- Benefits Of Running Shoes for Flat Feet
- Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet Comparison Chart
- Running Shoes for Flat Feet Reviews
- 1. ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe
- 2. ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 25 Running Shoes
- 3. Brooks Men’s Running Shoes
- 4. Brooks 1202532A Women’s Running Shoes
- 5. Saucony Men’s Guide 13 Running Shoe
- 6. Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 15 Running Shoe
- 7. ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe
- 8. Hoka One One Women’s Vanquish 2 Running Shoe
- 9. Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 Men’s Running Shoe
- 10. ASICS Women’s Gel-Excite 6 Running Shoes
- 11. ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes
- 12. Brooks Women’s Launch 6 Running Shoe
- Do Flat Feet Affect Running?
- Running Shoes for Flat Feet Buying Guide
- FAQ About Running Shoes for Flat Feet
- Wrap Up
Nowadays, more and more people decide to take up running as a form of exercise. While you run or jog, you can listen to your favorite book, or crank up some tunes and forget about everyday problems. However, being that a lot of people have some form of flat feet (some without even knowing it), running and jogging can be a bit difficult. But worry not! We went all out to find the best running shoes for flat feet out there. Additionally, we will put useful info on how to pick the right pair for yourself, and what other stuff to look out for.
You do not have to give up on this simple, yet magnificent hobby just because you have fallen arches, aka flat feet. With the help of modern technology, medicine, and engineering, you can start running in no time! Let’s just jump right into it!
Benefits Of Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Every shoe out there that is made for running has some sort of special tech inside. However, running shoes for flat feet bring an additional set to the table. As we discussed in the section above, the two most important things to cover when it comes to flat feet are – arch support and heel stabilization. These are just the two main features that people with flat feet should aim to get because the risks of injury increase as they continue to run without proper shoes.
1. Additional Support for the Arches
The reason we call this additional support is simple – every pair of decent running shoes has some sort of arch support, even for the people with no arch issues. Believe it or not, we (humans) are not exactly made for running. That is why barefoot running, no matter how popular it is becoming, is not comfy nor safe.
Running shoes for flat feet have additional support in the form of better, and often higher, materials around the arches. Fallen arches force the foot to pronate, or in this case over-pronate, and these additional arch support inserts help with keeping them in their place. You might think that this is a common feature, but, thanks to the brutal force exerted by our feet while running, the arch support must be stronger than usual to survive the pressure.
2. Cushioning of Critical Spots
Shoes designed for running need to be comfortable above all. But, unfortunately, there is an upper limit to comfort, because a shoe that is too soft may be as harmful as wearing clogs to a jogging session. For people with flat feet, and people that over-pronate in general, the main problem is the critical spots, such as:
- The heel – the majority of flat-footed runners have a heeled strike, which corrects over time but is still a major injury risk
- The arch – to keep the foot snug and tight, the shoes have additional arch cushioning that fills in the gaps
- Ball of the foot – as you slowly get used to running properly, the ball of the foot will start developing. Due to the immense amount of pressure exerted, softer cushioning is more than welcome under the ball of the foot
3. Shoe Flexibility
The main reason why running shoes are so special is the clever engineering behind it all. Running shoes for flat feet must be comfy, durable, and supportive. Atop all of these features, running shoes must be lightweight as well. For example, work boots can have additional structural support by adding metal parts to keep the integrity of the shoes intact for a long time. But as you know, metal weighs a lot and is not exactly flexible.
That is why, on most running shoe models, you can find something called the medial post, or medial support. It is a piece of lightweight material so durable that it strengthens the medial part of the shoe. Just to remind you, people with flat feet usually have one (out of three) fallen arches called the medial arch. This is why you can have a durable shoe that doesn’t weigh much, but can also bend on the ball of the foot all day long.
4. The Shoe Lining
In the world of running shoes, be it regular or for flat feet, we can see that there are some major build differences when it comes to the footprint. As a matter of fact, there are three major groups of running shoes, with each group catering to a certain type of foot, or type of runner, depending on the running style and the shape of the foot. The technical term for the part that separates these three types is called – the last. A shoe last is a type of mold shoemakers use to determine the overall footprint of the shoe. By fixing the footprint, they essentially determine how the force caused by running is going to be spread all over the shoe.
