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Having high-arched feet, aka a cavus foot type, means your arch is higher than average. Because this places an excessive amount of weight on the ball and heel of your foot when walking or standing, you may be more susceptible to a slew of foot issues, including plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, calluses, corns and bone spurs — especially if you don’t wear supportive shoes, says New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member Dr. Jackie Sutera.
Plantar fasciitis, for example, is one of the most common causes of heel pain in people with high arches. It happens when the plantar fascia — the thick band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to your toes — becomes inflamed. Hammertoes —an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your toe — is another common sign that you have high arches.
“A high-arched foot is one that is typically more rigid and with restricted mobility in the ankle and hips. This means that a high-arch foot may have a harder time absorbing impact forces and transferring force,” explains Dr. Emily Splichal, a podiatrist and founder of the performance-driven accessories line Naboso.
Fortunately, investing in supportive shoes can help prevent these foot issues from popping up and make walking more comfortable, especially for people with high arches who need to stand all day, like nurses, teachers, and flight attendants.
What to look for in the best walking shoes for high arches
When shopping for walking shoes, it’s ideal to look for pairs with built-in, well-padded and shock-absorbing insoles.
“High-arched feet are best treated with supportive, softer and more flexible, lightweight types of soles to accommodate the high arch,” Dr. Sutera says. “Avoid rigid, stiff and thin flat shoes. The purpose of insoles and orthotics for those with high-arched feet is to accommodate, absorb shock and cushion.”
In addition to supportive cushioning, choosing a shoe with a slight heel-toe drop (the difference between how high the shoe is in the heel versus the forefoot) can help decrease impact forces and ankle stress when walking, Dr. Splichal says.
Keep in mind, however, that the heel-toe drop doesn’t necessarily mean you need a higher heel, notes Dr. Sutera. “This means that the heel is thicker than the front of the shoe, unlike a platform or very flat shoe,” she says. “These tend to be better for those who need more arch support.”
People with high arches also tend to supinate, meaning their weight tends to roll to the outside edge of their feet with each step. In this case, seeking out walking shoes with heel counters can help. “Heel counters add stability and allow the rearfoot/heel to stay more neutral by blocking pronation (your ankle or arch rolling inward) and supination,” Dr. Sutera says.
Another approach Dr. Splichal recommends is wearing transitional and minimalist shoes, which offer less cushioning. The idea is that these shoes force your foot muscles to contract and absorb impact forces, making them stronger over time. “My goal with all feet, including those with high arches, is to teach them function on their own without supportive or cushioned footwear,” she explains.
Beyond looking for proper footwear, Dr. Splichal also recommends that people with high arches focus on improving their foot mobility through myofascial release. For example, you can use Naboso’s Neuro ball to massage the bottom of your foot at the beginning or end of your day. “Releasing the feet and calves can improve not only foot mobility but also hip mobility, therefore reducing impact force stress,” she says.
So, how do you know when it’s time to swap for new kicks? Dr. Sutera recommends following the tabletop test: Put your shoes on a table at eye level and examine for signs of wear and asymmetry. Look for smoothing of the tread, holes or wearing down of the sole.
To help you find your sole mate, here are the 13 best walking shoes for people with high arches that offer just the right amount of support and cushioning.
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Vionic Women’s Zeliya Sneakers
Best Women-Specific Shoe
Dr. Sutera recommends this comfy lace-up pair for its lightweight and breathable mesh upper and well-cushioned, podiatrist-designed orthotics. These are also made with Vionic’s proprietary three-zone comfort technology featuring a stable heel, contoured arch support and forefoot cushioning. Perfect for walking around the neighborhood or commuting to the office, these shoes also come in medium and wide widths to accommodate different foot sizes and types.
What reviewers say: “They are great-looking sneakers. I have to get shoes with arch supports, so Vionic was recommended to me by my PT. I bought them in navy and plan on getting them in gray also.”
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 Running/Walking Shoes
Best Walking Shoes for High Arches and Supination
Although these Brooks shoes are designed for running, they’re a great pick for walking or even working on the job. That’s because they have DNA soft cushioning that conforms to your own stride so you get support exactly where you need it. Plus, it features GuideRails to stabilize the foot and help reduce supination, which is common among people with high arches.
What reviewers say: “My toes spread quite a bit while standing, so I can definitely appreciate the extra room and tend to buy wide-width shoes. Extremely supportive of my high arches!”
Asics Gel-Cumulus 23 Running/Walking Shoes
Best for High Arches and Supination, Runner-Up
Made for people with high arches who supinate, these Asics shoes feature FlyteFoam technology in the midsoles that provide shock absorption upon contact with the ground, reducing the impact on your arches, heels and joints. This translates to a smoother transition from footstrike to toe-off while walking. Moreover, the breathable mesh upper offers solid support in areas where you need it while allowing flexibility. To top it all off, these shoes are made with recycled materials. Healthcare workers say they’re great to wear during long shifts spent on their feet, but they also double as superb running shoes (in fact, they’re one of the best Asics running shoes to date).
What reviewers say: “These shoes are so comfortable. I am able to work all day and my feet don’t get tired. I look forward to putting them on in the morning and know I will have a good day.”
Skechers Arch Fit Sneakers
Best Shoes for High Arches and Standing All Day
Podiatrist-certified arch support? Check. Removable insoles to absorb shock? Check. Machine washable? Check. There’s lots to love about these ultra-comfortable sneakers for men and women from Skechers. Great for running errands, walking in the park or even working long shifts, these kicks are built with cushioned midsoles and have flexible rubber outsoles.
