The 10 Best Shoes For Flat Feet, With Options For Every Activity
Whether you're walking, running, or spending long periods of time standing, people with flat feet need to pay particular attention to the type of shoes they're wearing. The best shoes for women with flat feet are designed specifically to offer better support and stability. In other words, if you're not wearing the right shoes, you're more likely to experience pain and discomfort.
To help you navigate the plethora of options, we spoke with experts and researched the best women's shoes for flat feet. Read ahead to learn more about the importance of choosing the right shoes for flat feet, as well as expert tips on picking the best pair.
- Podiatrist recommended: Vionic Winny Sneaker
- Best walking shoes: Vionic Walker Classic
- Best orthopedic: OrthoFeet Coral Stretch Knit
- Best for standing all day: New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam X 1080x12
- Best for wide: Hilma The Everywhere Sneaker
- Best sneakers: Hoka Arahi 6
- Best running shoes: Brooks Running Ariel ‘20
- Best hiking: Kuru Quest
- Best sandals: Birkenstock Arizona Footbed Sandal
- Best dress shoes: Birdies The Starling
What does it mean to have flat feet?
Bradley Schaeffer, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist at Sole Podiatry in New York City, shares that this very common foot condition, also called pes planus or overpronation, means that the entire sole of your foot touches the floor or lies flat. “The arch and sole of the foot touch the ground contributing to the ‘flat foot’ appearance,” he says.
Additionally, flat feet cause joints to be misaligned and can lead to joint stress and injury over time. Flat feet have an effect all the way up the spine and can contribute to back and neck pain.
Schaeffer points out that this issue can often go unnoticed or undetected until you begin to experience pain, typically in the arch or heel. ”For someone that is flat-footed, they are missing or have less of the natural spring that comes with neutral or high-arched feet,” he explains. “We need our arches to act as shock absorbers, absorbing the everyday wear and tear we put on our feet—they are our foundation, after all.”
How to choose the best shoes for flat feet
Gregory Alvarez, DPM, FACFAS, a podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America, points out that having flat feet can make you more susceptible to other foot problems, including bunions, back pain, and even tendon damage. "This is why finding the right shoes for your flat feet is important," he emphasizes. Keeping this in mind, below are a few specific features to look for when shopping for the best shoes for flat feet.
Optimal arch support is one of the most important factors to consider when picking out shoes for flat feet. "This will help to reduce the strain on your feet, ankles, and lower back by helping you to maintain proper posture," Alvarez says.
"Arch supports make sure that the arch of the foot, in this case flat, is properly supported and can absorb that pain-inducing pounding many get when walking, running, or doing other activities," adds Schaeffer. He shares that people with all types of feet should get a shoe with good arch support. "Arch supports are designed to relieve and, often, prevent pain," he adds.
Flexibility is also crucial. One study performed on school-aged children in Australia found that flexible, lightweight shoes can help with balance and may also lead to healthier, stronger feet in the long run1. "Shoes with a flexible sole are beneficial for flat feet because they allow for natural foot movement," explains Alvarez. "Avoid stiff soles as these can cause discomfort."
Wide toe box
A roomier toe box makes for a better fit, to prevent the toes from being crammed together. Besides being downright uncomfortable, a cramped toe box can cause a whole list of other issues. "A roomy toe box also reduces the risk of developing bunions or corns," Alvarez adds. A narrow toe box can also lead to nerve compression, according to our experts.
Another detail you should be on the lookout for is cushioning. Alvarez recommends choosing a shoe with sufficient cushioning in the heel and forefoot region. "Cushioning helps to absorb shock when you walk, reducing stress on your feet and improving comfort levels," he mentions.
Lastly, Alvarez advises that you select shoes with a good grip on the sole, to ensure your feet stay firmly planted, especially when walking or running. "This will help you to avoid slips and falls," he says.
Besides these criteria, you should also keep in mind what you'll be using the shoes for. Will you be running in them every day, or will you use them only for occasional walks? Do you need casual sneakers that you can wear daily to get errands done, or are you looking for a dressier pair of shoes to wear to dinners or events? It is also helpful if you decide on your budget before you start your search, as shoe prices vary greatly. Many patients with syndromes caused by flat feet also must use custom molded orthotics. A podiatrist can help determine what is best for you.
