Sandals with built-in arch support that's great for flat feet.

4 Reasons Why Orthopedic Sandals Are Perfect for Flat Feet

by Mark Paigen 9 minute read

Did you know that walking generates a force that’s 1.5 times your weight?

Now, picture doing this with nothing to cushion the impact. There’s no stability to be had and all your other muscle groups tense up and fall out of alignment to compensate.

That’s the challenge faced by those with flat feet and the crux of why comfortable sandals and shoes are essential for their foot health.

You can be sure that flip-flops or any other flat-soled shoes do much more damage than good to flat feet, worsening the pain and discomfort by allowing the foot to tilt further inward.

Fortunately, orthopedic sandals are designed specifically for people with flat feet, offering superior arch support, cushioning, and stability.

Unlike regular sandals, the design of orthopedic sandals factors in the anatomy of the foot to ensure day-long comfort for those with flat feet and reduce stress on the lower body induced by misalignment.

With Tread Labs' track record in functional footwear, we’re ready to walk you through:

  • Why orthopedic sandals are a game changer for people with flat feet
  • How to choose the most suitable orthopedic sandals
  • How to get the most out of your arch support sandals

The Basics

  1. Orthopedic sandals are designed specifically for people with flat feet, offering superior arch support, shock absorption, improved foot alignment, and customizable fit.
  2. Orthopedic sandals provide enhanced stability to help reduce overpronation while still being stylish enough to wear all day long.
  3. Orthopedic sandals are designed with contoured footbeds, arch support, and shock absorption, which are critical for those with flat feet.
  4. When choosing orthopedic sandals for flat feet, it's important to look for sandals that provide adequate arch support, shock absorption, and proper sizing.
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Table of Contents

Understanding Flat Feet and Common Symptoms Orthotics Seek to Correct

Before we get into why orthopedic sandals are beneficial for flat feet, we need to understand flat feet and what the common symptoms are that we need to resolve.

Flat feet, also known as pes planus, fallen arches, or collapsed arches, is a common condition where the entire sole of the foot comes into contact with the ground because the natural arch of the foot is partially or completely absent.

An estimated 20–37 percent of people the world over have some degree of flat feet. It’s more common in women and older adults since hormonal changes and age play a huge role in the deterioration of the posterior tibial tendon that holds the arch in place.

While most people can go merrily about their flat-footed life with no issues, some experience complications, resulting in foot, knee, hip, and back pain.

So, what are some of the symptoms linked to flat feet in adulthood?

  • Overpronation: Your foot rolls inward excessively while walking or running, causing uneven distribution of weight, which can lead to heel and lower back pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and other issues
  • Swollen, stiff and painful feet: Sporting corns and blisters since the lack of arch support forces the feet and toes to work harder for balance
  • Hip and knee pain: Faulty alignment and uneven distribution of weight caused by flat feet put abnormal stress on the knees, hips, and legs

Flat feet acquired in adulthood differ from the childhood variety, which often disappears in adolescence and often has no symptoms.

Flat feet in adults usually results from one of the following factors undermining the strength and elasticity of the muscles and tendons around the foot:

  • Injury: Foot or ankle trauma that causes the arch to fall
  • Age: Older bodies steadily decrease the production of proteins that give elasticity
  • Obesity: Excessive weight piles pressure on the arches, flattening them
  • Arthritis: Gradually wears down the joints, causing irritation
  • Improper footwear: Lack of arch support adds a layer of abnormal stress to the foot

So, what can you do?

Custom orthotics as well as insoles for flat feet go a long way in providing support and easing the pain associated with flat feet. Look out for podiatrist-recommended orthotics, which offer the best foot pain relief.

Bonus Tip: Should I see a podiatrist or an orthopedist? Find out which medical professional you need to see for your foot pain here.

What about on hot days or when you want your toes to breathe?

Enter orthopedic sandals. As we say about Tread Labs’ arch support sandals, they’re supportive footwear with the top down!

Reason 1 - Built-in Arch Support

Having flat feet is akin to a building with a weak foundation. Structural issues are bound to occur without a good foundation, namely, the proper arch support required to absorb the impact of movement.

