10 Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet in 2021

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
10 Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet in 2021

Feeling comfortably supported becomes a priority when you have flat feet. We want to make sure that every flat-footed runner receives the right kind of support from their next pair of shoes.

Equipped with a shoe testing lab and a team of dedicated testers, we have reviewed over 90 running shoes that are recommended for flat feet.

Depending on what you value the most, we have selected our top picks in several categories. Whether you want more cushioning, or need extra space for the toes, or look for a more budget-friendly option, there is a shoe for every demand.

How we select the best running shoes for flat feet

  • all shoes are purchased with our own funds to help us stay transparent and honest
  • our runners go at least 30-50 miles in each pair before submitting their feedback
  • we slice shoes up in our lab to measure every imaginable parameter
  • over 1 million user and expert reviews about flat feet running shoes have been incorporated into our scoring system

Finally, our CoreScore ranking system gives each shoe a score from 0 to 100. This is how we let you know which models are the real deal.

Best overall

In shoe language, Brooks Adrenaline translates to a big cushy hug that comforts and supports you. Isn’t it exactly what you need in a shoe for flat feet?

This shoe has made it to our top picks in 15(!) different categories of running shoes. And we just can’t get enough of it, still taking it on daily walks long after the wear tests are done.

What makes it our top recommendation for flat feet is the gentle supportive system that cradles your foot on the sides. Those firmer bumpers around the heel do a fantastic job keeping the heel in place as you walk or run. They prevent the foot from rolling inwards, which often happens when you have flat feet.

This Brooks trainer also uses one of our favorite cushioning foams, which is among the plushest ones across running shoes. Our feet felt pampered even on the longest of test runs (10K) and there was absolutely no recovery period afterwards!

The shoe keeps your feet in all-around comfort also thanks to its generously padded upper. There is a gentle yet secure clutch around the ankle, which also helps to minimize strain on your feet.

We also find it one of the most durable daily trainers on the market, which makes it a perfect option for all-day wear in addition to your runs.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 was our love at first step!

See our full review and facts

Nearing its 30th iteration, Asics Gel Kayano is the king of stability running shoes!

And if you found this series a bit bulky, the 28th version can radically change your mind, as it changed ours!

It feels so much less intrusive, more flexible, and somehow more cushioned. We still felt that familiar supportive hold all around the foot, but this time around, it just felt more fine-tuned to the foot. No more stiffness from the hard medial post!

Another big surprise is the new FlyteFoam Blast foam which is used in the brand’s speediest race shoes. We could definitely feel this improvement in the ride: the Kayano 28 is more responsive and even peppier, compared to the past versions.

Finally! The shoe even loses some weight (0.5 oz) which puts it on the lower end of stability shoes (the average is at 11.8 oz).

Durability-wise, the word “Kayano” can be used to describe the level of durability. Based on our stiffness tests and wear tests, this thing will go way beyond 500 miles.

One thing that you either love or hate is the exceptionally generous padding. It’s everywhere! So if you love yourself a big plush hug, this thing is off the charts compared to the average. For example, its tongue is 14-mm thick while in most running shoes it’s only about 5.5 mm!

With all its comfort and support, the Kayano 28 will keep your feet stable no matter how far you go.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

If you feel like the $160 Kayano is out of reach, we can highly recommend its budget-friendly sibling, the GT 1000 10.

Sure it lacks some of those premium technologies like Gel cushioning, but it is a great option if you just want a simple stability shoe for no more than $100.

We enjoyed wearing the GT 1000 for short daily runs, casual walks, and even all-day wear. It can easily become one’s go-to shoe with its efficient support system. Your overpronation stays under control in this shoe, although we do recommend upgrading to the Kayano in case of severe overpronation.

It is quite light for a stability shoe too! More precisely, we measured it to be 17% lighter than the average.

We see it as a great entry-level option for runners who are just starting to build up their foot and ankle strength and could use extra support to avoid injury.

Stable and wide, the GT 1000 helped us feel surefooted all throughout the wear tests.

It’s not a speedy one, and we wouldn’t recommend it for longer distances (10K+). But for regular daily use, this Asics shoe is among the most comfortable stability options for less than $100!

See our full review and facts

Brooks knows how to make it right with the Launch GTS 8! Given that stability shoes cost $135 on average, we didn’t have a lot of expectations from this shoe.

And yet, and yet!

As long as you are not a severe overpronator and need more of a mild support, this shoe beats the records! First of all, we didn’t even notice it on the foot. A stability shoe at 8.8 oz is non-sense (the average is 11.8 oz!).

Moreover, there are no stiff, clunky medial posts here. The GuideRails system around the heel (same as in Brooks Adrenaline) was gently guiding our feet all throughout the run. We experienced no discomfort or lack of support as our feet stayed steady in a straight gait.

And, boy, it locks your foot securely. A gusseted tongue is always a welcome addition for us, especially on a budget-friendly shoe.

Given how little wear there was on the outsole after miles of testing, we also expect it to last up to 400 miles. Very close to the lifespan of $20-30 more expensive shoes!