How we picked:
We made sure to keep expert advice and insight top of mind as we researched the best shoes for flat feet. If a particular brand or shoe was recommended by an expert, we called that out in the product details below.
We sifted through hundreds of reviews to gain a better understanding of what people like (and dislike) about these picks. Everyone has different needs and preferences, so this helped us learn more about a wide variety of firsthand experiences.
Shoes made from high-quality materials are safer to wear and often last longer. Some options on this list also incorporate sustainable materials, which we prioritize in all product recommendations.
Experts say shoes with optimal support are best for those with flat feet. We kept this in mind when evaluating the options.
Our picks for the best shoes for flat-footed women:
Podiatrist recommended: Vionic Winny Sneaker
- Great forefoot cushioning
- American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance
- Podiatrist-designed and recommended
- Runs large
Return policy:30 days
Sizes available:5 to 11
Vionic, a brand recommended by three experts we interviewed (Alvarez, Schaeffer, and Sandra Gail Frayna, physical therapist and founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports), make podiatrist-backed shoes for a variety of foot types and needs.
These classic sneakers have supreme arch support and cushioning, and are made with a leather upper and a durable rubber outsole. Each shoe features a podiatrist-designed footbed with three comfort zones: a deep heel cup, forefoot cushioning, and a midsole with unrivaled arch support. These features help the sneaker better contour to your feet, resulting in a more supported, comfortable fit. If the shoes get dirty, all you have to do is wipe them with a dry cloth.
Customers praise this podiatrist-approved shoe for its sleek design and excellent arch support. One Amazon customer writes, “Well-made and super comfortable. Great support. I am an 8.5, and the same size fits perfectly. No rubbing or too-tight areas. Good arch support but is not too high. Quality leather. Not a bright white, if that's what you prefer. Love them!!”
Although many people approve of this podiatrist-recommended pick, some point out that the shoe runs a bit big. Keep this in mind when choosing your size.
Best walking shoes: Vionic Walker Classic
- Comes with removable orthotic
- Made with Active Motion System (AMS) technology
- Available in two widths
- APMA Seal of Acceptance
- Too clunky for some
Return policy:30 days
Sizes available:5 to 12
This sneaker is a must-buy if you have flat feet and are looking for a great walking shoe. With a breathable, moisture-wicking mesh liner that helps reduce rubbing, and a durable sole for better traction, these shoes check all the boxes. Each pair is made from water-repellent suede or leather, so you can wear these kicks during rain or shine.
What’s more, every sneaker has a removable podiatrist-developed orthotic designed with an antibacterial top cloth to help minimize foot odor. A thermoplastic heel counter and removable molded insole add extra support and stability. Available in a range of colors and sizes, these may just become your new go-to.
This shoe is loved by many—it has nearly 800 perfect five-star ratings on its website and over 4,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. “This shoe changed my life,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “It is my second pair. I have plantar fasciitis and flat feet. Before wearing these shoes, I was in a great deal of pain whenever I had to stand for a long time or walk very far. Now, most days, I don't have any pain at all.”
Best orthopedic: OrthoFeet Coral Stretch Knit
- Adjustable arch booster system
- Orthotic insole
- Wide toe box
- Doesn’t come in dressier fabrics/colorway options
Return policy:60 days
Sizes available:5 to 12
A recommendation from Frayna, this shoe is made with superior cushioning, antimicrobial fabric, and adjustable arch support. It’s available in nine colors, including black, white, and lavender, and has a wide toe box that provides a more roomy fit—this is especially great for those who suffer from swollen feet, bunions, or hammer toes.
Every pair is constructed with a stretchable mesh upper that molds to your foot’s curves and a cushioned sole that adds some pep to your step. Four different widths are offered: Narrow (A), Standard/Medium (B), Wide (D), and Extra Wide (2E).
“Very comfortable,” shares one reviewer. “Gives good arch support and helps to alleviate pain in the heel region of the foot.” Another satisfied customer writes, “I am very happy! Have pronation issues and these make walking more stable and are very supportive. They're super comfortable; fit perfectly and they are breathable material. Highly recommend it!” One customer does mention that they wish these also came in a dressier design option so they could be worn to special occasions and events.
