A good pair of shoes is the best workout buddy you can have if you're a runner. And, if you also happen to have flat feet, making sure your shoes provide the arch support to keep your body stable and prevent injury while you rack up those miles is even more important.
A relatively common condition according to the NHS, flat footed-ness is defined by lacking an arch in one or both of your feet. Most of the time, no medical treatment is required. You just have to be sure to get a good pair of supportive running sneakers.
"When you stand on the floor, if you have no space or little space between the inside of your foot and the floor—that’s a flat foot," explains Dr. Supna Reilly, DPM, a podiatrist at Performance Podiatry Partners. "What flat foot really relates to is the relationships of the bone in the foot, as well as the function of the tendons that surround those bones," she says. "And that support, or lack of support of the arch, is basically what contributes to flat footed-ness."
How does someone get flat feet?
There are many reasons why someone might have flat feet. It's a condition that's passed through genetics, but you can also develop flat feet due to other changes in life, says Dr. Julia Sinclair, DPM, another podiatrist at Performance Podiatry Partners, including arthritis, pregnancy, aging, and injury.
She says that when someone acquires flat feet later in life, it's often an issue with the posterior tibial tendon—the tendon that wraps around the inside of the ankle and connects to the inside of the foot. Translation? That's the tendon that's responsible for arch support. If this tendon is injured significantly, it could result in a decrease in arch support.
So, what makes the best running shoe for flat feet?
Runners with flat feet are already predisposed to develop injuries like tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (the inflammation of a band of tissue in the heel), bunions, and shin splints, which makes wearing the right type of running shoe more important than ever according to Sinclair. So, you'll want to look for shoes that aim to provide stability.
That said, shoes that support the shape and position of your foot can mean different things to different people depending on your personal preference. Some of you runners with flat feet might feel best in a highly-cushioned shoe with high arch support, or you may just prefer a shoe that's more lightweight.
If you're unsure, Reilly recommends getting your running gait analyzed by your own podiatrist, where they can get help point you in the right direction based upon how your body uniquely moves when you're on the run. They can also make sure to size you're getting the right shoe size—may sound basic, but you never know!
Overall, the most important thing is that your shoes feel good. If you're experiencing pain or blisters in the arch, those are both clues that you might want to rethink your shoes, says Sinclair. "Your biggest predictor for injury is comfort," says Reilly. "Return shoes that are not comfortable. Don’t think they’re going to break in and suddenly feel great. You are more prone to shoes that are poorly fitting or don’t feel good on your foot."
See below for 15 of the best running shoes in 2022 for women with flat feet, according to expert recommendations and online reviews.