8 Best Walking Shoes For Flat Feet in 2021

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
8 Best Walking Shoes For Flat Feet in 2021

Flat feet (also known as pes planus or pes valgus) are characterized by low arches: feet lay flat on the ground. In this guide, we cover the best walking shoes for flat feet along with an in-depth overview on what you need to know if you have flat feet.

Having tested over a dozen oh walking shoes recommended for flat feet, we have singled out the best options in five categories. If you have flat and wide feet, or if you want a shoe that feels like a feather, or are you not planning to spend over $90? There is an excellent option for each of these cases.

Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes and tends in no way to offer medical advice or diagnosis. 

How we review walking shoes for flat feet

We take pride in inventing and implementing the CoreScore. It’s a unique system that allows us to gather all walking-shoes reviews from 5 experts and 54,482 users, eliminate spam, and rank all flat feet walking shoes on a 0-100 scale. Thanks to this ranking, you can sort the whole collection by ratings, popularity, and apply filters that match your needs. 

Best overall

After sifting through more than 30 pairs of walking shoes for flat feet, we pick the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 as the best on our list. This kick quickly landed as our best option because of plenty of excellent reasons.

This pair feels so soft but not too mushy, suitable for flat feet. This construction provides adequate support and cushioning as the feet strike the pavement. 

It feels stable, too. As we pound the streets, the Guide Rail Support system secured the feet across the midfoot. Thus, we did not worry about rolling our ankles in or out. 

Its durability is also a beast! It offers heaps of rubber on its outsole that protects the foot for a more extended period. 

Despite its tad heavyweight, we generally still adore its overall cons that made our flat feet feel comfy and secured all day long. 

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is definitely a must in any flat-footed footwear arsenal, perfect for their daily walks and short-distance runs. 

See our full review and facts

Also bagging our top recommendation in our flat feet footwear collection is the New Balance 928 v3. Beating more than 30 pairs of walking kicks, we've got more than enough reasons why this should be in your wardrobes, too.

Offering comfort, durability, and stability, this shoe suits all flat-footed users looking for a daily beater. 

We enjoyed how comfortable it feels on our feet even after wearing it all day long. Also, we were amazed at how it alleviated some of our foot problems, such as arthritis and neuropathy. Thanks to its Phantom liner, there was no irritating rubbing on our feet, which could eventually lead to blister or wound formation.

We also adore how New Balance inserted synthetic overlays on its toe box. This feature also prevents abrasion on the foot areas that are in constant contact with the shoes.

Stability-wise, this shoe will not disappoint you. Its midsole offers enough level of softness to deliver superb stability in every step. Thus, overpronation or supination will never be a problem. 

If you've got flat feet, the New Balance 928 v3 is the one for you! It offers impressive features that will indeed protect you from injuries and all other discomforts as you pound the city pavements.

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

After going through almost three dozen walking shoes for flat feet, we chose the Saucony Hurricane 23 as our top pick in the best cushioning category. We've tested and assessed it ourselves and came up with several reasons why this shoe is on our top list.

As we slipped our feet into these fantastic shoes, we instantly enjoyed their glove-like fit. It is not too tight and not too loose, perfect when you hate your feet sliding around as you walk around the town. 

When it comes to stability, this model did not let us down. It supplied an ample amount of stability without intruding on our ride. We enjoyed its perfect mixture of firmness and softness that balanced our strides for hours.

Its upper, meanwhile, feels so plush and luxurious. Its memory foam-like cushioning is bursting with coziness that makes every step feel like a pillowy ride.

We also never worried about walking along wet surfaces. This shoe has a superb level of traction that grips reliably on any surface. 

The Saucony Hurricane 23 is definitely a must-try if you're looking for a shoe for a flat-footed individual that offers an impressive amount of cushioning.

See our full review and facts

Flat-footed users should also get a pair of the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 if they want to experience excellent cushioning, durability, and breathability while walking along the city pavements.

This shoe is not just suitable for everyday runs, but this is highly recommended for daily walks along the city streets. It offers an extraordinary level of durability that will last you longer than any of your usual walking footwear.

After wearing it countless times, we can say that this shoe delivers remarkable cushioning. It has a plush cushion that makes our heel to forefoot transition smooth and comfortable. Our feet still feel great and happy after using this for hours!

Quality-wise, we were impressed! We did not see any glue marks or unfinished stitching, and its materials are truly top-notch. With this shoe, you will get your money's worth. 

