Everyone needs comfortable shoes for walking, but the needs of some people go beyond mere comfort; they need the best walking shoes for flat feet. “Flat feet” is a commonly used term that refers to feet in which the arches have collapsed.
When someone has flat feet (also called “overpronation”) it means the arches in their feet never formed or their muscles were too weak to maintain the arches. Poor quality or inappropriate shoes do not cause someone to have flat feet, although they can cause a lot of discomfort and problems for those people.
While flat-footedness is a problem for everyone who has to deal with such an issue, more active people that participate in fitness walking have an even greater need of finding the best walking sneakers.
It’s All in The Arch Support
The arches of the feet consist of an intricate system of bones, muscles, and ligaments that are designed to support movement of the body and absorb the weight of it with each step that is taken.
Since people who overpronate do not have these natural arches, the best walking shoes for collapsed arches will have built-in arch support (motion control). This support will mimic the natural arch of the foot and provide the necessary support.
Special footwear for flat footed persons will have firm arch support. To test for this, you can press down on the arch with your fingers. You should not feel soft cushioning. You should also slide your fingers to the center of the shoe to ensure there is an incline in the insole.
There are also many shoes that have raised insoles, which help a flat-footed person by allowing the center of the foot to remain higher than the rest of the foot.
There are also walking shoes that have motion control, which offer increased support for the middle of the foot and a straight shoe base. These shoes also have a reinforced heel and cardboard along the length of the shoe. These offer additional stability.
Custom Arch Stabilization
Sometimes, flat-footed people have a hard time finding regular shoes that have sufficient support or that have arch stabilization that works for their feet. In these cases, they can get custom stabilization for their arches to ensure they have the best footwear for the individual feet.
This customization is accomplished with orthotics, which are specially made inserts for walking shoes. The orthotic inserts are made by a podiatrist with a firm, semi-firm, or soft arch, depending on your needs.
These supports are based on the measurements of your foot and will mimic the natural arch of your foot specifically. If you get orthotics made, then you will then need to find a shoe that fits them.
There are also custom wedges, which are a specific type of custom arch support. Custom wedges are prescribed for people whose regular shoes did not offer enough arch support, causing or increasing the risk of tendonitis forming in the posterior tibial tendon.
These wedges are designed to ensure the abnormal motion of the flat feet is controlled and this can help alleviate pain caused by flat-footedness.
There are a number of companies that provide arch support in their walking shoes, such as Saucony, Asics, Brooks, and New Balance. Not every shoe is going to be a good fit for every person, so the only way to find what is right for you is to go out and try them on until you find something that feels right.
Here are a few of my favorite models:
New Balance is know for their walking collection. The 928 is made for people with severe overpronation. It’s available with laces or velcro for both men and women. Colors: Black & White
The next one on my list is from Orthaheel. A brand known for orthopedic shoes, popular in activities where standing all day long is required. Offers support for collapsed arches.
If you are on a budget, there is very likely something in your price range. If you can’t find something that works for you in the regular shoe stores or the running stores, then see your health care professional, who can refer you to a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to help you find the best shoes so that you can get out on those roads or that trail and get walking!