How To Make Ballet Flats More Comfortable And Supportive

by Mark Paigen


Insoles For Ballet Flats

A multipurpose and stylish shoe, ballet flats are a flattering and fashionable look.  However, despite their fashion versatility, most ballet flats don’t have any arch support. Wearing shoes without support can lead to discomfort and unexpected health consequences, putting a dark cloud over the seemingly perfect daytime shoe.

Unstructured Isn't Always Comfortable

Ballet flats are perfect for the office environment as they look great with most outfits. Plus, they’re more comfortable than high heels. Unlike heels, flats distribute your weight evenly over your foot, so you are less likely to develop conditions like hammer toe, bunions, or even stress fractures. While flats allow your foot to be flat on the ground, they still don't provide the structure your feet need. Most flats have thin soles, provide little or no shock absorption, and have minimal arch support.

In city environments where we often walk to lunch or appointments, the lack of support is uncomfortable. Anyone who has walked any distance in flats knows that they aren’t great for an active lifestyle. It’s no wonder that after a long day, all you want to do is put your feet up. Finding flats with good arch support is crucial for comfort and preventing pain or injury.

Ballet Flats with Arch Support – Insoles Can Prevent Injury

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Hillary Brenner likens ballet flats to cardboard as “there’s no arch support whatsoever.” In fact, women who wear unsupportive shoes like these face some risks. Overpronation – when your foot rolls too far inward and your arch collapses – is one of them. The condition can cause sore feet, and it puts you at higher risk for foot injuries. Other possible problems include knee and hip pain and plantar fasciitis.

The less supportive your footwear, the higher your risk of overpronation. Since women often wear flats daily, it isn’t long before they begin to notice the consequences. For women with sore feet or bad knees, ballet flats that lack support are an especially bad choice. So how can you find the right ballet flats for flat feet?

Add Insoles to the Ballet Flats You Already Own

Luckily, shoe inserts for flats can both provide the necessary arch support and make your shoes more comfortable. Stride insoles are some of the best inserts for ballet flats. Our insoles will add the support and cushioning your flats lack – and your feet deserve. The flexible, molded arch support adds alignment, and the super resilient foam adds cushioning. Adding insoles will transform your shoes into ballet flats with arch support.

While it may seem like your flats don’t have room for an over-the-counter insole, the new, thinner 2/3 length Short will easily slip into a flat. The best way to make sure your insole will fit inside the flat is to try the shoes on in a brick-and-mortar store. Bring your insoles with you. Going up a half a size might be necessary, but the insole will prevent any slipping.

More Supportive Ballet Flats

Some shoe companies specialize in supportive shoes. A few make ballet flats. These ballet flats with arch support will offer more support than regular flats. But we still recommend using a pair of Stride insoles inside your flats to fully support the arch, heel, and forefoot.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Tieks combine style, comfort, and support. They come in countless colors and patterns. They’re also on Oprah’s highly-coveted O-List. They feature thin rubber soles and can fold up to easily fit in your bag.
  • Earthies are another great brand of ballet flats with support. Earthies specialize in truly walkable footwear. They have many styles to choose from and are available online and in stores.
  • Aetrex offers a supportive ballet flat called the Erica that is popular for its soft leather, stylish design, and supportive arch contour. It has been approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
  • Cobb Hill Ella CH blends a stylish slip-on with the comfort of a New Balance sneaker.

Women who have switched to supportive ballet flats give these brands rave reviews. Replacing an entire shoe collection is expensive, so think about changing a pair at a time. Save your less-supportive shoes for occasional use.

One of the reasons these ballet flats with arch support still need after-market insoles is one that plagues most shoe manufacturers. Shoe companies are limited in the amount of support they can put into shoes. If the arches are too aggressive, it will turn some customers away. Thus “normal” footwear has minimal support to accommodate all feet. Even footwear that is sold as “supportive” is usually not sufficient for those looking for serious support.

Flats or Other Cute Styles? Insoles Work for Both

Ballet flats aren’t the only day-wear option for women. If insoles or new brands aren’t the answer, consider trying a completely different style. Some great styles to consider are booties, loafers, and oxfords. These styles are office-appropriate and offer more support. Thicker outsoles provide more cushioning and comfort.

But remember, our thin Short makes it as easy to put arch-supporting insoles into a pair of flats as into more voluminous shoe styles. It’s the support underneath your feet that makes the biggest difference in comfort. It might be counter-intuitive, but soft, cushy insoles are not the solution. Firm, well-fitting support will provide more comfort in the long term and contribute to the health of your feet.

A Stylish Outfit Starts With a Great Foundation

Beauty doesn’t have to result in pain. Working women can wear stylish shoes that don’t ruin their knees or make their feet sore. Your feet are part of your body and need to be taken care of. Remember, a little attention to your feet can do wonders.

If you come home from work and just want to put your feet up, you might want to consider making a change. Slipping a pair of insoles into your ballet flats will make your feet will be forever grateful.

The most attractive outfits are worn by comfortable, confident women. And comfort starts with a supportive foundation. Give your feet the support they deserve.


Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen

2 Responses


June 01, 2018

Birkenstocks makes Evo shoes which are a foam sandal/flip flop in their Madrid style … a single band slide shoe which is weightless. I have very high arches and these have enough support to keep my feet feeling great all day long, every day. Only thing is they are slippery if you get caught in the rain.

Charissa Huie
Charissa Huie

September 27, 2015

I use Vionics a lot. I over-pronate and their footbeds are just perfect. I am trying out your insoles to see if I will be able to put them into my ballet-flats/flat work shoes that I already have. However, my wish is to someday see flip-flops and/or non-granny looking sandals with your kind of arch support! Please!!!!

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