There is a way to minimize or even mitigate the effects of flat feet while playing sports – it’s wearing the best tennis shoes for flat feet. Having flat feet can stop or limit you from participating in your favorite activities. If one such activity is tennis, you are going to have to think twice before you hit the court again. Luckily, the right pair of shoes can make it all better.
Shoes like these can help you with overall balance and with muscle imbalances that develop over time. Tennis is a high-impact activity that requires a lot of flexibility and endurance. So, naturally getting a pair of tennis shoes that absorb those shocks, while supporting your fallen arches, is a game-changer. Let’s dig right into it!
Can Flat Feet Affect Tennis Players?
Having fallen arches, aka flat feet, aka pes planus, is a tricky thing. Some people go through their whole life without even knowing they had such a condition. In most cases, arches fix themselves by naturally elevating. This usually happens somewhere before puberty starts, meaning that every adult should have fully developed arches by the time they reach 18. Unfortunately, over 8 percent of adults have some degree of flat feet. Keep in mind that, although this issue can be a problem down the road, dealing with kids` flat feet is a different battle. In this guide, we are talking about developed adults whose arches didn’t raise, and their feet are flat, even after the formative years.
So, there are ways in which flat feet can affect tennis players, but all these effects depend on the degree of fallen arches. Generally speaking, we could separate flat feet condition into two major groups – fallen arches and flexible flat feet. The former is affecting tennis players and other people who play high-impact sports, by a large margin. The latter, however, can be problematic, but it is not as common. Here’s how to tell which group your feet belong to.
1. Fallen Arches – aka Completely Flat Feet
This would be the worse part of the flat feet spectrum. When we say flat feet, this is the condition everyone typically refers to. With completely flat feet, you can expect several different issues to occur regularly. Ankle fatigue and instability, over-pronation, knee, and hip pain – these are just to name a few. Sportspeople, especially those into high-impact sports like tennis, rely on their ankles to quickly change directions to play the sport properly. We can see similar biomechanical requirements in basketball. Completely fallen arches can affect tennis players to a larger degree.
2. Flexible Flat Feet
If you were to do the standard footprint test to determine whether you have flat feet or flexible flat feet, the results would be inconclusive. Both feet would show a full footprint, with arches on the floor. However, people with flexible flat feet have better-developed arches. Once a person with flexible flat feet raises their foot, the arches appear, showing full lateral arch stretch.
This condition is also known as flat feet, yes, but some call it a milder flat feet condition because the arches are stronger on people with the flexible type. Tennis players and sportspeople that have flexible flat feet also need some additional foot support, being it special shoes or insoles for flat feet. But these people do not experience so much discomfort in the ankles during their activity.
Benefits Of Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet
Although both types of tennis shoes are made to accommodate the feet of people who are more active than most, there are some crucial differences between these shoes. Now, we are not saying that regular tennis shoes do not provide enough support for your feet. What we want to convey is that – people with flat feet need additional structural and orthotic additions put into their tennis shoes. Sometimes, these additions come in the form of insoles or custom orthotics, but mostly we are talking about dedicated tennis shoes for flat feet.
The very first thing tennis shoes for flat feet need to have is adequate support inside. One of the most important supports is none other than – arch support. Arch support in a tennis shoe is necessary for people with flat feet mostly because of over-pronation. Pronation happens naturally to everyone. We pronate our feet while we walk, stand, or even sit. But, people with fallen arches tend to over-pronate their feet, which leads to a lot of instability that translates to instabilities of the ankles, knees, hips, and sometimes even the spine.
Next to the arch support are heel and ankle support. While playing sports, we should try to land on our feet in such a manner that distributes our bodyweight evenly. People with flat feet tend to put a lot of pressure on their heel, and that is why heel support is paramount in a tennis shoe for flat feet.
Lastly, there is ankle support in the form of a padded collar that can keep the ankles in place. Of course, locking the ankles is not good either, so there has to be a balance in between. Every tennis shoe has a collar, but tennis shoes for flat feet were made with special attention put on that aspect.
