Flat feet (also known as fallen arches or pes planus) is a physiological disorder that occurs when the arch that is present in the foot flattens or collapses and is partially or completely touching the floor.
It might be present at birth or can be developed over time. Flat feet can be detected by visual tests, by x-ray and CT imaging.
If the pain is felt on the feet after long periods of standing, flat feet might be the cause. Sometimes it can be accompanied by back, knee and hip aches.
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Flat feet in children are caused by abnormal joint formations and baby fat that is stuck between the bones.
They are usually flexible because they appear normal until the child stands and the feet bears weight. This flexible flat foot can become normal and becomes rigid as the child grows.
Adult flat feet are usually rigid and permanent and are caused by illnesses, injuries, accidents, high heel shoes, and autoimmune diseases.
Most times, flat feet do not cause pain or any symptoms, therefore it does not require treatment. If pain exists, some of these treatment options can be used:
Supportive Shoes for Flat Feet
There are three categories of shoes for flat feet. They are:
They are suitable for people that their body weight is shifting towards the inner part of the foot and those whose foot arches are collapsing.
They are suitable for feet that have a high arch or that are rigid. If the foot shifts the bodyweight towards the outer ankle during physical activities (supination), then this shoe is most suitable.
They are suitable for people that experience severe pains due to their flat feet after physical activities like walking and running.
Best Walking Shoes and Sandals For Flat Feet
This shoe offers great comfort, cushioning, heel stability, removable footbed, and a wide toe box to enable forefoot flexibility.
The sole is made from rubber that provides superb cushioning, and the footbed is made from latex foam. It has a full-grained leather upper, with a moisture-absorbing mesh lining that makes the shoe breathable.
The interior is fully padded, and the EVA midsole provides great shock absorption and durability.
It is made from 100% synthetic material and possesses and orthotic footbed that provides maximum support for overpronated and supinated feet. It is slim, soft, lightweight and is perfect for walking long distances.
The fabrics used in the design of this shoe is stretchy to enable easy and fast movements. It also possesses a flexible and breathable EVA sole and a removable orthotic insole for total comfort and support for achy feet.
Best Running Shoes and Sandals for Flat Feet
This shoe is made with the forefoot and rearfoot GEL design that reduces the shock impact phase and helps the foot to revert to midstance.
The sock liner is removable to allow the insertion of an orthotic insole or arch support inserts.
It is designed to suit different types of terrain and to help make uphill and downhill movements less painful to the arches and ankles.
The sole is produced with the reputable ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) for great durability, feet stability, comfort and cushioning.
It is designed to help people that have flat feet walk and run for longer distances. It offers superb stability and cushioning due to its unique design and premium materials used in its construction.
Its rearfoot GEL technology and the midsole made with AMPLIFOAM provides the needed cushioning and comfort needed to go the extra miles.
The breathable mesh liner, removable orthotic insole, and a solid abrasive rubber sole make the shoe durable, feel natural on the foot and has a great cooling effect.
Best Work Shoes for Flat Feet
Designed to reduce pains experienced in flat feet when standing or moving for a long time. This leather shoe is slip-, oil- and chemical resistant.
It possesses a wide toe box to support forefoot flexibility and a well-detailed side and heel leather design to provide heel stability.
It has a padded collar and tongue and Memory Foam for great cushioning while standing. It also has a removable sole to allow the insertion of prescribed insoles.
It has a midsole with the great shock-absorbing ability and a slip-resistant nitrile rubber outsole.
Best Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet
This shoe is designed to provide support and comfort during climbing and running on rough terrains.
It is most suited for lateral climbing, trail races, and fitness training. It is lightweight, fits snugly to the foot and is totally breathable.
Its rubber soles provide maximum support and balance in difficult terrains while its circular sole patterns provide proper grip on rough surfaces.
The insoles are removable and provide a great deal of arch support, shock absorption, and weight distribution.
It is also designed with heel counters that reflects light, making it suitable for night exercises.
Best Casual Shoes, Sneakers, and Flats for Flat Feet
This shoe can pass as a casual shoe and as a dress shoe too. The rubber soles provide traction and comfort in every step. It can also be used as a working shoe.
It is designed with premium leather and a synthetic sole. The footbed is removable to accommodate prescription insoles. It is ultra-lightweight, possesses smooth lining fabrics and soft paddings for optimum cushioning.
