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If you have flat feet, you already know that the wrong pair of shoes can quickly lead to noticeable discomfort. The most comfortable sandals for flat feet should stay supportive all day, letting you breeze through the warmer months without worrying about ankle pain, arch discomfort or foot fatigue.
“As much as we love summer sandals, there are so many types and features that it’s best to choose sandals by foot type as to minimize your chances of experiencing foot pain,” says New York-based podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal. This is true for any foot type; Dr. Splichal points out that those with high arches should look for extra cushioning, while those with flat feet may need built-in arch supports and “a stiffer, more structured sandal,” she says.
Looking for the best sandals for flat feet? This can be extra complicated because unstructured shoes are more likely to cause discomfort. “The more open the sandal, the less support there will be, especially in the arch, where flat-footed people tend to need it the most,” says fellow New York-based podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera. That doesn’t mean you need to avoid this shoe style altogether, though. Orthopedic sandals for flat feet should account for your specific foot shape to give you a summery shoe that’s stable enough to function as a daily walking sandal.
How to know if you have flat feet
Not sure if you have flat feet? Check your soles while standing, and look for the absence of a curve in the arch of your foot. “The structure of flat feet is such that the arch tends to flatten too much or overpronate,” Dr. Sutera says. “It can be diagnosed by a doctor, but is usually pretty easy to spot.”
In severe cases, surgical correction is possible. But, chances are you won’t need it. “Most people function just fine,” Dr. Sutera says. Flat feet can be temporarily corrected with arch supports, orthotics and supportive shoes. By providing support for your arch, these devices and shoes “correct” your feet while you wear them. Along with arch-strengthening exercises (which Dr. Sutera cautions should only be done with the guidance of an experienced physical therapist), they’re the easiest way to keep flat feet stable and pain-free.
What to look for in the best sandals for flat feet
- Structured styles: The daintier the shoe, the less stability it provides for flat feet. “Wearing shoes with more structure and support, especially for people with flat feet, is not only more comfortable but also healthier overall,” Dr. Sutera says. Try to stick to styles that feature straps to help hold your feet in place, similar to hiking sandals or water shoes. Even better if they’re adjustable; these can help your sandals fit better and stay on more securely.
- Thick insoles and outer soles: Thick, cushioned soles are essential for providing adequate support. This is especially true if you have plantar fasciitis, a common overuse injury that often accompanies flat feet and causes inflammation and pain. “People who suffer from plantar fasciitis should avoid styles with thin, flat insoles and outer soles,” Dr. Sutera says.
- Deep heel cups: Not only does this feature help plant your foot more securely in your shoe, it’s also another factor to consider when searching for the best sandals for plantar fasciitis (which tends to be most painful close to the heel). “Deep heel cups can be used as a way to create support for a foot with excess mobility,” Dr. Splichal says. “The heel cup hugs the heel bone, reducing excess motion in the rearfoot and ankle.”
- Enhanced arch support: Enhanced arch support is important for flat feet overall, but especially if they’re accompanied by plantar fasciitis or bunions. Bunions occur when your arch drops, or pronates, causing increased pressure on your foot’s inner area and making the muscles on the top of your foot overcompensate. To avoid this, make sure you’re choosing a style with adequate arch support. “Arch support sandals for flat feet can improve comfort and bring support to a hypermobile, flat or over-pronated foot,” Dr. Splichal says.
- Durability: Durable materials are always a good idea whether you have flat feet or not, but they’re especially important when you need a sturdy sandal to accommodate your foot shape. “Go for high-quality materials that are breathable and stretch naturally with the foot,” Dr. Splichal says. “Avoid materials that may cause blisters or do not stretch.”
- Pronation control: Sandals with inbuilt pronation control can help reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis and bunions, as well as provide more comfort overall. “Pronation is typically controlled in sandals through arch support, a deep heel seat and heel-toe drop,” Dr. Splichal says. Keep an eye out for all those features to get the most stable sandal. “This is beneficial for those with flat feet or hypermobile feet,” she says.
Ahead, shop the 12 best sandals for flat feet and plantar fasciitis, as well as the best sandals for flat feet and bunions. All picks are recommended by our experts or backed by customer reviews.
