Finding running shoes for your flat feet is NOT EASY, but it’s definitely doable.
There’s a lot of conflicting advice and manipulation from shoe companies just looking to make money. And the best pair of shoes for your flat feet mostly depends on your feet, gait, and range of motion.
However, decades of research anecdotal evidence suggestions that YES, it is possible for anyone to find the perfect shoe and run any distance comfortably, even if they suffer from foot pain, joint problems, overpronation, or any other symptom of fallen arches.
In this guide to buying running shoes for flat feet, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find that perfect fit including:
We can’t unflatten your arches, but we’ll do the next best thing!
Runners - on your mark, get set, READ!
A: What Are Flat Feet (And Why Do They Make Running so Hard?)
Flat feet - also known as pes planus or “fallen arches” - is a deformity in which the arches of the feet collapse and come into contact (or near-contact) with the ground. Statistics show that this condition affects about 12% of people 
In English, this basically means that you don’t have arches in your feet like normal people, and this can cause pain, swelling, or posture issues that make life TOUGH. Here’s a statement on quality of life from the National Library of Medicine:
“patients suffering from flat foot have significantly lower scores in the different quality of life domains in the FHSQ than non-sufferers” - Salvador Pita Fernandez et al. 
When you have flat feet, it’s also common to suffer from “overpronation”, or when your foot rolls to the inner side when you’re walking (Or running - as you’ll see in a bit!).
Running with flat feet is a challenge, because it may cause:
But the fact that you have pes planus shouldn’t discourage from running. It’s just vital that you take precautions.
You won’t encounter many issues if you do something about it! Running with flat feet used to be a serious issue. Now, it’s just a matter of finding the right shoes and taking precaution.
B: Tips to Strengthen Flat Feet and Exercises to Improve Your Running and Reduce Pain
There’s no cure for flat feet. You are stuck with fallen arches.
It’s really not that big a deal, though. With the right lifestyle changes and proper pre-exercise stretches, you can significantly reduce the downsides of fallen arches. You might even stop noticing pain or imbalance altogether!
How to Strengthen Flat Feet
A few simple adjustments have shown to help flat feet:
- 1Walk around your home barefoot: It’s hard to find proper footwear for flat feet (Hence this article!), so most people with condition walk around all day in socks and shoes that aren’t made for their feet. The solution? Walk barefoot!
- 2Wear dynamic insoles: Arch support or insoles will support the muscles and ligaments around your bones, strengthening your muscles and giving you greater mobility, flexibility, and comfort. Dynamic orthotics disperse the weight evenly when you walk, which will help increase comfort and balance.
- 3See the podiatrist!: This sounds too obvious to state, but we will anyway. If you think you’re suffering from pes planus, go see a qualified medical practitioner immediately. The sooner the better. They will recommend treatment and footwear for your specific medical needs beyond what this article can accomplish.
Stretches for Pre and Post Workout
You absolutely must stretch your feet both before and after exercising. Your flat feet are severely limiting your mobility. By stretching the ligaments and muscles before using them, you can significantly increase mobility and decrease pain and the risk of injury.
NOTE: 15 minutes is plenty of time stretching.
These are the 5 best stretches for flat feet:
Tennis Ball Arch Rolls
OK, now that you fully understand what your condition is and how to manage it, let’s move on to actually selecting the right running shoes for flat feet.
C: Running Shoes for Flat Feet Buying Guide
There’s no easy answer when buying running shoes for flat feet. The owner of a local shop might recommend one with more arch support while a medical professional might tell you the opposite.
Someone could recommend running barefoot while a personal trainer might just recommend more cushioning.
Who do you trust?
The answer is “there’s no right answer”! It depends mostly on you, which is why you should visit a podiatrist.
However, there are a few scientifically proven factors that you must consider when buying a shoe.
First, there are two kinds of flat feet!
Yes, that’s true. Some people have flat feet because genetics and others mainly due to muscle weakness. The first - anatomically flat feet - is genetic and incorrectible. The second - collapsed arches - is mainly due to muscle weakness, meaning it can be corrected.
With collapsed arches, the most important feature it ARCH SUPPORT, that way your muscles can be trained until they are strong enough to support your arches.
With anatomically flat feet, things get a bit more complicated.
Factors to Consider When Buying Shoes for Flat Feet
- 1Do you overpronate?: Flat-footed runners tend to overpronate (When your feet roll inward during walking). If you do the most important factor for you is STABILITY. These shoes are built around supportive features in the midsole, mostly under the arch of the shoe. The additional cushioning will offset your overpronation, leading to comfort and injury protection while running.
- 2Consider a straight “last”: A “last” is the shape or mold that a shoe is built around. This plays a major factor in how your foot fits into the shoe. A straight-last mold gives you a wider midfoot base and plenty of room for flexibility and movement within the shoe.
- 3Durability is key: Worn treads decrease your comfort and increase the risk of injury. When you have flat feet, this is crucial. Buy the most durable pair of shoes you can afford to avoid the risk and avoid buying multiple pairs of shoes every few months.
- 4Go low-drop: “Drop” in shoe language refers to the difference in height between the heel and toe. So in this case, high heels are high drop and flip flops are no drop. Get what we mean? High drop shoes are a no-no for flat-footers. You’ll injure your knee, hips, and ankles for sure. Talk to your shoe store and ask about no drop sneakers.
We receive dozens of questions daily from sufferers of fallen arches. Before starting any exercise programs, read through these questions and take note of what applies to you:
Q: Can You Be a Runner With Flat Feet?
YES. Don’t listen to people who’ve given up. You can be a runner with flat feet, it’s just harder.
Flat feet make running more difficult, and can lead to pain, inflammation, or injuries. You might even suffer chronic ailments if you don’t prepare properly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t run. With the right footwear, insoles, and stretches, you can run long distances comfortably and safely.
Q: Where Can I Find Running Shoes for Flat Feet?
Nearly all sporting shoes stores carry them, and many podiatrist offices have footwear providers too. However, the best place to look is online.
Q: Are Brands Like Nike and New Balance Good for Flat Feet?
It completely depends on each individual shoe, but most big brands like Nike, New Balance, and Adidas create running shoes for flat feet. You have to evaluate each shoe on its own merit, not on the brand.
Q: How Can I Tell if I have Overpronation, Flat Feet, or Plantar Fasciitis?
The only way to truly know is to be seen by a trained medical professional. However, an easy way to see if you have overpronation is to study your feet while walking. Do they turn inward or downward? Do you launch from big and second toe? These are clear signs you have overpronation.
Q: What Kind of Shoes Should I Wear With Flat Feet?
It totally depends on you. However, in general people with flat feet should wear shoes with stability, arch support, and a straight last for greater mobility, support, and flexibility.
Buying shoes for flat feet is NOT EASY. You have to take into account so many different factors and cut through a lot of noise.
However, with the right mindset, caution, and patience, you can find a comfortable, supportive, medically safe shoe that makes running fun, easy, and safe! Remember, nothing is definitive until you get a medical diagnosis. Only X-rays examined by a trained medical practitioner can determine your condition and the proper footwear.