There is no doubt about it – people with flat feet benefit greatly from some extra cushioning. Because dealing with flat feet is a process that requires exercises for the fallen arches, having some extra cushioning is a great addition. The cushioning is usually located on the pressure spots, mainly heel and the ball of the foot. Jumping, sprinting, and other high-impact movements are hard on our feet, flat or not, but people with flat feet feel this way more.
In some more severe cases, people with flat feet need to learn how to run, jump, and walk properly, adapting their feet by putting them in a better position consciously. This process hurts the pressure spots, and the cushioning is there to deal with the discomfort.
3. Outsoles and Midsoles
Although a lot of arch support comes from the insoles, manufacturers found that outsoles and midsoles play a huge role too. By absorbing more shock, tennis shoes become comfier, which translates to fewer issues. That is why you will see a lot of engineered synthetic materials used for the soles, especially for the outsole and the midsole. For example, it is shown that jump roping barefoot causes foot pain and issues. Not to mention that, while playing tennis, running can exert a force on your feet equals to three times your bodyweight. That is why scientists got to the outsoles and made them able to absorb this kind of pressure, saving your feet from it.
Best Tennis Shoes For Flat Feet Comparison Chart
ASICS Men’s Gel-Dedicate 5 Tennis Shoe
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ASICS Women’s Gel-Challenger 12 Tennis Shoes
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Adidas Barricade Classic Wide 4E Tennis Shoe
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Wilson Women’s Rush Pro 3.0 Tennis Shoes
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K-SWISS Men’s Bigshot Light Tennis Shoe
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New Balance Women’s FuelCell 996v4 Hard Court Tennis Shoe
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Prince Men’s T22 Tennis Shoe
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Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet Reviews
1. ASICS Men’s Gel-Dedicate 5 Tennis Shoe
Here we have a tennis shoe for men from ASICS that will withstand all the challenges you put in front (or underneath of) it. This stylish tennis shoe comes in 5 different colors, with the white design having a more serious look, and the other four following the classic sports feel. These shoes pack some serious technology inside, and they will follow you throughout your tennis sessions no matter if you are a beginner or not.
The uppers are made of synthetic materials that allow for perspiration, but not too much. Around the ankle, you can see that the collar is somewhat softer and that it is made of a mesh-synthetic combination that holds your ankles tightly. The outsole is made of solid rubber that has anti-slip capabilities. The rubber is also durable and will withstand the pressure of jumping and running. The insides are reinforced with gel cushioning that reduces the stress exerted on the feet while jumping and changing directions.
- These are stylish tennis shoes for flat feet that come in 5 variations with a suitable design for various styles
- The insides have extra gel cushioning to help your feet with pressure spread
- The Trusstic System Technology plays a role in reducing the sole’s weight while not sacrificing functionality
- This particular tennis shoe model does not come with removable insoles
- If you have problems with sweaty feet, you should invest in some high-quality socks as well
2. ASICS Women’s Gel-Challenger 12 Tennis Shoes
ASICS is famous for its innovative approaches to older topics. Their shoemaking technology made this model excellent in supporting people’s feet, no matter the degree of flatness. Fallen arches need as much support they can get, and these tennis shoes for flat feet have a lot to offer on that front. When it comes to design, there is the classic whit, and six others to help you match the shoes with the rest of your gear.
Now, the material combination used to make this shoe is there to make you feel lighter and more agile, and to provide the much-needed support as well. The upper side is made of a fabric-synthetic combo that has little pockets designed to help your feet breathe. The outsole is utilizing the AHARPLUS technology that lasts longer than regular rubber. The heel and the toe box have additional GEL cushioning installed inside – it prevents shock overload and absorbs the force made by jumping and running. The midsoles also have a special, lightweight material, Solyte, that has all the integral features, and it weighs less than the regular materials.
