Flatfoot runners face a number of challenges in finding the right running shoes, one of which is an excess of conflicting information on the subject. The internet and your local athletics store are probably pushing you to buy a shoe with more arch support. Sports injury experts will direct you to do the opposite. So who do you trust? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer: the optimal shoe for you largely depends on your gait cycle, mobility, and individual foot, among other factors. But there are a couple of features to look for in running shoes that can help your low arches feel more supported and comfortable, and a pair of shoes that are known to work well for flat-footed runners. Read on for our picks and buying advice.
The two types of flat feet
Some runners have anatomically flat feet and others have so-called “collapsed arches,” which are flat due to muscle weakness. While the two types may look very similar, how you buy shoes varies greatly, says Dr. Kimberly Davis of RunLab, a clinic based in Austin, Texas, which tests the biomechanics of running and offers physical therapy and training. Branded Shoes
Dr. Davis says that when it comes to buying a shoe for a flatfoot runner with collapsed arches due to muscle weakness, arch support can be added until the foot gets stronger and can support its own arch. . But with an anatomically flat foot, arch support simply puts stress on the knee, where it can lead to knee problems. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of flat foot you have before deciding on a shoe and to consider not just the foot, but the entire body, including the knees, hips and range of motion.
Overpronation and arch support
Flat-footed runners tend to overpronate, which is when the arches of the foot roll inward after landing. (However, this is not true across the board – there are many flatfoot runners who are biomechanically solid and efficient and do not experience any overpronation.) Until recently, the athletics industry has directed overpronators towards stability shoes. to control this movement. Gradually, all of that is starting to change as you realize that stability features don’t do much to correct the foot’s natural cycle, although some runners prefer to have them. Dr. Davis says people with flat feet often have very flexible feet that never stiffen from momentum. “The shoe industry tries to solve this by putting an arch support to arch or create supination on the foot,” she says. “But that foot is structurally built like this, it’s not something you can fix with a shoe.” Shoes And Sneakers
A full-contact midsole
Jay Dicharry, author of “Anatomy for Runners” and director of the REP Lab in Bend, Oregon, agrees that arch support can be harmful because the arch is dynamic in nature and having extra structure can stop motion. of the foot. Dicharry says flat-footed runners should focus more on finding a shoe with a straight “shape,” which is the mold that determines the shape of the shoe. A straight shoe has a wider base in the midfoot and a shorter cut, a profile that has fallen by the wayside in favor of hourglass shoes. Most shoes today don’t provide a great solid support surface for flatfoot runners, he says. “The problem is that all of these hourglass shoe shapes look good on the wall, but when someone with a flat foot puts a weight on one, part of the foot is supporting the weight on top of the fabric,” he says. “The upper does not act as a midsole for foot support. Feet feel good when on a flat surface.”
Flat feet are just one aspect of many
The truth is, most running shoes will work for most runners; however, if the shoes you are wearing are not immediately comfortable or if you feel pain while running, you should try a different pair. Have your movement pattern analyzed, at a clinic like RunLab or even at a running store that offers gait analysis. Once you have more information about your feet and movement patterns, you can turn all of that information over to an athletic store to find the best shoe for you. Don’t be afraid to take out a shoe for a test run after evaluation before buying something. Best Sneakers
How we choose these shoes
Every shoe here has been evaluated and verified by our team of test editors. We research the market, review user reviews, speak with product managers and shoe factories, and use our experience running in these shoes to determine the best options for flat feet. Most models have been tested by our staff and those that have not been carefully chosen based on value, comfort and performance.
Brooks Dyad 11
Heavier runners and those with wide feet have long appreciated the Dyad’s wide toe box, which has plenty of room to spread your feet and feel right at home. The shoe also attracted a fandom from the flatfoot crowd, thanks to that generous fit and a straighter shape that allows for more ground contact through the midsole. Yes, the shoe may feel heavy, but with that weight comes a lot of durable cushion and support. At the midsole, the shoe has a soft memory foam feel designed to fit different foot shapes. Two double arch pods in the midfoot provide a small amount of stability for overpronators without impacting runners with a neutral stride, while a “crash crash” pad smooths transitions. Injured and injured runners also found that the dyad has enough space to fit braces, making this shoe a viable option for walkers as well. Kacamata Rayban
Brooks Beast 20
Runners who like soft cushioning in a heavy-duty distance shoe have long been fans of Beast and Ariel (the female version). The shoe has a wider platform with added midfoot support and some additional stability features, which many of our wider foot test runners appreciated. It’s also on a straighter last, which can help some runners with flat feet make more contact with the midsole rather than the top. For the shoe’s 20th iteration, Brooks added guide rails to the midsole to lock an overpronating foot in place. The overall weight of the shoe has also been reduced, making this version the lightest Beast to date.
Saucony Echelon 8
Runners with flat feet or low arches have been very lucky with the Echelon. A neutral shoe with little arch support and a wider platform in the midsole and forefoot, the Echelon offers soft cushioning and durability to handle high-volume workouts and long miles. Heavier runners and runners wearing braces especially enjoyed the shoe, although its appeal is not limited to those groups. One of our previous model testers said, “The Echelon 7 looks like a tough shoe that will last.”