7 Best Walking Shoes For Flat Feet in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Walking Shoes For Flat Feet in 2024
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Flat feet (also known as pes planus or pes valgus) are characterised 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 of what you need to know if you have flat feet.

Having tested walking shoes recommended for flat feet, we have singled out the best options in different 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? We chose the excellent option for different cases and we did it based on our wear tests and lab tests.

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

How we test walking shoes

We take pride in producing full-on transparent reviews that discuss what we personally like or dislike in shoes depending on their use. The lengths we go to accomplish this start with us buying walking shoes using our own money. We follow this simple rule very strictly because we do not want to give ourselves, as well as our readers, any reason to be biased or to find us with favourites.

We then proceed with wear testing the shoes. The flat footers among us testers are given time to shine to walk, stand, and even lightly jog or work out in these walking shoes. This is to gain realistic experiences with the walking shoes.

Furthermore, we subject the shoes to different sets of lab tests. We collect data regarding the shoes' breathability, water tightness, flexibility, and more. For flat footers, of course, we are after the walking shoe's support. Therefore, we use our durometer and digital force gauge in determining the midsole's firmness and the shoe's stiffness.

Best overall walking shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

The conclusion we have drawn from our in-depth wear and lab testing of flat feet walking shoes is that Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 puts all the other shoes behind it! We can definitely confirm that the risk of inward rolling in this shoe is practically zero, on account of its superb cushioning and bracing construction.

The sturdy support of this shoe effectively defied the overpronation of our feet. We personally discerned the sternness of the shoe by twisting it using our own strength. Based on our subjective opinion, the torsional rigidity is a 4 out of 5, which really helped keep the rolling of our ankles at bay. Despite this, we had seamless heel-to-toe movements. This is due to its low bend countering force of 17.7N, which means it’s really pliable. In fact, it’s 42% more flexible than average!

We noticed that walking, even on hard surfaces, felt gentle on our feet. We hardly felt any shock from the ground, thanks to the abundant foam at our soles. We cross-checked this in our lab using our calliper, which yielded a stack height of 34.1 mm in the heel and 21.5 mm in the forefoot. The heel is 2.1% higher than the average, while the forefoot is 12.2% lower. Regardless, the 12.6 mm heel-to-toe drop afforded us impact-free rides.

On the downside, the weight of this GTS 23 could see some improvement. At 10.1 oz (286g), it’s 6.8% heavier than average. Thus, we suggest opting for lightweight selections if weight matters the most to you.

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

Walking shoes for flat feet with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

Among all the walking shoes we've tested in and out of the lab, we fell head over heels with Brooks Glycerin GTS 20’s exceptional support for fallen arches. Its generous cushioning provides heavenly comfort and remarkable support, effectively mitigating localised tension and unwanted stress on our feet. It effortlessly ranks #1 in cushioning for flat-foot walking.

Its visual bulk is undeniable yet it’s our feet that truly enjoyed its plush sensation. We further checked with our calliper and measured an above-average stack height of 36.5/25.5 mm, serving unlimited cushioning for all-day walking. To substantiate the pillowy sensation, we pressed our durometer into the foam and got a reading 24.8% softer than average, ensuring there was no room for ground feel or discomfort.

Counterbalancing the softness is the rigid GuideRails system, present in the midsole’s sidewalls for resisting unwanted twists and lateral movements. This keeps us centred and effectively mitigates injuries. We felt confident with every stride, thanks to this Brooks’ stable ride.

However, all the cushioning dragged the weight department down by 13.6% vs. the average. If this is a red flag, we suggest sporting a different shoe.

Pros

  • Excellent for heel strikers
  • Provides protective cushioning
  • Offers comfort on easy running days
  • Ensures smooth transitions
  • Features a secure heel counter
  • Comes with a soft, stretchy upper
  • Good breathability
  • Effective GuideRails system

Cons

  • Midsole may feel overly firm for some runners
  • Pricier than many alternatives
  • On the heavier side
Full review of Brooks Glycerin GTS 20

Walking shoes for flat feel with the best durability

What makes it the best?