4.1. Motion-control running shoes
If you are suffering from a severe stage of fallen arches to the point that it is causing you discomfort, you should be aiming for a pair of motion-control running shoes for flat feet. These shoes are a bit heavier than your average running shoe, yes, but all that extra weight comes from the cushioning and support used to keep your feet from overpronation. The footprint of a motion-control running shoe for flat feet is straight, and it looks full, similar to a boot.
4.2. Stability running shoes
Stability running shoes are made both for people with flat feet and people with flexible fallen arches. This means that the arch support isn’t as aggressive as with the motion-control running shoes for flat feet. The footprint (last) of this shoe is semi-curved, and it can stop the foot from over-pronating, but not as effective as a straight last.
4.3. Padded/cushioned shoes
Lastly, we have a somewhat unique type of shoe last that leaves a fully-curved footprint. This type of shoe is made for people who have severe issues with feet muscle disbalances. Most often, we are talking about people with high arches, which is the opposite type of problem. However, a small number of people reported that curved lasted running shoes, with added arch support, help their flat feet with sprinting. This is to be taken with a grain of salt, because everyone’s feet are different, and we advise you to consult with your physician before making the final decision.
Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet Comparison Chart
ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe
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ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 25 Running Shoes
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Brooks Men’s Running Shoes
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Brooks 1202532A Women’s Running Shoes
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Saucony Men’s Guide 13 Running Shoe
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Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 15 Running Shoe
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Running Shoes for Flat Feet Reviews
1. ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe
The shoe manufacturer ASICS has been in this game for a long time. They brought some innovative solutions to the table when it comes to footwear, and running shoes for flat feet followed the same trend. This pair of running shoes for men certainly have a lot to offer, both with performance and aesthetics. At the moment, there are fifteen different designs and colors to choose from.
Now, the performance of this pair of running shoes relies on technology and clever engineering behind them. On top, we have a combination of mesh and synthetics to keep your feet comfortable, and above all, keep them dry. The soft mesh is supported by the synthetic parts enough to keep the integrity of the shoes intact. Inside, you can find an insole that has arch and heel support. This insert is removable in case you want to use your own, custom made orthotics.
- A wide arrange of designs and color to choose from
- The insoles are removable, giving you the option to use custom orthotics
- The cushioning and the midsole are made with GEL technology for efficient shock absorption
- Due to all the smaller, synthetic parts used on the upper, maintenance and cleaning of these shoes is a bit harder
2. ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 25 Running Shoes
ASICS makes all sorts of running shoe models, both for men and women. They utilize modern technology to make running shoes comfy and functional. This particular model of running shoes for flat feet comes in 23 different designs and colors, which gives you the option to combine them with your training gear.
The upper part of these shoes is made of a mesh-synthetic combination. This combo gives your feet the comfort they need during a run, and the much-needed breathability. Having a shoe that dries quickly (mainly from sweat) is the key feature of fungus infection prevention. The insole is an EVA-GEL combo, with GEL technology placed under the critical spots, like the ball of the foot and the heel. If you value comfort above everything else, this material combination will certainly fulfill your expectations. Combined with the rubber sole, this midsole will adapt to your natural gait, all while supporting your range of motion while running.
- These shoes are stylish and functional- you can get them in over 20 different designs and colors
- The upper is breathable and prevents scratches and chafing while keeping the integrity of the shoe
- The EVA-GEL midsole combination cushions the critical spots and supports your arches while running
- Due to the material nature of mesh used for the upper, you should avoid running in wet or humid conditions
3. Brooks Men’s Running Shoes
These Brooks for men are somewhat simple-looking, with no bright colors that running shoes usually have. But do not let the simple look fool you, because they certainly have a lot to offer in terms of functionality. Although, you can get them in three different designs and colors: black, gray, and ebony with red accents.
