An estimated 30% of Americans have a condition called pes planus, also known as fallen arches or more commonly flat feet.
This condition occurs when the whole sole of the foot partially or fully touches the ground when the person is standing.
Although having flat feet is not considered a serious medical condition, and some people who have flat feet do not experience any symptoms, there are some people who experience recurring pain and discomfort when they are on their feet for extended periods of time. It is something that non-flat-footed individuals would never quite understand.
For people with flat feet, even the simple activity of walking can be agonizing if they use the wrong type of footwear.
In this post, we’ve reviewed the thirteen best walking shoes for flat feet. We’ve categorized the highest performing footwear to meet the needs of men and women who have fallen arches.
Before we introduce you to the best brands in all of the categories, let’s first talk about why it is necessary to wear shoes that have the right kind of support for flat feet.
In this article, we’re going to review the following Men’s and Women’s Walking Shoes for Flat Feet:
- Ryka Devotion Plus 2
- Easy Spirit Women’s Romy Walking Shoe
- Brooks Ghost 12
- New Balance Women’s 928v3 Walking Shoe
- Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker
- Vionic Women’s Walker Classic
- OOmg Women’s Low Shoe
- Saucony Women’s Guide 10 Running Shoe
- Brooks Beast ’20
- Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
- New Balance Men’s MW928V2 Walking Shoe
- ECCO Men’s Fusion Moc Oxford
- Saucony Guide 13
Why Do Flat Feet Need Special Shoes?
Flat feet need more support than arched feet. The arch of your foot improves and corrects your posture and distributes your body weight on the balls and heels of your feet, which keeps the stress on the areas of your foot that are meant to support it.
If you have flat feet, your weight is still being distributed through your foot when you walk, but more pressure is being put on your hips, which can lead to increased wear and tear on your joints and ligaments. Having a specially designed support system reduces the strain that is put on the ligaments and connective tissues of your foot.
4 Steps for Buying Your Next Pair of Walking Shoes
People who have flat feet need added stability support, especially behind the heels and right under the arches. The best arch supports for flat feet have a deep heel cup, are able to control pronation, and are adjustable to help meet your individual needs.
Ideally, the shoes will have a rear foot posting to help reduce over-pronation. People with flat feet often find relief with shoes that are specially designed for their stability. These shoes have extra material in the midsoles and lots of cushioning to give you a tight but easy fit.
To help control motion, these shoes should have a stiff sole beneath the arch of the foot and be flexible at the forefoot. If a shoe bends near the middle, it is not going to have the support that flat feet need.
In fact, you should look for a shoe that is difficult to twist or move because these are the shoes that will give you the most arch support. In flat feet, the ankle tends to turn inward, so the best motion control walking shoes for flat feet are able to control this tendency to help prevent back and hip pain.
Additionally, if you have flat feet, you will want shoes that offer a lot of shock absorbency. To avoid injury, your feet have to be protected from the impact of walking or running by the right amount and type of cushioning. The heel counter at the back of a good shoe for flat feet will resist pressure when you push on it, and gently correct any movement of your foot when it tries to over-pronate.
Wearing shoes specifically designed for flat feet can help prevent or correct the condition in the following ways:
Now that you know why it is important to look for a specific type of shoe if you have flat feet, let’s discuss the specific features that you should look for in the most comfortable shoes flat feet can wear.
What Are the Pointers for Selecting the Best Shoes for Flat Feet?
You want your walking shoe to have a great arch support system.
The arch support area acts as a shock absorber while you’re walking, which protects your feet, ankles, knees, back, and hips from the impact of your step.
Without a natural arch, people with flat feet don’t have the natural impact absorption that other people have. Because of this, it is important to look for a shoe that has been designed to supply the necessary arch support that flat feet need, which will reduce or eliminate pain, correct over-pronation, and reduce the risk of injury.
The insole must be removable to make room for orthotics.
While you can remove the insoles from most shoes, you have to be sure that your shoes come with removable insoles so you can put in orthotics that meet your specific needs. Another important factor in this is identifying the depth of the shoe.
Some shoes are shallower than others. The more depth a shoe has, the deeper the orthotic can fit inside. This means that your foot won’t end up being raised too high.
The shoe must grip the ankle firmly but gently.
This must be done in order to correct pronation and prevent falls. This is also an important part of the shoes being able to handle sudden directional changes without impacting your ankles.
There has to be sole flexibility so that movement is not constricted.
