Whether you're commuting to work, taking a stroll with your pups (or kitty), or jogging in Central Park, wearing shoes without arch support can be the endgame (no, we're not talking about Thanos snapping his fingers) for your feet. Without it, arch pain, strained muscles, knee pain, and collapsed arches (oh my) are likely to ensue. Luckily, the best arch support shoes exist, so we tapped an orthopedic surgeon to garner their input.
Best sneakers for arches, at a glance
- Best overall: Hoka, Clifton 9, $145
- Best for running: Asics, Gel-Kayano 29, $160
- Best versatile: New Balance, Fresh Foam X 1080v12, $160
- Best for plantar fasciitis: Vionic, Limitless Sneaker, $135
- Best slip-ons: OOFOS, OOMG Eezee Low Shoe, $130
- Best cross-training: Lululemon, Chargefeel 2 Workout Shoe, $138
- Best for road running: Brooks, Ghost 15, $140
- Best removable insoles: Sketchers, Arch Fit Glide, $95
Why is arch support important?
Before we dive in, why is arch support so important? For starters, it can prevent and manage foot injuries, according to Nam Tran, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon based in Dallas. "Arch support helps aid in achieving the proper biomechanical alignment of the foot that is needed for pain free walking," Dr. Tran says. "When our joints are positioned properly, it greatly decreases the likelihood of early onset arthritis, overuse injuries, and ligament/tendon injuries." The proper shoes can even help with knee pain.
Not all shoes are constructed equally, so before you swipe your credit card, Dr. Tran recommends checking out your inserts first. Supportive shoes will have inserts that have filler materials in the arch area. "If the insert does not have this and the inner floor of the shoe is flat, it is very possible that the shoe contains no arch support," he adds. So to prevent sole pain, check out these sneakers for foot pain.
What should you look for in a sneaker with arch support
"When looking for sneakers that support the arch, look for an insole that closely contours the bottom of your foot. If possible, try and find a sneaker with a deep heel cup to add stability and support. In severe cases, you can look into orthotics for even more comfort and support," says podiatrist Asim Sayed.
You also need to take into consideration what terrain you're going to be on and what distance you're covering, says Jacob Hascalovici, the Chief Medical Officer at Clearing and a board-certified pain specialist. "If you're running long distance, you may want more structured support in your sneakers" he says. "You’ll also want to consider whether your natural arch is high, 'normal,' or low. If you have low arches, you might want to experiment with stability shoes. If you have normal or high arches, more neutral sneakers may better fit your needs."
There are also different styles you can choose from. For a lace-up design, consider Hoka, Clifton 9. For slip-on sneakers, OOFOS OOMG Eezee Low Shoe is an easy-to-wear option. Some shoe brands with arch support include Hokas, Asics, New Balance, and more. And according to Dr. Tran, Vionic’s Limitless Sneaker is one of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis. And if you'll be wearing your kicks regularly, make sure you know how to wash sneakers (you’re more likely to wear your shoes when they’re clean!).
Best sneakers for arches
Receiving the seal of approval from the APMA for advancing good foot health, the Hoka Cliftons constantly rank on top. The newest iteration to hit the market, the Clifton 9s are lightweight, breathable (thank you mesh), and have a cushioned and responsive midsole that pads your feet during impact. All in all, “the Clifton is a great shoe that offers support as well as overall cushion,” says Dr. Tran.
Sizes available: 5-12, regular and wide
Colors and patterns available: 14
Weight: 7.3 oz
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
- Have EVA foam midsole
- Rocker-like sole for walking and running
- Cushion may be too squishy for some
Best for running
If your feet tend to roll inwards or you have fallen arches, Dr. Tran recommends the Asics Gel-Kayano. This lightweight shoe features the brand’s signature Litetruss structure, which prevents your feet from twisting and turning during movement, and a foam footbed that cushions your arches. Even more, the external heel counter cradles your feet and the knit outer layer keeps air flowing through (see ya, sweaty feet).
Sizes available: 5-13
Colors and patterns available: 11
Weight: 9.5 oz
Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm
- Absorbs shock
- Designed for overpronators
Lightweight, breathable, and supportive, the New Balance 1080s are “a great all-around shoe with lots of cushion and accommodation,” says Dr. Tran. The midsole is constructed out of foam, absorbing the shock so your joints and arches don’t have to, and the outer layer is constructed out of knit (so lightweight and breathable, that it feels like second skin). It comes in classic colors like white and black as well as Electric Purple, Vibrant Sky Blue, and Lime Green.
