Best Shoes for Flat Feet 2017 for Men and Women – Buyer’s Guide
Flat feet, otherwise known as fallen arches, are considered a postural deformity. It is characterized by the entire sole of the foot almost or sometimes completely in contract with the ground. This particular condition can either be unilateral or bilateral. In the past, it has even been used as a reason to be discharged of military service.
This article will help you know what makes flat feet problem? and how to choose the best shoes for flat feet 2017.
What exactly makes flat feet a problem? Flat feet affect the overall biomechanics of walking and running. For starters, the arch provides connection to the forefoot and the hind foot. Flat feet prevent the foot to distribute the impact when someone is walking or running.
One of the easiest ways to diagnose flat feet is to conduct a wet footprint test. It can be done by stepping on smooth surface after wetting your feet. It can be done on a cardboard or on a heavy paper. As it leaves a foot print, flat feet have more sole in contact with the ground.
When walking or running on flat feet, the mid foot typically gets stressed and ends up getting inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is a common consequence of having flat feet. It is among the most common causes of heel pain. There are other cases wherein the plantar fascia exposes the heel bone when it is inflamed which leads to calcification. Calcification of the heel bone or heel spurs can be bothersome since this may even require surgery if no conservative efforts were made to address the problem.
Part of the reason why these types of scenario happen is due to the tendency of people with flat feet to overpronate when they run or walk. Overpronation is defined as the foot rolling excessively inward. There is a higher tendency of overpronation if a person with flat feet is using regular neutral running shoes. Furthermore, it can lead towards developing knee problems or even shin splints.
How To Choose Best Shoes for Flat Feet 2017 for Men and Women
One of the most conservative methods of solving flat feet is to have the proper footwear. By knowing the classification of your shoes, you’ll most likely have an idea if it can help or worsen the condition. Shoes that are labeled neutral may worsen the situation and even trigger shin splints along with knee and hip problems for people with flat feet.
Normal arches are the one responsible for a straight landing during walking or running. For people with flat feet, they tend to pronate, or turn the ankle inward as they walk. The good news is that specialized shoes for flat feet prevent this from happening.
With specialized shoes, it is possible for people with flat feet to still enjoy pain free movement, and sometimes even running. Proper amount of cushioning as well as support by the midsole are among the most common features of shoes specially made for flat feet. It is also typical that manufacturers anticipate the possibility of having heel pain, thus providing more cushion and padding by the heel.
People wear different types of shoes on a day to day basis. You’ll eventually need to wear sneakers, running shoes or walking shoes depending on the scenario. Here are some characteristics of what these shoes should look like.
1. Running Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
Picking a running shoe isn’t as simple as anyone thinks. Athletes involved in sports that require running and jumping are more vulnerable to experience wear and tear on their feet. It is crucial to pick shoes that are capable of providing sufficient amount of support to the feet.
Since arches act as shock absorber when walking, having flat feet compromises how your feet distribute the body’s weight. This could lead to bigger problems such as hip and knee injuries if you failed to pick the right type of running shoes.
If you are trying to find running shoes, it is important to first check the label. For individuals with flat feet, or suffering from inflamed plantar fascia, it is highly suggested to stick with stability shoes.
Stability shoes and motion control running shoes are known to prevent overpronation. It is a design that includes a firm post to reinforce the sides of the midsole. Now, for severe overpronators, the ideal type of shoe may also include a firm heel support as well present in motion control running shoes.
In terms of materials used by top running shoe brands, they’d typically include EVA foam for the midsoles. It is a common practice to make use of at least a single layer of EVA foam on running shoes to enable the foot particular flex patterns which can help correct overpronation, especially for people with flat feet. For severe overpronators, posts are used. These are same EVA material, only firmer in terms of density.
For trail runners that have to deal with rocky terrain, these running shoes typically include shanks that stiffen the midsole and protect the heel.
Our Pick Running Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
2. Sneakers for Flat Feet 2017
People with flat feet have to deal with the fact that it’s quite difficult to find sneakers that have the right amount of support for their heel and midsole. Walking for extended periods of time on the wrong sneakers may not only cause your plantar fascia to get inflamed, but it can even get you injured on other parts of the lower leg.
Fortunately, there are sneakers designed to be used by people with flat feet. It is possible to find an appropriate shoe that can be used for walking in the park or even going to the gym without compromising your lower leg. Shoes that have adiprene, or similar technology, are among the best options that you can go for if you have flat feet.
Adiprene is a technology developed by Adidas to provide specialized cushioning by the heel as well as the forefoot. Most of the impact protection can be found on the heel area. According to Adidas, they simply included some type of support on the forefoot in order to facilitate energized push off.
