Buying Guides   Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet – 2013

Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet – 2013

A roundup of the best stability running shoes for runners with flat feet in 2013
 November 23, 2013 13
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet – 2013

Flat Feet and Running

Many people with flat feet don’t have major problems on a day-to-day basis. For others, however, flat feet means pain in the arch or heel, feet that tire easily, or even back and leg pain.

Flat feet aren’t a reason to avoid running, and with the right shoes, even those with flat feet can enjoy the miles.

Click here for more information about flat feet and running.

Mechanics of Flat Feet

Runners with flat feet tend to be overpronators, meaning that their ankles twist inward, putting additional stress on the knee. Most runners with flat feet require stability shoes to prevent their arches from flattening, causing the ankles to twist inward.

While proper fit is important for all runners, those with flat feet should take special care when buying their running shoes. We highly recommend visiting a specialized running store that allows you to try all pairs on and run on a treadmill in-house to check gait.

We’ve explored the basics of pronation and shoe choice here.

The Wet Test

The easiest way to tell if you have flatter than average feet is the wet test. Simply wet the bottom of the foot and step on a towel. If the imprint left has little to no inward curve in the middle, you may want to consider shoes with stability features if you have had recurring knee or ankle injuries.

For pictures and more details about the wet test, take a look at our full explanation.

Stabilizing Flat Feet

Stability shoes work to keep the foot and ankle straight through foot strike.

With features such as medial posts and shanks (typically plastic pieces within the sole) and firmer, denser foams than in typical cushioned shoes, stability shoes tend to be a bit more rigid and heavier to keep the foot and ankle in proper position.

Stronger Feet, Better Running

In addition to stability shoes, runners with flat feet should also consider strengthening their feet. One of the most effective foot exercises is to pick up a marble, ping pong ball, or even a towel with your toes.

The lifting and curling will help to strengthen toes and muscles in the foot, helping to train the foot to stabilize itself. Even runners without flat feet can benefit from stronger feet, as it allows for great agility and helps to prevent injuries to the area.

Brooks Ravenna 4

Brooks Ravenna 4 - Medial ViewThe Brooks Ravenna is a no-nonsense, traditional stability shoe.

Our testers found the Ravenna 4 to be well balanced and comfortable, despite a slightly narrow toe box.

The sole features a touch of arch support, but it isn’t so high that it’s bothersome or painful.In addition, it has solid, substantial support, with a plastic shank in the mid-sole providing the bulk of the support.

To round out the support, the heel is split, with a denser, harder foam directly under the arch and softer external cushioning in the heel.

Check out Ruggero’s full review here.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 - PairThe Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 is a stable shoe that doesn’t sacrifice support or cushioning, but still clocks in at a slightly lower weight than many of its competitors.

The most popular of Mizuno’s stability offerings, this update was minor, with the most changes occurring in the upper to improve the overall look and fit.

For support, the Inspire 9 uses Mizuno’s wave plate, which is a plastic plate running through the shoe. The Inspire 9’s wave plate begins near the heel and runs through to the arch, stopping before the forefoot for flexibility.

Check out Theo’s take for the full details here.

Asics GT-2000

Asics GT 2000 - SoleThe Asics GT-2000 is part of a long line of highly popular stability shoes.

With such a long tradition, the GT-2000 is a well-balanced, comfortable, and well-priced shoe that appeals to a wide swath of runners looking for a little additional stability.

Despite a complete overhaul with this update, the GT-2000 retains the same smooth feel of its predecessors. Though it’s heavier than some of its competitors, it continues to be a top seller.

With redesigned support features, the GT 2000 offers a bit more stability than previous versions of the shoe. Overall, our testers thought that it would make a great everyday trainer for runners that need a bit more support.

More details are in Theo’s review here.

Brooks Adrenaline 13

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 - Medial SideBrooks’ Adrenaline 13 is a longtime favorite among their stability options, and this update will not disappoint its fans.

The Adrenaline 13 has many features loved by Brooks fans, including Omega Flex Grooves, which allow for a smoother transition.

For support, there is a medial post that gets firmer toward the inside of the sole unit, slowing the roll outward.