These lightweight 3D grid-pattern knitted shoes are designed to fit snugly on the foot like a sock and provide comfort during movement. The ultra-light synthetic outsole feels like a feather on the feet.
It is suitable for activities like walking, jogging and running and the knitted upper is breathable and will keep the feet cool during physical activities.
The tongue possesses an integrated collar that is low cut to take up the shape of the feet to provide all-day comfort.
This shoe is made with a flexible high-traction Articu-Lyte sole that offers great heel stability, arch support, and comfort during movements.
The tongue and collar are padded and the textile lining is breathable to cool the feet.
The insole is made with Memory Foam that provides great cushioning effects and comfort with added durability.
The leather is quite smooth and the mesh upper is perforated and stitched delicately to keep the feet comfortable while offering the needed support to supinated and overpronated feet.
This flip-flop is incredibly lightweight and its flexible EVA midsole and footbed make it as comfortable as ever.
The materials are manmade and the otholite footbed is proven to provide premium support to flat feet. The soft textile lining makes the shoe breathable and cools the feet.
The closure is adjustable to fit any feet size and provide extra visual satisfaction.
These soft and supportive slippers are designed to provide the same orthotic support as flat feet shoes.
It takes up the shape of the feet and provides essential support for the feet in movement. It can be used as a casual, dress or activewear.
This sandal possesses a contoured EVA footbed that provides maximum arch support and cushioning.
It is water friendly and suitable for any water adventure. Its heel bag is a full 360 degrees and offers heel stability and a great cushioning effect.
It has a bottle opener on the sole that provides the thirst-quenching technology (TQT) and is designed to provide comfort and relaxation of the feet in every step.
The compression-molded EVA sole and polyurethane-enclosed heel bag make the feet feel like it is walking on clouds.
Factors to Consider While Choosing Running Shoes for Flat Feet
It is sometimes overwhelming to find the right shoes for walking, training and other physical activities. There are a lot of factors you could consider before buying shoes.
Comfort is an important factor to consider while choosing shoes to help in the management and treatment of flat feet.
The shoes should be soft and provide enough cushioning when the foot hits the ground. It should also have soles that offer adequate arch support are not rigid.
Also, the shoe should have a wide toe box and a heel that is not floppy so that it will help the feet to properly distribute the force exerted on it by the bodyweight during physical activities.
Ensure to try out shoes first before buying them and in the presence of a shoe expert. Always buy shoes in the morning or midday before the feet get swollen from daily activities. Always make sure that the shoe can be returned if they are uncomfortable and do not properly fit.
This is simply the way the body moves when steps are taken. The gait is determined through a walking test and differs from individual to individual. The gait can be normal or abnormal.
Abnormal gait can be a result of an accident, injury, illness, bone deformation or muscle disorders. Flat feet can also cause abnormal gait especially if overpronation or supination is present.
When choosing a shoe for flat feet, gait should also be considered. If the flat feet cause the feet to move inwards, shoes that offer great arch support should be chosen.
Likewise, if the feet supinate, a shoe that has a superb cushioning should be chosen since ankle pain could be a great issue.
VIDEO: Normal Gait and Common Gait Abnormalities
This video explains the different types of gaits. it also differentiates the normal gait from the abnormal gaits.
The structure and shape of flat feet are somehow different from that of normal feet. Flat feet are wider than arched feet and hence covers more space in a shoe.
It is therefore very important to choose wide shoes that will not squeeze the feet together and cause discomfort.
The proper shoes for flat feet should not have an hourglass shape like the shoes meant for arched feet. They should be straight and wide enough to accommodate the feet comfortably.
Motion-control shoes used in the treatment and support of flat feet should be made with durable and strong materials.
It is targeted to help in the correction of muscular movements and as such should not be too flexible else it can’t achieve that purpose.
It should be strong enough to bear the forces exerted to the feet by the body and at the same time preventing the feet from moving in its original manner.
The shoe should be made with durable polyurethane materials, especially at the soles and arch support system.
Foam materials are also reputable for its strength, durability and superb cushioning effect. It is also advisable to look out for shoes produced with foam materials.
This is the style that the shoe producer integrated into the shoe, putting into consideration a lot of purposes the shoe is meant for.
Some of the design attributes that are put into consideration in the choice of flat feet shoes are:
- Midfoot stability
- Rigidity at the sides
- Shock absorption
- Foam of dual-density in the soles for a proper rebound
- Proper weight distribution
- Rigid heel cups
- Guiding rails for proper gait maintenance