Best Sandals for Flat Feet to Prevent Symptoms Reviewed
Flat feet affect about one-third of the world’s population and can be caused by a variety of reasons, including hereditary genetic properties as well as injury, illness, prolonged stress on the foot, obesity, and diabetes. Women can develop flat feet during pregnancy, due to the increased elastin in their bodies. Children and adolescents are especially prone to having arches which are underdeveloped or appear to be flat. While in most cases the feet will form regular or high arches, in some cases flat feet will remain throughout adulthood.
Overall, the symptoms of flat feet are not necessarily bound to happen, as the individual’s musculoskeletal structure may be strong enough to adjust body alignment so as not to compromise any body part. However, more often than not, people with flat feet will overpronate, leading to added stress to the inner part of the foot and heel, a misalignment in the ankles, knees, and hips, and may experience pain and swelling in the foot and lower legs. Although flat feet cannot be cured, the right choice of footwear can reduce these symptoms.
Shoes for flat feet will have a strong arch support that prevents overpronation and helps align the ankles with the knees and hips, preventing any pain in these body parts. In addition, they will have good shock absorbing qualities, as people with flat arches may tend to put more stress on their heel, or on the inner area of their foot. Furthermore, many individuals with flat feet will find that wider shoes are more comfortable than those made for narrow feet.
When choosing summer footwear, it is important to look for these properties in your next pair of sandals. Summer footwear is often made to be flimsy, lightweight, and will usually not provide much or any orthotic support. Our list of the ten best sandals for flat feet will give you some much-needed options of comfortable, supportive footwear that you can wear in the heat without having to suffer pain after spending a full day of walking on your feet.
10 Best Sandals for Flat Feet to Prevent Symptoms
1. ECCO Yucatan
These sandals have a triple hook and loop closure system which is excellent because they will allow you to tighten or loosen them just as you find it most comfortable. You will especially like the adjustable closure in the front as it can be readjusted during the day in case you experience any swelling due to heat or long periods of walking.
The midsole of these shoes features direct-injected polyurethane that provides long-lasting cushioning and support, while the footbed is covered in a lightweight EVA footbed covered in soft microfibre. The RECEPTOR technology outsole is designed so as to maximize traction, give you a boost in energy during the push-off phase, as well as a 20-degree heel that promotes a landing that will put less shock on your feet.
Cost and Value
As all ECCO shoes, these sandals will cost you more than any regular pair of footwear. However, for the price you pay, you will be receiving a quality pair of sandals that will not only last you long, but they will provide you with the plenty of arch support and encourage a natural gait cycle so that you do not put unnecessary stress on your joints and can avoid experiencing any pain in the feet, ankles, knees, and back.
- Nubuck leather upper with hook and loop closures
- Three point adjustable closure
- Neoprene lining for soft comfort
- Medium arch support
- Dual-density Aglon-treated covered CMEVA footbed for odor-free wear
- Some users find the front too narrow for wide feet
- Complicated sizing system
2. OluKai Ohana
The footbed of these flip-flops is made out of anatomically compressed EVA foam midsole combined with a soft ICEVA drop-in footbed that provides not just cushioning, but also excellent medial and lateral arch support to reduce pain and fatigue from long days of standing and walking, promoting natural shock absorption in the feet. The toe box is roomy for better balance and less stress on the back part of the foot, while the heel is cupped so that lateral movement is minimized and the body is properly aligned.
Premium Materials Used in Construction
Not only are these shoes 100% vegan, but the use the highest quality synthetic materials which provide you with breathability, durability and quick drying water friendly properties. In addition, the outsole is made out of non-marking rubber that has razor siped edges so that you have a solid grip even on wet surfaces.
Cost and Value
Although expensive compared to some footwear, these flip-flops are well worth the investment if you are looking for a high-quality pair of shoes that will allow you to feel as if you were walking in wet sand. They will perfectly mold to your foot, giving you plenty of support, cushioning and shock absorption, exactly where you need them.