With a snug upper fit and a smooth, flexible ride, the Adrenaline 13 is a well-balanced and great shoe for everyday training.

For more details, check out Ashley’s take.

Saucony Hurricane 15

Saucony Hurricane 15 - PairThe Saucony Hurricane 15 has all of the features of its predecessors, and, overall, is a well-cushioned, stable shoe that does have any unnecessary weight or bulk.

It works well for runners with flat feet and heavier runners looking for a smooth, comfortable ride. Keeping with a formula that has worked for a large number of runners, the Hurricane 15 saw minimal updates beyond cosmetic changes.

To encourage a midfoot strike, it features an 8mm heel to toe drop and a more flexible sole. Providing support is a firm wedge on the inner side of the shoe and a rounded crash pad.

For more details, check out Jim’s review.

RECOMENDED FOR YOU

COMMENTS (13)

  • Although I have a flat feet, I’m using a Neutral Shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider 15) without problem. Maybe it’s because I’m a mid-foot striker. Neverthless, Brooks Ravenna 4 looks great but I would like to try a low drop running shoes.
    Anyway…Great reviews guys!!

  • So frustrating to still read stuff like this: “Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet – 2013″
    Amongst some of the comments in this article are the following:
    1. “A roundup of the best stability running shoes for runners with flat feet”… errr.. “flat feet”.. really? Not relevant I am afraid!
    2. “flat feet means pain in the arch or heel, feet that tire easily, or even back and leg pain.”.. no it does not mean that at all. Most “flat feet’ function perfectly well and rarely cause any problems.
    3. “Runners with flat feet tend to be overpronators, meaning that their ankles twist inward, putting additional stress on the knee.”.. NO this is simply not true.. the author is having an major confusion separating “overpronation” with an anatomical flattening of the arch, which is COMPLETELY different.
    4. “Most runners with flat feet require stability shoes to prevent their arches from flattening, causing the ankles to twist inward….arrrrrrrrrrrggghhhhhh.. NO.. the exact opposite may be true!
    5. Wanna guess what comes next…the dreaded WET TEST “The easiest way to tell if you have flatter than average feet is the wet test.”.. let’s be crystal clear here.. the wet test is a complete and utter load of bollocks, tell us absolutely nothing, and should never, under any circumstances be performed!
    6. “Stability shoes work to keep the foot and ankle straight through foot strike.”.. Holy Cow!! was this article written in 1982…nope October 11th 2013.. wow!
    7. “runners with flat feet should also consider strengthening their feet. ” given the problem is almost certainly osseous (relating to the bones), strengthening to foot will not make even 0.0000001% of a difference
    This is one of the worst pieces on running shoes I have read in the last couple of years.. demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of running mechanics and shoe selection. I really wish people like the author would stick to what they know.. this drivel does not help anyone.

    • I agree, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. Frankly, this article seems to be written by the support shoe mafia who are trying to preserve a dying business model….you know the one I mean…..the one where an underpaid and unqualified retail staff member “assesses” your feet while you stand there and do some weird lunges and they then tell you that you overpronate and need stability shoes…..usually this is done without ever having seen you run.

    • Hey, i agree for 90%. A flat foot with no overpronation does not need a stab shoe. However ! That does not mean that stab shoes are from the eighties. I still help every day runners with stab shoes. All of them are better of. Injuries do,go away with a good shoe. Just take care that you do not give too stiff shoes. As little as possible support. But enough!!!! That my way.

    • Lots of complaints, not one correction offered. How about supporting some of your statements, instead of just saying “nope” and “wrong” all the time? Seriously, what do you recommend, or where do you suggest we go for information?

  • I have to agree with Mr Angry above; there are a number of errors in this piece.

    The muscles in the human foot are so short that it is almost impossible to train them to any degree (and not enough to stabilise a ‘flat foot’).

    Over pronation is where the arch of the foot collapses either too much or too fast, lacking the supportive cushioning that this should give. True flat feet have no arch to collapse – there is no windlass mechanism and no arch.

  • Hi There!

