Finding sandals for the summer can be a struggle if you have flat feet. That's because people with flat feet can overpronate, which means their heel or midfoot turns inward more than normal, creating instability when they walk, says Alissa Kuizinas, DPM, a Massachusetts-based board-certified podiatrist.
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"People with overly pronated feet, especially if it is in the midfoot, are more prone to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis and bunions," she says.
This condition can also affect the knees because "as the feet are rolling in, the knees internally rotate, which can cause adverse stress," says Patrick McEneaney, DPM, CEO of Northern Illinois Foot and Ankle Specialists.
Thankfully, there are sandals that promote healthier foot movement and support people with low arches.
The Best Shoes for Flat Feet
How We Chose
We tapped four podiatrists to better understand what attributes make a good shoe for flat feet and how to find the best fit. We chose our top picks based on their recommendations, including:
- Arch support
1. Best Overall: Vionic Recovery Sandal
What makes this shoe the best overall choice for flat feet? It has an EVA footbed, which cushions your feet and absorbs shock upon impact. It also has a sculpted midsole to prevent slips as you move.
Beyond being comfy and supportive, the Recovery comes in fun colors, such as terra cotta pink and sea foam green.
Buy it: VionicShoes.com for women's sizes 5 to 14 and men's sizes 7.5 to 12.5; Price: $79.95
2. Best on a Budget: Dr. Scholl’s Adelle 4 Sandal
For the price, Dr. Scholl's Adelle 4 is a comfortable and functional sandal. The instep design allows you to easily slip the shoe on, and the brand boasts its insole technology, which provides comfort, support, and cushioning for people with flat feet. The shoe has adjustable straps for a customized fit. We also appreciate the sustainably-crafted lining, which is made from recycled water bottles.
Buy it: DrSchollsShoes.com for women's sizes 6 to 11; Price: $59.95
3. Best for Walking: Birkenstock Arizona Sandal
People with flat feet can overpronate, says Dr. Kuizinas, so it's best to find a supportive and sturdy sandal like the Birkenstock Arizona. It's constructed with an EVA sole for shock absorption and cushioning, and it has arch support for people with flat feet.
The straps are adjustable and have a soft lining to prevent irritation. What's more, there are two widths to accommodate all foot types, including people with regular, wide and narrow feet.
Buy it: Birkenstock.com for women's sizes 4 to 12.5 and men's sizes 6 to 15.5; Price: $110
4. Best Thong: HOKA Ora Recovery Flip Sandal
Throw on HOKA's Ora Recovery Flip for a comfy and sporty fit.
The sandal has a reactive midsole and soft top layer that cushions your feet with each step. The strap is made from a jersey material, which wicks away moisture and keeps the top of your feet dry.
Plus, you get to choose from fun colors like lime green, fiesta orange and scuba blue.
5. Best Strap Sandal: ECCO Yucatan
If straps are more your game, give the ECCO Yucatan a go. They're lightweight and supportive sandals that are perfect for everyday walking.
Because the straps are made of soft leather and the outsole is made of durable rubber, they're also ideal for hiking and trail walking.
The foam midsole provides long-lasting comfort and the EVA midsole offers stability.
What to Look for in a Sandal for Flat Feet
When shopping for a sandal for flat feet, make sure it has cushioning. That way, the sandal can "absorb shock and help to avoid tissue irritation and damage," says Dr. Schaeffer. The ECCO Yucatan, for example, has a foam midsole.
But avoid overly-cushioned insoles "as the increased cushion also increases the work the foot does," recommends Dylan Carlisle, DPM, a physician and foot and ankle surgeon based in South Carolina.
2. Arch Support
Because people with overly pronated feet roll their feet inward when they walk, it can lead to foot pain, and they are more prone to plantar fasciitis, tendinitis and bunions. That's why finding a sandal with arch support is important.
"Those with flat feet due to overpronation can benefit from arch support in their shoes," says Dr. Kuizinas. "This will help to restrict the amount of pronation that the foot can do during the walking cycle."
Sandals for flat feet should also offer good stability. To check for this, "bend [the shoe] in the middle," says Dr. Carlisle. There should be some resistance in a shoe with a sturdy sole.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.