The design of the outsole and heel support are made primarily to help people who have issues with overpronation. Above all, the outsole is made of synthetic materials, making it lighter than the regular rubber outsoles. The upper is created out of mesh, prioritizing feet skin breathing. Inside of these running stability shoes, you will find a cushioned insole, and a Super DNA midsole that absorbs a large portion of the force exerted on the feet while running.
- The outsole on these running shoes for flat feet are lightweight
- These are stability shoes designed for people with serious overpronation, allowing them to run comfortably
- The upper is made of breathable mesh that keeps your feet dry from sweat
- This particular model of stability running shoes for flat feet come with a heftier price
4. Brooks 1202532A Women’s Running Shoes
The Brooks running shoes for flat feet from this series can be the perfect ally to accompany you on your runs, especially if you are prone to overpronation. Although you won’t be able to choose from a wide variety of colors or designs, the available ones are subtle and can match any exercising outfit. There are three different designs to choose from – black/pink, ebony/silver, and blue/teal.
But, when it comes to performance, you can expect your feet to be fully supported by this pair of running shoes. The upper is made of knit mesh material, that lets your feet breathe, thus preventing the possibilities of developing foot fungus. The midsole is a Brooks trademarked BioMoGo, a biodegradable DNA midsole that has a long-lasting cushioning, made for the most durable of runners. Additionally, you will be happy to hear that the insoles of these running shoes are removable, thus enabling you to use your own, custom-made orthotics.
- A model of running shoes made for people that have fallen arches and tend to overpronate
- The upper is made of breathable mesh, keeping your feet dry and away from fungal infections
- The midsole is a BioMoGo, which is bio-degradable and durable
- These running shoes are not designed to be used in humid weather
5. Saucony Men’s Guide 13 Running Shoe
Finding the right shoe for running is no easy task, especially if the runner suffers from fallen arches. Here we have a pair of Saucony Men’s running shoes that can provide both the comfort and the support flat-footed people need. And, above all, you get to chose between one of four possible designs: black, blue, gray, and jackalope (rusty red).
These running shoes have several technologies built in, all to help you run without pain or other biomechanical issues. Firstly, there’s the mesh upper, strengthened with synthetics. Thanks to the combination of these materials, these shoes get to be flexible and breathable, atop of being structurally sound and firm. Inside, there is a TPU guidance frame, designed to help you perform better and achieve your natural running gait without putting extra strain on the muscles of your feet. The midsole is cushioned enough to provide support, but not soft enough to be harmful in the long run.
- A pair of stylish running shoes for men with fallen arches, and flexible flat feet
- The TPU guidance inside the shoe helps you achieve your natural gait easily
- The cushioning is responsive even during longer runs
- The inserts are not removable, so you can’t put your custom orthotics easily
6. Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 15 Running Shoe
Mizuno is known as a shoemaking brand that designs running shoes for all sorts of runners out there. This particular model will be there for your fallen arches because it is a stability shoe that can support anyone that has arch problems, flexible or completely fallen. There are 6 main designs and colors you can choose from and match them with your fitness gear.
So, when it comes to the features these running shoes have, we are talking about a mesh and textile upper combo. This makes the shoes soft and breathable without sacrificing a sound structure. The outsole is made of a lighter type of rubber that is designed to correct overpronation to an extent. Inside, you can find a trademarked U4ic midsole, that Mizuno is proud of. This midsole plays a big role in shock absorption, making the shoes even more comfortable while in motion.
- Stylish shoes with six different designs to choose from
- The rubber outsole and the special Mizuno U4ic midsole create enough cushioning to support the critical spots runners have
- The uppers are made of breathable materials that will keep your feet fresh
- These running shoes do not have a removable insole, so you cannot use custom orthotics. Although, they provide a lot of support for your arches and heel by default.
ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe
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Hoka One One Women’s Vanquish 2 Running Shoe
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Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 Men’s Running Shoe
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ASICS Women’s Gel-Excite 6 Running Shoes
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ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes
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Brooks Women’s Launch 6 Running Shoe
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7. ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe
If you are looking for a running shoe to accompany you in your fitness endeavors every day, this pair of ASICS may be the right path for you. These, somewhat bulkier, running shoes for men come in more than 25 different designs and styles, each carrying the same reliable technology inside. The last of these shoes is straight, meaning that it is designed as a motion-control shoe, able to support overpronated feet.
