10 Best High Arch Running Shoes in 2021

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
10 Best High Arch Running Shoes in 2021

The high-arched feet, or cavus feet, have arches (soles) that are higher than normal. This leads to uneven pressure distribution in the feet, which might cause pain and balance issues. Not every high-arched condition should be treated, it depends on how you experience the symptoms, if at all.

The most suitable type of running shoes for high arches are neutral running shoes, those that don’t have any supportive elements (like stability and motion control shoes). Making up 85% of all running shoes on the market, it is quite a selection. But we have tested over 100 pairs in our lab to select the top picks for high arches.

NOTE: If you’re experiencing severe pain caused by high arches, consult a physiotherapist or podiatrist instead of reading this guide. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this guide is to educate, not to make any medical diagnosis or recommendation.

How we review running shoes for high arches

We spend at least 7 hours on each shoe review to save your time in finding the best match for your running needs.

With our independent shoe testing lab and a team of dedicated runners, we never miss a shoe release. Here is how we test each pair of running shoes before claiming it the best for high arches:

  • Run at least 30-50 miles in the shoe to get a good feel of its support, comfort, and performance in a variety of conditions.
  • Take the shoe back to our lab, cut it into pieces and measure every imaginable parameter, including weight, stack, drop, softness, flexibility, (even shoelace slippage!), among 30 others.
  • To make it even more comprehensive, we gather all available expert and user reviews on running shoes for high arches and incorporate them into our scoring.
  • We receive no free shoes from the brands and purchase them with our own money to stay transparent.

The output is the CoreScore. It is a number from 0 to 100 which is assigned to every shoe that gets published on RunRepeat. It allows us to put it up against 1700+ other running shoes and sort out the best ones.

Best overall

Making it to the very top of our list, the Brooks Ghost 14 has won over thousands of feet, and it has won over ours too!

After logging 50 miles in it, the Ghost has successfully ticked all our boxes as a comfortable running shoe for high arches. It’s well-padded, generating comfort in each step!

Although pillowy soft, it doesn’t bottom out. In our lab test, we have found that it’s 19.2N soft (much more flexible than the average 40.2N!) But don’t be fooled, it delivers a consistent, stable run through varied paces and terrain.

As a workhorse, it fits the bill. We took it out for some daily runs, and it proved plush and cushy. For 10-mile efforts, the shoe exceeded our expectations. And when we picked up the pace, it went along smoothly.

A weekend hike on the trails? Count the Ghost 14 in!

It’s really hard to find any flaw from the shoe, but if we were to do so for the cause of nitpicking, it’s that you should be wary of using it in colder weather.

Our lab test results show us a significant stiffening in the midsole after putting it for an hour inside a freezer. It hardened by 51.6% (!) The average shoes normally stiffen up to 37.6% only. 

Overall, the Brooks Ghost 14 is a superstar among all jack-of-all-trades. It’s definitely in its A-game!

See our full review and facts

It can’t get more stable than this. Hello, Hoka One One Mach 4!

Having tested hundreds of Hoka shoes, the Mach is everything we didn’t expect from a Hoka - it’s not marshmallowy soft and it provides a VERY stable ride.

Let’s clear that out. It’s not as stiff as a rock, okay? But it’s also not cloud-like. It’s a middle-ground between stability and comfort. And if high arches are causing you pain, we can’t recommend the Mach 4 enough!

If anything, the closest we can compare it to is its bigger sibling - the Clifton. It’s a firmer, more supportive ride that will keep the legs feeling fresh for hours on end.

At 7.85 oz, this shoe is UNBELIEVABLY light (average shoes weigh in at 9.4 oz, in our lab test!) If you look at all that chunk, you won’t believe us. But it’s light on paper as it is on foot. 

After putting it through the paces, we have concluded that the shoe is a great pick if you want one go-to for everything! At $130, it doesn’t dig deep into the pocket and is a good value-for-money selection.

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

Jeez! The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is here again! After making it to our list of premier long-distance shoes, it’s here for another round of breaking records (quite literally).

And we couldn’t agree more. It deserves all the credits it could get! After evaluating tens and hundreds of running shoes, the Endorphin Speed continues to wow our soles!