Best for standing all day: New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam X 1080x12
- Lightweight and breathable
- Supportive fit
- Runs large
Return policy:45 days
Sizes available:5 to 13
Made with the brand's Fresh Foam X cushioning, this shoe has a cloud-like feel that's extremely comfortable for people with flat feet. Midsole mapping is also used in the shoe's design, meaning that wider areas of the sole have more foam, and more narrow areas are designed to be more flexible. These shoes are great if you’re on your feet all day or are simply looking for a comfortable pair of shoes to wear while taking care of errands.
Another highly-rated option, these shoes have 600 perfect five-star ratings. on Amazon “This is my second pair of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s and I cannot recommend them enough,” one person says. “I put about 420 miles on my first pair and knew I needed the exact same shoe once they were worn out. If you're looking for an everyday trainer, these are your shoes. They have enough cushion and support but not too much. If you have a flat arch and skinny foot these are great for you (I'm speaking from experience). I hope everyone loves their New Balance 1080s as much as I have.”
Best for wide: Hilma The Everywhere Sneaker
- Personalized fit
- 45 sizes offered
- Made from sustainable materials
- Only available through the Hilma website
Return policy:Not specified
If you have wide, flat feet and want shoes with a more personalized fit, this shoe is a great pick. It's made from sustainable materials, including sugarcane-based EVA. The brand is all about personalization, and offers 45 custom sizes for this shoe. Designed by industry experts, these shoes are both lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for running or daily wear.
To help you find the right fit, the brand’s website guides you through a series of questions, focused on details such as toe boxes, technical specs, shoe shape, foot issues, preferences you may have, etc.) to help them get a better idea of what shoe may work best for you. Once your answers are in, the site populates a suggestion for you. Although they’re relatively new to the scene and there are no reviews on the company's site, these shoes may just be a game changer for those with wide, flat feet who need something that feels like it was designed for them.
Best sneakers: Hoka Arahi 6
- Compression-molded foam midsole
- Mesh lining made from recycled materials
- Roomy toe box
- Wide sizing only available in certain colors
Return policy:30 days
Sizes available:5 to 12Custom sizing
This shoe is a direct recommendation from Frayna, and is the pinnacle of comfort and support. “Known for their maximalist cushioning, this shoe is a great option for flat-footed women looking for extra support and shock absorption,” she says.
Surprisingly lightweight, this stability shoe is made from recycled materials, with a mesh lining, a compression-molded foam insole, and a built-in meta-rocker that helps make for smoother wear and better forefoot support. Each shoe features an extended heel tab, which helps make it easier to take this shoe on and off, and a durable outsole that can handle wear and tear during outdoor use. One of our favorite parts is the J-Frame, designed to help prevent overpronation while keeping the shoe lightweight and flexible. We also can’t get enough of the brand’s fun colors—choose from options like coastal sky blue and sun-baked coral.
One customer with flat feet writes, “The Ahari model feels like it was made for my feet! They have the right amount of support and cushion but don't feel as stiff as other stability shoes I've tried. I'm officially a Hoka convert now!” Another even went so far as to write these are “the most comfortable and lightest sneakers I've ever had.”
Best running shoes: Brooks Running Ariel ‘20
- Spacious yet secure
- Soft cushioning
- GuideRails technology adds extra support
- Only offered in four colors
Return policy:90 days
Sizes available:6 to 13
Made with an engineered mesh upper and patented BioMoGo DNA midsole, this shoe is roomy but also secure. “This shoe has a supportive construction and comfortable cushioning,” adds Frayna. “Their GuideRails technology helps keep your feet in proper alignment, making them a great option for those with flat feet.” This technology helps better support knees and hips, too, so it’s a win-win. Even better? These sneakers are available in three widths—Medium (1B), Wide (1B), and Extra Wide (2E)—and have the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
These beloved running shoes have over 600 5-star reviews, with many noting these sneakers are “stable,” “supportive,” and “comfortable.” “Hands down the most comfortable, supportive shoe I have ever worn,” one customer writes. “I ordered these for post-foot surgery recovery, and they were amazing. I only wish they had more color offerings, as all of the really cute colors are in the other styles.”
