Finding the right shoe can pose a challenge for runners with flat feet. Will there be enough arch support without making the shoe uncomfortable? Can the right shoe help correct stride issues? Does it take big, clunky shoes to fix over-pronation?
In the past, flat-footed runners’ options were limited to heavy motion-control shoes with copious cushioning. Shoes in this category were often built to mask biomechanical inefficiencies, instead of correcting them. Recently, however, designers have simplified running shoe construction throughout all of the standard categories. As a result, flat-footed runners have more options to choose from than ever. Running shoe companies have created plenty of models for flat-footed runners’ specific needs—and finding the proper pair for your foot has never been easier.
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The arch of the human foot acts like a spring—providing stability, supporting the body’s weight, and helping propel a runner forward. When a runner is flat-footed, the arch absorbs less impact, and transfers it onto the leg’s other musculoskeletal structures. Most notably, low arches can result in over-pronation, which can cause the foot to land at an exaggerated angle and potentially result in injury. As such, it is important for runners with low arches to find shoes with good arch support.
To begin, it’s best to pick a shoe featuring medial posts (highly durable foam along the arch of the midsole) or raised arches on the insole. These models provide a good baseline “constant” by which others can be judged. Next, assess whether or not the cushioning of that shoe type is comfortable—if so, work within that type of shoe. If not, find another model from the same manufacturer in another category. For example, a runner who likes the fit of Brand X’s neutral shoe but dislikes its weight should then assess the fit and feel of a minimalist offering from the same company.
This provides an easy benchmark for testing other shoes from different manufacturers, as you will see similarities between models of the same brand. Above all else, it is imperative to try as many models as possible, as there can be great fluctuations in fit, comfort and arch height even within a single category of shoe.
Click through to the slideshow above to find a few of the top shoes for flat-footed runners, and keep on clicking for full reviews of each shoe at RunningShoesGuru.com.