Having flat feet is no excuse for signing up for your first long-distance race! Most runners with high or low arches assume they can’t handle longer distances, but that’s simply not true. With the proper training and equipment, you can certainly handle going the distance without risk of pain or injury.
Today, we are going to look at the best long distance running shoes for flat feet, and hopefully you’ll find a pair that suits your needs perfectly! We also go over some tips for finding the right distance running shoes, including that it’s a good idea to buy two pairs (one for training, one for race day).
So let’s get started, and take a look at a few running shoes that will help get you through your next long distance race and training!
Best Long Distance Running Shoes for Flat Feet Comparison
If you’re just getting into distance running, I suggest grabbing a pair of these shoes. They are lightweight and the upper mesh is really flexible. It will be easy to find the right fit by lacing your shoes properly, and they can expand to fit your natural foot swelling as you run. This shoe also has a pretty rigid heel cup and support to keep your foot in place, and enough support for your arches as well!
- Good on pavement and trails
- Wide toe box
- Fit small; go ½ to 1 size up
- No wide/narrow width options
- Can get expensive/hard to find
I have been a huge fan of Adidas running shoes for several years, and I think they are great for flat-footed runners. There isn’t a lot of arch support, but it’s enough to keep my feet in more of a neutral position than flat. They have a fused mesh upper that feels more like wearing a comfy sock than shoes! I also like that they have the bounce support system, which is great for longer distance runs!
- Made for flat feet
- Cushioning for distance running
- Breathable upper mesh
- Run large; size down ½ to 1 size
- May be too flat for some runners
- Can be hard to find popular sizes
Brooks is a brand I’ve heard quite often when talking about distance running. They are known for making high quality shoes that are built to withstand the rigors of training. The Launch 4 is a great shoe for both training and race day. Though they are also marketed as a neutral running shoe, many say they have plenty of arch support for flat feet runners.
- Lightweight mesh upper
- Bouncy padding for long distances
- Made in U.S.A.
- No wide/narrow available
- Run narrow; won’t work for wide feet
- Run small
Another brand I’ve heard is really popular with distance runners is Newton. They are so popular that it’s very difficult to even find them online. The Gravity VI is a popular style that has a breathable mesh upper that stretches to properly fit the foot and ankle.
One feature I saw on these Newton running shoes is the lacing holes go pretty high up on the ankle. This is great if you want to have more ankle stability (something flat footed runners sometimes need). You can lace them like a regular running shoe at the tongue, or lace them up higher to keep the foot and ankle from slipping. Great feature!
- Flexible sole for barefoot style run
- Plenty of arch support
- Ankle locking lacing system
- Difficult to find in normal sizes
- Run small; size up ½ size
- Expensive (can run up to $300)
My final shoe I wanted to look at are the Nike Revolution 3’s. They have softer midsole than many other running shoes, and I think that’s a great thing for flat-footed runners. It gives you the option of running flat-footed or using an insole to add more rigid support.
I also love that these shoes come in over 20 color combinations – you can find a shoe that fits your style with ease! They also have a lightweight, seam-free upper that is both comfortable and flexible enough for distance runners.
- Tons of colors to choose from
- Lots of cushioning where needed
- Wide & Narrow widths available
- Fit small/narrow; go up ½ size
- Not much arch support
- May need insoles
Choosing Your Long Distance Running Shoe: Some Tips
When it comes to choosing long distance running shoes, it’s pretty similar to finding regular, everyday running shoes. However, there are a few things you should consider, especially if you plan on signing up for a marathon or distance race:
Are these shoes for training or race day?
Most runners will suggest that you should actually buy TWO pairs of your race shoes – one pair for training, and one for race day. Since you’ll be racking up plenty of miles during training, your training shoes may be too worn out to endure a race.
To make sure your “race day” shoes are broken in properly, start rotating them into your training days (every other day or so) for a couple weeks before the race. You should already know how long it takes to break in your shoes, so keep that in mind! Do not race in brand new shoes – they will naturally be painful and stiff compared to your training shoes, which you’re used to!
What terrain will you be running on during the race?
During most marathons, you’ll be running on pavement. However, I have seen distance races that take place on hiking trails, beaches, grass, and a combo of these! Choose a shoe that can handle the terrain you’ll be running on, and try to train in those shoes as well.
For example, if your race is going to be on trails and grass, consider getting a trail running shoe. It will have more traction and support to prevent injury while you run on uneven terrain.
What is the temperature or weather going to be like?
If you plan on running long distances, it’s normal for your feet to stay hot, sweaty, and swell a bit while running. Try to find a shoe that is lightweight and has an upper made of breathable fabric. Your shoe should also have a little give to it, so when your feet swell you won’t deal with pinching or pain.
In the event you’ll be racing in cold temperatures, consider running in a shoe that has more padding and moisture wicking to keep feet warm and dry. To prevent frostbite, make sure to wear shoes and socks that wick away moisture – cold and damp are dangerous!
What is your race goal? Finish? Beat your personal best? Win?
When looking for shoes for distance running, consider your goals. If you are a new runner, just finishing a marathon is an achievement to be proud of! Wear shoes you are comfortable in, support the foot and heel properly, and are broken in properly. If you’re looking to beat your personal best, or even win the race, go with a lighter weight shoe. Even an ounce or two lighter than your regular shoes can shave off some time!
Just like with any race shoe, you should start training in your lighter weight running shoes long before race day. Your feet will have to get used to the lighter shoes, and you need to break in your new shoes prior to race day. Just because they’re lighter and more flexible doesn’t mean you can get away with not breaking them in!
Even if you have flat feet, you can easily run a long-distance race with the proper footwear! Look for shoes with ample mid-sole support, add an arch insole if needed, and find a shoe with plenty of padding to protect your feet. There is no reason your low arches should prevent you from finishing your first…or tenth…marathon!
She is a busy ER nurse in the Houston Metro area, and in her spare time you can usually find her training for an upcoming marathon. She has been dealing with flat feet her entire life, and is well informed when it comes to finding supportive and comfortable running shoes. Jennifer also has a great sense of style, and is looking forward to writing about fashion and running shoes for flat feet.
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