Being able to yank your shoes on and go for a run is a blessing you don’t know you have until suddenly it’s not possible. Flat arches can be no fun at all, leading to pain on impact, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, or lower knee or back problems.
Proper stability and directional support for weak or collapsed arches does not need to bring that morning jog to a halt, of course. While the podiatric advice for the proper support for fallen arches has changed over the last twenty years, so has the breadth of provision within the running shoe market.
Over twenty major brands produce their own line of stability shoes, some more than one, focusing their efforts on making them as sleek as possible while retaining that element of extra midsole support.
More attention is being paid to strong aesthetics, breathability and fluid movement so that the shoes shout “fashionable athlete!” instead of “special modifications!”
There is also a dizzying array of different materials, shoe construction, variation in width and structural design for overpronation control.
We’ve scoured the running clubs for chatter, filtered feedback from both men and women, and narrowed down a selection of the five best running shoes for flat feet. Following this, we’ve provided a brief buyer’s guide for what to look out for when deciding which shoe best suits you.
Whether your fallen arches are an issue you’ve always had to accommodate, or whether this is a new restriction that’s come from an injury, we’ve got some super-comfortable shoes which should keep the spring in your step.
Top 5 Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
OUR TOP PICK
This running shoe is the 26th iteration of the Kayano series of stability shoe. This design is primarily targeted at runners prone to overpronation.
As per previous iterations, the shoe is designed following ASIC's philosophy for looking at the Gestalt effect of several components together to enhance the foot's natural gait.
They call this their Impact Guidance System (IGS). Accordingly, the Kayano 26 features the Duomax overpronation control which pairs different density materials to even out the stride from heel strike to toe-off. This provides more support to the midsole and firmer foam through the arch.
Cushioning innovations introduced with Kayano 25 have been sustained and adapted with 26. The heel features Flytefoam Lyte (with a memory foam cuff to protect the Achilles) for a joint-protecting foot fall. As before, the forefront of the sole is shaped with Flytefoam Propel for greater spring in your stride.
However, the cushioning is less extensive than previous iterations in order to accommodate the rearfoot and forefoot gel technology system built into the sole. The gel pockets act as shock absorbers while allowing full movement at every point in the gait cycle.
The shoe's exterior features a strong exoskeleton heel counter for ankle and directional support, Jacquard and Fluidfit mesh for a close but breathable exterior, and ASIC's own high abrasion rubber (AHAR) for superior traction.
Of note is the slightly narrower toebox in Kayano 26, which has split opinion among reviewers. It is closer to versions of the shoe in the early 20s, so the users who liked those shoes took a dim view of version 25; those who loved 25 felt that the slope angle within the 26 pushed their toes too closer to the edge of the toebox and that the “propelling” was taking place at the rear rather than in the forefoot.
The consequence for some is that the cushioning felt a little hard on longer runs.
Among the female runners, this is widely touted as a very comfortable running shoe, more streamlined than previous designs. However, the one running theme of advice for the runner with the wider foot was to go up a half size.
The reflective highlight strips on the exterior are a broadly welcome addition for better visibility when running late in the day.
- A livelier, more motivating range of color combinations than previously offered
- Stable and lightweight
- A more defined arch but without undue pressure on the inside midsole: works for many kinds of runners
- Good ankle support
- Dear compared to other ASICS stability shoes (like the GT-2000)
- Though pretty straight, the pitch angle of the last was a little too steeply angled for some
- SpevaFoam 45 Lasting - Employs 45 degree full length SpevaFoam 45 lasting material for a soft platform feel and improved comfort.
- I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology - ASICS design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
- FlyteFoam Lyte Technology - ASICS lightest weight midsole formulation that provides continuous cushion thanks to organic nano fibers.
This is Amazon’s choice of shoe for runners with flat feet. The ASIC Gel-Venture 6 is hugely popular among men and women, seemingly on three key grounds. Firstly, they are significantly inexpensive compared to the majority of specialized designs or stability shoes. Secondly, they’re particularly adaptable.
It has a relatively straight last and you can remove not only the sockliner but also the insole if necessary, customising it entirely with your own medical orthotic.
Thirdly, it is immensely robust. The ASIC high abrasion rubber sole gives you the option of releasing your inner mountain goat and charging up and down hills (if this is what you consider to be a relaxing past time). If you’re prone to missteps, then it is reassuring to have the reverse lugs on your soles for stronger traction over rugged terrain.
Keen runners praise the Gel-Venture 6 for its durability on both rugged trail and hard road surfaces.
Most vitally, it’s a comfortable shoe, according to 75% of reviewers across over 9,000 ratings. The rearfoot gel cushioning carries out its job of shock absorption to admiration, sparing your knees and giving you a smoother roll.
