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Boots Can Cause Major Damage to Your Feet if You Need Arch Support—These Are Podiatrist-Approved

Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Kimmel
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled with foot pain from wearing uncomfortable shoes—specifically boots. That’s pretty much all of us, but especially those with high arch feet, which is why you're probably here. Looking for the best boots with arch support—and we'll get to that soon! One of the most common foot issues, high arches is something that is inherited genetically, but can also be caused by a medical condition. High arches can make certain types of shoes, like boots, more painful to wear, and wearing the wrong ones can also contribute to further issues down the line.

Best boots with arch support at-a-glance

So, how do you know if you have high arches? According to Chanel J. Perkins, DPM, it’s basically the opposite of having flat feet. “A high arched foot is going to produce a footprint where the toes, ball of the foot, lateral portion of the foot and the heel are the only structures visualized, showing that more weight is exerted on the ball of the foot and the heel,” she explains. “The arch makes no contact with the ground and does not flatten out with weight bearing.” In medical terms, this particular foot type is called “cavus foot.”

Unfortunately, having high arches can make your feet susceptible to problems such as plantar fasciitis, which is characterized by pain and inflammation in the bottom of your foot. “The wrong shoe can cause plantar fasciitis, aka heel pain, midfoot instability, aka, arch pain, and Achilles tendonitis, aka, leg ankle,” says Najwa Javed, DPM and founder of E'MAR Italy. Perkins adds, “Patients will also present with callouses on the ball of the foot and may also develop hammertoes.”

While there are options like orthopedic inserts, you can also simply look for boots with arch support and proper cushioning. Perkins says to keep an eye out for sturdy boots with a heel lift or wedge. “The wider the heel, the better for increased stability,” she says. “I would recommend heels no more than four inches. Lace-up boots are great because there is a greater opportunity for ankle support. A boot designed with a heel or a wedge will naturally contour to a high arched foot.” Meanwhile, she says to avoid styles that are completely flat since these will offer no support for high arches.

In general, Javed says to look for shoes with three main features: the sole should be semi-stiff; it should have at least a one inch heel counter, since the elevated heel can help with reducing the arch strain; and it should have semi-rigid arch contact. “Every shoe that has a stiff material along the arch is great for anti-pronation, like the Birkenstock. Having too much pronation can cause severe arch collapse and lead to many issues.

Adds Dr. Ashley Lee, DPM, of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, while good boots should have a rigid sole that isn't easily bendable in the arch, you should still be able to point and flex your foot.

Ahead, you’ll find podiatrist-approved boots that will offer proper arch support so your feet can be pain-free, including the best boots for plantar fasciitis (in case that’s something you’re already dealing with). Oh, and if the idea of only wearing these types of shoes is disheartening, Javed has some good news: “The key is to use supportive shoes 80 percent of the time so that you can wear other varieties of shoes the other 20 percent, and not cause damage to your feet.” (That good old 80/20 rule!)

Best women's boots with arch support

elle boot
Best chunky heel: Free People Elle Boot — $198.00

Looking for a stylish, classic boot that comes in a variety of color options (Chocolate, Vintage Oak Leather, and Taupe Leather) AND offers support? Perkins says that although the heel is a little high, it’s nice and wide making it an overall good choice. This chunky-heeled boot has a back zip closure for easy fitting, and is made with leather upper and lining with a rubber sole.

  • Materials: leather, rubber
  • Sizes: 6-11
  • Colors: black, chocolate, taupe, beige, natural
Women's Saltwater Quilted Duck Boot
Best duck boot: Sperry Saltwater Quilted Duck Boot — $50.00

These all-weather boots are sleek, with a quilted design and water-resistant rubber shell for versatility. There are raw hide laces as well as a size zipper to make them easy to put on and take off. They fit like a shoe but have support like a boot, says Dr. Lee.

