Best Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet
There are few better ways to get great exercise than going for a hike on a summer’s day.
If you suffer from flat feet, though, it doesn’t take much to turn a hike from a nature adventure to a painful, drawn-out, wish-it-would-end ordeal.
Making just one small change can prevent your hikes from going bad ever again! Your shoes.
The best hiking shoes for flat feet are a little different from the average pair of hiking boots, so let’s check out some great options that will make your trek feel like you’re walking on clouds.
Here are my picks for the best hiking shoes for flat feet:
- Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots.
- Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX W Trail Running Shoes.
- Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boot.
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boot.
- Danner Men’s Mountain 600 4.5″ Hiking Boot.
What Are Flat Feet?
First of all, it’s essential that you know what foot type you are. Here at MoccassinGuru, we’ve put together a very detailed guide on foot type which you can check out here. Unfortunately, large numbers of people don’t know their foot type. So make sure that you are someone in the know rather than oblivious.
So, what in reality is flat feet?
Essentially flat feet is when a person doesn’t have an arch in their feet. You can typically identify it by sight or by doing the wet test. If you have a slight arch or no arch, then it means that you have flat feet.
Why is this arch necessary?
You’ve probably heard the phrase a spring in your step at some point in your life. Well, when it comes to your feet, the arch is literally a spring. If you think about it, your feet carry your entire body weight. And your arch acts as a spring to help absorb the shock and to distribute the impact. The arch in your feet determines the way you walk, run, bike, climb or hike.
One of the consequences of flat feet is pronation both over and under pronation are possible. Overpronation or pronation as it is more commonly known, causes the feet to roll inward. Underpronation or supination causes the foot to roll outwards.
Severe flat feet can cause complications. One very common and painful side effect is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. However, wearing the right types of shoe with the right kind of support reduces the risk of you developing these types of painful feet problems. So don’t take your feet for granted, find out what foot type you are and buy shoes that give you the support that you need.
Types Of Feet
Depending on the structure of your feet, flat feet can impact and cause your feet to pronate. However, there are 3 types of pronation and its worth knowing them all.
A neutral position occurs when the ankle does not turn more than 15 per cent inward with each step. There is always a bit of flex in the way your foot pronates when you walk but less than 15 degrees, either way, is considered neutral. And is considered to be the correct position to ensure that the bodyweight gets distributed evenly.
A pronators feet roll inwards when they walk. The weight is not uniformly distributed, and this causes excess stress on the ankle. This causes the ankle to bend inward as you walk. The excess one side weight causes more wear toward the inner ball area. Of the 3 foot types pronation is most commonly connected to flat feet.
Under Pronation (Supination)
Supination is the opposite of pronation. The foot does not roll inward enough with each step. When you walk and run, your weight skews across the outer heel and outer ball of the foot. This causes more wear and tear to the shoe across the outside.
So here’s a neat trick to let you find out what type of feet you have. Get one of your old pairs of shoes or trainers. One that you have worn in and is well used and take a look at the sole. Is one side considerable more worn out than the other? For example, can you see significant wear on the outside of your shoe at the heel or near the ball? If the answer yes then you’re likely a supinator. If the wear and tear are on the inside, then you are likely a pronator. If there aren’t areas that are more drastically worn out than others, then in all likelihood you have a neutral gait.
How Flat Feet Affect Hiking
If you love hiking, you’ll also understand how the condition of your feet can make or break your hike.
Hiking is heavier on the feet than just walking. You’re climbing over rocks, walking on uneven ground, and have a higher risk of slipping or turning an ankle.
Common side-effects of hiking with flat feet include:
- Foot pain and discomfort.
- Pain in knees, hips, and back.
- Increased risk of injury.
- Lower endurance.
- Inflammation and swelling of the feet.
- Misery and a decline in enjoyment for hiking.
Exercises To Help Hikers With Flat Feet
If you’re determined to not let your flat feet ruin your love of a good hike, some exercises can strengthen your feet, improve your flexibility, and, over time, slightly reverse the collapsed arch.
