According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM), the "one size fits all" approach is not recommendable when choosing a pair of running shoes regardless of whether they are of the same category or made by a single brand.
The most critical factor to consider is getting running shoes that can ease the load stress onto the foot arch, dissipate the stress, and offer steady support. The lack of these factors is why persons with flat feet find it difficult to engage in prolonged running or walking.
On the other hand, flat feet runners do not necessarily need to wear stability shoes. The idea is that flat feet come in various forms, including flexible flat feet, rigid flat feet, flat feet caused by weakness of the feet, and one that is caused by shoe construction.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Running Shoes for Flat Feet
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine persons with flat feet should look at simple features like no narrowing toe box, no heel elevation, and no or little toe spring. Other essential elements that a flat-footed runner should consider are:
- Sufficient support under the forefoot
- Well-cushioned arch
- Wide toe box
- Solid and supportive heel counter
When selecting running shoes for flat feet, as a pronator, always opt for stable shoes because they can control motion, have a wide toe box, strong heel, and stiffer sole. It works even much better if you add sole orthotic inserts.
Motion-control shoes offer a sturdy frame for the foot, making it more stable when running. In addition, it helps in preventing the arch from rolling inwards thus, curbing pronation when running or walking.
Stable shoes prevent overpronation because they ensure that a flat foot runner does not put pressure on the inside of the foot. That is, the extra support helps in preventing the arch from collapsing.
Wearing running shoes with added firm support can help compensate for lack or weak arch in the foot. Such a scenario can help prevent running injuries. However, sometimes the arch support in the shoes may appear uncomfortable to some runners. Therefore, one can also opt to buy arch support over the counter.
According to previous studies, arch support insoles can significantly lessen the Peak Vertical Ground Reaction Force (GRF) by about 7% regardless of the body weight. The consequences are the creation of the proper medial-lateral posture and the right Center Of Pressure (COP) in the foot for stable walking or running, improve mobility and comfort.
One can also add inserts or customized foot orthoses which are good. They are known for alleviating medial tibial stresses. According to the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, foot orthoses can also mitigate symptoms of plantar fasciitis, extreme leg internal rotation, patella-femoral pain syndrome, leg length discrepancy, and lower-back pain by 75%.
Note that the features mentioned above are not meant to cure flat feet conditions but to help alleviate pain when running or walking and prevent further injuries. Having flat feet is not the only aspect that will determine your choice of running shoes. Instead, as a runner, pay attention to how the legs feel in a shoe when walking and running. Note any discomfort or pain. It is also necessary to have your gait cycle analyzed by a podiatrist, running expert, or a shoe store offering such services. Finally, it is essential to taste a shoe before purchasing or returning to the seller immediately after testing if you are an online buyer.
How We Selected the Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
We selected the best running shoes for runners with flat feet by studying user reviews and complementing our findings with running experiences from flat-footed runners. The vetting was based on comfort, performance, and value of the shoe to a flat-footed runner.
1. ASICS Gel KAYANO 27
Asics Gel Kayano 27 is a stability running shoe. It is both stable and well-cushioned, making it suitable for a person with flat feet. In addition, it has a firm heel and a highly cushioned, plushy, and springy forefoot zone that guarantees a stable and smooth ride.
The Asics Gel Kayano 27 possesses a slight improvement of the Kayano 26 both in design and construction. Like the Kayano 26, the Kayano 27 has Gel cushioning in the midsole zones to enhance shock absorption. However, in Kayano 27, the Gel cushioning extends slightly in the forefoot zone just below the big toe. Thus, it ensures that there is both flexibility and comfort in the forefoot. Besides, with an added 12mm heel-to-toe drop, the enhanced cushioning offers a runner improved toe-off, thus better propulsion.
The outsole utilizes the Asics abrasion rubber to provide sufficient traction for all weather conditions. It also protects the sole from wearing out quickly. Besides, the Fytefoam Lyte at the bottom of the midsole offers a firm base throughout propulsion and running. Read comprehensive review of Asics Gel Kayano 27.
