I have flat feet. Seriously flat. When I was a kid, I had to go to a special shoe store called (I’m not kidding) the “Junior Bootery” to be fitted for ugly practical shoes with “cookie pads” (orthotics). I hated them and wanted glamorous “jelly shoes” or slip ons.
So, as I got older I abused my poor little flat feet by jamming them into uncomfortable shoes, high-heels, platforms, you name it. The result was terrible leg aches all down my shins.
To this day, I’m a bit knock-kneed, my “cubby feet” (as Sam refers to them) will never be glamorous or cute. They’re still very flat with almost no arch at all. So, when it comes to running I never thought I could do it.
I figured running would make my legs ache. Typically, I roll my feet inward (referred to as overpronation) when I run. I knew if I was going to start running I would need to find the best running shoes for flat feet so I didn’t end up injuring myself or damaging my joints.
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Overpronation is pretty common among runners with flat feet. Pronation refers to your foot strike. When we walk we don’t slap our enter foot down evenly (like a duck). We either roll our foot slightly inward or outward (referred to as supination).
Runner’s World has a great article with videos to tell if your overpronate, underpronate (supinate) or if you have a normal foot strike. They also recommend several exercises you can do to prevent injury, particularly during over pronation. The biggest way to combat injury for overpronators is to find the best running shoe option (or orthotics–aka the dreaded cookie pads).
I’m sure to stretch before and after each run, especially my calves. Pre-running I had a tendency to trip a lot and roll my ankles, but since I started running regularly this hardly happens at all. Running has built a lot of muscle in my legs and helped me become stronger, as well as improved my gate even while walking. My shoes wear more evenly now (the heel used to wear through fast).
But yes, my feet are still very flat. Running seems to help, but finding the best running shoe has made all the difference.
The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
I’m not a shoe expert, nor am I a podiatrist or a running expert. All I can tell you is what works for me. If you’re trying to find a great running shoe, I suggest going to a running store at least once in your life to be fitted properly for shoes. It will tell you exactly what you need to look for in a supportive shoe.
Several years ago Sam did some modeling for an ad campaign for Newton Shoes. Prior to the campaign, he was a huge fan of minimalist running shoes that mimic barefoot running. After trying out Newton shoes he was hooked. Not only were their shoes supportive, yet non-obtrusive, but they were super lightweight. They’re engineered to promote even footstrike with something called Action/Reaction Technology and for lugs under the ball of your foot. Plus, their shoes are vegan, so what’s not to love.
Now, a word about Sam’s feet and running style. Sam doesn’t have flat feet. He actually, for a runner has really nice feet with high, perfect arches. He’s also logged some serious mileage and has a few marathons and quite a few half marathons under his belt.
In other words, he’s a totally different runner than I am. I log about 10 miles per week and I’ve completed a few 10Ks by the skin of my teeth. My preferred race is a 5K and I’m mainly a street or treadmill runner (although in cold, icy Wisconsin that means almost trail running for most of the year).
So, I didn’t think Newtons would be for me. When I started running I had an old pair of Adidas Cross Trainers I dug out of the back of the closet. They were heavy and kind of worn down. I pretty much did everything you aren’t supposed to do.
After the running endeavor stuck for a while, I decided to go to a running store and try on a few pairs of shoes. I was told I needed something to help keep my footstrike even. I was also told that I needed a supportive shoes that was made for my particular foot situation. Still, I wasn’t sold on anything I found at the store, so I came home and checked out the Newton website.
Now, I’ll admit the first pair of Newtons I bought, I chose because of the color (blue). I figured that any shoe made for running would be better than what I was currently using. So I bought the Terra Momentum, which was a lightweight trail running shoe.
When I got my new shoes, I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. They were SO light. They felt like I was running in nothing, yet, they felt cushiony. I felt like I was able to run faster and easier. My legs didn’t ache at all. My posture improved. They were seriously the greatest shoes I’d ever owned (for athletic shoes. I still have a spot in my heart for jelly shoes).
Newton BOCO AT 3 & KISMET 3
I actually purchased the Terra Momentum twice on eBay because they were discontinued and I was devastated. I was convinced I’d never find another pair as great as those shoes (even the same brand). Eventually the eBay market slowed and I realized I was going to have to bite the bullet and try a different pair.
I went through the Newton site and determined that the KISMET was the best shoe for my particular foot and running situation. Incidentally, as a former New Yorker I also fell in love with the AHA NYC 16 shoe but purchased them as a sneaker to wear for fun–something I never thought I would do with a sneaker besides converse.
Meanwhile, I convinced my mom to also try Newton. She has the same feet (with the same issues) that I have. Actually, my grandmother also had the same feet, so I know how my feet are going to look when I’m 80 (eek). My mom has had a few surgeries to remove bunions which tend to happen on those of us with flat feet. She’s also had knee surgery. She used to run when she was younger, but gave it up after the surgeries. However, she walks and stays very active. Her feet and legs often hurt and bother her.
Her experience with the KISMET shoe was astounding. She called me to tell me how she couldn’t believe how well these shoes hold up and how much better her walks felt when she wore them. She is in love with them and has recommended them to everyone in my family.
Now, to be honest, Newton isn’t the cheapest shoe option out there. You’ll probably find Nike or Adidas on sale for less. But even my mom, who’s notoriously frugal says they were worth every penny. Starting at $129, they’ve outlasted many other shoes I’ve had (although you should replace your shoes about every six months).
Because of the icy roads here, one aspect I liked about the Terra Momentum was that it worked on all different terrain. I was looking for a Newton all terrain option, and I’m so excited that I just got the BOCO AT 3!
This is a seriously cute shoe (in black! Newton, you speak to my heart!) and it’s so comfortable. Best of all, the profile is very similar to my beloved Terras. I can’t wait to try these outdoors. I’ve been breaking them in on my treadmill first, since the weather’s been very cold this month.
So, if you’re looking for a great running shoe, look no further than Newton! As someone who’s struggled with finding the best running shoes for flat feet, I highly recommend them. Also, I just want to mention that although, we sometimes include affiliate links for products we love, we aren’t an affiliate for Newton shoes. I just really love their product and company.
What are your favorite running shoes? Have you ever tried Newton?