How to choose the right shoes when we have flat feet?
Last update: 24 February 2020
Flat foot is a deformation of the arch of the foot that can significantly interfere with daily life.
In addition to causing joint pain in the knees, ankles and back, flat feet also affect posture and balance.
The solution to this problem could well be as easy as purchasing shoes adapted to the morphology of flat feet.
But how do you navigate through the multitude of options available to you and, more importantly, what factors should we consider?
Understand your foot type
Before buying a new pair of shoes, it is important to understand the structure of your foot.
The structural aspect of your feet and its particularities while walking will have to be taken into account.
The arch of the foot is normally divided into three categories:
- Low arch (flat foot)
- Normal arch (regular foot)
- High arch (hollow foot)
The so-called “regular” foot has a normal arch that distributes the weight evenly.
But the hollow foot has too pronounced a plantar arch. This morphology increases the risk of injuries such as plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia.
Unlike the other 2 types of foot shape, the flat foot has an arch that does not exist. It causes a strong pronation when walking and also causes discomfort.
But how can flat foot be identified without a doubt?
A reliable test is the wet print on cardboard.
To perform it, simply wet the underside of your foot and place it flat on a sheet of paper or a piece of dark cardboard.
If the impression you leave on it takes the shape of the entire foot, it is more than likely that your arch is flat or collapsed.
Nevertheless, the best way to discover and understand your foot configuration is to consult a foot care professional: a podiatrist.
With the help of advanced techniques such as laser scanning or postural imaging, the podiatrist is able to ascertain your feet’s state of health and their particularities.
Choose the right shoes without compromise
Having flat feet is not as restrictive as you might think when it comes to footwear.
All you have to do is make a selection, keeping in mind a few little tips:
- Try shoes on later in the day, because the foot expands during the day.
- Choose boots or ankle boots with laces, which provide better support for an ankle that is otherwise too weak.
- Be sure to select shoes that can be fastened tightly.
However, certain types of shoes should be avoided for those with flat feet:
- High heel shoes, which prevent even weight distribution.
- Fully open footwear, which does not provide adequate support.
- Completely flat shoe models, like moccasins or beach sandals.
- Shoes without heel reinforcements, such as “sneaker” style shoes.
The right shoes for athletic persons with flat feet
One of the main characteristics of flat feet is hyperpronation, where the ankles will be more inward-oriented.
For someone who runs or engages in any other impact sport, excessive pronation can have painful repercussions.
It is therefore necessary to consider this particular type of stride, which sees the feet roll inward with each step.
To minimize injuries, an athletic person with flat feet should consider the following when choosing shoes:
- A shoe that provides better movement control.
- A shoe that offers additional stabilization support.
- A neutral shoe with adequate support for the arch of the foot.
- A shoe made from a sufficiently cushioning material.
PiedRéseau: solutions adapted to the needs of your feet
Over time, flat feet can become painful or very limiting. But when the purchase of adapted shoes is not enough to ease the discomfort, rest assured, PiedRéseau clinics are there to help.
We can provide additional treatments, including foot orthotics, or manual therapy for bunions.
Don’t wait for your flat feet to affect the quality of your life, consult a podiatrist PiedRéseau.