Best Sandals with Arch Support Reviewed & Rated
While not exactly a buzzword, ‘arch support’ is still a term seen all over the Internet. You’ll find it everywhere from foot, shoe, and health blogs to product descriptions on official brand websites. So much attention to the topic makes you wonder, what is arch support? Why do I need it? Where do I find shoes that have it?
The long answer is in the FAQ at the end of this guide, but here is the short of it: found in the insole of a shoe, arch support protects the arch of the foot from being overworked, painful, or from collapsing. So whether you have a low-to-no arch (flat feet), a medium (typical) arch, or high arches, you may find yourself in need of one of the best sandals with arch support.
- KEEN Whisper
- Metatomical Footbed
- Birkenstock Arizona
- Soft Cork Footbed
- Crocs Sexi Flip
- Massaging Footbed
Now, if you were to type ‘arch support shoes’ into Google and begin to shop, you would find that the first options available are athletic shoes and dress shoes. That’s great for needing arch support when exercising, or perhaps on a formal occasion; but what about just walking outside on a hot summer day? Is that not something people needing arch support do?
Of course, they do!
In this guide, we do the work for you and evaluate the ten best sandals for arch support.
10 Best Sandals With Arch Support
1. KEEN Whisper
The KEEN Whisper is designed to support you through all kinds of outdoor activities, from a beachside stroll to river portaging.
The metatomical build of the footbed is the most significant draw of the KEEN Whisper sandal. Metatomical is a fusion of metatarsal and anatomical. This design focuses on the big toe and the natural contours of the foot to provide arch support. Furthermore, the footbed is made with compression-molded EVA for further comfort.
Stable and Supportive
The KEEN Whisper has several features that make it ideal for foot support. First, the Whisper outsole is made of textured, multi-directional, non-scuffing rubber for improved traction. Second, the KEEN Whisper has a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) shank for a flexible, supportive midsole. As for the upper of the sandal, it’s coated with an antimicrobial treatment known as the Aegis Microbe Shield.
The KEEN Whisper is a moderately priced sandal and may be an investment for smaller budgets. The support for high arches is unparalleled, especially if you are an active hiker needing a good grip underfoot.
Waterproof Machine washable True to size Roomy toe box
2. Birkenstock Arizona
The best part of the Arizona sandal is that it can accommodate a range of arches. People with high arches will find solid support in the Birkenstock Arizona, as it has a high arch in the footbed. People with flat feet, on the other hand, will find that these sandals will “create” a supportive arch for them while retaining a flat heel.
There are two types of Birkenstock Arizona sandal: a soft footbed version and classic. This recommendation covers the soft footbed version; comfort is king!
The Birkenstock Arizona features a footbed made primarily of cork. Soft padding is fitted between the layers of cork for an exceptionally comfortable fit. The cork footbed is also contoured and, over time, will take on the shape of your foot to provide a custom fit.
In addition to the cork footbed, the Birkenstock Arizona sandal has a proprietary synthetic upper material known as Birko-Flor. It is leather-like and lined with soft suede. The outsole of the Arizona sandal is crafted from EVA, which aids in shock absorption and also provides extra cushioning.
More expensive than the KEEN Whisper, the Birkenstock Arizona is an investment sandal. However, if you’re still not sold on these due to price, check this: the average life expectancy of a pair of Birkenstock sandals is 4-5 years.
Made in Germany
Deep heel cup
Roomy toe box
No wide widths
Needs breaking in
3. Crocs Sexi Flip
The Crocs Sexi Flip features moderate arch support. This amount of arch support makes these sandals best for feet with medium, low, or no arch. Unfortunately, those with extremely high arches may find that the Sexi doesn’t provide quite enough support.
Available in six lively colours, the Sexi Flip sandal is crafted using the same sturdy, lightweight Croslite material featured in other Crocs styles.
The Sexi sandal has a footbed full of raised nubs, also called “circulation nubs.” The nubs are designed to massage the soles of your feet with each step and, as a bonus, provide toe traction.
Though it’s entirely important, the Croslite material that the Crocs Sexi sandal is made of isn’t just lightweight and comfortable. The Sexi can withstand the stresses of long walks, hiking, and even a full day at Disneyland.
The Crocs Sexi Flip sandal is an incredibly affordable shoe and is cheaper than both the Birkenstock Arizona and the KEEN Whisper. If you need a new flip-flop (or three) to get you through this upcoming summer, the Sexi sandal is the perfect budget-friendly option.
Available in wide widths
True to size
Ankle strap is narrow
Slippery when wet
4. FitFlop Pietra
The Pietra sandal features pronounced arch support and is suitable for a range of arches. Everyone can slip on a pair of these sandals and find comfort. Sufferers of Plantar Fasciitis may find the FitFlop Pietra especially good for support and pain relief in the feet and legs.
