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Tips for Avoiding Fallen Arches & How to Buy Footwear for Them

Medical information provided by Dr. Josh White DPM - Written by OrthoFeet Team on Jun 10 2023

One of the main causes for fallen arches is posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. 

The tibialis posterior is a muscle in the lower leg. The tendon from this muscle runs behind the inside bone on the ankle, across the instep, and attaches to the bottom of the foot. The tibialis posterior helps hold the arch of the foot up and stops the foot from rolling over. 

Sometimes, the tendon becomes stretched and inflamed. This condition is called posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) or acquired adult flatfoot. But, most people simply refer to this condition as fallen arches.

Best shoes for fallen arches

I will explain how the right shoes can help with fallen arches later in this article, but for now, I want to recommend the best fallen arches shoes.

All the shoes on the list are designed with features that can ease discomfort caused by fallen arches and prevent their deterioration.

Best walking shoes for fallen arches 

Women’s Tahoe | Men’s Monterey Bay

Tahoe

 

Why you’ll love it

  • Tie-less system allows snug fit without tying laces
  • Breathable uppers maintain foot health and hygiene

Specs

  • Sizes: women 5-12; men 7-14
  • Widths: women Narrow (A) - Extra Extra Wide (4E) | men Standard (D) - Extra Extra Wide (6E)
  • Upper materials: microfiber and fabric

 

These walking shoes for men and women are designed to provide the necessary support and stability to the feet, which is crucial for people with fallen arches. 

The uppers are made with an aerated material that allows air flow while you wear the shoes, keeping your feet dry and healthy.

One of the standout features of these sneakers is their tie-less design that allows you to customize the fit of the shoe, without having to worry about tying laces. This feature allows you to fasten the shoes on both sides, which provides a secure fit and is particularly helpful for people with fallen arches, who need a snug fit to prevent their feet from rolling inward.

Furthermore, the tie-less feature also makes these sneakers ideal for people with mobility issues or arthritis who find it difficult to tie laces or reach the external side of the shoe.

 

Best dress shoes for fallen arches

Women’s Emma

Emma

Why you’ll love it

  • A stylish heel that doesn’t damage the feet
  • Side zipper for quick and easy wear

Specs

  • Sizes: 6-11
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Wide (D)
  • Upper materials: soft leather

 

In addition to being comfortable and supportive, the Emma booties are also very fashionable and stylish.

The insole is designed to conform to the shape of your foot and help distribute pressure evenly across the foot, which can help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by fallen arches.

The booties feature a soft, non-binding leather upper that doesn’t pressure or irritate the feet. They also have a wide toe box that allows your toes to spread out naturally, which can help improve balance and stability.

In addition, the Emma booties are made from high-quality materials that are both lightweight and durable. The cushioned sole absorbs shock and reduces pressure on the feet, which can help prevent foot fatigue and discomfort, while the 2-inch heel adds chic without putting any extra pressure on the forefoot. 

Men’s Leo

Leo

Why you’ll love it

  • They look great on your feet
  • Outsole offers advanced road grip and excellent stability

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-14
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: soft leather

 

With their built-in anatomical, removable arch support, these dress shoes will not only look great on your feet, but also align your feet with the rest of your body to make sure your posture is just right. 

The soft leather uppers won’t squeeze your feet in and the wide toe box will allow your toes to spread naturally, preventing added pressure and potential foot damage. 

The mild rocker design of these dress shoes helps to reduce the impact on the feet and joints with each step, which can be especially beneficial for people with foot pain or conditions such as fallen arches.

The rocker design works by gradually rolling the foot from heel to toe. This helps disperse shock forces from heel strike to lift, and prevents too much pressure being placed on the heel. The rocker design also helps to improve the efficiency of walking and reduce foot and leg fatigue.

With their rubber outsole, the Leo dress shoes will keep you stable at all times. 

 

Best boots for fallen arches

Women’s Dakota

Dakota

Why you’ll love it

  • Rubber lug outsole for unparalleled stability on any surface.
  • Superior arch, foot and ankle support.

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: women Standard (B) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: waterproof leather

 

The Dakota boots are a great choice for people who are looking for a comfortable and supportive pair of hiking boots. 

These walking shoes for women are designed with orthopedic features that can help to reduce fallen arches pain. They are also made with a waterproof membrane that keeps liquids out, while the special insole allows the moisture within the shoe to evaporate. 

Other key features of the Dakota boots include:

  • A rubber lug outsole that provides excellent traction on a variety of surfaces.
  • Deep heel cup that helps to keep your heel in place and prevent it from rolling inward.
  • Medial arch support that supports your arch and keeps it in alignment.
  • Finally, the boots’ lightweight construction makes them comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Men’s Ryder

Ryder

Why you’ll love it

  • Access from the back of the shoe with two back zippers
  • Padded interior with no overlays provide total comfort

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-14
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: soft leather

 

Say hello to one of the best orthopedic boots for men.

Although the boots have laces, they also feature two zippers at the back that open wide, making it easy to slide your feet in and out. This is especially helpful for people who have difficulty bending over or who have limited mobility, but is also great for people on the rush.

You only need to adjust and tie the laces once when you put the shoes on for the first time. The laces should be tight enough to keep your foot from slipping around, but not so tight that they cut off circulation. Once the laces are tied, you can forget about them and only use the back zippers.

The boots are made with lightweight materials that make walking a breeze, and the rubber soles provide excellent traction on a variety of surfaces.

