The 11 Best Shoes for Flat Feet, According to Podiatrists

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.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Photo: Courtesy of merchants

It's estimated that about 30% of people have fallen arches, or what you probably call flat feet. But how do you know if you have them? "Characteristics of flat feet are fallen arches or a loss of the arch completely," Dr. Hillary Brenner, DPM, of Bell Health in New Jersey, tells 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. Below, explore some of the best podiatrist-approved shoes for flat feet that ensure lasting support and comfort.

The best shoes for flat feet

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 on bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, arthritis, and flat-out pain (pun intended).

"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 explains. "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," 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."

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. We talked to experts to figure out what people with flat feet should look for in good-for-you shoes:

Your arch type: Before you pick a shoe, Dr. Chanel Perkins, DPM, says you need to better understand your arch type: flexible flat foot or rigid flat foot. "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. Having said that, a person with a flexible flat foot will have very different shoe needs from someone with a rigid flat foot."

She continues, "If the flat foot is flexible, the main characteristic of the shoes is to reduce pronation, so the shoes will have to be firmer to allow correction of the foot to a more neutral position. On the contrary, if the flat foot is rigid, the shoe will need to be more cushioned and accommodative and therefore less firm and corrective."

Stability: Since flat feet collapse inward when you walk and run, it's important to get a stabilizing shoe that prevents overpronation, which will help minimize pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and legs. Look out for features like internal wedges along the arch and supportive posts. Keeping this in mind, Dr. Splichal stresses 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." Ditto 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 notes. "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.

Below, shop 11 cute pairs of shoes that meet podiatrists' sole-centered standards.

Best Everyday Sneakers: Munro Gabbie Sneaker

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

The Gabbie is a favorite of New York City-based podiatrist Tzvi Bar-David, DPM, because of its thoughtful design. "Munro is a great brand because its shoes generally fit orthotics," he tells Health. "Any shoe that accommodates accessories that reengage the arch are 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.

"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 go-with-everything ankle boots keep flat feet extra supported 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.

"I recently developed nerve pain in my left foot which means I need a low heeled bootie with good support," one Nordstrom 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," advises Minnesota-based podiatrist Dr. 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.

"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 all-around support to protect flat-footed runners from toe to heel. It even prevents your foot from rolling too far inward—an important quality of any running shoe for flat feet, Dr. Perkins says. "This shoe has firm foam support throughout the arch," she explains. "The shoe design highlights stability for overpronation. In addition to being lightweight, it's also very soft, highly cushioned, and largely breathable." Reviewers have dubbed it the "best for flat feet and bad ankles."

"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 specific Birkenstock is a go-to recommendation for Dr. Perkins, especially for those with a flexible flat foot. "The straps are adjustable, which is great for wider feet," she says. "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. It's not hard to see why it has so many five-star ratings on Zappos.

"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." They also shared, "I started by wearing them around the house, then out to run errands and soon I was able to wear them for several hours/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 to correct your gait pattern for a more comfortable stride. "New Balance is a long-standing fan favorite in the podiatry world," Dr. Perkins says. "This style is a great shoe with motion control for overpronation. Wide options are also available."

"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 was happy to report. "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

Unwind courtesy of the Vionic Indulge Sadie Mule Slipper. This house slipper features a biomechanically contoured footbed, which is 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 shares. "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."

"The arch support they build into their products is perfect," one flat-footed 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

Those looking for a supportive heel will find their sole-mate in this Coach penny loafer with a block heel. Taking cues from popular footwear trends of the '90s, this stylish shoe has supportive details that ensure all-around comfort for flat arches.

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

Best Flats: Mephisto Emilie Flats

Mephisto Emilie
Zappos

Finding a supportive pair of ballet flats can be a feat. Or at least it was before the Mephisto Emile Flat, which prioritizes stability with its advanced design. "Mephisto's ballet flats have a soft cushioned footbed, which makes them incredibly comfortable," Dr. Pidich says. "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." And thanks to the brand's Air-Jet circulation system, your feet will stay cool and comfortable throughout the day.

"I have a wide foot and these felt great," shared one Zappos 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 recommends 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," she says. "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.

"These shoes are amazing, and they allow me to have more time on my feet at home during the day," one customer wrote in their five-star review. "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, which 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 explains. "The contoured arch will support a flat foot, and the sock-like construction won't irritate a bunion or hammertoe." It's not hard to see why it has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.

"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."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles