Running is a natural choice of sport for many men and women because it requires few skills and very little gear. Many people assume that all you need is a comfortable pair of shorts and T-shirt, some good socks and a pair of running shoes to get started.
This is true, as far as it goes; however, it is important to understand that good technique and form, along with a truly well-fitted pair of running shoes can make all the difference in the world to the quality of your running experience.
Paying close attention to your posture and technique and wearing shoes that are truly suitable for your feet and your gait can help you avoid a wide variety of aches, pains and injuries.
In this article, we will focus on the problems of runners with very high arches. We will explain the gait problem associated with underpronation or supination and provide sound advice on selecting just the right shoes and orthotics to address this condition. Read on to learn more.
What Is Underpronation?
Pronation is the normal rolling movement of your foot when running. Your foot should strike the ground with the heel and roll smoothly forward to push off evenly using your entire forefoot. This action distributes weight and absorbs shock to help prevent pain and injury to your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. This is a normal gait that is usually displayed by people with average height arches.
Supination or underpronation are terms used to describe the gait of people with very high arches who tend to carry all their weight on the outer edge of the foot and push off with the smaller toes. This happens because excessively high arches force the foot to roll outward.
This gait distributes weight unevenly and can lead to a wide variety of injuries and problems such as:
Super Cushioned Running Shoes For High Arches
Here is a collection of neutral shoes that we have gathered especially for their extra cushioning. Super-cushioned, neutral shoes are typically very comfortable and provide a lot of shock absorption and guidance for correct pronation for people with high arches who tend to underpronate.
1. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe
First released in 2009, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 remains a classic and popular running shoe and is one ASICS tops sellers. Designed with comfort and performance in mind, the GEL-Nimbus 20 leverages the power of Flytefoam midsole technology allowing you to effortlessly hit your perfect stride whether you’re a light runner or go for the distance.
Using organic super fibers and state of the art gel inserts, the Nimbus 20 provides maximum cushioning and is a great all-around shoe regardless of fitness level. With over a dozen colors and styles to choose from, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 20 is not only a great running shoe but also stylish. It provides excellent support while not being too rigid or firm. With a shaft that measures “low top” from the arch of your foot, it is incredibly comfortable to wear for a variety of foot types.
2. Hoka One One Clifton 5
The Clifton 5 builds on its predecessor's previous success by providing incredible durability in addition to its signature breathability. Designed specifically for use by those who underpronate, the Clifton 5 has considerably more shock support and guidance than your average running shoe. If you’re in need of a shoe that is comfortable, light, and allows you to run fast, the Clifton 5 has you covered.
With its moderate heel design, the Clifton 5 allows you to strike with a smooth heel transition which can help prevent injuries when running on a regular basis. Unlike some running shoes that sacrifice support for a lighter appearance, the Clifton 5 not only provides the support you need but is a reasonable size and weight as well. Though it is a more substantial shoe compared to some lighter options, it’s all around one of the best shoes to train or get your runs in with.
3. Brooks Glycerin 16
Made with the softest midsole Brooks has ever released, the DNA Loft, the Brooks Glycerin takes comfort to the next level. Of course, no Brooks shoe is made to wear just to lounge around the house, and its newly improved ideal pressure zones work to disperse the impact of each of every stride evenly. Its signature double jacquard mesh also makes it an incredibly flexible, strong, and most importantly breathable running shoe.
With improved cushioning and enhanced comfort, the Glycerin 16 is an excellent option for runners who need a little more foundation for their shoes. Its unique design helps prevent your feet from rolling outward which can reduce injuries that may keep you on the sidelines. Best yet, like all Brooks shoes, Brooks offers an incredible 90-day guarantee. If it’s not the best running shoe you have ever worn, return it for free! Available in a handful of stylish colors, you can’t go wrong with the Glycerin 16.
4. Altra Torin 3.5
Improving upon the Altra Torin 2, you’ll quickly notice the upgraded breathability and enhanced outsole with the Altra Torin 3 making for a much more enjoyable running experience. With a highly padded tongue and collar, the shoe slips on easily but not at the cost of the support you have come to expect from Altra shoes.
