Walking is the most basic activity we perform on a daily basis. Some of us are more active and walk as a “sport” for conditioning and endurance, while others engage in this activity as necessary movement to carry out our daily needs. Regardless of the reason and motivation, we want to do this in comfort and with as little pain as possible.
When you have a foot condition, such as flat feet, walking can become a challenge and lead to additional problems. Thankfully, with today’s innovation by footwear companies, you can overcome the challenges of flat feet by simply choosing the best walking shoes for flat feet!
To start, lets briefly look at what makes flat feet unique. Flat feet have a very minimal or non-existent arch and lead to biomechanical issues. The muscle that runs behind the inside bone of the ankle becomes stretched and inflamed which makes the feet not function properly. Flat feet also tend to overpronate which can cause your feet to alter the gait movement, putting excess pressure on other areas.
If you invest in a pair of orthopedic walking shoes for flat feet, most of the problems described above will be relieved. But how do you know which shoes are ideal walking shoes for flat feet?
As foot experts, we are here to help! The best walking shoes for flat feet need to have specific features and construction in order to correct the foot biomechanics.
Orthotic insole: shoes with an orthotic insole are also called arch support shoes. They provide support under the arch, lessening the strain on the posterior tibial tendon, thus reducing inflammation and pain. They also maintain the body in a neutral position minimizing overpronation.
Cushioning footbed: should be constructed with multiple layers of hi-tech materials that absorb shock forces and disperse it through the foot. Customizing foam is even better as it takes the shape of the foot over time offering specific pressure relief for your foot.
Ergonomic sole: shoes designed with a rocker bottom sole help with biomechanical foot motion when the heel strikes the ground, transferring weight to the forefoot. This minimizes unnecessary and extra movement, allowing the foot to easily perform what it is supposed to do.
Solid midsole: the best shoes for flat feet are ones that are not too flexible and cannot be completely bent in the middle. A sturdy construction will control heel motion which is a major component of pronation, yet still allowing the foot to flex and bend in the “normal” amounts.
Based on this list of recommended features, we have chosen the best men's and women's walking shoes for flat feet that will have you up and running pain free and more importantly, without a break in period!
Our top picks for women’s walking sneakers for flat feet in 2021:
Coral is a #1 customer favorite and works extremely well for many foot conditions including flat feet. Made with super flexible stretch uppers, the shoe conforms to your foot, flexing and stretching over bunions, hammer toes or wide feet creating a pressure free environment.
For flat feet, the included premium orthotic insole props up the undefined arch, reducing the pull on the tendon that runs below it and keeps the foot from rolling inwards.
Built with the sensitive foot in mind, Coral’s interior lining does not have any protruding seams that may cause irritation of friction against the skin. It is prefect for those with diabetes, arthritis and neuropathy.
If you look at the forefoot, you will notice it is especially round and wide to provide a relaxed fit for the toes, as well as offer lots of space for bulging bunions.
Made with the Ortho-Cushion System which includes 5 layers of cushioning materials, Coral stretchable sneakers will protect your feet from strong impacts providing plenty of comfort with every step you take.
If you are looking for a “slip-on and go” shoe, Quincy is our top pick. This sleek and cute style may seem simple, however, it is packed with features to provide the utmost comfort and protection for flat feet.
The biomedically designed insole will provide comfortable support under the arch and shock absorbing cushioning to overcome any pain and discomfort associated with flat feet.
A strap across the instep, as well as the 4-way stretch material will fit any type of foot without added pressure.
Thanks to the cushioning footbed and ergonomic sole design, pressure is evenly distributed across the bottom from the heel area to the toe. Walking will become easier as less effort and joint movement is needed for every step. This is especially important for those who might also have arthritis in their feet and have difficulty with motion.
Although most slip-on shoes have a pointed and narrow shape in the front, Quincy has just the opposite! It is designed with a wide and round toe box to give extra space for unrestricted movement.
Quincy is available in two staple colors, black and grey in widths narrow to extra wide.
A classy shoe that works with all your wardrobe needs, Volcano features innovation in material design. The wool blend upper, a natural sustainable fiber, has several unique properties your feet will benefit from.
The wool material offers a pressure free fit due to its exceptional flexibility. Whether you have protruding bunions and hammertoes, suffer from chronic swelling, or just want to feel great, Volcano is the optimal style for you.
Wool is a natural fiber and can wick away moisture, meaning your feet stay dry. This prevents the build up of bacteria and fungi which can lead to unwanted odors. It is also a temperature regulating material that keeps your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter, working perfectly for year-round wear.
