Maximize Comfort And Support With The Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet

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We independently select all products and services. If you click through links we provide, we may earn a commission. Learn moreVettedGearMaximize Comfort And Support With The Best Running Shoes For Flat FeetHannah SingletonContributorOpinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.Forbes VettedFeb 5, 2024,09:25pm EST

If you have flat feet, you’re unfortunately more prone to injury — think inflammation, joint issues and plantar fasciitis — than the average runner. So, you’re not alone in your struggle to find shoes that feel comfortable and supportive for miles because not just any shoe will do the trick. The best running shoes for flat feet are specialized stability shoes with design features similar to bowling lane bumpers that align your foot through each stride. We’ve included popular stability options, as well as neutral models that offer additional support, but the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 stands atop our list for its time-tested quality and crowd-pleasing design.

Before we jump into the best shoes for flat-footed runners, here’s a quick test to determine if you have flat feet: “If you were to step in water and place your foot on something like brown paper — you can get a sense of what type of foot you have,” says Dr. Dan Geller, a certified foot and ankle surgeon based in New York City. If you have a flat foot, the entire sole of your foot will touch the ground, and the print won’t have the natural C-shape of a neutral or high arch.

Flat feet don’t always cause problems, but often times, “a flat foot leads to pronation which means your subtalar joint [on the inner side of your ankle] rolls inward and your heel bone goes outward,” explains Dr. Geller. When you examine a foot that’s overpronating, the ankle is falling towards the midline of the body and as a result, many people with flat feet are “prone to certain injuries more so than someone with a neutral foot type.” And “if your biomechanics are not corrected from the ground up, it can really affect your joints moving upwards, like your knees and hips.”

It’s not all bad news, though: Running shoes designed for flat feet can help you achieve a more ideal alignment throughout the entire gait cycle — from heel strike to propulsion. Below, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best running shoes for flat feet based on testing, research and reviews.

Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet Overall: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 Best Value Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Asics Gel-DS Trainer 26 Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Diadora Cellula Best Max Cushion Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Hoka Arahi 7 Best Minimal Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Xero Shoes HFS II Best Speed Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Saucony Tempus Best Supportive Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 Best Trail Running Shoes For Flat Feet: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Best Zero Drop Running Shoes For Flat Feet: Altra Provision 7 Most Comfortable Running Shoes for Flat Feet: New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13

Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet Overall

Versatile Kicks For The Flattest Of Feet

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Weight (per shoe): 10.1 ounces | Cushion: Moderate | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 12 millimeters

Brooks is known for their roster of versatile road running shoes that perform well from daily training runs to big races, and the Adrenaline GTS 23 is no exception. (There’s a reason why this model is on it’s 23rd iteration.) The Brooks Adrenaline is known as a motion control shoe “because the medial or instep of the shoe tends to be a little bit higher and a little more firm, thereby creating more support and structure for the foot,” explains Dr. Geller.

Unlike some ultra-firm motion control shoes, Brooks strikes a fine balance between cushion and support. The Adrenaline feels soft enough that you can wear it on high mileage days thanks to the DNA Loft v2 cushioning, which has been upgraded for this model to be a bit more plush and springy and a touch lighter than the GTS 22. But it still integrates patented GuideRails technology — two pieces of firm foam around the heel to keep your foot in a neutral position throughout your entire stride. For many flat-footed runners, the Brooks Adrenaline will provide that sweet spot of support.

Pros:

Lightweight Excellent blend of support and cushioningMany color options

Cons:

May not be firm enough for severe overpronationAnkle cuff may rub until you break the shoe in

Best Value Running Shoes For Flat Feet

A Tried-And-Trusted Brand At An Affordable Price

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 26

Weight (per shoe): 8.5 ounces | Cushion: Minimal | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 8 millimeters

These pronation control shoes from Asics are some of the best value shoes you can buy, even if you don’t happen to find them on sale. According to Asics, this model proves beneficial for those suffering from injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions or heel spurs. The knit upper is soft and flexible, hugging your foot and moving with you, and the underside provides excellent shock absorption. “If you look at Asics, their Gel system works well for runners that are logging miles on concrete,” explains Dr. Geller. “That’s why a lot of people will gravitate to these shoes.” And, if you train at night, you’ll appreciate the reflective details that enhance your visibility in the dark. However, while they’re still widely available through Amazon and Asics, this model has been reitred, so get them while you can.