Leveraging the latest Natural Ride system (NRS) shoe technology, the Altra Torin 3 works to promote a more natural stride which makes it perfect for those who have a unique running style or stride. If your feet tend to supinate when you run, Altra Torin 3 is an excellent choice to reduce the chance of injury and enjoy incredible comfort when you run. In addition to providing incredible comfort and support, the Altra Torin 3 includes quick-drying air mesh to reduce drying time after runs in the rain.
5. Saucony Triumph ISO 5
Known for its unique shoe style design and unparalleled comfort for a running shoe, the Saucony Men’s Triumph ISO 5 aims to deliver the perfect running experience— especially for those who have high arches. Designed specially to alleviate and prevent under pronation when you run, the Triumph ISO 5 offers incredible support while also avoiding being too rigid.
The Triumph ISO 5 includes an EverRun top sole which allows for lasting comfort even after months of use, and it’s improved EverRun landing zone works to give your feet maximum energy upon impact. With a rubber sole and engineered mesh, the Triumph ISO 5 is a fantastic running shoe for those who need support while not wanting to sacrifice comfort. The Triumph ISO 5 is available in 3 distinct colors and styles and comes with a removable foam insole.
6. Skechers Men's Go Run Ride 7 Shoe
If you’re looking for an incredibly light but supportive running shoe backed by a world-renowned brand, the Skechers Men’s Go Run Ride 7 might just be the shoe you need. Built with ultra-lightweight and responsive “Flight Gen” cushioning the Go Run 7 is built with those with high arches in mind.
With its breathable knit mesh and flexible shoe tongue, the Go Run is guaranteed to be a snug and comfortable fit while helping you avoid injury due to your stride.
The Go Run has a rubber traction outsole to increase shoe durability and measures from low-top to the arch. Whether you’re looking for a shoe that can handle a few miles a week, or you’re gearing up for your 3rd marathon this year, this shoe has you covered. The Go Run Ride 7 is available in 4 colors.
7. NIKE Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Running Shoes
One of Nike’s most popular shoes ever created, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 continue to set the standard for running shoes that are not only comfortable but also built with support in mind. The Pegasus 35 comes with a fitsole sockliner that works to adjust to your specific foot shape, and the pegasus includes a premium cushion ST foam that makes it feel like you’re walking on clouds.
Built with both long distance and casual runners in mind, the Air Zoom Pegasus 35 has an incredibly soft sole that helps absorb the impact from each stride. The Zoom Pegasus is perfect for those who have high arches or tend to under pronate as the shoe is designed specifically to fit most foot types. With a long tongue and heal making it easy to slip on, you’ll be out the door and on the trails in seconds.
8. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8
The Fresh Foam 1080v8 by New Balance is a strong attempt at delivering a running shoe that can withstand even the highest of mileage with ease. With its new and improved engineered mesh and blown-rubber outsole, the Fresh Foam is not only a significant step up in comfort compared to other running shoe options, but it also doesn’t sacrifice support in the name of comfort.
The Fresh Foam 1080v8 shaft measures low-top from arch and is specifically designed for runners who tend to under pronate when running. The Fresh Foam is made with tonal leather and includes a high-quality Revlite midsole designed to give your feet the most comfort possible. A little on the larger side, the Fresh Foam has the perfect balance between support, comfort, and a light feel for when you run. Put the Fresh Foam on knowing that your feet will be both comfy and protected throughout the entirety of your run!
9. Mizuno Wave Rider 22
If you’re looking to treat your feet to some of a cushy pair of running, the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 commands a serious and thorough look. With a shaft that measures low-top from the arch, it’s great choice feet that tend to under pronate. The Wave Rider also comes with new and improved articulated heel zone support making each stride an incredibly smooth transition.
With a U4ic midsole and softer heel center, not only does the Wave Rider 22 offer the cushion your feet need, but you can comfortably log all your high mile runs in them without any issues.
With a neutral cushion, the Wave Rider can be suitable for certain foot types and has a replaceable cushion so you can get the exact fit and support you need. The Wave Rider uses two-layered engineered mesh for industry-leading breathability allowing you to focus on what you do best — run.
10. Brooks Ghost 11
The Brooks Ghost 11 offers a comfortably soft and secure fit making it an excellent choice for runners looking to get their miles in, while wearing a running shoe they can trust. The newly improved engineered mesh upper makes it feel as if you’re not wearing shoes at all, while at the same time providing the support your feet need to avoid potential injury.