- Roomy toe box for better balance
- Anatomical arch support and heel cup
- Non-marking rubber soles
- Breathable and quick to dry
- 100% vegan friendly
- Won’t last very long with heavy use
- Straps may be too loose for narrow feet
3. Birkenstock Gizeh
These sandals by Birkenstock have an anatomical footbed that is lined from soft suede and will perfectly mold to your feet. Your arches will get plenty of support, while the toe bar helps to ensure a more natural motion when walking. The heel cups your foot, improving the distribution of weight in a natural manner. The outsole is made out of EVA foam which gives these shoes shock absorbing qualities so you can wear them throughout the day and for long walks without suffering any pain or discomfort.
The upper of these shoes is made either out of leather, or the easy to care for Birko-Flor, a material made of acrylic and polyamide felt fibers with a leather-like texture, lined with soft suede where it touches your feet. The buckle provides you with the opportunity to adjust the fit of the upper, while the toe post is made out of rubber that won’t irritate your feet while wearing these sandals.
Cost and Value
As all other sandals made by Birkenstock, these will cost you more than you might be ready to pay for summer shoes. But, be aware of the fact that they will last you for a long time, and can even be resoled, repaired or even completely renewed. The more you wear them, the more comfortable they will get, so they are well worth the investment if it is arch support that you need.
- Anatomical footbed for excellent arch support
- Can be repaired, resoled or renewed
- Lined with soft suede for added comfort
- Stylish design that goes with anything
- Good shock absorption provided by foam outsole
- Some users have reported counterfeit products from certain Amazon sellers
- Should not be put in extreme heat or water
4. Vionic Gerrit
These sandals by Vionic feature an Orthaheel midsole that will reduce pressure and shock that your heels, feet and lower back would otherwise be experiencing from long walks. They are an excellent choice for alignment improvement if due to your flat feet you have a tendency towards overpronation, and can also be used if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or other foot problems.
Adjustable Sandals Made to Last
The upper of these sandals are made out of leather that is lined with a soft padding that will have you comfortable wearing these for long hikes. The rubber outsole is durable and can stand up to rough terrain. You will especially appreciate the three-point adjustable straps that allow you to make these shoes fit just the way you need them to.
Cost and Value
Depending on size and style, these sandals by Vionic may cost you quite a bit, just like most shoes with anatomically correct features. You will love them for the support, cushioning and flexibility they provide, and you’ll be able to wear them for quite some time as they are made to last.
- Orthaheel technology
- Good for overpronation
- Fully adjustable fit on three points
- Durable rubber outsole for rough terrains
- High quality leather straps
- May make your feet sweat more than usual
- Hook and loop closure can get weaker with time and us
5. Chaco Zvolv X2
The footbed on these sandals is the reason they made it on our list, as users simply love it. If you’ve got flat feet, you will appreciate the gender-specific support these shoes offer, through the vegan-friendly PU compound. The outsole is made out of non-slip, non-marking rubber that had been recycled so as to help the environment.
Fully Adjustable Unique Upper
Although our list features other three-point adjustable shoes, you will love these as they are something completely different. The innovative design allows you to adjust the fit of these sandals all around the foot and through the midsole with two injection molded ladder-lock buckles. The toe loop is there for added security in all your movement.
Cost and Value
Even though they aren’t exactly cheap, these shoes offer great value as they are versatile and durable. You will be able to wear them almost anywhere, while still reaping the benefits of a comfortable and supportive sole that won’t leave your feet feeling any pain after hours of walking or standing.
- Gender specific LUVSEAT anatomical PU midsole
- Vegan friendly
- Non-marking outsole with 3mm lug depth for good grip
- Men’s version available
- Fully adjustable upper
- Putting these sandals on and fastening them will take much longer than other sandals
- Run a bit small
6. Earth Bay Gladiator
The midsole of these shoes is made out of several layers, all designed to make you comfortable wherever you are. Your heel will benefit from the soft cushioning pad, the lining is made out of PU that is breathable and soft to the touch. Your arches will reap the benefits of an added support that works well for people who tend to overpronate, while there are two additional cushioning parts in the midsole, one that is softer and another one that is more firm.