You want the shoe to firmly hold your foot, but you also need to be able to move around freely. The flexibility should lie primarily in the middle of the shoe.
What Other Features Should Be Considered When Choosing Shoes for Flat Feet?
The material should be of high quality and as waterproof as possible so that the shoe can be worn in all kinds of weather. You want high-quality shoes so they are durable and don’t fall apart after just a few weeks of using them. This is also important to ensure that the material is strong enough to support your foot.
Having waterproof shoes is ideal so when you are wearing them in wet weather, as it won’t ruin your shoes or get your feet wet. Getting your shoes wet can often become an expensive problem because you will likely have to replace the shoes. Therefore, it’s a better option to have shoes that repel water.
Breathability is essential to ensure that the feet have air circulation for added comfort while walking. Due to the fact that your body heat and moisture are usually higher inside of your shoes, it creates a differential pressure that forces the heat and humidity outward.
If the shoe’s material is breathable, the hot and humid air that is being pushed out can be released from the shoes, creating ventilation that keeps your feet comfortable and dry.
Another big factor in the comfort of your shoes is the size of the toe box. The toe box has to be wide enough to give your toes sufficient space so that they don’t feel squeezed or pinched. Shoes with a narrow or tapered toe box force your toes to be wedged and cause them to repetitively jam into the front of your shoe, which can lead to strain on your tendons and muscles.
As for the back of the shoes, it is important for there to be a supportive heel to keep your ankle from twisting and bending, as it tends to do in people with flat feet. You want your shoes to be able to firmly cup your heel to keep your ankle properly aligned.
The aesthetic appeal of the shoe is essential, too. You want to have a shoe that you feel confident in, and not something that looks orthotic. Some designs are too clunky or awkward. Choose a versatile design that goes well with most of your “looks” so you are comfortable wearing it on a regular basis.
With these features in mind, let’s look at the best products on the market today.
The 13 Best Walking Shoes for Flat Feet (Our Review for Both Men and Women)
Best for Women
1. Best Overall Choice for Women: Ryka Devotion Plus 2
Ryka shoes are specifically designed not just for the unique shape of women’s feet, but for women’s bodies and muscle movements as well. Their shoes are built with innovation, function, and fashion, and won the 2020 Shape Shoe Awards.
The Devotion Plus 2 is an update to their beloved Devotion Plus line of walking shoes, and it has exceptional fit, support, and cushioning for walking, standing, working, or any activity that is hard on the foot. The Devotion Plus 2 also comes in a huge range of stylish gradient color patterns, for a great look in any setting. It’s our top pick for walking shoes for women with flat feet.
The Ryka Devotion Plus 2 have a breathable mesh upper with supportive overlays for added stability. The collar and tongue are lined with Lycra and have comfortable cushioning. They have a cushioned insole with a removable Anatomical Precise-Return footbed that provides great support for flat feet, while efficiently transferring energy with every step.
The EVA midsole features Ryka’s proprietary RE-ZORB engineered foam that provides exceptional cushioning and comfort throughout the length of the shoe. The outsole is also made of RE-ZORB, with skeletal rubber pads to provide cushion and traction in any conditions.
The Ryka Devotion Plus 2 comes in 12 color combinations ranging from soft pastels to vibrant tones and comes in standard and wide width sizes.
2. Runner-Up Option for Women: Easy Spirit Women’s Romy Walking Shoe
Easy Spirit Women’s Romy Walking Shoe is the best overall option for proper ankle and arch support, durability, price, and appearance. These shoes are incredibly lightweight and perfect for light running.
They come in a variety of colors, which makes them a fashionable athletic option. The removable sock liner gives the user excellent cushioning and absorbs shock.
3. Best Value for the Money for Women: Brooks Ghost 12
Brooks brings incredible technology to the Ghost 12, to make a sole that is soft, durable, and responsive, with smooth transitions and excellent shock absorption. The Ghost 12 places stretch and structure exactly where you need it, for a fit that is both soft and secure, and practically disappears on the foot. It has rave reviews from runners, walkers, and experts all over the web, and is a great value for the money.
The Brooks Ghost 12 has a soft, comfortable mesh upper with a 3D Fit for supple breathability. Flex grooves give extra flexibility in the forefoot. The sole has Brooks’ proprietary plush DNA LOFT for softness, with BioMoGo DNA for responsive cushioning and durability. The sole has segmented crash pads to absorb shock and impact and provide smooth transitions. These shoes are lightweight and incredibly comfortable.