What makes it our top choice for best cushioning is that it’s a five-star in blending all that cush, responsiveness, and above all - stability!

It’s got a plate sandwiched in the midsole, which is responsible for its quick and stable ride. And to keep the feet well-cushioned in all paces, it’s got a very light and soft foam, balancing out the rigidity of the plate.

Want more support? Worry not, the upper has got your back! It wraps securely around the contours of the foot. Contrary to its race sibling - Endorphin Pro 2 (which we also tested), it feels more locked-in.

In general, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is the shoe to pick if you want to smash some PBs without taxing the foot too much!

See our full review and facts

If there was a god of bounce, that’d be Nike’s ZoomX foam! We got nothing but praises for the Invincible Run’s insanely springy ride. It made us run like we were on pogo sticks!

And now you get the idea why it’s one of our top picks. Not only is it insanely responsive, but it’s also an A-list in the comfort department. It literally killed it!

Because of this, it’s easily a winner in long, easy sessions on the road. If you want a spa day for the feet after some hard training runs, take this.

With its enormous amount of foam, it might appear heavy, and it is heavy on paper! In our lab test, it weighs in at 9.8 oz (on average, running shoes are 9.4 oz). But because of its bounct midsole, it almost feels weightless.

This shoe is not for everyone, though. If you wish to beat or set new PBs, this shoe is definitely not made for that.

Overall, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is a high-end trainer that will deliver what you paid for. It’s as premium as premium gets!

See our full review and facts

Best for race

The speed devil is at it again! We’ve paced the MetaSpeed Sky in all types of runs, and if there’s one way to describe it - it’s FAST! As in, lightning fast. 

We even go as far as saying it’s THE best shoe we’ve ever come across. It’s really that good!

This speedster has all the ingredients to bolt you forward to your next PB. Calling it lively won’t bring justice to how good of a ride it actually is. If anything, its performance is the superlative of all race-day shoes!

It’s plated and the midsole is just bomb! It really sent us flying!

Whew, it’s so damn good it sounds like a marketing fluff! But believe us, it’s NOT. This shoe just does everything right and excels at it!

A bonus for a great racing flat, of course, is a superb fit. And a superb fit, you’ll get.

It’s very supportive all the way from the rear to the midfoot and has enough give up front for the toes to splay.

We’ve got nothing bad to say against the MetaSpeed Sky. Even in its weight, it does NOTHING wrong. In our lab test, we’ve gathered that it’s way lighter (6.7 oz) than the average 9.4 oz. So imagine all the speed you can get from this monster!

If you want to outrun the competition and feel like an elite, this is hands-down, the best of the best!

See our full review and facts

When it comes to a performance-oriented ride, you just can’t go wrong with the Endorphin series. After running in all versions, we are confident that the Endorphin Pro 2 will make your next race as quick as flash!

Like most racing flats, the Endorphin is designed with a carbon plate - a component responsible for its extremely rebounding ride. Although stiff, we’ve observed that it’s easily balanced out by the plush midsole.

Translation: The shoe not only made us fast, it also made our feet comfortable.

In contrast to its rival - Metaspeed Sky (62.9N) - our lab test results show that it’s significantly stiffer (94.3N). Although this makes up a stable ride (second to the MetaSpeed Sky), this also limits the shoe’s abilities.

If you want to make the most out of your $200 purchase and take the shoe out for some jogs and walks, we strongly advise against it! It’s rather stiff design can only do more damage than good to your feet.

See our full review and facts

Best for trail

If you’re looking for a trail beast, we can’t stress how solid (literally) of a choice the Peregrine 11 is.

We took the shoe out for some spin on the slick mud, snow, and stream crossings (both wet and dry), and this shoe just screams confidence. On softer terrain, its grip just gets even better!

It’s on the stiffer side alright. During the flex test in our lab, it took 33.6N to bend the shoe, whereas the average just requires 26.2N! Don’t worry, this is all in the name of protection.

This shoe just mutes out everything the trail throws your way. 

From the ground up, the shoe is built like a TANK. It’s got all the makings to rake up miles and miles on the trails without it being worn out too quickly. 50 miles in, we still don’t see significant wear on the outsole or the upper. The midsole isn’t bottoming out too!

