The arch is perhaps the most essential structure in your foot when it comes to walking, running, or doing almost any activity. But typical shoes often lack arch support, which is especially important for people with flat feet. The best women’s shoes for flat feet have unique features that cushion and support the arch for a better walking experience.
What Are Flat Feet?
When the foot’s arch falls or if it never developed during childhood, you are said to have flat feet (pes planus). You can recognize flat foot because when standing, the majority or all of the sole of your foot will be in contact with the ground. You may also feel pain or fatigue on the inside edges of your feet.
Having low or fallen arches causes overpronation, which misaligns your ankles, knees, and hips. Over time, this misalignment will result in leg and back pain. The falling inward of the ankles also puts pressure on other structures in your feet, such as the metatarsal heads and the heel, which can eventually lead to bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.
Features of Shoes for Flat Feet
Whether you were born with low arches or your arches have fallen over time, many women are searching for supportive shoes for flat feet. The best shoes for women with flat feet will have many or all of the following features.
- Anatomical arch support. Proper support prevents overpronation and aligns the ankles, knees, and hips. Shoes with great arch support often come with additional arch-boosting accessories.
- Removable insole. Many women need orthotics for flat feet, which requires a removable insole that can be replaced with a custom device.
- Extra Depth. Custom orthotics and arch supports take up space within a shoe, meaning you should look for a style with extra depth to accommodate.
- Stretchable upper. Flat feet can lead to other structural changes, such as bunions and hammertoes. A soft, stretchable upper will hug the foot and conform to any misshapen areas.
- Heel support. Having low or fallen arches puts pressure on other parts of the foot. Extra cushioning in the heel will help protect against plantar fasciitis (heel pain) due to a thinning fat pad.
- Cushioned Sole. Comfortable support is necessary from the ground up, so look for a shoe with ample spring and padding in the sole.
- Rocking bottom. A light rocker motion when stepping facilitates your foot’s motion which helps reduce fatigue and lessens pressure on flat feet.
Shoes for Women with Flat Feet
If you need walking or running shoes for flat feet, you’ve got to check out Francis. Available in blue with medium, wide, and extra wide widths, this tennis shoe has everything! First, for flat feet, it’s all about the sole. The premium orthotic insole offers unsurpassed, and totally adjustable, arch support to boost up your fallen arches and keep you active. The EVA midsole provides cushion and protection along with the non-slip rubber outsole.
The upper is made of stretchable material that makes them super comfortable, so you can put these shoes through a lot. If you have bunions or hammertoes, you’ll love the wide toe box and padded interior that will never rub.
The bungee lace system is perfect for flat feet because it cinches down for security but can loosen and stretch for more room over the top of the foot. It also means no fumbling with traditional laces. If there’s too much room between the top of your foot and the upper material, you can adjust this fit by inserting one of the two optional spacers that are included.
These casual, slip-on walking shoes for flat feet are the perfect podiatrist-approved addition to your wardrobe. First, this shoe wraps you in comfort. Flat feet put pressure on the joints in the foot, including the big toe joint, which can move, leading to a bunion. But even if you have a bunion, this shoe offers all the space you need with a stretchable neoprene upper, a soft, padded interior, and a wide toe-box.
Just open the instep strap, slip your foot in, and close the strap as snugly as you need. To eliminate any potential slipping within the shoe, you have the option to add spacers under the insole, creating a smaller space that holds your foot securely.
The moisture-wicking insole offers an anatomical design to help support your arches all day long. It also comes with an optional arch enhancement if you need a little “oomph” with your support. Underneath your foot, the cloud-like sole absorbs pressure, making it easier to walk farther and longer. Quincy is available in black or blue with medium to extra wide widths and gray with narrow to extra wide widths.
If you’ve been searching for orthopedic shoes for flat feet, but hate the orthopedic look, then you want Palma. Available in sleek black and stylish gray, the stretchable knit fabric gives these casual shoes a glove-like fit. This is important because women with flat feet experience edema or swelling of the feet. A shoe that can stretch with your foot throughout the day as it changes size is ideal.
