Did you know that all human beings are born with flat feet? It’s only after we begin to walk that arches develop. Did you also know that not everybody develops arches - or that just because you develop them, they won't necessarily stick around forever?
In fact, fallen arches plague plenty of people as they age and in some cases, wear and tear on ankle tendons could cause arches to collapse as well. Fair? Of course not! Who wants to work a lifetime to take care of arches only to have them collapse when we need them most in old age?
Which type of flat feet do you have?
Haven't had time to explore Run Society archives? We’d like to call your attention to “How Does Running Affect Me if I Have Flat Feet”, an information-filled article with graphics that appeared in our publication back in 2013.
You’ll learn that there are two types of flat feet: Flexible and Rigid. Identify the first type by lifting up your foot and if you see an arch that refuses to remain once you put weight on the foot, you can self-diagnose as having Flexible flat feet. Alternately, Rigid flat feet are caused by bone structure issues.
Most runners fall into the Flexible category and suffer pain due to over-pronation as feet try to deal with both a lack of arch and footfall shocks that aren't absorbed because the foot doesn't advance properly.
It's instinctive to adjust one's step to compensate, thus over-pronation becomes a habit. Can flat-footed runners do their thing without suffering pain or discomfort? It’s rare but possible.
Best all time running shoes for flat-footed runners
Shoe manufacturers feel your pain, so shoes made for flat-footed runners have begun appearing in the collections of major shoe companies. You may not even have to compromise on brand if you’ve got a favourite. We’ve chosen 10 and alphabetised them so you find your fav brand fast!
ASICS GT-2000 4:
Latest version: ASICS GT-2000 5
Once you start wearing this ASICS running shoe you’ll notice an immediate difference. They are stunning, stable and the cushioning in heavenly. Gone is the old Duomax medial post. In its place is the new, improved Dynamic Duomax, so getting control over pronation is easier. There’s enough rear and forefoot gel cushioning to make you forget that your feet are flat and the heel counter is so snug, it feels custom-fitted. These shoes tend to run small, so try before you buy.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 24:
Latest version: ASICS GEL-Kayano 24
The GEL-Kayano® 24 offers wearers an adaptive fit on the upper and an overall fit that is more true to size. Overpronators love this colourful shoe with the stability and comfort to improve running efficiency and decrease risk of injury over varying distances. How did this shoe get so comfy? FluidFit Upper technology combines multidirectional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete's foot, creating a truly customised glove-like fit. The Trusstic System Technology picks up where the midsole leaves off, so even with flat feet, you may find that you can run longer distances with ease.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15:
Latest version: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Because flat feet need all the love they can get, this sleek, masculine shoe deserves yours. The Adrenaline delivers on control, stride, stability and comfort thanks to this shoe's nerve centre: a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar. Learn how it feels to enjoy effortless heel-to-toe transitions via the Caterpillar Crash Pad in concert with Omega Flex Grooves on the soles. Though tighter than previous iterations of Adrenalines, they should fit fine once broken in.
Brooks Beast 14:
Latest version: Brooks Beast 16
We call the Beast 14 “Beauty and the Beast” because the shoe marries performance with style. Fans cite dynamic arch support so cleverly designed, over-pronation is nearly impossible. Thickly padded, offering maximum stability and featuring this shoe's signature Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar, Brooks DNA and BioMoGo, these shock busters thwart blows on the longest runs performed by runners, no matter how flat their feet may be!
Karhu Strong 5 Fulcrum:
Latest version: Karhu Strong 6 Fulcrum
The Greek philosopher Archimedes said, “Give me a lever and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.” Wear this Karhu shoe and you don’t have to move the world because you will speed past it, despite having flat feet. These shoes hype the brand’s Steady 3 reputation: Engineered with rockers to minimise wasted up and down motions, 5 Fulcrums are designed with a tight toe box, but once you see how smoothly transitions are executed despite your foot dilemma, you may not care.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 11:
Latest version: Mizuno Wave Inspire 13
What inspires you? If it’s your vegan lifestyle, a pair of grass green Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 running shoes are in your future. This Mizuno shoe is lightweight, offers plenty of stability and features an admirable arch support system that works hard to correct pronation habits. Highly favoured by flat-footed runners, this shoe runs a bit small, but shock absorption properties are amazing, so don’t let size deter you from adding these to your short list of possibilities.
New Balance 860v7:
Latest version: New Balance 860v8
Think the cards are stacked against you because you have flat feet and sweat a lot? Relax. New Balance 860v7 shoes pair great ventilation and arch support. Featuring a dual-density medial post to help curb overpronation and T-BEAM technology for crucial torsional stability in the shoe, this shoe's cushioning properties are amazing, despite the fact that the shoes are so light. Experience torsional stability from the moment you put them on, but your favourite feature is likely to be the new TRUFUSE cushioning system: when your foot hits the ground on extreme terrain, you may not feel a thing!
Nike LunarGlide 7:
Latest version: Nike LunarGlide 9
Don’t plan to run on the moon in this lifetime? You can still imagine weightlessness when you slip on these navy and orange trend-setters and treat your flat feet to Lunar Love. Wear them for training and conditioning runs to properly align and direct your feet so you avoid over-pronating. The sole is made with a minor rocker slope that eliminates wasted up and down motion that too many flat-footed runners complain about. Love the lunar references? These shoes feature “Flyknit” uppers, “Flywire” cables and Lunarlon cushioning. Out of this world!
Saucony Guide 7:
Latest version: Saucony Guide 10
Shoppers say that this shoe is jazzy enough to attract high-fashion competitors, but it's interior integrity that helps runners earn their running wings. The Saucony Guide 7 has been dubbed the first sole-based stability design model on the market, thus you would have to work hard to develop bad habits like over-pronating and running on the edges of your feet. These shoes are snug in the heel - but once broken in, HydraMAX moisture-wicking properties could make you the coolest flat-footed runner of all.
Saucony Omni 13:
Latest version: Saucony Omni 16
The Omni 13 offers the quintessential answer to the question posed by flat-footed runners: Can a shoe improve my performance? At only 10.4-ounces, Omni 13 is a heavyweight in terms of advanced technology employed by this popular manufacturer. Wearers benefit from “Grid,” a stability and cushioning system that has no equal. Though this may not be a good choice for runners whose flat feet are extremely wide, you can get rid of those pronation issues for good once your flat feet grow accustomed to this Saucony shoe, and isn’t that your goal?
What tips and advice have you learned over time that help you deal with issues that arise because your feet are flat?