The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet and High Arches

June 4, 2019

If you’re experiencing pain when you run, look no further than your feet. The type of running shoe you wear can have a significant impact on your heel strikes, foot strikes, and all-around foot and ankle health. Whether you have flat feet, high arches, or something in-between, here are some tips on selecting the best running shoe for your foot type from our Charlotte podiatrist.

How to determine your arch type at home

Most podiatry offices, as well as some specialty running stores, can give you a digital scan of your foot to let you know how you stand (pun intended). But there is also a simple, low-tech method you can try at home. Simply fill a shallow pan with water, and place a colored sheet of paper next to it (a brown paper bag works well). Lightly wet the sole of your foot, and step gently onto the paper.

The more of your footprint you can see, the lower your arches are. If you can see all of your foot’s arch, you likely have flat feet. If you can’t see any arch at all, you have very high arches. And if you can see some arch but not all of it, then you have neutral or normal arches.

The best running shoe for flat feet

If you can see most of your arch in your footprint, it is likely you have flat feet. While flat feet aren’t all bad, because they provide some shock absorption, they also place stress on the feet and knees, putting you at high risk for knee injuries. If you have flat feet, you are most likely an overpronator, meaning that your feet roll inward when you run. To prevent this, look for a high-stability shoe which will provide support and structure; internal wedges that build up your arches; and dense, substantial midsoles. Custom orthotics made in a podiatry office can significantly help flat feet.

The best running shoe for high arches

If you could only see your toes and heels in your footprint, with very little arch visible or no arch at all, then you probably have high arches. Those with high arches are very susceptible to running injuries, because arches are rigid and cannot absorb much shock. In the footprint test, those with high arches will only be able to see their toes and heels, either Those with high arches usually underpronate, or roll their feet outwards as they run. In order to prevent this, look for well-cushioned, flexible shoes with soft, shock-absorbing midsoles. Ordering custom orthotics from a podiatrist can also help provide support and prevent injuries.

The best running shoes for normal arches

Also called “neutral” or “medium” arches, normal arches are the most common type of arch. Normal arches are generally able to support your body weight without much trouble, allowing your foot to pronate normally under pressure. Runners with this foot type can usually wear any kind of shoe, and do not need either stability or motion control to help them. We recommend going with a moderate stability shoe.

Schedule an appointment with our Charlotte foot and ankle clinic today

Whichever type of running shoe you choose, it should feel snug on the heel, roomy on the toes, and comfortable all around. For the best results, we recommend stopping by our Charlotte foot and ankle clinic, so that one of our professional podiatrists can evaluate your feet and recommend either a specific shoe, or a custom orthotic. To schedule an appointment with Ryan Foot and Ankle, click here!