The upper is made of synthetics and textiles, which is somewhat even water-resistant (a feature not common in the running shoe world). The outsole of these shoes is made of rubber. However, the midsole is where the support lies – it is made with GEL technology (invented by ASICS) that cushions the critical spots under the ball of the foot and the heel. Inside the shoe, you can see the removable insole that leaves you with enough space to use your own custom orthotics.
- The rubber outsoles on these running shoes for flat feet come with AHAR technology which covers the areas that get damaged the most with extra durability
- The insoles are removable, making custom orthotic use possible
- Inside the midsole, there are GEL pockets that cushion the painful spots for people with flat feet
- These running shoes are less breathable than an average running shoe, so it takes some extra time to dry them off
8. Hoka One One Women’s Vanquish 2 Running Shoe
The very first thing you can notice on these Hoka running shoes for women is the beautiful, colorful design (you can get them in blue atoll color, or get a poppy red design). But aesthetics is not the only thing they can offer to a runner. The colorful upper is made of synthetics and fabrics that paly the role in cushioning as well.
The uncommon thing about these running shoes is that they have EVA utilized in both the midsole and the outsole. This means that the shoes are extra comfortable and that they will be able to cushion a large portion of the stress caused by running. On top of that, the outsole is curved in such a way that it promotes a mid-range strike, which is what everyone should aim for because it is the healthiest form of running. The midsole is made of dual-density EVA that covers critical sports with softer foam, and the rest with a harder form of EVA.
- These running shoes for flat feet provide you with a sole shape that promotes a healthy, mid-foot strike
- The shoes are lightweight and absorb a large portion of the shocks with the combination of multiple density foam and rubber
- The shoe tongue is covered in extra padding to help you fit your feet better
- The upper, even though it is breathable, is a bit warmer on the feet
- There is not a large variety of designs to choose from (only 2)
9. Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 Men’s Running Shoe
We cannot talk about running shoes without mentioning Nike as a veteran in creating sports footwear. Here we have a super-lightweight model that comes in all sorts of styles and designs (a total of 19). They are designed for people that want to work on their running skills – the whole shoe is designed to help you spread the weight and force of running evenly across the feet.
The upper is made of synthetic and fabric combination that prioritizes breathability on the front, and stability on the back. The collar is padded with extra material, so the foot is held in place during the whole run. The midsole is made with Nike trademark technology – a synthetic material the supports the midfoot, including your arches, all while cushioning the force created by running.
- A whole lot of styles and designs to choose from
- The upper of these running shoes is lightweight and super-breathable
- The shape of the shoes promotes a healthy strike that spread the force of running evenly
- Due to the extra-breathable material on the upper front, these running shoes do not handle outside humidity well
10. ASICS Women’s Gel-Excite 6 Running Shoes
Here we have a model of ASICS that supports milder forms of flat feet, i.e. flexible flat feet. They come in all sorts of colors and designs (over 15) that you will surely be able to match with your training gear. Besides the trendy look, they utilize all the famous technology that ASICS is known for.
For starter, the upper part of the shoe is made of a fabric-mesh combo that puts moisture management first! Additionally, you can find a trademarked Ortholite Sockliner inside that also takes care of sweat. Now, the strong suit of these running shoes is the support that the midsole and the outsole create. The midsole utilizes AmpliFoam to cushion the strike pressure, and on the back of the foot, you can find GEL technology that absorbs the pressure from heel strikes. The outsole is made of rubber and it is slightly curved to promote a healthier running range of motion.
- A whole bunch of colors and designs to help you match the running shoes with the rest of your gear
- The fabric upper and the Ortholite Sockliner inside regulate the breathability efficiently
- The outsole is designed to help you achieve a healthier gait while running
- Although they will support a milder case of flat feet, these shoes might not be for you if you suffer from severe overpronation
11. ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes
If you are looking for a running shoe that doesn’t compromise when it comes to performance, and budget is not an issue, these ASICS are the real deal. You get to pick one of the 27 designs and colors, and the features just begin with the aesthetics.
