Walking with flat feet for extended periods of time can be a challenge. In this article, we will review some of the best walking shoes for people with flat feet.
Table of Contents
- What are Flat Feet?
- Some Causes of Flat feet or Fallen Arches
- Associated Signs and Symptoms of Flat Feet
- How Flat Feet Affect the Way You Walk or Run
- Will the Appropriate Walking Shoes Help with the Symptoms of Flat Feet
- Obesity and Flat Feet
- Some of the Biggest Foot Conditions Associated with Walking
- Walking Shoe’s Technology for Flat Feet
- Summary Table – Best Shoe Brands for Flat Feet
- Motion-Control Shoes for Walking on Road or for Gym
- Flat Feet Shoes for Trail Walkers
- Flat Feet Hiking Shoes
- New Balance Unisex KJ860 Best Shoes for Children with Flat Feet & Overpronation
- Orthofeet Men's Asheville Comfort Arthritis Diabetic Orthotic Flat Feet Slippers
- Shoes with Custom arch support
- Shoes with Raised inner soles
- Wide Width Shoes
What are Flat Feet?
A flat foot is a condition whereby a person has the arches of his feet sitting entirely on the flat ground. The term refers to a medical condition called pes planus and fallen arches; it appears to manifest itself among people that the curves of the inner central part of their feet have totally collapsed.
Flat-footedness in many occasions is caused by the person’s body being unable to develop the arches naturally or when the muscles of the feet are just too weak to maintain them.
Individuals with flat feet find it to be very challenging, putting on regular shoes, for instance, tennis shoes.
When they put on such shoes, the lower arch pains a lot; this is referred as over pronation.
Some Causes of Flat feet or Fallen Arches
Flat feet can be a genetic condition that runs in the family, although there are also many other aspects that can lead to flat feet;
- When your arch becomes weak it may be there when no weight is placed on it when you are sitting but as soon as you stand you foot flattens and the arch falls onto the ground completely.
- Injuries to the foot and ligaments can weaken or damage the arch causing it to fall and the foot to become flat
- Medical conditions such as Arthritis can also lead to a flat foot as well as many other complications.
- A Tibialis posterior which is basically a ruptured tendon in the foot can lead to a collapsed arch and flat foot.
- In pregnancy the hormone relaxin used to relax the joints in the body in order to accommodate childbirth can also affect the feet causing the joints and tendons to relax and the foot to become flatter than normal, this is of course more severe with added weight gain.
- Excessive weight puts pressure on the feet with added weight that can cause the foot to flatten and become wider.
- Nervous system of muscle diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or Spina Bifida can also cause the foot to become flat.
- Diabetes is another condition that can affect your feet as well as cause flat feet.
- birth defects or abnormalities may result in deformation of the foot or a more flat arch.
- your tendons can become stretched or torn particularly with excessive repetitive activities cursing the arch to collapse and the foot to become flat.
- Broken or dislocated bones may result in a low or fallen arch causing flat feet.
- Some nerve conditions such as neuropathy may also cause flat feet or a fallen arch.
- With age wear and tear sets in after many years of using your feet to walk, run and jump eventually taking its toll and resulting in one of the consequences which are flat feet.
Associated Signs and Symptoms of Flat Feet
The signs and symptoms of flat feet may vary from person to person and also depends on how severe the condition is; there are however a few common signs and symptoms of flat feet;
- Pain and swelling in the inner side of the ankle.
- Pain in the entire foot or arch of the foot.
- Pain and tightness in the calfs.
- Knee, Hip or back pain
- Pain and swelling in the general lower leg and foot area.
- stiffness in one or both of your feet.
- A very slight or low arch and your foot is flat on the ground when you stand.
- Your shoes wear out unevenly.
- Foot fatigue that sets in quickly.
- Swelling at the inside and bottom of your feet.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may have flat feet, but it is advised to seek still the confirmation of your doctor or a foot specialist who can also pinpoint the severity of the condition as well as confirm if you actually do have flat feet.
How Flat Feet Affect the Way You Walk or Run
A flat foot or fallen arch is when the arch of your foot is either completely flat or extremely low to the ground.
People who have flat feet tend to roll over to the inner side when they stand, walk or run, and their feet will point outwards as a result of this.
Overpronation which is the excessive inner rolling of the feet when you walk or run is one of the primary defects caused by having flat feet or low arches. For this reason, a motion control or stabilizing shoe is usually the best option for someone who overpronates that can prevent the feet from rolling inward excessively.
Most people who have fallen arches or flat feet do not experience any pain or discomfort at all. However some people may experience foot pain when their ligaments and muscles become strained, as well as their leg joints being affected which also results in pain. Because of overpronation which is mainly caused by flat feet occurs the ankles turn inwards when you walk causing extra stress and pain in the feet ankles and knees.
Simple devices such as orthotic insoles and motion control or stability shoes with good cushioning and arch support can help prevent the painful and uncomfortable symptoms caused by flat feet and provide you with ample support and monitoring of overpronation.