- This particular model of women’s tennis shoes for flat feet has removable insoles, so you can put your custom orthotics to support your fallen arches
- The midsole and the outsole are lightweight without losing the integral, structural features.
- The GEL cushioning technology is installed beneath the heel and the toe box for extra comfort
- Even though there are cuts and openings in the form of pockets on the upper side, if you perspire heavily, you should use thinner socks to avoid over-perspiration
3. Adidas Barricade Classic Wide 4E Tennis Shoe
No matter where you come from, you have certainly heard of Adidas, and the reputation it has among sports professionals. They have slightly futuristic take on the classic design (for a tennis shoe) and you can find them in two standard colors – black and white, both carrying the famous three stripes. Both designs also have some gray color accents.
The upper side of these tennis shoes for flat feet are done with a mesh and synthetics mix. The front side has holes designed to help with feet perspiration, and the collar is made of mesh for even more comfort. Now, the real technology hides inside. The outsole is made of rubber (adiwear) that is guaranteed to withstand the pressures of any court material out there. Adidas also put their adiprene and adiprene+ inside to cushion the forefoot, heel, and to support the arches of your feet.
- The classic look of an Adidas tennis shoe with a slightly stylish, futuristic twist
- Adiprene and adiprene+ inside, making the shoe cushioning extra comfortable and supportive
- The upper, made of mesh and synthetics, is designed to reduce the moisture and keep your feet dry from sweat
- These tennis shoes for flat feet do not have removable insoles in case you want to insert your custom-made orthotics
4. Wilson Women’s Rush Pro 3.0 Tennis Shoes
The Wilson Rush Pro 3.0 is a tennis shoe made for extra-active tennis players. These tennis shoes are made to accommodate flat feet while supporting more complex movements, like pivoting and sudden direction changes. When it comes to color, you can get them either in white with blue accents, or fiery coral color finish.
If you have issues with feet perspiration while playing tennis, you will probably like the uppers on these tennis shoes. The bigger part of the shoes’ upper is made of knit mesh that keeps your feet dry from sweat and moisture in general. Inside, you can find TPU heel and arch support, and an elongated medial side to keep your flat feet stable and secure during complex movements and high-impacts jumps. The inserts are designed to adapt to the shape of your feet, without sacrificing cushioning or arch support down the road.
- Excellent tennis shoe model for players that have issues with feet seating. This mesh material significantly lowers the chance of developing foot fungus or nasty odors
- The inside of the shoes adapts to your feet without losing integral stability
- These shoes are lightweight and flexible, able to support intermediate and advanced players in complex maneuvers on the court
- If you are not used to super-lightweight tennis shoes, you will have to take some time to get used to these shoes
- The insoles are not removable, meaning inserting custom made orthotics is impossible
5. K-SWISS Men’s Bigshot Light Tennis Shoe
Some players like a shoe with a slightly more rigid build. Such is the story with this pair of K-SWISS tennis shoes for flat feet. They are not by any means stiff inside, as they are a bit harder on the frontside. This could be a feature worthy of looking for if you are heavier than the average tennis player out there – these tennis shoes can handle an extra pound or two without losing their stability or functionality. They can be found only in white color, with some gray accents for better aesthetics, and a K-SWISS logo on the side.
Speaking of the side, both the upper and the inner side of these shoes are made with heavy perspiration in mind. The holes, combined with the synthetic and textile materials, are designed to keep your feet dry from sweat. On the inside, you can find a stable, removable insole that provides arch support. The outsole is made of durable rubber, with a strengthened front side (under the ball of the foot).
- An excellent pair of tennis shoes for flat feet for people who are starting to play
- Great price-to-performance ratio. The shoes are pretty affordable and have all the necessary features
- The insoles are removable, leaving you with an option to insert your custom orthotics if needed
- The extra durability of the outsole comes with some added rigidity, so if you have weak feet tendons, you will need a session or two to get used to these tennis shoes for flat feet
6. New Balance Women’s FuelCell 996v4 Hard Court Tennis Shoe
Everyone has heard on New Balance. Their reputation comes from the comfort their shoes provide across the globe, and the performance of their shoes in the long run. This women’s pair of tennis shoes bring both looks and comfort to the table. You can find them in four different designs: guava, white, black, and vision blue. They all come, of course, with the famous N on the side.