While designing the functionalities of these running shoes, ASICS decided to use all the tech that will help with force control, arch support, and the much-needed cushioning. The SpevaFoam is a longer-lasting form of EVA that absorbs shock without getting deformed easily. Inside the midsoles, there are organic nanofibers that will promote a healthy gain from strike to toe-off. On top of that, these running shoes are one of the lightest out there. The upper is also pretty lightweight, made of synthetics and mesh, allowing your feet to breathe freely.
- A running shoe model that utilizes modern technology at its finest, promoting healthy running gate for people with overpronation
- You can choose from up to 27 different designs and colors
- These shoes are incredibly lightweight, despite all the features inside, like the organic nanofibers.
- All these features come with a higher price
- It is not recommended to run in humid or wet running conditions in these shoes
12. Brooks Women’s Launch 6 Running Shoe
Some runners like super-lightweight shoes on their feet while they conquer those miles of track. These Brooks were designed with these people in mind. They come in 17 different styles, and a few interesting features, even form more experienced runners.
The upper is knit, made of synthetic materials that make these shoes lighter than average. Although there isn’t support for severe overpronation inside, flexible flat feet are fair game, as well as neutral feet. Due to extra-soft materials utilized to make these shoes, they are even capable of supporting you in running the longer distances, e.g. marathons. The cushioning will absorb a huge portion of the shock produced by the foot strike, and you will be happy to hear that the midsole is made of BioMoGo DNA – a biodegradable synthetic material that is both lightweight and durable.
- One of the most lightweight shoes for women runners
- The midsole is made of bio-degradable material that is soft and supports the arches
- The upper is breathable, made of knit synthetics
- These running shoes are not made for people with severely overpronated flat feet
Do Flat Feet Affect Running?
This answer to this question is not as simple as someone might think, for several reasons. First of all, flat feet, aka pes planus, aka fallen arches, is a condition that manifests differently (to a degree) with each person. This happens because everyone has a unique physique, and everyone develops in different environments. So, judging by the degree of arch flatness, we can say that there are two different groups of flat feet:
- Completely flat feet – this is the most common condition where the arches are down no matter the foot position
- Flexible flat feet – while somewhat rarer, this condition is a less developed form of fallen arches. The arches appear once the foot is off the ground
To determine to what degree running affects people with flat feet, it would be best to take a slightly different approach. Because everyone’s feet are unique, the effects that sports and running cause depend mostly on the way we run. Let’s see what are the biomechanical essentials of human running, and how it affects feet with fallen arches. Don’t worry, we will not bother you with (too much) science!
1. Gait Cycle
Every animal, including us, humans, as a part of the animal kingdom, has its own way of running. To best describe this action, we need to consult the gait cycle. At its core, a gait cycle is a sequence of movements including a foot contacting the ground, propelling the body, and touching the ground again – connected in a repeatable cycle. With running, the more precise this cycle is, the less strain there is on a specific body part. A gait cycle consists of two phases:
- A stance phase – this part of the cycle accounts for the foot when it is making the contact with the ground
- A swing phase – this part of the cycle describes the foot while it is off the ground, moving
The main issue people with flat feet have with this cycle lies in the stance phase, aka when the foot is on the ground. You are probably familiar with the issue of overpronation. The overpronation of the foot is pretty common with people who suffer from flat feet, and it usually doesn’t come out until you try to jog or run.
2. Strike and Toe-Off
The strike is the single moment when your foot touches (strikes) the ground while running. This moment is extremely important because all the weight and force are distributed along that foot – don’t forget we are talking about the force equivalent of several times your bodyweight. We can differentiate between 3 different types of strikes:
- Heel strike – the most common way inexperienced runners use their feet. A heel strike means that your heel is the first to touch the ground. This type of strike leads to injuries most often, especially if you have fallen arches.
