The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet in 2022

runners on a bridge


Choosing the right shoe for your feet can be overwhelming. You have a number of choices in style, support, stability, drop, and more. But for those of us who have flat feet, navigating the world of athletic footwear can be overwhelming and frustrating. Flat feet, sometimes known as collapsed arches, can be harmless and barely noticeable. In more chronic cases, flat feet can cause foot pain, trouble walking, and injuries. That's why it's crucial for these runners to find the best running shoes for flat feet.

The ACTIVE Reviews Team took the time to list their top picks for flat-footed runners, along with key factors to keep in mind like the root cause of your flat feet and your personal fitness needs. Keep reading for a breakdown of everything you need to know about the best running shoes for people with flat feet.

Why Trust Us?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring their years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet — Our Top Picks

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What should you consider when selecting the best running shoes for flat feet?

Causes of flat feet

Before you get into researching and selecting new footwear, you should establish the root cause of your flat feet. Babies are born with flat feet and later develop defined arches. Some people simply never form those defined arches on their feet. If you've always had flat feet, it's probably at least partially genetic. Many children grow out of flat feet as they get older, while others develop flat feet later in life due to injury or chronic conditions. If a preexisting condition such as obesity or arthritis is contributing to your flat feet, it's best to consult a doctor to work on the root cause as well as mitigate your symptoms with the proper choice of footwear.

Types of flat feet

Flexible flat feet

If you have flexible flat feet, your arches will usually be visible when you're not standing, but collapsed when you stand, run, or walk. You may have pain or tightness in your feet and calves. You may also overpronate when you walk or run since you lack a defined arch while bearing weight.

Rigid flat feet

Rigid flat feet are less common and are usually the result of genetic or anatomical differences. They generally require more involved treatments such as surgery or bracing.

Shoe type

Running shoes come in a number of types based on support and purpose. For flat feet, most of the shoes we recommend are stability shoes, which offer plenty of arch support. If your arches are undefined due to muscle weakness, you can gradually reduce the amount of arch support in your shoes as your feet get stronger. Luckily, there are plenty of options for stability shoes out there, from super supportive to low or neutral support.

If you have rigid flat feet, you'll probably want a motion control shoe, which helps normalize your gait and prevent the overpronation that you're, well, prone to.

Arch support

Running shoes come with different amounts of arch support. Most people with flat feet need more arch support rather than less. But some types of arch support are designed to prevent overpronation, which is common among people with flat feet. It's a good idea to have your gait evaluated at a professional running store or by a podiatrist, so you know how much support or correction you need.

Heel to toe support

Arch support is not all you need! Depending on whether you're a heel-, midfoot-, or forefoot-striker when you run, you'll need supportive cushioning in different parts of your shoe. Make sure the shoe you select has support where you need it. It should also have a drop (the difference in height between the heel and toe areas) that you're comfortable with. Drop can impact stability and speed, and over time, high-drop shoes can have ill effects on the Achilles tendon.

Shoe last

Understanding shoe last, or the actual shape of the sole of the shoe is vital for folks with flat feet. If you have high arches or even normal arches, your footprint naturally makes a noticeable curve to the inside when you walk or run. This isn't the case for those with flat feet, who don't have a defined arch when they move. It's important that shoes for flat feet accommodate this by using a wider mid-foot and toe-box design. This allows your arch and toes to comfortably splay out for stability as you walk or run.

Best Overall Running Shoes for Flat Feet - ASICS Gel-Kayano 27

ASICS Gel-Kayano 27

SPECS

  • Key feature: Performs well in every category
  • Weight: Men's 11.1 oz., women's 8.8 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral/stability
  • Heel-to-toe drop: Men's 10 mm, women's 13mm
  • Sizes: Men's size 7-15, women's 5-13

Our selection for best overall running shoes for flat feet is the ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 because it provides a combination of neutral and stability arch support that's ideal for flat feet. Its midsole is specifically constructed to gently discourage overpronation (a common gait problem among runners with flat feet) and promote a natural gait. Supportive gel in the sole provides the bounce of foam without making it more vulnerable to wear and tear. The sole manages to be both flexible and stable, which is a rare combination among running shoes.

We also like how ASICS has customized the Gel-Kayano 27 to work with the differences in gait between men and women. While it may be a pricier option, its performance, durability, and classic design make it our top choice for runners with flat feet.