  • Materials: leather or nylon, fleece, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: various

Best winter boots with arch support

dkny lug sole boot
Best Chelsea: DKNY Contrast Lug Sole Chelsea Boot — $279.00

With a striking red sole, this Donna Karan lug boot is a must for your winter wishlist. Not only does Perkins say it has great arch support throughout, but it’s an excellent boot for walking around all day (especially in the city or if you do a lot of walking on pavement). The DKNY lug sole Chelsea boot features a stylish high top that gives the perfect height for any outfit, a web panel design on the sides, and a closed round toe. The upper is made of 100 percent leather, the outsole is constructed of rubber, and the lining is crafted with pure polyurethane.

  • Materials: leather, rubber, polyurethane
  • Sizes: 6-10
  • Colors: black, black/red
Sorel Women’s Joan of Arctic Lite Hiker Boot
Best lightweight winter: Sorel Women’s Joan of Arctic Lite Hiker Boot — $210.00

These hiking boots will protect your feet from the outside elements all while offering comfort for your arches. These are nice and lightweight, which makes them ideal for packing. And although they’re on the lighter side, they still offer 100g insulation and warmth (thanks to their microfleece lining and seam-sealed waterproof craftsmanship). You’ll also find that they’re supremely comfortable, thanks to their EVA footbed, which gives you a bouncy step. Wear them in rain or snow—SOREL’s scallop sole will give you the traction you need to combat any kind of rough weather. Bonus: They also come in four different colors.

  • Materials: waterproof suede/leather, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: black, sea salt
UGG Adirondack III Waterproof Bootie
Best waterproof winter: UGG Adirondack III Waterproof Bootie — $250.00

Whether you’re walking in the rain or the snow, these UGG boots will keep your feet warm, cozy, and dry. Dr. Lee says not only are these waterproof with good arch support, but they also fit like a shoe, making them extra comfortable. With faux fur lining, these boots will be your go-to cold weather shoe. They come in five different colors.

  • Materials: leather, wool/faux fur, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: black, chestnut
Columbia Ice Maiden II Boot
Best for snow sports: Columbia Ice Maiden II Boot — $100.00

With a supportive midsole and advanced traction, these Columbia boots are ready for any adventure in the snow and beyond. They have a waterproof leather and textile upper and waterproof seam construction to keep the wet out. And they’re lightweight and have insulation to keep your feet warm without weighing them down. Dr. Lee says they’re not only comfortable, but also easy to walk in.

  • Materials: Waterproof leather and textile, rubber
  • Sizes: 5–12
  • Colors: black, elk, cordovan, new cinder, shale
Bogs Arcata Knit Boot
Best moisture-wicking: Bogs Arcata Knit Boot — $165.00

Let’s face it: walking in long socks and boots can make your feet pretty sweaty. These Bogs boots have sweat-wicking technology and odor control, to make sure your feet stay fresh and dry. They have handles on the side so you don’t have to struggle getting them on and off your feet, and Dr. Lee says the outer sole is more stable than other Bog styles, which makes these great for traction.

  • Materials: Knit upper, 7mm Neo-Tech insulation, faux fur lining
  • Sizes: 6–12
  • Colors: black, gray

Best boots for plantar fasciitis

vivaia boots
Best for plantar fasciitis: Vivaia Tammy Boot — $149.00

These boots give witchy vibes while keeping your feet warm. Even better? They provide comfort for anyone dealing with painful soles. They’re designed with an environmentally-friendly wool weave fabric and plastic bottles, and feature subtle square toes for a more distinct look. The soft knit uppers are extremely breathable, so you can wear these all day long, and your feet won’t feel stuffy. They’ve also got anti-slip rubber outsoles, so no need to worry about easily slipping in cold and wet weather.

  • Materials: eco-friendly wool, rubber
  • Sizes: EU 35-42
  • Colors: black, tan

 

olive la boots
Best splurge: Nicholas Kirkwood Casati Leather Chelsea Boot — $1,095.00

Did someone say Chelsea boot with a twist? These oversized pearls add a fanciful touch to a boot that’s comfortable for plantar fasciitis sufferers. Made of 100 percent calf leather, these boots are made for walking, yes, but they’re also made to last. Make sure to spot clean.

  • Materials: calf leather, rubber
  • Sizes: 7-10
  • Colors: black

Best hiking boots with arch support

proenza hiking boot
Best platform heel: Proenza Schouler City Platform Lace-Up Boot — $615.00

Perkins says that hiking boots in general offer excellent support for the ankle and the heel—though this Proenza Schouler pair might be too pretty to hike in. Its upper is crafted of textile material with a synthetic sole (the insole is removable).

