Running Shoes for High Arches – Are They Worth It?

Image courtesy of Dr. Scholl's

Image courtesy of Dr. Scholl’s

Consider this.  Your foot is a fairly complex part of your body.  We usually think of it as one entity but it is actually composed of bones (26), joints (33), muscles (20), and over 100 ligaments.

The punishment your feet take if you hammer out 15 or more miles a week is quite different from the stress you experience if you cover the same distance walking.

Wearing the same shoes for both activities and you’re bound to get foot pain of some sort especially if you require shoes with arch support, whether they be running shoes or walking shoes.

If you currently experience pain in the arch of your foot, you’re not alone.  Some estimates hold that over 80% of people will suffer foot problems at some point in their life, due in large part to wearing inadequate footwear.  Wearing walking shoes during a long, energetic run is one instance.

Most shoe, both walking and running, have flat insoles that don’t provide the arch with proper support. Knee and back pain, fallen arches, and other complications that can cause problems in other parts of your body can result.

Arch Pain

When we talk about “arch pain” we’re commonly referring to pain at any point across the bottom of the foot between the heel and the ball of the foot.

Broadly described, most arch pain is a result of inflammation or strain of the plantar fascia.  The plantar fascia is a long ligament found on the bottom of the foot.  Plantar fasciitis is the medical term that describes this condition and it is sometimes associated with a heel spur.

Often a hereditary condition, flat feet also occur in overweight people where an arch has collapsed due to bearing excessive weight.  The extra weight places additional stress on the entire foot, but especially the arch.

Standing or walking in high heels for long periods of time, wearing shoes with inadequate arch support, or excessive use of the feet during work or sports can also cause arch pain.

When your arches are not properly supported, simple movement can often pull your body out of alignment.  This can cause stress, strain and fatigue to your lower body.

If arch pain persists beyond a few days, see a podiatrist and seek treatment to stop the pain and prevent this condition from becoming worse.

Benefits of Proper Arch Support

Providing your feet with proper arch support not only relieves any pain you might currently be experiencing but it can head off a myriad of other problems.

If you’re a runner with various foot conditions such as bunions, bone spurs, heel pain or other foot issues, including diabetes, it’s especially important for you to take extra care in choosing the a good pair of running shoes.  Doing so will help reduce muscle strain and fatigue, help maintain balance, and can eliminate or at least reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Searching for the Right Running Shoe

With a high arch, running can lead to foot, back, and knee pain as the outside of your foot absorbs the most of the shock.  That’s why it’s so important to run in proper running shoes for high arches.

When it comes to buying running shoes, finding the right ones can often be somewhat of a challenge especially when you have high arches.

First off, don’t be lured into purchasing shoes labeled “aerobics shoes” or “running shoes” without being absolutely certain they will provide the needed support for your arches.

Running shoes are designed to cushion the foot during high-impact exercise, and their design differs significantly from that of walking shoes.  Walking shoes need to be more flexible at the ball of the foot than running shoes to accommodate the foot’s rolling heel-to-toe movement when you take a step walking.

And, you should never buy your running shoes at a department store. Shop instead at an athletic shoe store where you will find trained shoe fitters and employees that are more knowledgeable about athletic shoes.

The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine goes so far as to recommend buying your athletic shoes from an established specialty store.  They feel that working with a knowledgeable athletic wear professional can only benefit you and your feet when looking for shoes with arch support as you search for the perfect walking or running shoe.

Once you’ve found the brand and shoe size that is best for your foot, you can always buy the next pair online or at another store near you.

More Shopping Tips

Here are a few more tips that will help you find the perfect running shoes for you.

  • Bring socks you use for running

Running socks are often thicker than those you use when walking.  This will affect how well a shoe fits.

  • Shop at the end of a short run

Feet usually swell when running. Shoes that fit with cold feet can often be too tight by the end of a run.

  • Get your feet measured

Shoe size can change as we age. And measure both feet. A shoe that is the wrong size can cause bunions, blisters, and other painful conditions.

  • Try on both shoes

It’s important to get the feel of the shoes on each foot.

  • Make sure they fit right.

Shoes must be wide enough. The ball of your foot must fit into the widest part of the shoe and be a snug fit, but not tight.

Toes should have at least half an inch between the longest toe and the shoe.

Heel needs to fit snugly in the shoe.  It should not slip when you walk. Slipping causes painful blisters.

  • Don’t buy if they “need to be broken in”.

An uncomfortable running shoe in the store means that the discomfort will only get worse when you start running in them regularly.  Don’t buy them!

Action Plan for Healthy Feet

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Buy running shoes from an athletic shoe store
  • Find running shoes for high arches that support and distribute your weight evenly throughout your foot
  • If you don’t have running shoes with arch support, use insoles to support your arches
  • See a doctor if you experience severe foot pain while running or after
About the author

John and Ellen Macaully

We are the voices behind footwire, we love to travel and are very active. Some of our favorite activities are hiking, running and rock climbing. We are very passionate about the shoes we choose for our personal use and each and every review we conduct is from the perspective of what we would buy for ourselves.

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