11 of the Best Podiatrist-Approved Shoes for Flat Feet

If you have fallen arches, keep your feet happy with these podiatrist-approved shoes for flat feet.

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It's estimated that nearly 30% of people have fallen arches, or what you probably call flat feet, according to one study published in 2017 in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.

"Characteristics of flat feet are fallen arches or a loss of the arch completely," Hillary Brenner, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in New York, told Health. "The front of the foot and toes point outward and move away from the midline of the body, the ankle turns in, and the heel turns out."

People with fallen arches need the right support from their shoes to promote proper alignment. 

Here's what you should know about some of the best podiatrist-approved shoes for flat feet that ensure lasting support and comfort.

The 11 Best Shoes for Flat Feet

Below, shop the 11 pairs of shoes that meet podiatrists' sole-centered standards, depending on your preferences:

The Side Effects of Wearing an Ill-Fitting Shoe

Low arches can cause more problems than you may realize. In addition to tired, achy, and swollen feet, flat arches can bring bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, arthritis, and flat-out pain.

"A lot of times, when people have flat feet, they will experience pain in the heel, arch, ankle, and outside of the foot," Dr. Brenner explained. "They can also have overall aches and pains throughout the foot and lower leg. Pain can also occur in the shins, knees, hip, and back. They can also get blisters on bony prominences, bruising on the toes, nails, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs."

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," said Emily Splichal, DPM, a podiatrist practicing functional and regenerative medicine in Chandler, Ariz. "Some people have a 'pancake' foot, while others are considered more of an over-pronation."

What To Consider When Shopping for New Shoes

No matter the shape of your flat foot, good gear will help keep a healthy pep in your step. According to experts, here's what people with flat feet should look for in good-for-you shoes.

Your Arch Type

According to Chanel J. Perkins, DPM, an assistant professor of podiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, you need to better understand your arch type, flexible or rigid flat foot, before picking new shoes. 

"If you have a flexible flat foot, then the arch is maintained when sitting but collapses when standing. If you have a rigid flat foot, the arch stays flat whether sitting or standing," explained Dr. Perkins. "Having said that, a person with a flexible flat foot will have very different shoe needs from someone with a rigid flat foot."

Dr. Perkins added that if your flat foot is flexible, you'll want shoes that reduce, meaning your foot moves inward.

"The shoes will have to be firmer to allow correction of the foot to a more neutral position," said Dr. Perkins. 

On the other hand, if your flat foot is rigid, you'll want shoes that are cushioned.

Stability

Since flat feet collapse inward when you walk and run, it's essential to look for a stabilizing shoe that prevents overpronation. Look out for features like internal wedges along the arch and supportive posts. That will help minimize pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and legs. 

Keeping that in mind, Dr. Splichal stressed that you should "steer clear of flip-flops if you suffer from collapsed arches. A lack of arch support from shoes can increase the stress to the feet, as well as the knees and hips." The same is true for ballet flats.

Durability

Generally speaking, the stronger the shoe, the better the support. 

"You want to check the flexibility of the shoe," Dr. Perkins noted. "If it folds in half like a soft taco, it's certainly not going to have the support you might need if you're experiencing any arch or heel pain from flat feet." 

A shoe with a dual-density midsole, or one that is wider and has better construction, will guarantee more support and protection.

Best Everyday Sneakers: Munro Gabbie Sneaker

best-shoes-flat-feet-munro-booties
Nordstrom.com

The Gabbie is a favorite of New York-based podiatrist Tzvi Bar-David, DPM, because of its thoughtful design. 

"Munro is a great brand because its shoes generally fit orthotics," Dr. Bar-David told Health. "Any shoe that accommodates accessories that reengage the arch is best." 

Additionally, the sneaker has a cushioned footbed for comfort, a contoured forefoot for stability and support, and a sweat-wicking textile lining for breathability.

Based on over 100 reviews on Zappos, 46% of reviewers gave the Munro Gabbie Sneaker 5 out of 5 stars.

"These are the most comfortable shoes, especially with a medium width and narrow heel foot," shared one reviewer. "I am also very flat-footed. This is my second pair and my very favorite. Love the design and softness and style of leather."