The shaft of the boots helps to stabilize the ankles, minimizing injuries, and the anatomical insoles and ergonomic soles provide excellent support and stability.

 

Best sandals for fallen arches 

Women’s Sahara

Sahara

Why you’ll love it

  • 3 straps for customized fit
  • Stylish and healthy for your feet

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Wide (D)
  • Upper materials: synthetic

 

The Sahara sandals have three adjustable straps across the instep that provide a secure and comfortable fit. The foam padded uppers protect the feet and improve comfort. The uppers are also soft and can easily accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes, while the soles support the arches and are expertly cushioned.

In addition to their orthopedic benefits, the Sahara sandals are also stylish and versatile. They can be dressed up or down, and they are perfect for a variety of occasions. Whether you are running errands, going to the beach, or simply enjoying a day in the park, the Sahara sandals will keep your feet comfortable and stylish all day long.

Men’s Gemini

Gemini

Why you’ll love it

  • Two-way strap + two more adjustable straps
  • Soft upper that doesn’t irritate the skin

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-14
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: soft leather

 

The two-way strap design of these sandals is highly advantageous. With this feature, you can effortlessly slide your feet into the sandals and secure them on either side with minimal effort.

In addition to the two-way strap design, these sandals boast two more straps - one at the heel and one across the toes - that enable you to customize the fit to your unique foot shape. By adjusting the straps, you can ensure a secure, snug, and comfortable fit that won't cause rubbing or irritation.

To provide a non-binding fit that can help prevent discomfort or irritation, the sandals' soft leather upper is pliable and comfortable, offering a gentle touch against the skin.

Furthermore, the sandals' rubber outsole offers advanced grip that provides added stability and helps prevent falls.

 

Best slippers for fallen arches 

Women’s Louise | Men’s Hudson

Hudson

Why you’ll love it

  • Stretchy, breathable uppers
  • Open back and adjustable strap that secures fit

Specs

  • Sizes: women 5-12; men 7-14
  • Widths: women Narrow (A) - Extra Wide (2E) | men Standard (D) - Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: stretch knit

 

The Louise and Hudson slippers are a great choice for people with fallen arches, as they provide superior arch support even when you’re indoors.

They are designed with an open back that makes it easy to slip your feet in without using your hands or bending down. The slippers also come with an adjustable strap that secures the fit and grip, providing extra stability and support to the foot.

The slippers also have a wide and roomy toe box, which offers ample space for the toes to move freely. This helps to reduce the risk of pressure points, blisters and irritation. 

The Louise and Hudson slippers are made with stretch knit uppers that keep your feet constantly ventilated, odor free and healthy. 

The slippers also have a lightweight and comfortable design that helps to walk with less effort and reduces the risk of falls.

 

Design features of shoes for fallen arches?

 

Like any good investment, especially when the investment concerns your health, you should know what features to look for in a product before you buy it. The same holds true when you’re shopping for fallen arches shoes. 

To find the best shoes for fallen arches, make sure they have the following features:

  • Premium orthotic insoles that provide anatomical arch support to help align the foot and reduce over-pronation.
  • A firm heel counter that holds the heel, supports the foot and reduces over pronation.
  • Soles that provide firm support and don’t collapse under the arch of the foot.
  • An extra-depth design that provides a relaxed fit and allows for greater toe motion as well as accommodates custom orthotics.
  • Removable insoles that can be replaced with custom orthotics.


How do fallen arches progress?


  • Trauma or injury: Occasionally, fallen arches may be due to fracture, sprain or direct blow to the tendon.
  • Age: The risk of developing fallen arches increases with age. Research has suggested that middle aged women are more commonly affected.
  • Being overweight: If a person has flat feet, greater weight can cause excessive stretching on the tibialis posterior tendon and cause fallen arches.
  • Inflammatory arthritis: Inflammation and degeneration of the tendon, which may result in the tendon tearing.
  • Footwear: Inadequate support from footwear may also be a contributing factor.

These factors may cause the arch of the foot to collapse, hence “fallen arches”, and change the position of the bones of the foot and ankle.


Fallen arches common symptoms


  • Pain along the inside of the foot and ankle, where the tendon lies. This may or may not be associated with swelling in the area.
  • Pain that is worse with activity. High intensity or high impact activities, such as running, can be very difficult.
  • Pain on the outside of the ankle. When the foot collapses, the heel bone may shift to a new position outward.

The following measures can help prevent fallen arches:


  • Recognize the symptoms. When you recognize the symptoms of fallen arches early on, you improve your chances of preventing further problems from developing. The most common symptom is a sharp, burning pain in the arch and heel area. Other symptoms include swollen ankles, and difficulty standing on your tiptoes, jumping high or running fast. Some people also experience pain in the calf, knee or lower back.
  • Footwear for fallen arches is important. It is advisable to wear sturdy fallen arches shoes such as lace up shoes or boots that stabilize the foot and can accommodate orthotic insoles and braces.
  • Wear supportive orthotic insoles. Orthotics for fallen arches can help support the arches of the feet and compensate for overpronation. Wearing proper foot orthotics and fallen arches insoles, together with fallen arches shoes, can help reduce strain on the posterior tibial tendon and alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Perform exercises that strengthen the arches. Strengthening the arches of your feet can help prevent fallen arches. There are several exercises you can do for this, such as wrapping a towel around the sole of your foot and then extending and holding your leg in the extended position for 30 seconds. You can also stand barefoot on a hard surface and flex your feet as hard as you can to activate the arch muscle, while also making sure that your feet don’t roll and that your toes don’t press down.