Be aware that these aren’t intended to fix flat-footedness! But, doing them every day or every other day will build strength, flexibility and even out weight distribution.
Your overpronated feet could be the result of very tight calf muscles.
Although stretching won’t necessarily fix your collapsed arches, it will alleviate some pain and help your foot to get into a more natural and comfortable position.
- While standing, place your hands against a wall or on the back of a chair.
- Extend one leg behind you and keep your heels pushed down.
- Lean forward and push against the wall or chair, keeping your heels on the floor.
- When you feel the stretch in the calf, hold for 30 seconds.
Calf Raises/Stair Raises
Calf raises and stair raises are variations of the same exercise. They’re designed to strengthen the calf muscle, which will help stabilize the leg and stretch those arches at the same time.
- Stand upright, and raise your heels off the floor as high as possible.
- At the top of the movement, hold for 5 seconds before returning back to the starting position.
- When this stops being challenging, stand on the edge of a step or box to get a deeper downward movement.
- Stair raises have one foot on the step for extra stability while raising the other.
Or, as I like to call it, Toga. This will introduce some extra flexibility to your feet and keep your arches stretched out and relaxed.
- With your feet flat on the floor, try to lift only your big toe off the ground.
- Hold it for a few seconds and then lower it back down.
- Next, lift your other toes while keeping your big toe flat.
- Maintain this position for 5 seconds and then return to the flat position.
- Repeat this four to five times for each foot.
What Does the Ideal Hiking Shoe Look Like?
Generally, hiking boots are made to be stable and protective. Flat-footed hikers will need to look a little further, though.
When shopping for boots, look for:
- Arch and heel support.
- Rigidity & ankle support.
- Correct width.
Comfort and Cushioning
Your feet will be under a lot of additional stress when hiking compared to usual daily activities. You will need a boot that is comfortable to ensure that your feet are able to deal with the additional stresses that come with hiking. Make sure you pick a shoe that provides comfort in both the toe and heel regions. Without a decently cushioned boot, you may as well be walking directly on the rocks. Your shoe should have a shock-absorbing insole, made from memory foam, EVA foam or something similar.
Arch and Heel Support
These are essential for flat-footed hikers. The arch support will keep your foot in the right position and take the strain off of your knees, hips and lower back. The heel support will keep your foot from moving around and compromising the angle of your foot.
Rigidity and Ankle Support
Because the body’s weight distribution is a little different with flat feet, it can be easier than usual to twist an ankle. You’ll want to be wearing a boot that has a sturdy construction and a strong ankle support to reduce the chances of injuring yourself.
Ideally, the ankle shaft should cover the ankle, stabilizing it and holding it in place. Construction from a hardy, non-bendable material is best. A quality lace-up system is also essential to provide extra hold at your preferred level of tightness.
Correct Width and Fit
If your shoes are too tight, you’re going to feel more and more discomfort as your hike goes on. Flat feet tend to be wide feet, and shoes made for them usually cater for this. A good fit is essential when selecting a hiking shoe. If you pick a shoe that’s too tight, you will create more stress for your feet than they need. A loose shoe on the other will cause friction, and with all that movement and chaffing, you are likely to blister up. Now no-one wants that whilst they are hiking so make sure to measure your foot width correctly before buying!
Hiking boots take more of a beating than everyday shoes. If they’re made with inferior materials, they’re not going to last long at all. Choose something made from a high-quality, durable material if you want a long-lasting shoe.
I recommend leather, as it’s one of the toughest materials out there. Suede shoes are not uncommon but may be more easily scuffed. Many shoes have sections of mesh on them for breathability, which is usually good quality provided it’s tight and doesn’t have big enough gaps to snag on anything.
The Best Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet
Flat-footed hikers, here are my top five choices for staying comfortable and pain-free when getting off the beaten track.
Salomon is a well-known brand for sports shoes, and these hiking boots are both protective and stylish. Perfect for a comfy hike!