    I’m an avid fan of your website regularly checking your reviews and articles. They are very informative and helpful especially for a newbie in running like me.

    I however have a question. I am a forefoot runner who over-pronates. Would like to ask for any suggestions on type of shoe that will fit me. I understand that most
    stability shoes today are designed to correct over pronation of the heel striker not the forefoot striker.
    Many individuals who forefoot strike will by pass the stability piece in any normal stability shoe. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

    I by the way tried using Mizuno Inspire 8 after reading your review. It’s a good shoe but I do feel a little pain however on my right knee. I also have Kinvara 3 for my fast drills and short runs which seems to be om with me.

    Also went to a running store already to ask for my gait analysis and they basically suggested me to get a stability shoe but didn’t get much info really.

    Hope you can help me

    • Hi Chris, If you really are forefoot runner, no shoe wil help. Your joints and muscles will step by step get stronger. Try to avoid big steps and increase your trainings little by little. Compression sock can help a bit. However ! If you do a recovery training, lite support can help if you land on heel. Good luck

  • I see that Luke has jumped on the fashion bandwagon of minimalist shoes (they are SO ‘now’ aren’t they! And they match my fixie bike and ‘paleo’ diet!).

    “support shoe mafia” – who are they? And why does it matter to you if there are still over-pronating heel-strikers (like me) who have tried minimal shoes/midfoot striking and found it to be damaging?

    Why must minimal/barefoot runners insist that any other option is ‘wrong’? Who are you trying to convince? And what were you doing before you discovered that minimal running was trendy a couple of years ago?

    I suggest that the running-shoe nazis are those barefoot evangelists who have suddenly decided that what worked for 40 years suddenly doesn’t, but to convince themselves, must tell everyone else to do the same as them!

  • Correct. I work in the run industry. I do not give them 2 years annymore. Much injuries with forefoot running. Only good for very few. Good for them, but do not advise it for all runners.

  • Nicely done article. But while stability really is the thing to look for when choosing shoes, you have to take into account your personal preferences. How your foot feels in the show and the way you run are unique to you and your shoe should reflect that. Checking how robust the shoe is and how you experience it first hand is preferable to buying online. My point is, don’t look for the best running shoes for flat feet, look for the ones that suit you most. Here are some useful methods you can use to see how stable a stability show really is.

    http://happyrunningfeet.com/the-best-running-shoes-for-flat-feet-3-critical-tests/

  • What about the adidas sequence, i own the 4 gen and they are great

  • Some people have structural problems with their feet that cannot be completely solved with training. My flat feet are caused by really loose connective tissue. While strengthening my muscles helps me with stability, I need highly supportive shoes to avoid injury. There is no way to shorten connective tissue. I’m glad that using minimalist shoes and adjusting stride is helpful to you, but I find articles like this really helpful. I’m not much of a runner, but I love high-stability trail running shoes for hiking and daily use- nothing else keeps my ankles, knees, and hips happy like these do. Please, keep in mind that just because the new trend works really well for you, that doesn’t mean you need to shove it down everyone else’s throat and get mad at people who are sticking with the tried and true. I know what works for me, and I am thankful that I know that about myself. Other people with flexible connective tissue related hyperpronation who are like me might be more easily persuaded or bullied into trying shoes that are not supportive enough for them, only to wind up with serious joint problems. I have read the studies that have persuaded so many to try minimalist running shoes, and I have even sold them, but they are only right for a select few who use them as a training tool to develop their finer muscles and improve their running form (or practice barefoot sports like tai chi or tree climbing). And I cringe when I see people wearing them as a day-to-day shoe, standing around on concrete while their knees buckle inward and their posture degrades. Talk about mafias! Have you ever thought that this new craze might just be one man’s quest to make millions of his new product? Maybe he’s in cahoots with the joint replacement industry! Seriously, though, use minimalist shoes wisely.

    I’ll admit that the human foot didn’t evolve in a shoe, but it didn’t evolve on concrete either. We didn’t evolve with eyeglasses, but we don’t go around telling people with vision problems “Oh, just go without glasses to strengthen your eyes. It works for me!”

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