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Top Sandals for Flat Feet
- Aetrex Women’s Jillian Braided Quarter Strap Sandals
- Cushionaire Women’s Feather Recovery Slide Sandals
- Orthofeet Women’s Malibu Sandals
- Birkenstock Women’s Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandals
- Vionic Women’s Luelle Sandals
- Rockport Men’s Springboard Rocklake Sandals
- Teva Women’s Flatform Universal Sandals
- Adidas Adilette Sandals
- Xero Shoes Naboso Trail Sandals
- Sorel Women’s Kinetic Sandals
- Dansko Reece Sandals
- Vionic Tide II Post Toe Sandals
Aetrex Women’s Jillian Braided Quarter Strap Sandals
- Sizes: 5-11
- Colors: Pewter
Minimal braided straps provide a surprising amount of coverage on these popular Aetrex sandals for flat feet. Dr. Splichal recommends them for their pronation-supporting heel toe drop, arch support, adjustable straps and durable design. They’re also specifically made for anyone with plantar fasciitis, arch pain, heel pain and bunions. You’ll find plenty of podiatrist-backed features here, including cork midsoles and memory foam footbeds. As a bonus, they come in a pretty Pewter colorway that will add a touch of shine to outfits. “These sandals are one of the few types of sandals I can wear comfortably that give enough support, even though I have plantar fasciitis,” says one reviewer.
Cushionaire Women’s Feather Recovery Slide Sandals
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: 19 hues, including Blush, Green and Tangerine
This best-selling style from Amazon comes in every color you could possibly want, and feels like a dream on flat feet. Most slides offer little in the way of support, but this Cushionaire pair fixes that problem with a molded cushion footbed and deep heel cups that keep your feet stable and supported. Chunky non-slip soles make these easy to wear around the house or while running errands. And, these are also affordable price, so you can grab a pair for every purpose in every color. “I can practically bounce in these slippers, and it has been so great for my plantar fasciitis, especially since my apartment has hardwood floors,” says one reviewer. “They’re also soft from the bottom up, making them really quiet on the floor. I ended up getting two more!”
Orthofeet Women’s Malibu Sandals
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: Brown, Pewter, Bone, Black
A few features of this outdoor sandal Dr. Splichal loves: Two-way straps, adjustable straps, a noticeable heel-toe drop, cushioning and built-in arch support. Everyone who’s tried them seems to agree. “I have had surgeries on my feet, my feet are flat, and now I am having plantar fasciitis issues,” says one reviewer. “OrthoFeet sandals have been a savior. I purchased one pair of sandals, wore them a few days and was so happy with the comfort of them that I purchased another pair.” The cushiony soles are designed with multiple layers for comfort whether you have flat feet, bunions or plantar fasciitis. The stretchy straps wrap around your ankles and toes, making these ideal for walking around in all day.
Birkenstock Women’s Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandals
- Sizes: 4-12
- Colors/Finishes: White Leather, Antique Cognac Oiled Leather, Black Oiled Leather
Birkenstocks are a forever sandal staple for all foot types, but podiatrists particularly love them as a supportive sandal for flat feet. “Cork is a great material for absorbing impact forces,” Dr. Splichal says. The oversized buckles on these Arizona slides add a touch of detail to a familiar silhouette. The sturdy straps enclose your foot in oiled nubuck leather, and the springy footbeds let you walk for hours. Reviewers recommend adjusting the straps to the tightest buckle setting for extra stability.
Vionic Women’s Luelle Sandals
- Available sizes: 5-12
- Available colors: Cream, Black, Dark Blue
Both Dr. Sutera and Dr. Splichal recommend Vionic’s sandals, which are specially designed for foot conditions like flat feet, plantar fasciitis and overpronation. The brand’s three-zone comfort technology includes a deep-seated heel cups, arch support and cushioning. Dr. Sutera particularly loves the Luelle style, which features chunky criss-cross straps in contrasting finishes. “It has lots of straps that go to your arch, which secures your foot and arch,” she says. Thick cork soles help support your alignment from the ground-up for the most comfortable fit.
Rockport Men’s Springboard Rocklake Sandals
- Sizes: 7-14
- Colors: Brown
If you need the best hiking sandals or pair for other outdoor activities, this men’s style from Rockport is a popular pick. Grippy outsoles provide plenty of traction, while a breathable lining and moisture-repelling leather make these easy to take on long treks. To keep flat feet comfortable, they include extra cushioning, impact absorption and adjustable straps. A durable design also means they’ll hold up for years, with plenty of five-star reviews to back them up. “They are simply the most comfortable pair of sandals I’ve ever owned,” writes one shopper.
Teva Women’s Flatform Universal Sandals
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: Over a dozen colorways, including Black, Bright White and Champagne
With a ‘90s-inspired chunky platform and supportive straps, these Teva sandals give you a little heel and tons of comfort. The straps are cut so they curve around your foot snugly, and you can adjust them for a tighter fit. An EVA footbed and thick soles add stability and traction, and you can choose from 13 fun colorways. Amazon reviewers are obsessed and have bestowed thousands of five-star reviews accordingly. “From the second I put them on, I was in love,” says one shopper. “It literally feels like you’re walking on clouds. I have made everyone I know try them on.”
