The Best Insoles For Flat Feet & High Arches - Arch Support Insoles

by Mark Paigen May 22, 2015

20 Comments

The Best Insoles for Flat Feet

As someone who has had very high arches all her life, I should have been wearing orthotic insoles from the beginning. But I wasn't. Only when I joined Tread Labs did I try on orthotic insoles and understand just what a difference they make in foot support. I found that the Stride's high arch model worked perfectly. My best friend is the complete opposite with extremely flat feet. She was shocked how much the Stride insole improved comfort.

How could one insole provide optimal support for such different foot types? The answer is in the arch. No matter your arch height, there's an arch-support insole that can help both relieve and prevent many types of foot pain.

When seeking out the best insoles for flat feet or high arches, you of course need to know your arch height. If you don't already know, there's an easy way to find out. 

The Footprint, Arch-Height Wet Test

Use this very easy footprint test to determine your arch height.

  1. Fill your tub with a small layer of water.
  2. Take two pieces of cardboard or heavy paper and set them on the floor. 
  3. Step into the tub with one foot to wet the bottom of your foot.
  4. Lift up your foot and step onto one cardboard piece. Make sure to stand with your full weight on that one foot.
  5. Step off the cardboard and look down.
  6. Determine your arch height.If you see your entire footprint, you have a LOW arch. If you see half of your arch—like the typical "footprint in the sand" image—you have a MODERATE (normal) arch. If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot and almost none of your arch, you have a HIGH arch. 
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for the second foot to confirm that your arch heights are the same on both feet. 

See examples of what the various footprints look like here: 

the best insoles for flat feet or high arches

Determining your arch height is just the first step to understanding how insoles help each type of arch.

Free Fit Guide: Discover the Most Comfortable Insoles For Your Flat Feet or High Arches
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    The Best Insoles for Flat Feet - How Arch Support Insoles Help

    When you have flat feet, the entire bottom of your foot (the sole) touches the ground when you’re standing. Flat feet often occur when your arches don’t develop properly as you’re growing up or if you overpronate. They can also develop as you age or after a foot injury. For women, pregnancy can cause flat feet.

    For some people, flat feet don’t cause any difficulties. But for others, they can cause:

    • Pain in the heel (plantar fasciitis) or in the arch
    • Swelling along the inside of your ankle
    • Knee and hip problems

    The best insoles for flat feet will fully support your arch and stabilize your heel to concentrate the fatty pad underneath your heel bone. This will both prevent overpronation and provide firm support. Typically, the best insoles for flat feet will have a low but supportive arch. However, you should try different heights to determine which one will adequately support your feet.

    Moderate Arches — You Still Need Support

    If your arch is neither low nor high, you have the most common foot type — moderate. Hooray, you're normal! But that doesn't mean you don't need arch support. In fact, it's the opposite. Your feet still need support to prevent overpronation. Plus, all feet benefit from support when you're exercising. Runners, walkers, and cyclists particularly need additional arch support.

    High ArchSupport is Here

    High arches are usually inherited and you have them from birth. If you develop a high arch in just one foot over the years or see just one high arch when you look at your footprint instead of two, please check with your doctor. The difference could be a neurological issue.

    Typically, high arches alone don’t cause pain, but they can result in underpronation (more commonly known as supination). As a supinator, your arches don't collapse enough to absorb the shock of walking/running, which puts stress on your feet and can lead to:

    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Sore knees
    • Sore hips

    Insoles provide support for high arches and help prevent supination. Tread Labs Stride offers one of the best insoles for high arches. It fully supports the arch and stabilizes the heel with a deep heel cup, which concentrates the fatty pad underneath your heel bone.

    Note: If you have high arches, you may think that you need the highest possible insole, but you should try a couple of arch heights in your insoles to see which one will support your feet best.

    They Key to Happy Feet is in the Arch

    Arch support insoles are they key to happy feet

    Supportive arch support insoles can dramatically increase foot comfort and improve sports performance. By preventing overpronation, they can reduce foot fatigue, alleviate or prevent plantar fasciitis, and increase stride length. For maximum benefit, the insole must fit well and be durable enough to maintain its shape, even after hard use. The best arch support insoles are the ones that offer firm support and a perfect fit. We'll start at the heel.

    1. Pronounced Heel Cup – The insole should cup the heel effectively. There is a fatty pad under the heel bone that helps cushion each step. Concentrating the pad beneath the heel is a great way to optimize the body's natural shock absorbing ability. For best results, look for a deeper heel cup.
    2. Rear Foot Support – It is the rear third of the arch that is most important for pronation control. The "calcaneal shelf" is the control point (and where the plantar fascia connects to the bone). Properly supporting this structure does wonders for comfort. Many times the arch of an orthotic will feel especially supportive in this area.
    3. Arch Extension – Without support under the rest of the arch, pressure points can build up under the rear of the foot. The forward section of the arch should also feel support. Ideally the support will feel like a broad ramp – smooth and uniform.
    4. Firm and Dynamic Support – Insoles that deflect easily beneath your feet will not provide long-term comfort. At the same time, the arch support insole must flex like a spring to work in concert with the foot. You should be able to press the arch down, but not easily.
    5. Volume Appropriate – Ideally there is an insole in your shoe that can be taken out to make room for your new arch supports. After-market insoles should not make your shoes tight enough that your feet feel constricted. If this is the case, look for the lowest profile inserts or more appropriate footwear.