Quite a few plantar fasciitis sufferers among the female reviewers have made their voices heard, expressing the relief of being able to adapt the strong vessel of the Gel-Venture 6 to their own requirements.
- Comfortable for universal, all-day wear, and not just for running
- Strong and durable
- Good consistency between updates of the same line and strong brand loyalty on display
- Not a hugely flexible shoe: inbuilt cushioning a little hard
- The women’s sizes come up a little large because of room in the toebox, which has led to a few returns/replacements
- Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
- Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
- Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
The Brooks Adrenaline 20 is the latest iteration of the support shoe version of the ‘Ghost’ line. As with the Dyad 11 (last on this list), the Bio MoGo DNA adaptive cushioning provides a light, smooth ride, protecting the midsole and almost cradling the heel. The Adrenaline GTS 20 is fabulous for the long-distance runner.
The DNA Loft Crash Pad cushions are powerful shock absorbers and they work in tandem with the Guiderails Holistic Support system introduced with its 2019 predecessor to keep internal excess movement in check. Holistic, Brooks calls this system, because it looks at the whole runner and the effects of the wrong shapewear.
Their focus is on guiding the runner into the right posture, which will take stress off the knees. The stabilizing effect is also helpful to those suffering shin splints, removing the stress from the toe-off and forward motion.
While the fit itself hasn’t significantly changed since the previous iteration, the mesh upper has been streamlined (de-decorated, in fact) to improve the lightness and ventilation and to raise the comfort levels behind the heel with the 3D Fit Print system.
The base of the soles offer excellent grip which holds up in the long term. It’s quite literally better for the long run; although this shoe is a strong performer for long distances with good cushioning and strong midsole support, the same rigidity that protects your arches means that the shoes aren’t quite flexible enough to match your usual sprinting speeds.
It’s a great preparatory shoe for raising and sustaining fitness levels, but if you want to beat a personal best, you might want to have a look at the Brooks Ravenna line.
- Cute designs
- Comfy for varied foot ailments (bunions, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis) due to the roominess and soft cushioning
- Pretty good consistency with the fit of predecessor 19
- Great for controlling overpronation
- Durable and great value for money
- Comparatively dear—very much an investment pair
- A rather rigid shoe and better for long-distance running rather than sprinting
- They can come up a size too large in the women’s range in terms of width
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: Runners who need a perfect blend of support, cushion, flexibility, and reliability. The modernized, streamlined design satisfies runners who crave a low-profile look.
- SUPPORT AND CUSHION: Provides just the right amount of stability and support, great for overpronation while providing high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or...
- BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions each footfall and works with BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your every stride.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Roav 1 is a multi-purpose casual shoe which has generous width in the standard size, and which comes in a ‘wide’ with every size option. The size range is huge for both men and women, offering shoes up to size 18 and 12 respectively. This is great news if you happen to be a giant (6’5” or taller).
Conversely, if you’re so very, very far from being a giant, then you may be even happier to know that the sole platform will give you nearly an inch of lift.
This is Amazon’s choice for an athletic shoe which is kind to flat feet. It is not specifically a running shoe targeted towards those with fallen arches.
That said, the standard of cushioning with the Fresh Foam Roav 1 provides real comfort to the midsole, and to the heel. Speaking of which, the ‘Ultra Heel’, as New Balance call it, is a close, snug and soft fit which provides good ankle support.
Those using these shoes for workouts or more casual exercise have many good things to say about the comfort of the Fresh Foam line in general. However, both male and female runners report that the uppers are a little too flexible and the toebox wide, so there is a tendency to slip around while on the move.
The Ndurance™ technology for a durable sole has mixed reactions: the tread can wear down sooner than expected for runners, but as this is a comparatively inexpensive shoe, it’s a great option to get back into fitness gently after an injury.
Finally, the huge range of aesthetic designs gives you the best chance of picking a super-comfortable sneaker which will go with the rest of your sportswear. They’re good with jeans too and perfect for day-long wear, taking the strain off knees, hips and backs.
- Exceptional breathability and comfort
- Decent durability
- Outstanding size range
- Good shock absorption and bounce
- A little too roomy for serious runners
- Not much adaptability with your own orthotics or insoles
- Flat-foot friendly but not targeted at the flat-footed athlete
- Truly unique: The New Balance fresh Foam Roav V1 running shoes are the ultimate in casual Athletic style. Pairing a bold, attractive look with plush comfort, these cushioned running shoes are in a...
- Fresh Foam midsole: feel like you're running or walking in the clouds. The first of three proprietary technologies in this athletic shoe, fresh Foam midsole cushioning is precision engineered to...
- Endurance outsole: step up your game without wearing out your favorite running shoes. Endurance rubber outsole technology provides superior Durability in high-wear areas to help get more out of the...
