7 Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet in 2024
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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 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 test running shoes

  • All shoes are purchased with our own funds to help us stay transparent and honest. 
  • We go at least 30-50 miles in each pair before submitting our feedback. We ensure that the flat footers among us - both with flexible and rigid flat feet - lead the wear testing to prioritise their requirements and discuss their real observations about these running shoes. 
  • We slice these running shoes up in our lab to measure every imaginable parameter. Moreover, we set our gathered data side by side with the average values to have a qualitative analysis of each element of the shoes. 

Best running shoes for flat feet overall

What makes it the best?

Make way for the undefeated champion for flat feet, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23. Its polyvalence is outstanding, with the rock-steady cushioning and guiding systems working behind the scenes to create the ultimate flat-footer dream.

Both our feet and heart were fully confident when hitting the road, with no hesitations from the shoe in sight. A massive platform shines underfoot, evenly dispersing the impact of each landing. Putting it into numbers, the GTS 23's midsole stretches 4.2 mm wider than the average at the forefoot and a noteworthy 6.8 mm at the heel. The guide rails surrounding the heel sweeten the stability game, effectively preventing our feet from excessively rolling inward.

Killing it in the support department, the Adrenaline 23 sits the feet above a thick foamy layer. There’s 34.1 mm of heel stack, which shyly tops the average of 33.4 mm. Now, that’s no ultra-cushioned trainer, but in the stability realm, it’s strikingly perfect for everyday training, even when the scorching sun is in full swing. We found sizable ventilation holes throughout the entire upper, earning the GTS a flawless 5 out of 5 for breathability. 

On the other hand, the GTS 23 might not be ideal for forefoot strikers in need of extra cushioning, as its 21.5 mm of forefoot stack falls 3.0 mm short of the average for running.

Pros

  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all

Cons

  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best lightweight running shoes for flat feet

Hoka Arahi 7
84
Good!

What makes it the best?

Our lab tests prove that the Hoka Arahi 7 is suitable for flat feet, enveloping us in a supportive embrace to promote steady strides, all while maintaining an exceptionally lightweight profile, especially for a stability shoe.

Our daily runs reached new heights in the Arahi 7. The underfoot sensation is comfy and composed. Furthermore, it's a breeze to wear with its light 9.4 oz (266g) build effortlessly surpassing the 10.3 oz (293g) average stability shoe. 

A firm midsole grabbed our attention from the very first step, confidently flowing against the super-plush trend of modern times. In fact, our durometer shows it’s 13.7% firmer than average. The result is a stable ride, whose superb consistency doesn’t go unnoticed especially since Hoka’s J-Frame technology reassures our foot alignment.

An added appeal for flat-footers is its wide landing base that assures safe landings. Our calliper reveals an extra 7.2 mm width vs. the average, both in the heel and forefoot areas, making it extremely stable for all types of footstrikes.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the Arahi 7. Its firm cushion lacks the energy return and dynamic ride that others are seeking for.

Pros

  • Premium and comfy upper
  • Still surprisingly light
  • Subtle yet effective stability features
  • Versatile for all footstrikes
  • Reasonably priced
  • Excellent fit and security
  • Plush tongue
  • Cushioned

Cons

  • Limited breathability
  • Low energy return
  • Slightly snug fit
Full review of Hoka Arahi 7

Best speed training shoes for flat feet

Saucony Tempus
91
Superb!

What makes it the best?

Here comes the Saucony Tempus and its game-changer aura. High-paced stability comes in colours, sealing the ultimate recipe for speed sessions with its bouncy and breezy in-shoe experience.

Under the hood, the Tempus capsulizes a finely tuned engine and an insatiable gearbox, putting our chronometer in check. Such bounce has no match in the stability realm, with the Tempus’ midsole emerging as 23.0% softer than average from our durometer. It’s downy yet remarkably stable, with its width exceeding the average by 4.3 mm at the heel and 4.4 mm at the forefoot.

