Feet serve as the gesticulatory foundation for those who walk, run, jog and stroll through the world, making it extra important to take note if the spot where your foot should rise above ground falls flat like a pancake. Being flat-footed can be hereditary or develop later in life as a result of obesity, Achilles tendon injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, or being pregnant.
Plenty of flat footers meander through the world with no pain or disruption, but some develop more serious conditions that require intervention, pain management and even special insoles for additional support.
Dr. Gregory Alvarez, podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America, told SPY that “flat feet can cause an imbalance in the foot and can lead to a strain on the plantar fascia,” or the fibrous band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to the base of your toes. Overpronation, a movement pattern where your ankles roll inward while you’re walking, can also develop leading to foot and ankle pain as a result of flat feet.
The right insoles can make a world of difference in how comfortable and supported one’s feet feel in your favorite shoes and can bring activities into the sphere of possibility that caused too much pain before.
SPY’s Top Picks for Insoles for Flat Feet
What The Experts Say
Dr. Gregory Cohen, podiatrist, told SPY that his patients with flat feet have a higher tendency to develop plantar fasciitis due to the mechanics of walking as well as bone structure. “Folks with flat feet have to be careful with their shoe selection,” Dr. Cohen said, adding that a “good supportive insole, a stability shoe or sneaker is recommended to provide the additional support and biomechanical control required for walking and/or high-impact activities.”
When it comes to insoles for flat feet, look for a firm material and a deep heel cup to reduce any excessive pronation. Dr. Alvarez, recommends “orthotic insoles that are designed to provide arch support and cushioning to help alleviate pain associated with flat feet and pronation, as well as provide comfort and shock absorption.”
Spenco Total Support Max Insoles
These insoles provide an extra rigid cradle to support flat feet and improve motion control to reduce overpronation. The advanced design at the arch and the heel make it a great choice for athletes with flat feet who need more support during intense activity or for people with plantar fasciitis. The material is synthetic polyester, so if feet are prone to sweating, these may not provide adequate breathability.
Dr. Scholl’s Tri-Comfort Insoles
These tri-comfort insoles are designed to ease your discomfort if you have flat feet and are already experiencing foot pain. It’s best if your feet are on the narrower side as these are slimmer than usual and only ¾ length with the aim to avoid crowding your toes. The arch support and heel cushioning will leave you feeling stable on your feet, help improve your posture and reduce the impact on your feet and joints while standing or doing any activity.
PCSsole insoles are an excellent choice for flat fee due to the EVA foam memory base with metatarsal pad support and multi-layer cushioning that provide support all day long or during activity. They’re made with a breathable velvet fabric that will keep them dry and cool.
Walk Hero Insoles
Whether you have flat feet or have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, these insoles provide the arch support you need, close to 1.4 inches, to improve posture and reduce foot pain. The poron material at the base of the heel and toes are designed to absorb shock protecting your feet from discomfort from heel to toe, while the soft breathable material across the insole keeps your feet cozy and cool.
Superfeet BLUE Insole
These insoles are designed to provide maximum support and shock absorption and are a good option if you have flat feet. The deep heel cup helps to stabilize the foot and reduce impact, while the high-density foam layer provides cushioning and comfort. The insoles are also treated with an antimicrobial coating to help prevent odor.
The right pair of insoles can make a world of difference for those who are taller or weigh above 210 pounds. Carrying on extra weight can put excess strain on your feet, so it’s important to choose insoles that support your feet. Walkify provides more than just comfort with the PU foam and gel material that adds the necessary support for heavier weight on your feet and legs. They have a sweat-absorbing top layer keeps your feet cool, dry and odor-free and are trimmable to fit a great variety of shoe types from casual footwear and workout shoes to work boots.
Are Insoles For Flat Feet Worth It?
The short answer is yes. In our conversations with podiatrists and foot doctors we learned that while flat feet may not always cause symptoms or require treatment, it can be a source of discomfort and pain for some individuals, particularly those who are very active or spend a lot of time on their feet.
Not to mention, if left unsupported, it can lead to more serious health issues. There are a lot of options available today, so you should consult a podiatrist to assess your specific needs before making a selection from the choices above. And, depending on your foot condition, a generic insole might not work for you, and you will need a custom molded pair of orthotics. Keep in mind not to expect miracles from insoles right away. Most take at least three to five days to get used to, and it may feel unusual at first as different parts of your feet and pressure points are being activated differently than before.
Insoles for flat feet are also not the only path to take for healthier feet. Podiatrists recommend having more awareness of the activities you do, the surfaces you walk on and the shoes you wear for support. Dr. Cohen also added that “barefoot walking should be avoided especially on hard, unyielding surfaces for patients with flat feet.”
Dr. Alvarez added that stretching the calf muscles regularly helps keep them flexible and strong, which in turn helps reduce the strain on the plantar fascia. For people with flat feet who already have plantar fasciitis, they can protect themselves from pain and discomfort with a combination of approaches, including rest, ice therapy for inflammation and pain, stretching exercises to improve foot flexibility, custom-made orthotic inserts to provide better support, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best Insoles for Flat Feet?
The best insoles for flat feet have plenty of arch support to supplement a lift that isn’t naturally there. They’re made with sturdy yet flexible materials like foam or gel and can be trimmed or adjusted to fit in different types of shoes.
Are Insoles Good for Flat Feet?
Yes, insoles can be helpful for easing pain and discomfort that can result from having flat feet. They can help individuals avoid long-term injury when used correctly and can be particularly helpful for athletes or folks who regularly engage in rigorous activity.
Are Insoles Dorky or Lame?
Sure, they can be, if you talk about them constantly or obsess over them to your friends and loved ones. But if someone typecasts you, who really cares? After walking a mile in your brand new, comfortably supportive shoes you’ll be too busy relishing in pain-free movement to notice the haters.
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