The functionality of these tennis shoes for flat feet come from their overall build. On the upper side, we can see that the bigger part of the shoes is made of Hypoknit, a knit synthetic material that prioritizes foot breathing and comfort. The outsole is also synthetic, called Ndurance, and made to provide all the traction and shock absorption you need on the court. Inside, you can find the FuelCell technology that helps with propulsion during the game.
- Stylish designs with four different colors to help you match the shoes with the rest of the gear
- New Balance technologies inside to help with cushioning and arch support – FuelCell, Ndurance, and NDure
- The upper is made of specially knit mesh that is lightweight, durable, and allows perspiration
- These shoes come with a heftier price, but they do bring a lot of features to the table
- The insoles are not removable, so you cannot insert any custom orthotics
7. Prince Men’s T22 Tennis Shoe
The T22 shoes look slightly futuristic. They are, however, bulkier than your regular tennis shoes, meaning that they pack extra stability in the build. In contrast to the regular tennis shoes, the design of these Princes stands out quite a lot. You can get them either in a blue or white-navy color combination. The accents are grey, but due to the complex visual design, the shoes look colorful on their own.
When it comes to the build, we are talking about a composite upper, made of mesh and synthetics. There is a lot of dedicated space for perspiration and sweat control, so, if you have sweaty feet, these shoes might be the right ones for you. The outsole is made of heavy rubber, which is durable, but add a bit of extra weight as well. The insoles are SoftSpring, made of PU that is designed to absorb a lot of shock from jumping and running. Underneath the insole, there is an EVA midsole that makes these shoes even comfier. The insoles, however, are not removable.
- Sturdy tennis shoes with the support for fallen arches and shock absorption
- The EVA midsole, combined with the PU insole creates enough cushioning for your flat feet
- The upper is made to accommodate feet that sweat a lot
- The bulkier, slightly heavier, design of these shoes may be a bit too much for people with weak feet tendons
- The insoles are not removable, so you cannot insert your custom orthotics if needed
Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet Buying Guide
We have already covered the basics, including the main difference between regular tennis shoes and tennis shoes that can withstand the pressure of flat feet. Now, it is time to talk about the finer details you should keep in mind while you are on the hunt for the perfect pair for yourself. We encourage you to use our guide to make a checklist and help yourself out.
While work boots for flat feet do not need to look pretty, tennis shoes should also be easy on the eyes. Because the materials used in making tennis shoes are so versatile, the colors and designs are virtually unlimited. Leather is rarely used, so you can forget about the boring brown and black colors. We are talking every color of the spectrum is a fair game. However, you should put aesthetics bellow comfort and support on your list. We just wanted to let you know that, if you find a model that has all the specs you need, the chances are you are going to find the color you like as well.
2. Arch Support and Additional Cushioning
Now, when looking for a good pair of tennis shoes, you should prioritize arch, heel, and ankle support, in that order. People without flat feet usually only look for ankle support, because of all the sudden movements tennis has. But, if you suffer from fallen arches, ankle stabilization begins at the arch for you. First, you need to stabilize the arch and the heel, and only then ankles come into play.
Luckily, almost every manufacturer out there makes these three stabilization points a must. So, when looking for arch support, the chances are you are going to be limited to knowing whether there is support or not. Tennis shoe manufacturers know what kind of support players need, so always go for the model that has as many support types included as possible, with a high focus on the arches, of course.
There’s, however, a tricky side when it comes to cushioning – it is not a good idea to get a pair of tennis shoes for flat feet that are too soft, or “over-cushioned”. Having a comfortable shoe is great and all, but too much can lead to ankle twisting, which kind of defeats the purpose.