Sizes available: 5-13, standard, wide, and x-wide
Colors and patterns available: 12
Weight: 8.3 oz
Heel-to-toe drop: n/a
- Available in a variety of widths
- Has cushioned midsole
- Sizing runs large
Best for plantar fasciitis
With a reinforced heel, cushioned sole, and breathable mesh, there’s no limit on the distance you can go with these kicks. The soles were engineered to hug and support the natural curvature of your arches, and the shoe has a motion forward design to propel you into your next step, making it a great option, especially “for patients that may be suffering from painful conditions like plantar fasciitis,” says Dr. Tran. Plus, it has a durable rubber sole to maintain traction with every step.
Sizes available: 5-11
Colors and patterns available: 3
Heel-to-toe drop: n/a
- Ideal for walking and cross-training
- Rubber sole
- May not be ideal for people with wide feet
For a more casual shoe, the OOFOS low shoe can also be a great option for arch support, says Dr. Sayed. These slip-on sneakers are made of a stretchy, canvas-like material, and use proprietary foam to absorb impact. “The OOFOS footbed is designed to cradle your foot arch and provide optimal shock absorption,” he says.
Sizes available: 5-12
Colors and patterns available: 6
Heel-to-toe drop: n/a
- Slip-on design
- Great for recovery
- Absorbs impact
- May run small for some
These lululemon shoes are a good workout or cross training option, says Dr. Sayed. They have a bouncy and cushioned midsole, a flexible upper, and they’re designed for a female foot. Not to mention, little to no break-in time is required, according to Lululemon shoppers. Whether you’re wearing them for running, training, or walking around, they’ll keep your feet feeling supported.
Sizes available: 5-12, in half sizes
Colors and patterns available: 4
Weight: 9.1 oz
Heel-to-toe drop: 9.5 mm
- Offers support for running and training
- Includes 30-day trial
- Runs small for some
Best for road running
The Brooks Ghost 15 shoes have a lighter foam that makes them feel lightweight yet still cushioned, and are designed to help your feet make smooth transitions on the ground, making them the perfect shoe for hitting the road. The upper is breathable mesh and made partly of recycled materials, too. Road or pavement, the Ghost 15 is here for the ride.
Sizes available: 5-13, in half sizes and four widths
Colors and patterns available: 41
Weight: 9.1 oz
Heel-to-toe drop: 12 mm
- Made of recycled materials and water bottles
- Cushioned midsole
- May be too roomy for some
Best removable insole
Dr. Lobkova recommends the Arch Fit Glide Step for its arch-supporting insole, which is removable and can be replaced with a custom orthotic if you choose. This style boasts foot-friendly features like a cushioned midsole, grippy rubber sole, and breathable mesh. Even more, the entire shoe is crafted out of 100 percent vegan materials.
Sizes available: 5-11, in half sizes
Colors and patterns available: 2
Heel-to-toe drop: n/a
- More affordable compared to others on the list
- Removable insole
- Rubber sole
- May fit narrow for some
Frequently asked questions
1. Do Hokas, Brooks, or New Balance shoes have good arch support?
They can, but it depends on the style you choose. Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York, says that arch support can only be provided by the insole of the shoe. "Arch support appears as a supportive bump inside of the insole around the area of the midfoot/arch," she says. If your shoe lacks arch support, placing an over-the-counter or custom-made orthotic can help. "The orthotics would replace the thin and soft removable existing insole in the sneaker," adds Lobkova.
2. Do podiatrists recommend Hoka shoes?
In addition to receiving American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of acceptance, "many podiatrists recommend Hoka One sneakers," says Dr. Lobkova. "They offer a lot of cushioning, which is great for high-impact activities, such as running." Dr. Lobkova adds that Hoka One sneakers are great for city dwellers because they have rocker-bottom technology, which helps with efficient walking. Not to mention, they're super lightweight.
3. Are Skechers approved by podiatrists?
Podiatrists approve many Skechers styles now. When the brand launched back in 1992, Dr. Lobkova says the sneakers were very flexible, offering no midsole rigidity with minimal cushioning—which made them unpopular in the podiatry community. "We commonly saw pathology such as overuse injuries and fractures when people wore Skechers sneakers," says Dr. Lobkova. "However, it seems to me that Skechers sneakers have evolved with the changing trends. There are Skechers styles that offer more midsole rigidity, cushioning, and even a rigid heel counter."
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