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How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet

August 31, 2018

What Do We Mean By ‘Flat Feet’?

Our article ‘Flat Feet and Fallen Arches’ talks in detail about what the terms ‘flat feet’ and ‘fallen arches’ mean. Generally, these refer to how much an individual’s feet ‘pronate’ when they walk or run: regular or ongoing overpronation (where the foot rolls in towards the body’s midline) can cause problems that may lead to pain and discomfort.

Issues surrounding pronation are common and ‘flat feet’ and ‘fallen arches’ are two of the most regular complaints in new patients. The image below shows a general idea of what we mean when we talk about ‘overpronation’, though of course everyone’s feet will look different.

flat feet treatment

This diagram shows the ideal ranges of movement for your feet (on the right) contrasted with an example of overpronation on the left.

Flat Feet and Runners

If you’re a runner – whether competitively or casually – overpronation can lead to foot and lower limb pain. Sometimes this will present as the very common ‘Runner’s Knee’, which we discuss in our article, ‘Runner’s Knee Treatment’.

Ensuring optimal alignment when running is crucial, because your lower limbs are carrying all the load when you’re pounding the pavement. Excessive pronation can cause shin rotation, which misaligns the kneecap and may lead to long-term problems. Luckily, the solution to your flat feet can be as simple as choosing the correct running shoes.

best running shoes for flat feet

Different feet types require different shoes to ensure you’re keeping your feet and lower limbs supported and healthy.

How to Select the Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Wearing the right shoe for running is absolutely crucial, so we’ve gathered some tips to help you choose the right footwear when you’re looking at your next pair of runners.

  1. Be familiar with your feet! Make sure you understand your feet and your tendencies when running so you can find the shoe that will suit your needs. It’s rarely a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
  2. Look for the right amount of structure vs cushioning. If you’re an overpronator, you need increased stability on the inside of the shoe to prevent your foot from ‘falling in’ too much. Most of these supportive running shoes will have varying levels of structure & cushioning, so you can pick the one best suited to your foot. But, don’t overdo the support. Your foot still needs to be able to pronate to absorb shock, so an overly stable shoe might inhibit your ability to absorb shock, thus cause more problems than you had to start with. If you don’t pronate that much, you need more cushioning in the midsole, so are best avoiding the anti-pronation shoes. But, don’t buy a marshmallow. If the shoe feels soft when you first put it on, the midsole will compress to the density of a marshmallow after only a few runs and then the aches and pains begin.
  3. Take in your orthotics & your old shoes. If you wear orthotics, always take them with you, but also take in your old running shoes, as they will tell you & the salesperson a lot about your mechanics and how hard you are on shoes.
  4. Try a different model on each foot. We have 2 feet and therefore get to test drive 2 different shoes at once. So, try a different model on each foot, eliminating the least comfortable each time until you find the final 2 choices – then try the pairs on.
  5. Ignore the colours and avoid gimmicks. If you are serious about avoiding injuries, ignore the colour of the shoes and avoid anything that looks like the new, latest gimmick (as it pretty much will be).
running shoes for flat feet

This photo shows how different kinds of running shoes will affect how your feet move and absorb shock when you land.

Call Our Offices Today

If you love to run and are having ongoing concerns with your feet, it’s vital you seek professional medical advice. With a range of clinics at different locations in Maroubra, Bondi, Rozelle and Kensington (click here for location details), call Orthotic Solutions Podiatry today and set up an appointment to have one of our experienced podiatrists assess your feet and get you back out running, pain-free.

Tel: 1300 1 2 FEET (3338)


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