The list of features does not end here. The inside of the shoes is built with anatomical insoles necessary for anyone with flat feet. Flat feet will instantly be supported, and the abnormal gait will be corrected making them the best walking shoes for flat feet.
A hook and loop strap closure allows for easy foot insertion and a comfortable fit regardless of whether you have a high or low instep. In addition, the elastic laces stretch over wider feet.
Don’t like the look of strap shoes but love all the features mentioned above? Sierra offers the same comfort and support just with a lace closure.
Sanibel is a Mary Jane shoe that delivers maximum comfort and protection for flat feet.
Designed by a team of biomedical engineers and industry leading footwear designers, Sanibel will provide comfort and pain relief for flat feet from the minute you put them on. Advanced cushioning and arch support from the included premium orthotic, will relax the posterior tibial tendon, lessening the pain in the arch and heel area. In addition, ankle and knee pain will subside as the body becomes properly aligned.
Plenty of customization is offered in this shoe, with a strap across the instep and one in the heel. And you won’t have to worry about strap marks or irritation since they are designed with soft pads underneath for optimal comfort.
The heel strap caters to those who have width differences between their forefoot and heel area, ideal for those with a narrow heel and wide toe area. On the other side of the spectrum, it can also fit special devices such as braces and AFOs that require extra space.
If you wear a custom orthotic, you will easily be able to accommodate them since the ones included in Sanibel are removable.
Sanibel will fit all foot widths as it is available in narrow all the way up to extra extra wide!
Our top picks for men’s walking sneakers for flat feet:
Similar to the women’s Coral stretchable sneaker, Lava is the style for men. To learn about its features and how it can help you with flat feet, read the description under Coral.
Sprint is a one-of-a-kind style with features that cannot be found in other shoes. Starting with the tie-less lace feature, you have the option to never lace your sneakers again! Adjust the fit the first time and from then on, only use the hidden Velcro tab on either side to get in and out of the shoes.
Another great feature is the adjustable strap across the heel. Not only can you tighten or loosen the grip around the heel, the heel counter can open or compress to accommodate different size heels. This is prefect for when extra space is needed to work with braces and AFOs or when you are looking for a tighter fit due to narrow heels.
Sprint is proven to help flat feet thanks to the already included orthotic insole. The foot is supported with the anatomical arch and the heel is cupped and cushioned by the thick foam padding. You will immediately notice the difference in your gait which will lead to a reduction in pain and discomfort.
Breathable mesh upper keeps your feet cool and dry, a wide toe box ensures your toes are not crammed and the seam free forefoot feels super comfortable against the skin, especially ones with high sensitivity.
For those of us who are a little adventurous or are looking for more ankle stability, Hunter is the way to go.
The combination of leather and fabric upper make this shoe durable but flexible enough to create a pressure free fit for comfortable all-day wear. Tired, painful, and flat feet will finally enjoy much needed support with the premium orthotic insole that boasts multi-layers of cushioning and shock dispersion. The arch will control overpronating flat feet and you will feel your feet and body standing and walking straighter.
The extra depth, wide and tall toe box, as well as the wide widths available in this style creates a relaxed environment for 12 plus hour days on your feet. It also allows you to insert a custom orthotic if needed.
Designed with an ergonomic sole, walking will become virtually effortless as the mild rocker bottom pushes the foot froward. If you also suffer from arthritis, this feature will help minimize joint movement and provide a pain free experience.
A toe guard, metal eyelets, nylon laces as well as a substantial heel padding make the Hunter a perfect style for all your demanding activities.
Looking for a classic leather style? The Pacific Palisades is the shoe that will pair with jeans, sweats, or even polished chinos and will keep you on the move from morning till night.
The style is crafted from full grain leather upper that makes it long lasting and easy to clean. Detailed stitching and overlays make this shoe stand out. The unique construction of these overlays and stitches only exist on the outside of the shoe and cannot be felt on the inside. This protects sensitive feet, preventing friction and rubbing from occurring.
The Ortho-Cushion System which is comprised of an orthotic insole and ergonomic sole, is the solution for flat feet symptoms, supporting the tendon under the arch and cushioning from heel to toe. The minimal heel to toe drop design evenly transfers weight from the back of the foot to the forefoot, minimizing excess pressure on the heel, resulting in substantially less pain.
A padded collar and tongue protect tender and vulnerable areas of the foot, leaving you comfortable no matter what you do.
Pacific Palisades is available in white and black leather.
If you need a style that will be easy to get in and out of, the Ventura offers the same look and feel but with three straps instead of laces.