When you leave your house every morning for work, there are just a couple of things that you have to get right. One of them is finding the right shoe for the job. Flat-footed people, in particular, have to be extra vigilant to find the perfect shoe.
So how can you tell whether you’ve got flat feet? Consider yourself flat-footed if the soles of your feet press flat against the ground when you stand straight. The condition can cause back pain, bunions and, in other cases, tendon damage.
Whether you have flat feet or are seeking some arch support to provide comfort for a long day at work, choosing the proper footwear can be a tiresome task. Comfort and style used to be mutually exclusive, but not anymore! Modern shoe brands have raised their game in recent years by marrying supporting materials with trendy patterns to create the best work shoes for flat feet.
These are the best work shoes for flat feet:
What Causes Flat Feet?
Your arches determine how you walk. In the case of flat-footed individuals, their arches drop, causing their feet to roll inwards (pronate) as they walk or stand. This rolling inward is known as over-pronation and can lead to the formation of bunions.
Flat feet can either be flexible or rigid—the former displays an arch when you’re not standing but tends to flatten when you do. Rigid flat feet don’t arch whether you’re standing or resting.
For many people, flat feet are a hereditary condition. Others develop flat feet due to aging, pregnancy, obesity or health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
Additionally, when we get older, general wear and tear take a toll on our bodies. Arches can reduce over the years because of changes in the way your legs align. If your arches aren’t supporting your feet and body the way they should, you might have problems with your ankles and knees.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
There are numerous symptoms of flat feet to watch out for. Here are some of them:
- Painful or achy feet.
- Leg and back pain.
- Swelling on the inner side of your feet.
- Feet get tired quickly.
What Makes a Shoe Perfect for Flat Feet?
If you want to know what shoes to buy for flat feet, there are several factors which you need to consider. Your ideal pair will firmly cup your heels and offer sturdy arch support. The toe box should offer ample room, and the shank, or the middle part of the shoe, should be somewhat flexible—not too flimsy, but not too rigid.
Stylish shoes for flat feet exist, and there are plenty of on-trend footwear options out there.
How to Choose Shoes for Flat Feet
Most people with flat feet require a wide-fit shoe. Generally, they should avoid shoes with a pointed toe or narrow front.
The shoe’s front should be high enough not to squash the toes and wide at the toe box to allow them to spread out. This will reduce pressure on the front half of the foot, which can help prevent pain and bunions.
A firm sole and heel support can prevent the foot from rolling inward. This causes pain and may damage the tendons in the foot. It is also vital to consider toe and heel support.
If you’re flat-footed, you are more likely to apply greater force on your toe and heel area. So make sure you look for shoes with reinforced heels. When you wear a shoe with a firm heel counter, your feet will have all the support they need.
Are There Work Shoes for Flat Feet?
Flat feet can be a real pain. This is even more concerning when you work on your feet all day. Despite the numerous insoles and shoes available designed to ease pain related to flat feet, it’s a bit more challenging to find these features in work shoes.
With a lot of work boots, the arch leaves something to be desired, and safety toes can add more strain to your feet.
When searching for your ideal work shoe, there are a few crucial things to consider. Foremost is safety since the shoe’s primary function is keeping you safe in the workplace. The second vital consideration is comfort, mitigating the strain of repetitively slamming your foot on the ground.
Factors to Consider When Looking for Work Shoes for Flat Feet
Below are some of the critical things to consider when looking for the best work shoes for flat feet.
Cushioning and Shock Absorption
Quality cushioning from both the insole and midsole of a shoe can help your feet feel more comfortable and compensate for the uneven distribution of weight. Try to look for materials that mold to your foot, such as EVA foam, memory foam or polyurethane foam. They are more durable and give your feet the protection they need from impact.
Fallen arches tend to cause overpronation—your feet turn in as you walk, leading to foot pain. Arch support in your shoes helps correct how you walk and supports the tendons and muscles in your feet. However, this doesn’t mean you need the highest arch support. Since it could cause even more pain, light support is often enough.