- Mid-foot strike – this is considered the most accurate way to run, and it involves your whole foot touching the ground at the same time. New runners need to practice this movement, and runners with flat feet need to get some sort of support to even make it happen. This is where a good pair of running shoes for flat feet should kick in (pun intended).
- Toe strike – the toe strike, also known as the ball of the foot strike, is the forefoot type of running where the ball of the foot touches the ground first. While it is not as dangerous as the heel strike, this movement, if not practiced can lead to disbalances and injuries as well.
3. Range of Motion
Lastly, we have the ROM, aka range of motion while running. To compensate for the overpronation, people with flat feet tend to extend their legs further, thus making the range of motion bigger. This puts additional strain onto the rest of the stability chain, including ankles, knees, hips, and even the spine. The extra swinging can lead to painful sensations. Luckily, this can be sanctioned by a cushioned running shoe with enough stabilization and arch support. The range of motion is as important as the gait cycle, so a lot of shoe models for running, as well as top-rated tennis shoes for flat feet, have various solutions to stabilize it.
Running Shoes for Flat Feet Buying Guide
Now that we’ve covered all the types and general features of running shoes for flat feet, it is time to get to some practical advice and see what you should look for while looking for a pair.
1. The Upper Build
Even though you should always prioritize the cushioning and the foot support a running shoe has to offer, writing off the upper as irrelevant can be a mistake. Running shoes are made to endure all the force and pressure we put on them by running, yes, but they must have the specs that let our feet breathe, and feel comfy overall.
Mesh is by far the most breathable material your running shoes can have. This material is lightweight and it can endure a lot of strain caused by running due to its flexibility. Additionally, it is fairly easy to maintain and clean, and it dries faster than natural materials thanks to its low absorbency. On the other hand, this material is not waterproof, so keep that in mind if you are going for a run at dawn because the morning humidity can make your feet wet without you even noticing.
Also known as manmade leather, the group of synthetic materials include all sorts of different compounds and builds. It is more durable than mesh, but it also comes with a bit of extra weight compared to it. The safest bet is to get a pair of running shoes for flat feet that has a combo of mesh and synthetics in the upper part. Synthetics are also somewhat water-resistant, but this material is not as breathable as the mesh is.
1.3. Knit Textile
If you are looking for the ultimate breathable material that is lightweight as well, going with a pair of running shoes for flat feet with a knit upper might just be the right thing. Although knit materials do not provide any type of water resistance, you can expect a more comfortable feeling with no chafing while you run.
2. Finding the Right Size
Considering that we are talking about active footwear, learning how to get the right size for your feet is as important as the type of arch support you get. The same applies to other active footwear, like top-rated work boots for flat feet, because you seldom rest while wearing them.
2.1. Measure First
Knowing all the sizing charts will do you no good if you are not entirely familiar with your feet’s dimensions. That is why you are going to need a ruler and a few moments to measure your feet correctly.
Firstly, place the ruler at the back edge of your heel and measure the length from this point up to the tip of your longest toe. Most people have their big toe as their longest, but there are a few people out there that have a longer 2nd toe. Repeat the process for the other foot, and write down the length of the longer foot. Don’t worry, almost everyone has feet of different lengths, and the safest bet is to go with the longer foot when picking the correct shoe size.
Now it is time to measure the widest part of your foot. For most people, the ball of the foot is where the foot is at its widest. However, if you have severe overpronation, your feet might be wider at the place of the fallen arches. Repeat for both feet and write down the width of the wider foot.
2.2. Consult the Size Charts
Once you spotted the running shoe model you want to get, find the size chart, usually provided by the manufacturer or the distributor. This part is important because every manufacturer uses specific molds, which results in the same shoe sizes differing a bit in length or width. Compare the measurements you took with the ruler and find the matching shoe size.
Remember – you should add .2 or .25 inch to the length dimension. This is done to make sure that your foot has enough space inside the shoe once the blood starts running down, usually after a few minutes into the running session.
