Whether the soles of your feet are flat due to genetics or the effects of gravity over the years, this can have a significant impact on the way you walk, which in turn affects your overall well-being. The good news is that you can purchase shoes and inserts that can help provide the arch support you need to feel comfortable once again.
Why Are Flat Feet Problematic?
The arch in your foot is a natural shock absorption system. As you walk or run, this curvature in your bones cushions the impact on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Some people have especially high arches, and others have no arch at all. These individuals are said to have “flat feet”. People with flat feet tend to turn their ankles inward as they walk, which can lead to significant fatigue and even pain. Fortunately, buying shoes that offer plenty of support can relieve these ailments and help you feel better.
If you have flat feet, you should avoid wearing shoes that provide absolutely no support. Some examples include ballet flats, flip-flops, and other shoes with flat bottoms. When you shop for shoes in a store, online, or otherwise, you should look for options that mention “Added Support” or “Natural Support”. These are designed to help position the foot to provide natural arch comfort. In short, they do what your natural arch should.
People who have flat feet typically have pronated ankles. Because their feet lack natural arches, their ankles tend to fall (or turn) inward toward one another. This can put undue stress not only on the ankles, but also on the knees, hips, and back. Stability shoes can correct the pronation by not only lifting the arch, but also by holding up the inside of the ankle and keeping it stable.
Another important factor to consider if you have flat feet is motion control. These shoes offer unsurpassed support and control, and they keep your ankles straight rather than allowing them to turn inward, or pronate. A firm foam injected into the side of the arch and extended to the heel offers you more support than a traditional shoe would. Most brands of running and walking shoes offer motion control models, but some boot and casual shoe manufacturers are incorporating motion control into their lines, as well.
If you have a favorite pair of shoes that just do not offer the support you need, consider purchasing some orthotic inserts. Although these inserts typically do not perform as well as high-end support and stability shoes, they do go a long way toward making your existing shoes feel better on your flat feet. Several manufacturers make them these days, and you can find hard plastic insoles or softer foam and gel. They generally last between six and 12 months before you need to purchase a new pair.
You do not have to sacrifice comfort and style just because you happen to have flat feet. You can purchase inserts for all of your favorite shoes, or you can buy new shoes that offer motion control, stability, and arch support to help boost your overall comfort and relieve the pain associated with flat feet.