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If you’ve ever been to a running store to find the best shoe for your athletic needs, you’ve likely had your gait and other biomechanics examined by one of the employees assisting you. One aspect these professionals look for is overpronation—a misalignment of the foot and leg that involves the ankles tilting inward excessively, potentially leading to flattened arches and related musculoskeletal issues.
Luckily, a wide variety of specialized shoes can effectively support overpronated feet and arches and improve the condition. To help identify the top shoes for overpronation, the Forbes Health editorial team consulted a panel of three podiatrists on the Forbes Health Advisory Board, asking for their product recommendations and why they chose them. Star ratings and superlatives are solely determined by the editorial team based on price, customer ratings and available style choices. Read on to see the top podiatrist-recommended shoes for overpronation.
Note: All prices are accurate at the time of publication.
Aetrex Gabby Adjustable Quarter Strap Sandal
The Aetrex Gabby Sandal is a warm-weather staple for anyone with overpronation or foot pain and has the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of acceptance, which is given to shoes that promote good foot health. The straps are fully adjustable with a hook and loop closure, wrapping around the ankle for enhanced stability, and the footbed consists of a built-in Aetrex orthotics system that includes arch support and memory foam for superior comfort and biomechanical alignment. The Aetrex Gabby Sandal is a great shoe for everyday wear, according to podiatrist and Forbes Health Advisory Board member Jane Andersen.
Dr. Scholl’s Madison Slip On Sneaker
This casual slip-on sneaker is a great choice for all-day comfort, which podiatrist and Forbes Health Advisory Board member Mehgan Susek selected for its lightweight design and insoles that are supportive for overpronation and flat feet. The shoes are also designed with sustainability in mind, utilizing microfiber made from recycled plastic bottles. The insoles are made from algae-infused Bloom foam, created by a company Dr. Scholl’s partners with called Bloom, providing cushiony support and making this slip-on sneaker a versatile, supportive and thoughtfully constructed all-season choice.
Oofos Ooahh Slide Shoe
Oofos Ooahh Slide shoes, while a more casual style, feature custom OOfoam technology that absorbs up to 37% more impact than regular shoes while encouraging natural motion and supporting the arches, according to the company.
“These slides are amazing. They have wonderful support and tremendous cushioning,” says Dr. Andersen, who adds that she often recommends her patients wear them first thing in the morning, especially if they also suffer from plantar fasciitis. However, Dr. Andersen cautions that these shoes may become slippery when wet, and doesn’t recommend them for poolside use.
The Alegria Paloma has the APMA seal of acceptance, offering many features that provide support for overpronation, including a padded heel, a hook-and-loop strap and removable footbeds that can be replaced with custom orthotics.
“This particular style of shoe also offers a rocker bottom sole, which can be beneficial if [someone has] limited big toe joint range of motion from bunion or arthritis development from the overpronation of the foot over the years,” says podiatrist and Forbes Health Advisory Board Member Elizabeth Daughtry. Aesthetically, the Paloma is designed in an elegant Mary Jane style, making it suitable for casual and formal occasions alike.
Vionic Restore Recovery Sandal
The Vionic Restore Recovery Sandal was intricately designed for both comfort and stability. The textured EVA footbed cushions your feet and absorbs shock upon impact, according to Dr. Susek, who says the brand is “tried and true.” The sandal also features a deep sculpted midsole that keeps the foot neutral to help prevent overpronation. Due to its uniquely supportive design, the company recommends initially wearing the Restore Recovery Sandal for only a few hours a day.
Merrell Encore Breeze 4
The Merrell Encore Breeze 4 is not only easy to slip into and out of, but also constructed with the utmost comfort and stability in mind. The shoe’s upper portion and footbed feature mesh lining for enhanced breathability, additional cushioning in the heel provides extra stability and shock absorption, and sticky rubber soles provide traction for navigating mixed terrain. Dr. Daughtry considers the shoe to be “excellent quality at a reasonable price,” and recommends it for its versatility and space to add arch support or orthotics.
Chaco Z Cloud X
Chaco sandals have some of the highest arch support available in a shoe, according to Dr. Andersen, who recommends the Chaco Z Cloud X because of this arch support, as well as the adjustable waterproof double straps that wrap around the foot and through the midsole. Dr. Andersen cautions that the arch support may be too much if you have extremely flat feet, but most people do well with the amount of support the shoe offers. Plus, the rubber outsole provides traction for all kinds of terrain, making it durable for outdoor adventuring.
Dr. Daughtry likes this dress shoe option because the footbed molds to the arch and foot over time, and the hook-and-loop strap at the arch and a backstrap provide extra stability. What’s more, the Kayla has the APMA seal of acceptance for promoting good foot health, according to the company. With many color options available, this versatile and comfortable sandal features a modest 1.5-inch heel that can be paired with dressy attire. While this particular shoe doesn’t feature removable footbeds, Dr. Daughtry notes that the company makes many shoes that accommodate custom orthotics.
Vionic Caroll Ballet Flat
While Dr. Andersen says she typically doesn’t recommend ballet flats due to their lack of support, the Vionic Caroll Ballet Flat is an exception. “It has plenty of built-in arch support, and they are quite comfortable for this style of shoe,” she notes.
These ballet flats have the APMA seal of acceptance and are biomechanically designed to support your arches and your body’s natural alignment, according to the company, which recommends initially wearing the flats for only a few hours each day to adjust to the level of orthotic support.
