High heels are already uncomfortable. They’re even worse when you have flat feet. It is estimated that 8% of adults aged 21 or over in the United States, or about 18 million adults, have flat feet. If you’re someone with flat feet but still likes wearing heels, you have to find the right pair of shoes to make you not hate wearing them.
Finding shoes when you have flat feet can be hard, so we’ve compiled a list to help you find the best shoes for you. If you’re rushed for time, we’ve included our top choices here.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Choice — DailyShoes Women’s High Heels
- Best Premium Product — Naturalizer Whitney
- Best Value Product — Mary Jane Pumps by J. Adams
To get more details about everything related to high heels and flat feet, keep reading.
What Are Flat Feet?
Flat feet, also known as pes planus, have to do with the bones in your feet. When someone has flat feet, it means they have bone position lower than high or usual arches (sounds redundant, but stick with us).
Most people have a slight arch in the bones in their feet, which you can see in a helpful graphic on this website. Some people have high arches, where the bones in their feet curve up more.
High arches are generally less flexible than normal arches or flat feet. This stability means greater push-off force when running, so lots of athletes tend to have high arches.
But because the arches are so inflexible, the runner has a higher risk for a stress injury because the bones are absorbing so much pressure when in motion.
Normal arches are lower than high arches, of course, and normal arches are optimal for foot health. The arches in your feet distribute the pressure of each step evenly over the foot, as the muscles in the foot are weak and aren’t meant to hold the weight of your body.
With a normal arch, you distribute your weight between stronger parts — the ball and the heel of the foot.
So with flat feet, the arches fall so low that then entire foot touches the ground. When seen from the side, the foot makes a clean line between the floor and the flesh. There’s no pouch of air where the foot’s arch creates space between the foot and the floor.
What Causes Flat Arches?
Everyone is born with flat feet, as the bones in the foot don’t develop until around the age of six. However, some adults can keep their flat feet into adulthood due to genetics or perhaps due to an abnormality during birth.
Medical Causes of Flat Feet
While everyone is born with flat feet, there are some conditions that happen during childhood that could stunt the development of foot arches. These conditions are:
- Congenital vertical talus, or being born with flat feet. If your parents have flat feet, there’s a likely chance you’ll have flat feet as well.
- Calcaneovalgus, or excessing bowing of the calf bone.
- Dyspraxia, which is a developmental coordination disorder.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a disease one is born with that increases how elastic their joints, skin, and blood vessels are.
- Hypermobility, or general double-jointedness.
- Loose ligaments, called ligamentous laxity.
- Being born with fused foot bones, also known as tarsal coalitions.
- Metatarsus adductus, or having toes that point inward.
The above conditions are usually seen in children. Adults who have developed their arches can lose them because of the conditions seen below:
- If one leg is longer than the other. The longer limb must compensate for the weight of the other foot, which usually flattens that foot’s arch.
- Getting pregnant can cause flat feet, as the pregnant body produces lots of elastin. Elastin is a protein that increases how elastic the skin and connective tissue are.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, or an autoimmune form of arthritis in which the body’s immune system attacks its own joints.
- Marfan’s syndrome, which is a disease that affects one’s connective tissues. It’s a genetic disorder typically diagnosed when one is in their 30s.
- Or when an abnormal spine curvature creates an uneven gait. The uneven walk can cause flat feet in one foot but not the other.
- Obesity is another reason for flat feet. The increased weight on someone’s body puts more pressure on the arches, which can prompt them to lower over time.
If you don’t have any of these conditions, it’s likely you developed flat feet from poor walking posture or support.
Flat Feet Caused By Pronation
Another common way in which arches fall over time is by the way someone walks, runs, or stands. All of these activities can weaken a tendon called the posterior tibial tendon. It runs from the inside of the ankle to a little bit above the joint in the arch.
The posterior tibial tendon provides the primary support for the arch. When stressed, it can become inflamed, which is a condition called tendonitis, or even tear. After this tendon is damaged, the arch loses its support and flattens over time, giving rise to the term “fallen arches.”
Pronation, or excessive inward rolling of the foot while walking or running, is another reason for flat feet. Infants are born without arches, but if a toddler learns to walk by pronating, the child could never develop an arch at all.
How to Know If You Have Flat Feet?
You need to someplace where you can leave footprints quickly. If you have a driveway, you can wet your feet with a water hose and stand on the concrete. If you have a patch of slightly moist dirt, strip off your shoes and socks and stand in it.
If you see the entire outline of your foot, meaning there’s a thick line from the ball of the foot to the heel, you have flat feet. Take a look at this visual to help you determine that fact.