    The absolute best way to get a great fit is to try arch support insoles with a variety of contours and configurations. Though it may take a few days to insure that your choice is correct, your feet (and legs, hips and back) will tell you when you've made the right choice.

    Insoles for Everyone

    give your feet the comfort they deserve

    No matter your arch height, insoles like the Stride will dramatically increase comfort by supporting the bones of your foot for an efficient stride. Do yourself a favor and see what arch support can do to improve your outlook and your day.
    Mark Paigen
    Mark Paigen


    20 Responses

    Dan- Tread Labs
    Dan- Tread Labs

    August 02, 2018

    Hi Colleen,
    The cost of custom orthotics can be extremely high, and we’ve found that many people with foot discomfort can receive many of the same benefits from using an over the counter orthotic such as Tread Labs insoles.
    The use of an arch supporting insole can help realign the foot and help control pronation issues, resulting in relief from bunion discomfort as well as helping to prevent their re occurrence.
    One of the great features of the Tread Labs insoles is that you can use all three styles of top covers on the same orthotic (arch support), allowing you to use the insoles in a wide variety of footwear, by simply changing the top covers. This is an easy and inexpensive way to provide great support as well as a fantastic fit and feel in all of your footwear.
    Please give us a call at 781-435-0662 if we can answer any further questions you may have.
    Thanks,
    Dan

    Colleen
    Colleen

    August 02, 2018

    I have a bunion on my right foot and have high arches. It’s not severe but is causing pain in my arch and the ball of my foot. I don’t have a bunion, yet, on my left foot but have overpronation ? I’ve been to a podiatrist, who creeped me out, and he wants to cast my foot for an orthotic at the cost of $425.00 for just my right foot. He also wrapped my arch to see if it helped reduce the pain which it did but only minimally. I would like to try Tread Labs orthotics but am not sure which one is best for my shoes. I wear New Balance running shoes with a removeable innersole. I’m not a runner so I’m not looking for that kind of support. I also wear flats with and without innersoles, Keds w/o removeable innersole and in the winter I wear Clarkes Desert boots with no innersole. I can’t afford to by all 3 orthotics adn am hoping you can suggest one that will work for most of my shoes.

    Dan-Tread Labs
    Dan-Tread Labs

    July 11, 2018

    Hi Harrison,
    Thanks for taking an interest in Tread Labs.
    For runners, using an insole with a combination of flexibility, cushion and support is what we have found to be the best recipe for success. The flexibility of Tread Labs insoles work with the foots natural mechanics. The 4mm thick cushioning of our Stride insole is ideal for the high impact of running, and supporting the arch will prevent foot fatigue and injuries.
    Please let me know if I can assist in any way or help answer any other questions you may have.
    Thanks,
    Dan-Tread Labs

    Harrison Maynes
    Harrison Maynes

    July 11, 2018

    Hi there, I am a bit confused when it comes to the combination of running shoes and orthotics for high arch foot types. I read that the running shoes need to be highly cushioned and flexible with not much or no support is this correct? Whereas with orthotics high arches need a lot of arch support so it’s kind of the opposite…this is a really great website btw!

    Dan, Tread Labs
    Dan, Tread Labs

    April 18, 2018

    Hi John,
    The discomfort and fatigue you’re experiencing in your back could be directly related to your flat feet. By supporting the arch you become more aligned, this helps take pressure off the feet, knees, hips and back.
    Some folks with flat feet have a flexible arch, and benefit greatly from a higher arch support.
    I’d be happy to help you choose which insole would be right for you.
    Please give us a call at 781-435-0662, or shoot us an email at heelo@treadlabs.com if I can help answer any questions.
    Thanks,
    Dan

    John Ruess
    John Ruess

    April 17, 2018

    Hi,
    I have flat feet and suffer from back fatigue and pain. By fluke I tried on a pair of shoes that had a significant arch support. I walked a couple of feet in these shoes and my back pain disappeared like magic! Do you think flat feet insoles would relieve my back pain?

    Thank you,
    John

    Dan - Tread Labs
    Dan - Tread Labs

    March 21, 2018

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for taking an interest in Tread Labs.
    We offer several different arch heights, so there is a great fit for nearly everyone, from flat feet to extra high arches. Our Extra High does feel pretty aggressive to most folks, so I would recommend the High arch supports.
    We also offer 3 styles of insoles to accommodate a variety of footwear.
    If you’d like to give us a call at 781-435-0662, or shoot us an email we’d be happy to help find the right insole for you.
    Thanks,
    Dan
    Tread Labs

    Sharon
    Sharon

    March 15, 2018

    I have high arch , which insoles will work good for me ?

