Flat Foot: What is it
The arch of the foot is formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones and strengthened by ligaments and tendons. It allows the foot to support the weight of the body in the erect posture with the least weight.
The height of the arch determines pronation and foot type.The arch height of the foot can easily be checked using the wet feet test.
People with a Low arch do not have a distinct curve along the inside of the foot. The imprint taken in a wet test may show nearly the entire foot. People with low arches are more likely to overpronate which can result in injuries. Insufficiently expressed arches are called low or fallen arches. The term flat feet applies to the arch which is sitting on the ground completely.
Runners with flat feet need to put extra care in choosing the best running shoe
Your foot arch is your natural shock absorption system. Nature designed it so that when you put your body weight over your feet the shock is absorbed by this mechanism in order to alleviate the impact (and subsequent injuries) that would otherwise hit your feet, ankles, knees and hips.
Your foot arch is your natural shock absorption system: when you put your weight over your feet the shock is absorbedClick to tweet
A flat foot is the most visible sign of overpronation, meaning that your arch collapses during the impact on the ground. As a consequence, your ankle twists inward and your knees overcompensates.
Flat feet are a particular concern for runners, as during the running gait the arch is supposed to support on average 3 times their body weight.
Shoes Technologies Aimed at Runners with Flat Feet
Over the last 20 years or so, all the major running footwear producers developed specific technologies aimed at helping runners with flat feet run in comfort and safety.
The key words you have to remember are: stability, support and motion control.
Support is what a flat foot runner needs. When looking at shoes reviews or technical specifications, any indication of “added support” means you are headed in the right direction. Stability is an industry standard term that categorizes running shoes aimed at helping overpronation: every brand has their own collection of Stability Running Shoes. Motion Control are Stability Shoes for the most severe overpronators: they include the solutions of stability shoes and focus in enhancing them.
The main technology found in Stability shoes is a medial post of dual density foam. Footwear producers inject a harder compound of foam right below the medial side of the arch and sometimes extended all the way to the heel. It is easily recognizable as a darker (almost always gray) piece of foam on the inside of the midsole (view picture).
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Click on the name of a shoe to go to the review.
Stability Running Shoes
Don’t think that since you have flat feet you automatically need a Motion Control shoe: a well constructed Stability shoe can be the best choice for a runner with a low arch.
CONS: None which are prominent
Recommended for: The Nike LunarGlide 6 is perfect for those runners who are looking for lightweight stability shoe which provides plenty of cushioning throughout the entire stride.
CONS: Price., Flexibility issues. While fit and feel are great, this sacrifices performance attributes.
Recommended for: This is for those seeking maximum comfort and support. Meant to handle any distance and can take a pounding along the way.
CONS: Slightly heavy, The tongue folds over near the ankle
Recommended for: This shoe is designed for the runner who needs stability control. The Sequence Boost 8 should be considered in the middle of the wheel-house for stability control shoes.
CONS: Fit is half size small, Heel drop maybe high for some
Recommended for: The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 is a shoe for runners seeking reliable stability with an adequate amount of cushioning to provide for a gentle transition throughout the entire stride.
CONS: Slightly loose heel fit
Recommended for: Moderate over pronators searching for a combination of solid support, traditional features and an easy on the wallet price.
Fast stability running shoes
Up to a few years ago, stability and motion control were categories associated with heavy, clunky shoes. Luckily it is no longer the case and there are many options for lightweight, fast running shoes that offer a great degree of arch control.
Here are some of our favorites:
CONS: Upper material starts to fall apart way too early into life of shoe.
Recommended for: This is ideal for those looking for a fast ride. Recommended for experienced runners that are looking for a shoe to use in tempo runs or on race day.
CONS: Caused slightly more pronation than usual
Recommended for: This shoe is designed for anyone putting in some serious mileage and is looking for a comfortable lightweight trainer.
Some Tips for Flat Feet Runners
- Run Barefoot. If you have the chance, add barefeet runs on a softer surface (on a beach for example) to your running schedule. Running barefoot stimulates and strengthens your foot’s natural muscles, improving your natural shock absorption capabilities.
- Try the Nike Free or the Nike Free 3.0 v4. If running barefoot is not a viable option for you, the Nike Free technology is your second best option to train your foot’s muscles.
- Pick up a ping-pong ball with your toes. A simple exercise anybody can do at any time, even while watching tv. Recommended by many podiatrists, this exercise will give you incredible results in the long run.