This is where the built-in arch support of orthopedic sandals comes in.

Forget shoe inserts. You want the ease of arch support built right into the design of your shoe so that comfortably walking becomes effortless.

To be clear, when we say built-in arch support we mean contoured sandal footbeds with high enough curves to keep your arch from collapsing. This, coupled with a flexible midsole and firm outsole, bolsters the stability of the arch.

That’s the secret sauce behind Tread Labs’ Albion and Covelo sandals.

Beyond enhanced comfort, the built-in arch support offers:

  • Reduced strain on the foot and leg muscles and tendons—the root cause of injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis
  • Better overall balance and stability since the foot is held in place, preventing overpronation
  • Improved heel-to-toe gait that allows for better posture and improved biomechanics in how your weight bearing leg lifts and lowers
  • Even weight distribution across the feet to help reduce stress on the joints and muscles of the feet and legs

Reason 2 - Superior Shock Absorption

woman walking up the stairs in orthotic sandals

Carrying on with the metaphors, think of the foot arch as your body’s suspension, adding a spring to your step. When the arch collapses, you have nothing to absorb the jarring impact of each step.

That’s why the superior shock absorption provided by supportive footwear can be a game changer for those with fallen arches.

Comfortable sandals have a multi-layered sole, adjustable straps, and soft inner lining. Such sandals provide cushioning that reduces strain on the feet while providing additional arch and heel support to further ease pain and fatigue.

Plus, with a soft inner lining offering extra padding, orthopedic sandals protect your feet from common issues like blisters or hot spots caused by friction with rough sandal materials.

“Buttery smooth” is how one of our customers described the feel of the microfiber suede footbed of our supportive recovery sandals.

“The micro-suede top cover on the sole is a phenomenal touch; not a time I slide into them do I not immediately appreciate the buttery smooth underfoot feel. Combined with the subtle arch support & solid platform, they really are an incredible everyday or post-workout recovery sandal option. Go order & enjoy yours!”
Juris, Verified Buyer, Eden, United States

They offer superior shock absorption without compromising on style or fit.

Reason 3 - Enhanced Stability, Foot Alignment, and Pronation Control

For those with flat feet, orthopedic sandals provide superior support to the midfoot area, helping to keep the feet in their natural shape and evenly distribute weight across the feet for better balance and injury prevention.

The added cushioning helps absorb shock and reduce stress on the feet, keeping them aligned to reduce strain on the lower legs.

Orthopedic sandals are designed with ergonomic footbeds that help keep the arches of your feet supported. This helps improve posture and balance while walking or running, reducing fatigue in the legs and preventing pain and discomfort.

Additionally, the adjustable straps allow you to adjust them according to your foot size and shape.

Also, the:

  • Extra cushioning helps protect your feet from blisters or hot spots
  • Supportive midsole provides alignment for your feet
  • Deep heel cup helps to keep them from rolling inward or outward excessively

Reason 4 - Customizable Fit and Support

Regular mass-produced shoes just don’t measure up to the customizable fit and support of orthopedic sandals.

This is why we’re so proud of the decades worth of research and iteration behind Tread Labs' sandals. They’re crafted anatomically to conform to the shape of the foot, making them feel like custom-fit sandals.

Three key features really set apart the customizable fit of our Albion and Covelo sandals:

  • 3D knit uppers fit snugly to the foot, securing the sandal in place while the stretchy knit also allows the toes to breathe.
  • Adjustable straps elevate this foot friendly form by supporting your feet and minimizing any rubbing or pinching that may occur if the sandal isn't a good fit.
  • Several colorways for both the men’s support sandals and women’s support sandals offer you 4–5 color options per style, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort.

In some sandal styles, removable footbeds allow for the use of custom orthotics with their sandals, allowing for extra cushioning where it’s needed most.

Ultimately, customizable fit and support are essential when looking for the best pair of orthopedic sandals for flat feet.

