Your arch type is a key factor in your search for the best walking shoes. High arches often cause supination -- rolling of the foot outward -- which can increase your risk of pain and injury. A professional fitter will likely steer you toward a well-cushioned walker with minimal arch support, a flexible sole with a wider heel base and a curved last for added stability. Opt for shoes designed specifically for women -- which tend to be narrower and slightly smaller at the heel than men's shoes.
A normal foot arch helps distribute body weight evenly across the feet. High arches inhibit proper weight distribution, leading to stress in smaller areas of the foot and decreased foot stability. The result is foot fatigue and pain when standing or walking, as well as corns and calluses. Your arches can also cause calf tightness, which ups your risk of shin splints, plantar fasciitis and hip, knee and lower-back pain. You're also more susceptible to ankle sprains.
Cushion and Curve
Your high arches are poor shock absorbers, so look for a shoe with good midsole cushioning to absorb excess shock. MayoClinic.org also recommends a curve-shaped shoe, as viewed from the bottom. Curve-shaped shoes arc in a "C" shape from the heel to the big toe. Their shape promotes inward motion of the foot, helping roll your high-arched foot toward a more neutral position. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons also recommends high-topped shoes and shoes with heels that are wider on the bottom.
- MayoClinic.org: Plantar Fasciitis -- Risk Factors
- MayoClinic.org: Walking Shoes: Features and Fit That Keep You Moving
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: Running Shoe Anatomy
- American Council on Exercise: Are Your Running Shoes Hurting You?
- Women's Complete Guide to Walking; Jeff Galloway and Barbara Galloway
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Cavus Foot (High-Arched Foot)
- Dr. Peggy Malone: Stretch Your Calves -- Why This Is So Important for Everyone
- Photo Credit blyjak/iStock/Getty Images
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