Our feet get very little attention as runners though they take so much of the force. We focus on our glutes and hips for good reason, but understanding how running with high arches could lead to aches, pains and injuries is important.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum are those running with flat feet and yet…so many similarities in what we need to do.
One of the primary issues for runners with high arches is that it places their ankle in a locked position. This lack of mobility can be jarring with each step as your foot rolls too far inward or outward, thus increasing the potential for injury of the ankle and knees.
Best Running Shoes for High Arches
The following running shoes with arch support are a great place to start in preventing injuries. But definitely read on to learn more about the exercises you can do to run stronger!
You’ll need to create a little video to see whether your high arches cause your foot to roll more inward or out. If rolling in then you’ll look more for stability and out more for motion control.
- Hoka Clifton Edge – 5mm drop, moderate cushion, helps with outward roll
- New Balance Fresh Foam 860 – 10mm drop, plush cushion and stability shoe
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS – 12mm drop, moderate cushion and arch support
- Asics Gel Nimbus – 13mm drop, moderate cushion, good for wide foot, neutral shoe
- Altra Provision – For those seeking a zero drop shoe, this model has innovarch to help with extra support.
Head in to a running store to put them on your feet and see how they feel!! Just because a shoe is recommended for you by me or someone in a store, if you run a few miles in it and the feel is awful then you don’t HAVE to wear it!
What does the heel drop mean?
I often recommend a lower heel drop, but for those who do have ankle issues you’ll often find better support from a slightly higher heel drop, which is why many of the one’s listed here are over 10mm.
High Arch Shoes for Daily Movement
One of the key points in most shoes above is their ability to help with overpronation. The excessive inward roll of the foot due to high arches.
It is often important to wear shoes with this kind of support throughout the day as well. You want to ensure your foot isn’t collapsing inward during the rest of the day while standing or walking either.
Barefoot Walking for High Arches
On the flip side there is some evidence that spending time walking barefoot could be good for you as well. It helps force all of the muscles in your feet to work and in running is a quick reminder to place your feet under your hips rather than reaching out and heel striking.
Barefoot supporters have the right idea in saying that we want to build stronger feet! Checkout the exercises below!
Insoles for High Arches
In addition to running shoes, you may find benefits from running insoles. A custom made orthotic is great for those with very high arches to ensure it’s a good fit and many of those will last for years.
How do You Know if You Have High Arches?
One of the easiest at home tests is to place a piece of paper on the floor, dip your foot in water and then step directly on to the paper. Lift up your foot and compare it to this chart to see what foot type you have.
A few of the common issues related to running with high arches:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Ball of foot pain while running
- Ankle pain during or after running
- Hammer Toe or Bunions
As noted above, you’ll need to determine if your high arches are resulting in your foot rolling more inward or outward during running. Both are equally viable options and simply seem to impact people differently.
Either roll will place stress on the knees and ankles, but require a slightly different shoe.
Are high arches good for running?
You might assume that because flat feet can lead to issues, high arches are better. But that’s not the case. You are equally likely to have issues with foot landing and rolling if you don’t have the right support.
A high arch means your foot without support will excessively fall inward with each step. This changes the alignment of your leg placing a great deal of stress on the ankle and knee.
Exercises for High Arches
Some of what we want to do with these exercises is stretches that will help with the fascia running along the bottom of the foot. It’s going to ensure the foot can move easily through the running range of motion.
Secondary to that, we’re always looking for movements that improve our strength and stability to help keep the ankles and knees aligned.
Seated with legs extended in front of you, loop a yoga band or towel around the ball of your foot and then grasp in both hands. Slowly pull back so that you feel a stretch through the foot and calf.
Whether you have a massage gun or just a PT ball, spend some time working on the muscles of your feet each day.
Standing straight rock back on to your heels and walk forward 10 steps. Then raise up on to your toes and walk back 10 steps. Start with 1 minute and build up to 3 rounds.
Big Toe Extensions
Have you ever tried to move your toes independently? More strength in your toes means they grab the ground for a push off and that’s part of what we’re working here along with tiny muscles.
Standing with feet firmly planted, try to pick up just your big toe. Repeat 30 times per foot. You should notice the more you do this it eventually becomes easier to move just your big toe.
Core Focused Strength
From here you need to ensure you have hip, glute and ab strength (aka your core)!
Looking for more running shoe information?
- How to decide if you should use insoles?
- How to know when to replace running shoes?
- Why you need to rotate running shoes
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