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Whether it’s you, your sister or your old college roommate, chances are you know at least one person that has flat feet. And complains about ’em, too! Flat feet, the health condition in which a person’s arches are very low or completely absent from their foot, causing them to walk with their feet flat against the ground, is incredibly common. For some, it’s NBD, but depending on how severe the condition is, it can sometimes be painful to even walk—that’s why it’s important to know about the best shoes for flat feet and where to buy them.
Finding the right shoe is important for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have a foot condition, so knowing the most supportive styles out there can benefit us all. If you’ve ever gotten blisters from too-tight shoes or walked around in heels all night (and maybe ended up barefoot, much to my own embarrassment!), then you know just how life-changing a comfortable shoe can be. For people with flat feet, the right pair can be paramount to their well-being.
While you can be born with flat feet, you can also develop them as you age, sometimes out of nowhere and other times as the result of other conditions such as arthritis, diabetes or injury. We use our feet literally all day long, whether we’re walking around, working out or walking to the fridge for a snack, so taking care of them is important—and that starts with wearing the right shoes..
When it comes to shoes that people with flat feet should avoid, Dr. Emily Splichal, a podiatrist and human movement specialist based in New York, says that excessively flat shoes or “zero drop” styles may cause stress to a flat foot, especially if the person is going to be standing for long periods of time. (Sorry, toss those thin-soled, sandals and flip-flops from last summer in the donation bin.) “If this type of shoe is going to be worn, I suggest a supportive insole to make the otherwise non-supportive shoe more supportive,” Dr. Splichal advises.
When it comes to the very best shoes for flat feet, Dr. Splichal says to pay close attention to features beyond whether or not you think they’re cute (although that matters, too!) “Flat feet or overpronation is typically associated with the foot needing a little extra support, as it can fatigue or get stressed easily,” she says. A well-cushioned shoe might be the first thing you think of when it comes to the comfort factor, but it’s actually more about the well-structured sole. “Footwear that is more supportive may benefit this foot type. Looking for features such as a heel counter, a stiff midsole and slight heel-to-toe drop all make a shoe more supportive,” says Dr. Splichal.
The good news is, there are plenty of supportive options for shoes for flat feet on the market right now, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing style for comfort. You definitely don’t need to succumb to wearing clunky grandpa shoes in order to get through the day—though, if you’re into those, we won’t judge!
Below, check out our favorite cute boots and sneakers for flat feet that still feel fashion-forward. We’ve also included a few supportive insoles, in case you’ve already fallen in love with a non-supportive pair of shoes that you just can’t seem part with.
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Mila Myth Ankle Boot
A classic black ankle boot that can go with anything may seem like an easy style to find, but people with flat feet have to go the extra step if they want something equally comfortable. They can start by looking at specialized styles like this one from Clark, which features a stacked heel and the brand’s proprietary Cushion Plus technology. I also love the subtle Western vibes.
Teammate Chelsea Boot
This snake-print ankle boot features a heel counter, which is exactly what Dr. Splichal recommends, as it can give flat feet extra support and stability for the ankles. It’s a surprisingly edgy design from Dr. Scholl’s—comfy AND stylish? I like it.
Lani Lace-Up Boot
A patent leather combat boot? Yes, please. This pair is from Vionic, which is an entire shoe brand that specializes in podiatrist-designed styles. This fun, lace-up boot has a removable orthotic insole and is also available in shiny blue and olive options in addition to classic black. See, you really don’t have to choose between fashion and comfort!
Leta Platform Slip-On Sneaker
This leopard print slip-on sneaker from Dr. Scholl’s is more proof that you can sport fashionable shoes despite having flat feet. Look how cute these are! They feature a memory foam footbed for all the support your tootsies need, and the calf hair finish looks especially luxe.
ASISCS GEL-Kayano 27
If you’re looking for a good running shoe, look no further than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27. It has a heel counter, shock absorption and other specialized sneaker technology that will give adequate support. I love the icy blue shade, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from (including a cool pink and black pair!).
Dinora Slip-On Platform Sneaker
Forget wearing flats if you want a good everyday shoe that won’t hurt your flat feet. Another great slip-on sneaker style, this black leather crocodile Vionic shoe has a thick, one-inch platform that will support you for hours.
Reebok Nano X
A great option for active flat-footers, the Reebok Nano X has a compression-molded midsole to help support flat and fallen arches, as well as a minimal drop outsole to help make sure you keep your balance. It also comes in a slew of cute colors (including this blue and pink combo), so you’ll be sure to find a pair that speaks to you.
Vionic Full-Length Orthotic Insole
And now, some insoles for the shoes you already own that aren’t flat-feet-friendly. These Vionic orthotic insoles provide their own supportive, cushioned footbed that will transform any of your shoes into comfortable footwear. Plus, they’re approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association, so you know they’re legit.
Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics for Arch Pain
When it comes to foot care, Dr. Scholl’s is a go-to for a reason: They work. If you’re trying to figure out which of the brand’s many insoles to get for yourself, this particular style—which calls out arch pain—is a surefire winner for flat-footed people. If there’s such a thing as a holy grail insole, this might very well be it.
Powerstep Pinnacle Shoe Insoles
Flat footers need all the support they can get, literally. These insoles from Powerstep are great—they’re made for neutral arches, adding incredibly helpful stability (and maybe even a little pep in your step!).