There are already so many blockers to motivation when it comes to running - lack of time or energy, bad weather, expensive gym memberships and gear.
Anyone who is able to stick with a regular running routine has harnessed some serious willpower.
But the worst de-motivator of all, the one that is sure to put you completely out of any fitness routine, is pain.
No matter how annoying the other factors may be, they are all easier to overcome than dealing with pain.
Yet millions of people with struggle with some type of physical pain while running, and among the biggest contributors is flat feet.
Flat feet are used to describe feet that have a low arch and contribute to “overpronation” running style.
But fortunately, the pain they cause doesn’t have to hold you back from being a runner.
Flat feet can make running uncomfortable, but this issue can usually be amended simply by wearing the right type of shoes.
If you need more support than just shoes, these insoles are specifically designed for flat feet runners.
The 5 Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
The Best Overall Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Fashionable and balanced with blend, stability, cushioning and an updated "crash pad" for smoother transition. Many reviewers state that this is THE ONLY shoe they buy for their flat feet.
Foot Arch - Normal vs Flat
The arch is the curve in your foot that acts as your body’s natural shock absorption system.
Nature designed it so that when you put your body weight on your feet the shock is absorbed by this mechanism in order to alleviate the impact (and subsequent injuries) that would otherwise hit your feet, ankles, knees and hips.
If you have a low arch, you will most likely experience pain throughout the feet, ankle, knees and lower leg muscles, as well as a lack of posture and discomfort through the hips and lower back.
If you have a healthy arch, your feet will not touch the floor completely when standing.
However, a fallen arch can cause the whole sole of your foot to fall inwards and touch the ground when you stand.
You can easily see how much contact your feet make with the ground by getting them wet and stepping onto a concrete surface (or, if we’re being honest, you can put on a pair of white socks and walk around your hardwood floors).
Here are the products that I include with links so you can check pricing on Amazon.
RUNNING SHOES FOR FLAT FEET
Don't let all that talk scare you. You can still be a runner with flat feet and enjoy an active lifestyle without all the pain.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the greatest remedies to this problem is simply investing in the right pair of shoes.
Detailed below are five running shoes that are designed for flat feet, and well received by runners who struggle from overpronation.
Some keywords to look out for when shopping for shoes in this genre are “stability”, “support,” and “motion control.”
These are all words that running shoe companies have developed over the years to describe shoes made for overpronators, or flat footed runners.
1. ASICS GEL KAYANO
The ASICS GEL-Kayano (the most recent release is the 22, but 21 and 20 editions are not hard to come by on Amazon) maintains a nice blend of stability, for those who need it for mild to severe overpronation, along with good cushioning for a comfortable stride.
For several years, the Kayano has been ASICS top-selling stability shoe and reviewers of the shoes claim that it is one of the most comfortable shoes they have ever worn - great for running but also everyday activities where foot pain may be present.
- 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.
- Fluid Ride Midsole: Fluid Ride provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability.
- Fluid Fit Upper: ASICS Fluid Fit upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete's foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit.
- Heel Clutching System Technology: Exoskeletal heel counter provides improved support and creates improved heel fitting environment.
- Rear foot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems: Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
One of the greatest running shoes for overpronators across the board - but don’t take it from me, take it from the other reviewers on amazon who give this one 5 stars.
Kayano is one of the more popular Asics brand shoes, here is a full review of the 19 edition.
- Soft gel bedding and foam allows a soft and smooth cloud under every step you take
- Wonderful stability, having a snug comfort promising a nice hold on your feet.
- Performance is strong and has a cutting edge design
- These are great for those who have experienced blisters and foot pain
- Price can be over $150
- Limited flexibility. Needs to be broken in.
- Limited traction, not versatile like a trainer.
The first edition of the Nike Air Zoom Odyssey was highly anticipated by the running community, and they didn't disappoint.
The Odyssey was designed for those runners who are looking for a shoe that provides durable stability combined with a responsive cushioning underfoot.
Many reviewers noted that this shoes fit perfectly when putting it on for the first time - no waiting time for them to be broken in.
This comment is pretty standard with Nike across the board, as their lightweight construction and glove-like feel has become their shining differentiator in the industry ever since the release of the Nike Free several years ago.
Also, many note that this shoe is very durable and great for high-mileage runners.
- Premium daily trainer running shoe. EXCELLENT stability and support
- Premium cushion for responsive transition and smooth ride
- Fly mesh and fly wire provide a snug fit and holds up very well for higher mileage
- Heel cushioning and forefoot cushioning are above average with the heel of the foot getting a solid 9 out of 10 in men's and 8 for women in most ratings. Forefoot comes in at 7 out of 10 for both men and women's rating
- Lightweight compared to other shoes in the "stability" group
- Price can be over $150
- Contrary to other shoes on this list, the Odyssey is an original release so it’s essentially in it’s “guinea pig” stage. Though it has received overwhelmingly positive results so far, it hasn’t been time tested or improved over several generations (maybe it doesn't need to be, but we can’t conclude that yet).
3. ADIDAS SUPERNOVA SEQUENCE BOOST
Adidas Supernova Sequence has received almost unanimous approval from the running community, largely due to the addition of the Boost midsole that makes this shoes incredibly comfortable.
A slightly heavier shoe, the Sequence is too much shoe for speed sessions or races for some runners, but a solid trainer for the overpronator.
The performance is particularly smooth for such a stable, durable shoe - with a fluid heel-toe transition and responsive pushoff.
- Has a smooth sole and plenty of cushioning
- Recommended for heel striking runners and heavier runners who aren’t bothered by the weight.
- Very durable, good high mileage shoe
- The decoupled heel helps with the absorbance of the shock intake, also helping your arch
- Very lightweight and the sleek design with micro layers and micro suede for ultra comfort and confidence.