PROS

  • Gender-specific design (see the difference in drop between men's and women's shoes)
  • Stability features to fight overpronation
  • Many color and size options
  • Reflective details
  • Comfortable support
  • Wide toe box

CONS

  • Higher price point
  • Significant heel-to-toe drop

BUY: ASICS Gel-Kayano 27

Best Running Shoes for Wide Flat Feet - Saucony Men's Echelon 8

Saucony Men's Echelon 8

SPECS

  • Key feature: Neutral support with wide sole for a natural gait
  • Weight: Men's 12.5 oz., women's 10.8 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral/stability
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 5-12

It doesn't matter how well a shoe fits your arches if it's too narrow it won't be comfortable for walking and running. And while many running shoes do come with wide size options, it's even better to find a pair that doesn't require special sizing to work with your feet. The Saucony's Men's Echelon 8 offers neutral arch support with a wider sole. Its wider toe box encourages a natural gait, and the ample cushioning keeps you comfortable through even the longest runs. The Echelon 8 also has a removable insole, which is great if you'd prefer to use custom orthotic insoles in your running shoes.

Though it has a moderate heel-to-toe drop at 8mm, the plush cushioning and wide design of this shoe makes it one of the heaviest we recommend. This makes the Echelon 8 less than ideal for speed training, though it works well for long-distance runs.

PROS

  • Removable insole
  • Great for wide feet
  • Plenty of cushioning
  • Comfortable

CONS

  • Heavy
  • No narrow options
  • Less support than previous Echelon models

BUY: Saucony Men's Echelon 8

Best Running Shoes for Women with Flat Feet - New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11

New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11

SPECS

  • Key feature: Stability features to prevent overpronation
  • Weight: 9.6 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral/stable
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Sizes: Women's 5-13

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 works well for women specifically because it runs smaller and narrower than other running shoes. And for those with flat feet, it provides arch support for cushioning, as well as a medial post to keep your foot from overpronation. Available in both wide and narrow size options, the stability and structure this shoe offers will keep your feet and ankles safe and secure during your runs. But unlike other stability options, it doesn't sacrifice comfort to do so. It has plenty of soft, comfortable cushioning that provides that bounce we look for in an elite running shoe. Keep in mind that because this shoe is focused on stability, it may not perform as well in speed training.

PROS

  • Wide and narrow size options
  • Promotes stability
  • Medial post to prevent overpronation
  • Bouncy feeling

CONS

  • Can run small for some
  • Heavy for women's shoes

BUY: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11

Best Running Shoes for Men with Flat Feet - New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v10

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v10

SPECS

  • Key feature: Stable, rocker-style sole
  • Weight: 9.9 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16; narrow, wide, and extra-wide options available

While there have been several versions of the New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v10 over the years, the tenth version is the best for men with flat feet. Providing both neutral support and stable cushioning, the 1080v10 comes in a wide variety of sizes, including expanded options in narrow, wide, and extra-wide. Its thick heel cushioning makes it a good choice for those with a heel strike, and the soft knit upper conforms comfortably to the foot, while the rocker style boosts speed without sacrificing distance capability.

Runners with flat feet know that cushioning is everything. So, if you're someone who struggles with foot pain during your runs, the firmer cushion of this shoe may not work for you.

PROS

  • Extensive size options
  • Stable
  • Good for heel strikers
  • Comfortable knit upper

CONS

  • Cushioning too firm for some

BUY: New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v10

Best Trail Running Shoes for Flat Feet- Salomon X-Mission 3

Salomon X-Mission 3

SPECS

  • Key feature: Defined lugs for safe trail runs
  • Weight: 10.58 oz. (Unisex)
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Sizes: Men's 4-13

While most shoes designed for flat feet offer significant cushioning and arch support, some don't always provide the level of tread necessary for running on unpredictable terrain. That's where the Salomon X-Mission 3 comes in. When it comes to trail running, stability and connection with the ground beneath you is also important in preventing falls.

And the X-Mission 3 was created with this exact purpose in mind. It has defined lugs on the shoe soles to help you grip the ground beneath you, preventing slippage even in wet or unpredictable conditions. These shoes also come with lockable laces which keep the shoes securely laced for your entire run.

Because these are designed for trail running, they do run a bit more heavy than other shoes on this list. However, this heavier design comes with better stability—an important feature that can keep you safe and protected on various kinds of terrains.

