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melanie81's avatar

I'm flat footed and want to start running. What kind of shoes/insoles do I need?

Asked by melanie81 (792points) January 30th, 2010

So I just picked up running a couple of weeks ago, and now that I’m getting into longer intervals of actual running, I’m finding that the outer sides of my feet are REALLY sore. Not so much while I’m running, but right after I stop to go into a walk, as well as after the entire run altogether. Do you think it’s a problem caused by my flat-footedness? I feel like 90% of runners have higher arches – is it just me?

Anyway, I did TONS of research on shoes, went to three local running stores, tried 4 pairs of shoes (returned the other 3), and settled with this pair:

I’ve definitely broken them in at the gym – used them probably 30 times. This pair doesn’t have nearly the amount of added support on the sides – that was my problem with the other shoes. Since I’m flat footed, those arches would dig into my feet (very painful!). But maybe I need more cushion than these shoes are giving me? I’m hopeful for some insoles that aren’t too expensive (i.e. the ones you mold to your foot and then send to the maker) – not looking to take out a loan just to get in shape!

What do you think? Insoles? Or is this just a typical beginner’s problem which will fix itself?

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12 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

When you went to the running stores, did the sales people help you get fitted with shoes that suit your feet that are appropriate for your gait?

melanie81's avatar

@nikipedia yep – I think I started to drive them crazy, because I spent so much of their time!

TehRoflMobile's avatar

In my opinion, if I were you I wouldn’t wear shoes at all, or at least get Vibram Five Finger, especially if you are flat footed. Running bare footed will help strengthen your feet and the muscles in your feet. It is often reported in flat footed people who run barefoot that they actually gain an arch as their foot tightens and becomes stronger.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@melanie81 Flat feet and running do not go together, I know I have totally flat feet. Things that help walking or running with flat feet and pronated ankles are shoes that have a heel counter that is firm. That is the cup your heel seats in, also the heel itself on the outside should be a square ramp. That will keep your ankles and feet pointed straight ahead. Try bike riding or walking instead. Less strain on feet, ankles and knees.

caly420's avatar

Brooks ATG 9 or 10 have been the best shoes I’ve ever worn for my flat (narrow) feet.

I run ~35 miles a week, just so you have a base for how much I need good shoes.

occ's avatar

If you have health insurance, I would recommend visiting a podiatrist. They can custom-make orthotics – special arch supports that exactly fit your flat feet and give you the support you need. These are very expensive – $500 – but if you have a diagnosis of flat feet or plantar fascitis (sp?) from a doctor your insurance might pay for it. Ask the podiatrist to call your insurance company. When I called them myself, they told me they would not cover orthotics, but when the doctor’s office called them for me, for some reason they agreed to cover it (obviously all insurance companies are different, but just a tip that they sometimes respond differently to the doctors than to the patient). One drawback is that it can take about 2 or 3 weeks for them to custom make the orthotics, and then it takes a few weeks to wear them in. But if your insurance will cover it, this can be a very good investment to help your flat feet for walking and hiking as well as running.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Asics Gel Kayanos

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Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Glad to hear that I am not the only duck-footed person here. My podiatrist wanted me to wear shoes with arch supports ever since I was little. It hurt my instep, and it felt like I had a pile of sand in my shoe. The only thing that makes it feel better (supported) is to wear high-tops that support my ankle.

snowberry's avatar

I have congenital flat feet. If you are wearing arch supports that hurt, you have the wrong ones. Period. You can injure your feet by wearing ones that have too much arch.

Also, keep in mind that because a flat footed person pronates (walks duck footed with the toes pointed to the sides), that every time they take a step they are putting pressure on the side of the big toe. Over time, this will tend to produce a bunion. If you are going to run, train yourself to run with your toes pointed forward, not to the sides. Arch supports (even if they are really small) can help correct this.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have no idea what “kind” of flat feet I have. My mom took me to a podiatrist when I was about 8, mostly because I had several hard bumps just forward of my ankle bone on both feet. It is like a few more ankle bones or something, and they are still there. The doctor diagnosed fallen arches. My mother got a pair of shoes for me and had a wedge put in just like the doctor ordered. That was the ones I couldn’t wear. I don’t ever hold my feet to the side – not ever. If anything, I tend to hold them a shade pigeon-toed, but mostly hold them straight. Even though I have no arch, I think I taught myself to balance on the outer rim of my feet so that I would walk and look normal, and so that it wouldn’t hurt.

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