The arch of your feet are formed from ligaments, tendons and bones. Those with low arches lack a definitive curve along the inside of their foot. This non-curvature of the foot makes the person at risk of overpronation (collapsed arch upon impact on the ground), which can lead to ankle and knee injuries. The term “flat feet” refers to those with absolutely no curvature, where the entire inside of the foot is resting on the ground when standing.
Purpose of the Arch
One of the purposes of the arch is to support the weight of your body when you are standing, with the least amount of pressure. Arches also act as a natural shock absorption system to lessen impact, thereby lowering risk of hip, knee, ankle and foot injuries. Runners with flat feet have to be especially careful since the arches will have to support about three times your weight while running.
What to Look For in Shoes
- Support. This refers to extra cushioning in the arch area of the running shoe. Otherwise, the support shoe is like any other running shoe.
- Stability. These shoes are made for those at risk for overpronation. Stability shoes are made with a medial post of dual density foam to prevent the runner from rolling his or her ankle. This foam is located where your arch would be, on the inside of the midsole. Many times, the dual density foam will be darker in color, most likely gray.
- Motion Control. Like shoes that stabilize, motion control shoes are stabilizing shoes for the most severe overpronators and restrict the extra rolling motion of the feet. They are extremely inflexible with heavy soles that are hard and tough.
- Add Arch Support Inserts. These add a little more support to your running shoes. Be careful that your shoes are not too small after adding the inserts. Your toes should have some room or else you’ll risk getting blisters.
- Run Barefoot. Running barefoot on soft surfaces will strengthen the muscles in your feet, improving your natural shock absorption skills. Because shoes aide in running, the muscles in your feet are working less inside of more.
- Exercise Your Feet. When you’re sitting idly, watching TV or waiting on someone, pick up a ping-pong ball with your toes. Although relatively simple, you’ll notice a huge improvement by doing this exercise. So effective, podiatrists recommend it!
Top Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Nike LunarGlide 6
These shoes feature a two-piece, dual-density midsole for softer but more responsive cushioning and Firm Phylon for medial support and stability. The Nike LunarGlide 6 is great for those with moderate pronation.
New Balance 1260 v4
These shoes feature ABZORB Crash Pad for enhanced motion control and stability within the heel and Ortholite Premium insole for additional arch cushioning. The New Balance 1260 v4 is great for those with severe overpronation.
Saucony Guide 7
Brooks Ravenna 6
Mizuno Wave Inspire 10
These shoes feature U4ic midsoles for lightweight and resilient cushioning, as well as Lateral Forefoot Sculpting for a smooth touchdown-to-takeoff transition. The Mizuna Wave Inspire 10 is great for those with moderate overpronation.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14
These shoes feature Segmented Crash Pad for a smooth touchdown-to-takeoff transition and DNA midsole for customized cushioning. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 is great for those with moderate overpronation.