Sandals and Flip-flops for Pain Caused by Flat Feet

Flat feet can lead to a number of foot and ankle conditions.  For example, when the foot flattens excessively the arch of the foot gets longer and can lead to tension on the plantar fascia and plantar fasciitis. Other problems that can be caused by flat feet include bunions, arthritis and pain under the ball of the foot. More information can be found in our Guide to Flat Feet.

If you have flat feet, there are a few things you want to look for when buying sandals. Because most sandals and flip-flops have almost no support they often magnify the pain nad pathologies that are seen with flat feet. So first and foremost, we only recommend wearing a sandal that comes with a built-in orthotic footbed or has a removable footbed that allows you to insert a custom orthotic. This keeps the foot area supported and prevents the arch from flattening.

What Kind of Support is Needed in Sandals to Support a Flat Foot?

In order to provide adequate support for a flat foot and to reduce the forces that lead to flat foot pain, the orthotic portion of the sandal must do two things:

  • Conform very close to the arch of the foot. By conforming close to the arch the flip-flop or sandal will stop collapse of the arch and act to decrease stress on the those tissues that are being over-stressed
  • Be as wide or wider then the foot. Because a flat foot collapses so much, if the orthotic portion of the sandal is not wider then the foot, you will feel the edge of the sandal and it won’t be comfortable.
  • Deep heel cup. Deep heel cups help limit excessive rolling in of the heel that is common in people with flat feet.

With this type of support our feet will notice difference immediately. They will feel more cushioned, stable, and realigned into their natural walking position.

Sandals and Flips-flops with Built-in Orthotic Footbeds

Most flip flops are made to be fun to wear but have no support. To lesson your chances of foot pain (including ball of foot pain and heel and arch pain) due to flat feet, the sandal must have an orthotic.

The sandals and flip-flops with built-in support that we recommend for people with flat feet is the Vionic Arch Support Sandals and Flip-Flops. All Vionic sandals have a very supportive arch support that most (but not all) people with flat feet find very comfortable.

Vionic has been very successful with their orthotic sandals. In fact there have been several other companies that have copied Vionic and come out with their own orthotic sandals and orthotic flip-flops. We still have the most success with Vionic for our patients with flat feet, but no shoe fits everyone. If you have tried the Vionic sandals and they are not comfortable for you then you may want to try one of the following sandals.

  • Chacco
  • Spenco
  • Sole

Good quality orthotic sandals not only help prevent foot pain, but they keep the entire lower body in alignment. This can reduce body pain in other areas, such as they ankles, knees and lower back. If you want unbeatable comfort and support in a sandal, the Orthaheel Arch Support Sandals and Flip-Flops are a great choice for summer.

To browse all of the Orthaheel Arch Support Sandals and Flip-Flops click here.

A review of the best sandals for flat feet and the importance of buying sandals with orthotic footbeds.

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Dr. Larry Huppin

Podiatrist specializing in biomechanics at Foot & Ankle Center of Washington
Lawrence Z.Huppin, DPM is an internationally recognized lecturer and teacher on orthotic therapy and biomechanics.In his Seattle private practice his focus in on treatment of mechanical problems such as heel pain, bunions, ball of foot pain, athletic injuries and children’s foot conditions.In addition he specializes in toenail problems including ingrown and fungal toenail conditions. He is always focused on helping patients avoid surgery if at all possible and keeping your medical costs as low as possible.
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