Best Cross Training Shoes for Flat Feet
This may have happened to you at some point. You buy a new pair of cross trainers, ready to hit the gym and work out like a pro. Only, not even halfway through your warm-up laps, your feet start to cramp, and it all of a sudden feels like your shoes shrunk by two sizes. What is going on? You may have flat feet or over-pronation, and your shoes are not helping. If that’s the case, you’ll greatly benefit from the best cross training shoes for flat feet.
This occurs when the natural arch of the foot is low or non-existent. It can be recognized by the foot’s tendency to roll inward. When walking barefoot and leaving footprints, a person with over-pronation will leave a full imprint of the foot, not a more typical “toes, outside, heel” imprint.
Flat feet are partially genetic, but other factors such as weight gain or physical trauma can exacerbate the genetic tendency. Over-pronation can lead to additional foot strains. Of course, any foot pain should be addressed immediately, but that does not necessarily mean having to visit the doctor. Finding the proper shoe can go a long way towards alleviating issues.
Finding the Best Cross Training Shoes
So what should you look for when shopping for the best cross training shoes for flat feet? First of all, you should recognize that cross-training requires a shoe that can support multiple exercises. Finding the proper cross training shoe is different from finding a proper walking shoe. An effective cross trainer has many features:
This is the most obvious, number one necessity for people with flat feet. The arch of the shoe should not be limited to the insole. Look for a shoe that also has an arch built into the sole.
Do not try shoes that have flat soles, even if the insole seems to have support. That is a sign that there is actually little to no arch support. A shoe that has both a pronounced insole arch as well as one in the sole will provide stronger support than a shoe that only has one arch.
Also, look at the firmness of the arch and the material of the insole. If it is too soft, the arch will collapse under the pressure of the foot tread, which essentially negates any arch support. Over time, this will amount to having a shoe with no arch support, and you will be back where you started.
Low- or no-drop
What does this mean? You want to look for a shoe that has very little height difference between where your toes hit the ground and where your heel hits the ground. Flip flops and most sandals are examples of low-drop shoes, while high heel shoes are high-drop.
High-drop shoes often amplify the heel strike portion of your gait, which puts more pressure on the heel. This, in turn, exacerbates the misalignment of the foot, contributing to more foot pain.
Find a shoe with a straight last
This is simply referring to the shape of the shoe. Some shoes have a curved last, and some have a straight. You might think that a curved last would have better arch support because of the shape, but that is not the case.
Straight last shoes are better for people with flat feet. In addition, a straight last shoe can give you more base support for weight-lifting and balance-related exercises.
If you still have questions about what shape of shoe would be best for your feet, find a shoe store that has a 3D scanner and have them do a scan of your foot. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you are at least starting with the proper shape of shoe for your foot.
So, after you have researched these three characteristics of shoes, what next?
Basic Features of cross training shoes
Cushioning plays a part in your overall comfort. Even though you do not want the arch support itself to be soft, that does not mean that the shoe cannot have adequate cushion.
You will want a padded tongue and shoe collar (the part that goes around the back of the foot) to prevent blisters from forming. As with shoes for under-pronation, there is a growing reliance on gel cushioning instead of foam or other materials.
After you have looked at these basics, you can start looking at more specific features.
- Some brands have adjustable heel linings that lend added support.
- Look at shoes that have reinforced areas in the heel and arch. These components can add stability and structure to the shoe, ultimately giving your feet more support.
- Decide if you want a shoe made with eco-friendly materials (eventually, this pair will wear out, and you’ll be looking for the next pair).
- Which brings us to durability. You can get the best pair of shoes for your feet, but if they do not help you long term, you will be throwing money away. Many shoes that are made to compensate for over-pronation are lightweight, flexible, and made of breathable materials.
This last part is especially important. You still want to find a shoe that will give you all of the proper support while allowing for a pain-free workout, regardless of whether you are jogging, jumping, or doing cardio.
Another thing to keep in mind is that more expensive does not necessarily mean a better, or more appropriate shoe. Look at the characteristics that matter the most to you, and what will be best for your feet. Then go to a local shoe store and try on the shoes that you think you may want.
As mentioned, if you can go to one that has 3D scanning, you can narrow down your choices even more (many stores that specialize in running shoes have this technology). Having flat feet does not mean you are resigned to cramps and ill-fitting shoes. With a little patience and the right information, you can easily find the best cross training shoes for flat feet.