GEL cushioning systems on the midsole and heel can also be a good indicator that you can walk without overpronating. On the other hand, sneakers that have a beveled heel design can also help correct your gait and stride by increasing your stability. What it does is assist the foot land on your forefoot instead of your heel.
Our Pick Sneakers for Flat Feet 2017
3. Insoles for Flat Feet 2017
There are instances when shoes are not enough to help your feet achieve stability. Insoles can help walking, running or even mere standing more comfortable. It helps support the foot’s structure to help promote stability on compromised feet. Regardless if you are already suffering from plantar fasciitis or at risk of developing any injury due to your flat feet, having insoles can be a good call.
Custom made insoles may be considered the best option. On the other hand, this can be quite expensive. It could range around $100 to $500 depending on who you ask. Fortunately, there are more budget friendly alternatives that can be considered at par with custom insoles.
The best insoles should have firm material to help support compromised areas of your feet. It is highly recommended for individuals with flat feet to try not only “comfort” shoe insoles that simply cushion the feet. Instead, you want insoles that structurally support the midsole and even the heel of your feet. This way, it can help prevent overpronation while walking and running.
Though it is suggested to remove the insoles regularly especially if you tend to have sweaty feet, it is a good idea to consider the material if it can be cleaned or if it has anti-microbial properties.
Our Pick Insoles for Flat Feet 2017
4. Walking Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
The average walking shoes offer the least amount of support for flat feet. It is imperative for people that have flat feet to be picky when it comes to the kind of walking shoe they invest on. Choosing the typical sneakers can be detrimental to your feet, and even on other joints.
First step is to determine what type of walker are you? Fast walkers need additional features on their walking shoes to ensure a more convenient way to walk. Flexible toe are usually for those who plan on walking fast. This helps the toes to push off without putting stress on the mid part of your feet.
Next, test the amount of support that the sneakers can provide your feet, especially on the midsole. The easiest assessment is to grab the shoe by both ends. You can then bend the shoes. If the shoe bends with minimal tension, this isn’t the right shoe for you. The ideal walking shoe should have some type of rigidity in the middle. The harder the middle part of the walking shoe, the more support that it can provide your midsole. This is perfect especially for people flat feet.
Arch support should be more than just foam inside the shoe that promotes comfort. The right type of walking shoe should offer this technology. It should be strategically designed to help absorb the impact of walking and prevent overpronation.
Our Pick Walking Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
5. Work Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
Does your work require you to stand for eight hours straight? A simple activity could end up becoming a health risk especially for people with flat feet. Walking and standing for long hours could result to heel pain or even knee injuries if you are using the wrong type of work shoes.
For people with flat feet, it is important that you choose an appropriate work shoe. It is important that you use supportive and comfortable shoes at work in order to avoid these types of problems to occur.
Evaluate the shock absorbing ability of the shoe that you are going to buy. You can start by perform the bending test to see if the shoe have the necessary stiffness to help promote stability on your foot’s midsole. There should also be enough cushioning that is lined on your feet’s arch and sometimes even on the heel.
It is also important that you need to assess is your activity at work. This way, you can also check other factors aside from support that might play a huge role in making your job easier. For instance, if you work as a construction worker, might as well go for shoes that have slip resistant rubber.
For the ladies with flat feet working in offices, there are shoes that can be paired with your office attire. Aside from the cushion, wedge shoes are thought to be ideal because this can help correct the person’s gait and prevent overpronation.
Our Pick Work Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
6. Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
Aside from long distance runners and sprinters, tennis players are among the most vulnerable to foot injuries. Tennis involves dynamic movements which require different dynamic feet movements as well.
But does having flat feet stop you from doing what you love to do? These days, there are a lot of tennis shoes available in the market for those with flat feet and injuries related to it including plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
When choosing the right tennis shoe, it is imperative to check both the amount of cushion and support that it can provide. There are some brands that made use of GEL cushioning technologies while others made use of specialized EVA foam to provide stability by the midsole of the foot. There are individuals who prefer to have not just one but two layers of foam to help even provide comfort while playing tennis.
Considering the different movements required when playing tennis, it is also a good idea to evaluate the lateral support that the shoes offer. This way, you can freely move, but still minimize the possibility of an injury taking place on your lower body.
Of course, you should also evaluate the traction that the tennis shoe can provide. Since it involves running back and forth on hard courts, you don’t want to encounter slips that could injure your legs.
Our Pick Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
7. Dress Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
In the past, women with flat feet that have to wear dresses tend to suffer the consequence of wearing the wrong shoes. Because of our deeper understanding about flat feet, and how it can affect a person’s gait, there are specialized dress shoes made for these scenarios.
