It might be a downer that your feet are not “ideal” as a runner. After all, running is something that should be natural to everyone, right? How come your feet are not up for it?
You should not worry, though. Your flat feet are the same as those of thousands of other runners out there. That’s why you might hear fellow runners talking about high or low arches. Your arches either affect or are affected by your pronation type. The mental health benefits of running far outweigh any small setbacks such as your foot type.
Pronation is simply the way your feet rolls to meet the ground. Most of the time, those with flat feet tend to overpronate, which is why most shoes you’ll find here tend to correct overpronation.
Overpronation means that, after your heel strikes the ground, your ankles roll inward more than normal (around 15 degrees inward) so that your foot meets the ground. You then push off with your big toe.
Flat feet tend to distribute the weight and impact of your feet hitting the ground unevenly. To help you distribute that weight, you need running shoes that have motion control or stability. Your number one priority, though, would be a comfort.
If you’re someone only beginning to learn about their low arches, or a veteran looking to change up their shoes, I’ve curated a list below with some of the best choices for flat feet as selected by others on the internet.
Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet Compared and Reviewed
#1 Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Road Running Shoe
It seems that Mizuno has learned to be more helpful to all foot types, from those with high arches and low arches to you, someone with flat feet and overpronation. They seem to have great shoes for every pronation type out there.
The Wave Inspire 16 is particularly a great running shoe for those who overpronate. It provides stability that you need to keep you running even as your feet roll inward.
Because its midsole absorbs the impact of your foot hitting the ground, this shoe helps distribute that impact in the way it would be distributed if you had normal arches.
Assisting in this even distribution is the Mizuno Wave plate, which creates a broader area for your feet. This will help prevent those injuries and pains that come with flat feet.
The heel-to-toe drop is quite large (12 mm), which provides cushioning for your feet, particularly the heel. This is great for those who strike with their heel first.
Its Sockliner will also make this shoe fit comfortably on your feet with extra cushioning inside. It doesn’t suffocate your feet, though; the mesh upper makes it breathable.
A lot of users are very happy with their Mizuno shoes, talking about how perfect they are for stability and comfort. Some have even used this for marathon training (and even full marathons). However, other users worry about the durability of their shoes, reporting wear and tear after only a few months of use.
#2 - Saucony Guide 13
The Saucony Guide 13 is a great moderate stability trainer shoe. It guides your feet throughout the journey of your foot from your heel to your toe, making it much easier to get the proper foot posture.
This is because it has its new medial TPU guidance frame, a frame that provides extra support on your outsoles near the arch by the midsole. This will make it easier for you to get your feet to roll inward just right. No more excessive rolling as your gait will be guided forward instead.
The PWRRUN cushioning that it has makes your runs feel much more comfortable, especially for someone with flat feet who needs maybe a bit more cushioning than normal.
This is because your flat feet might cause some rigid runs; having shoes that are more comfortable with more cushioning will help you go further.
You’ll find that the drop isn’t as drastic as others and is actually the standard heel-to-toe drop (8 mm). This won’t give as much heel support as, say, those with a 12 mm drop. However, it will accommodate those who run with their heel first or midfoot first!
You might want to order a size up, as some users recommend. However, people do agree that this provides great support and stability, along with comfort. Others just don’t think it’s a great fit for their feet, especially with the narrow toe box.
#3 - ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes
Going back 27 years, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 has definitely learned what runners look for in its shoe, and how overpronation can be corrected with properly designed shoes.
If you look at the shoes’ outsoles, you’ll immediately find grooves along with it and especially near the heel. As someone who’s been researching running shoes for a while now, this immediately tells me that these grooves would help absorb the impact that would otherwise spread unevenly along your flat feet.
Because these grooves are more prominent near the heel, you’ll know this is targeted towards those who tend to hit the ground with their heels first. This is also apparent in the thickness of the sole by the heel, which incorporates the GEL technology that helps disperse the shock evenly.
You’ll also notice that near the inside of the foot, there seems to be some extra material that would help stabilize your feet, especially if you tend to overpronate. Even if you don’t though, the extra cushioning will help your feet stay comfortable.
With this stability comes comfort, which users rave about. They’ve even turned to make these their everyday shoes. Just make sure to check the fit, though, as some users have complained about how small and tight these are!
#4 - HOKA ONE ONE Gaviota 2
If you’re really struggling with the pain of your flat feet, the HOKA ONE ONE Gaviota 2 might be the shoe for you. The first thing you’ll notice is it’s thick cushioning that is designed to help absorb the impact of your feet hitting the ground.
It really does give you that extra cushioning you need as someone with flat feet, both inside and out. Because the soles are so thick on the outside with the full-length midsole to help shock absorption, you’ll help those flat feet feel more supported and comfortable.
The inside also contains removable foam padded insoles so that even the inside has that extra support. Adding to the comfort is the breathable mesh upper, something we all love.
Despite their big and thick features, though, these are actually lightweight shoes that will help you run farther. They run a bit small according to some users, so watch out for that.
These are also quite expensive compared to the other shoes. If you’re willing to shell out some money, this is a great investment. You’re probably going to want to try them out in stores, though.
#5 - Brooks Dyad 11
The Brooks Dyad 11 is another shoe that has extra cushioning. Unlike the other shoes that tend to be too narrow for some users, this makes sure you have that extra room in the forefoot while still being secure to your feet.
