The 10 Best Shoes For High Arches, According To Podiatrist Guidelines
Our feet work hard for us, and the least we can do is try to provide them some TLC in the form of comfortable, supportive shoes. That's especially true if you have high arches, which can cause a range of issues including plantar fasciitis and ankle instability.
Whether you're a runner or a walker or you work a job that keeps you on your feet all day, you need a shoe that can go the distance. Here are a few of our recommendations for the best walking, running, and everyday shoes for people with high arches.
What does it mean to have high arches?
The arch of your foot is exactly what it sounds like: It's the curved area between the ball of your foot and the heel. We all have a natural arch to our feet, but the height of it can vary dramatically—you might have heard someone describe themselves as "flat-footed," which means they have little to no noticeable arch.
When we spoke with holistic podiatrist Robert Kornfeld, DPM, he explained that high arches are defined by an excessively high angle between the forefoot (ball) and rearfoot (heel). This shortened angle can cause a few problems, including occasional pain, ankle instability, and increased risk of sprains.
"The majority of high-arched patients have a more rigid structure to their feet," says Kornfeld. "Rigid-type feet are generally less capable of absorbing stresses, as it's difficult for the foot to share and properly distribute weight."
What causes high arches?
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, a high arch (also known as "cavus foot") can be something you're naturally born with, or you can develop it over time. Some folks with high arches only experience occasional pain or instability—however, high arches can sometimes be a side effect of a neurological disorder or medical condition, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or stroke.
What to look for in shoes for high arches:
Midfoot support: "In a rigid-type foot, the heel and forefoot absorb the shock while the midfoot does not," says Kornfeld. "Shoes should help bring the ground up to meet the midfoot, providing arch support." This will help your foot properly distribute weight across its entire surface, as opposed to just the heel and the ball.
Shock absorption: "Since a rigid foot does not absorb shock well, a well-cushioned shoe is essential to serve as a shock-absorbing interface between the foot and the ground," Kornfeld adds. In other words, cushion is key.
Flexibility: "It's also helpful for these patients to avoid very rigid shoes since they can cause overuse of the calf muscles and can lead to Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis," he says. Instead, go for something a bit more flexible.
How we picked:
We read hundreds of reviews from people with high arches to make sure each shoe stands up (pun intended) to its supportive claims.
We took our expert's recommendations to heart and focused on shoes that provide ample midfoot support, shock absorption, and flexibility.
We stuck with brands you'll know (plus, maybe some newer brands you should know) and trust.
We know everyone's budget is different—that's why we included a wide range of price points, with a few picks that are more budget-friendly.
Our picks for the best walking shoes for high arches:
Best support: Brooks Addiction Walker
- Great balance of stability & cushioning
- Slip-resistant outsole
- Sizing may run small
- Some reviewers say the model is noisy compared to other styles
The leather walking shoes provide maximum arch support, which not only feels great but packs a unique technology: an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB). This unique midsole construction has three densities to make the natural transition from heel to toe even smoother, and it's great for correcting overpronation (or when your foot rolls inward as you walk).
Other perks include super-responsive cushioning, which responds to your weight, gait, and speed to reduce shock, reducing the impact on your joints. Although you'll only find two colorways—fully black or white down to the slip-resistant outsole—the design comes in narrow, wide, and regular options. Also, some reviewers warn that this shoe runs slightly small.
This supportive walking shoe is great for those who are covering a lot of ground. In fact, there are several reviews from mail carriers who praise this shoe—including one USPS worker who says, "These shoes are a game-changer for my feet!! There is no 'breaking in' or 'getting used to' a new pair of shoes. My feet aren't hurting and actually still feel good at the end of a 10-12hr day." These are also some of the best walking shoes for bunions thanks to the wide toe box.
Although these are not the most sustainable option, Brooks is committed to improving their sustainability by making science-backed changes such as moving to 100% recycled polyester in all footwear by 2023. The company has also created an actionable plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Best for running: ASICS Gel Kayano 29
- Generous midsole support
- Designed to prevent overpronation
- Maximum cushioning
- Narrow fit (so you may want to size up)
Asics' Gel Kayano sneakers have been beloved by runners for years. Designed to counteract overpronation, which can be common in folks with high arches, the popular construction changes slightly every year.
The newest model is the brand's lightest variation yet, but it still packs generous cushioning per our expert's recommendation. Along with advanced rear support, or cushioning in the heel, the shoe offers maximum shock absorption to keep your landings soft and takeoff smooth. Expect flexibility with stability and built-in guidance that keeps your gait efficient.