They’re waterproof, lightweight and provide a cushioned EnergyCell EVA foam midsole for shock absorption and ease of movement.
You’ll be scaling the rocks like a pro with their unique anti-slip, dual-rubber soles that are textured for even more safety.
Also, they have high ankle shafts, which reduce the chance of turning an ankle on rough terrain. This combines well with the unique SensiFit foothold with a molded Ortholite sock liner for a comfortable, custom-feeling tight fit, adding even more stability.
Sizing runs from a 5 to a 12, but only a few sizes have a wide option.
- Superior grip.
- Shock-absorbing midsole.
- High ankle shaft.
- 2-year warranty.
- Not all sizes have a wide option.
This is the women’s version of the boot above—high-quality, great-looking and offering everything a flat-footer needs for a great hiking experience.
Once you’ve chosen your design, you can have a super comfy hike with a feature-packed shoe.
Salomon has made use of its fantastic grip technology, with two types of rubber on the sole providing a textured surface to reduce slipping. It’s also incorporated descent control technology to improve movement and reduce strain on the feet on those tricky down hills.
The addition of a shock-absorbing sole and a solid ankle protection make this solid and protective footwear out in the wild terrain.
These women’s hiking shoes range from size 5 to 12, with only a few of those having a wide option.
- Dual-rubber sole for better grip.
- Descent control technology.
- 2-year limited warranty.
- Wide options not available in all sizes.
These hiking boots are sleek and smart while being waterproof, lightweight and durable—they’re great for long stints in the great outdoors.
They’re made from full-grain leather for superb durability, and the mesh tongue allows the feet to get a bit of fresh air.
Their Techlite cushioning makes for soft walking while having a high energy return, which means they’ll put a spring in your step! The bounciness of the cushion should be long-lasting, too.
They’ll also keep you safe on rocky ground with their multi-terrain anti-slip traction system. Additionally, an Omni-Grip dual-zone winter tread pattern allows for easy movement on ice and snow, making it even safer on a drier surface.
This footwear covers sizes from 5 to 12 with wide options available, making them suitable for flat feet wearers.
- Leather construction.
- Techlite midsole with superior cushioning.
- Omni-grip multi-terrain traction system.
- The mesh tongue isn’t waterproof.
Merrill’s unique air cushion in the heel is shock-absorbing and adds an extra element of stability.
The molded nylon arch shank and rubber toe cap keep the foot stable and still, reducing risk of injury.
Your foot’s stability will be further enhanced by the removable contoured insole, with superior heel and arch structure.
They’re made from suede leather and mesh, so they’re quite a bit more breathable than others, although their durability is slightly less.
They’re available in sizes 7 to 15, regular or wide.
- Shock-absorbing air-cushioned insole.
- Removable insole.
- Very stable design.
- Breathable and flexible.
- Slightly less durable due to suede leather design.
This hiking shoe is chunky and solid, providing great protection and stability for the ankles and arches.
With a variety of options on offer, some designs are constructed from full-grain leather, while others are made from suede. Both options are waterproof in moderate amounts of water, being enhanced with Danner’s Dry protection.
They’re super comfy on the feet, with an open-cell Ortholite footbed and a specially designed midsole for max rebound and comfort. Also, the TPU heel frame helps keep the foot tightly in place with no unnecessary movement, adding to the protection of your foot and ankle.
You can find them in sizes from 7 to 15, with most including a wide option.
- Ortholite footbed.
- Rebounding midsole.
- Megagrip technology.
- TPU heel frame.
- Some customers report the seams of the boots not being very durable.
Supercharge your hiking and your enjoyment for the outdoors by choosing a pair of the best hiking shoes for flat feet.
No more pain, discomfort, and longing for the hike to be over!
They’re made from leather and mesh, have superior ankle support, and a unique, highly effective dual-rubber design on the sole for better grip.
I’m so confident in the quality of these shoes that I doubt you’ll even need the 2-year warranty they offer!