The FitFlop Pietra sandal is crafted with an exclusive, proprietary midsole known as ‘microwobbleboard.’ Designed by biomechanists, the microwobbleboard midsole is three layers thick, made of EVA, and is fused to create a seamless platform. It also provides shock absorption, pressure spot diffusion, and a bit of an extra workout.
Decorated with three square gems, the FitFlop Pietra is the perfect mix of style and function. Many sandals with arch support choose function over form, so they only fit the aesthetics of a handful of occasions. Sexy in a chic and understated way, the Pietra sandal can be dressed up or down and taken around town.
The FitFlop Pietra is a moderately priced shoe; they are significantly more expensive than the Crocs Sexi sandal, but not as costly as the KEEN Whisper or Birkenstock Arizona sandals. If you are in the market for an attractive, durable walking sandal, the FitFlop Pietra fits the bill.
Stabilizing toe grip
Endorsed by Uma Thurman
5. Vionic Tide
Those with high arches may benefit the most from a pair of Vionic Tide sandals, but don’t let that stop you if you have normal or flat feet.
The Vionic Tide sandal has the benefit of being designed by podiatrists — foot doctors — that know feet better than anyone. These sandals feature a synthetic, softly lined upper; a biomechanical orthotic footbed, and a rubber sole for multi-surface traction. For further stabilization, the Tide has raised dots along the length of the footbed. The raised dots help in keeping your feet from working too hard to grip the sandal.
An additional benefit of the Vionic Tide sandals’ design is the stark, nearly instantaneous relief wearers get. Helping to align the body from the feet up, the Tide obliterates foot, ankle, knee, and lower back pain.
Settling between the Crocs Sexi and the FitFlop Pietra is the Vionic Tide sandal. If you have a small budget but a little wiggle room to splurge, consider this sandal. For all its ailment-alieving ability, it would be a shame not to have a pair of these on which to rely.
Deep heel cup
Soft toe post
No half sizes available
Requires breaking in
6. Dansko Sophie
The Dansko Sophie sandal is built, first and foremost, for stability. The Sophie features a thick, beveled heel, a shock-absorbing foam midsole, and a treaded outsole. Adjustable straps help create a custom fit, so the Dansko Sophie stays snug and secure on your feet. Lastly, these sandals have a flexible and strong nylon shank to keep you steady on uneven surfaces.
Leather, foam, and Dri-Lex. These are the simple materials the Dansko Sophie sandal is made of. The upper is soft, supple full-grain leather. The lining of the upper is made of Dri-Lex, a fabric designed to wick away moisture and keep feet dry. The foam midsole also features additional cushion through a removable forepart insert.
The Dansko Sophie is the most expensive shoe in this guide, edging out the KEEN Whisper by a small margin. However, Dansko is another brand known for incredibly durable, high-quality shoes. Think of it this way: the Sophie sandal is an investment in a comfy, pain-free future.
Great for bunions
Brushed suede-like insole
Available in nine colours
7. Teva Mandalyn Ola
Like many shoes in the Teva catalog, the Mandalyn Ola sandal has a specially crafted insole that molds to your foot. Over time, you’ll get a custom fit that hugs the entire surface of your foot. The cushiony comfort of the Mush insole can be likened to having memory foam mattresses underfoot.
Easy to Clean
The Mandalyn Ola is made of a durable polyester webbing upper, while the outsole is made of the ever-popular EVA foam. While these sandals aren’t waterproof, they are “water-ready.” Most dirt can be washed off with a hose but, if you wish to go the extra mile in cleaning them, the Teva Mandalyn Ola can also be dropped into a washing machine.
The Mandalyn Ola is priced only slightly higher than the Crocs Sexi sandal, making these sandals a great budget-friendly choice. With average use, you can expect at least a year of life from the Teva Mandalyn Ola.
Stabilizing criss-cross straps
Outsole tread wears quickly
8. Clarks Helio
The Clarks Helio sandal features an Ortholite footbed designed for comfort, cushion, and fit. Ortholite is a material comprised of recycled rubber and polyurethane, imparting superior shock absorption and breathability. However, the best part of an Ortholite insole is the long-term cushioning. While all footbeds experience some level of compression over time, the Ortholite footbed undergoes less than 5% compression. It’s almost a guarantee that the Clarks Helio sandals will be comfortable for the long haul.
Just a wedge heel alone improves the stability of a sandal, but the Helio sandal has a wedge heel wrapped in durable, economical cork. The addition of cork provides extra softness, shock absorption and gives a chic, trendy element to an otherwise simple sandal.
The Clarks Helio is a dressier sort of sandal, so it’s a bit more expensive than other options in this guide. The price point lands between the KEEN Whisper and the Dansko Sophie sandal.
Adjustable back strap
Available in wide widths
9. Taos Thelma
At first glance, the Taos Thelma is just a simple open-toed sandal. Upon closer inspection, there are small studs scattered across the supple leather straps and a larger jewel at the center of the ankle strap. The Thelma also features a low 1” heel for a relaxed, everyday style. The synthetic outsole has a thick tread in the shape of ovals.