A high ankle provides several benefits. The first is that the height takes more strain off the arch, letting you walk comfortably. The second advantage is that it protects your ankle through the added surface coverage, keeping you safe in the workplace. Higher ankles also reduce the impact of walking on the sole of your foot.
Flat feet often give rise to wider feet. The shoes that afford you plenty of room in both the toe box and width will be comfier over a long day.
Cheap ends up being expensive. However tempting, compromising your budget for lower quality materials might be costlier in the long run. Materials like leather, albeit pricier, generally wear better over time and give you more supportive platforms.
Although many supportive shoes come with cushioned, contoured insoles, they will not always suit all types of feet. You’ll notice over time that they wear out way before the shoes themselves.
If they are removable, you can easily replace them with a custom or over-the-counter orthotic of your choice that suits your feet. Alternatively, choose the best shoe inserts for standing all day or insoles designed for work boots.
Here are more details to look for in your work shoes for flat feet.
Design and Material
This feature affects the overall strength of the work boot. It’s essential to the performance as the material needs to be thick enough to offer adequate protection. It should be designed in such a manner as to relieve pressure off the arch.
It’s crucial to select a design that matches your environment. You will likely need substantial moisture resistance if you work outdoors, so it’s essential to check the material and see how well it repels water. You should also confirm whether the shoes are treated with a chemical to facilitate better waterproof abilities.
The sole has to offer sufficient traction for when you’re on slippery or wet surfaces. This is achieved by the material used (most often rubber) and the design of the treads. If the arch is raised for flat-footed wearers, the boot’s bottom must be sturdy for stability. It should also be non-conductive and waterproof.
Benefits of Work Shoes for Flat Feet
- Dissipate force: Every time you walk, your foot absorbs the majority of the impact. Instead of getting injured by the direct pressure, the shoe helps spread the force out. This considerably reduces pain and enables you to move more easily.
- Arch supports flat feet: Individuals with flat feet don’t have the muscular support and structure needed to work comfortably. The built-in arch on the work boots supports your feet and takes away a lot of the strain.
- Limit chances of repetitive strain: When exposed to a particular force repeatedly, you become susceptible to a stress injury. Workers who are flat-footed are at particular risk for damage to their podiatric health.
- Keep your feet safe: Workplaces come with their own unique risks. Whether you work on a building construction site or perform outdoor labor, there is a high chance of getting hurt. Safety work boots help mitigate the chances of a severe injury.
Helpful Tips to Consider
- Factor in the type of work you usually do and find footwear suited to that purpose, like steel-toed boots or comfier shoes for standing.
- Visit a podiatrist to understand the amount of arch support you require for your level of flat-footedness. Use this to determine which shoe suits you best.
- Choose the correct size of shoe. Refer to the sizing chart for each option to ensure it will be a good fit.
- Clean off the bottom of your shoe regularly to prevent damage to the rubber structure.
- Constantly monitor the state of your insole. If you discover it’s wearing down, switch it out for a new one.
- Always ensure that your feet stay warm when you’re outside. Wear proper socks and shoes that suit the work environment and weather.
- When shopping for work shoes, it’s best to do so after a long walk or on a hot afternoon. This trick is all about timing because it is during such times that your foot size is at its largest.
Reviews of the Best Work Shoes for Flat Feet
When buying work shoes for flat feet, the two keywords to remember are comfort and support. The relief your flat feet will enjoy after a long day’s work will be worth it! Here are our top picks.
These simple leather boots from Blundstones have been designed with only the ultimate comfort in mind. What makes the boot special is the way it’s created from a single piece of extra-thick leather. The leather is first cut into a V shape and then wrapped and formed into nearly the entire boot, except for a reinforced heel insert.
Blundstone uses a removable footbed that molds to your foot, making the boot comfier over time. You can comfortably wear the shoes all day long since they’re exceptionally light. Blundstones have a wide, rounded toe and a gaitered upper “roof” that’s wide enough to get your foot in.