Out of the Box Comfort
Being made out of soft materials, these shoes won’t need much breaking in, but will be ready to take you anywhere you need - be it a regular day at the office, or a city break trip to a hot city in Southern Europe.
Cost and Value
Depending on size and style, you can actually get these shoes for flat feet at a pretty reasonable price. You will appreciate the comfort they offer, especially as stylish sandals with adequate arch support are rather hard to come by. Most users appreciate the fact that these do not require any breaking in, which means you can wear them as soon as they arrive in the mail.
- Cushioned heel
- Multi-layer midsole for excellent support and cushioning
- No break in period required
- Ten styles available
- One of the best flat sandals available if you need arch support
- Not real leather lining
- Zipper tends to make noise with every step taken which some find annoying
7. KEEN Newport H2
The footbed of these shoes is anatomically engineered to give you plenty of arch support while completely adapting to your feet’s natural contours. The compression molded EVA midsole gives plenty of cushioning and shock absorption, allowing you to spend more time walking and less time worrying whether your feet will hurt the next day.
Premium Material Build
The outsole of these shoes is made out of non-slip and non-marking rubber with razor sipping that will give you an excellent grip on any surface underfoot. The upper lining is hydrophobic, meaning that will keep moisture away from your feet, while the elastic laces provide a snug but comfortable fit that will remain as you need it to all day long.
Cost and Value
These sandals are quite expensive, but you can expect this from a brand that provides the best possible quality. You will love these if you have flat feet and you want to prevent the symptoms that may occur with other shoes that do not offer adequate cushioning and support. In addition, these sandals are performance oriented, so you can take them out for adventures, and they will hold up well in all circumstances.
- Metatomical EVA footbed
- Multi directional lugs on outsole for excellent traction
- Secure fit elastic lacing system
- Moisture wicking lining
- Not the best option for wide feet
- Life span is not too long with heavy use
8. Birkenstock Arizona
The soft footbed on these Birkenstock sandals will perfectly conform to your feet, offering you a very soft to the touch feel with pronounced arch support that will help with the alignment of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, preventing pain that you may feel when wearing other shoe styles. The cork used for the making of these shoes is soft and breathable and offers excellent cushioning.
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Outsole
The EVA outsole of these shoes offers a soft, adjustable and durable option that will work with any terrain, indoor and outdoor use. Because it is soft, it will absorb shock, resulting in less fatigue after long hours of walking, but without losing shape over time like other materials.
Cost and Value
These sandals are an excellent choice for both women and men who are looking for a versatile but high-quality sandal to wear. If you have flat feet, or even if you don’t but appreciate a comfortable shoe, you will love these for the way they will allow you to walk pain-free for miles and miles.
- Two sturdy adjustable straps
- Natural cork footbed
- Can be resoled, repaired and renewed
- Shock absorbing EVA outsole
- Promote proper foot alignment
- Should not get wet
- High price
9. Taos Guru
These shoes feature a rubber outsole and a contoured midsole that is lined with suede and Cool Recovery Foam that will feel like you’re walking on clouds wherever you go. The arch of your foot will be well supported with anatomically correct features, while prolonged wear will be aided by the antimicrobial treatment that prevents bacteria overgrowth and odor development.
Most sandals aimed at helping manage pain related to flat feet only focus on the arch area, but these shoes also take into consideration that the front of your foot needs some love as well. The forefoot is cushioned so that you can rest assured your metatarsal area won’t be feeling too much pain after having spent a considerable amount of time wearing these sandals.
Cost and Value
These shoes rate average on this list for price. However, that may still be a bit too pricey for some users. The premium leather upper will last you quite some time, and with the proper care, it will remain looking good even after months of wear. The footbed and the support it offers are the best part of these shoes, so if you are looking for quality footwear for flat feet, these are one of our top choices on the market.
- Contoured footbed for plenty of arch support
- Cool recovery foam lining
- Durable leather upper
- Forefoot cushioning to manage ball of foot pain
- Antimicrobial shield to prevent odors
- Not available in wide
- The leather may prove to be too hot for some users
10. Vionic Paden
Vionic knows how to make a good shoe that will tick all the boxes for people with foot problems. The biomechanical footbed was designed so to relieve pain, offer plenty of arch support and to stop overpronation which is such a common problem for people with flat feet. In addition, these shoes promote correct alignment which means you will not be feeling unnecessary pain in your ankles, knees, hips, and back.
