Arch angels: what shoes to choose to support your arch

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Arch angels: what shoes to choose to support your arch

Everyone has unique feet and, because of this, the fit of a shoe can vary according to arch type and size. People with flat arches will usually need insoles for support and those with high arches are the opposite. Both require some form of shoe assistance, which can be difficult to figure out.

Ladies’ shoes are often more diverse in the way of arch support, providing options for flat arches, high arches and in-between arches. Figuring out which shoes to wear entails discovering what arch your feet have.


What type of arch do you have?

Those with little to no arch will find it is very obvious to see their lack of arch. The sole of your foot will rest almost entirely on the floor, but if you are unsure about the type of arch your feet have, there is a test you can do.

Dip the bottom of your foot in water, and take a normal stride over a surface that allows you to see your footprint clearly. Flat feet with low arches will have little to no curve from the big toe to the heel, and feet with higher arches will have a thing strip from the heel to the ball of the foot.


What to look for in shoes

Once you have discovered what arch type you have, you can make a better decision when choosing shoes.

For people with high arches, finding gentle support can be difficult, but, if you feel inside the shoe, you should feel a raised aspect in the middle. This means that there is support for your arch. If you struggle to find shoes such as this, then look for shoes that provide mid-foot and ankle support.

If you have flat arches, when you slide your foot inside a shoe, you should feel the entire aspect of the shoe against your sole. It should feel as though your foot is being hugged. The shoes may feel uncomfortable at first but over time they will feel as though you are walking on air.


What shoes to choose

There are some simple techniques to follow to choose the perfect shoe for your arch, which can help you to choose the perfect sandals, heels or even running shoes.


  • Match your shoes to your activity: Are you buying shoes for gym, for work or for fun? Any one of these activities will help you to decide which shoes to choose and, consequently, what aspect the shoe should have. If you have a high arch, high heels will feel comfortable, but for flatter feet you may battle to wear these with confidence and ease.


  • Get the best fit: If you are looking for perfectly fitting shoes, there are some tips to follow to make sure the shoes still fit you after you have tried them on at the store:
    • Do not go to the store after you have been sitting for too long or walking around all day. This causes your feet to swell and the shoes may feel too tight, causing you to buy too large of a shoe.
    • If buying shoes for exercise, it is important to keep in mind that your feet will swell as you move and your socks will soak up perspiration. You should choose running or gym shoes that are half a size larger to cater for this.
    • You should avoid trying on shoes if you feel as though you are experiencing water retention as your shoes will feel larger and will not fit correctly.


  • Flat arches: If you have flat arches, you should look for shoes with motion-control and extra stability to avoid over-pronation (the inward rolling of your ankle). These aspects may help you to avoid over-pronation, which can cause knee injury.


  • High arches: For high arches, you will need to look for a shoe with extra cushioning in the midsole, which will absorb the impact endured when your feet hit the ground. High arches often lead to under-pronation, which reduces the surface area that absorbs impact when running or walking, causing knee, hip and back pain.


Choose shoes to suit you

After you have taken everything into consideration, including your arch type and what activity you will be using your shoes for, the most important things to consider are your own comfort and happiness. If you are happy wearing decorative high heels, regardless of your flat feet, be sure to wear an insole for support. If your feet are happy and comfortable, you will be too. So, remember to try before your buy, and you will be stepping out with a smile in no time.


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