The best durable walking shoe for flat feet has a lot of ground to cover. We looked for a well-built shoe with enough support and cushioning to make walking comfortable for people with flat feet. After testing the ASICS Gel Kayano 29 both in the lab and on our feet, we realised that it gave us everything we wanted, and then some!

We found it to be a true marvel, exceeding our already steep expectations every step of the way.

The Kayano line has always provided a tonne of support and this one isn’t any different. As we thoroughly tested it on the streets, we found its arch support to be reliable as ever. What really surprised us, though, was the amount of comfort we felt with it. It felt like it gave us the best of both worlds with a one-two punch of support and comfort. We took a deeper look into this by pressing our durometer to its outsole (5 times for improved accuracy), and got a softness of 21.0 HA which shows that it is 23.9% softer than the average walking shoe, showing just how well it pampers feet.

The great thing about the ASICS Gel Kayano 29’s build is that it’s ready to eat miles. We performed extensive testing with it on foot, both on long walks and hard runs. We found that despite all we’ve done with it, its outsole didn’t show any signs of giving in. We measured it with our calliper at 4.1 mm, which is a whole 141.2% thicker than that of the average walking shoe. Combining that with an outsole hardness of 83.5 HC (16.1% harder than the average), it’s definitely one that can take a lot of beatings.

Another supportive feature is its heel counter. We systematically pushed and prodded it, and we gave it a rating of 4 out of 5 on our scale (with 5 as the stiffest). This stiff heel counter translates into a secure fit that’s great for surefooted strides.

While the ASICS Gel Kayano 29’s build lets it eat miles, it can’t handle the heat. We performed our breathability test in it by pumping smoke into its interior. The result: some smoke particles were able to escape but only from the front portion of its upper. As such, we can’t recommend it for those planning to walk in hot and humid locations.

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best walking shoes for wide and flat feet

What makes it the best?

Our all-encompassing testing procedure led us to declare the Brooks Beast GTS 23 as the most exceptional walking shoe for the flat- and wide-footed. Alongside its roomy toebox that afforded us superior comfort, the shoe also guarded our feet against the distress and harm induced by overpronation.

We took the measurement of the widest section of the shoe’s toe box and it equated to 102.2 mm. Being 4.1 mm broader than the other walking shoes we’ve tested, it pleasantly accommodated even the widest footers among us, testers. In terms of underfoot support, Beast GTS 23 didn’t disappoint. With a 25.3 HA midsole hardness, we found that it’s 5.4% firmer than most and boasts an optimal amount to resist the caving in of our arches.

While it’s wide at the front, our heel is well-secured to the point that we are properly aligned. Upon squeezing the shoe’s heel counter, we noticed that it doesn’t easily crumble. Therefore, we gave the heel counter stiffness a perfect 5/5 rating, underscoring its great hold on our ankles.

But there is a catch to all these supportive features and that’s a hefty weight. The shoe came at 12.42 oz (352g), which is 31.4% heavier than others. With that, if you don’t like to feel weighed down, we recommend looking for other options.

Pros

  • Exceptionally stable
  • Effective GuideRails technology
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Superior build quality
  • Responsive DNA Loft v3 foam
  • Durable and grippy outsole
  • Comfortable and breathable upper
  • Good volume in the upper for those with wide feet

Cons

  • High weight can lead to leg fatigue
  • Not versatile for faster paces or longer distances.
  • Becomes too firm in cold weather
Full review of Brooks Beast GTS 23

Best lightweight walking shoes for flat feet

Hoka Arahi 7
78
Decent!

What makes it the best?

Based on the test results we gathered, the Hoka Arahi 7 has earned the title of the ultimate lightweight walking shoe for flat feet. Although its weight is slashed, the reinforcing features of this shoe offer gentle support.

Utilising our digital scale, we established that Arahi 7 only weighs 9.4 oz (266g), which indicates a 9.2% drop vs. the average stability shoe. On our walks, the shoe did feel weightless, freeing our feet from a burdening load. 

