On any given day, you’re bound to see hundreds of people wearing some form of sneakers.
Chances are you don’t stop to think about the history of the athletic shoe, which dates back to the late 18th century. The first “sneakers” were called “plimsolls.” These had a stripe of color separating the rubber sole from the top of the shoe that resembled the plimsoll line on the hull of a ship (the mark that indicated how deeply the ship could be immersed in water and remain safe). Afterwards, the U.S. Rubber Company expanded on this design to create Keds, a rubber-soled shoe with a canvas upper; it wasn’t long before these became wildly popular and they were mass produced.
In the 1950s, sneakers were worn for both comfort and fashion. And when the exercise craze erupted in the 70s, athletic sneaker sales spiked.
Since then, with the help of innovative sports technology, shoes have been created and marketed for just about every sport out there. Eventually, sneakers were designed to address the specific needs of athletes, including those with flat feet and low arches.
Today, there is great demand for the best running shoes for flat feet. This goal of this article is to help you to make sense of the different options that are currently on the market.
If you are “flat foot,” it means that the arch of your instep (the part of your foot that’s supposed to rise above the ground) is flat and the entire bottom of your foot (the sole) rests on the ground.
In a “normal” foot, the tendons attached at the heel and foot bones work with the tendons in your lower leg to pull your foot into a somewhat arched shape. If, for some reason, the tendons aren’t functioning properly, an arch doesn’t form and what you have instead is a flat foot (sometimes called a fallen arch).
Many folks with flat feet also suffer from “pronation,” which is a word to describe how much your foot naturally rolls when you run.
You may be categorized as an “overpronator” or an “underpronator” or somewhere in between. Generally speaking, if you naturally roll to the outer edge when you run, you are an underpronator; if you roll the other way towards the inner part of your foot, you are an overpronator; if you don’t roll at all, you are a neutral runner (also called a stable runner).
Why does this even matter?
Well, in order to match you with the most compatible running shoe, it helps if you know what category you fall into. Learn more about pronation right here.
Here’s an easy way to check:
First, wet your feet. Next, find a surface that will show off your footprints (like a concrete sidewalk, a brick walkway). Make a footprint and step away to look at it. Can you see a complete outline of the bottom of your foot (rather than a partial print)? If so, there’s a strong chance you have flat feet.
Lots of children are born with flat feet, but sometimes this condition results from damaging a tendon, breaking or dislocating a bone in your foot or leg, or from nerve problems or arthritis.
Since flat feet can affect the overall distribution of your weight and the total alignment of your body, it’s common for flat-footed folks to suffer from mild to severe discomfort in their feet, lower legs, and back.
However, keep in mind that flat feet affect everyone differently. For example, someone may complain about intense pain in their heels while another sufferer may only feel the slightest twinge in their lower legs.
Here are some common symptoms:
If you ignore your flat feet, there’s a good chance you’ll begin to feel pain in your feet, ankles and knees and, over time, in your lower back (since your feet can’t fully absorb the shock of everyday movement).
However, with treatment, you can alleviate much of the discomfort. Besides going to see your doctor, wearing shoes that are tailored for flat feet can make a huge difference. For example, you could start by finding the best running shoes for flat feet.
By switching to flat feet shoes, you’ll have a better chance of preventing future injuries. What you need to look for is a shoe that supports your arch area and stabilizes your heel. In terms of running shoes for men, there are quite a few options that we’ll review below.
What sets these running shoes for men apart is their special construction.
First, there must be a supportive arch. Arches are necessary in shoes because they elevate your foot in a way that evenly distributes your body’s weight.
Arches also absorb shock when your foot strikes the ground; if you don’t have an arch, the shock travels through your feet, legs and body and can result in injury or serious discomfort.
Next, you need stability. If you have flat feet, you may also “overpronate” when you walk or run. As mentioned above, this means your feet will roll inward when they hit the ground and your ankles will twist and your knees will overcompensate for this motion. Therefore, it’s essential to look for a shoe that not only has excellent arch support, but that will keep your foot stable and level.
To minimize the rolling motion, the midsole of the running shoe is constructed with “dual density foam,” a thick material that’s added below the arch and may extend to the heel bed. Often you can see the added foam support on the outside of the midsole (it is usually a gray color). In addition, the heel has a tighter fit while the toes have room to flex and bend. (Overall, the shoe should not bend in the middle, but it should bend in the toes.)
While this rigid design may not sound appealing, loads of research has been done to discover the best way to support a flat foot. From our survey, we’ve learned that finding the right shoe can make a huge difference, especially if running is an integral part of your weekly routine.
