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A lot of people with flat feet are often hesitant to take on running activities because of the high probability of encountering foot injuries and running-related issues. Fortunately, many manufacturers now offer running shoes for flat feet, which are specially designed to aid with mobility by preventing potential problems related to anatomy.
What is a flat foot?
A flat foot is a postural deformity wherein the arch of the foot collapses, making the entire foot come in complete contact with the ground. To understand properly, one must be familiar with foot anatomy and how each part works. In this article, the foot arch is the most significant part that relates to flat-footedness.
The arch of the foot acts as a shock absorber that reduces impact during footstrike. To identify if someone has a flat foot, a person that is standing or walking has an inner foot that falls flat on the ground; when the foot moves, it rolls over to the inner side (also known as overpronation). A runner with a flat foot does not get sufficient arch support; thus, the impact from their footstrike travels directly up to their legs, increasing the risk of injury. The condition itself of having flat feet does not cause any major discomfort, but it could possibly lead to other conditions, such as pain in the knees, hips, or back.
To address and correct flat feet, individuals need to train their bodies by means of physical activity, such as gymnastics, walking, and running. There are various footwears, including running shoes for flat feet, available on the market to provide support to the arches. These shoes are comfortable enough to accommodate the foot’s unique anatomical structure, yet also reliable in delivering the functionalities expected, in terms of stability and support.
Choosing running shoes for flat feet
As we familiarize ourselves with how flat-footedness operates, it makes sense to look for running shoes that are intended for flat feet. However, it might be difficult for a beginner to choose one, especially when running experts and medical professionals advise different things. Despite this, runners should not be discouraged. While the choice will ultimately depend on the runner, here are some factors that are worth considering when shopping for running shoes for flat feet:
The gait cycle is the manner of motion that, while focusing and starting at the feet, involves the whole body. The concept is sometimes interchangeably used with the concept of the transition phase, which is the movement of the foot from heel-strike to toe-off; thus forming one step. When you have flat feet, the gait cycle should be part of the things to consider when getting running shoes.
A flat-footed person’s gait cycle is typically categorized as severe overpronation and, as such, would require running shoes that cater to the flat foot’s structure. A good pair of running shoes for flat feet offer more support and cushioning compared to the common running shoe.
Range of motion
As mentioned in the previous section, the anatomical structure of flat feet results in excessive movements that are potentially harmful to the individual. Thus, their range of motion (ROM) is slightly at a higher rate compared to someone with normal-arched feet. As such, the ideal running shoe for flat feet should help improve the ROM as it stabilizes the foot when during movement; a good pair must effectively reduce the pain experienced by flat-footed runners.
It is a known fact that flat-footed people have a differently structured foot compared to a normal one, and this factor is also important to consider when buying running shoes. Flat feet tend to be wider because as they cover more surface area; thus, they should go with shoes that are tailored for their shape. An ideal running shoe for flat feet must have a straight last, as opposed to the conventional running shoe that is similarly shaped to an hourglass. This way, the flat foot gets a solid support surface.
Qualities of the best running shoes for flat feet
A good pair of running shoes will help the wearer be successful in running, whether or not they have a condition. The same thing holds true for running shoes for flat feet. Although not all running shoes for flat feet have the same formation, they do share common elements that make them identifiable as great companions for running.
Because the condition of flat-footedness is concentrated on the foot’s structure, running shoes for flat feet are specially designed with a focus on the sole unit. Right off the bat, these running shoes are made with sturdier materials compared to the conventional running footwear; they target durability and strength in order to handle the demands of motion-control running. Harder and tougher materials are easier to control than softer ones.
A good pair of running shoes for flat feet are made with materials that promote good foot function and are capable of dealing with increased forces of the run. A notable example would be flat-feet running shoes that are incorporated with polyurethane materials, as these provide support and stability, particularly on the arches. In addition, an increasing number of running shoes for flat feet use modernized foam materials that have a longer lifespan compared to traditional formulations.
The most prevalent feature of running shoes for flat feet is the dual-density foam in the midsole. Constructing the shoe using this style allows the manufacturer to integrate its proprietary medial post, which then delivers the accompanying technology that helps with the runner’s stride.
The common technologies of running shoes for flat feet should offer (one or more of) the following benefits: assist with midfoot stability, provide rigidness to avoid excessive rolling, and reduce shock during footstrike. Other brands include features that work on distributing weight across the running shoe and allowing the flat foot to flex optimally.
Some other features of running shoes for flat feet that are worth mentioning are midsole compounds that offer ample rebound with each step without sacrificing stability, guiding rails that prevent deviation from the natural stride, and unique heel cups that hold the foot in place but still allow the ankle and Achilles to move freely. These technologies can be found in varying running shoes for flat feet, and it is up to the user to determine which feature they would need the most.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between stability running shoes and flat feet running shoes?
There is very little yet very confusing contrast between stability running shoes and flat feet running shoes that. Although minor, the difference could still be significant, especially to flat-footed runners. The main distinction between stability running shoes and running shoes for flat feet is the amount of stability and support offered to the runner. The former is aimed at runners with mildly collapsed arches and focuses on giving support to this area of the foot.
On the other hand, flat feet running shoes are for those who have severely fallen arches and need maximum support in controlling their movements. When compared to stability shoes, running shoes for flat feet have a stiffer structure.
Are flat feet running shoes similar to maximalist running shoes?
No. Flat feet running shoes and maximalist running shoes are not similar because they are two different classifications of running shoes. First, flat feet running shoes are categorized under the type of support it provides; it does not necessarily connote having a maximalist structure and, in fact, could be built the opposite. Meanwhile, maximalist as a running shoe attribute is usually classified as a feature and not as a general type of running gear.
This would mean that maximalist running shoes are not exclusively for flat-footed runners. And, in the same way, running shoes for flat feet are not always constructed with a maximalist-style midsole.
Can I use other types of running shoes if I am flat-footed?
This question is actually answerable by the runner himself. Some people find that neutral shoes work just fine on their flat feet and cause no discomfort during movement. However, some individuals who experience physical issues in conventional runners claim that running shoes for flat feet offer them the best support and stability, as well as aid in correcting their posture.
Thus, the answer to this question will depend on the preference or the need of the person. If you have flat feet but are comfortable with regular shoes, there is no problem with wearing them. Otherwise, a good pair of running shoes for flat feet would be helpful in relieving pain associated with the condition.
Are orthotics necessary for flat feet running shoes?
No, orthotics are not a required accessory for flat feet running shoes. In fact, not everyone will benefit from an orthotic, so you need to ensure that wearing one is absolutely necessary and recommended by your doctor before including it in your running gear. The use of orthotics is only for people with severe problems on their feet, legs, or back. If you do not have any of these pressing concerns, a running shoe for flat feet would be enough to address your condition.
10 best flat feet running shoes
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
- New Balance Rubix
- New Balance 1540 v2
- Brooks Beast 18
- Asics Gel Foundation 13
- Hoka One One Gaviota 2
- 361 Degrees Enjector
- Brooks Addiction 13
- New Balance 1540 v3
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