Are you tired of dealing with discomfort and pain caused by your high arches? Well, we've got some good news for you! In this article, we will not only discuss what it means to have high arches, but also how to identify if you have them. But that's not all – we'll also provide you with a comprehensive list of the best shoes for high arches, including running shoes and walking shoes. So, if you're ready to find the perfect pair that will provide the support and comfort you need, keep reading!
What Does it Mean to Have High Arches?
The curve underneath your foot is known as the foot arch. When we talk about high arches, we are referring to an arch that is higher than normal. The mid part of the foot is raised in high-arch foot types, and this condition is also called pes cavus. High arches are the opposite of flat feet. Having high arches can lead to various issues. A high-arched foot is typically more rigid and has restricted mobility in the ankle and hips. This means that the foot may have difficulty absorbing impact forces and transferring force. It is important to choose supportive shoes to prevent foot conditions if you have high arches. Wearing the wrong type of shoes can cause pain when walking or standing. High arches can also lead to claw toes, hammertoes, calluses, and changes in foot shape, making it challenging to find well-fitting shoes. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can worsen foot pain.
How do You Know if You Have High Arches?
One simple at-home test involves placing a piece of paper on the floor, dipping your foot in water, and then stepping directly onto the paper. Lift up your foot and compare it to a chart to determine your foot type.
Are high arches good for running?
Contrary to what you may think, high arches are not necessarily better for running. If you don't have the right support, a high arch can cause your foot to excessively roll inward with each step, putting stress on the ankle and knee.
Exercises for High Arches
There are several exercises that can help with high arches. These exercises aim to stretch the fascia on the bottom of the foot and improve strength and stability to align the ankles and knees.
Sit with your legs extended in front of you and loop a yoga band or towel around the ball of your foot. Grasp the band with both hands and slowly pull back to stretch the foot and calf.
Take some time each day to massage the muscles of your feet using a massage gun or a PT ball.
Stand straight and rock back onto your heels, then walk forward. Afterward, raise up onto your toes and walk back. Start with 1 minute and gradually work your way up to 3 rounds.
Big Toe Extensions
Try to move your toes independently to strengthen them. Stand with your feet firmly planted and pick up just your big toe. Repeat this exercise 30 times per foot.
Core Focused Strength
In addition to foot exercises, it's important to have strong hips, glutes, and core muscles for proper alignment. There are various exercises you can do to strengthen these areas.
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Best running shoes for runners with high arches
We have selected the best running shoes from your favorite brands that work well for high arches. Whether you prefer durable shoes or lightweight ones, you are sure to find the perfect pair below.
What to Look for in the Best Walking Shoes for High Arches
If you have high arches, it's important to choose the right footwear. This can alleviate pain and prevent the development of foot conditions. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for walking shoes for high arches, according to podiatrists:
- Arch support insoles: Look for shoes with arch support and cushioning to stabilize and support the foot, distribute pressure evenly, and ease foot and arch pain.
- Cushioned insoles: Select shoes with cushioned insoles or add your own supination insoles to accommodate the high arch and provide shock absorption and cushioning.
- Deep, wide toe box: Opt for shoes with a spacious toe box to accommodate hammertoes and reduce pain.
- Heel-toe drop: A slight heel-toe drop can provide additional arch support and help with comfortable walking, but avoid extremely high heel heights.
For more information on walking shoes, check out related stories about common shopping mistakes and the untapped opportunity in the athletic market.
7 Best Running Shoes for High Arches
The following running shoes are ideal for individuals with high arches and provide great arch support to prevent injuries. Keep reading to learn about exercises that can help you run stronger!
To determine whether your high arches cause your foot to roll inward or outward, you can create a video. If your foot rolls inward, you should look for shoes that offer stability. If it rolls outward, shoes with motion control are a better choice.
Hoka Clifton 9
The Hoka Clifton 9 is an excellent option for runners with high arches. It features a large midsole and a lightweight breathable upper, providing stability and support.
The snug fit of this shoe around the heel increases stability due to its structured and streamlined design.
These shoes have a 5mm drop, and the heel has a midsole that flares out like a collar. The foam extends slightly behind the shoe, creating a sizable landing zone for your foot.
