Exercise is about overcoming obstacles, but some walkers face more challenges than most. Women who struggle with both weight and flat feet, for instance, face immediate pain and increased risk of injury. It’s important to fight back, but first, you need the right equipment. For walkers, this means finding shoes as serious about fitness as you are.
How Weight Impacts Walking
Women who struggle with weight are far more likely to suffer painful foot problems like diabetes, gout, and sodium-related swelling. They also face a greater risk of injury while walking. Either situation holds walkers back and discourages regular walking habits. Increased weight puts you at greater risk for problems like:
Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, limit your foot’s natural flexibility and put extra pressure on other support structures in your feet. While flat feet may not be a painful condition at all times, changing your exercise routine puts new strains on your feet. Since your feet lack the same support structure regular feet enjoy, you have a higher risk of injury. Your feet will likely hurt more after less activity than those who have arches.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to combat some of the worst symptoms of flat feet, but you can also use a few simple measures at home to manage your condition. Rest and ice help both pain and swelling. Stretches help reclaim your foot’s natural flexibility, and over-the-counter pain relievers help control inflammation. Your doctor may also advise the use of orthotics, braces, or other specialized supports.
If you face both of these challenges, you need to choose your walking shoes very carefully. Shoes need specific features to help you perform at your best. Shoes without the right features can exacerbate problems and make your walks even more challenging. First and foremost, remember to find comfortable shoes.
If they hurt when you first put them on, they will hurt worse when you take them off. While this rule doesn’t apply to custom-ordered orthotic shoes, or even orthotic inserts, basic walking shoes should not remold your feet. Leave that to the professionals.
Overweight women with flat feet need shoes with some arch support. If your arches can’t support themselves, they need a shoe that will prevent them from going completely flat. If you have custom inserts, you also need shoes to feature removable insoles. Look for shoes that have easily adjustable closures.
This prevents extra pain and pressure if your feet begin to swell. Shoes need to be comfortable from beginning to end, which means planning ahead for foot trouble. Keep in mind that higher prices usually represent longer life spans. You may prefer a cheap brand, but be prepared to replace them frequently, especially until you lose weight, because additional weight wears down your shoes the same way it wears down your feet.
Best Shoes for Overweight Women with Flat Feet
New Balance WW928 Lace-Up Shoe Review
True to New Balance’s reputation for excellent walking shoes, this pair features a number of great support features. A ROLLBAR support system and C-Cap midsole help prevent your arches from sinking too low. The rubber sole provides excellent grip. A breathable leather upper prevents your feet from overheating, and Abzorb foam absorbs shock. Removable insoles and lots of toe room help walkers with flat feet, too.
Customers with self-identified weight issues and flat feet praised this shoe. They claim it supports their weight and prevents additional foot pain. The greatest critique of the shoes centered on the wide heel and lace closure. Apparently, the back of the shoe has so much space, some walkers found themselves slipping.
- Praised by women with weight and/or flat feet struggles
- Large toe box
- Several support features
- Inflexible upper does not allow for swelling
- Wide parts of the shoe may be too wide, especially before swelling
Lots of people find New Balance the epitome of comfort. It’s been praised by women who deal with both weight and flat feet.
Ultimately, you know what feels best, but trying a new brand may yield better results. New Balance is seen as overall good shoe brand. Even the best shoes can’t fit everyone, so keep an open mind until you’ve actually tried on your options.