Before we dive into the list of the top contenders, check out our comparison table below for an overview of our favorites. You might also want to brush up on the different parts of the running shoe. If you’re familiar with these terms, you’ll have an easier time deciding on the best running shoes for flat feet.
Features we love
Buy it now
Mizuno Men's Wave
ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano
- Flexible and comfortable
New Balance Men's M870V4 Running Shoe
- Excellent support
Saucony Men's Guide 7
- Flared footbed offers
Nike Men's Lunarglide 6 Running Shoe
- Outsole moves and
Saucony Men's Hurricane 16 Running Shoe
- Molds to your feet
Saucony Men's Echelon 5 Road Running Shoe
- Ideal for wide feet and
Nike Air Zoom Odyssey Running Shoe
- Durable outsole
Saucony Men's Omni 13 Running Shoe
- Supportive foam
ASICS Men's GT 2000 2 Running Shoe
- Responsive and
Whether you're running on the treadmill or you're hitting the trail, surely one of these shoes will be a perfect fit. For a more up-close look at each model, keep reading!
The newly designed midsole platform of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 is a winning combination of toughness and comfort. There’s a dense plastic “wave” under the arch for superb support and stability. The upper is now made with blown rubber, a light and soft material that promotes a gentler “touchdown” with each step. The heel is snug while the toe-box is roomy and flexible.
One thing to note is that although the “wave” provides necessary arch support, some runners complained that it added a bit too much weight to the shoe.
If you don’t mind a shoe with a bit of heft, this is an affordable choice. The addition of the “wave” plate makes this a contender for runners with medium arches who are looking for stability and cushion.
We were impressed with the overall support of this shoe. If support is your number one concern (rather than flexibility or weight), the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 is a super choice.
During our research of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 22, we stumbled across several new terms that were used to describe the construction of this running shoe. We admit that this technical jargon confused us and we wondered why the descriptions weren’t easier to understand! That said, here’s what we decoded about this running shoe.
This shoe has been designed for folks who overpronate to a mild or moderate degree. With a secure “Heel Clutching System” and a streamlined upper, your feet will be held firmly in place yet they’ll maintain the necessary amount of flexibility for a comfortable and smooth stride. This even holds true for runners with narrow feet! What’s more, the ACIS GEL is constructed with moisture-wicking and breathable materials.
This design will suit runners with slightly to moderately overpronated flat feet. There is ample arch support and cushiony resistance, plus a snug fit in the heel. At a competitive price point, this is a no-frills option that will appeal to amateur and casual athletes.
Most reviews we read highlighted the stretch mesh that’s been added to the upper. This “FluidFit” helps the shoe conform to the runner’s feet and provide the most support during all levels of activity.
The New Balance 870v4 is about as versatile as it gets, and for a superb price! This design is an option for men who want to support and cushion their feet during both distance and speed runs.
With just enough padding and support, this version of the New Balance 870 remains flexible and light. You’ll still have the “Azorb” crash pad that was so popular in the last version, but now it’s combined with an enhanced (lighter) upper. In this way, you get a smooth and stable ride every time.
If your feet tend to roll inward a great deal during your runs, this probably is not the best running shoe for you. While there is arch support, it may not be enough for those who need maximum reinforcement.
This may be the best choice for flat-footed runners whose feet roll inward only slightly. Moderate improvements have been made to this version of the New Balance 870 sneaker, with careful attention not to overload the shoe with unnecessary elements. In this way, the sneaker remains lightweight and reliable and a joy to wear.
We’d have to say we’re impressed by the lighter weight and the overall simplicity of this shoe. Originally, we were drawn to the familiar New Balance brand. But once we looked past the name and held the shoe in our hands and then put them on our feet, we realized that in terms of running shoes for men, these may be tough to beat.
There’s something to be said for taking your time to get something right. In this case, we mean the Saucony Men’s Guide 7 running shoe. It took 3 years to create, test, develop and re-test the Guide 7. From what our research shows us, it was definitely worth the wait.
So, what took so long? Saucony has made numerous changes to this model and they’ve taken the time necessary to make sure that the adjustments are, in fact, improvements. To begin, there’s a brand new flared footbed that boasts a roomier toe-box. (In the last version, customers complained that the toe-box was too tight.) With more freedom of movement, you’ll have an easier time springing forward and sustaining your stride.
A new cushioning system called “PowerGrid” has replaced the “ProGrid” from the earlier models. The PowerGrid is 15% lighter and 30% more durable and it runs the length of the footbed. This, plus the extra 1 mm of foam added to the midsole, create an unmatched all-over comfort.
