[Image Source - Esther Max on Flickr]
Long walks are undoubtedly one of the most effective low-impact exercises one can do. Still, it can be notably challenging for people with flat feet. Especially if they don't have a comfortable walking shoe for striding about. Additionally, flat-footed people tend to have low or no arches, which causes pain and fatigue from the bottom of their feet, sometimes all the way up to their lower backs. With that in mind, we have rounded up the best walking shoes for flat feet to help you avoid injuries and complications with your ankles, legs, knees, and even your back.
When looking at the best flat feet walking shoes, there are a couple of things we need to keep in mind:
- Arch support- Properly supported arches help distribute your weight evenly, meaning your feet get less impacted when hitting the ground.
- Heel support- To account for inward rolling a good walking shoe should have a cushioned reinforced heel to prevent injury. Especially for people with over-pronation.
- Flexible toe box- The right amount of flexibility in the toe box allows for easy bending, and enhancing comfort while walking.
- Cushioned inner sole- Preferably made from memory foam or rubber, cushioned inner soles provide more comfort, support, and stability for flat feet.
- Breathable design- It offers proper ventilation to prevent bacterial growth and sweating, hence your feet remain cool for extended periods and won't stink at the end of the day.
Our top pick for the best flat feet walking shoes is hands down Vessi's Everyday Sneakers, and for plenty of incredible reasons. This phenomenal brand is redefining the shoe landscape, bringing you shoes that fit and feel seamless with your feet, as effectively shown by the Everyday Sneakers. First, these shoes are 100% waterproof, thanks to the proprietary Dyma-Tex knit, giving you a lifelong waterproofing feature!
Comfort is undoubtedly the highest priority for the brand. The molded insoles contour to your foot's shape all day long while also providing ample support. It truly feels like your feet are standing on clouds, not to mention the antibacterial insole that keeps things fresh all day long. Plus, the Dyma-Tex knit is remarkably breathable to keep your feet cozy throughout the year- cool during summer and warm in the winter. Additionally, the sole is ultra-lightweight and bouncy, featuring a herringbone grip to keep you firmly grounded even in wet conditions.
Vessi is as tech-savvy as it gets when it comes to shoes. On top of the Dyma-Tex game-changing knit, Vessi shoes are 100% vegan and creature-free. The shoes are produced with 30% less water, use 600% less production energy consumption and produce 97% less trim waste than conventional methods. Vessi epitomizes the present and future of shoe design & production, and we have no doubt the Everyday Sneakers are the best flat feet shoes for walking. Plus, they'll pretty much also fit most other aspects of your life too.
- 100% waterproof
- Remarkably durable
- 1-year defect warranty
- Limited shipping destinations
Brooks Addiction Walker is the perfect option for people with low arches, as it provides great support to your feet. It delivers a controlled, secure, smooth and easy walking experience. It's available in three variations: black and white full-grain leather, and brown suede. So, you do have a couple of options to choose from. The shoe comes with either a conventional lace-up closure or a chic slip-on style to account for several preferences.
The biggest draw of the Brook's Addiction Walker is its motion control and arch support to correct overpronation for flat feet. This also makes it ideal for people with plantar fasciitis pain. In addition, it features innovations such as:
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB), designed to minimize the amount of stress and the likelihood of injury to ankles, knees, hips, and back.
- Hydroflow Technology Full-Length MoGo Midsole Compound and a durable cushy sole for outstanding support and shock absorption.
- MC Pod Configuration for the motion control to maintain your feet in a correct and balanced position all through the entire gate cycle.
- Lace-up and velcro design available
- Built for extended durability
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar is ideal for overpronators and pronation control
- Deep enough to take in your own orthotics
- Motion control
- Good traction on several surfaces
- Arguably chunky silhouette
- Limited color options
If you're looking for a shoe that's specifically made for people who suffer from flat feet, even people with diabetes, this might just be the one. This Medicare-approved walking shoe offers tremendous stability and built-in comfort, also giving you the impression of walking on clouds. Certainly, music to the ears of flat-footed people, for whom walking possibly hurts recurrently.