High Quality Materials Used
The midsole of these shoes is made out of EVA foam which is not just supportive but also has excellent shock absorbing qualities that will help you walk without putting too much stress on your heels and knees. The inner is lined with soft microfibre that is cushioned for extra comfort.
Cost and Value
These shoes are an excellent investment for anyone, regardless of whether they suffer from flat feet related pain or not. They will not only be comfortable to walk in, but they are also stylish and can be worn for any occasion. The price of these shoes is not exactly cheap, but with quality such as this, you won’t be sorry for the extra cost.
- Biomechanical footbed for pain relief
- Arch support and shock absorption qualities
- Will relieve stress from knees, hips and back
- Cushioned microfibre lining
- Stylish T-strap design that goes with any outfit
- Run more narrow than other shoes by the same manufacturer
- Ankle strap is too short for some users
If you have been diagnosed with flat feet, you will love any of the shoes on our top ten list of sandals that will prevent symptoms. In order to avoid feeling pain or the development of more serious conditions, we recommend that you make your choice of footwear bearing in mind that your feet are the foundation of your whole body and that keeping them well supported, protected and aligned will prevent pain and problems down the road.
Whether you prefer a sporty sandal that was made for hikers for their excellent cushioning and shock absorbing qualities, or if you are looking for something stylish that you can wear to work or for special occasions, our list of the best sandals for flat feet will definitely give you some great options. We also suggest reading our detailed Criteria for Evaluation section which will explain each part of a supportive sandal, so that you know why the features offered are important, and how they will serve you in terms of comfort and pain prevention. If you still have some questions after that, make sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions, and see what other users wanted to know about summer sandals that offer enough arch support and cushioning for people with similar foot problems to you.
After all this research, you will be able to choose the best pair of shoes for your own needs, ensuring that you are happy with your purchase and that you have made a choice of a high-quality product that will serve you well.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Sandals for Flat Feet
Flat feet, or as they are commonly referred to, fallen arches, will make the sole of your foot rest almost in its entirety on the ground. While some people will have some curve when sitting, it is possible that the musculoskeletal structure is simply not strong enough to retain the correct position when standing and resting your full body weight on your feet. Although many people have flat feet and never experience any symptoms, regardless of what activity they are doing, others will feel that the inadequate support their arches provide them results in foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain, leg swelling and other issues related to improper alignment and support, such as bunions or heel pain.
The symptoms of flat feet do not require any special treatment unless more serious conditions have been developed due to them. More often than not, all problems can be solved with just a pair of properly fitted shoes that provide enough support in the arch area to promote proper alignment. You can ensure this by wearing a good pair of stability shoes, or by using orthotic inserts in your everyday shoes. But what to do if it is summer, and you need a pair of sandals that won’t have you feeling like you’ve put your feet in a pressure cooker? When assembling our list of top ten sandals for flat feet to prevent symptoms, we followed the following criteria to make sure you were getting the best possible choices to prevent you from experiencing any pain or discomfort.
The most important feature you want to be looking in any pair of shoes that you want to wear for flat feet is arch support. With sandals, this becomes more difficult to find as they are mostly made flat, lightweight and with minimal cushioning, support, and shock absorbing qualities. An added disadvantage of sandals is that they will often offer insufficient support on the top of the foot, meaning that unnecessary stress is put on certain parts of your feet.
Luckily, many manufacturers recognize the need for comfortable and supportive footwear for people with flat feet (especially since almost one-third of the world’s population suffers from this condition). A perfect pair of sandals for flat feet will have a contoured, anatomical footbed with arch support that will raise your arches and allow for correct foot positioning. This will help take pressure off of the rest of your feet, such as the heel and tendons in your feet, and may be an important factor in preventing arthritis, back pain or strains.
