If you look at your feet, you’ll notice that the middle part is slightly raised compared to the rest of the foot. This section is called an arch. It prevents the entire bottom of your feet from being in contact with the ground.
These arches play an important role in support. They enable your feet to support the weight of your body. When you are walking or running, the arches cushion your feet from the weight and shock of your body falling towards the ground.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a normal arch. For some people, the arch is greatly reduced. When they stand, the bottom of the foot is almost in full contact with the ground. This reduces the ability of your feet to support your body when you are standing.
Things get even worse when running. With no arch to provide cushioning, your feet muscles and joints are constantly pummelled as your body falls and rises with each step. It also causes overpronation, where the foot rolls excessively inwards.
If you have flat feet, using normal running shoes will greatly increase the risk of foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, shin splits and Achilles tendonitis. To help you keep fit without damaging your feet, we went out and searched for the best running shoes for flat feet.
Best running shoes for flat feet – Out top picks
We took into account factors like support, cushioning and flexibility to narrow down from dozens of brands to the following top 10 picks.
This pair makes use of Asic’s new Heel Clutching Technology which reduces feet displacement when running thus improving stability and performance. It also combats overpronation.
There are two gel cushioning systems: one at the rear and another at the front. This absorbs shock when your foot comes down and cushions your toes when the foot rises again.
- A removable sockliner. You can insert your own orthotic insole.
- Comfortable, thanks to the rear and fore cushioning.
- Prevents overpronation.
- Most users find them a bit too small so make sure you order half a size or a full size bigger.
Thanks to a seamless interior (no seams or stitches), you don’t have to worry about your feet getting rubbed sore as you run. The heel and midsole are designed to provide the perfect support and comfort combo. If your flat feet have been leaving you in pain every time you run, try this pair.
- Seamless upper, which improves running comfort.
- Special heel and midsole design to support flat feet.
- Rear gel cushioning system to absorb pressure to the heel.
- As with the ASICS shoes above, these ones are also small. Order half a size or a full size bigger.
If you are involved in professional athletics or you are planning to test you athleticism in a marathon, these shoes are the best for performance. They have everything you would want in running shoes: super lightweight, breathable mesh upper, parallel wave heel support for cushioning and to reduce overpronation, responsive midsole and high-traction carbon rubber outsole.
- Highly supportive heel and midsole.
- Good traction, making them ideal for different types of running surfaces.
- Small in size. If you can’t get a size larger, you may have to wear them with thin socks.
Whether you are a pro athlete or you are just looking for a nice pair of trainers for your daily runs, this pair is perfect.
Let’s start with the upper. It is breathable, ensuring your feet don’t get hot and sweaty. Additionally, it is made from flexible materials that retain the free and natural movement of your feet. You can eat up the miles without feeling as if your feet are trapped.
Down below, the heel and midsole work together to provide cushioning, prevent overpronation and maintain proper support.
- Comfortable and supportive.
- Flexible and breathable upper.
- Adjustable mid-foot saddle which provides a customizable fit.
- The adjustable mid-foot saddle is only helpful when the shoe is bigger than expected. But most customers found it a bit small and had to return for one that is a size bigger.
If you are looking for some casual trainers or a comfortable pair for your walking-intensive workplace, these are great. A breathable mesh upper keeps your feet cool and dry, a heel counter provides a snug fit and the padded tongue provides some cushioning.
As a bonus, the shoes are fitted with a reflective strip which is easily visible in low-light; perfect if you are going hiking or early-morning runs.
- Comfortable and supportive.
- Stays cool and dry thanks to the breathable upper.
- Long lasting rubber sole.
- It has a lot of seams and stitching on the upper, which can be uncomfortable when running.
This pair combines style and performance making it ideal for those who want trainers that they can also use for casual wear. There are several styles to choose from including navy, blue, brown and red.
The upper consists of a mesh design to maintain air circulation and prevent sweat build-up especially in hot weather. The durable gum rubber sole provides strong traction on different surfaces.
- Cool styles to choose from.
- Good arch support and heel cushioning.
- Hot weather-friendly mesh upper.
- The mesh upper is vulnerable to wear and tear. If worn too often, they won’t last long.
Another great pair from ASICS. This one comes in 4 styles including pink, black, purple and turquoise. As you would expert, the upper is a mesh, which promotes breathability. A soft sockliner – which is removable – cushions your feet when you are on the move. The midsole has been designed to offer maximum stability and support.
But the most notable part of these shoes is their design. While they retain the sporty look of ASICS running shoes, they also take on a cool low-profile design, making them perfect for use on and off the track.
- Cool design with four different styles to choose from.
- Comfortable inner lining and cool mesh upper.