Comfort Comes First
The Thelma sandal is part of the Red Willow by Taos line, a collection of shoes focusing on casual and supportive designs. Not only does the Thelma have an adjustable ankle strap with two closures for a custom fit, but there is also soft padding lining the back strap. Hands up for no more heel chafing!
The Taos Thelma sandal is moderately priced and a good option for those with 1) a larger budget, and 2) a need for contemporary styling. It falls between the FitFlop Pietra sandal and Birkenstock Arizona.
Easy on/off design
Top strap not adjustable
10. Naturalizer Danya
That being said, the Danya provides a gentle lift that is suitable for arches across the spectrum. A 3.25” heel may seem high, especially concerning comfort, but 1” platform brings these sandals below the true height of 3.25”.
No matter the type of foot discomfort you have, it’s likely wearing high heels will make the problem worse. However, the Naturalizer Danya features a comfort technology known as N5 Contour. The N5 Contour technology is designed to aid in balance and security, while provided superior comfort. The Danya sandal has a footbed with a molded arch and heel cup for support, dual-density cushioning, and the ability to lightly conform to the shape of your foot.
The Naturalizer Danya is a strappy, interesting sandal that shows a lot of skin. Nevertheless, with an upper of polished faux leather, it is elegant enough to transition from conferences to cocktails and back again. The Danya is also available in eight colors, ranging from simple black to brushed silver.
Comparable in price with the FitFlop Pietra sandal, the Naturalizer Danya is a smart choice for a mid-range budget. If the Danya ends up being just out of your budget anyway, it’s worth waiting for this sandal to go on sale — few sandals can pull off being sexy and ergonomic simultaneously.
Wide widths available
Velcro back strap
Whether your need is purely for comfort, fashion, or a combination of both, there is a best sandal with arch support for you.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Sandals With Arch Support
While we’d like to think that this guide is all you’ll need for finding the perfect, arch-supporting sandal, the truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll want to review sandals with your personal gait in mind. Below are the standards we used to create this guide.
Sandals don’t have a lot going on, regarding the upper portion of the shoe. One or two straps is about all that’s there so, when reviewing sandals for arch support, the insole (or footbed, or midsole) is where support will be found.
The material of an insole is the most important indicator of its supportiveness. Many supportive insoles are made with EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate. It’s a common man-made material that is both rubber-like and foam-like in consistency. The density, softness, flexibility, and waterproof nature of EVA make it the perfect base for cushioning and molding to feet. EVA is also popular because it is man-made; it’s a staple in vegan footwear.
Footbeds made of cork material are also popular in sandals made with arch support. Cork is natural, created from the bark of the Cork Oak tree, and vegan. A prime example is Birkenstock sandals, which feature cork footbeds exclusively. Cork is incredibly elastic and lightweight, allowing it to conform to the shape of your foot. With a custom footbed that adheres to the planes and curves of your foot, comfort is impossible to avoid.
Some companies have a better reputation than others. This is true in any industry. For our guide, we included a wide range of brands that could be considered synonymous with ‘comfort.’ Choosing to research a brand that has a history of making shoes focused on comfort, cushioning, or pain relief means that the likelihood of finding the right support sandal increases.
Brands such as Crocs, Taos, and FitFlop were created after the millennium, and have staked their reputations primarily on producing comfortable, supportive shoes. These are brands that were created for this sole purpose (pun maybe intended) and are good places to begin research into contemporary supportive sandals.
On the other hand, brands like Clarks, Birkenstock, and Naturalizer were founded well before 1930. These are brands that have created supportive and comfortable sandals for decades, even centuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is arch support?
A: To understand arch support, you first need to understand what the arch is. As mentioned briefly in this guide, the arch of your foot is the curved area of your foot that sits between the heel and ball of the foot. The arch, though often talked about in a singular context, is truly a triangle of three interconnected arches.
The arch of your foot grows and matures with you, so the need for arch support can evolve.
Q: How do I know what kind of arch support I need?
A: There is a quick and easy test, called the ‘wet test’, that can be performed to find out what kind of arches you have. Here are the steps:
- Wet the bottoms of your feet.
- Stand upright on a flat surface, such as cardboard or newspaper, so that an imprint can be seen.
- Move away from the flat surface and look at the imprints.
From there, you can determine your arch height and the support you can require using the following guidelines:
The entirety of the bottom of your foot will be seen in the imprint
The ball and heel of the foot, along with an inside curve, will be seen in the imprint
Only the ball and heel of the foot will be visible in the imprint
- OluKai, What is EVA?
- Shoe Zone, All About Insoles
- Englin’s Fine Footwear, We Love Cork Footbeds
- Dr. LaMour, What Does Arch Support Really Mean?