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 about 30% of people have fallen arches, or what you probably call flat feet. "Characteristics of flat feet are fallen arches or a loss of the arch completely," Hillary Brenner, DPM, of Bell Health in New Jersey, 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. 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.

"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 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, Chanel Perkins, DPM—assistant professor of podiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch—said 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."

Dr. Perkins added: "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 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.

Below, shop 11 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," Dr. Bar-David told 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," 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.

"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 said. "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."

"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." Reviewers have dubbed it the "best for flat feet and bad ankles" as well.

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," 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. 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 said. "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

The Vionic Indulge Sadie Mule 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 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."

"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.

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

Best Flats: Mephisto Emilie Flats

Mephisto Emilie
Zappos

A supportive ballet flat, the Mephisto Emile Flat 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.

"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 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.

"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 explained. "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."

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