Kayano 27 has a comfortable upper layer. However, the toe box is less roomy, hence not suitable for someone with wide feet.
2. SAUCONY GUIDE 13
Saucony Guide 13 is a moderate stability trainer shoe with a better design and performance than its predecessors ISO and ISO 2.
With more cushioning, its inside is plush and relaxed.
The sole unit of Saucony Guide 13 is a complete makeover. The brand moved away from the EVERUN EVA foam technology to the superior PWRRUN material, a blend of TPU/EVA foam cushioning. The PWRRUN makes the Saucony Guide 13 lighter as well as responsive than its predecessors.
Also, Saucony has dropped the dual-density medial post and adopted the TPU guidance frame to hold the foot firm. It also acts as a medial post for enhanced stability.
Besides, the outsole has thin crystal rubber instead of carbon rubber to provide enhanced traction for all weather conditions.
Saucony 13 has a flexible and adaptive booty-like upper, made of durable and comfortable three-layered jacquard mesh. The jacquard mesh combines with FORMIT made footbed to give a secure fit. The downside is that the upper mesh is less breathable.
The verdict is that the exceptional cushioning of the Saucony Guide 13 offers a runner a comfortable feel and seamless transition during running. However, it has slim from heel to toe, which makes it unsuitable for runners with wide feet.
If you have narrow feet, then Saucony Guide 13 is the best trainer shoes, more so if you have flat feet. Buy on Amazon
If you have weak or no arch, Asics GT-2000 9 is the shoe for you. It is a neutral daily training shoe with moderate cushioning and superior stability features.
It is not a shoe for someone looking for bounciness and squishiness because it lacks the Flytefoam propel common in the Kayano 27. Moreover, the addition of mass abrasive rubber cuts down the softness of the Flytefoam cushioned midsole
The midsole of Asics GT-2000 9 comprises the Duo-Max Flytefoam cushioning, whereby a more solid foam stretches from the heel to the forefoot to enhance support. In contrast, the Gel cushioning foam has been placed on the heel and forefoot to provide a soft cushioning. Furthermore, the solid heel clutching system helps in locking down the heel during running. The midsole also extends upwards, ensuring that the foot sits right into the midsole, thus maintaining a neutral position during running. In addition, Asics GT-2000 9 has the Trusstic System, a solid plastic device in the midfoot for providing secure arch support.
Asics designers were much focused on making a stable running shoe and less concerned with responsiveness and speed. As a result, the designers flooded the AHAR hard rubber in the outsole to increase traction and stability. However, the flexibility of the forefoot is not too compromised because there are very deep treads. Still, the guideline stretching from the heel to the midfoot are less profound, making the sole unit very solid and stable but the forefoot less bendy.
Asics GT-2000 9 is a stable and comfortable running shoe that perfectly suits an overpronator. It has a comfortable upper, roomy toe box and can handle a mixture of exercises. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of Asics GT-2000 9.
The chunkiness of the midsole gives Gaviota 3 a towering demeanor. The Gaviota 3 is a running shoe with the correct fitting, cushioning, and stability features. It has a plush upper and roomy toe box for accommodating flat feet and a three-tier sturdy lacing that enhances support and lockdown.
Hoka Gaviota 3 has a 5mm heel drop stack with a broad underfoot base to compensate for the extra height. Besides, the heel extends backward and combines well with the late meta-rocker to make the heel-to-toe transition effortless. The Late meta-rocker also ensures that a runner has more landing surface around the midfoot area, thus guaranteeing stability.
The Hoka Gaviota 3 took the stability aspect a notch higher by applying the H-frame upper and RMAT J-Frame midsole technology to ensure unwavering support in the upper and midsole, making running a comfortable experience for someone with neutral feet.
The J-Frame is J-shaped rubberized cushioning foam enveloping the heel, forefoot, and medial side. The J-frame rubber is stronger than the midsole cushioning foam, and the idea is to support an overpronating foot by steering it to a neutral spot.
