If you have fallen arches, then you know what a pain it can be—literally. Keep your feet happy with these podiatrist-approved shoes for flat feet.
It's estimated that about 30% of people have fallen arches, or what you probably call flat feet. Low arches can cause more problems than you may realize: In addition to tired, achy, and swollen feet, flat arches can bring on bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, arthritis, and flat-out pain (pun intended).
“Flat feet can be tricky,” says Minnesota-based podiatrist Paul Langer, DPM. “Just because you have flat feet doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have foot problems. Some people do just fine with flat feet.”
And the causes of flat footedness may be just as varied as peoples’ experiences of the condition: “Foot type can be genetic or a result of imbalances and stresses put on the body, so there are many different types of flat feet,” says Emily Splichal, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist. “Some people have a ‘pancake’ foot, while others are considered more of an over-pronation.”
No matter the shape of your flat foot, good gear is a must for keeping a healthy pep in your step. We talked to experts to figure out what flat-footed shoppers should look for in good-for-you shoes.
Here are eight cute pairs that meet podiatrists’ sole-centered standards.
Munro Ayr Bootie
According to New York City-based podiatrist Tzvi Bar-David, DPM, individuals with flat feet should add arch support devices, like orthotics or insoles, to their everyday shoes. “Any shoe that accommodates accessories that reengage the arch are best,” Dr. Bar-David says. “Munro is a great brand because its shoes generally fit orthotics.”
FitFlop Uberknit Slip-On High Top Sneaker
“When someone has a flat foot, the inside edge of the foot basically becomes straight when it bears weight,” explains Dr. Langer. Choose shoes that maintain the foot’s form, like these sneakers that received the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of acceptance on account of their contoured footbed, added arch support, and shock-absorbing rubber pods.
Munro Lexi Boot
Alegria Paloma Slip-On
“People with flat feet should wear shoes that are more structured, meaning they aren’t too soft or too cushioned,” advises Dr. Langer. With a flexible rocker platform and a memory foam-cushioned insole, these slip-ons from Alegria provide just the right amount of support.
Alegria Leather Lace-Up Sneaker
Steer clear of flip-flops if you suffer from collapsed arches, says Dr. Splichal: “A lack of arch support from shoes can increase the stress to the feet, as well as the knees and hips.” Ballet flats are often a bad choice as well (but these comfortable ballet flats do have podiatrist-approved arch support). Instead, opt for comfort-minded pairs like these metallic snakeskin sneakers that contain a padded insole. Added bonus: the shoes' textured outsole offer a safe and sturdy grip on the ground.
Vionic Torri High Top Sneaker
These sporty-chic sneakers may just be the answer to all your sole concerns. With an orthotic footbed, added arch support, and a lightweight midsole that works to reduce stress to the foot, the high-tops help fight overpronation that’s commonly associated with flat-footedness.
FitFlop F-Pop Skate
“Everybody has a different tolerance for footwear, depending on their comfort or how flat their feet are,” says Dr. Langer. If these slip-on sneaks’ dual-density midsoles don’t do enough to diffuse your flat foot-induced pain, feel free to replace the removable insole with your preferred comfort accessory.