Ultimately, it's a heavy-duty trail shoe that’s going to eat up jagged rocks and roots, and of course, distances on varied terrain! It’s made to go fast, and it’s made us run like it.

See our full review and facts

The Salomon Sense Ride 4 is built to crush the trails, and that’s exactly what we got from this trail runner. 

It’s king when it comes to protection and sturdiness. It’s billed as a trail tank, and it delivers IMPECCABLY. After several rough wear testing, this shoe came out unscathed! And because we’re as curious as ever, we just had to put it through our lab tests. 

And ta-da! We’ve gathered that compared to the average running shoe (75.1HC), its outsole is 81.5HC. And its midsole only makes everything better. It’s 31.7% stiffer than the standard midsole. So if you want a shoe that can take a beating, there’s no better shoe than this! 

And if you’re thinking it’s a bruiser that’s going to be tough on the feet, it’s NOT. It’s got some give for a comfortable ride, and it’s got serious pop for a very fun and snappy performance. 

Easily, it’s the shoe we’d take any day for out long-distance excursions and steep climbs. 

It also doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to traction. The deep lugs at 3.57mm are just to die for! Whether its on loose, rocky terrain or hard-packed surfaces, this just bites its way through! 

And don’t be discouraged by its weight. At 10.5 oz, it’s heavy on the scale, but it’s certainly NOT on foot! Not once did we experience any dragging sensation.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

It’s going to last and it doesn’t break the bank either. Everyone, the Gel Contend 7 from Asics!

Just like the rest of the running shoes in our lab, we put the Asics Contend 7 through rigorous testing. And we are happy to report, it breezed through all the scrutiny, becoming our champion for this category!

What’s there to not like about this shoe? It’s low-priced yet it has the qualities that most expensive shoes miss.

First, it’s comfortable and will keep the foot protected from impact. Trying it out on some high-mileage runs, time and time again, the shoe just keeps our feet and legs feeling fresh. It’s almost like the miles just passed us by!

Stepping it up in the comfort department, the shoe is also well-padded in the heel and opens up in the forefoot, giving the toes enough wriggle room.

And like a true Asics, the Gel Contend 7 is among the most durable budget shoes we’ve ever tested. After logging 50 miles, it still looks like it came out fresh from the box! We are expecting it to go 300-500 miles before retiring.

Although the shoe weighs just a tad more (9.5 oz vs 9.4 oz average, in our lab testing), it still feels as light as air on foot! It never weighed us down.

Sealing its name in having the best value that comes at an economical price, the Gel Contend 7 excels at everything! Whether it's daily training, jogging, gym sessions, and aerobics, we’d take this shoe any day!

See our full review and facts

Out of the 300+ cheap high-arch running shoes in our arsenal, we picked the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8 for it’s sheer comfort!

The Swoosh has done it right again, and this time, it’s made a shoe that’s just as friendly to the runners as it is to their pockets.

For $90, you get a lot from the Winflo, even more so than its expensive counterparts we’ve tested ourselves! If you want one shoe to do it all, without second thought, we’d recommend this shoe.

It’s fit for daily runs, casual walks, and athleisure. And if you want to reach greater distances, it’s supportive in all the right places for you to smash 10Ks. With its mix of stability and comfort, you can even wear it all-day long.

It’s never a Nike without that street-ready aesthetic. Take this down town, and expect one, two, or more head-turning moments. It’s definitely an eye-catcher!

See our full review and facts

A 3-step guide to buying high-arch running shoes

High arches need your attention if you’re experiencing pain, instability, soreness. Here, we’ll focus on what running shoes, and not other forms of arch support, can do for your high arches. 

1. Do you have high arches?

First things first: discover your arch type. It doesn’t hurt to be sure, given that runners have poor knowledge of their foot type. You can check this visually and by scanning your overall condition and looking for symptoms. Visual confirmation is the best, especially when done with a specialist who observes your movement. Symptoms might appear or you might be lucky enough not to experience them. 

Visual test: discover your arch type 

The easiest and quickest way to check your arch type is the so-called wet test. You should: wet the sole of your foot (ideally both of them, one at a time), stand onto 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

If you have a high arch, the footprint will show only the front and heel of your foot with nothing in between. If there’s a thin line connecting them, you have a moderately high arch - better than the extreme. 