- Supportive midsole.
- Could do with a little more traction on the soles.
If you want an alternative to the Adidas Energy Cloud mentioned above, they the Duramo Lite. Like Energy Cloud, these ones are also ideal for casual wear as well as athletics. They are available in 6 styles including black, turquoise, blue and pink.
The upper mesh covers a wide area than most running shoes, which means an even cooler running experience no matter the weather.
- Several great styles to choose from.
- Cushioning insole.
- Durable gum rubber sole.
- The wide mesh upper may reduce longevity.
Some of us love the wild uneven terrain of a running trail. If this is your kind of running environment, you need the right shoes to match.
The Salomon trail running shoes have been designed specifically for outdoor running. The tough gum rubber sole features deep indentations (called lugs) that provide unmatchable traction, even on a wet trail. The water resistant upper makes the shoes perfect for all kinds of weather while a PVC toe box can go up against rocks and roots while still protecting your toes.
An anti-debris mesh tongue stands guard against small rocks and other particles, preventing them from entering the shoe and slowing you down.
- Perfect for outdoor running and sports.
- All-round durability.
- Provides adequate support and stability for those with flat feet.
- Be careful during very wet weather or when running on a wet surface. When the outer material soaks water, the shoes can get quite heavy.
This is a great multi-sport pair of shoes. A gum rubber sole provides a tight grip on different surfaces and ensures the shoe will last long while still in good shape. The mesh upper extends from the toes down to the sides of the shoes, ensuring your feet remain cool and dry.
- Comfortable and supportive.
- Ideal for a variety of sports and activities.
- They are a bit of a tight fit. Order a size up.
4 key things to consider when buying running shoes
Having flat feet means you have to be extra cautious when buying running shoes. Without the natural support and stability of raised arch, you need shoes that will replace these functions. Furthermore, it is essential that the shoes provide proper cushioning to protect your feet.
When choosing a pair of running shoes, keep these four things in mind.
1. Support and stability
These are the two most important components of running shoes for flat feet. Unlike normal trainers that merely complement the natural support provided by the foot, these shoes do most of the work.
Make sure that whatever shoes you buy will provide the kind of support you need. They should reduce or prevent overpronation and provide a stable grip for your feet when running.
Different brands will employ different technologies to combat problems faced by people with flat feet. ASICS for example, has Heel Clutching Technology for stability, FluidRide for midsole cushioning and FluidAxis, a technology that allows the shoe to adapt and respond to a user’s unique needs.
If a pair of shoes does not provide enough support, you will know. You will experience pain in your feet and legs even after just a short run. With the right shoes, you could run for a hundred miles without feeling a pinch.
Inadequate cushioning is another common problem for people with flat feet. The low arch is unable to fully absorb the weight of the body. When you are running, your foot joints and muscles undergo a great deal of stress.
Over time, this continued pressure could damage your feet and lead to long term mobility issues. A good pair of running shoes should provide plenty of cushioning such that it feels like you are running on clouds.
The best running shoes usually make use of gel cushioning technology. You are literally running on gel. It adapts to your foot shape and body weight while still cushioning your feet against excessive shock.
Virtually all running shoes have a mesh upper. The semi-open material covering the upper part allows air to flow in and out, thus preventing heat and moisture build-up.
While almost all shoes have a mesh upper, different running shoes will have different sizes of it. For some, the mesh only covers the upper-front part while in others the mesh can extend to the sides of the shoe. The latter type will be more airy but could also be more vulnerable to wear and tear.
This is where many people experience difficulties. We have encountered plenty of customer reviews complaining about ill-fitting shoes.
With different brands using different sizing standards, the confusion is understandable. The most common problem is people buying shoes that are too small. So if you find a shoe that many customer say is tight, consider buying a size up. If it does not fit, you can always make a return.
Whatever you do, make sure the shoe is a good fit. If it is too tight or too lose, your running performance will be impacted. Even worse, it could cause or aggravate feet problems.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Why do I need special running shoes if I have flat feet?
Because ordinary trainers will not provide the kind of support and stability you need. The above specialized running shoes are designed to counter the unique problems that those with flat feet face.
Q: Will they eliminate flat feet?
Probably not but they will reduce or eliminate problems caused by flat feet. You can finally run comfortably without any soreness or pain. You may find a good idea to combine wearing these shoes with some helpful exercises for flat feet.
Q: What if I have orthotic insoles? Can’t I just use them with ordinary running shoes?
If your flat feet problem is only mild, then perhaps ordinary shoes with orthotic insoles could do. For most people however, specialised running shoes provide the best experience. Just make sure to buy shoes with removable insoles that you can replace with your own.