The Best Women’s Shoes with Arch Support
When arch support is non-negotiable, buying cute shoes can turn into an epic struggle. Before my podiatrist mandated that I start exclusively wearing shoes with arch support, I’d be limping after a day of city walking in my stylish, but completely unsupportive shoes. Switching to supportive shoes was relief for my feet, but it was such a challenge to find shoes that looked good and offered support. Fortunately, there are some gems out there if you know where to look. Here’s my picks for the best (actually attractive!) shoes with arch support for women:
If you’re dying to embrace the minimalist sandal trend, but can’t live without arch support, Beek sandals are nothing short of amazing. (The image at the top of this article is Beek’s Seagull slide, which I have and love!) I actually wrote a larger review of Beek here.
Their immaculately constructed sandals and slides include a molded leather arch that allow for support without adding bulk. One caveat: their styles don’t always accommodate wider feet.
Naot makes flats, heels, boots, and more with supportive cork footbeds. They’re pretty consistent in providing great arch support, and I love that the insoles are removable in many of their styles in case you’d like to switch out your orthotics.
But what really sets them apart is the range of legitimately cute shoes with arch support, like the Helm above. Yes, they do sell some of those instantly identifiable–and hideous– “comfort shoe” styles, but it’s worth digging past those, as Naot also offers an impressive array of sleeker styles.
One of the other things I love about Earth is their thick, removable insoles. Just pull them out and replace with your own preferred insole if you find that you need more support.
“Comfort” shoes that don’t look like they’re made for your grandmother? Turns out it is possible, and L’Amour des Pieds provides ample proof. Their vintagey, European-cool dress and casual shoes include arch support and don’t feel at all stodgy.
I’m smitten with the chic vintage influence of styles like the Benham Wedge pictured above–and if you’re looking for the perfect walking flat for Europe, they’ve got some fantastic options. I’ve linked to Nordstrom above, as they have the best selection right now, but you can also find L’Amour des Pieds at Zappos.
Fellow sufferers of plantar fascitis are probably familiar with this one, but Birkenstock’s arch support and comfort cannot be overstated! Birkenstock also offers a pretty wide variety of cute styles and colors nowadays.
If I’m planning a long day of walking on my travels, Birkenstocks are my go-to choice 100% of the time (weather permitting). They’re somehow even more comfortable and supportive than my custom-made orthotics. (For those who are wondering, I’ve found that the insoles Birkenstock sells aren’t nearly as supportive as their sandals).
Stay away from potentially fake Birkenstocks on discount sites like Amazon, and instead check out the stock on sites like Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and Zappos. They’ll usually stock some of the trendier options, and you know you’re getting the real deal.
Olukai is best known for their surfer inspired sandals, and while I haven’t given the sandals a whirl, their sneakers are fantastic. They offer moderate arch support, and the thick insoles are removable, making it easy to swap in your own orthotics if necessary. I found my Pehuea Li Convertible Sneakers (pictured above) to be incredibly comfortable for hours of city walking– no need to change insoles.
Befitting their Hawaiian origins, Olukai has a nice range of casual shoes, along with some more sleek urban-feel sneakers.
SAVA, a sister brand to Softwalk, serves up fashion forward flats, sandals and boots with contoured arch support significant enough you can actually see it in the photos. I love that none of the styles feel like a compromise–they’re just legitimately cute shoes that happen to have arch support.
Vionic offers a nice range of casual and dressy shoes with arch support, many with removable footbeds. In addition to the cool smoking slipper styling of the Carnegie above, I’m digging their loafers and summery sneakers.
9Half Length Orthotic Insoles for Cute Shoes That Don’t Offer Support
When I complained to my podiatrist about not being able to fit my arch support orthotics in many shoes, he clued me in to another solution: 3/4 length insoles. The shorter length means they fit in so many more (attractive!) shoes, while still providing the arch support I desperately need.
If you get custom orthotics, be sure to ask your doctor if this type would work for you. There are quite a few affordable over the counter options to try as well, including the pair shown above by Superfeet, this affordable insole set, and this intriguing design.
Go ahead and see how these insoles work with the shoes you already have and love–there may be enough room to accommodate the insole.