If you have flat feet, chances are you tend to overpronate, putting too much stress on the inner part of your feet. If you are unsure whether you do this, you can check by looking at a pair of well-worn shoes. Can you see any difference in the wear of the outsole? This will show on the heel, as the inner parts will be more worn than the outer parts. Overpronation is a habit that is common among people with flat feet or fallen arches, seeing that the underfoot muscles are not strong enough or cannot stay up in their natural position. Although the most common consequence of overpronation is hip and knee pain, as well as discomfort in the heels, some people who overpronate may also develop conditions such as hammer toes, corns or calluses, bunions or even heel spurs.
That’s why a good pair of shoes will prevent you from putting your weight on the inner part of your feet and will promote an even distribution throughout the whole foot. Luckily, this problem can be easily solved by choosing footwear that is supportive in the arch area, as this will return your feet to the correct alignment. Sandals such as those made by Birkenstock and Vionic will do especially well as they provide the necessary firm support that will stop you from putting too much of your weight on your arches while standing and walking.
We have already covered how important it is for you to have correct alignment when standing and walking. You may find that although you have flat feet, your feet do not experience any pain, but your knees, hips or back do. If you tend to experience any pain in these parts of your body after periods of standing or walking, you need to check whether your weight is evenly distributed to your whole body. This can be done in the same way you check for overpronation – just look at the soles of your shoes, and check whether any part is overly worn. The goal is to have your shoes be evenly worn through the whole sole, and symmetrically on both sides.If your feet are positioned correctly, your whole body will have the opportunity to adapt, which means that your ankles can rest at a natural angle, and your knees and hips will come back into alignment. Through doing this, you will help take off the stress of just a part of these joints, allowing them to work in their natural position. Another result is that the muscular structure around these joints will also get the chance to return to a natural way of working, preventing strain and thus lowering the chance of you feeling pain when going about your everyday life.
Shock Absorption and Cushioning
People with flat feet will tend to put too much stress on the heel of their foot when walking, resulting in this body part taking too much of the shock on impact with the ground. Too much stress on the heel can result not just in pain, but also in developing conditions such as heel spurs which are much more difficult to treat and manage than flat feet. Perfectly, your shoes will help absorb some of the shock your body experiences while walking. Sandals with soles made out of rubber and EVA foam materials are an especially good choice, as they will usually have been made with plenty of walking in mind. Another important feature you want to look for in your footwear is cushioning which will make you feel more comfortable throughout the day. Some styles on this list have soft microfibre or suede linings, while others have cushions in the heel and forefoot. It is best to find a pair that will feel best for you. More often than not, you will find that a properly fitted pair of shoes with the right amount of support will not just prevent symptoms, but will also feel incredibly good to stand and walk in.
The final universal criterion that you need to look for in any pair of shoes if you have flat feet is width. People with flat arches will tend to feel more comfortable in wider shoes as this allows the foot to flatten on its whole surface. However, in order to really prevent the symptoms of flat feet, you first need to get the right arch support and then get a pair of shoes that are properly fitted in width. Sandals can be a very comfortable option when it comes to width as most are adjustable and will allow you to customize the fit of the upper so that you do not feel any unnecessary pressure on your metatarsal area while still retaining a secure fit in the heel. Some makers will make shoes in different widths, and these will have a slightly wider outsole which will ensure that your whole foot is properly protected and supported throughout the day. If, however, you feel that a pair of shoes is too narrow, you will probably want to skip wearing them, as they might contribute to developing other ailments such as bunions, calluses, and corns, or even blisters which can be very difficult to manage, especially in hot and humid climates.
Supposing that you are purchasing a pair of sandals for summer use, it is very important to consider the materials that have been used to make the upper. Generally, if you are going to be spending a lot of time in a hot environment, you will want your footwear to be made out of lightweight, breathable materials that won’t cause irritation or profuse sweating when worn for a longer period of time. Most sandals on this list are made out of synthetic uppers which will help wick moisture away from your feet, or from leather which is porous and breathable. It is also good to have some slight stretch in the upper of your summer sandals, as this will ensure a better fit, but will also allow your feet to swell slightly, which will inevitably happen from the heat and lots of walking. The inner lining also needs to use high-quality materials as you want the part of the shoe that touches your feet to be soft, breathable and to dry quickly enough. Antimicrobial and anti-odor treatments are a great addition as these will prevent the formation of odors or bacterial and fungal infections which tend to happen in hot and humid environments.