The Launch GTS is also a versatile one. We tested it on slower runs, intervals, and even some longer (10K) efforts. It did not shine in any of these in particular but did just fine for a jack-of-all-trades.

Overall, if you want a super light, durable, and non-intrusive stability shoe to help with your moderate overpronation, Brooks Launch GTS 8 is our absolute favorite in the $100 range!

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

That’s a looot of cush!

The Hurricane is the most well-cushioned and most stable daily trainer from Saucony. And it also uses the brand’s premium foam that you can also find in its top-tier marathon shoes (the Endorphin series).

We have tested it on slower runs and some longer efforts (10K) and can highly recommend it for that purpose!

It is probably the most impressive combination of plushness and responsiveness that we have ever experienced! Normally soft means mushy, but not in the Hurricane 23! If it wasn’t for the heavier weight and stability, we would’ve thought that we are running in the Endorphin Pro!

However, weight is not much of a concern here. The shoe is right at the average of stability shoes.

Stability-wise, the shoe passed with flying colors. Even if you have a more severe case of overpronation, will benefit greatly from the Hurricane. It’s got a wide, stable base along with the brand’s premium support system.

And this trainer screams cozy! It’s got some of the most form-fitting uppers across running shoes and feels like memory foam.

Overall, for $160, the Saucony Hurricane 23 sets a high bar and it lives up to it!

See our full review and facts

“Luxurious” - this is what we immediately thought when stepping into a pair of Glycerins. Featuring the brand’s softest cushioning to date, it is asking you to go on a long run.

At the same time, there is no sinking sensation that you would expect from a plush shoe like this. Even though it’s not the bounciest of foams, you still get a nice response underfoot.

Just like the Adrenaline, it uses Brooks’ GuideRails support system which we’ve grown to enjoy so much. Very unintrusive, it gently wraps around the sides of your heel and guides you through the heel-to-toe transition.

What we love most about it is that it doesn’t feel like a stability shoe at all! It doesn’t let the foot roll inwards and yet feels like a neutral shoe with extra support.

We can even recommend it to runners with neutral pronation who prefer a little more support for their tired legs on those slow recovery runs.

At the same time, it feels light for a max-cushioned support shoe! About 1 oz lighter than stability shoes on average, we were impressed! 

And what a plush upper! You can really feel that classic Brooks approach to upper comfort. What’s surprising is that, unlike the similarly padded Kayano, it still allows some good ventilation.

Overall, if you want real pillows under your feet for those slower days, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 is our top choice!

See our full review and facts

Best for wide feet

So good, it made it to our top picks twice!

Brooks is one of the go-to brands for people with wider feet. Not only do they put emphasis on the more spacious toeboxes, but they also make their shoes in Wide and Extra Wide options.

We thoroughly enjoyed the soft comfort of the Brooks Adrenaline 21. That uber-plush and padded collar holds the heel nicely, transitioning to a very secure midfoot hold.

And the forefoot is where the fit relaxes, offering a good amount of space for your toes. Wide on the sides, it also has ample space up above the toes, allowing them to wiggle freely.

We wear-tested the shoe on some longer 10K+ runs and were impressed with how well it accommodates the swelling! No cramping or pressure points, the soft material stretches easily to contour the changes in your foot volume.

All that in addition to the plush generous cushioning and gentle pronation control make the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 our #1 choice for flat and wide feet!

See our full review and facts

A staple stability shoe, the Asics Gel Kayano hasn’t disappointed us in the fit department either.

We measured the shoe’s forefoot width at 99.7 mm which is wider than 70% of running shoes that we have reviewed!

And if you’ve worn the previous versions of the Kayano, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the upper material got stretchier. We felt no discomfort or hot spots as the mesh stretched out to accommodate the foot all throughout the run.

The shoe also has a nice and wide base in both the forefoot and the heel. The heel part is actually 4.9 mm wider than the average, offering even more stability on landings.

And if you enjoy a plusher touch and don’t need a highly breathable shoe, the Kayano offers one of the most padded uppers. We couldn’t believe its 14-mm thick tongue (the average is 5.5 mm) as well as all that cush around the ankle: 13.2, 17, 17.8mm (front, middle, rear) compared to the average 8, 11.2, 10.5mm.

Overall, we highly recommend the Kayano if you need maximum support for moderate-to-severe overpronation as well as a generous amount of toebox space.

See our full review and facts

Best for trail

If you want a bit less rugged shoe that can transition from road to trail, we highly recommend the GT 2000 9 Trail.

An off-road version of Asics’ staple stability shoe, it keeps all the supportive features of the original model. The shoe feels a lot like the Kayano!

We experienced a very steady ride on its wide platform. Even though it uses a classic medial post that the more advanced stability shoes are moving away from, it still feels solid and very reasonable for the price!

In our opinion, if you’re not after the latest bells and whistles but prefer a more traditional approach to arch support, the GT 2000 is an excellent value for the price!

Adding to its benefits is a lasting cushioning unit. Based on our wear-tests, it can even take you up to a marathon distance!