One runner says, "I'm on my fourth-generation pair of Gel- Kayano, and these are by far the best ones. They are lightweight and comfortable right out of the box." Another praises the ankle support: "My shoes make my ankles feel secure and supported. I feel like I'm running on clouds!"
This model is also the Kayano's lightest iteration yet. On the downside, they are a bit narrow, so anyone prone to toe pain or dealing with bunions might want to consider the wider model of these shoes. (Some reviewers also suggest ordering a half-size up.) While 90% of ASICS' new 2021 and 2022 running shoes are made from sustainable materials, the Gel Kayano 29 is not one of these more sustainable options.
Best for wide feet: New Balance 990v5 Core
- Wide & extra-wide options
- 70% Made in USA
- Not many color options
A totally classic sneaker, the 990v5 Core is a great pick for anyone with wide feet. They're available in narrow, standard, wide, and extra-wide, for a roomier fit. The exterior is a mix of suede and mesh, and the shoe has an orthotic insole and a firm and cushy midsole for superior arch support—making it a favorite among people with high arches.
Most reviews are from people who have been wearing iterations of this shoe for years. Many praise the supportive heel cup and roomy toe box for long days on your feet. On the negative side, a few folks complain that their size is always sold out or that there aren't enough color options. It's also the most expensive shoe on this list.
The 990v5 Core model is a collaboration with MADE U.S. and contains a domestic value of 70% or more. While these shoes are not made of fully sustainable materials, New Balance has worked with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to develop a framework and is taking actionable steps toward a more sustainable future.
Best for cushion: Hoka Clifton 8
- Uses some recycled materials
- Maximum cushioning & support
- Some reviewers say these run large
- Less breathable construction
Hokas are known for their cloudlike comfort, and the Clifton 8 is easily the brand's most popular model. Although it's not a super-high arch, the design offers a balance of support and cushioning throughout the midsole, making this a nice neutral option for those with medium-high arches. The Cliftons (and most of Hoka's shoes) have an extended heel and a rocker-style shape that helps keep your stride smooth while you're walking or running. It also has considerable toe room and is great if you have bunions or metatarsal pain
While they're definitely a chunkier shoe, reviewers say they are lighter than previous models. One person writes, "I use this shoe for power walking/lite running, and it has been great! I love the cushion without being too soft and the fact that it is lightweight." With over 2,000 reviews on the Hoka website, these have a 4.6 out of 5 rating overall.
On the downside, some folks say the Clifton 8 is not very breathable (even with the mesh cover), and can be a bit stiff. Hoka also has a mission for sustainability, and 90% of the brand's 2021 footwear used at least one recycled, renewable, regenerative, or natural material.
- Made from sustainably sourced materials
- Machine washable
- Whole sizes only
- Not very sturdy
If sustainability is important to you, choose Allbirds. The super-lightweight Tree Runners are constructed with responsibly sourced eucalyptus fibers, recycled water bottles, and a Brazilian sugar-cane midsole that's made from the world's first carbon-negative foam. The midsole is one of the reasons these shoes have become so popular in recent years, especially among people with high arches. One reviewer says, "I limp and sometimes have to use a cane. I put these Allbirds on and instant comfort! First thing I noticed is the superb arch support in these shoes. Seriously. It's impressive."
Just note that while they're revered for their comfort, they're not the most supportive shoe on this list and are more flexible than they are sturdy. They do have a high-top option, though, which provides a bit more ankle support, if that's a concern for you. And if they don't work out, Allbirds also has a no-questions-asked return policy where lightly worn shoes are donated to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that helps provide unwanted shoes and clothing to those in need.
Best for plantar fasciitis: Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3
- Breathable material
- Good balance of flexibility and support
- Some reviewers say they run small
The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 is a solid option for anyone looking for a supportive, breathable shoe. As the name suggests, the sneakers combine a flexible knit material with reactive, supportive foam to offer a bouncy, cushioned shoe. It also has considerable arch support and a foam rocker that's intended to help reduce injury and follow the natural movement of a runner's stride (although you don't need to be a runner to love these shoes!).
One friend who is on her second pair says it's a great shoe for high arches and plantar fasciitis. She walks and runs in them regularly and says, "Tons of arch support—almost too much at first! But they helped me majorly with my plantar fasciitis." Based on reviews, they are even a popular pick for people who are on their feet all day.
Nike is taking steps toward zero carbon and zero waste with their Move To Zero movement, with additional efforts in motion for circularity, climate control, and sustainability.