At first glance, given the tiny ratings volumes (in comparison to the other options laid out in this article), you may wonder at this shoe’s inclusion in our best-of rankings. The Brooks Dyad 11 is the hidden gem and much-loved secret of running groups up and down the US.
Two things distinguish this shoe. Firstly, it's geared at people with moderate arches, the recently injured, or those who do not benefit from exaggerated arch support. This shoe is the flat-footed runner's rubber sole of discretion. It's light (barely 10oz) and does not have the chunky feel of many stability shoes.
It has a very straight last with Dual Arch Pods providing stability in the midsole, and it is a roomy, wide fit (to protect ankles against missteps) while the sockliner has a plush feel to it.
The second key selling point is its adaptability. The trademarked Bio MoGo DNA cushioning is formulated to adapt to your weight, speed and size, but the Dyad 11's chief popularity comes from the fact that it's chiefly intended as a comfortable vessel into which you can insert your own orthotics.
Reviews of both the male and female designs make references to walking on clouds, comfort for extra wide feet, and the relief for those who suffer bunions as well as damaged arches. It is not the most flexible of designs (with rigid traction pods beneath the sole where you would usually see a cut-away) but they still look sleeker than earlier designs and the updated mesh is thought to be a closer, more breathable fit.
- Adhesion to the midsole makes it feel lighter than it is
- Particularly strong support in the ankle
- Elegant, sleek design which hides its function as a stability shoe
- The inbuilt cushioning is a little on the hard side
- Not the best for speed practices or events
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Dyad 11 is perfect for runners who want a secure fit and a stable feel. Runners with slightly wider feet will also appreciate extra room in the forefoot.
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA, our proprietary cushioning, adapts to your stride, weight and speed. Why? So it can help protect you by reducing impact on your joints.
- GENEROUS FIT: Sometimes you need a little extra room to move around in. So if you need a roomier shoe because of flat or voluminous feet, your search is over.
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet - Buying Guide
If your flat feet are congenital, then it’s more than likely that you’ll already be fully conversant with what your feet need and you’ll be avoiding shoes with overly firm or tall cushioning in the midsole, which simply transfers stress to your knees and hips.
For those who are new to having to accommodate fallen arches, hopefully you will find that these tips make it faster and easier to track down the best shoes for you.
Have you had a custom orthotic insole made? If so, look for a shoe with removable sockliners and insoles into which you can insert your specialized support. Nothing is going to fit your foot better than a base which has been molded for you.
If you’re looking for moderate stabilization and a shoe which will support both an injured and uninjured foot, then look for the product descriptions which feature a straight last and a full-contact midsole.
If you suffer overpronation to the point that it gives you balance problems, then definitely home in on the designs which offer dual density or ‘guard rail’ designs, which apply varying pressure to your foot to smooth out your heel-to-toe roll.
Also keep a look out for shoes which have a firm, protective heel or exoskeleton to protect your ankles. An inward-rolling foot is apt to leave you vulnerable to sprains and strains unless the interior positioning of your foot in the shoe is corrected.
What will you be doing with these shoes? Serious sprinting, long distance running, trail hiking or Crossfit? When you have good idea of where you will using these shoes the most, then decide whether you’re going to prioritize robustness and ventilation (hiking), fast running (flexibility and traction) or endurance events (flexibility, exceptional cushioning and lightness).
Finally, if you’re looking to replace or update stabilizer shoes you’ve already bought, it is well worth taking the time to look specifically at reviews which draw comparisons (good and bad) to preceding shoes from the same line. Although people’s experience of shoe fit is highly subjective, there are trends which you might relate to and therefore learn from.
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet - FAQ's
What if I only have collapsed arches because of an injury?
I don’t want to spend a fortune on orthotics or tailored shoesWhen your fallen arch is an acquired restriction rather than a congenital issue, then the experts at RunLab (Texas) recommend a shoe which will support your arch until the ligaments have had sufficient time to start repairing themselves.
You might want to go for an all-rounder shoe which supports the healing foot while not offering too oppressive a correction to the stronger foot. The New Balance shoes might present a temporary, relatively inexpensive option in the period in which your ligaments are regaining strength and elasticity.
Are there any significant design differences between the men and women’s shoes in the same model and range?
Only that the women’s shoes tend to be lighter, narrower, and in a smaller size range, as might be expected. We looked at exclusively female feedback for the women’s variations in each of the makes listed in this article but there weren’t any conspicuous gender-specific complaints or problems.
Nearly all the shoes listed have a good range of style choices, so there were no gender-specific complaints about the aesthetics, either. Goodbye, blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls. The range of patterns and color schemes is fabulous.
Will running shoes designed for my flat feet hurt my bunions?
On the contrary, even the narrower models of flat-foot shoes have a comparatively wide toebox, which should at least prevent any further misalignment damage. The more generous width will at least give your toes to point straight forward in their natural positions and not impact tightly against the second toes.