Best hiking: Kuru Quest
- Built-in arch support
- Spacious toe box
- Improved alignment
- Some complaints about heel material
Return policy:45 days
Sizes available:6 to 12
If you have flat feet and are in the market for hiking boots, consider this top-rated pick. Ideal for those with flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or heel pain ,these shoes have superb arch support and a wide toe box that gives your toes plenty of room to move (this is especially helpful if you also have bunions or hammer toes).
The unique design helps improve posture and alignment, with a gusseted tongue that keeps your ankles and feet clean even during the most intense treks.
These hiking shoes have over 600 5-star reviews, with an average 4.5-star rating. “These are very comfortable, and have plenty of room in my size,” one customer wrote. They have generous heel and toe box room, and the foot bed is so soft and well made I don't even need my custom orthotics in them! These are an excellent all around shoe for urban or trail use, that also looks nice.” Another customer exclaimed these shoes made them feel like they were “walking on clouds” and provided “pure comfort.” Although the majority of the reviews are positive, some customers do point out that the heel material may bother some.
Best sandals: Birkenstock Arizona Footbed Sandal
- Cushioned footbed
- Adjustable straps
- Some say they run large and/or wide
Return policy:30 days
Sizes available:4 to 12.5
Recommended by Schaeffer, these sandals are great for anyone with flat feet who wants a breathable, style-forward option that they can wear throughout the day without pain or discomfort. The cushioned footbed molds to your feet, and the shoe's suede liner feels soft to the touch. Its longitudinal arch supports keep your feet in place, with a deep heel cup for additional stability.
Even better? These sandals feature transverse arch support, which runs through the center of the foot. A raised footbed edge helps protect your toes during each step.
These bestsellers have a whopping 43,000-plus reviews on Amazon, with an overall 4.5-star rating. One shopper writes, “I've never owned Birkenstocks until now, and boy oh boy do I love them. I have extremely flat feet, and these fit wonderfully. They help to create my nonexistent arch. Thank you, Amazon, for having a killer sale and getting these babies to me for $55 with Prime delivery!” Many reviewers agree that these sandals get the job done, but some do share that the design may feel too bulky, depending on your preferences.
Best dress shoes: Birdies The Starling
- Seven layers of cushioning
- Shock-absorbing sole
- Recommended by podiatrists
- Some say they run large
Return policy:30 days
Sizes available:5 to 13
Perfect for when you want to wear something dressier but don’t necessarily want to throw on heels, these flats seamlessly combine design and comfort. Recommended by Alvarez, The Starling features seven layers of cloudlike padding, great arch support, and a roomy, cushioned toe box which makes for a comfier wear. Flats can often feel tight, restrictive, and, well, too flat. These shoes help change this. “It also has a shock-absorbing sole that helps reduce fatigue when walking,” Alvarez says. Available in dozens of colorways, such as cheetah print, black leather, and sapphire crushed velvet, these versatile shoes go with everything.
With over 32,000 reviews and a 4.7 overall rating, these flats get rave reviews from thousands of customers. People say they offer the perfect amount of cushioning, an eye-catching design, and optimal support. “This is my first pair of Birdies, and it won't be my last,” one happy customer writes. “My feet changed so much with my last pregnancy, and I need more support in my shoes. I was hesitant to try Birdies without trying them on, but I'm so glad I did. They are so comfy and supportive!” Some reviewers do mention that the shoe may feel a touch too big to some.
Can flat feet be corrected with shoes?
Although shoes may not permanently correct flat feet, supportive, cushioned shoes with great arch support and a wide toe box can help make walking, running, and standing more comfortable for people living with flat feet.
What kind of shoes are good for flat feet women?
According to experts, shoes with superior arch support, optimal cushioning, and a roomy toe box are typically best for flat feet women. However, it is essential to remember that everyone has different feet, so what feels good to one person may not feel as great to another. If you're not sure what design is best for you, we recommend speaking with a podiatrist.
Are arch support shoes good for flat feet?
Schaeffer shares that arch support is beneficial for flat feet. Arch support helps minimize pain-inducing impact while walking, running, or doing other activities.
The best shoes for flat feet women are designed with optimal support and cushioning, with useful features (such as shock-absorbent soles and heel cups) that make walking, running, and standing feel much more comfortable. If you're interested in learning more about how to choose the best shoes for your foot type or another existing condition, be sure to check out our guides for the best shoes for bunions, the best shoes for arch support, and the best sneakers for standing all day.