The Best Walking Shoes For Flat Feet, According To A Podiatrist

Get support for your flat feet or fallen arches with expert-recommended shoes like the New Balance 840 V4, Saucony Triumph 18 or Brooks Beast 20.
Top: the Brooks men's Beast 20 and New Balance 840 V4; bottom: Saucony Triumph 18 and Brooks men's Addiction 14

The best walking shoes are the ones that are, well, actually comfortable to walk in. And when you have flat feet, finding a shoe that supports your lack of arches involves looking out for a couple specific features.

Dr. Patrick McEneaney, owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, shared the types of shoes to look for and the specific options he recommends to his patients.

“Make sure that you have a good kind of shoe that’s stiff in the midsole,” he said. “With a lot of shoes, if you go to bend the middle of them, they bend really easy. These are some of the ones that have the keywords like ‘flex,’ ‘free’ and ‘memory foam.’ A lot of these shoes are just really fancy bedroom slippers, in my opinion, and they don’t give you the kind of support you need.”

If you have flat feet, the entire sole of your foot touches the floor, meaning you need all the support you can get to prevent discomfort and injury. Although McEneaney said kids with flat feet typically don’t experience pain because their feet are still flexible and malleable, complications can arise for adults who don’t wear the proper shoes for their flat feet.

“With adults, we tend to start seeing joint pain more often, a lot of tendinitis, especially with a tendon called the posterior tibial tendon, which is kind of on the inside of your arch. That tendon does a lot of the work of holding up the arch,” he said. “What happens is that after all those years of trying to hold it up, the tendon just can’t do it anymore. The tendon becomes weak and, over time, it can develop scar tissue or even tearing within the tendon itself, and that can lead to to pain and problems in that area.”

When it comes to selecting shoes for your flat feet, McEneaney emphasized the importance of paying less attention to brand name and more attention to how the shoe is constructed and how supportive it is.

“The key thing is that you don’t just buy a shoe based on the brand. It’s more important to find the right model for your foot,” he said.

Check out McEneaney’s picks for the best walking shoes for flat feet below, in both men’s and women’s sizes.

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Saucony Triumph 18
The midsole cushioning of this shoe provides flexibility, durability and springiness for comfortable running and walking. It's built with forming technology to mimic a custom-like fit so you'll feel like the shoe was made just for you (kind of like a memory foam bed). It comes in women's and men's versions and in multiple colorways, including charcoal and white, deep teal and silver, and khaki and orange. Wide sizing is available.
New Balance 940 V4
There are multiple Amazon reviews that mention how good these shoes are for flat feet, making them worthy of yours. They come in women's and men's versions and are available in several color options like marine blue, summer fog and ginger pink and black. Narrow, wide and extra-wide sizes are available.
Brooks women's Ariel 20
This shoe is designed for running and casual walking. It's made of engineered mesh and a cushioned midsole to keep your feet comfortable and stable. It comes in women's sizes 6.5 to 13.
Brooks men's Addiction 14
Ideal for runners and walkers, this Brooks shoe has soft cushioning to reduce impact on your joints. It also has a generous fit, with space for your flat feet to breathe and stretch for comfort. This comes in narrow, wide and extra-wide sizes.
Brooks men's Beast 20
This shoe has extra space in the forefoot if you prefer a bit more wiggle room. The cushioning is super soft but durable for long-time wear. It comes in black and gray, blue and gray, and black and red. Wide and extra-wide options are available.
New Balance 840 V4
Available in both men's and women's sizes, this shoe has a mesh synthetic upper for maximum breathability and a blown rubber outsole for traction while running. Narrow, wide and extra-wide options are available.
New Balance kids 990 V5
If you're looking for a kids' shoe for flat feet, look no further. This comes in sizes for infants, toddlers, little kids (ages 4-8) and big kids (ages 8-12). It's a sized-down version of the classic silhouette of the New Balance 990 V5. The strong rubber outsole and cushioned midsole makes it a great shoe for playtime, causal walking and sports. Wide and extra-wide sizes are available and there are several colors to choose from, including black, burgundy, gray and white.

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