What reviewers say: “Thank goodness I have these shoes to fall back on for everyday use! I took two pairs of them with me on a week-long vacation with a lot of walking, and had no problems with my feet (other than the usual arthritis pain that nothing helps). I have purchased two more pair of Arch Fit shoes and I can’t praise this shoe enough for my needs. If you have high arched feet with falling Arches, achilles tendonitis or other foot issues, I would recommend you give arch fit a try.”
Altra Timp 3 Trail Running Shoe
Best for Trail Walks
Dr. Splichal likes Altra’s transitional shoes for people with high arches because they don’t offer as much cushioning or a heel-toe drop, which helps strengthen your feet. The Timp 3 offers equal cushioning from heel to toe, encouraging better form while you run. Still, the cushioned midsoles allow for comfortable strides, whether you’re treading on the road or trail.
What reviewers say: “I have struggled with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs for years, and these shoes are perfectly supportive. I find myself wearing them throughout the day, even after my hike/walk.”
Allbirds Wool Runners
Allbirds have become wildly popular over the past few years, and for good reason. Their super comfortable Wool Runners are made of thermoregulating Merino wool to wick away sweat and keep foul-smelling bacteria at bay. They’re also incredibly lightweight and provide arch support via a contoured SweetFoam midsole.
What reviewers say: “I love these shoes! They have great arch support and are warm and cute!”
Reebok DailyFit DMX Women’s Shoes
Best Women-Specific Shoe, Runner-Up
Although Reebok is best known for its training shoes, these slip-on sneakers are a bestseller for their comfort. They feature a cushioned sockliner for arch support and a molded heel that keeps your foot in place for better alignment and stability. We especially love the laceless design, which allows you to easily and quickly head out the door when you’ve got your hands full.
What reviewers say: “Very comfortable shoes, especially for those who work longer hours and stand most of the time.”
New Balance 847v4 Walking Shoes
Best Walking shoes for High Arches and Plantar Fasciitis
The two-foam midsole in this New Balance pair cradles your arches to help absorb shock with each step. Stability posts and heel inserts are implanted in the rear of the shoe to provide support and prevent supination, while the breathable mesh upper encourages better airflow. You’ll also appreciate that these come in standard, narrow, wide, extra wide and extra, extra wide widths so you can customize your fit. New Balance has a ton of supportive styles for a range of activities, but when it comes to New Balance walking shoes, these are one of the best pairs you can get.
What reviewers say: “I needed something for plantar fasciitis as my Nike shoes just weren’t cutting it. These things are fantastic. Usually I’m ready to take my shoes off halfway through the day, but not these. Probably helps that they come in super wide sizes, so they fit great on my huge feet.”
Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit Women’s Sneakers
Best Walking Shoes for High Arches and Bunions
With footwear technology approved by podiatrists, Orthofeet’s shoes have all the right ingredients for ultimate support, making them some of the best orthopedic shoes you can buy. As with all Orthofeet shoes, these Coral Stretch sneakers have a wide toe box to accommodate people who are prone to bunions and hammertoes. They also have orthotic insoles for arch support, which can be adjusted by adding or removing the booster. What’s more, the mild rocker provides more ankle stability and some pep in your step.
What reviewers say: “I am diabetic, and these shoes have been life changing! So comfortable, and the support is exactly what I needed. I can be on my feet for hours without pain.”
Hoka Arahi 5 Running/Walking Shoes
Best Walking shoes for High Arches and Plantar Fasciitis, Runner-Up
Designed with maximum cushioning and structured mesh at the heel, these walking shoes from Hoka will make people who stand or move all day feel like they’re stepping on clouds. In addition, the pull tabs at the heels make them easier to slip on and off, and the contoured collars help reduce pressure on your Achilles tendon. All these features, and more, have earned the pair The American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance for promoting foot health.
What reviewers say: “I work 12-hour shifts at a hospital on my feet much of the time. I’ve been dealing with plantar fasciitis and an arthritic big toe for the last couple years and have had a difficult time finding the right shoes for me that provide the right amount of cushion and toe box room. I feel like I finally have it with these, and I’ll be back for more!”
Under Armour Charged Assert 9 Running Shoes
Walkers and runners alike will love trotting around for miles in these comfy shoes from Under Armour, which have a responsive, cushioned midsole and lightweight mesh upper. But it’s not just what’s inside that counts. The durable rubber outsoles protect high-impact areas while still being flexible, making them ideal for those with high arches.
What reviewers say: “Excellent shoe with stability and comfort. No breaking in time. Put them on and ran a 10K, no problem. They are comfortable enough for working out in the gym also. Whether you’re lifting weights or on the rower, these shoes are a must!”
Vionic Men’s Ansel Sneakers
Also Consider for High Arches and Plantar Fasciitis
Looking for a pair of kicks to slightly elevate your look? Vionic’s Ansel sneaker comes in bold navy and red colors and has a suede upper for an effortlessly chic design. And they don’t skimp on comfort, either. As podiatrist-recommended shoes for high arches, the Ansel is made with a cushioned insole and a durable rubber outsole for everyday walking.
What reviewers say: “My husband has plantar fasciitis and has had a tough time walking without pain. He’s tried expensive insoles with no luck. He wore these Vionic shoes for two weeks and was able to even run a short distance with no pain. Really good shoes. He wants more!”
Reshod Pushover Walking Shoes
Reshod’s walking shoes are made of three layers of foam, each designed to provide stability and cushioning. The first layer is a soft foam that helps absorb impact at the heel, the second layer of foam is denser and provides lateral stability and the third layer provides cushioning in the forefoot. What also stands out about these is that they place your toes and heels at the same height from the ground, helping to build up the muscles in your feet so that you can become less dependent on more cushioning. Dr. Splichal likes these shoes for their rocker toe design that supports walking patterns and their transitional level of cushion to help strengthen your feet.