Best everyday shoe for high arches: Adidas Stan Smiths
- Uses up to 50% recycled materials
- Less expensive option
- Some reviewers say they run large
- Some reviewers say they are not very breathable
For trotting around town, a casual look at the office, or sightseeing on vacation, you can't go wrong with the versatile look of Stan Smiths. Although they've been around for decades, Adidas recently redesigned these sneakers using a synthetic vegan leather material that's made from up to 50% recycled materials—a win for Mother Nature!
This was another crowd-sourced pick among a few high-arched friends who say the arch support makes Stan Smiths the most supportive casual shoe they've found. There are also thousands of positive reviews online for these shoes, but a few tips too: Most people warn that they run large, so consider sizing down a half size when you order. The design runs wider, which could be welcome news or another reason to size down (depending on the shape of your foot). Lastly, the tongue on these shoes is pretty large, and a few reviewers warn that it rubbed on their ankle a bit while they broke in.
- Carbon-neutral shoe
- Designed to correct supination
- More narrow than other Brooks models
- Not as cushioned as other Brooks models
One of the brand's bestselling shoes, the Ghost 14 is a popular pick among runners and walkers alike. The structure of this shoe is designed to counteract supination, which occurs when you place weight on the outside of your foot and can be a result of high arches or weak ankles. With considerable cushion and neutral support, the Ghost 14 uses a combination of Brooks' proprietary DNA LOFT foam and a breathable mesh upper.
Reviewers with plantar fasciitis also rave about this shoe. One notes, "I wear them at work and I'm on my feet for at least 8-hours straight. I FINALLY have no foot pain (plantar fasciitis) and can actually still go for a walk after work!"
We also love that Brooks makes a significant effort to use sustainably sourced and recycled materials in their designs. In fact, the Ghost 14 is the brand's first completely carbon-neutral shoe, and the company aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
- Sustainably sourced canvas
- Less expensive option
- Some reviewers say these don't hold up very well over time
Vionic shoes offer a stylish way to get podiatrist-approved support (after all, the brand was founded by a podiatrist). This casual pick has an orthotic insole with a cushioned base and considerable arch support (especially for a flat-soled shoe). Another major bonus: They're made from a machine-washable, sustainably sourced canvas. Also a recommended brand from a friend with high arches who spends a lot of time on her feet, these sneakers offer the right amount of support for standing all day without looking clunky.
One online shopper says, "I have very high arches. I have a lot of foot pain, especially if I try to wear shoes that flatten out my foot. I joked with my daughter that it is like wearing a bra for your arch! Even wearing them for hours shopping I am still free of foot pain."
While this is a neutral, budget-friendly pick with solid arch support, a few reviewers say they don't hold up very well over time and warn that it's not Vionic's most supportive shoe. So if you're looking to really ramp up your arch support, you might consider the Walker Classic sneakers instead, which are more substantial (but also more expensive).
Best all-day shoe: Clove Shoe
- Designed for extended time on your feet
- Washable insoles
- Wipe-clean material isn't for everyone
- Slightly narrow
These laceless kicks were designed with health care workers in mind and are an outright sensation among nurses—but you can wear them no matter your profession. Clove's original Clove Shoes are easy to slip on, mega-supportive, and easy to clean. The exterior of the shoe is water resistant and wipeable, and even the insole is machine washable.
Reviewers with plantar fasciitis have great things to say about the cushion and support of these shoes. One person who just ordered their third pair of Cloves raves, "I'm obsessed. These shoes cushion my feet for my whole 12-hour shift. No more heel and arch pain." Just note that most people recommend sizing up a half-size, so that's something to consider if you're in between sizes or prefer a more wide toe box.
Cove partners with nonprofit sustainability organizations like Soles4Souls, and all materials used are 100% cruelty-free and vegan. With a solid 4.9 out of 5 rating, it's hard to find a negative review of these shoes—but a few do say they are not a fan of the wipe-clean material.
What kind of shoes should you wear for high arches?
As our expert podiatrist explained, shoes for high arches should rise in the midsole to help bring the ground up to you (i.e., arch support). They should also be well cushioned to help with shock absorption and flexible to prevent overuse of your calf muscles, which can lead to Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis.
Is walking barefoot good for high arches?
According to our expert, on nonyielding surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, wood, tiles, or linoleum, barefoot walking will likely have a negative overall impact. On yielding surfaces such as grass and padded carpeting, walking barefoot is fine.
What does arch support do?
Arch support can help bring the ground up toward your midsole to evenly distribute weight across your whole foot while you stand or walk. This can help prevent overuse of the heel and ball of the foot, which can lead to pain and instability.