Pros:

Very lightweight Grippy sole that’s perfect for speed work

Cons:

Some reviewers have struggled with durability issuesNarrow fit may not be suitable for all runners

Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Flat Feet

A Comfortable Design And Clean Look

Diadora Cellula

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Weight (per shoe): 7.6 ounces | Cushion: Medium | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 5 millimeters

You may not have heard of Diadora, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this Italian-based athletic shoe brand. Their Cellula model is ideal for flat feet without the added weight and structure that comes with traditional stability shoes. The lower drop height (5 millimeters compared to upwards of 10 millimeters from other shoes on this list) creates a more balanced ride as your heel isn’t elevated as high above your toes, so you can enjoy the plush midsole cushion without feeling like your ankles are going to cave in.

And at 7.6 ounces for a women’s size 7, it’s one of the lightest shoes on this list, which you feel as soon as you slip it on. But unlike other lightweight shoes, it has a wear-resistant coating on the sole that keeps the rubber from wearing down quickly with regular use. The one caveat is this is a neutral running shoe, so it won’t provide as much support as other shoes on this list, but it’s a great option for runners who want a classic shoe with a stable base.

Pros:

Strikes a balance between plush and firmGreat design and use of colors and shapesLightweight design

Cons:

Runs very small, be sure to size upMight not offer as much support as serious over pronators need due to lack of shanks or a medial post

Best Max Cushion Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Plush Support For Long Runs

Hoka Arahi 7

Weight (per shoe): 8.1 ounces | Cushion: High | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 5 millimeters

Maclean Wright, an avid runner in Salt Lake City who averages 1,200 miles a year on both roads and trails, has struggled to find comfortable shoes for his flat feet. Now, he swears by Hoka running shoes. For his road runs, he prefers the Arahi, a stability shoe, because of its lightweight design. “I used to roll my ankles all the time when I used more narrow performance sneakers, but the stability shoe is wider and therefore more stable,” he explains. This shoe also has a flat knit upper — an update from previous iterations — to achieve a secure fit around the mid-foot for a truly “locked in” feel.

While this shoe doesn’t provide as much structure as a motion control shoe, Hoka’s J-Frame technology offers mild support along the entire length of the shoe, making it versatile enough for a wide range of runners. But this model is more than a stability shoe: Wright also loves the wide toe box and comfy cushioned sole for his long runs.

Pros:

Impossibly lightweight despite the sky-high cushioningJ-Frame technology prevents overpronation without overcorrecting gait

Cons:

Runs smallSome runners won’t take to the thick cushioning

Best Minimal Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Dip Your Toes Into Barefoot Running

Xero Shoes HFS II

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Weight (per shoe): 8.3 ounces | Cushion: Minimal | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 0 millimeters

We mentioned before that there is no right shoe for all runners with flat feet. While some prefer shoes packed with stability features or maximum cushioning, others prefer to keep it minimal because, in theory, a lack of support can strengthen the musculature of the foot (which can help with collapsed arches.)

With that in mind, the Xero HFS II is an ideal transition shoe for runners looking to start their barefoot journey. While many barefoot shoes sacrifice protection for a more natural experience, these sport a 5-millimeter rubber sole that guards against rocks and a 3.5-millimeter removable insole for extra padding. They’re also incredibly lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for runs in warm temps.

Keep in mind that research on barefoot shoes is limited and your personal preference may be dictated by your symptoms. If you regularly experience injuries or extreme overpronation when running in traditional shoes, you may want to consult a podiatrist before switching to barefoot shoes.

Pros:

Lightweight, breathable no-shoe feelMore durable than many barefoot shoes on the marketRemovable 3.5-millimeter insole lets you decide how “barefoot” you want to be

Cons:

Less minimal than some barefoot shoesPolarizing design

Best Speed Running Shoes For Flat Feet

A Satisfying Bounce With Each Step

Saucony Tempus

Weight (per shoe): 7.9 ounces | Cushion: High | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 8 millimeters

While many of the best speed-oriented running shoes offer neutral support, Saucony has packed some of the most impressive features of its high performance shoes (like the Endorphin Speed) into a stability shoe. On the speed side, it has springy PWRRUN PB foam for superior energy return and a FORMFIT design so you can achieve a perfect, snug fit. But it doesn’t skimp on stability in doing so. Along the medial side of the shoe, Saucony incorporated a stiffer piece of PWRRUN foam to serve as a frame which prevents your foot from leaning inward while you run. If you’re looking to push the pace while keeping your flat feet supported, this shoe is definitely down to get you moving.