Best Booties: Munro Lexi Boot

Munro Lexi Boot
Nordstrom

Another stylish pick from Munro, these ankle boots go with any outfit. 

They also support flat feet, thanks to a cushioned, podiatrist-approved Poron insole that absorbs impact and diminishes foot fatigue. The combination of its leather upper and latex rubber sole provides additional support and stability, which translates to increased comfort.

On Nordstrom, the Munro Lexi Boot has 3.9 out of 5 stars, based on over 100 reviews.

"I recently developed nerve pain in my left foot which means I need a low-heeled bootie with good support," one shopper explained. "The sole is divinely soft, the bootie is nicely made, the mixed texture leather lovely and shape elegant. Very happy with this little bootie, and more importantly, I am pain-free."

Best Orthopedic: Alegria Paloma Slip-On

Alegria Paloma Slip-On
Zappos

"People with flat feet should wear shoes that are more structured, meaning they aren't too soft or too cushioned," advised Minnesota-based podiatrist Paul Langer, DPM

With a flexible rocker platform and a memory foam-cushioned insole, this slip-on style from Alegria provides just the right amount of support.

Based on over 1,200 reviews on Zappos, 67% of reviewers gave the Alegria Paloma Slip-On 5 out of 5 stars.

"This is a good shoe," wrote one customer. "I am a social worker [and] I was looking for a comfortable shoe for work; I was not disappointed. I have wide, flat feet and can wear these shoes without any pain at the end of the day. I love these shoes, and I have received many compliments on their appearance."

Best Running Sneakers: Asics Gel Kayano 28 Sneaker

ASICS GEL-Kayano 28
Zappos

Thanks to its shock-absorbing heel, cushioned midsole, and stabilizing heel counter, the Asics Gel Kayano 28 delivers comprehensive support to protect flat-footed runners from toe to heel. Dr. Perkins said it even prevents your foot from rolling too far inward—an essential quality of any running shoe for flat feet. 

"This shoe has firm foam support throughout the arch," Dr. Perkins explained. "The shoe design highlights stability for overpronation. In addition to being lightweight, it's also very soft, highly cushioned, and largely breathable."

Based on over 800 reviews on Zappos, 63% of reviewers gave the Asics Gel Kayano 28 Sneaker 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewers have dubbed it the "best for flat feet and bad ankles," as well.

"These are the best Gel-Kayanos yet," raved one Zappos shopper. "I'm not a runner but walk and have severe overpronation. They offer the most support and cushion of any shoe you can buy hands down." 

Best Sandals: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Leather (Unisex)
Zappos

This Birkenstock is a go-to recommendation from Dr. Perkins, especially for those with a flexible flat foot. 

"The straps are adjustable, which is great for wider feet," Dr. Perkins said. "Also, the footbed sweetly contours to your foot over time, basically creating a custom shoe just for you." 

This classic sandal is supremely comfortable with its soft oiled leather upper, raised toe bar, and deep heel cup.

Based on over 2,200 reviews on Zappos, 78% of reviewers gave the Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal 5 out of 5 stars.

"I have very flat feet and a standing desk at work," one reviewer said. "Because of this, I was constantly [having] heel, leg, and hip pain and needed something comfy. These fit the bill. [...] I started by wearing them around the house, then out to run errands, and soon I was able to wear them for several hours [and] on long walks with my dog. I have to say I absolutely love them. They're the first shoes I've ever worn that don't give me heel pain."

Best Walking Shoes: New Balance 1540v3 Sneaker

New Balance 1540v3
Zappos

Designed to correct overpronation with its stabilizing and supportive fit, the New Balance 1540v3 is built with a unique RollBar posting system. It helps fix your gait pattern for a more comfortable stride. 

"New Balance is a long-standing fan favorite in the podiatry world," Dr. Perkins said. "This style is a great shoe with motion control for overpronation. Wide options are also available."

Based on over 800 reviews on Zappos, 58% of reviewers gave the New Balance 1540v3 Sneaker 5 out of 5 stars.

"I am flat-footed, and [this] pair of shoes helped me survive a 12- to 13-hour shift without giving me feet and leg pains," one reviewer reported. "Cannot go wrong with New Balance's motion control shoes!"