What else, it’s summer-ready too! Smoke pumped into the shoe ushed out through the upper with unparalleled ease, earning the Tempus an immaculate 5 out of 5 for breathability. The airflow was immense, coming through the tongue, the sides, the toebox. Not even our sweatiest toes stood in the way of achieving faster splits with each repetition.

Its class comes with a price, and at £160, it doesn’t go easy on the wallet. When the average flat-feet-oriented shoe comes at £140, runners seeking a budget-friendly option might want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Stable but not aggressive
  • Responsive ride
  • Smooth transitions
  • Outsole is super solid
  • Bites on wet roads
  • Snug and secure fit
  • Breathable on warm days
  • Roomy toe box
  • Not heavy

Cons

  • Causes heel rubs
  • Expensive
Full review of Saucony Tempus

Best cushioned running shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

Gel Kayano 31 ensures a smooth, luxurious, and steady ride. Boasting a plush mega-stack made of FF Blast+ and a 4D Guidance System, it redefines the traditional stability shoe with its natural feel and our feet immediately felt this during our first strides. Our lab results support this maximalist as our pick for the best cushioning for flat feet.

Upon initial slip-on, the FF Blast+ foam instantly feels like home. Our durometer confirms it’s 27.1% softer than average all while maintaining stability. With a towering stack of 39.3/27.8 mm and the PureGEL technology in the heel, each landing feels exceptionally protected from impact.

While most max-cushioned shoes are wobbly, GK31 exceeds the standard with its 4D Guidance System which adapts to our foot shape to support the arch. Along with midsole sidewalls and an expansive chassis, each stride feels secure. The massive landing base enhances stability further—providing extra 8.3/7.1 mm space in the forefoot and heel.

Given its supportive nature and thick slab of foam, we were pleasantly surprised by its flexibility. GK31 truly prioritises comfort; our bend test confirms this with a 14.4% more bendable result than average.

All the extra padding added extra weight. While the average running shoe is only 9.4 oz (266g), Gel Kayano 31 weighs 10.4 oz (295g).

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Good breathability
  • Comfortable and roomy upper
  • Great for easy paces
  • Maximalist cushioning
  • A bit lighter than v30
  • Plush FF Blast+ foam

Cons

  • Big and clunky
  • Not versatile at all
  • Outsole needs improvements
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 31

Best daily running shoes for flat feet

Saucony Guide 17
90
Superb!

What makes it the best?

Our daily runs reached new heights in the Saucony Guide 17. The underfoot sensation is comfy and composed, enveloping us in a gentle yet supportive embrace to promote steady strides, perfect for flat feet. Moreover, our lab confirms it's impressively lightweight, considering the level of stability it provides.

A light and loose midsole grabbed our attention from the first step, confidently flowing against the typical rigidity of supportive shoes. Our bend test shows it’s 24.5% more adaptive than average. Furthermore, it's a breeze to wear with its light 9.7 oz (275g) build, effortlessly surpassing the 10.4 oz (296g) average stability shoe. 

Remarkably, it maintains a substantial midsole without adding weight; boasting an impressive 34.9/27.9 mm stack. Furthermore, the midsole delivers a lively ride, making the shoe feel even lighter than the scale suggests. Our durometer shows the cushion is a balanced 22.3 HA, providing a healthy mix of arch support and comfort.

An added appeal for flat-footers is its rocker geometry that promotes forward momentum, midsole walls that guide us in place, and a wide landing base that assures safe landings. Our calliper reveals an extra 7.5/14.3 mm width vs. the average forefoot and heel, making it extremely stable for any footstrike.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the Guide 17. Its outsole is too hard, leading to underwhelming traction in our runs.

Pros

  • Enhanced stability features
  • Improved stack height
  • Spacious upper
  • Lightweight
  • Fairly priced
  • Smoother transitions with new rocker
  • Premium PWRRUN+ sockliner

Cons

  • Grip could be better
  • Less agile than before
  • Exposed outsole
Full review of Saucony Guide 17

Best running shoes for wide and flat feet

Hoka Gaviota 5
83
Good!