Arahi 7 has stabilising sidewalls and Hoka’s J-Frame technology that ensures our foot motions are aligned and centred. This aspect manifested in the rigidity of the shoe, which we found to be 64.2% stiffer than the average walking shoe. The substantial base of the shoe also helped us maintain our steadiness. We measured the midsole to be 120.7/97.5 mm in the forefoot and heel, giving us 7.2 mm extra platform widths compared to the average.

The balanced platform ensures comfort through its height and stability through its density. Our durometer confirms its supportive nature, as it emerged 13.7% firmer than average.

The knit upper feels premium to the touch but lacks breathability for warm weather. We recommend using this pair during cooler seasons.

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 leather walking shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

Through actual wear tests and lab analysis, we learned that Brooks Addiction Walker 2 brings immense support and security. From its sturdy construction to its balanced midsole, it inspires confident and balanced strides for countless hours. On top of that, it’s extremely comfy on foot, earning our approval as the best leather walking shoe for flat feet. 

The durability of the all-leather AW2 shoe is undeniable, as our Dremel test barely made a mark on its upper. With a top score of 5/5 for the toebox, it proves resistant to wear and tear. Even underfoot, the outsole proved its robustness measuring 2.9 mm thicker and 11.6% harder than average.

Comfort is further enhanced by its above-average stack, while the balanced foam enhances stability by maintaining its shape even under heavy loads. Our arches felt supported by the 25.9 HA cushion. 

The midfoot features a strategically positioned Extended Progressive Diagonal Bar, providing reliable support right under our arches and reducing excessive movements. Its stiffness, scoring the highest 5/5, keeps us centred, especially during fatigue-induced changes in foot strike.

However, the shoe’s sturdy build comes with added weight. At 13.7 oz (388g), the AW2 is 39.6% heavier than the average walking shoe.

Pros

  • Unmatched stability and arch support
  • Broadly recommended by podiatrists
  • Incredible abrasion resistance and durability
  • Thick and lasting cushioning
  • Wide and steady platform
  • Great for cold and drizzly days
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • True to size and fit
  • Can match formal work attire

Cons

  • Heavier than average
  • Quite stiff, needs breaking on
  • Lacks slip resistance on wet tiles
  • Not breathable
Full review of Brooks Addiction Walker 2

Best budget walking shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

Through exhaustive efforts of testing walking shoes, we found that the outstanding pair for flat footers on a budget is the Skechers Arch Fit 2.0! This walking shoe has supportiveness written all over it, from great cushioning to a wide base. Combined with extra impact protection, its £100 price which is 23.1% lower than average is definitely a superb trade.

With Skechers Arch Fit 2.0, our strides are as steady as can be. We owe this to the base of the shoe which has a wide surface area. We measured the platform to be 114.5 mm wide in the forefoot and 90.9 mm in the heel. Apart from the forefoot being 3.4 mm wider and the heel being almost equal to the average, the combination granted us firm footing, as well as reduced pronation. 

Another factor that controlled our excessive pronation is the shoe’s lack of flexibility. We bent the shoe and we measured the force it exerted to counter the bending to be 23.6N. This means that Skechers Arch Fit 2.0 is 18% stiffer than most walking shoes.

However, its affordability mirrored its quality. We easily damaged the walking shoe’s heel padding and toebox with our Dremel, scoring 1/5 and 2/5 in durability, respectively. While we recommend the Skechers Arch Fit 2.0 for thrifty spenders, we do not recommend them to harsh users.

Pros

  • Amazing support for overpronation
  • Wide and stable platform
  • Tonnes of cushioning
  • Lighter than the Arch Fit 1.0
  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Padded and cosy interiors
  • True to size and fit

Cons

  • Very poor breathability
  • Lacks durability
Full review of Skechers Arch Fit 2.0

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.

foot-types-and-pronation-comparison.png

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. Follow these steps:

  1. Wet the soles of your feet (ideally both of them) in a water basin
  2. Stand on a piece of paper for a few seconds (until the moisture from your feet sinks onto the paper)
  3. 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

Features-of-walking-shoes-for-flat-feet.png

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.

avg-price-of-walking-shoes.png

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, ageing, 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.