High arches can be a pain, but these walking shoes feel like plush comfort with every step.
When you have high arches, finding the correct shoes for your feet can be challenging. That's especially true when shopping for walking shoes: Whether you need them for traveling, errands, or just walking your pup around the block, a good pair of walking shoes should support your raised arches with every step—not exacerbate foot pain.
"High arches can make it difficult to fit into regular shoes," Miguel Cunha, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York City and the founder of Gotham Footcare, tells Health. "Having high arches means that less of your foot actually touches the ground when walking or running, providing less shock absorption."
High arches are genetic, Dr. Cunha explains, and as the name suggests, are characterized by an arch that's higher than normal. The arch itself may not cause pain, but your feet might feel fatigued or sore, especially when you're walking or standing. Other symptoms include arch inflexibility or stiffness, ankle pain, a tight Achilles tendon, or painful corns and calluses. (When in doubt, a podiatrist can help you pinpoint the exact cause of your foot pain.)
In general, there are a few features you should look for in a walking shoe, says Dr. Cunha. Shoes should have a rigid shank (in other words, you shouldn't be able to bend them in half), padding around the ankle, and a spacious toe box so you can move toes freely.
Also important? A well-cushioned footbed to prevent arch collapse. Dr. Cunha says that while he usually recommends custom foot orthotics, they can be expensive and aren't always covered by health insurance. "When this is the case, I highly recommend a good insole such as PROFOOT Triad Orthotics, Superfeet, or Stride Insoles," he says. (See more of our favorite over-the-counter insoles here.) "These over-the-counter orthotics can help realign and position the foot and ankle properly to stabilize your arch to help provide shock absorption." The combination of orthotics with a shoe that already has shock-absorbing padding in the footbed will work together to keep your feet pain-free.
Below, nine pairs of walking sneakers that will keep your raised arches supported.
Vionic Codie Casual Sneaker
We love Vionic: Their shoes are all designed with the help of podiatrists, and this sneaker is no exception. It's available in four versatile colorways and, crucially, has a removable mesh-wrapped EVA footbed. "Shoes with molded EVA midsoles are designed to help mitigate foot, heel, and arch support for superior comfort and support of the plantar fascia," says Dr. Cunha.
New Balance Classics
Dr. Cunha says he often recommends this brand for arch support. What we love: plenty of padding around the ankles and in the tongue, plush cushioning on the midsole, a TPU heel insert for extra support, and a stylish silhouette that works well with basically everything in your closet.
Did you know that Meghan Markle's go-to flats brand also carries sneakers? This pair has a roomy toe box and uppers and supportive insoles that are made using 100% recycled fiber from plastic water bottles. Plus, like all Rothy's shoes, they're machine washable and have no break-in period thanks to the seamless construction, so they're instantly comfortable.
ASICS Women's Fuzex Lyte 2 Running Shoe
Another one of Dr. Cunha's favorite brands for high arches? Asics. This white, black, and gray pair is stylish enough that you'll want to show them off, but still boasts tons of foot-supportive details. Think: seamless construction and the brand's fuzeGEL Midsole for lightweight but durable support.
Dr. Scholl's Freestep Sneaker
UGG Tye Stardust Sneaker
The only thing comfier than UGG boots? UGG sneakers. This pair has a PORON- and memory foam-cushioned insole and Treadlite by UGG sole for maximum support. The perforated metallic leather is equal parts stylish and functional, helping to circulate air flow while you move.
Naturalizer Morrison Sneaker
If you want shoes that you can wear on your walk to work (without having to change out of them once you get to your desk) these are a great choice. The black and white tweed keep them office appropriate, while the contoured footbed and heel and arch support mean your raised arches will be comfortable on your commute.