What makes it the best?

Gaviota 5 delivered steady support and luxurious comfort for any distance we ran through its stability features and relieving arch support. We discovered in our lab its clever combination of two foams, a breathable and non-restricting upper, and an extremely wide base—making it the best running shoe for flat and wide feet.

We could run endlessly with its ultra-soft 12.9 HA midsole (vs. 23.5 HA average) and higher-than-average stack. The plush cushioning erases ground impact and ultimately protects our legs from fatigue. Since softer foams tend to be wobbly, Hoka integrates a firmer 22.0 HA secondary foam in high-impact areas to ensure surefooted strides.

Further promoting stable landings is the extra, extra wide midsole. Our calliper measures 125.1/106.6 mm in the forefoot and heel, giving a mind-blowing 11.7/16.3 mm additional space to accommodate wide feet. With its H-Frame, Gaviota 5 shines in our lateral stability test and keeps us centred.

Even the upper gives a lot of freedom through its spacious toebox that allows our natural toe splay and the well-ventilated upper that allows air to flow liberally. It scored the highest 5/5 on our breathability test because the thin engineered mesh has many ventilation holes. 

As expected from a cushioned stability shoe, it sits heavier at 10.6 oz (299g) vs. the average running shoe (9.4 oz / 266g).

Pros

  • Remarkably stable
  • Breathable and comfortable upper
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Plushier than ever
  • Good stability option for forefoot strikers
  • Ideal for wide feet
  • Excellent for long runs

Cons

  • Low drop might pose issues for heel strikers
  • Performs poorly in colder conditions
  • Not for narrow feet
Full review of Hoka Gaviota 5

Best budget running shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

With its £100 price tag, the ASICS GT 1000 12 delivers the best price for performance in the category of stability shoes which usually toe the line closer to £130 on average. As such, picking the GT 1000 12 as the best budget running shoe for flat feet was a no-brainer. 

Pressing our durometer against the midsole yields a reading of 12.8 HA. This is incredibly plush as far as midsoles go and makes the GT 1000 12 a whole 46% softer than our current lab average. While this may seem counterintuitive when it comes to stability, the inclusion of ASICS’ iconic GEL embedded in the shoe’s heel provides us with some balance by offsetting the squishiness of the midsole at the heel. 

While stability shoes are often quite rigid and uncomfortable, the GT 1000 12 manages to strike an excellent balance between pliability and support. This is exemplified in our torsional rigidity test where the shoe receives a score of 3 out of 5. This semi-rigid nature means that the shoe is able to twist and contort with our foot to a certain extent while still providing a sturdy and level base underfoot. 

Despite singing its praises earlier for its lovely cushioning, the midsole does fall short in the responsiveness department. As such, pushing the pace for tempo sessions or pushing the gas tank by going the distance feels like much more of a slog when compared to using some of ASICS’ more premium models.

Pros

  • Incredible value for the price
  • Cushioned and soft midsole
  • Offers great stability
  • GEL technology in the heel
  • Perfectly comfortable for cross-training or walking
  • Built to endure long-distance runs
  • Offers exceptional breathability
  • Durable outsole with a long lifespan

Cons

  • Flytefoam could offer better energy return
  • Upper lacks durability
Full review of ASICS GT 1000 12

What are flat feet

Flat feet (also called fallen or low arches) are characterised by having no visible arch between the heel and the ball of the foot. It implies that the entire sole of the foot touches the ground when standing.

Based on studies, this foot condition affects 20% to 30% of the general population. For adults, it is more common among 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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How to know if you have flat feet

The purpose of this guide is to educate, not to make any medical diagnosis or recommendation. We recommend seeing a medical specialist to determine your foot type.