While this shoe does not offer any innovative technology, just like what we usually see on modern footwear, this kick blows our minds for its consistent comfort, durability, and quality that will make any flat-footed wearers feel cozy throughout the day.

See our full review and facts

Best for heavy people

We checked more than 30 pairs of walking shoes for flat feet, and the Brooks Addiction Walker instantly landed as the best pick in our best for heavy people category. 

This walking shoe is bursting with an impressive amount of comfort that can make users with weight issues. As we walked along the streets for an extended period, this shoe felt incredibly comfortable. Moreover, its good foothold and arch support instantly relieved some of our foot and joint problems, making our steps more bearable. 

In the durability department, this did not fall short of our expectations. It remained intact after putting it through strings of tests and assessments. This shoe will undoubtedly last you if you're looking for a daily beater. 

Its sole unit feels so stable, too! Our steps and runs felt steady without worrying about the inward or outward rolling of our ankles. 

Want to know another astonishing detail? Brooks sells this at a whopping budget-friendly range! This shoe fits comfort and durability-driven walking enthusiasts searching for a pair to relieve their pain caused by hefty weight.

See our full review and facts

We also highly commend the Hoka One One Arahi 5 as one of our top picks in the shoes for heavy people walking with flat feet category. We experienced great reasons why this is a must in their footwear rotation.

Bursting with a mind-blowing level of comfort, this model kept our feet feeling cozy throughout the day. We enjoyed its maximized luxe cushioning that instantly relieved and supported our feet; thus, lessening strains on our joints and legs. This element is vital for heavyweight users that need extra support to alleviate the load on their feet and joints. 

Also, we felt amazed how this kick kept us on our feet as we strolled along slippery surfaces. We love how its reliable rubber outsole gripped and kept us on our feet. 

The least heavyweight users want is to wear hefty footwear. Besides adding weight to users, these kinds of footwear give a dragging-down sensation. Amazingly, the Hoka One One Arahi 5 feels so light on the feet! Despite its beefed-up profile, this sure will help lessen the burden of weighty users. 

We can go on and on about the One One Arahi 5 as it is packed with outstanding elements! If you've got flat feet and suffer from weight issues, you've got to grab a pair of this model, and you will never regret it!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

For walking enthusiasts with flat feet looking for affordable footwear, we highly recommend the Skechers Arch Fit. This shoe will blow your mind with its positive features despite its economical price point.

We get to enjoy its plush cushioning throughout the day. We get to stroll the streets and run the track comfortably, without any pain issues at all. Its Arch Fit insole contours impressively to the shape of our feet; thus, hugging it snugly and cozily. 

Its firm midsole simultaneously compresses a little while delivering stable steps. This feature is beneficial to users with flat feet as it avoids supination and overpronation. 

Its weight is also impressive. It feels so airy while worn, and we did not give us a dragging-down experience at all!

Walking along slick surfaces has never been a problem. Thanks to its sticky rubber outsole, we never worry about slipping as this model keeps us on our feet even on slippery pavements.

The Skechers Arch Fit works incredibly on users with flat feet and various kinds of foot problems. This shoe is indeed podiatrist-approved footwear that we can all enjoy wearing for hours.

See our full review and facts

We also pick Asics GT 1000 10 as one of our top options when you're looking for budget-friendly walking footwear for wearers suffering from flat feet.

Being the 10th in the GT 1000 lineage, we were floored how this budget-friendly footwear offers an extraordinary level of stability. Perfect for users with flat feet, this shoe quickly alleviates our feet and knee pains as it supports our arches pretty immensely.

We also enjoyed its clean and straightforward look. Unlike traditional running shoes, this footwear can also make your casual outfit look extra fashionable. 

Its ventilation did not let us down. It kept our feet cool and dry, thanks to its mesh upper.

Heel slippage has never been an issue. We enjoyed its heel lock, made from integrating the heel counter into the support system, thus securing our heel in place as we pound the streets.   

 Built to last long, we enjoyed its durable rubber outsole. Asics utilized their innovative AHAR and AHARPlus to make it more robust and grippy than the usual rubber outsole. 

Enjoy all these and more without the need to break the bank. Grab a pair of Asics GT 1000 10 before it runs out!

See our full review and facts

Do you need shoes for flat feet?

Yes, if you have flat feet.

