Every runner faces challenges and difficulties when it comes to finding the best running shoes for their needs. Getting the fit right is vital, otherwise you’re running the risk of pain and discomfort, decreased circulation, blisters, decreased performance, and the high risk of injury.
People with flat feet have a few more difficulties than most, so finding the right shoe is even more imperative and you might be wondering what is the best running shoe for flat feet?
If you’re pretty sure you didn’t have flat feet before, it’s certainly worth regularly checking; our feet change on a regular basis, and just because you didn’t have flat feet, before doesn’t mean you don’t have them now. By checking your feet regularly, you can make sure you find the right running shoes, to help you reach your personal best.
What are Flat Feet?
The feet are packed with bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The arch of the foot is one of the most complex areas and requires more support than the rest of the foot overall. The arch comprises the metatarsal and tarsal bones, and these are supported by various ligaments and tendons, helping the foot to move properly, but also to avoid injury and over-stretching. The arch is also there to support the entire weight of your body, so it makes sense that this area needs the added support, especially when exercising.
You can find out the shape of your arch by doing something called a ‘wet foot test.’ This is literally what it sounds like; you wet your feet and place them on the floor to create an imprint. If you can see the bottom of your foot in the imprint, where the arch should be, you have a low arch. This is when you don’t have a curve which runs along the inner side of your foot.
This means you are much more likely to ‘over-pronate,’ or over-stretch when you’re running. It makes sense that this is also more likely to cause injury. There is also the case of a possible fallen arch. This is an injury itself, where the arch of the foot has either collapse, or become injured and swollen.
So, what is flat feet in all of this? Flat feet is when you don’t have an arch visible at all. The foot is literally flat along the floor in its entirely. The ‘wet foot test’ will make this super obvious because you will be able to see the entire imprint, from toe to heel and the mid-section too. Again, if this is the case, you’re likely to over-pronate, and therefore you need more support from your running shoes, to avoid injury and discomfort.
What to Look for When Choosing a Running Shoe for Flat Feet
Because flat feet is such an issue for runners when choosing the right pair of running shoes, there are several types of shoe which are ideal for this particular problem.
If you have flat feet, you need to pay more attention to the purchasing process, compared to someone who has a more pronounced arch. The arch of your foot is the place which absorbs all the shock, and you’ll know than when running over any type of terrain for a prolonged period of time, your feet are going to need to absorb as much of that shock as possible. A flatter foot is therefore more likely to cause ankle or knee injuries, due to twisting and overcompensation.
Two of the best types of shoe for flat feet are:
- Stability shoes
- Motion control shoes
Stability shoes, as the name suggests, provides a greater amount of stability for those with flat feet; however, they are also a good purchase for those with slightly collapsed arches too. The support section is primarily in the arch, with less support distributed elsewhere.
On the other hand, motion control shoes are designed with flat feet completely in mind. The heel section is stiff in this type of design, and the arch has a large amount of support, in order to distribute weight and absorb shock; these shoes basically do what a higher arch is supposed to do.
Of course, you could opt for regular running shoes and they may be perfectly fine for you, but if you’re a keen runner or you have any type of discomfort wearing regular shoes, it’s always best to opt for a more specific type. It may be best to try a stability shoe first, and if that doesn’t give you the amount of support you require, upgrade to a mobility control shoe.
With any type of foot condition, it’s about trial and error, and finding the right amount of support and control for you.