With adjustable straps, customizable footbeds, flexible uppers, and metatarsal pads all working together to provide superior arch support and shock absorption, you’ll be sure to find a pair that allows you to walk comfortably throughout your day without sacrificing style or performance.

Choosing the Right Orthopedic Sandals for Flat Feet

In the table below we break down which features to look out for when choosing orthopedic sandals, and how each feature benefits flat feet.

Sandal Feature Purpose Benefit For Flat Feet
Contoured Footbed
  • Distributes the body's weight evenly
  • Minimizes pressure points
  • Reduces discomfort and fatigue
  • Promotes proper alignment of the feet and body
Deep Heel Cup
  • Cradles the heel securely
  • Provides pronation control
  • Enhances stability
  • Reduces pain and discomfort in the feet, ankles, and legs
Soft yet Firm Midsole Cushioning
  • Provide shock absorption
  • Improves balance
  • Enhances comfort
  • Reduces the risk of injury
Correct Sizing
  • Ensures the sandals fit properly
  • Prevents the foot from sliding around
  • Reduces the risk of injury and enhances comfort
  • Promotes proper alignment of the feet and body

Keep in mind that not all sandals marketed as orthopedic are created equal.

Choosing a reputable brand known for producing high-quality orthopedic sandals can make a vast difference in foot pain relief. Remember, one of the issues that can exacerbate foot problems is improper or poor-quality footwear.

“I bought a pair for an upcoming vacation and they worked out perfectly and felt great. No leg or back pain which has been an issue with sandals the past few years. 
Diana, Verified Buyer, Southampton, United States

Take your time when making your selection and remember that happy and comfortable feet are worth the investment.

With this in mind, we offer our Tread Labs customers a generous 90-day return period to allow for ample time to test the sandals to your satisfaction.

Useful Tips to Help You Maximize the Benefits of Your Orthopedic Sandals

woman walking up the stairs in orthotic sandals

If you have flat feet, your arches are used to collapsing and may rebel against supportive footwear.

Don’t take the initial twinges of discomfort as a sign of incompatibility. Arch support sandals take some getting used to, but with these tips, you can maximize their benefits:

  • Break them in gradually: Orthopedic sandals may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re not used to wearing shoes with arch support. To avoid discomfort or injury, start by wearing them for a few hours a day and gradually increase the time.
  • Wear them for the right activities: Orthopedic sandals are great for activities that involve walking or standing for long periods. However, they may not be suitable for intense physical activities like jumping or contact sports.
  • Choose the right size: It’s essential to get the right size for your orthopedic sandals to ensure they provide optimal support. They should fit well and not be too tight or loose.
  • Adjust to the support: It may take some time for your feet to adjust to the support provided by the sandals. Be patient and wear them regularly for best results.
  • Consult your doctor: If you have severe flat feet or underlying medical conditions, such as plantar fasciitis or Morton’s neuroma, consult your doctor before using orthopedic sandals to make sure they’re safe for you.

Bonus Tip: Here is our essential guide on how to take care of your feet.

Experience Unmatched Comfort and Support With Orthopedic Sandals for Flat Feet

Flat feet can cause overpronation and stress in the muscles and joints that support the foot. Without proper support, the misalignment and abnormal stress can lead to pain and more serious foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Here is a brief video explaining plantar fasciitis:

Orthopedic sandals offer a multitude of benefits for individuals with flat feet, making them an excellent choice to provide comfort, support, and stability.

By incorporating built-in arch support, superior shock absorption, improved foot alignment, customizable fit, and enhanced stability, orthopedic sandals address many of the unique challenges faced by those with flat feet.

Learn More: Our previous article goes into more detail on how sandals with arch support can help alleviate foot pain.

It’s essential to choose the right pair of orthopedic sandals, keeping in mind factors like high arch support, shock absorption, proper sizing, and of course a reputable manufacturer.

Are you ready to invest in high-quality orthopedic sandals for happier and healthier flat feet? Check out our ridiculously comfortable collection of men’s and women’s orthopedic sandals for all-day support without pain or discomfort.

Women's Albion Sandal


Women's Covelo Sandal


Men's Covelo Sandal


Men's Albion Sandal


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