Wet-test-results.png

If you’re not sure after doing this test or feel your feet need more attention, the best thing is to consult a podiatrist on this. They up the ante and use a dynamic approach which entails looking at your barefoot movement, pronation, tibia rotation, and heel deviation. 

Symptoms of high arches 

Can you feel the pain? Immediately stop your activities and rest. Look for professional help if the pain doesn’t go away or if it reappears. 

symptoms-of-high-arches.png

If you’ve discovered that you have high arches based on the test, it’s also valuable to know how they feel. Cross-reference your experience to get a confirmation.

  • High arches can be asymptomatic or pain-free. However, your feet can get tired and achy easily. You also might have difficulties finding the shoes that are comfortable. 
  • High arches don’t necessarily cause pain, though your feet can feel more tired and achy when you have them, and your legs stiffer. Highly arched feet can make it difficult to fit into regular shoes. Trying to wear shoes without enough room or support to accommodate a high arch can be painful because more stress is placed on the metatarsals. In this way, high arches can be instrumental in causing or worsening plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia.
  • Other known symptoms are knee, hip and low back pain, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, hammertoes (bent toes) or claw toes (clenched like a fist), calluses on the ball, side or heel of the foot, instability of the foot. 

2. Do you need arch support? 

Not all high arches need support. If you aren’t experiencing pain or problems during running, there is probably no need to look for arch support. Just because you have a certain arch or pronation type, it doesn’t mean it’s something that should be fixed. 

However, if you have a visual confirmation that you have high arches and you’re experiencing some of the symptoms, arch support is recommended.

Types of arch support in running shoes from least to most supportive:

neutral-shoe.jpg

neutral or no support (Nike Air Zoom Pegasus)

stability-shoe.jpg

stability: support for mild to moderate overpronation (Asics Gel Kayano)

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motion control: supports severe overpronation (Hoka One One Gaviota 3)

3. Features to look for in high-arch running shoes

The imperative is to look for comfort. Then, take into account other features. The end goal is to lessen or prevent pain caused by high arches.

features-of-high-arch-running-shoes.png

In the pursuit of high-arch support, these are the features of running shoes you should focus on: 

  • Well-cushioned running shoes, especially in the ball and heel of the foot. They should offer good to maximum shock absorption to compensate for the decreased foot’s ability to absorb the shock
  • High arch support to help with the pressure distribution and pain by preventing the arch from collapsing too much 
  • Neutral running shoes which help with supination through the cushion that supports the arch.

neutral-shoe-for-high-arches-features.jpeg

Saucony Axon was cut in half in our lab and is a good example of a high-arch running shoe.

Bonus tip: look for shoes with a removable insole, just in case you decide to go for special arch-support insoles or orthotics. Also, we analyzed 183,911 running shoes and discovered that the more arch support you request, the more expensive they become.

nike-pegasus-removable-insole.jpg

A removable insole from Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, a popular daily running shoe for high arches.

Treatment for high arches

Depending on the cause and severity of high-arches symptoms you’re experiencing, types of treatment may vary significantly. Leaving serious conditions that usually ask for surgical interventions aside, the most common treatments are:

1. High-arch running shoes

Covered in detail in this guide - these shoes should improve your overall running-with-high-arches experience.

2. Physical therapy

Great way to learn more about your body and be aware of how certain parts move and why. Stretching and strengthening techniques can go a long way in improving your muscle tone and tendon flexibility. These techniques can also be a part of your prevention plan.

3. Over-the-counter orthotics and insoles (shoe inserts)

They might help at first. If the issue is gone, good. However, if the pain comes back in the same or another area, it means you probably started putting more strain on other body parts. The sooner you look for professional help, the better.

Learn more about insoles and orthotics in our in-depth guide to find out which one is right for you.

4. Custom orthotics and insoles

These have a great success rate (can result in a 74% reduction in foot pain) and are highly recommended, especially because they are made for your feet only and might differ for the left and right foot.

5. Ankle braces

Their purpose is to support the ankle and prevent over supination.

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.