Available in all width sizes, ranging from narrow B up to Extra Wide 5E, you'll more than likely find your perfect size. The Propét Stability comes in both full-grain leather and nubuck styles, meaning you get solid stability, firm traction, and solid support with each step you take. The PU insole ensures that your feet stay cozy throughout wear, while the molded EVA midsole bolsters shock absorption.
- Full-width range available
- Approved by Medicare for diabetic use
- Removable cushioned orthotics
- Speed lacing closure system
- Great arch support and stability
- Slip-resistant rubber outsole
- Some shoes run small
- Bulky build
- Limited color options
Saucony Sneakers are some of the best shoes for people with different foot types, including those with low arches. The Women's 5260-1 is made of high-quality leather with a breathable textile, ensuring that it keeps you comfortable and well-ventilated. Its tough rubber sole provides all the support and stability you could possibly need. This is a brilliant choice if you're looking for a high-quality, comfortable -yet affordable walking shoe for flat feet.
The shoe's designed to prevent your heel from elevating from the ground, which then reduces the pressure and stress on the plantar fascia. In other words, your feet are constantly supported. These are really comfortable shoes, featuring:
- Visible Rearfoot Grid System for amazing cushioning, ideal for any type of foot, minimal to moderate overpronator.
- SRC Crash Pads for robust shock absorption and snug comfort.
- HRC Stroble Board, Forefoot HRC & Superior Rebound Compound (SRC) Impact Zone to correct your feet ensuring you always transition from one step to the other smoothly.
- Comfortable Midfoot Support Bridge for reliable arch support.
- Biomechanic fit design
- Plenty of stability
- Smooth traction and grip
- Quality and durable materials
- Quite breathable
- Some shoes run smaller (not true-to-size)
- Only two basic colors available
RYKA is an incredibly popular brand for its walking and running shoes which are produced by "women and for women". More so, Ryka is equally known for its affordable shoes and specific fit. The Dash 3 is a superb choice for people with underpronation since it offers exceptional cushioning for "concave" arches, thanks to the Anatomical Precise-Return footbed and molded EVA midsole.
The shoe has an immense grip on the front and sides to make movement easier, while your feet remain firmly secured inside, owing to the adjustable lace-up closure and synthetic upper material that offers ample support. The Dash 3 Sneaker is a reliable walking shoe for flat feet, that comes wrapped in an exciting feminine design.
- 12 different color options
- Smaller feet specific fit
- Available in various widths
- Ideal for flat feet
- Remarkable breathability
- Removable footbed
- Some shoes run smaller
- Not particularly lightweight
How to Recognize Feet Types
In each step you take, your foot naturally yields inward to absorb shock, support the foot's arch, and prevent any possible pressure injuries. When feet roll inward or outward too much (pronation), their shock absorption ability becomes less effective or even diminishes completely. From this, we can distinguish three types of pronation:
a) Neutral Pronation
This refers to the normal, healthy position of the arch and joints, typical in a normal-sized foot. When walking or running, the feet land on the outside of the heel, then pronate (rolls inward) a bit to absorb shock and support the body weight. Injuries are far less likely with this kind of foot pronation due to the proper shock absorption when the feet hit the ground. Accordingly, there's no particular need to get special walking shoes.
This is connected to people whose feet land on the outside of the heel but then roll too much inwards (actual pronating), consequently transferring their body weight to the feet's inner edge. When walking or running, the big and second toes do most of the heavy lifting, meaning pronated feet have a higher likelihood of bunions and heel spurs. Overpronation is associated with people who have flat feet and low arches.
What to look for when choosing walking shoes?