And we are just as happy to say that the outsole durability is at par with what you would expect from Asics! At least 450 miles are guaranteed in this trail shoe.

If $120 is the maximum you are ready to spend on a pair of trail shoes for flat feet, Asics GT 2000 9 Trail is a fantastic option! Highly supportive, durable, and road-to-trail-friendly, we see it as the go-to shoe for a great number of runners.

See our full review and facts

We simply cannot think of a trail shoe that would give you more arch support and stability than the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8.

Each step feels planted and surefooted in this steady tank of a shoe. We tested it on some longer runs of 10K+ and all-day hikes, some harsher rocky trails, and softer muddy routes. In a word, it is a monster!

With a grip of a hungry tiger, the shoe’s outsole never let us slip on wet rocks and branches. And the amount of heavy-duty rubber on the outsole, around the toes, the sides, and the heel makes hitting a rock feel like a touch of a feather. You are protected 360 degrees!

Our feet remained steady thanks to the in-built 3D chassis. No matter how severe your case of flat feet or overpronation is, this shoe will make you forget that your foot ever leaned inwards.

Contributing to stability is the thick and sturdy midfoot cage. It cradles the foot with zigzaggy overlays. Once we laced up the shoe, there was zero foot movement, even on some of the twistiest trails. The lockdown is supreme in this Salomon shoe!

And the Quicklace system is a whole new world! If you haven’t tried it before, we guarantee that it will change your perspective on laces in an instant. So quick and easy to adjust, it takes seconds to tighten or loosen it up while on the run.

On top of it all, our durability predictions for this shoe are off the charts! This thing is going to last AT LEAST 500 miles.

And if you don’t mind compromising on the bulk and stiffness in return for all the benefits mentioned above, the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 is our first choice for the trails!

See our full review and facts

What are flat feet

Flat feet, also called fallen arches, is characterized by no arch, which means the entire sole of the feet touches the ground. Based on studies, this foot condition affects 20% to 30% of the general population. For adults, it is more common in women who are over 40 years old and people who are obese

If you are a flat-footed runner, this buying guide will help you pick the right pair of running shoes for your condition.

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3 mistakes to avoid when looking for running shoes for flat feet

Are there shoes designed for flat feet? Well, not exactly! There are running shoes designed for overpronation, and most flat-footed runners overpronate. Thus, individuals with flat feet find comfort in using stability or motion control shoes.

If you want to buy the most comfortable running shoe for your flat feet, avoid these mistakes:

1. Not knowing how much support you need

When it comes to flat feet, extra arch support is not always the answer. Having flexible or rigid flat feet will significantly affect your choices.

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Flexible flat feet

Rigid flat feet

The arch is visible when there is no weight (ex. while sitting, on toes, or lying down); it disappears when weight is put on the legs

Arch is not visible; remains flat in all positions

Usually painless

Causes pain during everyday activities

Usually affects both feet

Usually affects one or both feet

Which running shoes to choose

  • For flexible flat feet, it is recommended to use stability running shoes because having too rigid and substantial arch support can put stress on the feet and knees.
  • For rigid flat feet, it is better to wear motion control running shoes as they help to alleviate pain and discomfort.

neutral-stability-motion-control.jpg

neutral shoe (left) vs. stability shoe (center) vs. motion control shoe (right)

2. Forgetting that heel and toe support are also important

Flat-footed runners usually apply more force in the heel and toe areas; thus, they need to wear running shoes with added durability and support in those areas. Running shoes for flat feet are usually bulkier and thicker than normal running shoes because of these added features.

3. Not recognizing the importance of shoe last

When dealing with flat feet, arch support is not the only solution. You need to pay attention to the shoe's last or mold. It dictates the shoe’s level of stability.

Straight last will help flat-footed runners feel more sure-footed and avoid pain.

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Hoka One One shoes are known for straight, extra-wide platforms

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See all Hoka shoes for flat feet

Other important things to remember if you have flat feet

Replace your running shoes before they wear out

Do not wait for your running shoes to be completely worn out before you replace them. Some experts suggest that running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, depending on your running style, weight, and the quality of the shoes itself.

asics-gel-kayano-28-outsole-forefoot.jpg

Asics Gel Kayano shoes employ the brand’s most durable AHAR rubber. It is reported to last beyond 500 miles.

If you have flat feet, pay attention to your shoe’s midsole. It provides shock absorption as well as the stability and motion control you need for your foot condition. Over time, the midsole will wear down and won’t provide the same level of comfort and support. If you have already run a lot of miles and you notice pain during or after you run, then it’s time to buy a new pair.

Stretch and strengthen your feet

If you have flat feet, keep your arches strong and properly stretched. Make sure to stretch regularly every day for a few minutes and after your running activity. 

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For instructions and more flat feet exercises, read this article

Do not ignore the pain

Running through pain will worsen the condition and increases the risk of serious injury. If you experience pain while running, get professional help. It is important to rest too.

If you are interested to learn more about flat feet and associated foot conditions, as well as tips on how to choose the right running shoes, here are a few articles to explore:

Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.