These dress shoes for flat feet can provide both support and comfort without compromising the aesthetics especially when you are going on a formal occasion.
First, let’s consider aesthetics. To be qualified as a dress shoe, it has to be made at least of materials that can easily meet the aesthetic requirements of dress shoes. The best dress shoes for flat feet are made of authentic leather or at least synthetic leather.
Next, in terms of functionality, it has to provide cushy footbed that offers sufficient support on your flat feet. It helps if the dress shoe design utilizes memory foam to mold on your feet.
In addition to this, some dress shoes for flat feet today also offer lateral support to help promote movement for its users. This can help prevent injuries while moving around.
For women with flat feet already suffering from heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis or even heel spurs, it is imperative to look for dress shoes that have a decent external heel counter.
Some dress shoes also offer removable insole which you can replace with custom made orthotics to provide better support on your feet’s midsole.
Our Pick Dress Shoes for Flat Feet 2017
8. Sandals for Flat Feet 2017
Doctors will most likely tell you to avoid sandals if you have flat feet. Though comfortable, a lot of sandals are not designed for people with flat feet, or those that have already developed plantar fasciitis and other similar conditions related to the deformity. Fortunately, there are now sandals that you can use if you have flat feet.
Sandals for flat feet usually have a built in orthothic footbed that conforms to the shape of your feet. This helps in decreasing the amount of stress that the tissues have to absorb while walking. On the other hand, there are sandals that offer removable insoles to allow users to switch to customized orthotics.
It is imperative, as well, that the sandals that you are going to purchase when you have flat feet are a bit wider than your feet. The reason is that the foot splays outwards for people with flat feet.
And lastly, it is a good idea to invest on sandals that do have a deep heel cup. Deep heel cups can help limit the tendency of flat footed individuals to overpronate.
Keep in mind though that some sandals for flat feet may have higher arch than your usual sandals. It may feel a bit off at first, but just give yourself time to adjust to get used to these types of sandals.
Our Pick Sandals for Flat Feet 2017
Frequently asked questions
Why do people with flat feet need to invest on wider footwear?
A lot of people are wondering why shoes for flat feet look a bit wider than the average person’s shoes. The reason behind this construction is the fact that flat feet tend to have more part of the foot in contact to the ground, thus, making it wider over time. The wide structure provides comfort and allows more room for support and stability.
Why is it suggested to bend the shoe when assessing for its level of support?
It is important to make it a practice to bend the shoes if you have flat feet. This way, you’ll determine just how hard the support will be for the midsole. Often times, people with flat feet experience stress on their plantar fascia, mainly due to the lack of support to the midsole. Stability shoes are known for having proper midsole support.
What’s the difference between EVA foam and memory foam?
EVA or ethylene vinyl acetate and memory foams are among the most common types of materials found in shoe and boot midsoles today. But what exactly makes the two different from one another? EVA foam has bubbles that hold air which is known to provide shock absorption and cushion when compressed.
What makes memory foam different? Being used for industrial purpose, it is known to not collapse or flatten easily over time. It makes midsoles have that long lasting durability. But of course, shoes that make use of memory foam may be a bit heavier.
As rule of thumb, choose EVA foam if you plan on investing on lightweight shoes. Also, it is a common practice in the shoe industry to include memory foam shoes on high end footwear. But of course, price and weight are not the only considerations that you need to look into. You also have to check the longevity of the shoes.
Why do shoes for flat feet have elevated heels?
Shoes that have elevated heels are corrective in nature. It is a common trend among people with flat feet to land on their heels first. With elevated heel, it helps correct the way you walk. In addition to this, it also provides better arch support which can help provide stability as you walk and run with the front part of the foot hitting the ground first.
Should I invest on separate insoles?
A lot of people are always asking if they should get a separate insole. There are many reasons for you to get a separate one. For instance, there are shoes that don’t have the type of material you want for insoles. There are shoes that have EVA foam instead of the more durable memory foam.
Also, there are instances when you need to clean the insoles. Having a replacement can come in handy in this particular scenario.
Also, there are instances when the included insoles are the ones that get worn out first. If the other parts of shoe are still intact, this can help you save some money. When investing on separate insoles, you can get custom made or the ones that are pre-made. Pre-made insoles may not be that expensive, but it can also get the job done.
Choosing the right best shoes for flat feet may be a bit tricky. It involves a number of considerations that you need to check aside from its overall aesthetics and price. The right type of shoes for flat feet serve not only as an injury preventive measure, but also as a way to help correct improper gait that been worsened by the wrong kind of footwear.
But what if you need different shoes for different scenarios? You can’t just use the same sneakers if you are going to a formal event. The good news is that there are different products that are available in the market to cater to all these requirements.