Athleisure Wear

6 Podiatrist-Approved Sandals for Women With Arch Support (P.S. Yes, They’re Actually Cute)

As summer turns the corner, bringing with it plans of BBQs, picnics, beach days, and evening strolls galore, it's important to find a pair of sandals with arch support that will keep your feet comfortable and supported throughout the day. If you're at a loss for where to start, a safe choice is to purchase a sandal that carries the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) seal of approval, says Miguel Cunha, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York City and founder of Gotham Footcare.

Aside from that, knowing what key elements to look for in a supportive sandal—and the red flags to stay away from—is the next best thing. There are three primary factors to pay attention to when shopping for sandals, according to Dr. Cunha: the arch, the heel, and the width. "I recommend a sandal that has an arch incorporated into its design to provide support, shock absorption, and minimize discomfort," he says.

Best Sandals with Arch Support At-a-Glance

Reasons Why Arch Support is Important

Without a built-in arch, the footbed would be flat, which can also contribute to pronation (an excessive inward rolling of your feet when you walk) and collapse of the arch which may result in plantar (bottom of the foot) and posterior heel pain, shin splints, knee pain, and back pain, Dr. Cunha explains. In addition, it's important to make sure that the sandal doesn't bend easily and is not flimsy or flat in the middle.

As for the heel: If you are looking for a pair of sandals that have a little bit of height to 'em, Dr. Cunha recommends opting for a platform. "It allows you to increase height without compensating the arch," he says. Sandals with no more than a 3/4-inch heel are also a good option because that height takes away a lot of the stress from the achilles tendon which can, in turn, lessen the effect of pronation.

Opting for a sandal with a heel over a 3/4 inch throws your posture and the biomechanics of your stride off. The resulting misalignment can lead to pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and back, Dr. Cunha explains. Should you have your heart set on a sandal with a kitten (read: small) heel, try finding a pair with an ankle strap to increase stability, reduce the probability of twisted or sprained ankles, and help support the shoe on the foot, eliminating the need for your toes to grip onto the sole.

Finally, the width of your sandal is also important. Bunions, hammer toes, neuromas (pinched nerves between your toes), and ingrown toenails can all caused by not having enough space for your forefoot in your shoes. To figure out what width is best for you, Dr. Cunha suggests you try this: "Trace your foot onto a piece of paper at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen, then place the shoe over the tracing of the foot," he says. "If the tracing of the foot is external to the periphery of the shoe, then you know that your shoes are too narrow." When trying on shoes, it's always best to make sure that they fit at the end of the day, when your feet are the most swollen, to ensure the most accurate fit.

Stylish, podiatrist-recommended sandals with arch support

Best platform: Vionic Brielle Flatform Sandal — $120.00

Biomechanically designed to hug your arches, these sandals are crafted to help support your natural alignment, gait, and posture from the ground up. The leather top straps also help to keep your foot in place as you walk, limiting foot strain and over extension.

  • Materials: leather, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-11
  • Colors: black, white
Best for outdoor: Chaco Chillos Sport — $45.00

One key factor to look out for when picking out a supportive sandal that you can wear all day is a back strap. These ultra-light (they even float!) sandals feature an elastic one that’s easy to pull on and off, but will also ensure that your foot stays put. Additionally, the American Podiatric Medical Association even touts the shoe’s corrective footbeds, engineered with Chaco’s LUVSEAT arch-support, for being supremely comfortable and great for a whole range of outdoor activities.

  • Materials: polyester, EVA
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: various
Best arch support: Timberland Malibu Waves Sandal — $60.00

These durable sandals are stylish, come in three different colors, and are made using sustainably sourced leather. The best part is that their lightweight OrthoLite® footbed was designed to mimic your foot’s natural arch, for all-day comfort.

  • Materials: leather, EVA, cork, rubber
  • Sizes: 6-10
  • Colors: black
Best leather: Bernardo 1946 Carlita — $99.00

If you’re looking for a style that looks elevated but feels like a slipper, this comfy, black pair is for you. The quilted leather upper is pillow soft; the adjustable straps are easy to take on and off and keep your foot locked in place; and the chunky rubber sole is lightweight.

  • Materials: leather, EVA, cork, rubber
  • Sizes: 6-11
  • Colors: black
Best thong: ABEO B.I.O.system Beth Neutral — $80.00

Another option with the AMPA seal of approval, this sandal has the effortless style of a flip flop with the support of a shoe built with a custom orthotic. The ABEO B.I.O.system digitally fits shoes to your feet using scanning technology that calculates the optimum footbed construction for you.

  • Materials: synthetic leather, EVA, microsuede, rubber
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: black, natural
Best shock absorbent: Naot Kayla — $140.00

With almost 1,000 five-star reviews on Zappos, these three-strap sandals are comfortable, adjustable, and crafted from natural leather that is durable and will keep your feet fresh on the sweatiest of days. The shock absorbent footpad is great for long walks and encouraging a natural and correct posture.

  • Materials: leather, cork, rubber
  • Sizes: 4-13
  • Colors: various

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