Hoka Arahi 6
The Hoka Arahi 6 is a shoe built for stability and to prevent excessive inward rolling, but it does so without being too stiff, which helps prevent pronation during a gait cycle, says Dr. Andersen. She also recommends the shoe because its extra cushioning helps absorb shock and provides comfort, and the rocker bottom helps absorb and reduce pressure along the foot as you walk. “[This structure is] very beneficial for [the] midfoot and other areas of pain or arthritis formation,” she says. What’s more, the shoe comes in a variety of eye-catching color-block styles for men and women.
Our Forbes Health Advisory Board members shared their extensive podiatric knowledge and product recommendations to support our Best Shoes for Overpronation of 2022 ranking.
To select the top shoes for overpronation, the Forbes Health editorial team consulted with three podiatrists on the Forbes Health Advisory Board, who each gave their recommendations and explained why they chose them. Star ratings and superlatives were then solely determined by the editorial team based on product prices, average customer satisfaction ratings and the number of colors and designs available.
Pronation is the normal side-to-side movement of the foot during a walking or running gait and involves the flattening and rising of the arch of the foot. Overpronation occurs when the ankles and feet roll excessively inward during movement, leading to flattened arches and flat feet over time. In fact, the terms “overpronation” and “flat feet” are sometimes used interchangeably. Flat feet can lead to musculoskeletal pain and injuries, especially if symptoms arise and go unaddressed.
If you overpronate while walking or running, you may not experience any symptoms, or you may notice that certain issues arise over time. According to the Pedorthic Association of Canada, common results of overpronation include:
While everyone is born with flat feet, most people develop arches as they grow (though some people remain flat-footed from birth). Years of running or walking may also weaken the tendons and ligaments that support the arches of the feet, causing the feet to flatten and worsening overpronation.
Shoes Built For Comfort And Versatility
Going for a stroll, running, or hiking? Find the right shoe from a wide variety of footwear available in various colors & styles on KURU.
Luckily, investing in appropriate footwear that supports your feet and arches effectively can help reduce the acute and chronic impacts of overpronation while walking, jogging and running, including the risk of injury. Here are a few things to consider when looking at different footwear options:
If you think you overpronate when walking or running, consider an evaluation by a podiatrist, who can assess your gait and make recommendations regarding shoe selection—or custom orthotics, if necessary.
If you’re an avid walker, jogger or runner, you might be looking for athletic shoe options specifically designed to address overpronation. Research shows anti-pronation shoes may minimize the excessive inward motion of a foot during running, but more studies are needed to determine the impact of these styles of shoes.
You may not need specialized athletic shoes like those built for stability or motion control if you already wear either custom or firm over-the-counter orthotics, says Dr. Andersen. “Too much pronation control can cause problems, including pain on the outside of the foot. It’s best to be evaluated at your podiatrist’s office if you’re having any foot pain, and it’s best to buy your running or walking shoes from a reputable running shoe store that will watch you walk,” she adds.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for shoes that are more suitable to pair with formal attire, such as your work wardrobe or a special event, there are other specifics to keep in mind. For example, look for a lightweight shoe with a firm heel counter, a wide sole, straight or semi-curved lasts (the molds which determine the size, shape and dimension of the shoe), a firm midsole, a shock-absorbing outsole and the ability to add orthotic insoles, says Dr. Daughtry, who adds that the majority of Naot shoes fit this list of qualifications.
Outside of specific footwear needs, such as athletic hobbies and formal occasions, many shoes and sandals are designed for daily wear while still addressing overpronation and providing support and comfort for flat feet.
Shoes designed for overpronation focus on arch support. However, the degree of arch support you require is unique to you and your body. Certain shoes, such as the Chaco Z Cloud X sandal, might provide too much arch for someone with a severely flat foot, according to Dr. Andersen. Seeing a podiatrist can help determine how much arch support you need.
Certain shoes have removable insoles so you can replace the manufacturer’s footbed with a custom orthotic of your choice (or perhaps you’ve seen a podiatrist who recommends using specific orthotics). If you have a footbed that keeps your arches feeling supported and your feet pain-free, it’s important to look for a shoe with a removable insole.
Shoes designed for flat feet and overpronation run the gamut when it comes to price. Once you’ve determined what type of shoe you’re looking for and whether you require removable insoles to make way for custom orthotics, the next step is to find a quality shoe within your price range.
A visit to the podiatrist can help clarify which shoes or other forms of support are right for you and your specific needs and fit your budget.
Motion-control and stability athletic shoes are geared toward people who experience overpronation. Additionally, finding a shoe with plenty of support at the sole of the foot is important, and removable insoles (which can be replaced with custom orthotics) may be preferable.
If you believe you overpronate, the best thing to do is to speak with a podiatrist, who can examine the degree to which you overpronate or have flat feet and determine whether specialty shoes would be appropriate for you.
Whether someone who overpronates needs stability shoes depends largely on an evaluation by a podiatrist, who will make specific recommendations for that individual based on a thorough examination.
Information provided on Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, please consult with a medical professional.
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Meaghan is an editor and writer who also has experience practicing holistic medicine as an acupuncturist and herbalist. She’s passionate about helping individuals live full, healthy and happy lives at every age. Outside of writing and editing for Forbes Health, Meaghan loves practicing yoga, reading and spending time with her family near the ocean in her home state of Maine.
Alena is a professional writer, editor and manager with a lifelong passion for helping others live well. She is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and a functional medicine certified health coach. She brings more than a decade of media experience to Forbes Health, with a keen focus on building content strategy, ensuring top content quality and empowering readers to make the best health and wellness decisions for themselves.
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