If you’re an everyday athlete with flat feet and want to increase your distance running, check out these sneakers. If your feet tend to turn inward when you run (especially when you begin to tire), you ‘ll appreciate the technology and design of the Saucony Guide 7. The roomy toe-box, combined with the shoes’ overall support and padding, will help you to comfortably maintain a proper running form for a longer stretch of time.
Clearly, Saucony listened to its customers who complained that the toe-box on the previous model was too snug. The Saucony Guide 7 has a toe-box that allows your toes to expand and bend comfortably. In turn, you’ll have an easier time springing forward and also maintaining a smooth gait during your long distance runs.
Many runners remain loyal to the Nike brand because they continue to churn out exceptional shoes year after year. It’s our guess that Nike fans will be pleased with the improvements made to the LunarGlide 6. The main change seems to be the inclusion of a “Pressure Mapped Outsole” that moves and flexes as you do. This, combined with the outsole’s “flexgrooves,” makes it easier to perform quick cuts and transitions.
The midsole has vastly improved with the introduction of Lunarlon, an enhanced foam that delivers “dynamic support.” This double-layered foam molds to your feet and helps to hold them in place and prevent them from rolling inward. Another bonus: the Lunarlon is lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing stability for comfort; at 9.5 ounces, the Lunarglide is as light as ever!
Finally, this shoe has a roomy toe-box, a larger heel support, and an attractive mesh upper.
NOTE: We weren’t able to find many specs on the LunarGlide 6, and we suspect it’s because Nike has more recently released a LunarGlide 7.
Thanks to the Lunarlon technology (dual-layer foam), the LunarGlide 6 provides comfort and stability for the runner who overpronates. This is an excellent choice for daily training or even light racing.
Besides the addition of the Lunarlon technology, we were most impressed by the way the sole gripped the ground and allowed for precise transitions. This was especially useful during a race.
It seems that Saucony really listens to its customers and works hard to improve upon their popular running shoe designs. This is certainly the case with the Hurricane 16, a shoe that relies on new technologies to combine stability and comfort.
In terms of stability, the Hurricane 16 uses their very own Sauc-Fit system that molds to your feet and keeps your mid-foot and heel in place, whether you’re out for a leisurely jog or erupting into a full-on sprint. Top-notch padding along the sole (PowerGrid plus PowerFoam material), tongue and collar of the shoe allows for what’s called “SRC” (Super Rebound Cushioning)— guaranteed for smoother transitions and overall ride. There is superior medial arch support as well.
The HydraMAX collar lining (that wicks away moisture) and the ComfortLite sockliner (that combats germs and odor) are smart additions. A lighter weight blown rubber material (called “IBR”) is combined with a breathable mesh upper and a carbon rubber outsole for a more flexible yet extremely durable running shoe. And for those who like to run in low-light conditions, you can do so knowing that the reflective elements on your shoes will work to keep you safe.
This shoe is perfect for runners with flat feet because of its clever engineering and design. The attention to detail, including the extra padding (SRC), the carbon rubber heel, the Flexgrooves, and the improved upper (IBR), come together for a reliable choice for moderate overpronators.
While there’s a lot to recommend, our favorite aspect of the Hurricane 16 is the amount of cushion that’s been added to the outsole. We were able to run for longer because the cushioning absorbed the shock we usually feel on our feet, ankles and knees.
What sets the Saucony Echelon 5 apart is its straight and wide platform that’s designed for runners with wider feet and neutral arches. The platform can also accommodate orthotics or other shoe inserts.
This shoe doesn’t have as many add-ons as Suacony’s other models. Instead, this is a basic workhorse of a shoe, great for daily use rather than lengthy or fast runs. What this shoe relies on is Suacony’s established technology (which is probably sounding familiar by now).
This includes an enhanced carbon rubber outsole (for improved traction), a midsole that combines PowerGrid and Super Lite foam (for maximum shock absorption), a breathable mesh upper for better air circulation while holding your feet in place, and a collar and sockliner that increases the cushiony feel while wicking away moisture and odor.
In short, the Echelon 5 is not a flashy shoe nor is it a particularly fast shoe. Instead, it’s a dependable choice if you’re looking for a steady, stable and slightly wider running sneaker.
Everything about the Echelon 5 says “flat feet shoes!” Instead of creating a sneaker with lots of bells and whistles, Saucony has made a durable shoe with just the amount of support, flexibility and comfort runners with neutral to low arches and wider feet will need.
A reviewer appreciated the overall width of the shoe because it allowed him to customize the fit with shoe inserts. In turn, he was able to enjoy daily runs without complaint.
Nike is, by far, one of the most popular sporting brands out there. It’s probably safe to say that the Nike logo alone could sell these shoes! But let’s take a look at what else they have to offer.
