoe has a large amount of arch support, it may not provide adequate stability to the midsole if it is too large. If it’s too small, the shoe will rub and be uncomfortable, possibly resulting in other problems.

It’s also necessary to decide where and when you’re going to wear the shoes. If the shoes are mainly for everyday activities, then a high level of arch support may not be so important; standard supportive shoes can be a good choice in this instance. Running shoes, however, need to provide a large amount of support and stability to the foot arch because this is a high impact activity with the potential to cause serious injury. Motion control running shoes, which are specifically designed for severe overpronators, are expensive but come with the most built-in support.

Shoes for flat feet aren’t always enough to solve pain issues, especially if you plan on doing a lot of physical fitness activities. If you have severely pronating feet, custom made orthotics, or insoles, may be the best answer. These can be expensive, but provide more support than shoes alone. Orthotics typically are combined with supportive shoes to stabilize the arch and reduce the negative effects of flat feet. Orthotics are not just for athletes; many people with flat feet can benefit from wearing them.

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Discussion Comments
By anon340657 — On Jul 04, 2013

I have always spent hours in a day on my feet at a fast speed, bearing weight on them. It has only gotten worse in the last three years. I began to get low arch, flat feet even though I always bought arch supports and sport feature support insoles. Leather insoles once were the best comfort for flat feet, but I can't find any as good. I recently even got Massage insoles to help after a hard day.

It could be due to stuffing Nike trainers with two or three pairs for height increase and support, but it's not the same now. I'm having to buy new trainers every three or four months. They are worn out -- ripped by excess heat, sweat and hard walking at the back of my heel. This is unlike my uncle, who trails his shoes and puts holes at the front of his in weeks after buying a pair.

What can we do? There is a big call for scientists to find a new cure for this problem. Like a horse's foot -- they get new feet. I ease the pain using Devils Claw tablets from Holland Barrett or V-NAL Horse chestnut leg and feet capsules.

By Mykol — On May 20, 2012

I have often thought about getting my shoes professionally fitted, but didn't know how much that would cost.

I can see how expensive this might be if I wanted this done for more than a couple pair of shoes. It would probably make more room in my closet, but I love having a wide variety of shoes to choose from.

My flat feet are bothering me more all the time though, and I am getting to the point where comfort is more important than style.

Right now I have inserts that I place in my shoes which is an easy way to add more support without spending a lot of extra money. As long as these keep working for me, that is what I will continue to use.

I don't buy shoes online anymore because I can't try them on to see how they feel. I can usually tell within a few seconds if the shoe will have enough support or be comfortable enough for me.

By julies — On May 19, 2012

I have discovered that one of the worst kinds of shoes you can wear for flat feet are flip flops.

Even though flip flops are cheap shoes and come in so many fun colors, I really pay for it if I wear them for any length of time.

There is absolutely no support for your arches or any part of your feet for that matter. They might seem comfortable for awhile, but can really cause problems if I spend too much time in them.

One day I wore them to an amusement park, and that was a bad decision. My feet and back were absolutely aching by the end of the day.

The next time, I will wear a pair of shoes that have good support in them and will stay on my feet all day long.

By bagley79 — On May 19, 2012

I often seem to have trouble finding comfortable shoes to wear. I am a nurse and am on my feet all day long. Sometimes I work a 12 hour shift, and this can really be hard on my feet.

I have flat feet as well, so I know how important it is to have support in my shoes.

I have wasted so much money on shoes that didn't end up being very good for me. The shoe may feel comfortable for a few minutes in the store, but there is a difference between that and wearing them all day long.

When I find a brand and style of shoe that gives my flat feet the support I need, I will usually stick with that kind of shoe. That way I know I am not wasting my money and know they will give me the proper support I need.

Because I am on my feet so much at work, I can go through a pair of shoes within a few months. It makes it so much easier when I don't have to shop around for a different kind of shoe for my flat feet.

By myharley — On May 18, 2012

My feet are flat, and finding good shoes for flat feet has always been somewhat of a challenge.

It's not so much finding the good shoes as it is finding good shoes that you like the style of. I want to be able to find shoes that have good support that also look nice at the same time.

Many of the athletic shoes that are worn for everyday use come with gel pads inside them. I have found these to offer a good amount of support.

Sometimes it doesn't matter how much support a shoe has. If I am on my feet for hours at a time, my feet will still hurt at the end of the day.

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