3. Get a Pair That Fits
As it turns out, people often do not get the right size of shoes. Going under or over your actual size can be dangerous if you have feet conditions, like flat feet. So, we decided to give you a quick tutorial, in the form or a recap, on how to determine the right size for yourself.
3.1. Get the right measures
You probably already know that the anatomy of a shoe has two main dimensions, or three if we are talking heels which is not the case right now – length and width. Logically, all you need to do the measuring is a ruler, and 5 minutes of your time. Here’s what you should do:
- Take off your shoes and socks. Wait about ten minutes for the blood flow to normalize in your feet, and allow the swelling (if you have any) to drop
- Use the ruler to measure the length of each foot. Start from the edge of the heel to the tip of your longest toe. Usually, this is the big toe, but some people have their 2nd toe longer. Write down the results
- Use the ruler again to measure the width. Try to find the place where your foot is the widest or thickest. For most people, this is the ball of the foot. Write down the results
- Now you have your feet measurements.
3.2. Apply that knowledge
Ok, so now that you have the length and the width in inches before you go to check the sizing charts, add a .2 inch to the length measurement. Always use the longer foot (don’t worry, everyone’s feet differ in length a bit).
Use this new info and compare it to the sizing charts provided by the manufacturer or brand of the shoes` model you want. Even though shoe sizes are standardized, every shoemaker uses their own molds, which results in slightly different shoe measurements of the same size. Try to be as precise as possible. Additionally, getting a size larger than yours is dangerous, despite the “there will be more wiggle room” logic. Shoemakers consider that while making the sizing charts.
4. Check the Materials
Since the dawn of artificial materials and synthetics, sports footwear skyrocketed, both in quality and in variety. As opposed to dress shoes for flat feet that are mainly made of leather, tennis shoes are utilizing all the modern materials that enhance your biomechanics. But we must not forget about the main part of every sport, including tennis – sweating. That is why, while searching for that perfect pair of shoes, you should look for tennis shoes for flat feet that can breathe as well.
So, to make the search easier, it would be best to put water-resistance of the material aside. Who plays tennis in the rain anyway? By going with a material like mesh or some other sorts of knit textiles, your feet will get the ability to breathe and perspire, lowering the risk of fungal infections.
5. Outsole and Midsole Combo
The outsole needs to be the strongest suit of a tennis shoe, being it for flat feet or not. The outsole is the surface of the shoes that makes direct contact with the ground, and the midsole is there to make the connection between the insole and the outsole. The combination of shape and material used to create and mix the outsole and the midsole can make or break a tennis shoe for flat feet. Why? Well, even though these soles do not make direct contact with your foot, they are in charge of reducing the stress on it.
Therefore, if you want to make sure that your arches and ankles do not suffer more pressure than needed, you can get some of the most popular choices, including, but not limited to:
- Rubber – the most durable out there, but also the heaviest.
- Ethyl Vinyl Acetate – aka EVA is a pretty lightweight material that is easy to shape and mold for all sorts of purposes.
- Polyurethane – aka PU, this is a material that is lightweight and durable, but it comes with an expiration date.
- Thermoplastic rubber – this is a combination of lightweight synthetic materials and rubber. It has excellent anti-slip properties.
6. Detachable Insole
There are people out there with a degree of flat feet that can be accommodated by any type of shoe. However, others can have deeper and more unique fallen arches problems that require custom made orthotics to be used. If you belong to this group, you should probably hunt down a pair of tennis shoes for flat feet that come with a detachable insole.
This feature will allow you to freely change between the arch support orthotic insoles whenever you think it’s time – sometimes you have to change the degree of the arch support, and sometimes they just get worn out. Either way, a detachable insole can be a game-changer when it comes to a pair of tennis shoes for flat feet you will be using regularly.
7. Extra Stabilization
Lastly, we would like to mention some lesser-known details that can really help out people with fallen arches. Some manufacturers put extra ankle protection or extra lacing. The two additional stabilization features we think can alleviate the effects of flat feet, both pain, and discomfort.