- Proper support
- Decent arch support
- Structured cushioning
c) Underpronation (Supination)
Supination is the flip side to overpronation, meaning when the feet make contact with the ground, the outer side of the heel has little or no pronation upon impact. This leads to a large shock transmission through the lower leg, making the feet more prone to ankle sprains and shin splints. Underpronation is mostly associated with high arches but has also been reported in people with a combination of flat feet and supination.
What to look for when choosing walking shoes?
- Plenty of cushioning to prevent strong impacts
- Lightweight to minimize pressure
- Gel-based or single-density midsole for proper stability
* Plantar Fasciitis
Most people with foot differences experience a problem known as plantar fasciitis. This condition is characterized by an irritated and swollen plantar fascia (a thick connective tissue that joins the heel to the front of the foot), causing excruciating pain at the heel.
What to look for when choosing walking shoes?
- Extremely soft & cushioned midsole and insole, but avoid excessively flexible soles.
- Capacity to change the footbed with another orthotic
- Proper heel and arch support
- Perfect fit (size, width & in-shoe feel)
What to Look for in the Best Walking Shoes for Flat Feet
1. Sturdy Sole
A sturdy sole is the foundation of a great walking shoe for flat feet. Therefore, the sole should be firm and unyielding, especially in the heel and midsole areas. This means you can comfortably use the shoe for multiple occasions and in diverse environments as well.
2. Wide Toe Box
Ideally, the toe box (front part of the shoe) must have sufficient room for a natural in-shoe feel. As such, the right toe box ensures that your toes don't bend when walking. That said, it shouldn't be overly roomy as this can bring about its own kind of discomfort.
3. Supportive Heel
A supportive heel ensures that your ankle doesn't bend or twist when walking. Furthermore, the inward rolling mainly associated with over-pronation can increase the chances of sprains, heel spurs, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. Proper heel support keeps your feet stable, thus preventing injury. Buy a walking shoe that comes with a cushioned, reinforced heel.
4. Quality Materials
For starters, whichever material you go for must be breathable. Proper airflow is particularly essential to the best walking shoes for flat feet. As for the specific materials, full-grain leather (featuring waterproof GORE-TEX material or breathable perforations) is an excellent option. Not only does it ensure your feet are well supported and ventilated, but the quality of the material means that you can use the shoe for a pretty long time.
As for the sole, rubber is certainly the ideal option to go for, for its proper support and durability.
5. Arch Support
Different kinds of arches require different kinds of arch support. Your specific foot structure is what determines what good arch support is for you. People with flat feet tend to experience significantly more impact when their feet hit the ground, largely due to low, flat, or collapsed arches. As mentioned earlier, well-supported arches help to distribute your weight evenly so that you can go on long walks without experiencing any pain or aches.
6. Multi-Surface Outer Sole
Naturally, flat-footed people have quite sensitive feet, and they have to take extra care and stability to avoid getting sore. Therefore, we recommend going for a walking shoe with stiff outer soles, which help keep your feet comfortable, with little to no pain even after wearing it for long periods.
It's also important to consider an anti-slippery outer sole to ensure your feet don't move in the shoe inadvertently. Even better, go for a multi-surface option with extra ease and stability. This helps to distribute pressure evenly and massively relieve pain.
7. Dual Material Uppers
Any walking shoe with genuinely durable uppers will more than likely stand the test of time. The best option is going for a shoe with uppers made of leather, suede, or synthetic mesh. These materials not only come with longevity but also extended flexibility, and they look sleek too. One thing to keep in mind is the shoe should have a breathable mesh upper for proper ventilation.
8. Moisture Absorbing Lining & Footbed
On top of good ventilation, it would be best if you also got a shoe that has moisture-absorbing capabilities. Typically, these come with absorbent linings and footbeds to keep the inside of the shoe cool. Low inner temperatures result in less perspiration and, subsequently, minimal stench. More so, such temperatures prevent different kinds of bacteria from growing inside.
As we see it, bamboo is clearly the best choice for such a lining and footbed.