These Blundstones are comfortable, light, supportive and, most importantly, durable. The premium leather used to make these Chelsea boots is water-resistant. You should expect a pair of Blundstones to last between two and five years, depending on what you’re using them for.
If you’ve been searching for a work boot you can always rely on, Blundstones should top your list. They are comfortable, quick to break in, easy to slip on and look really stylish too.
Although there aren’t many cons to consider when it comes to Blundstones, the tricky labeling style is probably the most prominent. Most people have complained that it’s difficult to differentiate the various models and series since they aren’t always clearly marked or easy to figure out.
Blundstone shoes are based on AUS/UK sizes, which are typically a full size smaller than US sizes. For example, if you’re a US size 8, go with the AUS/UK size 7 for the perfect fit.
While they may seem pricey, Blundstone boots offer excellent value for money and the classic Chelsea silhouette never goes out of style. Another plus is you can wear these shoes in almost any season and better still, at the workplace, so long as wearing boots is appropriate. They come in a number of chic colors, including black, brown, steel grey, blueberry and dark green.
- Premium water-resistant leather.
- Quick to break in.
- Removable footbed that molds to your foot.
- Lots of colors to choose from.
- Sizing and labeling can be confusing to some customers.
Thorogood has been producing footwear for well over a century. Consequently, this guarantees that you’re getting decades of experience in design and manufacturing with each pair of shoes you buy.
Thorogood boots are designed to make life comfortable for the working man or woman. While your feet need to be safe, you also need to feel comfortable throughout the day.
Full-fledged comfort features are taken care of by these shoes. The soft and protective dual-density outsoles absorb any type of ground impact made by stepping in rugged terrains. They also give you the comfort and flexibility you need throughout a long day on your feet.
The removable footbed features a contour heel cup that’s comfortable and supportive for your flat feet. They come with a steel toe that protects your feet from any accidents and a non-marking and slip-resistant leather outsole.
These famous Thorogoods are excellent if you want a good combination of comfort and security.
Thorogood’s footwear collection puts great emphasis on getting sizing perfectly right. They’ve simplified the complicated process of finding your perfect fit by creating a printable size chart that customers can just lay on the floor and step on with bare feet.
Even better, Thorogood boots come in three widths, so you can confidently choose what suits you best.
- Removable footbeds with contour heel cup.
- Slip-resistant and non-marking leather outsole.
- Flexible and comfortable outsole.
- Different widths to choose from.
- Steel toe protection.
- Some customers report sizes run small and suggest ordering half a size up to ensure the correct fit.
Value for money is always a significant concern, and Caterpillar doesn’t disappoint with this boot’s quality. As one of the leading brands in workwear, you can expect premium performance.
For the price of a typical steel toe work boot, you’ll enjoy a superior quality feel, waterproof leather, excellent insulation for cold weather, a comfortable leather sole and a rugged yet professional appearance.
A firm sole provides flexible support, thus alleviating any aches and pains. This Caterpillar design mimics the shape of your foot, providing support where you need it most. A removable insert also comes in handy as it provides extra support and gives you the option to add in your own orthotics.
With sufficient padding, your ankles will enjoy extra cushioning and support.
And just in case you work in dangerous environments, a reinforced steel toe will offer you much-needed protection from falling objects.
Combined with their electrical hazard protection, Caterpillar boots guarantee you the best safety possible along with comfort and support.
- Waterproof leather.
- Insulated for cold weather.
- Ankle support.
- Removable insert.
- Reinforced steel toe and electrical hazard protection.
- Not the best support for extreme cases of flat feet.
If your job entails working on your feet all day, Sketchers will keep your flat feet comfortable and supported. This way, you won’t need to massage them back to life every evening after work.
These casual work shoes come with removable comfort insoles and a sturdy sole to offer you all the perks of a durable shoe. The upper is crafted out of soft, flexible leather and features a padded tongue and collar for comfort. To keep your feet cool, there are perforated accents on the sides to allow your feet to breathe.