The wide toe-box also leaves plenty of room for toes to spread and stretch. They’ll never rub against one another, cause friction, or leave calluses or hot spots. The foam padded interior provides gentle contact with your foot. And it’s available in medium to extra wide widths.
Of course, arch support is key in these shoes. The anatomical design lifts arches and is built into the premium orthotic insole. Bonus points: the insole is removable so you can place the optional spacers and the added arch support system underneath for even better lift.
The sole itself, in addition to being one of the most cushioned on the market, has added padding in the heel and is built for a slight rocking motion when stepping that helps reduce fatigue, which is common in flat feet.
A list of the best shoes for flat feet needs to include at least one sandal—and Verona is definitely the one to get! Undo the heel strap and slide your foot into this closed-toe sandal. Enjoy as the adjustable uppers with soft fabric and foam linings conform to your foot without rubbing or squeezing.
If the shoe feels too tight, simply loosen the bungee laces to allow for more room. If the shoe feels too loose, either insert one of the spacers or tighten the no-tie laces. For women with flat feet who have a wide forefoot but a narrow heel, the heel strap will tighten to keep your foot from sliding around. Plus, the sandal comes in multiple widths, from medium to extra wide in both the black and pewter colors.
But women with flat feet will love most the premium support not found in other sandals. The anatomical arch shape will keep your feet in a neutral position, aligning the ankles, knees, and hips. Not only that but the lightweight sole offers a mild rocking effect that makes going all day as easy as a walk on the beach.
Podiatrists always talk about how flip flops are terrible for you. But they wouldn’t let us leave Gaya off the list considering it’s the only toe-post sandal to offer actual arch support. The 3-D support system holds arches secure and eliminates pain felt on the medial (inside) edge of the foot. And there’s even the option of added arch support with the arch booster—something no flimsy flip flop can boast.
This pewter-colored toe-post sandal offers total freedom of movement but still feels secure thanks to the adjustable hook and loop strap over the instep. The straps are generously padded—including the toe post itself which offers a thin silhouette and soft, non-plastic material to avoid rubbing from any angle.
It wouldn’t be a good shoe for women with flat feet if it didn’t have extra support, which of course, it totally does. A padded, non-slip outsole helps absorb shock, while the lightweight midsole reduces the impact on the bottom of the foot, leaving you in comfort all day. Available in medium and wide widths.
Flat feet need support at all times of the day, which is why it’s not recommended that you go barefoot at home. Instead, slip on a pair of Louise slippers. The wide toe-box leaves plenty of room for comfort while the upper material stretches with your foot to give a secure fit that doesn’t squeeze. The mesh upper is also breathable, meaning these sandals will keep your feet cool all summer long.
Fallen arches can mean too much depth in a shoe. For a more secure fit, use the instep strap to tighten the slipper down over the top of the foot or use the optional spacers to lift the foot up within the slipper.
Even slippers need arch support, which Louise generously provides. If your podiatrist has prescribed you custom orthotics, you can remove the insole and slide them into the slipper. Or use the included arch boosting attachment under the insole for added support. In addition, a cloud-like sole paired with a full rubber outsole will have you never wanting to take them off, and you don’t have to as they still protect your feet even as you step outside to grab the paper.
The taupe is available in narrow through extra wide widths, and black is available in medium to extra wide. Plus, they’re vegan-friendly! How many slippers for flat feet can say that?
Out of all the shoes for women with flat feet, Sanibel gets the most five-star reviews. And we can see why! The Mary Jane style offers two straps, one for the heel and one over the instep, for total adjustment. The instep strap is nicely padded to avoid rubbing on the top of the foot.
The toe-box is roomy to accommodate for any hammertoes or bunions, but without making the shoe boxy. Sanibel also comes with optional spacers to adjust the depth of the shoe, keeping your foot secure from every angle.
Of course, it’s got all the features needed to support women with flat feet. The cushioning sole features multiple layers of shock-absorbing materials. And built-in arch support can be enhanced by slipping the arch booster under the insole.
The leather and synthetic materials wipe clean easily. Grab your pair in blue or olive gray, available in medium to extra wide widths, or black, available in narrow to extra extra wide widths.