Pros:

Supportive foam along the medial edgePlush midsole foam creates a bounce in your step

Cons:

Runs pretty wideNot as comfortable for slower paces

Best Supportive Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Structure And Rigidity Lend Support

MOST POPULAR

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

Weight (per shoe): 10.6 ounces | Cushion: Moderate | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 12 millimeters

Runners who experience extreme overpronation may appreciate the rigidity of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18. A plastic wave plate in the midsole creates structure and provides a firm surface, while the heel counter (a design feature which reinforces the heel cup) is firm with moderate padding along the sides to prevent excessive movement. Not only is the midsole designed to enhance stability, but the snug upper and gusseted tongue fit like a glove, too.

One other unique feature of this shoe is the heel drop, which is the difference between the height of the heel and the toe. At 12 millimeters, it’s much larger than other shoes on this list, but the elevated heel reduces stress on the Achilles tendon, which can be beneficial for runners with mobility issues or lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.

Pros:

Highly supportive for overpronatorsPronounced drop may feel comfortable for those with tight calves

Cons:

Very heavyCushioning may be too firm for some runners

Best Trail Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Tackle The Trail In Total Comfort

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II

Weight (per shoe): 12.5 ounces | Cushion: Moderate | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 9 millimeters

When it comes to running trails, stability is even more important than it would be on paved roads — every step can spell trouble as you navigate roots, rocks and uneven ground. It’s easy to roll an ankle, even for runners that don’t have a tendency to overpronate, so it’s important to pair your foot with a highly stable and supportive offroad shoe like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II.

These technical trail runners are packed with features to help those in need of extra stability: The heel has extra fabric (TPU Transkinetic EVO) to stabilize the joint in place, and a shank runs between the insole and outsole to provide more rigidity than traditional trail runners. La Sportiva’s Frixion XF 2.0 X-Axis rubber provides plenty of grip about the outsole, as do 4.5-millimeter lugs, and a rock plate protects your feet against sharp objects underfoot. If you have wide feet, we suggest sizing up to ensure a proper fit — the relatively narrow toe box doesn’t support broader tootsies.

Pros:

Rigid and trail-capableHeel cup is lined for enhanced stabilizationAggressive lugs on the bottom of the outsole perform well in all conditions

Cons:

Runs narrowOverly technical for mellow trails

Best Zero Drop Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Support A More Natural Gait

Altra Provision 7

Weight (per shoe): 8.2 ounces | Cushion: High | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 0 millimeters

Altra is known for its zero-drop, wide toe box shoes that allow your foot to splay with each step, thus promoting a more natural foot position. In fact, many of Altras’ products — the Provision 7 included — have received the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance because they encourage good foot health.

The Provision 7 comes equipped with Altra’s GuideRail technology, a form of support that reduces excess shin and heel rotation to keep your knee’s natural motion in a safe range, allowing you to run in comfort. Because the shoe is highly cushioned (which some runners will prefer over the rigid design of motion control shoes), they may be a great option if you have mild to moderate flat feet. And while the Provision 8 has since hit shelves, the seventh-generation of this shoe receives higher marks for comfort and support, and it’s still widely available.

Pros:

Wide toe box promotes a natural gaitLightweight at eight ouncesGuardRail technology keeps your leg in the proper position

Cons:

The wide toe box and zero drop are polarizing features

Most Comfortable Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Cloud-Like Foam That Doesn’t Sacrifice Stability

New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13

Weight (per pair): 8.6 ounces | Cushion: Medium | Heel-To-Toe Drop: 10 millimeters

New Balance Fresh Foam X cushioning is beloved among runners (the 1080v13 is one of the most popular neutral running shoes), and flat-footed runners can get in on the fun with the 860v13. With customizable width options and a soft mesh upper, this shoe is ultra comfy and ultra versatile. The medial post runs along the side of the shoe (you can see it on top of the midsole) to provide some much needed structure for overpronators, and there’s enough cushioning that it feels good on all your long runs, but not so much that it’s unstable at faster tempos.

