How to Choose Running Shoes for Flat Feet

The avid runner looks for key signs and features when selecting their shoes. The flat-footed or low arch individual has to take a few additional considerations in the selection process. Low arches or flat feet are not uncommon, but these conditions can cause just as much pain in the purchase path as the bottom of the foot when running. Selecting a good shoe for flat feet does not have to be a painful process and below we'll detail everything you need to know about this condition. Additionally, we will provide feedback and features to look for to assist you in the selection process.

Background Information and Purchasing Requirements for Flat Feet Shoes

As mentioned initially, developing flat feet is not an uncommon condition. Individuals who have the genetic disposition or develop foot injuries in their lifetime are more likely to develop flat feet. Below is a short informational video about individuals with flat feet and what to look for in the product selection phase:

Within this video, we were presented with a few key areas to note in your purchase selection. Below we will key in on these components and present you with a few options to reduce the pain in the search for these shoe types.

Dissecting the Shoe Backing

The back of the shoe provides a very important support mechanism to the user. Weak backs or backs that give with pressure will provide you with problems out on the trail. When the back of a shoe gives, it can adversely affect your ankle. It will apply unwanted pressure to this area of the foot when you push off or each time you connect with a surface. These two instances are consistently happening when running, so it is important to note a strong back.

You can apply pressure via pushing on the back of the shoe. If it caves in easily or allows give with little effort, avoid this model. A solid model will produce little movement and will stay to shape and form once pressure is applied. Another feature to note with the back of the shoe is complete ankle coverage. The material should surround the back of the ankle, housing a majority of the arch within the shoe when worn. People who have flat feet have low arches and if you compromise for height with your backing, you are more likely to feel the pain.

The last portion of the shoe backing is the additional padding that extends into the shoe. A snug fit is something you are looking to obtain with this condition. Backing that features little padding will rub against the ankle and might product rashes or blisters. Padding that is anywhere from 0.5'' to 1'' thick allows you to avoid this hassle.

Shoe Flexibility

Just as we want to avoid give in the backing of the shoe, we want to host the same features for the shoe itself. Shoes that provide the ample amount of give for individuals with flat feet can reduce or improve upon this condition. To test for this, one needs to perform a few simple bends and twists. While holding the shoe firmly between your hands, with one hand on the back and one hand on the front, bend the front upwards. When performing this, only the front should move upward. There is an arch on the bottom of the shoe. If this section is moving, this is a sign of a shoe that won't meet your needs. The back of the shoe should remain relatively stable during this process. A little bend will not hurt you if it is coming from these areas. The more bend a shoe has, the greater reduction of stability and comfort for the user.

The second test is to twist the shoe. Find the same holding grips and twist the shoe. This should prove to be difficult to achieve without an excessive amount of force. Shoes that twist and fold within represent examples of products that might cause problems for the user. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any product that twists like a rag with the exertion of little effort.

Stable and Padded

People who have flat feet benefit from shoes that have extra padding. This padding can be emitted on the interior of the shoe, via inserts or on the side. A good insert base is a proper starting point for the user. This base provides a thick sole that will remain relatively stiff. The cushioning piece is more important to individual preference than it is progress, so memory foam and gel inserts work fine in these regards. You may want to invest in a solid pair of inserts. These inserts can be prescribed or dealt over-the-counter, leaving that option up to the user. A think padding emerging on the interior of the shoe will keep the foot stable on the run. It reduces unwanted or unnecessary movements, relating to rubbing injuries and reducing the irritation caused from having flat feet.

Exterior Construction

The exterior of the shoe is an important factor to take note of. Canvas shoes feature lighter construction means, which make them better options for the avid runner. When running, it is important to stay light on your feet and own a pair of shoes that don't weigh you down. This construction can be achieved by finding a pair of shoes that utilizes reinforcement with different materials. This will add a little to the weight category, but the difference remains very minimal. Solid outer construction often equates to a better interior design. While these materials may cost a little more to use in production, their benefit list hosts many other features that the lighter competitor may not. Do not sell yourself short in fabric, as the make-up is a key component in finding a shoe that works for your flat feet.

Product Reviews

Fila Men's Memory Maranello 4 Running Shoe

FILA is yet another company that is highly active in the running shoe space. When it comes to finding the fit that suits flat feet, look no further than the Memory Maranello 4 model. This shoe features a construction that utilizes from three popular sources: nylon, mesh, and leather. The addition of leather to the toe box and surrounding areas is a nice fit for durability. The bottom of the shoe features a good mold and it utilizes a function that also benefits the user. It features cuts and minimal spacing between reinforcement blocks. These blocks directly remove the pressures on would experience on take-off and when coming back down to the ground.

The interior houses a memory foam technology that is proprietary to the FILA brand. This is an added element of comfort that helps to form fit the construction of your foot. The back of the shoe completely rises to cover the ankle, suiting both low profile and normal arch types.

