Women with naturally high arches or foot and knee pain need shoes with strong arch support to prevent strain on their arches, feet and knees. Some signs that you might need more arch support include regular foot and knee pain, problems standing for long periods of time, frequent ankle sprains, corns and callouses under the first and fifth toes and an inability to tie your shoes tightly. If experiencing any of these, consider replacing your shoes or buying supportive insoles or orthotics.
Athletic or running shoes vary greatly in how much arch support they provide. Although often considered the most comfortable shoes, they usually have soft, padded soles, which can mean they are lacking in arch support. Some brands of athletic shoes offer models that are advertised for having improved or augmented arch support. For example, New Balance offers the WR858ST, and Orthoheel offers the Women's Action Walker Shoe.
Dress shoes tend to have firmer soles than athletic shoes, which can make them more comfortable for people with arch problems. Check out dress shoes by Dansko, Aravon or Naot, all of which are known for being comfortable and providing good arch support. These brands of shoes may look relatively causal because they have substantial soles and no high heels. They cost between $100 and $200 in 2011, but are well made and should last for several years.
Sandals generally provide less arch support than other types of shoes because they are less substantial. However, there are some brands that specialize in making sandals with especially good arch support. These include Dr. Weil, Moszkito Archy, ABEO, Birkenstock and Orthoheel. They make closed sandals and thongs, costing between $50 and $100 in 2011.
An alternative to buying shoes with good arch support is to buy arch-support insoles or orthotics to put inside your shoes. Both insoles and orthotics provide general support to the foot and specific protection in the arches and pressure areas. Insoles range in price from $5 to $50 in 2011, whereas orthotics can cost hundreds of dollars because they are custom made with a prescription from your doctor.