If not, keep in mind that many of the comfort/support shoe brands feature fairly thick removable insoles (start with this search at Zappos and narrow down the category from there as it will initially show you quite a few insoles rather than shoes).
And one more hack that can help with fitting insoles in sneakers: take a look at the men’s selection! The slightly more roomy fit of many men’s sneakers can be just enough to fit your insoles–and can also be a boon to those with bunions. Zappos usually offers a wider size range than you’ll find in store, so it’s easy to find your equivalent size. I’ve had good luck with men’s New Balance classic style sneakers.
10Women’s Shoes with Arch Support: Honorable Mentions
There’s a handful of brands that didn’t quite make it onto the short list of women’s shoes with arch support. Even though these brands might lean towards clunky, they do have some cute shoes in the mix too. Here’s more to browse if you haven’t found something that strikes your fancy yet:
OTBT: I’m personally not a fan of their chunky sandals, but OTBT does make some cute sneakers that are worth taking a look at.
Aetrex: Can skew towards stodgy, but there’s some hidden gems.
Why Arch Support is So Important
Arch support plays a pivotal role in foot health, elevating it beyond a mere fashion choice to a paramount aspect of overall well-being.
The human foot is an intricately designed structure, composed of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Its arch, consisting of the medial longitudinal arch (along the inside of the foot) and the lateral longitudinal arch (along the outside), functions as a dynamic shock absorber during weight-bearing activities. Properly supported arches maintain the foot’s stability, distribute pressure evenly, and promote optimal biomechanics.
However, certain factors, such as genetics, excessive pronation (inward rolling of the foot), obesity, and prolonged standing or walking, can weaken the arches, leading to conditions like flat feet (pes planus) or fallen arches. This, in turn, can trigger a cascade of foot-related issues, ranging from localized pain and discomfort to more widespread musculoskeletal problems.
Enter the hero of our story: arch support in women’s shoes. Podiatrists unequivocally advocate for this crucial feature as it helps restore the foot’s natural alignment and aids in mitigating various foot problems. Let’s take a closer look at some of the conditions where arch support proves particularly beneficial:Plantar Fasciitis: A common and often painful condition, plantar fasciitis results from inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that supports the arch. Arch support helps reduce stress on the plantar fascia, alleviating pain and promoting healing.
- Overpronation: Excessive inward rolling of the foot during walking or running can strain the foot’s ligaments and tendons. Arch support counters this pronation, maintaining proper alignment and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
- Flat Feet: In individuals with flat feet, the arches fail to form, leading to increased pressure on other parts of the foot. Arch support provides vital assistance in maintaining the arch’s shape and function, enhancing stability and reducing discomfort.
- Metatarsalgia: This condition involves pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot, often caused by excessive pressure on the metatarsal heads. Arch support helps distribute weight more evenly, easing pressure on the forefoot.
- Back and Knee Pain: Foot imbalances, often stemming from inadequate arch support, can contribute to discomfort in the lower back and knees. Proper support improves alignment, lessening strain on these areas.
Now, while the medical benefits of arch support are unquestionable, the challenge remains in finding fashionable footwear that incorporates this crucial feature. However, fret not, as the industry has heeded the call for stylish and supportive shoes, offering a diverse range of options that cater to both fashion-forward tastes and foot health.
Comfort shoe brands have embraced this revolution, skillfully blending orthopedic expertise with chic designs. The days of sacrificing style for support are long gone, as manufacturers strive to provide an array of choices that cater to every woman’s taste and need for foot health.
Remember, each foot is unique, and the ideal shoe must complement its individual characteristics. When venturing into the world of online shoe shopping, take the time to explore product descriptions and customer reviews to ensure you’re making a well-informed decision. Consider your foot shape, any existing foot conditions, and consult a podiatrist if necessary, to receive tailored recommendations.
In conclusion, ladies, let’s embrace the symbiotic relationship between style and foot health. The arch support in women’s shoes serves not only as a fashion statement but also as a guardian of foot well-being. With the wisdom of podiatrists and the wealth of stylish options available, you can confidently stride through life, knowing your feet are taken care of in every step you take.
Here’s to a gratifying shoe shopping experience that elevates both your style and foot health. Happy walking!
Cute Shoes with Arch Support Quick Comparison Chart
L'Amour des Pieds