Flat feet, or fallen arches, are common and can generally be managed by wearing the right footwear. If you think you might have flat feet and are wondering which features to look out for when buying shoes for flat feet – don’t fret! We’ve done the leg work for you, just see our handy guide and recommendations below.
How do I know if I have Flat Feet?
To work out whether you have fallen arches, stand up straight with your feet on a level surface and look at the inside of your foot. If the middle part of your foot, between the heel and ball, lies flat on the ground, you have fallen arches.
Are Flat Feet a Problem?
Fallen arches aren’t generally something to worry about, but they can cause problems such as pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips and even the neck. This is because the foot’s arch performs several functions. First, the arch absorbs the physical shock of each step, while also lending flexibility to the foot and driving power to push the foot off the ground. Additionally, the arch maintains even distribution of weight over the bottom of the foot, which helps with balance.
When the arch has fallen, these functions can be affected. One of the main issues caused by fallen arches is pronation of the foot, which means that the ankle slumps inwards. Without proper footwear, this can cause further problems, such as bunions, and be the overall cause of sore feet!
If you’re experiencing a lot of pain that makes it difficult to walk or go about your daily life, seek the advice of your doctor, who might set you up with a pair of custom insoles designed to support your feet and reduce pain. In extreme cases, it might be necessary to see a foot specialist or physiotherapist. Your doctor will know what’s best for you.
What Shoes Should I Wear for Flat Feet?
In cases of mild discomfort, issues caused by flat feet can be managed through proper supportive footwear. To start with we’ve put together a quick tick-list of features to look out for when buying shoes for flat feet.
Buying Shoes for Flat Feet
There are several key features to look out for when shopping for shoes to suit flat feet. Not all the features listed below will be perfect for your needs. Think about shoes you’ve enjoyed wearing in the past, did they have some of the features below? For the best results, try on shoes before deciding they’re a suitable fit.
- Cushioning - A cushioned insole can help to redistribute the weight across the whole foot and alleviate pain and provide support. Consider a memory foam insole, which moulds to the wearer’s foot over time. This means that the more you wear them, the more comfortable the shoes become. Some shoes also offer an anatomic fit, meaning that the shoe is designed to be specifically shaped to fit the contours of the foot.
- Arch Support - Good arch support will be structured enough to support the arch of the foot, but not so rigid as to cause further pain. If a shoe has arch support, you will see a raised contoured section of the footbed where the arch of the foot sits. This helps to gently raise the arch and restore it to its natural position.
- Material - Breathable and flexible material, such as leather, is best. Not only will the shoes fair better and last longer, but leather can also be ‘broken in’ making the shoes a more comfortable fit with time.
- Removable Insoles - Removable insoles can be left in for more general support or replaced with prescription insoles from your doctor, tailor made to your needs.
- Adjustable - Adjustable straps or zips can help the overall fit of the shoe and can even be adjusted throughout the day to suit your needs. A comfortable, snug fit, aided by an adjustable strap, can lend stability to the foot, and help to prevent the ankle rolling inwards.
- Deep, Wide Toe-box - Like a wider fit, a deep wide toe-box prevents uncomfortable, squashed toes and other problems such as bunions. Choose a rounded or square toe box which are roomier than slimmer, pointed toe shoes.
- Wide Fit - A wider fitting shoe helps to accommodate the shape of the foot, and leaves plenty of room for your toes to prevent cramping.
- Low Heel - It’s best to avoid extremes when it comes to heel height, huge heels or flat-to-the-floor flats can cause their own issues. The best heels for flat feet are relatively low, providing only a little elevation, which should give you a boost and take the pressure off a fallen arch.
- Durability - When you have flat feet, it’s important to keep an eye on the wear pattern of your outsoles. You might find that the inside heel of your outsole is more worn than the outside. People with flat feet tend to wear out their shoes (particularly the tread) quicker than people with more defined arches. When looking to a buy a new pair of shoes, think about their durability. Buying a good quality pair of shoes, that won’t wear out as quickly, could save you money in the long run.
Best Shoes For Flat Feet
Our Favourites for Flat Feet
Made in Italy, these Chelsea boots by Fly Flot feature the brand’s anatomic footbed technology and memory foam insole. This means that not only is the footbed shaped to fit the foot, with long-term wear the footbed moulds to fit and support the wearer’s feet, making these exceptionally comfortable shoes. Made from flexible and durable leather in a wider fit, these boots have a wide toe box which prevents the squashing of the toes. The anti-shock sole absorbs the impact of each step, for maximum comfort all day long, while the low heel redistributes weight and support the function of the foot’s arch.
On top of all these features, these shoes also benefit from anti-slip soles and twin elastic inserts on either side for quick and easy pull-on and go.
Quick Tip: Best Heels for Flat Feet
We’ve already touched on how heel height can help or hinder your flat feet. When looking for a pair of heels, consider the style of the heel. A low wedge is a great option, as weight is still distributed across the entirety of the foot – unlike stilettos which put additional pressure on the ball and heel, as well as straining the arch. A sturdy block heel is a good second choice if wedges aren’t your style.
Best Trainers for Flat Feet
Made from shimmering leather, these comfortable trainers offer both a flexible upper and insole with additional arch and ankle support. Their contoured dual density outsole offers durability, while the slightly raised heel lends support and stability. A rounded toe means there is plenty of room for the toes.
Although not in a wider fit, these trainers feature a top zip, as a fetching added detail and to allow the wearer to adjust the shoe’s fit over the top of the foot. An easy slip-on design and lightweight sole make these trainers a great choice for everyday comfortable wear.
Best Boots for Flat Feet
Perfect for smart or casual occasions these boots are made of supple, long-lasting leather and fastened with zips for a secure fit. The low heel is a hybrid between a block and wedge, helping to distribute weight evenly across the bottom of the foot for maximum comfort.
Made for women who need a wider fit, the rounded toe box means there’s plenty of space for the toes. The back of each boot is tapered to fit and support the ankle, helping to prevent the feet from rolling inwards. Lined with leather, the footbed is cushioned for a thoroughly comfortable experience. This style is completed by a sophisticated ruche detail, and dual zips on either side of the boot to allow easier put-on.
Best Slippers for Flat Feet
These mule slippers by Fly Flot feature the same anatomic support as the Chelsea boots above. Featuring the same self-moulding cushioned leather footbed, these slippers are great for anyone struggling with flat feet who are looking for comfort. The anti-shock outsole absorbs the impact of walking and is slightly elevated at the heel, offering greater support. Made in Italy, using genuine durable leather, these slippers are designed for wider feet with plenty of room for the toes.
Fly Flot’s ever-popular slippers come in a range of patterns and colours, each offering consistently high-quality comfort and support.