There are more than a few professional methods to determine arch height. But the quickest and easiest way to do it yourself at home is by performing a wet test.

The only downside of this method is that it is rather subjective and doesn’t tell you the exact height of your arch. But at least, it is a good way to start.

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Now check your results with the infographic below. Are the middle portions of your feet visible on the paper?

determine-flat-feet-wet-test-results.png

To back up your findings, we also recommend standing sideways to the mirror so that you see the inner side of your foot.

Stand on both feet with your full body weight. Does the arch disappear?

two-types-of-flat-feet.png

If the arch is visible when the foot is not loaded (i.e. when sitting on the chair) but disappears when you stand on it, you have flexible flat feet.

If the arch is NOT visible even when you’re sitting and remains flat in all body positions, you have rigid flat feet.

Flexible flat feet Rigid flat feet
Usually painless Cause pain during everyday activities
Usually affects both feet Can affect one or both feet

Flat feet and overpronation

Both types of flat feet are associated with overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot).

That’s why people with flat feet often notice that their shoes wear out faster on the inner side. It causes the shoe to tilt inwards, causing discomfort and unsightly appearance.

Luckily, there is a wide range of stability shoes that are designed to support runners’ feet and minimise overpronation.

Example of a stability running shoe for flat feet and overpronation

Learn more in our guides on pronation and arch support in running shoes.

How to choose the best running shoes for flat feet

Nearly every major athletic brand offers a category of running shoes tagged as “stability.”

These shoes are equipped with various supportive technologies that help to prevent the arches and ankles from collapsing inwards.

how-to-choose-running-shoes-for-flat-feet.jpg

However, you never know exactly how much stability each shoe offers until you try it on foot. That’s why we perform several wear and lab tests to check the level of support in each running shoe. More specifically, we check the following characteristics:

  • torsional rigidity (how hard it is to twist the shoe sideways)
  • heel counter stiffness (how firm and supportive is the rearfoot)
  • midsole width in the heel and forefoot (how wide is the platform)

A highly supportive running shoe will be hard to twist as it features stabilising components in the midfoot area. It will also have a very stiff and structured heel counter at the back holding the rearfoot securely in place. Stability shoes rely on these two characteristics to provide a steady platform.

Torsional rigidity is assessed in a manual test on a 1-5 scale.
Heel counter stiffness is assessed in a manual test on a 1-5 scale.

A wide base is another essential component of a supportive shoe. Based on our calliper measurements, stability shoes on average are a few millimetres wider than their neutral counterparts.

 

Neutral running shoes

Stability running shoes (for flat feet)

Midsole width - forefoot (average)

113.0 mm

115.8 mm

Midsole width - heel (average)

89.7 mm

93.5 mm

midsole-width-measurement.jpg
Midsole width is measured in the widest parts of the heel and forefoot using a calliper.

Based on these lab measurements, we can tell which stability shoes are more supportive and which ones are better for medium-arched feet and mild overpronation.

The table below is sorted by torsional rigidity (on a 1-5 scale where 5 is the stiffest):

If you have rigid flat feet and/or severe overpronation, we believe that the following shoes will provide maximum support and stability:

Tips on choosing the right cushioning

Once you narrow down your choices based on the level of support, it is time to consider the shoe’s cushioning.

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To achieve the most comfortable running experience, you should pay attention to the following:

  • stack height (how much material there is between the foot and the ground)
  • heel-to-toe drop (how much the heel is elevated above the toes inside the shoe)
  • midsole softness (how plush is the cushioning foam)

Stack height

measuring-stack-height-in-running-shoes.jpg
We follow the rules set by the World Athletics to measure the stack height of running shoes.

There’s been a tendency for running shoes to become taller and taller over the past few years. These days, we see more shoes passing the 35-mm mark in heel stack. What used to be maximalist is now considered standard.

High-stack shoes are best for those long weekend runs at an easy pace as well as recovery runs.

