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Best Running Shoes for High Arches

Updated on April 23, 2013
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The Problem

There are many types of injuries associated with running, especially long distances, and there’s no shortage of advice on the internet. People with high arches seem to find it difficult to avoid injury while running long distance. I have high arches and I'm a strong believer that it has contributed to most of my issues when running distances of more than three miles. I’ve also experimented with several types of shoes and insoles to no avail. Injuries that can occur as a result of high arches are knee pain, weak ankles, inflammation with the Achilles Tendon, shin splints, and sometimes even hip pain. Often times we see commercials trying to sell us running shoes that help support high arches or provide more cushioning in the sole of the shoe but these have done little to help most people. Runners all over with this problem have been discouraged and defeated, including myself. So, what is the solution?

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So, What's the Solution?

That’s not an easy question to answer and I’m not here to offer you a one size fits all solution. As I have progressed in my running career (or lack there of) I’ve noticed a few different things that have really helped me stay injury free without spending lots of money. The good thing about having high arches is that our feet already have outstanding support and protection. A high arched runner has built in super springs available for a boost in the stride if used properly. In order to take advantage of that super spring, you must pay attention to your body mechanics.

  • If you’re striking your heel first on the pavement throughout your stride, you’re doomed, and eventually an injury will occur. I’m not going to get into specifics here but there is a great article you can check out at ScienceofRunning.com that explains further the reasoning for this.
  • To avoid injury, you must strike the pavement with the ball of your foot first, and then push off. Your arch will provide you with that extra spring.
  • If you’re not used to running this way it can seem awkward. It can also cause injury because it uses a different set of muscles to propel you which may not be as strong, so make sure you incorporate this type of running slowly into your routine.
  • Try it for one minute increments with four or five minutes in between. Work your way up slowly over a week or two depending on how often you train and then try to use it the whole run on one of your lighter training days.

What Type of Shoe Help the Best

For those of you that have difficulty focusing on your mechanics while running, you can try to use a special type of shoe. There are several brands I like to use but the style of shoe you want is a barefoot or minimalist shoe.

  • These shoes are great for mid distances and even longer distances. I know this probably goes against traditional wisdom but it works for me and it may work for you too, especially if you continue to have problems with any of the injuries mentioned above.
  • Nike, New Balance, and Vibram all make great minimalist running shoes.

The reason why this type of shoe is so effective is because if you try to strike your heel first while running, you’re going to know it and it’s going to be uncomfortable. It almost like running barefoot and if you’ve ever run barefoot before, running on your heels can become painful. This type of running shoe forces you to run on the balls of your feet and spring through your stride.

Over the years I’ve found that running on the balls of my feet and wearing less cushioning on my shoes actually helps reduce my injury. You may also want to make sure you’re not overtraining because that can cause injuries as well. Like I said before, I’m not saying this will help everyone but it’s helped me and it’s helped others I know in the running world that suffer from the same issue. Give it try and please let me know how it goes or let me know your thoughts on this method. There may be something others are using that helps as well.

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