The Brooks Ghost 11 uses the latest DNA Loft cushioning to provide the perfect balance of comfort and support throughout your entire run. Designed specifically to assist those who are prone to injury, the Brooks Ghost 11 Segmented Crash Pad works to absorb your strides shock and create a smooth heel-to-toe transition for each and every step. Available in a handful of vibrant and exciting colors, the Brooks Ghost 11 is a fantastic running shoe for all types.
How Do You Know You Underpronate?
If you have very high arches, you are probably aware of it. If you are unsure, have a look at your current running or walking shoes. If they are badly worn on the heels and along the outer edges with little wear along the arch and under the big toe area, you probably have a problem with supination.
To verify your home evaluation, visit your doctor, podiatrist or sports medicine specialist. Ask for a gait analysis to determine precisely what may be wrong with your gait. A professional analysis may consist of close study of video taken of your gait while walking on a treadmill; study of three-dimensional images of your feet and ankles taken using x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging equipment and/or force plate assessment analysis which determines the force with which the surfaces of the soles your feet strike the ground as you move.
The results of these tests can be tremendously helpful in selecting just the right shoes and orthotics to address problems caused by supination.
How To Choose Running Shoes To Suit Your Needs
There are general guidelines for shoe choices to meet the needs of various types of runners. For example, generally speaking flat-footed runners whose feet tend to roll inward (overpronate) are typically told to choose shoes that provide firm structure and motion control. Normal pronators are typically told to select lightweight, neutral shoes. Supinators are often told to select shoes with high, firm arch support.
This is all good as far as it goes; however, it is important to understand that there are many important variables to consider for any individual when choosing the perfect running shoes. Weight, age, previous injuries, gender and many other factors must be considered.
This is why, in addition to considering recommendations for specific brands and styles of shoes, it is also important to understand how good running shoes are constructed. This can help you interpret and assess what you see when you are evaluating a pair of shoes. Here are some guidelines you can follow.
Parts of a Running Shoe
Why Is It Important To Know How Shoes Are Put Together?
Knowing the components of a well-built shoe and how those components work together can help you select just the right running shoes to suit your preferences and your needs. The combination of outsole construction, midsole cushioning, last and fit and inclusion or lack of stability devices determines the look, weight, feel and stability of the shoe.
A more stable shoe typically has a straight last and larger, denser medial posts to control pronation. These shoes are typically stiffer and control pronation effectively. They also may tend to feel a bit clunky and constrictive. If you do not have a problem with overpronation, you can happily steer clear of this type of shoe.
Instead, you can look for moderate or even neutral shoes that are lighter and more flexible and comfortable. Moderate stability shoes typically have semi-curved lasts and combine cushioning and comfort with motion control. Most running shoes are combination shoes; however, as an underpronator you may prefer very light, super cushioned, neutral shoes with flexible curved lasts.
Can The Right Insoles Help High Arches?
Very high arches can cause a lot of pain and injury for runners, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, it is just not possible to find exactly the right running shoe as-is. When this happens, good high arch insoles can come to the rescue.
Combining a neutral running shoe with a well-chosen high arch support insole can be just the ticket for providing comfort and correct support to help you avoid the pain and injury that often results from running with high arches.
Good orthotic inserts provide firm support that helps prevent your foot from excessive outward rotation. If you have experienced running-related injuries and suspect that supination may be the cause, see your podiatrist to discuss the use of either prescribed or over-the-counter orthotics to address your problem.
Insoles with High Arch Support
A Combination Of Cushioning & Comfort Makes A Great Running Shoe For Supinators
Your goals in choosing the right training shoes should be comfort first, followed by the possibility of correcting your gait to remedy supination. If you can comfortably change your gait so that your midsole comes in contact with the ground first a great deal of the foot’s tendency to roll outward can be eliminated. Extra cushioning under the entire foot and especially under the arch can help with this goal.
Most underpronators do best with lightweight running shoes with curved lasts that allow and encourage neutral pronation. You should especially be on the lookout for shoes that offer greater flexibility on the arch side of the sole.
Added padding or super cushioning provide good shock absorption when your heel hits the ground. A slightly broader, more flexible base distributes your weight more evenly. All of this combined helps to prevent the types of overuse injuries that are typically caused by supination. Refer to the information and product suggestions presented here when seeking the perfect running shoes for men and women with high arches.