There are two types of flat feet: rigid and flexible. Rigid is handled with surgery, because the arch of the foot is always missing, whether it’s a weight- or non weight-bearing condition. Flexible flat feet miss the arch only when weight bearing. When feet are elevated, arch is visible. This type of flat feet is the focus of this guide.

Symptoms of flat feet

Flat feet is tightly related to severe overpronation: feet rolling inwards during walking.

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Aside from the obvious visual representation, possible symptoms of flat feet are: 

  • Painful or achy feet
  • Leg and back pain
  • Swelling on the inner side of your feet
  • Feet get tired easily

Discover your arch type 

If, based on the graph above, you’re still not sure about your arch type, you can do a quick wet test to find out. You should: wet the sole of your foot (ideally both of them, one at a time), then stand on a piece of paper while allowing the moisture from your feet to sink into the paper, and step off. 

Wet-test-in-4-steps.png

Look at the shape of your footprint and compare it to the ones shown below. 

Wet-test-results.png

It is easy to notice the difference between these types: flat arch simply leaves the biggest wet footprint, without a distinctive curve between forefoot and the heel. 

If you’re not confident about this test or feel your feet need more attention, consult a podiatrist. They look at your barefoot movement, pronation, tibia rotation, and heel deviation - which gives them a complete picture of your feet.

6 Features of walking shoes for flat feet

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1. Arch support 

  • Makes the movement more comfortable 
  • This study has shown that oxygen consumption during walking is decreased when a suitable arch support for flat feet is used. 
  • Wearing arch support insoles can be beneficial for uphill and downhill walking exercises in persons with flatfoot because the results of this study showed that oxygen uptake was effectively decreased during uphill and downhill walking, and there was less rectus femoris muscle fatigue (one of the quadriceps muscles) during downhill walking (as shown here).

2. Stability for overpronation

  • Stability features are needed to support the foot and distribute weight evenly. Stability for overpronators is explained in detail in our guide for overpronation shoes.

3. Stiff heel counter

  • Heel support is needed so the heel is stable and the foot doesn’t roll inward.
  • Look for a stiff heel counter and padded heel (for comfort). 
  • You should look for a snug fit in the heel area.

4. Firm midfoot

  • Choose shoes that are more on the firm than on the soft side. Your feet need stability. This means you shouldn’t be able to twist (torsional flexion) the shoe easily, only to a degree.

5. Wide-fit shoes 

  • People with flat feet tend to choose wide models most often. 
  • Shoe should not squish (on top) or squeeze (from sides) the toes.

6. Removable insole

  • This feature comes in handy when you decide to buy a pair of insoles for flat feet.

Average price of walking shoes for flat feet

When looking at the average MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price), we can see that walking shoes are more expensive than the other shoes. However, those prices are tagged when shoes appear on the market. You can always look for good deals (discounts). If you’re looking for tips on finding good deals, check our guide for buying cheap shoes.

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Also, per our database, 21% of walking shoes are for flat feet. 

walking-shoes-market-breakdown.png

FAQ about flat feet

What causes flat feet? 

Flat feet might be hereditary or acquired. For the latter, they happen as a consequence of obesity, aging, pregnancy, or specific health conditions. 

According to this study, the main factors that contribute to an acquired flat foot are excessive tension in the triceps surae (consists of two muscles and forms the main mass of the calf), obesity, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, or ligamentous laxity in the spring ligament, plantar fascia, or other supporting plantar ligaments. 

Weakness of the muscular, ligamentous, or bony arch supporting structures will lead to collapse of the arch. Basically there’s too little support for the arch or too much arch flattening effect. Acquired flat foot most often happens due to the combination of too much force flattening the arch in the face of too little support for the arch.

Does flexible flatfoot require treatment? 

As shown in this study, the arches of flatfoot (and also normal foot) are obviously influenced when walking down the stairs. The plantar data were significantly increased. This goes to prove that it’s necessary to wear orthotic insoles for flexible flatfoot in order to prevent further deformation. 

This study has also shown that using a foot insole improved foot alignment and decreased energy consumption in people with flat feet.

Can walking barefoot fix flat feet? 

There is no evidence that would support this. People think that, for this to happen, muscles need to get stronger by walking barefoot. This study has shown that with strengthening the muscles the arch height doesn’t change, and this study has shown that stronger muscles don’t mean higher arch.

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.