- Slightly heavier shoe
- Some reviewers noted that the heel angle is a bit too high and feels uneven.
4. BROOKS ADRENALINE GTS 15
Brooks took the qualities we all loved about the previous GTS models and made them even better.
Formerly, the segmented crash pad on the sole was just in the heel; in the 15, it extends the full length of the shoe, offering a smoother landing from heel-strike to toe-off.
A top-selling stability shoe across the board that has maintained extremely high reviews from consumers since it’s original release several years ago.
The Adrenaline and aforementioned Kayano are very similar shoes. You can check out the full differences in this comparison.
- BioMoGo DNA midsole provides custom comfort
- Heel and forefoot pivot posts give you ultimate control
- Full-length Segmented Crash Pad allows smooth transitions
- Fashionable and balanced with blend, stability, cushioning and an updated "crash pad" for smoother transition
- DRB Accel shank which provides more support in your arch area
- New lacing system that helps with the security of the shoe while running at any speed through any climate or terrain
- Tends to run a little small, some reviewers complained that when they ordered the shoe online it didn’t fit well. You might want to try this one on in-person before buying.
- Heel has less cushioning than most models
- Heavier Shoe vs other "stability" shoes
Brooks Adrenaline are super popular in fact, even though they are similar to the Ghost they outsell them.
5. ASICS GT 2000
If you’ve tried other stability shoes like Kayanos or Brooks Adrenaline GTS and found the weight of them bothersome, this shoe is a great option for you as it is lighter but still gives a ton of support.
- fuzeGEL Midsole: ASICS new GEL cushioning technology made from the fusion of GEL and foam creates lightweight comfort, tuned to provide rearfoot shock absorption that shifts to forefoot bounce back.
- Dynamic DuoMax Support System: This evolution of DuoMax system enhances stability and support, with reduced weight and increased platform support.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems: Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- FluidRide Midsole: FluidRide provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability.
- Guidance Trusstic System Technology: This Trusstic System integrates Guidance Line construction for enhanced gait efficiency while providing midfoot structural integrity.
With similar quality to those of the flagship Kayano, Asics provides another solid option for overpronators with the GT 2000.
It’s a great option if you suffer from flat feet and have small ankles, or are a petit runner, as they seem to have had the most negative reviews from larger runners.
- Provides a very comfortable ride and a solid shoe for long runs
- Very stable with good arch engagement
- Pushes limits while retaining a light weight
- Comes in under the $100 price point
- Stability of of shoe tends to inhibit full movement. Some reviewers noted that they felt stiff even after being broken in.
- Upper portion of shoe is narrow which limits maximum comfort for larger sizes.
- Short laces tend to be problematic during run if not secured properly.
What Causes Flat Feet?
Some people are simply born with flat feet, they can be present at birth and are usually inherited. They can also develop during your early ages of childhood where the arch in your foot simply never forms.
But many are surprised to find out that flat feet can occur during teen years or adulthood (which is actually more common than simply being born with the condition) due to too much foot stress overtime.
Stress on your feet can be brought on by a variety of things, including:
- Weakened muscles in the foot, ankles, and lower leg from either excessive weight gain or growth.
- Repeatedly wearing shoes without arch support while walking or standing over a long period of time (especially heels or flip-flops).
- Failing to treat certain injuries such as a sprained ankle or other foot injury.
All of these forms of stress can cause an arch to collapse within the foot.
This collapse doesn’t happen all at once, you probably won’t even notice it until you start to start have excessive pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips or back.
Are there any serious consequences to Flat Feet?
Since your feet are the foundation of your body, a good arch is also important for a good skeletal structure.
A flat arch can move your joints out of alignment and cause pain throughout your body, such as in your knees, hips and back.
If the condition goes untreated, the additional strain on your joints can lead to other more serious injuries such like arthritis and osteoporosis.
There is a link between flat feet and injuries/pain later in life.
If you have continuous strain on the arch of your foot it could cause the bones to collapse, also putting strain in the tendons and the ligaments.
Which could cause:
- Severe heel pain.
- Ankle and knee misaligned joints.
- Lower back pain and ankle pain due to less shock absorption from proper arch formation.
- Arthritis may develop after certain amount of time.
Be sure to thoroughly check out the reviews on Amazon for these shoes before you buy to see which you think might be the best fit for you.
Not all flat feet should be considered equal, and some of these shoes might actually make you more uncomfortable.
One reviewer made a great point, stating that as a flat-footed petit runner, she found a lot of stability shoes just put more stress on her slim ankles.
If you are a larger runner, you’ll find the heavy-ness of stability shoes less bothersome than a small runner with tiny ankles.
But many runners find that it makes running more difficult to run in stability shoes as they are typically heavier than average running shoes.
One thing you might consider if this is a dilemma for you, is to run barefoot or in shoes such as the Nike Free or Merrell running shoes.
After all this talk of support and stability, this may seem counterintuitive to run in your bare flat feet, but many podiatrists recommend running barefoot as an exercise for flat-footed runners as a way to strengthen the foot’s natural motion.
Many runners in the reviews stated that after trying this exercise, they found that barefoot running, or running in a very lightweight shoes designed to feel like barefoot running, was actually the most comfortable way for them to deal with the pain of flat feet.
Another great exercise recommended by podiatrists for flat feet is to pick up a ping-pong ball with your toe.
This super simple exercise that you can do while eating, working, or watching TV has been proven to strengthen the muscles in your foot and provide better stability overtime for flat-footed runners
It’s my hope that if you suffer from flat feet that you found some comfort while reading this article.
Flat feet can be a real pain, but with the proper shoes and socks as well as strengthening exercises you can overcome the discomfort and live a healthy active lifestyle
Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API