Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet in 2018
These running shoes range in price to fit a variety of budgets. And they differ slightly in the amount of cushioning, how much they weigh, and the amount of support the provide. But all of these shoes are great for runners with flat arches.
Shoes made for flat feet differ from a standard pair of running shoes by having extra support, especially near the arches, for added stability.
In most cases if you have flat feet, you likely overpronate. This means your foot rolls inwards excessively during the gait cycle from heel to toe. Over a period of time this can potentially lead to ankle, knee, and hip problems if you are wearing the wrong shoes. The running shoes we’ve found are designed to limit the inward roll and bring the foot back to a more neutral gait.
If you’re not sure if you overpronate or have flat feet, check out our article about choosing the right pair of running shoes.
All of these running shoes are perfect for flat feet; however, personal preference will determine if you want a lightweight shoe, something with lots of cushioning, or a responsive shoe that lets you feel the road.
Here are our favorite running shoes for flat feet….
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best Overall Running Shoe for Flat Feet
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
The Adrenaline GTS has been the best-selling stability shoe for runners with flat feet for the past several years. As soon as you put your feet in it you’ll understand why – the shoe has the perfect balance of cushioning, support, and responsiveness.
The new Adrenaline GTS 18 has a redesigned seamless upper for a soft feel. It maintains its classic toe box shape for a roomy fit at the toes but snug in the mid-part of the shoe.
The sole is soft but keeps its flexibility. Groves are strategically placed to provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition. The Adrenaline GTS 18 keeps a roll bar on the inside arch of the sole to provide support for flat feet.
The best part of the Adrenaline 18 is the clean lines and modern design. For years, the knock on the GTS was that it wasn’t the prettiest shoe. That’s changed with version 18. This shoe looks good and feels great.
- Wide near the toes
- Good balance of stability with lightweight shoe
- Shoe looks great
- Not ideal if you have a narrow foot or heel
Top Running Shoe for Overpronators
Asics GT-2000 6
Coming in close behind the Adrenline GTS, the Asics GT-2000 is the most consistently popular running shoe for overpronaters. The latest version gets lighter and provides a more natural heel-to-toe transition during the running cycle.
The upper features a seam-free design to reduce irritation. A change to the lacing allows for a tighter but more comfortable fit across the mid-foot. The heel is held in place nicely with a firm heel cup.
The midsole features three types of cushioning: standard EVA foam, Dynaflyte foam – a lightweight, springy foam – and Asics’ classic gel cushioning. Combined together, the GT-2000 offers a soft and stable ride.
The sole features a guidance line and flex groves to naturally position the foot in the correct location while you run. A dense layer of hard foam provides the stability and support to help runners with flat arches.
The Asics GT-2000 6 has a slightly wider toe box than prior versions. This gives the toes some room to move around. Stretchy mesh on the sides of the toes provide relief for anyone suffering from bunions.
Ultimately, the Asics GT-2000 doesn’t provide the most natural running feel, but it has a snappy ride that many runners prefer. And it nicely combines cushioning and stability into a lightweight, fast shoe.
- Locked-in fit in heel and midfoot
- Extra flex and give near the side of the toe for bunion sufferers
- Snug fit doesn’t allow toes to move around as much as other shoes
- Doesn’t provide a natural running feel
Best for Lots of Cushioning
Asics Kayano 24
The Asics Kayano is back! After complaints about fit and comfort in the prior version, Asics learned from its mistakes and has redesigned the Kayano and made it better than ever.
Runners felt the last version ran small and narrow. This has been fixed and the Kayano features a great fit in the upper – it’s still snug and form-fitting, but remains comfortable and soft.
While the Kayano costs quite a bit more than other stability shoes, you feel what that extra money buys as soon as you slip it on your feet. It’s plush and has tons of cushioning. The seamless upper has been redesigned to fit securely without rubbing.