Type of Use
Everyone will probably use their summer sandals for different occasions, so you need to consider how you want your sandals to serve you. Do you plan on wearing them to the office, or do you prefer to wear them for long hikes in nature? Will you be taking them to the beach, or are you more of a city kind of person? It is important to choose the correct sandal, especially for activities that require special features. If you plan on going hiking, you will need a sturdier sandal that will provide better shock absorption and cushioning so that you can feel comfortable after several hours. If you plan on heading to the beach, your sandals will need to be water friendly – this not only means a rubber outsole, but also upper and lining materials that will dry more easily than leather or cork. Some people may work as servers at restaurants, which will require a non-slip sole for safety reasons. Before making a purchase, make sure to check whether your favorite choice ticks all the boxes for the type of use you intend to get out of your footwear. And although the style is important, fit should always take first place when prioritizing.
Last but not least, when purchasing a pair of sandals, you want to get a pair that will fit your feet in the correct way, and that includes a secure fit of the upper. As sandals have much less material on the upper than regular shoes, it is crucial that they are safely on your feet to prevent putting too much stress on certain parts of your feet. This includes making sure that they are properly fitted at the heel and ankle. The best choices will be fully adjustable shoes with secure buckles that won’t give in after a few uses. Our favorites for their level of adjustability are the ECCO Yucatan, Vionic Gerrit, and Chaco Zvolv X2 W, all of which will allow you to choose your own perfect fit in multiple points on the sandals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the symptoms of flat feet?
A: Some people who have flat feet will never experience any symptoms. Others, however, will feel pain in their arches, tendons, ankles, knees, hips or back. If you have flat feet and leave them without the support they need, you may find that you will start overpronating which can lead to even more consequences such as hammer toes, calluses, and corns, heel spurs or even arthritis.
Q: How to prevent symptoms related to flat feet?
A: Luckily, the consequences of flat feet can be prevented very easily. Although your podiatrist may prescribe you with medication or exercise to manage pain and to strengthen your arches, you will easily avoid experiencing any symptoms at all if you opt for footwear that gives you the correct arch support and that will help you align your feet correctly so as to avoid putting too much stress on certain parts of your feet or other joints in your body.
Q: Are flat sandals a good option of footwear if I have flat feet?
A: Generally, sandals will not be the best option for you if you have flat feet, as most models have a completely flat sole without cushioning and shock absorbing properties, and that doesn’t provide you with the anatomical support you need. In addition, the uppers of sandals can often be flimsy, adding unnecessary stress to your feet which will have to work overtime in order to keep your footwear on. All sandals on our list have been chosen because they possess the features that are necessary for anyone with flat feet, but even among these, you may find that some models work better for you than others.
Q: How do I know whether my shoes offer enough arch support?
A: A good pair of shoes will hug your arches even when you are sitting. You will find that the raised part of the shoe gently lifts your feet and prevents you from sinking into the inner part of your feet. You can check this by looking at the soles of the shoes and seeing whether they are more worn on the inside than on the outside portion. In addition, with insufficient arch support in your shoes, you are likely to experience foot, knee, hip or back pain after a period of standing or walking.
Q: What materials are good to look for in sandals for flat feet?
A: The best materials to look for are shock absorbing rubber or EVA foam, but some makers make excellent shoes out of other materials as well, such as Birkenstock sandals which have cork soles.
Q: I’m not sure what size I need? Should I size up or down?
A: If you are unsure what size to get, you can always read the reviews on Amazon, which will tell you whether a particular shoe fits smaller or larger than expected. If you still don’t know, you can either visit a brick and mortar store to be fitted or order a pair of shoes in both sizes, then return the ones which don’t fit well. As with any type of footwear, it is crucial that your sandals fit well, as the arch support needs to be in the correct place for you to actually get its benefits.