2.3. Pick the Correct Last
Finally, to finish the sizing process, you need to decide what kind of shoe last you need to get. This feature is expressed either with the shoe shape or by a shoe type. To recap:
- Motion-control running shoes – this is a straight last, designed for people that developed severe forms of overpronation. A last like this will make sure that your arches stay supported while correcting the overpronation while you run.
- Stability shoes – this is a semi-curved last, usually used by people with flexible flat feet, or a milder form of fallen arches in general. These shoes will support your overpronated feet as well, but the focus is on the arches.
- Cushioned/padded shoes – this last is curved, and it is rarely designed for people with flat feet, because the arch support can only be achieved with custom made orthotics, with a lot of shoe modifications.
3. The Insole and Inserts
The insoles are the footbeds that your feet touch directly while you wear the running shoes. They are the first line of defense when it comes to arch support and correcting the overpronation caused by flat feet. Insoles are, despite them making direct contact with your feet, not the most important inner part of a running shoe, by they are high on the list. Here’s what to look for:
- Moisture-wicking features are a great addition if you have sweaty feet. Remember that the shoes need to stay as dry as possible to avoid fungal infections. This is why cotton, despite the fact it is a natural material, is not welcome in a running shoe.
- Removable insoles are excellent if you want to put your own custom orthotics in. Some people prefer having more control over their arch support, so giving them the option to remove the default inserts is more than necessary.
- Inserts with contours usually provide more heel and arch support. These cushioned insoles are already provided with most running shoes for flat feet, especially if we are talking about motion-control shoes.
4. The Midsole – Materials and Build
The quality of the midsole is what makes or breaks a running shoe. This piece of material (or several materials) is located between the outsole that touches the ground and the insole that makes contact directly with your feet. A running shoe’s midsole is responsible for absorbing as much shock as possible. That is why shoemakers use all sorts of specially designed synthetic materials to cushion the foot and protect it from the strains running exerts on our feet.
A large number of running shoe models out there will have a combination of two (or sometimes more) materials that make the midsole. Another thing to note, before getting confused by the various names online, is that manufacturers often trademark the midsole, giving it a unique name.
Also known as PU, polyurethane is a foamy material. It is denser than most midsole materials used in creating midsoles, but it comes with an expiration date. That’s why it is often combined with EVA or GEL technology. This way it will provide a firm structure and the necessary shock-absorbing features needed to alleviate the issues caused by flat feet.
Ethyl vinyl acetate is a promising material that became commercialized fairly recently. It is a foamy material that’s much lighter than polyurethane. The key feature of EVA foam is that it has air bubbles trapped inside, which act as a great cushioning layer with a lot of shock-absorbing capacity. This material can also be made in several density variations. Shoemakers utilized this component and made the EVA softer on the strike parts of the shoe while making it denser and harder on the medial posts. EVA, however, has a downside – it gets deformed and squeezed over time because the bubbles cave in with use.
Gel began to be a part of sports footwear back in the 80’. Asics discovered that gel can be used to cushion the foot and absorb a large amount of shock and pressure exerted on the foot while running. The shock-absorbent gel is inserted under the ball of the foot (and under the heel) to make the critical strike points comfier and more stable. GEL makes the wearing experience somewhat unique if you’ve never worn this type of shoes before.
4.4. Air pocket technology
Regardless of your background and experience with sports, you have certainly heard of air pockets, invented by Nike. This technology is a bit older than GEL, but it utilizes similar principles. Nitrogen-filled pockets are placed inside the midsole, under the critical spots – the ball of the foot and the heel. The compressed nitrogen absorbs a large amount of shock produced by running, without a big risk of damaging the midsole, due to the nature of gases.
5. The Outsole
Because the midsole is the most important part of the shoe anatomy, there is less focus on the outsoles all together. However, there are some features that every pair of running shoes for flat feet should have, or at least a version of it:
- A complex tread pattern to help you with traction. Having a good grip and sticking to the surface is important for runners, both new and experienced.
- The outsole is the heaviest part of the shoe, but the weight should be evenly distributed
- Most outsoles are made of some type of rubber. If you decide to get a pair of running shoes that has outsoles made of EVA or some other softer material, you should avoid running on asphalt or other harsher surfaces.