The outsole is made of a durable waffle material that holds up to lots of wear. To enhance flexibility, flexgrooves were added to the forefront of the shoe (great for toe-off). A “crash rail” made from rubber helps to lessen the impact of the shoe hitting the road.
Nike has created “Zoom Air” in two sections of the shoe, the heel and the forefront. These help to absorb impact. The midsole also includes a significantly longer medial post for those with low arches and a tendency to overpronate (it runs along the arch side of the shoe, from heel to toe) . A breathable “Flymesh” upper offers support and comfort while holding the foot in place. The material molds to the individual’s foot with the help of the “Dynamic Flywire” cables for a customized fit.
Runners did mention that during shorter, slower runs the shoe felt hard and resistant. The Zoom Air cushions seem to activate at faster speeds and then the ride becomes more comfortable and the shoe is more responsive.
The medial post is one of the longest on the market, stretching the full length of the shoe (on the side of the arch). Certainly, this makes the shoe a perfect choice for distance runners with low arches and a tendency to overpronate.
Our favorite feature would have to be the lightweight (and very cool looking) mesh upper. Once we laced up, our feet felt secure and stable under the Flywire construction. What’s more, after a long run, we appreciated how the mesh allowed air to circulate through the entire shoe!
Saucony has improved the Omni running shoe in quite a few ways. To begin, the platform is wider and has more supporting foam to hold your pronating feet in place. The outsole is made with Injected Blown Rubber (IBR) that is 33% lighter and considerably more flexible than the run-of-the-mill blown rubber. The IBR plus the improved and lighter-than-ever crash pads create superb shock absorption and make for ultra smooth transitions. The crash pads stretch from heel to midfoot which means excellent support. The midsole’s main features are the PowerGrid cushioning and the Arch-Lock system that uses a stretchy strap to support and steady your feet.
The upper is constructed of a soft and breathable mesh with overlays that are now welded rather than stitched on (as they were in version 12). The interior of the shoe is equally notable with stay-dry technology that Saucony refers to as “Run Dry.”
The sneaker is incredibly light at just 10.4 oz. Many runners can’t believe that a shoe that weighs so little boasts so many advantages!
The introduction of an Arch-Lock system is what makes the Omni 13 perfect for runners with flat feet. This is a strap that adapts to your foot and holds it down in the midfoot area for extra support and stability. This is especially helpful for runners who overpronate.
It was tough to pick one “best” feature because there’s a lot to recommend with this sneaker. But we’d have to say that we were most impressed by the overall fit of the Omni 13. Between the breathable mesh upper made with plush material, the IBR used in the midsole along with the cushiony PowerGrid, and the Run Dry interior, we experienced one of the more enjoyable runs we’ve had in a long time.
The ASICS GT 2000 2 can be categorized as a hybrid shoe, somewhere between a neutral and a support shoe. It’s an improvement on the very stable GT 2000 and will work well for athletes with mild to moderate overpronation. (It should be noted that the GT 2000 2 is not the best choice for speed training.)
Asics relies on a gel cushioning for heel and ankle support and shock absorption. The midsole is responsive and springy thanks to a new FluidRide system that’s made up of two different types of lightweight padding, plus there’s an additional gel cushion in the forefront of the shoe. The outer sole is constructed of durable rubber and can handle all types of roads (from pavement to gravel). While customers appreciated the increased bounciness and responsiveness of the GT 2000 2, some folks felt that the sole felt a bit overloaded and, in turn, less flexible than it should be.
The upper has soft, breathable material and offers a secure fit. The toe-box is wider than the previous version, yet it’s still snug.
This is a solid choice for runners with flat feet because the loaded sole makes for a comfy stability shoe. By this we mean the extra padding (the FluidRide system) and gel cushioning in both the midsole and heel.
Again we’d have to draw attention to the incredible cushioning and shock absorption provided in this shoe. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense shoe that will support you on your daily runs by protecting your joints and stabilizing your feet, this will probably do the trick. The “sock-like” and plush feel of the GT 2000 2 makes us think it’s one of the most comfy designs available.
Since not all shoes are right for all runners, we recommend making a list of what your ideal running shoe would look like and feel like. Whether you just like casual jogging, you're training for a 5K or you're preparing for a marathon, it's important to keep in mind that the best flat feet shoes have extra arch support and address pronation.
As we can see from the above reviews, the top athletic brands have chosen to create (and re-create when necessary) multiple options for runners with these needs. With all of the choices, we guarantee that you’ll hit upon the style that will work well for you; you’ll be running in comfort in no time.