The soles are slip-resistant and provide traction, so if you’re rushing around you shouldn’t need to worry about slipping over. They’re also durable and tough to protect your feet. If you wish, you can even double them up as a good pair of dress shoes for your flat feet once you’ve finished your shift.
- Slip-resistant soles.
- Long-lasting and high-quality construction.
- Removable comfort insole.
- Breathable outsole.
- Some users state they would like a little more arch support.
Another model recommended for flat feet is the Wolverine Men’s Buccaneer Boot. It is constructed with multiple shock-absorbing pads that are molded directly into the outsole. This provides thick, cushioning comfort and compression for every step you take.
These boots feature a full-grain waterproof leather, a padded collar, soft round and breathable mesh lining. The rubber lug sole is slip-resistant, enabling you to remain steady on your feet during wet conditions. It’s also resistant to oil, water, abrasion, chemicals and heat.
The Wolverine brand has a 30-day comfort guarantee. If, after 30 days of wear, the boots aren’t up to your comfort standard levels, simply return for a refund. Most customers find them extremely comfortable and quick to break-in, though.
This particular style tends to run larger in size than your average shoe. A half-size smaller comes highly recommended.
- Wave Mesh moisture wicking lining.
- Multi-shock absorbing compression pads.
- Removable, full-cushion footbed.
- Ankle support.
- Sizes run large.
- Heavier than other work boots.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Tell If You Have Flat Feet
An easy way you can check to see if you have flat feet is to:
- Start by wetting your feet in a small bucket of water.
- Then stand on a flat surface or a piece of paper where the imprint of your foot can be seen clearly.
- Lift your foot off the floor and examine the imprint. If you see a complete print of the whole of your foot’s base, then it’s likely you have flat feet.
Can Walking Barefoot Fix Flat Feet?
People commonly think that for arches to develop, feet muscles need to get stronger by walking barefoot, but there is no evidence to support this. Studies show that with the strengthening of the muscles, the arch height doesn’t change. To support this, further studies reveal that stronger muscles don’t necessarily mean higher arches.
Can Flat Feet Be Cured by Wearing the Right Shoes?
Unfortunately, there is no remedy for flat feet. Nevertheless, using supportive shoes can mitigate associated issues. They can improve the way you walk and help alleviate pain.
How Do I Select the Best Work Boots?
The ideal work boots for flat feet should provide ample arch support. The footwear should have a supportive sole, keep you warm and have a high ankle. Choose something that fits you appropriately for the best results.
How Much Do Work Boots for Flat Feet Cost?
Work boots’ prices for flat feet depend on: your level of flat-footedness, the quality of the boot itself and whether you want a custom insole. You can buy boots for less than $100 to more than $200—what is essential is finding the right fit.
Is It Okay To Wear Arch Support If You Have Flat Feet?
Arch support isn’t always necessary if you pick the proper footwear. Flat-bottomed sneakers will require some extra arch support in the form of a custom insole. But well-built boots often have plenty of arch support built-in. If you’re on the fence, choose shoes with removable insoles. This way, you can add your own arch and heel support if necessary.
How Do I Get Arch Support for Flat Feet?
Choose a good pair of shoes that offer arch support, and if you pick a model with removable insoles, you can always add your own inserts. A custom insole is a great way to beef up your arch support if you have flat feet.
Most people with flat feet won’t experience any debilitating symptoms. Regardless, having supportive shoes won’t cause any harm. Acquiring the best work shoes for flat feet means you will enjoy all-day comfort and get the spring back in your step.
Our favorite pair from the round-up has to be the Men’s Classic Chelsea Boots by Blundstone. They’re a classic pair of boots that will last you a long time and provide comfort for your flat feet from the get-go.
Even with flat feet, you can always find comfortable footwear for work to accommodate your condition. It’s unnecessary to compromise on style and comfort. Lastly, your feet are an essential asset to your hard-working lifestyle, so it’s best to give them the care they deserve.