The Brooks Ghost 12 comes in a huge range of colors and color gradients to suit every style, and comes in standard, narrow, and wide widths to fit every foot.
4. Best Women’s High-End Walking Shoe for Flat Feet: New Balance Women’s 928v3 Walking Shoe
New Balance shoes are famous for being comfortable and supportive, designed for people with foot pain and problems. New Balance’s high quality shoes are made in the USA, by a company that truly cares about the environment, corporate responsibility, and foot health. Their shoes are among the highest-rated shoes anywhere, and millions of people wouldn’t wear anything else. These are simply the best high-end walking shoe for women with flat feet.
The New Balance Women’s 928v3 Walking Shoe was designed for all-day comfort when you are on your feet. The real leather upper is stylish and comfortable, flexing and moving with your foot. Inside, an odor-resistant treatment reduces foot odor, and the seamless Phantom Liner provides structure without pressure. It has removable polyurethane footbeds for support and comfort and ABSORB midfoot cushioning.
The sole has unique Walking Strike Path technology that stabilizes and guides the foot, helping to reduce pronation or supination in your stride. The durable, cushioned rubber sole has a ROLLBAR motion control heel to reduce movement in the back of the foot, further support healthy motion and all-day comfort.
The Phantom Liner is available in black, bone, or white color. Sizes include standard, narrow, wide, X-wide, and XX-wide widths, to fit any foot in comfort.
5. Best Women’s Shoe for Stability: Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker
The Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker is the best shoe for stability. The Omni Walker shoes have high-quality foot cushioning and heel stability to allow you to have a safe and balanced stride. The cushioning and support are provided by a response rubber compound.
These shoes come in white/silver and black, so you can pick which style suits you best. You will have a smooth walking transition while wearing these shoes because they have a Walk Trac patented design, and the asymmetrical sole gives you a more biomechanical fit.
6. Best Women’s Shoe for Walking & Standing All Day: Vionic Women’s Walker Classic
Vionic shoes are based on technologies developed by a podiatrist who specialized in lower-limb biomechanics. He pioneered the heat-molded orthotic, a fast and affordable option for custom orthotics. Vionic builds biomechanical technologies into every shoe with their Vio-Motion support, a proprietary technology that gives every shoe they make, from pumps to flip-flops, extra stability, support, and comfort.
In fact, a peer-reviewed scientific study showed that Vionic contoured sandals effectively reduce heel pain as effectively as orthotic inserts. Vionic shoes proudly carry the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance and are a fantastic choice for women with flat feet who need to walk, stand, and move all day.
The Vionic Women’s Walker Classic has a premium, full-grain, water-resistant suede leather upper with a breathable, moisture-wicking mesh liner. They have a removable biomechanical Vionic Technology orthotic covered in anti-bacterial cloth to control foot odor.
They also have a removable molded EVA midsole with a built-in half inch elevation for smooth heel-toe transition. The durable rubber outsole provides excellent traction, with a firm thermoplastic heel for improved stability and support.
The Vionic Women’s Walker Classic is available in nine classic colors, and in standard and wide width sizes.
7. Best Women’s Stylish Shoe: OOmg Women’s Low Shoe
OOFOS makes shoes designed to speed recovery, using the latest scientific breakthroughs to reduce pressure and demand on the feet and lower body, reducing fatigue, pain, and tightness. OOfoam technology reduces 37% more impact than traditional EVA foam, providing the perfect blend of cushioning and stability. The OOFOS patented footbed cradles and supports the arch of the foot to reduce energy exertion in the angles.
A University of Virginia study found that OOFOS protects the ankles up to 20% better than other footwear. The company also supports breast cancer research through their Project Pink initiative, so their shoes help to support an important cause. Even better, these shoes are not just supportive and comfortable, but they are stylish as well, so you don’t have to choose between fashion and foot health.
The OOmg Women’s Low Shoe has an upper made of breathable, 4-way stretch fabric for a lightweight, comfortable fit. The minimalist, slipper style is light, comfortable, and versatile enough for a wide range of fashion choices. The shoe features the OOfoam technology that reduces stress on feet and joints. These shoes enable more natural motion.
The OOmg Women’s Low Shoe is available in black, white and black, white and gray, white and navy, white, white and teal, and white and coral. They come in whole sizes only.