In the heel area of the Gaviota 3, HOKA added more rubber on the medial side. As a result, as you hit the ground, the foot rolls inwards to control pronation. The final feature that makes Gaviota 3 a complete stability shoe suitable for a flat-footed runner is the EVA foam outsole, which enhances traction during running. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of Hoka One One Gaviota 3.
Adidas Solar Boost 3 is a resilient running shoe that has a simple but elegant upper. Beyond the bold look is a supportive mid-cushioned neutral running shoe. The upper is made of a single, highly breathable mesh, combined with overlays that give the upper an admirable solid structure and support. The Solar Boost 3 has a unique heel counter. It is split in the middle and held together by a soft cushioning material to make it more forgiving yet very supportive. It also has an extended well-padded Achilles notch for enhancing a secure, snug fit. Adidas Solar Boost 3 took the support aspect a notch higher by letting the tongue do more than just protecting the instep and connecting the upper. The tongue is gusseted and is attached to the midsole from both ends, creating a midfoot cage.
The created cage wraps around the foot and combines well with the heel counter, plush heel collar, and thick tongue to provide a flat-footed runner with a comfortable and secure fit.
The mid-cushioned Boost foam midsole is made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), recycled plastic, and rubber materials. The Achilles notch extends upwards to provide support and cushioning. Adidas had overpronators in mind, so it added more boost foam stack on the medial side of the heel. Technically, when landing, the foot rolls inwards to prevent overpronation. The midsole also comes with a late-rocker to provide a pronounced toe-off, especially for a forefoot strike.
With an accommodating footbed, sufficient cushioning, enhanced stability, and robust outsole, the Solar Boost 3 is an excellent running shoe for cross-training and long-distance running. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of Adidas Solar Boost 3.
Brooks evinces a mixture of plush and simplicity. It has an elastic double-mesh upper with 3d print. However, what makes it an excellent running shoe for a runner with flat feet is that it is a max-cushioned shoe with exceptional stability features.
The Brooks Adrenaline 21 is a significant upgrade from its predecessor. The mesh upper can stretch to accommodate a wide-footed runner. Therefore, the toe box is roomy, so you won't feel the toes cramped together or the foot wiggling. Moreover, the upper fits true to size, and it is built specifically to provide a comfortable fit during a prolonged running period.
Generally, Adrenaline GTS 21 is a very comfortable running shoe, The midsole s soft and responsive to provide a soft ride. It also has a guiderail for keeping the foot in a neutral position and curtailing overpronation. Like the Asics GT-2000 9, the Adrenaline GTS 21 has a plastic device like the Asics' Trusstic System for supporting the arch. It also has a blown rubber on the outsole that reduces the ground impact and enhances traction.
Because of its stability features, the Adrenaline GTS 21 performs more like the Saucony Guide and Asics GT 2000 9. As a result, a flat-footed runner is guaranteed an exciting running experience on the road and treadmill. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of Brooks Adrenaline 21.
Asics Glideride 2 exudes comfort and efficiency. It has a smooth and comfortable upper made of a single mesh. The mesh is thinner and highly breathable, and the toe box is roomy to allow the toes to splay out naturally. It has enough space to accommodate a broad flat foot. You are likely to feel spaces at the tip of the toe box.
The 5mm heel drop midsole design makes the Glideride 2 a perfect running shoe for a flat-footed runner. The model utilizes the GUIDESOLE rocker technology, whereby the midsole material extends upwards. The extension is prominent on the midfoot's lateral sides, which ensures that the foot sits into the midsole. Therefore, the Guidesole midsole guides the foot into a neutral position, enhancing stability and preventing overpronation. Well, the stability function of the Guidesole technology goes with the snug-fitting upper, which excellently locks down the foot.
Asics Glideride 2 comes with a very abrasive rocker midsole. The earl-stage rocker starts at the balls of the foot, giving the forefoot a significantly profound curve. The rocker midsole ensures a runner has a smooth heel to transition while reducing the stress around the ankle by distributing it to the upper part of the foot. Furthermore, the set up of the rocker forefoot with a close ground contact carbon plate mimics the rolling movement of the balls of the foot and ensuring that a runner puts less effort during propulsion.