Walking with Flat Feet
People with lower arches or flat feet from collapsed arches can find themselves walking flat-footed their feet slapping down with each step from the ankle rather than striking with the heel and rolling smoothly through a step. Some people with flat feet will strike the ground heel first, and then the foot will flatten out, other will land on the midsole with no heel strike, leading to shin pain.
Shoes that are too stiff and have stiff flat soles often aggravate flat footed walking because your foot simply cannot roll through as nature intended it to. Flexible shoes that bend at the ball of the foot will ensure more natural movement.
Will the Appropriate Walking Shoes Help with the Symptoms of Flat Feet
The most effective, least costly and easiest way to treat foot pain, particularly foot pain caused by flat feet is to wear the appropriate footwear. The most important step for anyone who has a flat foot is to wear proper and well-fitting footwear. Footwear that has become old and worn out does not provide the right fit or suitable amount of support for a flat foot and should be replaced promptly.
Shoes that provide cushioned support, arch support, and good shock absorbency are and an excellent choice for flat feet, you can also look at motion control and stability shoes depending on your type of pronation. People with flat feet are much more likely to overpronate than supinate or under pronate but may also be neutral pronators.
Obesity and Flat Feet
One of the main reasons that the arch of your foot collapses causing flat feet is excessive weight. Excessive weight causes strain on the arches resulting in the tendons and muscles becoming strained and stretched out eventually causing the arch to collapse and the foot to flatten. Because of the excess weight in an overweight person, the feet are not only flat but will also tend to be wider and longer which means that you will need a larger sized shoe that also has a wider width. Shock absorption is insufficient in a flat foot, and strain on the legs, ankles, knees, and hips are increased, therefore footwear or orthotic insoles that provide adequate arch support and shock absorption are so important. Losing excess weight will be a great advantage as this will reduce the strain on your already strained flat feet and may also lessen the severity of the condition. Obesity is just as much as a risk to your feet, and lower limbs as it is to the rest of your body and you may eventually find it difficult or impossible to walk.
Some of the Biggest Foot Conditions Associated with Walking
Walking is known as one of the safest and easiest forms of exercise, even so walking still has its risks involved.
When you feel pain or tenderness at the bottom of your foot or the heel, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the soft band of tissue called the Plantar Fascia which runs from your heel bone to the ball of your feet becomes inflamed and stiff because of excessive strain on this tissue and small tearing in the tissue.
The tearing occurs because of excessive stress and impact from overworking that are of your foot as well as wearing unsupportive footwear.
Doing regular stretching exercises and wearing walking shoes with a supportive and cushioned contoured footbed will prevent Plantar Fasciitis or reduce the painful symptoms should you already suffer from this condition.
When you wear shoes that are too short or tight there is pressure on your toes causing the toenails to grow sideways into the soft tissue rather than forward. Ingrown toenails can be quite painful and become worse as you walk because of the extra pressure on the toes. Make sure that your walking shoes have ample toe wiggle room and a comfortable and flexible fit, also make sure that you choose shoes in the correct size.
Bunions develop when the bones in the joint of the outer side of your big or little toe become misaligned and start to swell. People who have flat feet, low arches or arthritis, are more prone to Bunions. Wearing a shoe with a wider and softer toe box will reduce pressure on the toes preventing Bunions or eliminating the pain caused by Bunions.
The Achilles’ tendon connects your heel to your calf muscle when this tendon becomes irritated from excessive walking you can experience pain in the back of your heel and lower calf. The repeated flexing of the foot when you walk up and down steep hills or on uneven terrain can cause Achilles Tendinitis. Keeping to even and steady ground when you walk will reduce your risks of developing this condition.
Lumbar strain is pain or aching in your mid or lower back caused when the ligaments around your spine become overworked. Keeping your back muscles strong by performing regular back exercises and avoiding lifting heavy objects with your back or bend over at your waist can prevent Lumbar strain.
Pain in the ball of your foot or between your toes is usually because of a neuroma. A neuroma is the thickening of the nerve near the base of the toes that can cause tingling, numbness or pain in that surrounding area. Wearing shoes that fit well and provide appropriate support will greatly reduce your chances of developing Neuroma.
You shins bear up to six times your weight when you walk or exercise. Therefore repetitive pounding on these muscles and the surrounding tissues can create inflammation leading to stiffness and soreness in the shin area. Always give Shin Splints time to heal by cutting on exercising for a short period and strengthen the muscles in your front lower leg to prevent shin splints.
Walking Shoe’s Technology for Flat Feet
Thanks to technology, a lot of efforts have been put in place to develop custom made shoes that those with flat feet can put on and move around with ease and comfort.
These shoes specifically improve three aspects of the feet: the stability, the support mechanism, and the motion control.
Motion control shoes are the best shoes for people with flat feet; this technology limits the overpronation that usually flat footed people tend to have.
In this way, these particular shoes also improve the direction of the leg and substantially lower the risks of over pronation and injuries.
Features of a Good Walking Shoe for Flat feet
- Good shock absorbing capabilities.
- Well cushioned.
- A stabilizing heel
- Motion Control or Stability features.