HOKA claims that the EVA midsole foam used in these shoes is the most durable and lightest proprietary foam available. Whether you're running fast or long distances, this sneaker will meet your needs. (It has been one of my go-to shoes for a long time.)
The shoe is ventilated thanks to a perforated thin mesh upper, and the toe is reinforced with a denser mesh design for added structure and durability. This shoe is great for preventing supination or under pronation, also known as outward rolling.
New Balance Fresh Foam 860
The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 is specifically designed for runners who overpronate, which means their heel hits the ground first and the foot rolls inward.
The latest model of the New Balance 860 features a new midsole made from New Balance's Fresh Foam X material. This version is softer than the original Fresh Foam used in previous models.
The cushioning in the 860v13 feels dynamic and engaging underfoot, providing the same bounce and pep that many runners appreciate in the 880.
While the Fresh Foam X midsole offers a plusher feel, the shoe also includes a dual-density medial post for stability. This post is located in the medial (inside) midsole. The stiffer structure of the foam prevents uneven compression and ensures the shoe lasts longer.
With a 10mm heel drop and plush cushioning, these stability shoes are perfect for runners looking for a durable and reliable option.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
If you're seeking a solid and supportive running shoe for everyday road use, I highly recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. It works well for individuals with medium to high arches.
The Brooks Adrenaline line features a midsole made entirely of DNA LOFT, a cushioning material that provides a soft and smooth run. The shoe also incorporates EVA foam, rubber, and air for added support and a lightweight feel, perfect for high arches.
These shoes utilize Brooks' GuideRail technology, which includes two foam pieces alongside the heels to prevent inward or outward rolling. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals who tend to overpronate or roll their ankles inward.
Shock absorbers are also incorporated under the forefoot to facilitate smooth transitions during push-off. The Adrenaline GTS has a breathable mesh upper and a comfortable fit.
With its all-around support, this shoe is suitable for both long walks and runs. It provides strength and support without feeling rigid or heavy and has a 12mm heel drop. Additionally, it holds the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Approval, confirming its benefits for foot health.
- Stability shoe
- 12mm drop – suitable for those with Achilles issues
- 9.0 oz women’s, 10.2 oz men’s
- See current colors and pricing – previous models available at a lower price with the same support
Asics Gel Nimbus
The Asics Nimbus has stood the test of time for a reason. These running shoes offer all-around comfort and a close, wraparound fit.
The shoe's weight is slightly heavy at just under 11 ounces, but its comfort and support make up for it.
The multi-directional outer layer mesh of the Nimbus supports the foot and provides better control. The Asics Exoskeleton firm heel support offers exceptional stability for individuals with high arches, effectively stabilizing the ankle.
The FlyteFoam/Gel technology in these shoes absorbs shock, whether you're running long distances on roads or hard pavement. The shoes feature excellent shock absorption.
The rubber outsole is made of high abrasion rubber, suitable for road and light trail running. However, it may not provide enough traction for off-trail runs.
Overall, with a 13mm drop and moderate cushioning, the Asics Nimbus is a great neutral shoe for individuals with high arches. It offers both comfort and support. It's also recommended for individuals with wide feet.
- 8mm drop
- 8.7 oz women’s, 10.5 oz men’s
- See current model and colors – previous models available at a lower price with the same support
Read my full review of the Nimbus.
For those seeking a zero drop shoe, the Altra Provision is an excellent choice. It features the InnovArch dynamic arch feature, providing extra support for runners with high arches.
The Innovarch is a wide TPU strap that wraps from the footbed up under the arch and across the midfoot, connecting to the shoe's laces.
The Innovarch has slits that allow it to bend with the foot and conform to the arch's shape, creating a customized arch support system. It offers stability and flexibility tailored to your specific foot.
The Provision provides excellent support and stability without feeling heavy or bulky. The Innovarch is a standout feature for individuals with high arches, offering a comfortable and secure fit.
The GuideRail technology in these shoes ensures that your stride remains unrestricted. The broad toe box and midsole of the Provision provide stability, even on uneven surfaces.
- 10.1 oz. Men's / 8.3 oz. Women's
- Zero drop model
- Stability shoe
The Brooks Glycerin is known for its plush cushioning, making it incredibly comfortable. It provides pillow-soft gel support for individuals with high arches. Additionally, the shoe is lightweight and flexible.