But comfort isn’t all about cushioning: You need a shoe that regulates temperature well, too, and the breathable mesh upper on this model does just that. Plus, the padded tongue cradles the foot, and the spacious toe box eliminates any chance of blisters. We love this shoe because it will make most runners very happy on a daily basis — and flat-footed runners should get to enjoy a shoe just as much as anybody else.

Pros:

Comes in four widths: Narrow, standard, wide, extra-wideDreamy cushioning A supportive medial post to keep you on track

Cons:

10-millimeter drop can be too drastic for some MORE FROMFORBES VETTED

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Why Trust Forbes Vetted?

At Forbes Vetted, running gear is one of our favorite topics, and we religiously research releases and technology from all of your favorite brands. Forbes contributor Hannah Singleton is a recreational runner who loves to test both trail and road running shoes and always has at least five pairs in rotation, including favorites from brands we included in this roundup like La Sportiva, New Balance, Brooks, Altra, Diadora, Hoka and Saucony.

We also frequently update this story to ensure accuracy and keep you up-to-date on the latest shoe models; it was last updated in February 2024.

How We Chose The Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet

To bring you the best running shoes for flat feet, we scoured reviews and researched options from some of the reputable shoe brands, then narrowed it down to a selection of shoes that offer support but also check other boxes like comfort and durability. Once we had our options, we took a deep dive into specs and features, like heel-to-toe drop, weight and structural support to ensure the shoe would deliver on its promises. To back up these claims, we read dozens of buyer reviews and in-depth discussions. Ultimately, we curated a list that will appeal to different lifestyles, needs and budgets.

But we know that not all runners are built the same, so we chatted extensively with expert Dr. Dan Geller, a certified foot and ankle surgeon based in New York City, to get the low-down on what runners with flat feet need to feel supported — and included some of his most recommended picks, too.

What To Consider When Shopping For Running Shoes For Flat Feet

Truth be told, there’s no one-size-fits-all footwear solution for those with flat feet. You should still consider factors like fit (wide versus narrow), cushioning and the shoe’s intended use. But with these tips in mind, you should be able to identify a running shoe that meets your needs.

Level Of Support

You’ll have to choose between the three classifications of running shoes: neutral shoes, which do not offer any particular support along the medial edge, stability shoes, which blend support and cushiony softness, and motion control shoes which offer the most support and structure. Motion control shoes are great for severe overpronators because the design helps put the foot into a “more neutral position, so when someone is running or walking it allows them to go through the gait cycle more appropriately,” explains Dr. Geller.

However, if you only experience mild discomfort as a result of flat feet, you may opt for a softer stability shoe that blends comfort and support. And if you’re not sure how much support you need, it may be beneficial to consult a podiatrist to determine how your foot’s anatomy affects your exercise.

Shoe Fit

Often times, flat feet are thought to be synonymous with wide feet because the lack of an arch places more of your foot in contact with the floor, resulting in a wider footprint. And for many people with flat feet, wide shoes or wide toe boxes will be beneficial. However, you should still consider your own foot shape through the forefoot, midfoot and heel before purchasing a shoe. The heel shape is important because so much of a shoe’s support comes from the heel, which keeps the sole of your foot in contact with your shoe. If you have a narrow heel, you may want to opt for a shoe with a more snug fit so it doesn’t rise and fall with every step.

Cushioning

Just because you have flat feet doesn’t mean you need to steer clear of cushioning, but often times, a stiffer shoe will serve you better. “A flat foot is essentially a loose floppy foot, so you want to put them in a stiff shoe,” says Dr. Geller. However, “there are people with flat feet that will gravitate towards more cushioning and shock absorption because they find that to be more comfortable,” he continues. You may be able to dictate your personal preference by reflecting on your everyday shoes, or you may need to experiment with different options to find the right amount of cushioning for you.

Do Flat Feet Need Arch Support?

Though it may sound counterintuitive, high arch support may be detrimental to runners with flat feet because it forces the foot into an unnatural position. However, it’s worth noting that whether or not you need arch supports comes down to why you have flat feet. Some runners have naturally flat feet (in which case arch support may be uncomfortable), while others have developed flat feet due to fallen arches. “There are folks that want to develop the musculature in their arch and the ankle and lower leg,” explains Dr. Geller, and others with naturally flat feet that may want to stick with shoes that don’t force an arch.

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