You’ll find tons of Asics’ signature gel cushioning throughout the shoe. The soft gel conforms and cushions the foot.
The Kayano 24 is a bit heavier than some other shoes out there – but you get that soft feel from all the gel cushioning.
- Plush and heavily cushioned
- Snug fit in heel
- Soft upper
- Heavy compared to other stability shoes
- Very stiff
- Expensive compared to other stability shoes
Most Cushioned Shoe
Hoka One One Arahi 2
With its thick sole and funky design, the Arahi 2 won’t win any beauty contests. But if you are after a shoe with tons of cushioning, the Arahi stands alone in this class of shoe.
The thick sole provides tons of cushioning. It’s got a slight curve to it to improve your stride while running. The Arahis would feel fairly clunky without this roll. The downside to all the cushioning is you don’t have much road feel. So it’s not ideal if you want a responsive running shoe.
The upper securely holds your foot in place. It’s breathable, but doesn’t have much give. Hokas in general run big and wide, however, the Arahis are narrow for a Hoka.
Dynamic stability in the sole provides support for flat feet without sacrificing softness. Unlike other stability shoes, the Arahis remain flexible and lightweight.
- Super soft and tons of cushioning
- Very lightweight
- So much cushioning, no feel for road
- Unconventional look
Lightest Shoe for Flat Feet
Mizuno Wave Inspire 14
The Wave Inspire 14 is one of the lightest shoes available for runners with flat feet and arches. It also provides a snappy, responsive feel to power you along your next run.
The unique wave plate in the Inspire 14 provides good arch support and stability. It also provides a soft ride and smooth transition from heel to toe. You get support and response without being weighed down like some other support shoes.
The upper is a clean mesh that’s breathable. It has minimal seams to prevent hot spots. It combines supportive construction with flexibility for the best of both worlds.
The Wave Inspire 14 is known for it’s lightweight yet supportive ride. The latest version does little to mess with that overall design.
- Very lightweight
- Snappy and responsive feel
- Enough cushioning for an everyday trainer
- Some might not feel like there is enough cushioning
Best Made in America Shoe for Flat Feet
New Balance 990v4
The New Balance 990 is a classic running shoe now over 30 years old. It has long been the gold standard of support shoes. Best of all, it’s one of the few running shoes that is still manufactured in the United States.
Featuring classic styling and neutral colors, the 990 looks as good running as it does just wearing around town. It mixes cushioning with stability for great arch support.
This classic shoe features a combination of soft leather and breathable mesh. This is laid out in pattern to allow enough breath-ability to run in the shoe.
The sole is soft but has good arch support and works well for mild to severe overpronators. Blown rubber ensures durability, making this a long lasting shoe. It’s a great option for runners and walkers alike.
- Classic styling
- Made in the USA
- Great arch support
- Might be reimbursable for medicare
- Heavy compared to similar shoes
- Leather upper is breathable but not as breathable as other running shoes
- Expensive compared to other running shoes
Most comfortable upper
Saucony Guide ISO
The Saucony Guide gets a great update in its 11th version. It’s snappy, fast, and has a great feel all around the foot, especially at the laces.
The biggest change to the Guide is ISO lacing. This has been standard on Saucony’s higher-end shoes the past few years. Now it’s trickled down to the Guide. ISO lacing has flexible “ribs” that cradle your foot rather than cinching the shoe like with normal laces. This creates a plush fit that simultaneously gently hugs the foot while keeping it securely in place.
In the midsole, Saucony’s Everun foam layers between the insert and sole of the shoe. Everun is cushiony and bouncy. It does three things: it returns more energy than traditional foam – this means it almost propels you forward, making for a more efficient strides. It lasts longer than traditional foam before it breaks down. So this shoe will feel great longer, even on those brutal 20 mile runs! And it doesn’t get hard in cold, wintry weather like EVA foam – the cushioning and bounce remain the same regardless of the temperature.