You could also ask your friend to help you determine if you have flat feet. With bare feet, stand on smooth ground. If there’s a clear line with no space where your arches should be, you have flat feet.
You could also ask your friend to look at your feet while seated. The arch should at least be slightly visible while seated, but your friend could compare it to their arches to see if you have flat feet.
Of course, the best way to determine if you have flat feet is to see a podiatrist. That doctor will have thorough training to help identify if you have flat feet and give you the tips to manage it.
Main Health Issues Caused by Flat Feet
Lots of people with flat feet rarely come across an issue due to their low arches.
Other people experience pain in the midfoot region. Running, for example, could put a lot of pressure on the fallen arch, and since you’re putting the whole weight of your body on a few small bones, the run could cause stress fractures in their feet.
The pain could also lead to swelling in the ankle or arches. The pain could also travel up to the knee, hip, and lower back regions, as your unstable gait could put pressure on your joints that the joints aren’t meant to handle.
Over time, flat feet can exacerbate the effects of arthritis, which is swelling of the joints and loss of cartilage. The pain from your flat feet could cause you to avoid exercising or walking to work. It could make you not want to be mobile or on your feet too long, such as dancing with friends or enjoying a stroll around a park or beach.
How to Best Care for Flat Feet?
The average person walks around 10,000 steps a day on hard surfaces like concrete, pavement, or hard-wood flooring. With every step you take, you add pressure on the bones in the foot.
Over many years, the continuous pressure you put on your feet can lead to major problems, such as the development of flat feet. And if you continue to have such lousy walking habits, you could continue to entrench flat arches into your feet — and continue to reap the problems of flat feet.
Therefore, the best way to care for flat feet is to get orthotic inserts that can go inside your regular shoes. You can also get special shoes that are designed to help people with flat feet.
These special shoes help reduce the amount of weight going onto your sensitive arches and instead distribute that weight to stronger parts of the foot such as the heel or the ball of the foot.
Most orthotic inserts or shoes for flat feet have artificial arch supports that act as a stand-in for what the bones in your feet should be doing, which will feel somewhat odd for someone with flat feet, but you’ll notice the difference in how you feel.
Ill-fitting shoes are perhaps one of the worst things you can get if you have flat feet. Ill-fitting shoes, especially those without arch support, can add stress on your foot with each step instead of removing it.
Most podiatrists will recommend getting orthotic shoes to help manage your flat feet. But lots of shoes designed for flat feet, how should we say this, don’t look too good. And fewer are intended for women who want to wear high heels.
To keep up with your fashion sensibilities but to stop feeling pain after a long day at work, you need a pair of high heels that help people with high heels. Below are some of the best ones we could find.
Best High Heels for Flat Feet Review
Do you want to look classy and elegant? Do you want to look like you’re not wearing a high heel shoe designed for flat feet? Walking Cradles Joy high heel fits that description. If a power move were made into a high heel shoe, this would be it.
The joy is a sensible shoe that was made with your comfort in mind. It has an easy slip-on style, with soft leather uppers that curve into an almond-shaped toe. The linings are designed to wick away moisture, so your feet don’t feel wet from busting a sweat throughout the day.
The real kicker is Walking Cradles’ Joy interior sole, which is called, “Tiny Pillows.” That’s right — that’s how this shoe claims this shoe will feel when you wear it. The open-cell, non-contacting latex footbed had literal tiny pillows that help cushion the pressure from every step.
The outer sole is smooth and buffed, with the shoe’s overall features looking modest, sculpted, and wrapping up into the leather-clad heel. Best of all, the heels, coming in at 2.25 inches, is just high enough not to make you look like a grandma.
For those with flat feet who are hesitant to wear high heels, consider the Walking Cradles’ Joy. The shoe looks good and delivers the desired results for people with lowered arches.
- The Walking Cradles’ Joy looks sleek, elegant, and classy.
- The heel is high enough to provide two inches of height but not high enough to exacerbate the typical lower back pain high heels tend to give wearers.
- The shoe has an all-leather outer.
- Users with flat feet who wear this shoe report little to know foot, ankle, knee, or other joint pain.
- The shoe is available in a variety of colors and styles.
- This shoe leans on the expensive side.
- Isn’t guaranteed to stave off foot discomfort for those with flat feet completely.
The DailyShoes Women’s Stiletto has approximately three inches of heel, giving you all the height in the world to make you feel like a boss. But does it help reduce the amount of foot pain caused by flat feet?
We think yes. There’s enough padding on the interior sole to protect your feet from the usual pain associated with flat feet. Not only that, but the pointy toe look is simply a great look for most women wanting to show they’re not to be messed with.