- Good Arch Support
Summary Table – Best Shoe Brands for Flat Feet
Here’s a great table that will help you decide on the right shoe depending on the type of activity and walking surface:
Motion-Control Shoes for Walking on Road or for Gym
A Motion Control or High stability shoe is a running or walking shoe that is designed specifically to keep your foot firmly in place to prevent the excessive overpronation of the foot during walking or running. Overpronator is very common in people with flat feet or fallen arches. A Motion Control shoe has a stiffer heel and a straighter shape with added arch support and a stiff midsole.
|Shoe||Men ♂||Women ♀||Features||Rating|
|New Balance 1540V2||-ABZORB midfoot cushioning|
-Walking Strike Path outsole
|ASICS Neo 4||ASICS Neo 4 - Men||ASICS Neo 4 - Women||-Gel Cushioning|
|New Balance 928||New Balance 928 - Men||New Balance 928 - Women||-Stabilizing ROLLBAR technology|
-Walking Strike Path outsole
|Asics GT-2000||Asics GT-2000 - Men||Asics GT-2000 - Women||-FluidRide midsole|
-Guidance Trusstic System
Flat Feet Shoes for Trail Walkers
Trail walking or running shoes are designed for walking or running on a variety of outdoor terrains such as dirt trails and uneven surfaces. They usually have a low cut design and a soft rubber sole with large tread patterns for flexibility and grip. They better be waterproof and provide less toe protection and improved feeling underfoot for a more minimalist experience.
|Shoe||Men ♂||Women ♀||Features||Rating|
|New Balance 410V4||-XLT Footbed |
|Mizuno Wave Kazan||Mizuno Wave Kazan - Men||Mizuno Wave Kazan - Women||-Vegan|
-Aggressive X-Studded outsole pattern
|ASICS GT-2000||ASICS GT-2000 - Men||ASICS GT-2000 - Women||-AHAR rubber outsole|
-Impact Guidance System
Flat Feet Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes are a happy medium between the lighter weight of a trail running shoe and the durability of a Hiking Boot. Hiking shoe is much more durable and less flexible offering good grip on different terrains. Hiking shoes are also available in a waterproof or non-waterproof option for wet and dry environments. In general Hiking shoes are lightweight, durable and breathable offering protection and stability in rough terrain.
|Shoe||Men ♂||Women ♀||Features||Rating|
-ContraGrip traction outsole
|Adidas Terrex||Adidas Terrex - Men||Adidas Terrex - Women||-GORE-TEX|
|KEEN Targhee II||KEEN Targhee II - Men||KEEN Targhee II - Women||-Leather|
- These are excellent shoes for children who have flat feet and over pronate.
- These shoes are for both Boys and Girls – pay attention to the size to pick the correct one W=Girl M=Boy.
- It has the ABZORB® midsole which enhances comfort and cushioning.
- The upper of this shoe keeps the shoe ventilated, light and comfortable.
- The Medial Post consists of higher-density compression-molded EVA midsole, located on inside edge of the shoe, to help prevent over-pronation.
Shoes with Custom arch support
Most of the shoes that are sold in the general shoe stores may not adequately provide for the individual needs of people with fallen arches. Shoes with precise arches are often prescribed in this case because they have a human-made arch which will enable the person with flat feet to move with great stability and ease as if they had the arches. The best place you can be sure to find a pair of shoes with custom arch supports is at a professional podiatrist’s store. Some of these are soft while others are hard. The sponginess is determined after an examination of the client’s feet, and consequently, a relevant material is chosen.
Wedges too can work pretty well for people with flat feet.
The wedges are often custom made considering the person’s feet. In most cases, they are considered when over the counter shoes have created a painful condition called tendinitis on the man will flat feet over time.
This is because the over the counter shoes fail to support the arch.
These wedges fit in the shoes to uphold the curve, which the muscles of the feet have not managed to sustain on their own.
Most of the Best Shoes for Overpronation are fitted with wedges that reduce the pain remarkably.
Shoes with Raised inner soles
The insole is the surface on which the foot comes in contact once shoes are put on. The use of shoes with raised insoles is highly recommended to ease the burden of walking for people with flat feet; The raise should be mainly centered on where the arch is supposed to be. In this way, the insole supports the fallen arch and raises it back to its place. This artificial arch works like a shock-absorbing system of springs that catapults the movement of the body with great ease. As we are already covered in the article about the Best Work Shoes for Flat Feet – this support is essential for stability and reduces the chances of the excruciating pain that comes with tendinitis.
Many companies today make special sneakers for people with flat feet. For instance, those made by Adidas can be of great help to people with fallen arches. However, when it comes to buying the best sneakers for walking, over the counter, one has to be very keen. The appropriate ones should be raised on the inside to strengthen a weak arch, stable, comfortable, and very supportive. An adiprene-equipped pair of sneakers would be of great help in this case.
Wide Width Shoes
Most shoe manufacturers don’t pay attention to the width of their shoes, and most of them produce narrow-width shoes only as if all people’s foot are equal!
title=”BestYou’d be better off picking up a wide width walking shoes, a shoe which will support your feet feelings like barefoot and let your feet rest without being squeezed.
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