FAQ About Running Shoes for Flat Feet
1. Do flat feet runners need arch support?
The short answer is – it depends. There is no single clear answer to this question because everyone’s foot condition is a bit different and unique in its own way. If your flat feet are not causing you any issues, pain, or discomfort, you can try running without running shoes for flat feet. However, if you plan to include running as your everyday routine, you can expect to develop some sorts of unpleasant sensations in about a month’s time. Without proper arch support, the wear and tear on your tendons will start to kick in due to compensation. So, with milder cases of flat feet, you can freely try and handle the situation with regular running shoes.
On the other hand (or foot), if you have fully fallen arches, you should probably consider getting a pair of running shoes with arch support. Keep in mind, running shoes for flat feet are not designed to heal your feet permanently. Instead, they are shaped and engineered to compensate for the arch and help it deliver the motion needed for running. These shoes will help with overpronation prevention, as well as cushioning of the critical pain spots that people with flat feet develop – heel and ball of the foot. In the long run (yes, there goes another pun), the goal is to learn how to run properly and painlessly, and running shoes for flat feet will get you there.
2. How to maintain running shoes?
Every running shoe is different, but because of the features they pack and the engineering behind them, we can give you a rundown of the basic rules when it comes to maintenance. Before we get into the tips and tricks, we’d like to stress out that these are not dress shoes and every product designed to keep shoes clean is out of the picture. For the most part, lukewarm water and dish soap will be your best allies in running shoe maintenance. Here are some basics:
- No matter how you deep you clean your running shoes, always leave them to dry naturally. Heating a running shoe, by blow dryer or a dryer machine, will damage the integrity of the shoe. Remember, the key feature of these shoes is that they are lightweight, and to achieve that, the manufacturers use a lot of glue and as fewer solid, heavy parts as possible. These glues are heat-sensitive, so the safest bet is to keep the running shoes away from heat sources.
- If the upper part of a running shoe gets dirty, the first thing you should try is to rinse the dirt under a stream of lukewarm water. Make sure to remove larger chunks by hand, or by using a cloth, or a brush. Use the least amount of water necessary to get the dirt off, because the humidity is a running shoe’s worst enemy. Which brings us to our next point!
- Always leave your running shoes to dry before storing them away, or using them again. Running is a sweaty business, and humidity attracts, you guessed it – the foot fungus. This goes out especially to people who have sweaty feet. Investing in a pair of socks for sweaty feet can be a lifesaver.
- Once every 100 miles or so, you should take the insoles (if they are removable) and wash them by hand. Just be careful not to be too harsh while scrubbing, because a damaged insole is as good as no insole at all, and you will have to get a new pair of top-rated insoles for flat feet.
3. Can barefoot running fix flat feet?
There is no scientific evidence that barefoot running can fix flat feet to any degree. But, do not ditch barefoot running yet, because there are other benefits to it. The main upside of barefoot running its power to help you change your strike. Remember, a vast majority of flat-footed people have a heel-oriented strike, which is very unhealthy for the ankle, and the foot in general.
So, in consult with your physician, you can give it a go. Take baby steps – first get accustomed to barefoot walking, then start barefoot skipping, and lastly, try barefoot running in shorter bursts. There is no need to practice for barefoot long runs, because this only puts extra strain on your feet, with a higher risk of injury with every step you take. There is a large number of exercises for flat feet you can start practicing as a part of your daily routine. These exercises will, same as barefoot running, help with strengthening of all the delicate muscles and tendons in your feet.
As you can see, there is a whole arrange of options when it comes to the best running shoes for flat feet. You can prioritize stability or motion control, picking the most fitting option that will help you overcome the challenges that flat feet can sometimes put up. After all, having flat feet shouldn’t stop you in running that 5K every once in a while. If you tackle this topic with knowledge (which we are providing in this guide), the only limit you will encounter is your own will to be stronger, faster, and better.
Lastly, if you have any questions, or you wanted to add something, feel free to contact us, and we will gladly return with the correct info as soon as possible. Now, get out there and start running with confidence again!