The outer sole is made from rubber, reducing the chances of slips and falls — which you especially don’t want if your legs are already stressed from your flat feet. The DailyShoes Women’s Stilettos are designed to give you the feeling of wearing a casual, everyday shoe in a vessel that looks like you’re ready to go to a business meeting.
You have a plethora of neutral color options to choose from, meaning you could pick up a pair for a variety of occasions but still look elegant and put-together. The shoes are designed to be attractive but draw too much attention to themselves.
You can wear DailyShoes Women’s Stilettos for hours and feel fine. They’re designed for comfort and fashion — all while being built from quality patent leather and rubber. The construction is good enough to last for years of gentle use.
- These shoes are affordable and well-designed.
- They’re great for people with flat feet because of the copious padding on the inside.
- Elegant pointed-toe shape and 3-inch heel provide an elegant aesthetic.
- Not suited for people with wide feed.
- It could be a bit too tight upon first wear, as the leather takes longer to break in for some customers than others.
- Some users report the shoes scuff easily.
Listen, some people have different definitions of high than others. For taller women edging closer to six feet tall, you might want a bit of heel without making you feel like you’re hovering over everyone else around you. In such a case, you might want a little bit of heel without the three or four inches seen in other brands.
Better yet, you need a bit of heel that has ample arch support for your flat feet. For tall women with flat feet, consider getting a pair of Clarks Women’s Juliet Petra Pumps.
The footbed comes with the OrthoLite molded footbed, which is designed to make you feel your feet feel cushioned and protected. The Cushion Soft technology helps bolster the arch while providing enough padding for the rest of the foot — easing the pain commonly associated with pes planus.
Not only is the shoe uniquely crafted for those with flat feet, but it looks good as well. It’s a mix between a flat and a pump, giving you simple elegance that’s sure to match any outfit. Whether you wear jeans and a tee-shirt on casual Friday or a cocktail dress to the next business dinner, these shoes will help you look good and feel good as well.
The smooth textile lining helps wick away moisture while the leather exterior provides an upscale aesthetic. For a good, high-quality pair of shoes that will help reduce the pain of flat feet, Clarks Women’s Juliet Petra Pumps is a good option for you.
- Just a little bit of heel for those who want some added height but not too much.
- The OrthoLite molded footbed provides not only arch support but cushioning for the rest of the foot.
- Soft Cushion technology reduces the excess pressure in the foot that can lead to swelling and spreading pain.
- These shoes can run small.
- Depending on how low your arch is, you might have to buy further arch-supporting orthotics.
Is it a pump? Is it a high heel? With the IDIFU Women’s Chunky Heels, you get the best of both worlds.
They look like the standard office shoe. It’s enough to give you a boost in height but not thin enough to seem like you’re heading to the club straight after 5 pm. The heels measure in at four inches — enough to make those who are shorter in stature feel a little more confident about their height.
Not only that, but a pointed toe is always a classic, dignified look to have in a high heel. We don’t want you to look like you’re on your way to the community bingo game (no judgment if you do that), but sometimes you want your heel to look professional and mature but not too mature.
Not only that, but these shoes go great with a variety of outfits. You can wear them with a pantsuit, skirt, and blouse, jeans and a button-down, or a myriad of different options. These shoes will probably already complement an outfit you already have in your closet.
Best of all, the heel has a padded sole that makes you forget you’re wearing them between your 9 to 5 job. Once you break them in, the comfortable interior is enough to support your arches and other sensitive foot needs.
For a timeless look that you can incorporate into your everyday life — and to get high heels that can support your feet without looking like an orthotic shoe — think about getting the IDIFU Women’s Chunky Heels. Whether it’s business or casual, these shoes will support your feet and take you where you need to go.
- The IDIFU Women’s Chunky Heels are an affordable shoe.
- They have ample arch support to help women with flat feet.
- Timeless, elegant look that matches most outfits.
- Some users with unusually low arches might need to use an orthotic insert.
- Sole insert detaches after wearing, some users report.
Platform shoes are in fashion, and what better way to add not only height but pizzazz to your outfit than to bust in with some chunky high heel platform shoes?
The heels come in at a powerful 4.7 inches, adding lots of elevation to your overall height (who doesn’t love the ability to shrink or grow as they please?). They also come with a rounded toe and high chunky heel to help elongate your legs — giving you elegance with every step.
But also with every step is a padded sole. The soles help reduce the pressure landing on the bones in your feet. Not only that, but since your walking on the balls of your feet anyway, lots of the pressure go there — a stronger part of the foot compared to the arch.