A shank is a dedicated, specially designed piece of highly-resistant material. It is located in the midsole, and its main purpose is to keep the shoe from distorting, especially in a rotating manner. Shanks can also be attached to the outsole, and some models have a visible shank as well. Naturally, because of all the pressure exerted on the shoes during sports activities, shanks are more than welcome in tennis and running shoes for flat feet. However, you should also bear in mind that shanks can sometimes add weight to the shoes, especially if we are talking about metallic shanks.
7.2. Extra toe box space
For people with extra-wide flat feet, or people who have issues with spreading the weight across the whole foot, getting shoes with larger toe boxes can be a great way to go. Every shoe has its width, yes, but some sport shoes have models that are built with extra toe space (bigger toe box). This is a feature more frequent with male tennis shoe models because men tend to put more tension on the heel and the toes while they walk.
FAQ About Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet
1. Can people with flat feet play tennis in regular shoes?
Well, the short answer is yes, but it is not exactly the best answer out there. The reason behind this is not as simple as one might think. Shoes for people without flat feet, aka regular shoes, are designed with no special attention to arch support. Tennis shoes always have some sort of arch and ankle support, but tennis shoes for flat feet have the much-needed cushioning and all the necessary support in the right places.
So, to put things into perspective, you can play tennis in regular shoes, but be prepared to deal with the potential ankle and feet problems right after. That is why we recommend you use our guide to find a pair of tennis shoes for flat feet that will withstand all the challenges your fallen arches may put in front of you.
2. Do fallen arches (flat feet) make your feet bigger?
As we mentioned in the measuring section above, feet are measured by length and by width. People with flat feet have to be prepared with the fact that their shoe size may change. This happens because of several reasons, with the main ones being:
- Over time, as feet tend to get to the flattest position possible, your arches get elongated. The tendons and muscles in your feet follow this trend, and your feet essentially get longer, affecting the shoe size you wear.
- One common effect of fallen arches is the over-pronation of the feet. Once ankles start falling inward, the feet tend to get wider down the middle (main) arch. This will affect the shoe width size, making you get wider shoes over time.
- As you walk, run, and jump, the ball of your foot will start getting wider. This is necessary because the foot needs to adapt to the uneven pressure flat-footed people deal with. This will affect both the length and the width of the shoes you need to get.
3. What exercises can relieve flat feet pain after playing tennis?
There is no one single exercise that works wonders for everyone. Tennis and other high-impact sports exert a lot of force and pressure on our joints, starting from the ankle, all the way up to the hips, and even the spine. To minimize the effects of flat feet on your musculature and biomechanical functions, you should do these three things, adapted to your physique and capabilities:
- Active warmups and dynamic stretching – before you hit the court, take 15 minutes to actively warm up. Dynamic stretching is, at its core, doing small intensity exercises for the muscle groups you will be using during your activity. Pay extra attention to stretching your calves and other leg muscles.
- Static stretching – after you are done playing, take another 15 minutes to slowly and steadily stretch all the muscles you have used during the game. Again, pay extra attention to the leg muscles and tendons.
- Flat feet exercises – after you cool down, after a shower, it is time to do some flat feet exercises to help your muscles recover. We recommend you start with a ball roll and a sitting stretch of the Achilles tendons. Do everything in a controlled manner, and do not yank or force the exercises.
And there we go – everything you should have in mind before making the final decision on the best tennis shoes for flat feet for yourself. A lot of people disregard feet when it comes to body health. This is mainly because flat feet do not hurt at first, or with some people, the discomforts never develop at all. But if you want to take the safer path, and enjoy a high-impact sport like tennis, we recommend reading our guide and reviews again, and see for yourself. A lot of people have flat feet AND they enjoy their favorite sports, so why should you have to miss out on that?
If you have anything to add, or you want to ask us something on the topic, feel free to contact us, and we will gladly return to you with the correct info. ASAP!
Bonus guide: insoles for flat feet reviews