Flex grooves on the sole continue to allow flexibility and a natural running feel. The guidance foam on the arch provides great support for runners with low arches.
The stability isn’t as much as in other shoes. So it’s a better option for people with low arches and mild overpronation. Those with severely flat feet might consider other shoes.
- Upper feels and fits nicely
- Durable and long lasting
- Good arch support
- Not supportive enough for severely flat feet
Most Environmentally-Friendly Stability Shoe
New Balance Vongo
For a light and fast ride that’s super smooth, the New Balance Vongo is your best bet. Built off of New Balance’s unique Fresh Foam base, the Vongo combines cushioning with a stable platform.
The Fresh Foam sole is made from one piece of foam. By uniquely cutting the sides into different shapes and patterns, New Balance is able to alter the feel and support of the shoe. Because it’s made with just one piece of foam, there’s less waste during manufacturing – and the lack of glue that’s found in most running shoes means it’s more environmentally friendly.
The Vongo is New Balance’s only Fresh Foam shoe with stability to provide good arch support for flat feet. It only offers mild overpronation support, so it’s not ideal for runners with very flat feet.
The upper is made of soft mesh for a comfortable feel. The streamlined design means it’s lightweight and fast.
The Vongo has a low 4 mm drop. It’s better for mid-foot landing runners. If you are a heavy heel-striker, this shoe may feel jarring – although the heavy cushioning will help soften that feeling.
- Fast, lightweight, and streamlined
- Environment-friendly manufacturing process
- Not great for heavy overpronators
- Low drop isn’t good for heel-strikers
Best Nike Running Shoe for Flat Feet
Nike Zoom Structure 21
The Zoom Structure is a Nike classic running shoe made for runners with flat arches. This version is lighter yet provides the same level of support as earlier models.
The Flymesh upper is breathable and stays cool on hot days. Flywire lacing combines traditional laces with tight cables that securely hold the midfoot in place.
The sole offers two types of cushioning to pad your feet and provide a layer of support. This combo keeps your keep protected and comfortable while giving great arch support. The outersole is made with sticky rubber to allow for great traction on a variety of surfaces.
Like a lot of Nikes, the Zoom Structure can feel narrow, especially with a toe box that narrows to a point by the toes. It’s not ideal for people with wider feet or want some room for their toes to move around.
- Light mesh on the upper keeps your foot cool
- Flyknit lacing for a secure fit
- Shoe runs narrow
Best for severe overpronators
Brooks Addiction 13
Runners looking for max support and cushioning should check out the Brooks Addiction. This running shoe, made for runners with severely flat feet, provides tons of arch support.
The mesh upper allows for ventilation, but still provides a secure fit. There is some give in an already-generous toe box for lots of wiggle room for your toes. There is lots of room in the upper. If you wear an orthotic, the Addiction fits them very well with this extra room.
The sole provides lots of cushioning, while the medial post built into the shoe gives great arch support. There is so much support that this shoe is only recommend for severe overpronators or anyone with very flat feet. If you only have low arches, check out some of the other shoes.
The Addiction is very stiff and fairly heavy. This is what allows them to provide great support but also why they aren’t ideal for runners with mildly flat arches.
- Extremely supportive with arch support
- Cushioned and comfortable shoe
- Heel doesn’t ride as high as older models for less supportive feel
- Sizing runs small
What’s the difference between a running shoe for flat feet and a regular running shoe?
A regular running shoe – or a neutral running shoe – has the same type of foam in the sole all the way around the shoe.
A stability shoe – one that’s designed for runners with flat feet or who overpronate – has a chunk of the sole from the mid-arch to the back of the heel that’s made of stiff, dense foam. In the running industry, this is referred to as a medial post.
The medial post does two things: it prevents the foot from rolling in too much while running and walking. And it stiffens the shoe, which usually feels more comfortable to someone with flat arches.
