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Published November 2nd, 2018

Let me start with the good news: if you have flat feet you can still be a very successful runner. You can manage to run injury free for a long time if you put the right attention to your training, your warning signs and your footwear.

Here’s an overview of the shoes we recommend. Continue reading for an overview of the anatomy of flat feet, what are the potential issues with running and what shoe companies have done to address these issues.

Stability Running Shoes for Flat Feet

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is a shoe that continues to improve each year. With a smooth ride and overhauled upper, once again it is a 'Go To Shoe' for over pronators. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight shoe that gives a high amount of support.
  • Redesigned upper.
  • Impressive amount of colorways available.

Cons

  • Light construction and high heel drop clashed at times.
The Asics Kayano 25 is an all around great stability trainer built for miles upon miles. It’s sole can feel bulky at times and the price may turn some runners off. However, it provides runners with an ideal blend of cushion, responsiveness and control throughout every run. Read full review »

Pros

  • There are quite a few new updates which have all improved the shoe
  • The new two part midsole
  • Provides cushion, responsiveness, and control throughout your whole run

Cons

  • The color options are not visually appealing
  • The sole unit can feel bulky during runs
  • Price
I loved running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 and I don't plan to stop doing so any time soon. Very comfortable shoe for my flat foot, nicely cushioned but responsive thanks to the wave plate. Feel lighter than it is. Read full review »

Pros

  • Good stability throughout the whole gait
  • Soft cushioning
  • Really comfortable upper
  • Good fit for my foot, with securely locked heel, wrapping midfoot and good room in the toebox

Cons

  • $130 price point maybe a bit high
  • The 12mm drop might be a little too high, if you are used to land on your midfoot.

Just because you have flat feet it doesn't mean you can't run fast, in lightweight running shoes. These shoes are lighter, more responsive but still provide good comfort and a safe support.

Lightweight Stability Running Shoes for Flat Feet

The Brooks PureCadence 7’s fantastic sole unit and decent upper prepare this lightweight, low-drop shoe to support you over many miles, all for a great price.

This version has (just) a touch more room in the width, but going up a half size is still recommended for the length. Read full review »

Pros

  • Superb sole: cushion, responsiveness, traction
  • Snug midfoot
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth around the ankle with solid heel counter
  • Supportive yet not restrictive

Cons

  • Slight room in the heel
  • Height in forefoot causes me to scuff the front
The ASICS Gel DS Trainer 23 combines support with performance; thanks to a springy Flytefoam midsole and redesigned upper. It continues to be the sleeper hit from ASICS. Read full review »

Pros

  • Dependable trainer. Equal parts supportive and fast.
  • Lightweight and springy midsole.
  • Redone upper material with adaptive mesh.

Cons

  • Narrow fit.
  • Tongue too thin.
  • Limited color options.

Sometimes, especially when your ankles aren't that strong - you'll need extra stability. These shoes are some of the most supportive out there.

Max Stability Running Shoes for Flat Feet

The Hoka One One Gaviota is a very supportive running shoe that has an amazing cushioning, a low drop that makes it svelte and doesn't weight as much as its competitors. Read full review »

Pros

  • Wonderful cushioning that is both soft and responsive
  • Stable without feeling constrictive
  • Lightweight for the amount of cushioning and support

Cons

  • Toebox narrower than I prefer
The Saucony Redeemer ISO 2 is so close to be a great stability/motion control running shoe for runners with flat feet (or particularly unstable gait) but a very heavy and warm upper and an issue with heel slippage ruined the fun for me. Read full review »

Pros

  • Very very stable without feeling constrictive
  • EVERUN cushioning makes it very comfortable at each step

Cons

  • Heel is too wide, keeps slipping of my feet
  • Upper is very very hot and not very breathable

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.

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 shoe 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.

running shoes flat feet

Stability post in the New Balance 860 (in dark grey).

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).

Do I necessarily need a stability/motion control shoe?

In the past 5 years, the conventional model of “neutral > stability > motion control” has been put into question by a series of scientific tests and currents such as barefoot running and minimalism.

No, you don’t necessarily need a stability or motion control shoe if you have flat feet. Some flat footed runners thrive in neutral shoes, but my experience is that this is the minority. I would advise runners to start in a stability shoe and only later experiment with a neutral shoe. Remember, flat feet is only one of your unique characteristics. What works for you might not work for someone else and vice-versa.


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