However, if you are a beginner we don’t recommend going for the thickest midsoles out there. Especially in the case of flat feet and overpronation. Research shows that being new to running in a max-cushioned shoe leads to higher impact loading, leg stiffness, and sometimes even injuries.

We recommend shoes with a moderate heel stack of 30-35 mm to avoid the potential stress and strain:

Drop

Another essential parameter to consider is the heel-to-toe drop (the difference between the heel and forefoot stack height).

measuring-stack-and-drop-in-running-shoes.jpg

The majority of running shoes for flat feet have a heel drop of 8 mm or more which means that there is more cushioning under the heel compared to the forefoot.

This setup favours a heel-striking pattern when the heel is the first part of the foot to land on the ground. That’s the most common pattern among beginners and most runners.

Midfoot and forefoot strikers with flat feet can also find a suitable shoe for their needs. Just make sure that the shoe’s drop is lower than 8 mm:

If you are not sure about your striking pattern or want to know more about the effect of drop, see our guide on the topic.

Midsole softness

Gone are the days when running shoes for flat feet were firm and rigid. Runners can now enjoy the abundance of both arch support and plush cushioning in one pair!

Brands have got rid of bulky shanks in favour of supportive carcasses such as Brooks’ Guiderails or ASICS’ 4D Guidance System. These technologies help you feel the benefits of plush foams without feeling wobbly.

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We use an HA durometer to measure the softness of each shoe’s midsole from the inside. The lower the reading, the softer the foam.

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However, some runners (especially beginners) may prefer a more traditional firm underfoot experience to feel more stable.

The right size and fit are just as important for flat feet

No amount of arch support can compensate for a poorly-fitting shoe. And flat feet require even more love and care.

If it’s been a while since you last purchased a pair of running shoes, we highly recommend measuring your foot length first. As the foot arch flattens, your whole foot grows a little longer and wider. And size adjustment becomes necessary.

Here you can find the official size charts for every major athletic brand of running shoes for flat feet.

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Depending on your foot shape and width, you may also need to look for a more spacious toebox.

We use a calliper to measure each tested running shoe’s toebox in both the widest part of the forefoot and at the big toe. That way you know which shoes are more tapered and which ones have a more squared shape.

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Consider breathability as well

Summer heat should never stop you from pursuing your running goals.

That’s why we pay special attention to the uppers of running shoes for flat feet. We perform a series of tests to determine the shoe’s ventilation capacities including a smoke-pumping test and a transparency test.

Based on our findings, we rate each shoe’s breathability on a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable.

Lightweight running shoes for flat feet

Stability shoes tend to sacrifice some lightness in return for better stability. Additional supportive features make them heavier than neutral running shoes on average:

 

Neutral running shoes

Stability running shoes (for flat feet)

Average weight

9.3 oz (263g)

10 oz (285g)

But as footwear technologies evolve, brands find new ways to make lighter shoes for flat feet.

neutral-vs-stability-running-shoe.jpg
Stability (GTS) version of the Brooks Launch 10 (8.5 oz/241g) is only 10g heavier than the neutral version (8.1 oz/230g).

These days you can even find speed training shoes with stability components that favour flat-footed runners. This is great news for personal records because every extra 100g added to your shoes slows you down by 1%, according to studies.

Trail running shoes for flat feet

For some reason, brands don’t indicate the level of stability and arch support in their trail running shoes.

Thus, we rely on our own lab tests to let you know which trail shoes have the highest level of arch support.

Other recommendations for runners with 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 themselves.

outsole-durability.jpg

However, our lab tests show that some stability shoes have sturdier outsole rubbers which extend their shelf life.

Using a Dremel with a sandpaper tip, we drill the outsoles at the same spot and with the same speed (10K RPM) and pressure (3.2N). The shallower the damage left by the tool, the more hard-wearing the rubber.

Also, 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 increase the risk of serious injury. If you experience pain while running, get professional help. It is important to rest too.

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.