The amount of hard, dense foam in the sole varies from one type of shoe to another. A running shoe like the Brooks Addiction has much more of this foam because it’s made for runners who severely overpronate. The Saucony Guide ISO has less of the foam, making it more of a guidance shoe for mild to moderate overpronators (that is, someone who typically has flat to low arches).
Depending on the shoe, there are other ways to add arch support for flat feet other than a medial post. The Hoka One One Arahi uses a less dense foam that’s spread out through more of the shoe to add support but keep it’s cushioned feel. The New Balance Vongo uses a unique process in building the sole to add stability with the same type of foam through the entire sole.
Ultimately, these all do the same job of supporting flat feet.
Do I need a special running shoe for flat feet?
Yes, probably. But it also varies individual to individual.
A running shoe for flat feet is also known as a stability shoe. These are designed to prevent your feet from rolling in – meaning from initial foot strike to toe off, the foot rolls in severely at the ankle toward the big toe. This is known as overpronation.
Even someone with medium arches and neutral gait will roll in slightly. It’s when it becomes too excessive does that can become a problem.
But some things to consider:
1) Even if you have flat arches and overpronate, you may be able to wear a regular, neutral running shoe and have no pain or injuries. This is not true for everyone and varies on an individual by individual basis. There is an ongoing debate in the scientific biomechanics field about whether stability shoes are necessary.
2) You may have flat arches and not overpronate at all. This means a stability shoe wouldn’t even be necessary.
Our advice is to try a stability shoe if you have flat arches and are new to running. If you don’t like them or they make your feet hurt, experiment with a different pair – maybe a shoe with less support or a more supportive neutral shoe.
For more information about running shoes, check out our in-depth article on choosing the right running shoe.
How to lace running shoes for flat feet?
For most runners, if you have a pair of stability shoes, you don’t need to lace them in any special manner. Normal lacing – the way you learned in first grade – is fine.
But for extra support – or to keep your heel from slipping out of the back of the shoe – use this lace trick to lock your foot into the back of the shoe. This will add an extra layer of stability by securly keeping your foot in the shoe.
The potential downside is that it adds some tension to the top of your foot where you tie your laces. You can play around with how tight you make this to find what feels best to you.
Are neutral running shoes good for flat feet?
Yes and no. It depends on each runners gait, foot structure, and biomechanics.
A broad answer is that wearing neutral shoes if you have flat feet will likely not cause long term damage or injury. It may not be a problem. Some runners with flat feet or who overpronate can run without even noticing anything different between a pair of stability shoes vs neutral shoes.
There are even a few runners with flat feet who prefer a neutral shoe over a stability shoe.
But for the majority of runners with flat feet, a stability shoe will feel more comfortable than a neutral shoe, even if the chance of injury is same the for both.
There are also some runners with flat feet who will get hurt wearing neutral shoes – particularly in the knee and ankles – and will benefit from a stability shoe.
Are barefoot running shoes good for flat feet?
Like neutral shoes, the same also applies to barefoot running shoes. It’s going to vary runner to runner.
But common thinking is that when you run barefoot or in barefoot running shoes, your gait changes. It becomes painful to land on your heel and you naturally start taking shorter strides and landing on the ball of your feet or toes. When this happens, overpronating is less likely and its impact on the running gait are lessened.
This means if you are prone to injury from overpronating while running or walking where you land on your heel, you are less likely to have that same type of injury when you are running in barefoot shoes since you are probably not heel striking.
There have also been runners with flat feet who don’t like or get hurt in stability shoes. But have no problems with barefoot running.
The problem with barefoot running shoes is that you need to have good running form. This means short, quick strides and landing on the ball of your foot. This does not come naturally for many people. If you land on your heel in a barefoot running shoe, it’s going to hurt more than a regular running shoe.
This means you need to “retrain” your body to run differently. Which can be hard to do.
If you are interested in learning how to change your form, we recommend Kinetic Revolution’s online course.