This extra room can let you add whatever orthotics you need to add, especially for your flat feet.
Their BioMoGo DNA cushioning makes it much more comfortable for your feet. Brooks even says it adapts to your stride so that the impact of your foot hitting the ground can be absorbed.
If you overpronate, though, this probably won’t be the best shoe for you since it only provides neutral support instead of any motion control or stability. It still however designs its shoe to have a stable ride because of its outsoles.
The outsoles contain arch supports called the Dual Arch Pods with a wider platform near the front so that you have added stability. This will be a great shoe for those who land midfoot since its cushioning extends throughout the whole foot.
For others who go for the heel first, their segmented crash pad is designed to help with that. This isn’t the thickest cushioning I’ve seen near the heel, though. Other shoes will definitely provide more support and protection for your heel.
My Number One Pick
Things To Consider When Buying Running Shoes For Flat Feet
This is the first thing to consider, and although I assume some readers might already know they have flat feet and exhibit overpronation, some might have no idea what I’m talking about.
Pronation, as mentioned earlier, is the way your foot strikes the ground, and how it rolls to meet the ground. This will obviously be very crucial for runners; without the proper support to suit your pronation type, you’ll be faced with a lot of possible injuries.
Most of the time, the height of your arches are related to your pronation type, which is why it’s worth mentioning here.
Normal arches tend to have normal pronation
You have normal pronation if your foot comes flat on the ground after your heel hits the ground. To meet the ground, your ankle will roll slightly inward, but not excessively.
If you have normal pronation, congrats! You’re less likely to get injured due to your foot posture. You also don’t need any special support aside from the neutral shoe.
Expect that stability is no issue for you. You also have normal arches, and the wear on your soles are even all throughout. A neutral or stable running shoe is great for you.
Although all shoes listed here may be swapped out for normal pronation shoes, the Brooks Dyad 11 will have more neutral support perfect for normal pronation.
High arches tend to exhibit underpronation
You tend to meet the ground by rolling more outwards, with the outer edges of your foot hitting the ground. You also tend to push off from the outer toes.
You already know that underpronators will have higher arches. You want to find running shoes that have neutral support and extra cushioning to support those high arches! Your heels are going to take the impact without the proper cushioning.
We previously have done a review on the best running shoes for underpronation which which you can check out.
Flat feet tend to exhibit overpronation
Runners who have flat feet tend to also overpronate. Those who overpronate tend to roll their ankles inward excessively, about 15 degrees inward when your foot meets the ground. You also probably tend to push off with the big toe.
Your arches tend to be low, and the wear of your sole tends to be near the inside of the forefoot.
Those who overpronate might experience some hip, knee, or back pain. Ankle pains are also familiar to you, and it’s really important that you correct this posture with the proper motion control or stability shoe.
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes is definitely designed to correct your overpronation in mind, especially with its features that give you added stability!
Ways To Check Your Pronation Type
A way to check your pronation type is to wet your foot and place it on a piece of paper. The shape will determine your arch height:
Experts say that the most important thing you must look at for flat feet is the comfort of your running shoe.
Some runners might have flat feet that are more rigid and stiff. This means that you are going to need a softer shoe to compensate for your lack of flexibility.
You most probably need more cushioning than others without forcing your feet to arch too much, such as the Saucony Guide 13. This shoe is flatter than most but still provides the proper cushioning and support you need for those with flat feet and overpronation.
The HOKA ONE ONE Gaviota 2 also provides the most cushioning in this list, although the arch is more prominent in this shoe.
If you’re someone with flat feet that are more flexible, though, a shoe with a more flexible sole and that has more arch support will be great for you.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Road Running Shoe has a high heel-to-toe drop, which means that the heel is positioned higher than the forefoot. It also creates an arch effect, helping correct your flat feet
Frequently Asked Questions About Running Shoes For Flat Feet
Q: What additional tips do you have when buying running shoes in general?
A: I suggest that you go to the physical store and try on some shoes first thing before anything else. Getting to the physical store will help you decide immediately if these shoes are good for you. Too many reviews have been about the fit of the shoe.
Don’t go at the end of the day, though, as your feet might already be swollen by then.
Q: Why do I have flat feet?
A: Most of the time, you are born with flat feet. However, if you’re only starting to develop flat feet, this might be a symptom to some other condition such as arthritis.
Q: What else can I do to help correct my flat feet?
A: Get orthotic insoles to increase that arch support! Inserting these into the right shoes will help you correct your flat feet quickly.
Don’t get discouraged about having flat feet as a runner. You’re definitely part of a community that are trying to find the best supportive shoes for your feet. Once you find the perfect shoe, it will all feel worth it. That added motivation to run farther than ever will help you out! Before you know it, you’ll be doing long runs in your perfect new running shoes and likely even start opting for more advanced running gear such as hydration packs.
I’ve seen way too many reviews about how their shoes did not fit because they ordered it online. Consider going to a physical store and trying the shoes on there before deciding. Investing in expensive shoes without trying them on first is too much of a risk!
Make sure to always do your research, too. The shoe experts in these physical stores can help you find out your pronation type. Reviews will also give you real-life experience about the durability of these shoes!
If you’re looking for more running gear to add to your arsenal check out our reviews on the best running jackets as well as sunglasses that you can use for your long, hot runs. We’ve also done reviews on running hats if you’re interested to check that out.
Have fun with your new kicks!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.