Best Slippers: Vionic Indulge Sadie Mule Slipper

Vionic Women's Indulge Sadie Mule Slipper
Amazon

The Vionic Indulge Sadie Mule Slipper features a biomechanically contoured footbed covered in a soft polyester terry cloth fabric. It hugs the sole and cradles the heel in its deep heel cup. And since it has ball-of-foot cushioning, it can realign your stride and minimize fatigue and pain throughout your foot, ankle, and leg. 

"This brand was developed by a podiatrist," Dr. Perkins shared. "Vionic shoes are also approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. This particular slipper is soft, won't easily wear out, and offers built-in arch support."

On Amazon, the Vionic Indulge Sadie Mule Slipper has 4.6 out of 5 stars, based on over 7,700 reviews.

"The arch support they build into their products is perfect," one reviewer shared. "These slippers look great, fit perfectly, and straighten up my feet, ankles, and in up to my back. Less back pain. In fact, these new slippers are better built than my old ones."

Best Heels: Coach Cora Block Heel Penny Loafer

Cora Block Heel Penny Loafer COACH
Nordstrom

Taking cues from popular footwear trends of the '90s, this stylish Coach penny loafer with a block heel has supportive details that ensure all-around comfort for flat arches.

On Nordstrom, the Coach Cora Block Heel Penny Loafer has 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on six reviews.

"These heeled penny loafers are not only cute and versatile, but they are also super comfy and easy to walk in," explained Casey Pidich, DPM, a podiatrist in New York. "They have a thick rubber sole for shock absorption and a sturdy block heel for walking."

Best Flats: Mephisto Emilie Flats

Mephisto Emilie
Zappos

The Mephisto Emile Flat is a supportive ballet flat that prioritizes stability with its advanced design. 

"Mephisto's ballet flats have a soft cushioned footbed, which makes them incredibly comfortable," Dr. Pidich said. "The shoe design is made of high-quality, smooth nubuck leather. This overall combination offers the right amount of support and stretch for flat feet." 

Also, the brand's Air-Jet circulation system will help your feet stay cool and comfortable throughout the day.

Based on 12 reviews on Zappos, 42% of reviewers gave the Mephisto Emilie Flats 5 out of 5 stars.

"I have a wide foot, and these felt great," shared one reviewer. "I plan to wear them to work, where I am on my feet half the time."

Best Flip-Flops: Oofos Oolala Sandal

OOFOS OOlala Sandal
Zappos

While many podiatrists condemn flip-flops for their lack of support, Dr. Pidich recommended the water-resistant Oofos Oolala for those looking for a comfortable pair of sandals

"It has a rocker-bottom design similar to that of the Hoka Sneaker," Dr. Pidich said. "It also has an ortho foam technology that absorbs 37% more impact than the average shoe." 

This, in turn, promotes natural foot movement and reduces stress on the feet, knees, and lower back.

Based on over 800 reviews on Zappos, 71% of reviewers gave the Oofos Oolala Sandal 5 out of 5 stars.

"These shoes are amazing, and they allow me to have more time on my feet at home during the day," one customer wrote. "These sandals give my very flat feet plenty of support."

Best Slip-On Sneakers: Adidas Puremotion Adapt Running Shoe

adidas Women's Puremotion Adapt Running Shoe
Amazon

Comfort and style come together in the lightweight Adidas Puremotion Adapt running sneaker. It has the brand's cushioned Cloudfoam midsole and offers a secure fit with its snug yet stretchable knit construction. 

"This slip-on sneaker is not only sleek and stylish, but it also looks incredibly comfortable," Dr. Pidich explained. "The contoured arch will support a flat foot, and the sock-like construction won't irritate a bunion or hammertoe." 

On Amazon, the Adidas Puremotion Adapt Running Shoe has 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on over 14,400 reviews.

"I was on a time crunch to find shoes that would be good for our Disney World trip," explained one shopper. "I saw these and thought, 'Okay, no tying, easy to slip on, looks supportive.' I was right. They're stylish, comfy, supportive, and did not wear out at all after 40,000 steps in two days."

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