You can choose between sparkly bedazzled versions and regular leather-bound ones. The interior sole is made from synthetic material with plenty of room to add an orthotic, should you need it. The materials comprising the shoe stretches over time to conform to the shape of your foot.
These should be worn with at a business meeting, for homecoming, at a dance, or on a casual night out in the town. There are lots to do in these shoes — and they’ll keep your feet comfortable enough to allow you to have as much fun as possible.
For comfort as well as fashion, consider getting the IDIFU Women’s IN5 Eva Classic Chunky High Heel. It goes well with a variety of outfits, which you can imagine would be difficult to find with a high heel designed that helps flat feet. But this shoe keeps well-being and aesthetics intertwined.
- The padded interior helps bring relief for people with flat feet.
- These shoes add 4.7 inches to your overall height.
- Strong, durable construction means these shoes are built to last.
- Depending on how low your arch is, you might have to buy additional orthotic support.
- Some customers find these shoes run a bit bigger than expected.
If you like these shoes but can’t decide on what color to buy, fear not: you have more than 40 color options to choose from.
These shoes are 100% synthetic, so the vegans out there can rejoice — there are no animal products involved in the making of this product. For those also concerned about U.S. economics, these shoes are also made in the United States of America.
This rounded toe pump comes with glossy, matte, or patterned designs, so you’re likely to find a pair that looks good and matches your style or personality. The shoes also come with Soft System technology inside, providing the perfect amount of support to not only make your feet feel comfortable but protect your arches.
These shoes can be both professional or casual, depending on the style you buy. You could opt for a timeless matte black heel or the “flower multi” color to provide eye-catching pop. LifeStride’s shoes are designed to be worn all day without fatigue, so you can stride comfortably through life without worrying about foot pain.
Your heels, arches, and joints will thank you if you wear LifeStride Women’s Parigi high heels. They can be worn with dresses, skirts, pants, or shorts as well as in a variety of scenarios. Professional meeting? Casual date? No matter what there is, these shoes can manage.
To not only look good but feel great, get a pair of these shoes. They’re well-constructed and affordable for the price.
- Many users report that these shoes are comfortable to wear for hours on end.
- LifeStride Women’s Parigi is both professional and casual, with over 40 color options to choose from.
- These shoes are inexpensive yet last a long time.
- The shoes run large.
- These shoes scuff easily.
- It’s recommended you order up a half size.
Another chunky heel from a trusted company, the Naturalizer Whitney high Heel is the perfect shoe for heel-averse looking to get the right pair.
These shoes are made from smooth or suede leather, depending on the style you want to sport. They have an easy slip-on style that makes putting on and taking off these shoes a breeze. The smooth synthetic and textile lining means these shoes aren’t going to rip at the seams any time soon.
The N5 Contour technology helps create a soothing footbed for those with flat feet. The soles cushion the foot and provide arch support — great for those with pes planus. The shoes are made from a lightweight and breathable material, ensuring your feet don’t sweat or get uncomfortable during the day.
You’re guaranteed all-day support with the Naturalizer Whitney High Heel. You can wear them at a variety of functions, such as formal parties, casual dinners, award ceremonies, graduations, anniversaries, and more. The wrapped chunky heels are more comfortable to walk in than skinny stiletto heels, and the durable non-slip shoe reduces the chance of slipping also.
- The high-quality cushioning interior sole provides the perfect support for those with flat feet.
- The chunk heel with non-slip outer sole reduces the chance of slipping.
- You can wear these shoes at a variety of events — weddings, anniversaries, parties, professional meetings, etc.
- These shoes are a bit expensive.
- You might have to provide further arch support if you have low arches.
- The Naturalizer Whitney High Heel scuffs easily.
Want a different look? Are you enamored by the vintage craze that’s making everyone look like they’re from the 60s? Then these shoes are great for you.
Not only are the Mary Jane Pumps by J. Adams utterly adorable, but they’re also perfect for those with flat feet as well. The shoe interior has padding that has the right amount of support for those with low arches. You’ll not only look amazing wearing the Mary Jane Pumps but feel comfortable for hours on end.
The shoes are good for the environment as well. They are made from 100% vegan leather, so you can stay true to your environmental consciousness and ethical concerns while wearing these shoes. Besides, they feel amazing.
These heels are crafted with the round toe design and ankle strap that helps secure the shoe to your foot in an aesthetically pleasing way. The ankle strap is adjustable, so you don’t have to worry about it, essentially strangling your foot and cutting off circulation — which is another problem you don’t want as someone with flat feet.
