Prevention Wellness

Podiatrists’ Top 5 Shoes for Flat Feet!

Finding the right running shoes with optimal fit, structure, and arch support can help you avoid pain and lower your risk of injury, even if you have standard-shaped feet. For those with flat feet, selecting the proper footwear becomes even more critical. Thoughtfully designed shoes can make a significant difference in comfort and health, according to podiatrists. Here are the five best shoes for flat feet, along with the common causes and health impacts of this condition.

Causes of Flat Feet

Flat feet are often hereditary, meaning many people are born with this condition. However, there are other potential causes. John Felidi, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist, notes that injuries, aging, and pregnancy can also lead to flat feet. Other risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Lori Grant, DPM, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, adds that arthritis and tendon issues are common contributors to flat feet. Additionally, overpronation, a gait change resulting from mildly flat feet, can further flatten the feet over time.

Types of Flat Feet

Flat feet come in two main types: flexible and rigid. Flexible flat feet mean the arch appears normal when sitting but collapses upon standing. Rigid flat feet remain flat regardless of whether you are seated or standing. Determining which type you have is essential for proper treatment and can be done by observing your foot’s behavior when bearing weight. However, visiting a podiatrist for a professional examination is the most accurate method.

Health Impacts of Flat Feet

Flat feet can affect not only the feet but also the legs, hips, and back. “Flat feet can lead to complications such as toe deformities like bunions and hammertoes,” says Felidi. The condition can strain tendons and ligaments in the feet and ankles, causing sprains, instability, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis. This can result in both acute and chronic pain in the feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Grant explains that flat feet can alter your gait, putting more stress on the inside of the foot and ankle and consequently increasing pressure on the knees, hips, and lower back.

What to Look for in Shoes if You Have Flat Feet

People with flat feet should look for shoes with a wider toe box, arch support, and heel support for a comfortable fit. Grant advises choosing athletic shoes with good stability and arch support. Generally, it’s best to avoid sandals or flip-flops. If you must wear them, opt for pairs with thicker soles and arch support. Dress shoes should have a small heel or thicker sole, along with good arch support and cushioning.

The 5 Best Shoes for Flat Feet

Paul Macaulay, MPod, a British podiatrist, recommends these five sneakers for enhancing comfort and reducing injury for those with flat feet:

  1. ASICS Kayano: Known for promoting stability and a comfortable stride, these shoes feature LITETRUSS technology for improved medial support and midfoot integrity, making them ideal for flat feet.
  2. New Balance 860: These super-cushioned yet stable sneakers are frequently recommended by podiatrists for their comfort and support.
  3. ASICS GT 2000: This running shoe is praised for its stability and effectiveness in correcting overpronation, providing a smooth transition from footstrike to toe-off.
  4. Brooks Adrenaline: Another top choice for flat feet, these shoes are celebrated for their support and cushioning, earning the APMA Seal of Approval.
  5. Saucony Tempus: Featuring PWRRUN PB foam for durability and bounce, along with a PWRRUN Support Frame for added stability, these shoes are Macaulay’s final recommendation for flat feet.

Selecting the right footwear can significantly improve comfort and reduce the risk of complications associated with flat feet. By choosing supportive and well-designed shoes, you can maintain better foot health and overall well-being.

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