    Dan-Tread Labs
    Dan-Tread Labs

    December 21, 2017

    Hi Sonja,
    Thanks for taking an interest in Tread Labs.
    From my own personal experience a sneaker such as a Converse Chuck Taylor offers no arch support and is extremely flat throughout the entire footbed.
    Also, most Nike sneakers are particularly flat when the factory insert is removed.
    A Tread Labs top cover, on its own with no orthotic, is completely flat. You may want to try removing the factory insert and replacing it with one of our top covers
    Feel free to give us a call at 781-435-0662 or send us an email if we can assist in any way.
    Thanks,
    Tread Labs

    Ugh
    Ugh

    December 19, 2017

    I live in flip flops. I detest flip flops. But I wear them 365 days a year. Luckily I’m in Southern California, so this is doable. I have flat feet. They have never caused me any pain or discomfort. In fact, I used to dance professionally. Suffice it to say, my feet are fine. HOWEVER, I cannot find sneakers of any kind that don’t have arch supports. NONE. Even the ones that claim to have “little support” hurt my flat feet. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO KNOWS WHERE I CAN GET SNEAKERS WITH NO ARCH SUPPORTS? (I have tried buying sneakers and ripping out the insoles/arch supports, but this generally leaves the shoes unusable.)

    Dan- Tread Labs
    Dan- Tread Labs

    November 30, 2017

    Hi Harriett,
    Finding the right insole for a high arch can certainly be tough. Many insoles do not offer adequate arch support. Tread Labs offers insoles available in 4 different arch heights, so there is a great fit for nearly everyone.
    Our Stride insole offer the thickest top cover, which along with the proper fitting arch support provides a comfortable fit and feel.
    Please let us know if we can assist in any way.
    thanks,
    Dan

    Harriett
    Harriett

    November 20, 2017

    I have a high arch but no matter what insole I try it hurts my feet That’s not suppose to be is it ? Is there an insole that won’t hurt?

    Dan - Tread Labs
    Dan - Tread Labs

    November 15, 2017

    Hi Wesley,

    From our research we have found that the insole should feel supportive – your foot should feel constant contact through all parts of your arch. There should be no uncomfortable pressure points.
    Comfort is also key in finding the right fit for you – Initially, a supportive orthotic may feel aggressive. After a few days, it should feel like it has always been there; not having it in will feel hollow and unsupportive.
    Ultimately you want a resilient feeling arch support – Your arch is designed like a spring to absorb the impact of walking. Orthotics should bolster your foot’s natural shock-absorbing structure.
    Don’t hesitate to give us a call if we can answer any questions you may have.
    Thanks,
    Dan

    Wesley
    Wesley

    November 10, 2017

    I have a high arch problem, I just received custom orthodics but they dont fill the gap between the arch, is covering that area neccesary?

    Dan
    Dan

    June 01, 2017

    Hi Sean,
    thanks for reaching out to us with your questions.
    The key to finding the right arch support for people with flat feet lies with the individual. Every person has specific needs.
    The best insoles for flat feet will fully support your arch and stabilize your heel to concentrate the fatty pad underneath your heel bone. This will both prevent overpronation and provide firm support. Typically, the best insoles for flat feet will have a low but supportive arch. However, you should try different heights to determine which one will adequately support your feet.
    Give us a call or send us an email if you have any other questions.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    Sean
    Sean

    May 26, 2017

    Hi
    I have low Arch feet and over pronation, plus slight plantar fasciitis / heel pain starting in one of my feet. Your site says low Arch support insoles would be best for me is this correct? I’ve try high Arch insoles but they really hurt my feet!
    So please any advise would be gratefully appropriate

    Kind regards
    Sean

    Mark Paigen
    Mark Paigen

    June 09, 2016

    Randa,
    Getting your feet evaluated by a competent podiatrist or pedorthist will be an important first step in achieving foot comfort. A podiatrist is a medical doctor who focuses on feet and performs surgery when necessary. A pedorthist offers non-surgical remedies in the form of orthotics and shoe modifications. Either would be a good first step. I do not have a personal recommendation in Chicago but Tread Labs will post on Facebook and see if any of our followers have someone to recommend. Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Thanks for giving us a look.

    randa sabbagha
    randa sabbagha

    May 26, 2016

    Hello. Please help. I read everything on your website. Is it possible you could recommend an orthopedic person who works in. Chicago. I looked to purchase your insoles and foun myself lost. Where ro begin. My arches are somewhat high. I have bunions on both feet directly below my big toe. I have always bought big shoes toe accommodate wide width around toes. But shoe person told me I’m ruining my feet. I’m am double a narrow. Now i have PT, . Reflexology helps but temporary. He suggested in wear shoes with loop wholes or something like this. Do you have any recommendations for me to begin fixing my feet. But, not willing to do bunion surgery. I’m understand it is very painful. I’m 39 years old 5 feet 4 inches and weight 110. Please advise me how to start. Thank you. .

    Mary Hart
    Mary Hart

    May 22, 2015

    Thanks so much, Todd! And good arch support is critical for knees. My mom, who’s a nurse, has told me that quite a few times. Get those insoles.

    Todd
    Todd

    May 22, 2015

    Great article. I never realized that good arch support could help my knees.

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