These mid-weight sneakers are comfortable to wear and won't make your feet feel weighed down. They have a 10mm heel drop.
Version 20 of the Glycerin includes a completely redesigned sockliner, offering a plusher and softer sensation as soon as you put the shoes on.
The sneaker is highly durable, with ridged technology and transition zones in the outsole that provide flexibility without sacrificing performance over long distances. The new seamless upper offers a secure and soft fit.
The Brooks Glycerin is a great choice for individuals with high arches looking for both cushioning and support.
- Neutral, cushioned shoe
- 10mm drop
- 9.1 oz women's, 10.1 oz men's
If you have high arches, the Brooks Ghost is a must-have shoe. It provides a cushioned feel that runners have loved for years. The latest version features 100% DNA loft cushioning in the midsole, offering an even smoother ride.
The DNA loft foam provides plush support throughout the midsole and elevates the foot with a 12mm offset to prevent Achilles irritation. The BioMoGo DNA cushion lines the arch profile, creating a soft and springy feel.
You'll appreciate the responsiveness of the Ghost when running long distances, doing tempo training, or running faster. The shoe provides just the right amount of bounce to keep your hips, knees, and arches feeling good.
The Segmented Crash Pad and cushier midsole make it easy to transition from landing to toe-off. The Ghost is one of the best everyday running shoes for individuals with high arches because it effectively absorbs shock at the heel and forefoot.
The upper of the Ghost features engineered mesh with 3D Fit Print on both sides, providing a sleeker fit that cradles the foot. The material is soft and lightweight, offering a barely-there sensation.
This shoe is highly recommended for individuals with high arches.
Read my complete Brooks Ghost 15 review.
What does the heel drop mean?
I often recommend a lower heel-to-toe drop. However, individuals with ankle issues may find better support from a slightly higher heel drop. That's why many of the shoes listed here have a drop of over 10mm.
High Arch Shoes for Daily Movement
Most of the shoes mentioned above help with overpronation, which is the excessive inward roll of the foot caused by high arches.
Wearing shoes with this kind of support throughout the day is important to prevent the foot from collapsing inward while standing or walking.
Barefoot Walking for High Arches
On the other hand, there is evidence suggesting that spending time walking barefoot can also be beneficial. It helps activate all the muscles in your feet and serves as a reminder to place your feet under your hips while running, rather than reaching out and heel striking.
Supporters of barefoot walking are correct in emphasizing the need to develop stronger feet. Check out the exercises below!
Insoles for High Arches
In addition to running shoes, you may find that running insoles offer benefits. Custom-made orthotics are excellent for individuals with very high arches, ensuring a proper fit. Many of these insoles last for years.
Easy Spirit Erin Casual Sandals
If arch support is a top priority, consider these cute and cozy sandals from Easy Spirit. They feature a cushioned insole and puffy crisscross straps, combining fashion and function. The sandals also have adjustable straps for added convenience.
Dansko Lesley Cactus Nubuck
If you're not a fan of ballet flats, these espadrilles are a fun alternative. They offer support, with a removable footbed featuring memory foam cushioning and arch support. The lightweight outsole provides comfort, and the lining is treated with an odor control shield. The shoes come in vibrant color options, including blue, fuchsia, and green.
ABEO B.I.O.system Britta Neutral
When choosing shoes, opt for ones with adjustable straps or ties for a supportive fit, a comfortable lightweight but non-slip sole, and arch support. The ABEO B.I.O.system Britta Neutral shoes meet these criteria and have received the American Podiatric Medical Association's seal of acceptance. They feature memory foam cushioning, shock absorption, and a soft microsuede footbed.
Kuru Glide Sandal
True to its name, these sandals provide a gliding sensation throughout the day. They offer adjustable toe and heel straps for a customized fit, arch support, and a sheepskin-wrapped footbed for added comfort.
Most comfortable: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
For individuals with high arches, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is the most comfortable shoe. It features a foam midsole that provides excellent support and cushioning for high arches. The shoe's upper construction comfortably hugs the foot, offering a secure fit.