PROS

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    Multiple construction sources for added protection and durability
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    Memory foam technology that form fits
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    Unique bottom structure that reduces the pressure upon running

CONS

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    Limited color and design availability

New Balance Women's WX608V4 Training Shoe

Nothing says classical comfort quite like the New Balance 608v4 model. Constructed with high-strength elements, these shoes are built to last. New Balance developed this line for both male and female consumers, helping to assist any individual who may be suffering from flat feet. The solid construction is dealt throughout the entirety of the shoe. From front to back, the shoe offers little give to pressure. This allows the shoe to stand up to pressures and adverse surfaces one might find on the running trail.

This shoe is also offered in various widths, adhering to those who have feet that point outward. The shoe is lined with padding and an extra insert on the sole. The back arch is high, allowing any arch size to be housed within the shoe during movement. 

PROS

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    Added stability throughout
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    Little give in construction elements
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    Added padding within the shoe
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    A large range of widths available

CONS

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    Limited color and style selection
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    May require additional inserts for protection and comfort

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Trail Running Shoe

ASICS is also a top contender in the running shoes for flat feet space. Implemented within this shoe is ASICS Gel Venture technology. This relates directly to the insert within the shoe. The patented technology provides a gel surrounding the remains solid and relieving with on and off contact. The structure of the shoe utilizes reinforced materials to back the surfacing and protect the foot. This is a trail running model, meaning it will run a little heavier than the average running shoe types.

The trail running model was designed for travel over rough terrain. This design was carried to the bottom of the shoe, where you will notice the arch in the middle. Performing the bend test will provide for this shoe to pass with flying colors. The back is reinforced and houses padding elements that grip to the ankle. This keeps the foot steady and stable during travel.

PROS

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    Gel Venture technology for increased padding and comfort
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    Reinforced construction built for taking on the elements
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    Grooved bottom allows for travel across multiple terrains
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    Available in both men's and women's sizes

CONS

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    Rather bulky
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    Limited design patterns and color availability

Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 4 Exceed Lace-Up Sneaker

Dubbed as a walking companion, the Go Walk 4 Exceed shoes make a perfect fit for the running space. They are designed and constructed with a lighter material, making them a nice lightweight option for the user. The interior portion of the shoe is lined and coated with the same material on the exterior, reducing the crossover between exterior and interior means. The footbed also houses Sktechers Goga Max technology, featuring a foam padding that mimics that of a yoga mat. This helps the shoe form fit to your foot, making it a nice option for those who have arch problems.

The out base is made from a lighter plastic material. It features some flexibility, but remains level across the bottom. The bottom of the shoe also features gripping dots that are spread across this canvas. These dots help provide additional support to the main areas of the step, reducing bounce and other such instances that are common with injuries.

PROS

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    Lightweight model that is perfect for running
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    Dotted bottom provides support in key areas
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    Goga Max inserts provide added comfort

CONS

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    Has some give
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    Virtually no arch in the middle of the shoe; flat bottom

Under Armour Men's Charged Bandit 2 Running Shoes

Under Armour is rather new to the running shoe space. Their craft and mastery of the athletic industry have provided the shoe space with a few different selections and styles. The Charged Bandit 2 is the best option for the prospective flat foot user. This shoe utilizes an excellent construction base with a solid bottom. The bottom portion of the shoe is relatively flat, with a slight arch in the middle. This construction is a perfect start for the flat foot individual.

The back portion of the shoe does offer some give, but allows for the user to slip their feet in with ease. The inner portion features a basic insert, thickening the support for the bottom of the foot. The sole is slightly raised to keep you upright and within a fluid motion.

PROS

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    Unique design that covers the protection bases
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    Large selection of colors and designs within this format
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    Available for both men and women

CONS

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    Has a lot of give at the back of the shoe; elastic

Conclusion

After viewing the many different functions and designs of running shoes in the flat foot space, it is clear to see why the FILA Memory Maranello 4 model offers the best fit. It is constructed with precise amounts of elements, even sampling from the leather space, which offers some of the best constructive strength. The bottom of the shoe spaces out the reinforcers, evening the coverage that is spread across the foot. The memory foam technology with form fit to the foot, which is good for the individuals who have trouble finding a fit that suits their adverse foot size or shape. This model offers virtually no give when you apply the intended tests, which can again be contributed to the constructive means. Each of these options hosts personal preference measures that you'll want to indulge in prior to purchase. Always take care in your selection and apply add-ons when necessary.

Zoey Miller

Hey there, I'm Zoey, founder and the main editor of The Babble Out. I know nobody's life is smooth as they wish, and it’s the same with mine. I had some terrible news a few years ago and running was the way I got through these issues. This has given me enough motivation to create this blog, so that I can give you a helping hand for as many daily problems as I can. If you are curious why "babble out" is the​ name of the blog, then check the "About" page and find out more about me.