A multipurpose and stylish shoe, ballet flats are a flattering and fashionable look. They're more comfortable than high heels, but still as classy. But, 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.
Ballet flats are both a great office shoe as well as a stylish weekend option. They are a versatile look that pairs well with almost any outfit. 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.
This lack of support can be especially uncomfortable when you're walking to lunch, appointments, or you're out for a mid-day break. If you've ever walked any distance in flats, you know they aren’t great for an active lifestyle. After a long day in flats, all you want to do is put your feet up.
Wearing flats with good arch support is crucial for comfort and preventing pain or injury. But it can be really difficult to find flats that are constructed with any support at all.
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Hillary Brenner, likens ballet flats to cardboard: "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 many women wear flats daily, it isn’t long before they begin to notice the consequences. For women with sore feet or bad knees, ballet flats lacking support are an especially bad choice. So, how can you find the right ballet flats for flat feet?
Insoles for ballet flats can both provide the necessary arch support and make your favorite shoes more comfortable. While it may seem like your flats don't have room for arch support inserts, you can look for a 2/3 length insole that will do the trick.
The best insoles for ballet flats will:
Some shoe companies specialize in supportive shoes. A few make ballet flats. While these ballet flats with arch support will offer more support than regular flats, your best bet is still to add insoles for flats. That way your arch, heel and forefoot will always be fully supported.
Here are a few options to consider:
Women who have switched to these 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.
Even with the added arch support built into these ballet flats, after-market insoles are still a must. This issue is one that plagues most shoe manufacturers. Shoe companies are limited in the amount of support they can put into shoes - if they make the arches too high, some customers will find them uncomfortable. So, they make them lower to accommodate the largest number of people. 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.
Ballet flats aren’t the only day-wear option for women. If you've tried inserts for flats or new shoe brands and haven't found any success, consider trying a completely different style. Think about incorporating booties, loafers, and oxfords into your footwear wardrobe. These styles are office-appropriate and offer more support. Plus, thicker outsoles provide more cushioning and comfort.
But remember, it’s the support underneath your feet that makes the biggest difference in comfort. It might be counter-intuitive, but soft, cushy insoles actually aren't a good solution for foot pain as they don't offer the support that your feet need. Firm, well-fitting support inserts will provide more comfort in the long term and contribute to the health of your feet.
Looking great doesn't have to mean uncomfortable feet. You can wear stylish shoes that don’t ruin your knees, make your feet sore or result in bunions. Taking good care of your feet is important for their long-term health.
If you find that all you want to do when you get home from a day in your footwear is put your feet up, consider making a change. Add a pair of insoles for flats into your shoes and feel the difference in support and comfort.
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