Adidas Adilette Sandals
- Sizes: 5-14
- Colors: Five colorways, including Core Black/White/Core Black and Core Black/Iridescent/White
These unisex sandals from Adidas get rave reviews for their lightweight design and adjustable, wraparound straps. If you’re headed to the pool or beach, they’ll give you considerably more stability than slides while still drying off quickly. Grippy soles and a contoured footbed mold supportively to flat feet and make it feel like you’re walking on clouds. These are also easy to wear with a range of outfits, whether you’re slipping into a summer dress or sweatpants. “Great alternative to normal slides, as this sandal won’t slip off your feet,” says one reviewer. “Quite comfortable and ultra lightweight.”
Xero Shoes Naboso Trail Sandals
- Sizes: 6-15
- Colors: Black
Dr. Splichal created the insole technology of these men’s Xero sandals, which uses a material specially designed to improve posture and enhance movement. “It’s an innovative footbed that massages tired feet and strengthens the small muscles that support the arch,” she says. The sole may look thin, but it’s composed of three layers with grippy soles and a surprising amount of impact absorption and protection. The soles were designed to be more flexible for natural movement that still prevents flat feet from getting inflamed. “I love the feel of them, and there is nothing on the market that even comes close,” writes one reviewer.
Sorel Women’s Kinetic Sandals
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: 12 colorways, including Sea Salt, Black; Chalk, Eraser Pink; and Dove, Yellow
Contrasting colors and a scalloped sole make this wedge sandal from Sorel a fun style to see you through the rest of summer. Despite the extra height, it still manages to be supportive on flat feet including features like soft adjustable straps with hook-and-loop closures. An EVA foam footbed provides all the arch support you need. These are designed to be worn for daily walks and cushion your feet from any impact. “I had ankle surgery three months ago and love this sandal,” says one reviewer. “It’s very comfortable and stylish.”
Dansko Reece Sandals
- Sizes: 4.5-12.5
- Colors/finishes: 10 options, including Black, Stone, Cactus and Leopard Suede
Dr. Splichal recommends this Dansko sandal for flat feet as it features a heel-toe drop to compensate for fallen arches and stiffer materials that provide support while still being comfortable to move in. “The rocker design improves walking efficiency,” she says. Medium-coverage straps give the style a casual finish that you can wear everywhere. (It also comes in a range of fun colors and patterns, from neutrals to pearlized silver.) Those with flat feet will appreciate the molded memory foam footbed, impact-absorbing cork midsole and stable rubber outsole.
Vionic Tide II Post Toe Sandals
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: 22 options, including Palm Lime, Amethyst, Apricot and Black
Typically, flip-flops aren’t the best idea if you have flat feet. Vionic takes care of all the usual issues with this best-selling smart redesign, which features a molded footbed designed to hug and curve to your arches. Dr. Sutera recommends this style if you want beach-friendly flip-flops that won’t cause flareups. The straps are also cut a little thicker to keep your foot in place, and the foam lining ensures a close, comfortable fit. “I literally live in these sandals,” says one reviewer. “I’ve had about five pairs and each has lasted for years.”
Meet the Author
Sarah Y. Wu is a Berlin-based copy director, writer and DEI consultant. Currently, she’s the contributing content director at Milk Makeup and copy writes for lifestyle brands behind the scenes. Her bylines have appeared in outlets including Forbes, Glamour, WWD and Teen Vogue. When she’s not at her laptop, she’s out exploring Berlin in sneakers. Connect with her on Instagram @say.wu.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Emily Splichal is a New York-based podiatrist, human movement specialist and global leader in barefoot science and rehabilitation. Originally trained as a surgeon through Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Vernon Hospital, Dr. Splichal shifted her practice in 2017 to focus on functional and regenerative medicine. She is known for her focus on movement dysfunction and neuromuscular control during gait. Her Functional Foot Programming is built around evidence-based principles in fascial fitness, foot to core sequencing and barefoot stimulation.
Dr. Jacqueline Sutera is a board-certified podiatrist and practices in New York and northern New Jersey. She is a member of Vionic’s Innovation Lab and has a special interest in women’s health and foot care. She practices “whole body podiatry” and believes in a holistic approach to foot care, guiding patients to understand how podiatric issues can also relate to their overall health. She’s appeared in many national news outlets discussing and writing about foot care.