Between the cushioned footbed, adorable aesthetic, and environmental principles behind these shoes, Mary Jane Pumps by J. Adams would be a great addition to your wardrobe.
- The heel is three inches long, added just the right amount of boost to your height.
- These shoes are made from 100% vegan leather, so you’re not harming animals by wearing these shoes.
- The cushioned footbed provides the right amount of support for those with flat feet.
- Some users say these shoes pinch their toes.
These heels have memory foam internal soles. You’ve never worn a heel until you’ve worn a memory foam heel.
If you’re the type of person to say heels hurt your feet after a while — especially if you have pes planus, these are the right shoes for you. They’re breathable as well, so your feet don’t sweat up a storm while wearing these shoes. Best of all, they’re affordable.
The DailyShoes Women’s High Heels are not only sexy and elegant, but they’re actually comfortable. How many people can say that about their shoes, especially high heels?
You can wear these DailyShoes at weddings, dates, professional meetings, or on a date in the city. There’s always something to do, and the right pair of heels makes that experience so much better.
The DailyShoes Women’s High Heels are built to last and designed to bring your flat feet all-day relief.
- The soles of these shoes are made from memory foam, bringing all-day comfort and relief for those with flat feet.
- The heels are about two inches tall, giving your height a boost without overdoing it.
- These are safe, affordable, and stylish shoes.
- The heel takes a long time to break in, so you could have cuts in the heel during that process.
- These shoes tend to run small.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Dream Pairs Women’s, D’Orsay High Heel. The shoes look a bit different than the other ones listed in this article. The sides of the shoe are exposed with an ankle strap wrapping around the top of your foot. The Dream Pairs D’Orsay High Heels look comparable to what a 40s movie star would wear.
The heels are slip-on and made from a rubber sole, so the soles deter slipping when you’re strutting through a party or on the way to work. The company claims the heels fit right to size, though people with wide feet have expressed discomfort while wearing these shoes, as the edges of their feet tend to rub against the end of the heel’s toe box.
However, people with flat feet should be fine wearing these shoes, as the inner sole is made from a soft, padded cushion. Your feet will feel comfortable nestled on the footbed with minimum pressure put on the sensitive bones in your feet.
The heels of these shoes are about four inches tall, so you get some added height if you’re concerned about your short stature. The Dream Pairs D’Orsay High Heels are also available in a variety of colors, and each pair is rather affordable for most people.
For an elegant shoe that’s suitable for people with flat feet, check out the Dream Pairs D’Orsay High Heels. They’re comfortable, stylish, and inexpensive.
- These are elegant, stylish shoes at an affordable price.
- Padded footbed helps alleviate pain associated with flat feet.
- The Dream Pairs D’Orsay High Heels are available in a variety of colors.
- If you have wide feet, your toes could rub against the end of the toe box, which would be uncomfortable.
- If you require an additional orthotic, it would be easier to see while wearing these shoes.
You saw ten of the best high heels for flat feet on the market. Three of those happened to stick out to us the most. Here they are — with a bit more explanation.
Best Overall Choice — DailyShoes Women’s High Heels
Comfortable, affordable, and stylish. That’s the name of the game for DailyShoes Women’s Stilettos, and that’s why we think they’re the best overall choice for a pair of high heels for flat feet.
Not only are they relatively inexpensive, but the heel has a bit of arch support already built into the shoe — which is crucial for people with flat feet. Not only that, but the rest of the sole is padded as well, further adding the necessary protection for people with sensitive feet.
In addition, these shoes are fashionable and simple. They aren’t gaudy like a bunch of other high heels. They’re a classic look that can protect your feet no matter what outfit you wear.
Best Premium Product — Naturalizer Whitney
The Naturalizer Whitney is a high-quality high heel. Lots of highs about this product with relatively few lows.
Sure, it’s expensive — which is why it’s our premium product choice. But with the extra bucks, you get a shoe crafted to benefit those with flat feet. There’s ample padding on the inside to support your feet and arches, and the chunky heel reduces the amount of pressure landing on one specific part of your foot, which could cause you pain.
The Naturalizer Whitney is elegant, simple, and, best of all, useful for people with flat feet. And like the DailyShoes Stiletto, it too has a timeless look to it.
Best Value Product — Mary Jane Pumps by J. Adams
These shoes are not only cute, but they’re well-designed, affordable, and comfortable to wear. It’s almost too good to be true. It’s likely these shoes would suit a younger audience more than an older one, but you can enjoy the comfort of arch support no matter your age.
There you have it — the best high heels for those with flat feet. Take your pick as you have a lot of good options for you.