Asics Glideride2 rides neither too hard nor soft, but a flat-footed runner is guaranteed enough cushioning from ground impact and superior stability. It is a versatile shoe that can do anything thrown at it, including long, short, and tempo runs. It is best for long-distance marathons. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of Asics Glide Ride 2.
If you are a flat-footed runner looking for a 'cool' and versatile daily trainer shoe, don't look further. The Cloudswift is one of the 'coolest' neutral daily training shoes with that rocking and elegant look in the market. Its X-factor is the meticulously designed single-mesh upper and the rubber cage, which is part of the lacing system.
On Cloudswift is one of those shoes that you wear but won't feel the upper cradling the top of the foot. The mesh upper is very seamless and highly breathable. The lacing system forms a cage, and that ensures that the midfoot is perfectly held together. In addition, the tongue and heel collar have sufficient cushioning for pampering the foot.
The CloudTech midsole system is synonymous with the ON running shoes. It ensures that the midsole is flexible and very forgiving. The Hellion cushioning foam that sits above the CloudTech rubber offers cushioning and bouncing effect with each stride. With Cloudswift, you are guaranteed softness underneath the foot and an effortless ride.
To sum it up, Cloudswift is a very lightweight minimalist running shoe with all features for getting the job done. It is stable, lightweight, well-cushioned, and supportive. It performs well on road and trail. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of ON Cloudswift.
9. NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM 1080v11
The New Balance 1080 v11 is the best version of 1080v10. The significant updates make it a proper running shoe for someone with flat feet. It is a neutral training shoe with great cushioning and excellent supportive features in all the key areas: arch, heel counter, and under the forefoot.
It has an accommodating bootie upper that takes the shape of the shoe. The hypoknit dual-density material offers a sock-like fitting. The edges of the toe box have reinforcements that combine well with the Ultra-heel counter to provide an excellent lockdown.
The 1080v11 also comes with a removable Ortholite sock liner with enhanced comfort under the foot. It also gives you the option of replacing it with a customized orthotics. Note that orthotics are known for relieving pain and curtailing abnormal ankle rotation.
The New Balance 1080V11 utilizes the complete ground contact midsole with a rocker shape, making running very easy for a flat-footed runner. Also, New Balance went extra by adding more pronounced grooves on the forefoot to give the forefoot extra flexibility and stability, especially if you are a midfoot striker.
For a heel striker, the midsole has honeycomb-like engravings that enhance compression more on the heel zone because of the high foam stack.
The 1080V11 has overall impressive supportive features for accommodating a flat-footed runner. It has a roomy toe box, an Ultra-heel counter that holds down the heel, a well-cushioned arch, stable under foot, and a supportive Ortholite sock liner. Buy on Amazon
Read comprehensive review of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11.
10. BROOKS DYAD 11
Brooks has a knack for making marvelous stability shoes. Apart from the BrooksDydad11, there is the Brooks transcend and the Adrenaline GTS. Interestingly, the Dyad 11 can be categorized as both table and neutral running shoes. Therefore, it is a perfect choice for a runner with flat feet.
What makes Brooks Dyad 11 stand out is that it lacks the medial posting, which is compensated with a flat insole to enable the use of custom orthotics and two pods on the outsole to add extra stability.
Besides, it has a roomy toe box and an upper mesh layer covering the feet perfectly and comfortably with sturdiness. The upper engineered mess offers a combination of structure, protection, and breathability.
This shoe is exceptionally lightweight, well-cushioned for comfort when running, not flexible, not responsive, but a sole that is stable on foot during propulsion and landing. It also has an exceptional heel counter to give magnificent support to the heel.
The Brooks Dyad 11 has a roomy toe box. For this reason, it is more comfortable for a person with a wide foot. It also has a robust outsole that allows it to withstand long miles without wearing out. However, it is not too soft like Hoka One One Gaviota 3, but still a perfect shoe for someone with flatfeet. If you have flat feet and want to clock longer miles, Brooks Dyad 11 is one of the best options. Buy on Amazon
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