  • Materials: textile, synthetic sole
  • Sizes: 5-11
  • Colors: natural

 

dr scholls
Best wedge heel: Dr. Scholl's Lada Wedge Hiking Boot — $49.00

This boot is great for high arches and PERFECT for people with plantar fasciitis, according to Perkins. “I love that it has a wedge which supports the fascia ligament throughout its entire course,” she says. Bonus: These microfiber lace-ups are made with a plant-based BLOOM foam insole, which gives extra support. That wedge-heel sole is what you’re looking for when it comes to supreme lift.

  • Materials: microsuede or fabric made from recycled bottles, heel made from recycled materials
  • Sizes: 6.5-11
  • Colors: black, olive

Best lace-up boots with arch support

vionic boot
Best eco-friendly: Vionic Lani Lace-Up Boot — $170.00

These chic, leather combat boots pair well with anything from dresses to jeans. “The Vionic brand was developed by a Podiatrist and approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association,” says Perkins. “You can’t go wrong with this brand!” It’s recommended that you break these in for a few hours (we suggest wearing thicker socks to stretch the leather a bit) before walking around in them. This is best practice for just about any shoe, but especially for orthotic shoes.

  • Materials: microsuede or fabric made from recycled bottles, heel made from recycled materials
  • Sizes: 5-10
  • Colors: cream, black, red
tory burch boots
Best lace-up: Tory Burch T-Hardware Lug Sole Boot — $229.00

Available in cream or red, these lug boots are comfortable enough to walk around town in all day long. The chunky lug sole gives support while the boot itself has a more slim design that hugs your ankles. It’s a great boot for pairing with a pair of jeans or a winter maxi dress.

  • Materials: leather, suede, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-10
  • Colors: plum, black

 

Best ankle boots with arch support

kaylee vionic boot
Best sock boot: Vionic Kaylee Ankle Boot — $58.00

Don’t be fooled by the three-inch heel. You’ll never guess these stylish suede booties have orthopedic support. They’re also weather-resistant, thanks to the treated suede material. Easily slide them on using the side zipper—your feet won’t get sweaty, since it features an injected insole with an airy sock.

  • Materials: suede, textile, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-11
  • Colors: black, olive, taupe, toffee
dr scholls ankle boots
Best ankle: Dr. Scholl’s Laurence Ankle Boot — $68.00

Not only are these Dr. Scholl’s boots comfy and supportive, they’re also sustainably made from recycled bottles. Made from microsuede, these chunky boots are sleek, stylish, and they’re versatile enough to pair with any ensemble.

  • Materials: microsuede or fabric made from recycled bottles
  • Sizes: 6-11
  • Colors: black, chocolate, olive

Best riding boots with arch support

vera riding boot
Best leather riding boot: Aetrex Vera Riding Boot — $230.00

These tall boots will look incredible with leggings or jeans, and offer ample support thanks to its cushioned footbed and Aetrex’s renown arch support. These leather boots feature a side-zip closure for slipping on and off.

  • Materials: leather, synthetic rubber
  • Sizes: 5-10
  • Colors: black
dr scholls riding boot
Best faux leather riding boot: Dr. Scholl's Brilliance Riding Boot — $70.00

These knee-high boots have memory foam insoles and are available in a wider calf option. Made of synthetic leather (including the sole), this is a great option if you’re looking for a vegan option.

  • Materials: synthetic leather, memory foam
  • Sizes: 6-11
  • Colors: black, brown, whiskey
Naturalizer Reed Riding Boot
Best wide riding boot: Naturalizer Reed Riding Boot — $160.00

These tall boots have dual buckles for dual fun and a side zip closure. Dr. Lee likes these riding boots because they’re made of soft leather, so they’re not too rigid. They also have good arch support and come in medium and wide sizes.

  • Materials: leather, textile, synthetic sole
  • Sizes: 4.5-12, regular and wide calf
  • Colors: black, cinnamon

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