PROS

  • Stability for rocky trail runs
  • Affordable
  • Lockable laces
  • Soft cushioning for flat feet

CONS

  • Sizing inconsistencies; may run small
  • Heavy

BUY: Salomon X Mission 3

Best Supportive Running Shoes for Flat Feet- HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 3

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 3

SPECS

  • Key feature: Lightweight support
  • Weight: Men's 7.7 oz., women's 6.5 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 5mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16, women's 5-12

Hoka has been refining the design of their Rincon 3 running shoe since the first iteration debuted. This latest version is a fan favorite, offering all of the benefits of the previous models with a sturdier exterior, a stiffer insole, and more tread on the sole. It offers thick, firm support that's gentle on flat feet while also being super lightweight. The Rincon 3 also has a comfortable mesh upper that will keep your feet cool, while the thick sole gives you much-needed support. Ample midsole cushioning works for flat feet as well as runners with a midfoot strike.

PROS

  • Rocker shape for acceleration
  • Firm, supportive cushioning for arch support
  • Vegan
  • Wide sizes available

CONS

  • Runs narrow
  • Some users dislike the asymmetrical shape of the shoe's tongue

BUY: HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 3

Best Budget Running Shoes for Flat Feet- Brooks Launch 8 Running Shoes

Brooks Launch 8 Running Shoes

SPECS

  • Key feature: Affordability, at nearly half the price of most comparable shoes
  • Weight: Men's 8.6 oz., women's 7.9 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Sizes: Men's 5-15, Women's 5-12

Choosing a budget-friendly running shoe is more complicated than just finding the cheapest option available. If a shoe falls apart after a few uses, you'll just have to repeat your purchase all over again. That's why it's important to find affordable running shoes that are as durable as they are budget friendly. And the Brooks Launch 8 is our top pick in this category. Priced at just $120, the Launch 8's neutral support and lightweight construction make it comfortable for those with flat feet.

Brooks is also a brand revered for its durability, and the Launch 8 shoes are no different. Built with a one-piece mesh upper that promotes breathability, these shoes also utilize midsole cushioning. The combination creates a durable shoe that can outlast everyday training, but it's also lightweight enough to race in.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Good neutral support for your arches
  • Removable insole

CONS

  • Has fewer features than some of Brooks' other options
  • Lightweight design can make it feel slippery in wet conditions

BUY: Brooks Launch 8 Running Shoes

Best Cushioning Running Shoes for Flat Feet - Saucony Endorphin Shift

Saucony Endorphin Shift

SPECS

  • Key feature: Saucony's firm, supportive PWRRUN cushioning
  • Weight: Men's 10.1 oz., women's 9.2 oz.
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 4mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16, women's 5-12

Flat feet are usually painless, but in some cases, they can cause pain even with running and walking. For distance runners in particular, a cushioned shoe is key to staying pain-free during those long runs. The Saucony Endorphin Shift's cushioning is unmatched. A 38 millimeters cushion between your heel and the ground keeps your foot comfortable while you run. Saucony's PWRRUN cushioning is firm and supportive, while still being gentle enough to support sensitive feet.

This cushioning stands high at 38 millimeters in the heel and 34 millimeters in the forefoot, which results in a stiffer shoe that keeps your foot elevated off the ground. While the design is ideal for flat feet, it's not the best for trail running. Also keep in mind that the extra cushioning adds weight, which is why this shoe is one of the heaviest we've featured at roughly 10 ounces.

PROS

  • Highly cushioned shoe for max comfort
  • Good for recovery runs
  • Long wearing
  • Distance friendly

CONS

  • Not ideal for trail running
  • Heavy at just over 10 oz.

BUY: Saucony Endorphin Shift

FAQs About the Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Can I be a runner with flat feet?

You can absolutely be a runner with flat feet. Many people with flat feet run and walk with no pain and sometimes don't even know they have flat feet. Of course, for others, their lack of defined arches causes pain when they run. Luckily there are plenty of running shoes that provide the cushioning and stability necessary to keep you running comfortably even if you have flat feet. It's best to consider factors like arch support, heel-to-toe support, and midsole cushioning when browsing running shoes for flat feet.

Do I need a special running shoe if I have flat feet?

You don't necessarily need a special shoe or gear if you have flat feet. If your feet aren't causing pain with your current activity level, you probably don't need to find a specialty shoe. But if you are having pain, or your feet like your flat feet are causing you to overpronate (which can cause pain over time), you might want to look for a running shoe that's made with fallen arches in mind.

Do I need a running shoe with arch support if I have flat feet?

Again, whether you need a special running shoe for your flat feet depends on your symptoms. Arch support can be helpful because it normalizes your gait, prevents overpronation, and relieves pain. You can order a pair of custom orthotics to wear in your existing shoes, or you can check out running shoes with built-in support and stability for flat feet. Some people find that firm arch support works best while others prefer thick, soft memory foam soles.

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