One reviewer describes the shoes as the perfect fit, providing the right amount of cushion and support. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 has thousands of reviews and an average customer rating of 4.5 out of five stars. It's a must-have addition to your shoe collection, with various styles available online at affordable prices.
Best shoe for long runs: Brooks Ghost 14
Women's Brooks Ghost 14
According to certified personal trainer and Your Future Fitness director Andrew Blakey, the Brooks Ghost 14 provides good support, cushioning, comfort, and style. It features cushioning technology for a smooth running experience and a breathable mesh design.
The Brooks brand is known for incorporating comfort into their running shoes. The Ghost 14 shoe, with its patented features like "BioMoGo DNA" and "DNA Loft" cushioning, ensures consistent comfort for long runs.
Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) offers a wide selection of colors in both men's and women's sizes for the Brooks Ghost 14. Additionally, DSW currently sells these running shoes at a reduced price compared to other retailers (typical retail price is $140).
Best updated shoe: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 SE
Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 SE
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus line of running shoes has long been a popular choice among athletes.
One reviewer stated, "It has always been my favorite road and speed training shoe!"
Best shoe for cushioned support: Brooks Ghost 15
Women's Brooks Ghost 15
The Ghost 15 running shoe complements the previous Ghost 14 model, providing unique benefits that make both shoes worth considering.
The Ghost 14 is a lightweight and breathable shoe that excels at pushing runners to reach their full potential. In contrast, the Ghost 15 offers a refined "3D Fit Print" upper that provides a snugger fit.
According to orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine Dr. Marc Matarazzo, the Ghost 15 claims to have good support and ample cushioning in the midsole. This newer model further enhances the high arch-friendly comfort of its predecessor with its lighter-weight "DNA Loft v2" cushioning.
Amazon offers a wide range of colors for this running shoe. Surprisingly, some styles are priced below the average retail price of Ghost 14 running shoes.
Best shoe for stability: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks stands out on our list once again with the Adrenaline GTS 21, which combines their best running shoe technologies for a balanced feel and extra arch support.
For shock absorption, the Adrenaline GTS 21 features the "DNA Loft Crash Pad," while the "BioMoGo DNA" provides a comfortable and form-fitting experience.
Brooks claims that the engineered mesh upper offers a secure and non-bulky fit, adding to the shoe's stability.
One reviewer states that the Adrenaline GTS shoes provide excellent support and comfort for long runs and hard surfaces. They plan to continue wearing them.
Best multipurpose shoe: Hoka Clifton 8
Women's Hoka Clifton 8
Alvarez recommends the Hoka Clifton 8 for its ample cushioning. The balanced support of these multipurpose shoes helps maintain a responsive toe-off for faster running.
The Clifton 8 offers stability, smoothness, and comfort whether you prioritize speed, durability, or long-distance running. These shoes provide the arch support needed to keep going.
Amazon offers various colors and designs for the Hoka Clifton 8. Prices vary between men's and women's sizes, as well as different styles.
Aerosoles Zola Wedge Sandal
With its walkable wedge, these edgy sandals were designed for women on the move. The gladiator style adds a fun twist to everyday sandals, and the flexible sole reduces friction and provides ample grip. Plus, the faux patent leather material adds a touch of elegance.
Aetrex Danika Arch Support Sneaker
Supportive sneakers are crucial for high arches. Schaeffer explains that high arches can make the foot rigid and unable to absorb shock or provide proper support. High arches are also associated with ankle issues and frequent rolling of the ankles if not supported correctly.
The Aetrex Danika Arch Support Sneaker offers a solution for a range of foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis, bunions, and high arches. These comfy mesh sneakers feature removable arch support, foam cushioning, and an odor-resistant material.
In conclusion, having high arches can lead to certain challenges when it comes to finding the right shoes for running or walking. However, with the help of proper exercises and the right pair of shoes, you can overcome these obstacles and enjoy your physical activities to the fullest. Whether you're a runner looking for the perfect pair of running shoes or someone who simply enjoys long walks, there are several options available to cater to your needs. From the comfortable New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 to the multipurpose Hoka Clifton 8, these shoes offer support, cushioning, and stability for high arches. So, don't let your arches hold you back - lace up, step out, and embrace your active lifestyle with confidence!