The 3 Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet Women and Men
Choosing the best running shoes takes some effort and highly depends on the wearer's foot type. People with neutral feet have it easy but if you have flat feet, you're familiar with the stress and frustration brought about by the endless search for a pair that fits your needs.
If it's your first time buying or you're looking for a much better and more suitable replacement, this will guide you on how to find the best running shoes for flat feet womens and mens.
The Different Foot Types
Feet are characterized depending on how high the arch is. The following table shows the three most common types of feet and the potential foot issues linked to them:
In addition to low arch, a flat foot has a heel lying at an outward angle and toes rotating outward. This configuration weakens its natural ability to absorb impact and can also put more stress to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons that work to stabilize the foot.
rigid feet with well-defined arch sitting high from the ground
Claw toes and calluses due to intense pressure to forefoot and rear foot
Heel pain syndrome
Metatarsalgia or pain in the forefoot
medium arch or neutral foot
moderately flexible feet with defined arch, biomechanically efficient
pain in the forefoot or heel due to ill-fitting footwear and recurring stress
low arch or flat foot
quite flexible feet with little-defined arch sitting low to the ground
Problems with medial knee
An extra bone or cartilage located above the foot arch known as "accessory navicular bone" may cause flat feet. Removal of this bone doesn't affect the foot's bone structure so both children and adults can have it removed to achieve a normal arch.
Choosing the Right Shoes for Flat Feet
Running highly impacts your feet and flat feet are more susceptible to injuries than the neutral ones. Wearing proper running shoes designed for your foot type can reduce the risk of such injuries and make your runs more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you want to have the right shoes, these are the three most important things that you should consider:
Every time you walk, run, or jump, you exert a downward force to the ground. Following the laws of physics, the ground reacts by applying the same amount of force upward to your foot, which pushes it up and forward. This force is naturally absorbed by your body through a process called pronation.
Pronation is the natural tendency of your foot to roll inwards when you walk or run. To absorb the impact, your foot arch collapses.
These are the three different pronation conditions:
- Supination or under-pronation - the foot rolls outwards instead of inwards, leading to inadequate impact absorption
- Neutral pronation - the foot rolls inward but is able to adjust
- Overpronation - the foot rolls excessively inwards which leads to instability and reduced impact absorption. People with flat feet usually overpronate.
Known brands make different types of running shoes specifically designed to address the runner's condition of pronation. So if you have flat feet, you should look for overpronation shoes, also known as stability shoes.
A stability shoe differs from a neutral shoe in terms of the design of its sole. In a shoe for overpronation, the mid-arch to the rear foot is made of dense and rigid foam. Known as the medial post, it prevents excessive inward rolling of the foot during runs. It also makes the shoe more rigid, which flat-footed runners may find more comfortable.
While overpronation is caused by flat feet, it doesn't necessarily mean that you overpronate if you have them. Some flat-footed runners have normal pronation and neutral running shoes work best for them.
If you overpronate, you'll notice that the inner side of your shoes wear out the most. You'll also more likely to develop calluses on the inside of your big toes or under your second and third toes.
The Kind of Flat Foot You Have
A flat foot is further characterized into two types: flexible and rigid. The flexible type is anatomical while the rigid type develops due to weakened muscles. This is also commonly known as collapsed arches.
These two may look similar but if you have flat feet, there's a way to tell the difference. A flexible flat foot is only flat when you're standing or you apply pressure to it. If you place it on the bed, curl your toes, or stand on tiptoes, the arch will reappear. A rigid flat foot will remain flat regardless.
Knowing which type of flat foot you have is important in choosing the most suitable running shoes for you. If you have collapsed arches, shoes with arch support may work best for you. If you have anatomically flat feet, you may benefit more from shoes with a straighter last – the mold that dictates a shoe's shape.
The feet of infants and children often look flat. This is because the arch is still forming, which should develop normally. The extra fat on a baby's foot may also hide the arch.
Features you should consider when choosing stability running shoes are:
- Level of stability and support - Pronation ranges from mild to severe. Therefore, you should make sure that the shoes you choose provide the right amount of stability, support, and motion control.
- Firm midsole - The proper kind of midsole prevents overpronation by correcting your gait and stride.
- Cushioning - The best shoes for people with flat feet are well-cushioned, especially at the middle arch. Because overpronation makes the body's natural shock absorption less efficient, your shoes must provide the right amount of cushioning.
- Strong and supportive heel to lockdown the foot - This is important if you have severe overpronation which requires extra support.
- Breathability - When you run, stability and support are not enough. Your shoes must also have a great ventilation system to keep your feet cool and dry.
- Flexibility - While your priority is stability, the right shoes should still be flexible enough to allow for natural movement of the feet.
- Wide toe box and sufficient room to accommodate orthotics, if you are using any.
Best Running Shoes for Women and Men with Flat Feet
1. Adidas Solar Glide ST
Lightweight yet supportive, these shoes are designed to keep you comfortable in long runs.
These Adidas shoes feature dual-density Boost cushioning paired with the supportive Solar Propulsion Rail that guides and propels the foot forward. Together, they work to provide premium comfort and superb stability.
The suede overlay in the sandwich mesh upper makes these shoes look good without compromising breathability. In addition, the ribbing designed into the forefoot allows for optimal fit during movement.
- Comfortable and fits like a glove
- Excellent midsole arch support
- Unique heel design provides addition structural support
- Breathability issues in hotter conditions
2. ASICS Gel Venture 5
The Venture 5 is a comfortable, responsive, and high-performance trail-specific running shoe offering wider size that's great for flat-footed runners with neutral pronation.
Combining the industry-standard EVA - a responsive and lightweight cushioning system - with the brands own Gel cushioning system, this shoe is one of the most comfortable and durable trail running shoes. It also promises to help prevent the runner from developing physical damage during runs.
The upper portion is made of tightly woven mesh material that's highly breathable yet durable. Synthetic overlays provide support while protecting the foot from trail hazards.
- Right amount of cushioning for comfortable runs
- Suitable for any type of terrain
- Impressive general durability and sturdiness
- Mesh fabric is difficult to clean
- Stitched part of the uppers are not that durable
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3. ASICS GT 2000 6
The ASICS GT 2000 6 promises excellent support for overpronation and superior cushioning for sufficient shock absorption during your runs.
With the rear foot and forefoot GEL technology combined with the midsole FLYTEFOAM™ which is made with organic fibers that help minimize packing out, these shoes will allow you to cover more miles and still keep you comfortable while providing all the support and stability you need.
If you have bunions, these shoes will still comfortably fit you as they have wide forefoot to accommodate them and minimize irritation. The removable COMFORDRY™ sock liner not just provides cushion but also wicks moisture to keep your feet dry.
- Excellent arch support and stability for overpronation
- Ultra-secure heel grip
- Available in various width options
- Issues with durability especially in the mesh upper
- Doesn't fit true to size
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