8. Best Women’s Shoe for Comfort: Saucony Women’s Guide 10 Running Shoe
The Saucony Women’s Guide 10 Running Shoe is the most comfortable shoe, due to its plush cushioning system. This is a solid update to a long-running series of Saucony stability shoes. The supportive mid-foot section reduces the user’s tendency to over-pronate, and the cushioning system gives reliable responsiveness.
These shoes have a dynamically engineered mesh upper and tri-flex outsole that gives the user a lot of flexibility.
Best for Men
9. Best Overall Choice for Men: Brooks Beast ’20
With all their quality and comfort, it’s no wonder that Brooks shoes are our top overall pick for both men and women. Brooks makes some of the most comfortable, supportive shoes on the market, and the company believes in sustainability and climate action, sourcing their materials responsibly and protecting workers in their supply chain. Their shoes also have a 90-day guarantee, giving you plenty of time to try them out and make sure they are perfect.
Technically, Brooks Beast ’20 is a running shoe, not a walking shoe. However, for non-runners, that simply means they get great responsiveness and comfort in a lighter weight shoe. Brooks’ GuideRails support technology reduces excess weight in the shoe while also helping to stabilize the entire lower leg, taking stress off the knees.
The engineered mesh upper gives a comfortable, secure fit with a great looking embroidered saddle and eye stay. Inside, the Ultimate Sockliner provides extra comfort. The BioMoGo DNA midsole is both ultra-soft and durable, and the full-length segmented Crash Pad absorbs impact and allows smooth heel-to-toe transitions.
The Brooks Beast ’20 is available in two colors, and in standard, wide, and extra-wide widths.
10. Runner-Up Option for Men: Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
The Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes are the best overall shoes for durability, comfort, and versatility (casual and sporty use) if the price is not an issue. They offer a lot of support for low arches, and control for over-pronation. They come with full-grain leather or velvety nubuck upper that makes them extra durable.
These shoes offer a fabric lining and a removable sock liner, as well as HydroFlow® technology for exceptional midsole cushioning and shock absorption. The full-length MoGo midsole compound gives you a soft but stable cushiony feel that offers increased energy return.
It comes with a durable HPR Green™ outsole that is made of an environmentally friendly silica compound, and also gives you high-quality wet-dry traction for skid-resistance. These shoes offer the fit and feel of a running shoe but have the style of a casual everyday walker.
11. Best Men’s Shoe for Comfort & Support: New Balance Men’s MW928V2 Walking Shoe
The New Balance Men’s MW928V2 are the best shoes if you are looking for comfort and support. When it comes to high performance and style, these shoes are also a great option. They offer motion control and have been developed to ensure that your feet stay comfortable during brisk, long walks.
These shoes are high in quality and are 100% leather. The solid color and thick heel are a sign of quality and comfort. These shoes were designed using the Rollbar posting system to increase motion control, while the heel and forefoot use ABZORB SBS cushioning.
12. Best Men’s Dress Shoe for Flat Feet: ECCO Men’s Fusion Moc Oxford
The ECCO Men’s Fusion Moc Oxford might be the best shoes for you if you want a casual look with comfort and support. These classic moccasins are made with a leather/oiled nubuck upper and have moccasin stitching with a lace-up design.
They come with a removable insole that forms to the shape of your foot, and a moisture-absorbing circulation system to keep your feet cool.
The versatile polyurethane sole helps to absorb shock, and a padded leather lining offers great comfort, making these women’s shoes one of the best for flat feet standing all day.
These are great shoes to wear from day to night, and will allow you to live in exceptional comfort.
13. Best Men’s Shoe for Both Running & Walking: Saucony Guide 13
The Saucony Guide 13 are the best shoes for stability both for walking and running on a variety of surfaces. They are also very lightweight. The soles of these shoes use an Everun top sole that gives the user a springy energy return.
These Saucony shoes are stable and have a perfect level of cushioning that is ideal for longer distance runs. The shoe offers a lot of stability as well as a lot of ground contact. The deep grooves dispense a good amount of flexibility in the forefoot of the shoe. The cushioning is distributed evenly between the heel and toe of the shoes, with an 8mm offset. This results in your body remaining in a more balanced and comfortable position with every step you take.
The upper part of this shoe has built-in zones of support and structure. They also have a dynamically engineered mesh upper and tri-flex outsole with improved forefoot flexibility.
All the walking shoes reviewed today are designed for flat feet and are top picks for their intended purpose. However, the winners in today’s review are the Ryka Devotion Plus 2 for women and Brooks Beast ’20 for men.