You've looked out your window and it's a glorious day. There's only one thing for it, it's time for a hike. You've got your gear ready, your supplies packed, you're ready to take on the world. But there, lying dusty in the corner, are your hiking boots.
Flashbacks of the pain they caused your feet on your last expedition invade your mind and you're close to just giving up. You've accepted the fact that you've got flat feet and that there’s nothing you can do about it, right? Wrong.
There are plenty of hiking boots that are perfectly suited to those of us who suffer from fallen arches. So never fear, go fill your water bottle up whilst I give you the low-down on the best hiking boots for flat feet.
Comparison Table - Best Shoes for Flat Feet
Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX
Danner Men's Mountain 600
Brown/Red, Dark Brown/Green, Black, Hazelwood/Yellow, Carbon Black
Hi-Tec Men's Logan WP
Smokey Brown/Olive/Snow, Smokey Brown/Taupe/Red Rock
Timberland Women's White Ledge
New Balance Women's WW1400V1
Nevados Women's Klondike WP
Brown/Dark Chesnut/Vivid Aqua, Dark Brown/ Taupe/Black
What Are Flat Feet?
Flat feet, otherwise known as pes planus or fallen arches, is when the arches in your foot collapse. This results in most, if not all, of the sole of the foot being in contact with the ground.
In children, the arch in the foot isn’t always visible because of the amount of soft tissue they have on their feet, but as you get older, an arch at the middle of your foot should develop. If this arch doesn’t develop, you’re more than likely going to have flat feet.
What Causes Flat Feet?
The main cause of flat feet is commonly thought to be genetics. If your parents suffer from flat feet, the likelihood is you’ll be susceptible to the same condition.
However, there other causes of fallen arches that may have no relation to your parents’ genetics. Being overweight, aging or damage to the tendons in the arch of the foot all can have a detrimental effect, causing long-term issues which may require medical attention.
Less frequent causes can also include conditions such as cerebral palsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or the feet bone not developing fully in the womb.
What Do You Need To Look For In Hiking Boots For Fallen Arches?
Choosing the right shoe is crucial in preventing further damage to your feet.
You need to be looking for a hiking boot that not only has arch support but also supports your ankle.
Because the sole of the foot will lie flat on the ground, a common side-effect is foot fatigue.
This is when the tendons in the foot are constantly stretched like an elastic band. The arch in the foot usually provides a relief to this pressure, but if you do have fallen arches then, unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury.
Another reason why support is important with flat feet is it will prevent your feet rolling in towards each other. Not only can this cause your shoes to wear out quicker, but it can cause more serious ankle and foot pain, which could ultimately lead to joint and back pain.
As previously mentioned, foot fatigue is a painful side-effect of flat feet. You need a sole that will cushion your foot without being too solid, as this can cause unwanted pressure points.
The hiking boot you choose needs to have a comfortable sole that will allow you to hike without fear of blisters or added stress to your feet.
Last but certainly not least is you need to choose a boot that’s made from quality materials. You need to have a structured sole which provides grip so you can tackle the most difficult terrain, in any weather, without the fear of losing your footing or slipping.
You also need to look at what material the boot is made from; leather or synthetic. Both have their advantages, some boots even combine both for optimum results. But in every case, the boot needs to be waterproof. This will allow you to frolic in the puddles to your heart’s content.
So sit back and relax whilst I review the best hiking boots for flat feet for men and women.
6 Best Hiking Boots for Flat Feet
1. Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
The Saloman Hiking Boot is definitely among the elite of hiking boots. With an impressive 1563 reviews on Amazon.com, it’s clear that it’s a firm favorite.
The review that has been helpful by most people (+450) talks about the many qualities these boots have, including great ankle support and traction, among others:
These Quest 2's are amazing. Extremely comfortable, I never had a blister in them. The lacing system is unique, you can loosen or tighten each of the three top levels of the lace to how you want (...) Against water, the Quest 2s do very well. You can fully submerge the boot up near its collar and as long as you remove your foot fast enough, you will stay dry (...) Now that being said, water can and will get through the boots".
It’s made from leather, textile, and synthetic materials, which allows the boot both breathability and flexibility despite being waterproof. However, one of the most important things for someone who has flat feet is that it has a synthetic sole. People who have flat feet are more prone to foot fatigue so having a comfortable base to the shoe greatly eases the pain that your foot will go through.
The footbed is removable which is an important feature to consider when you have flat feet. The boots provided the required stability and protection for a high-level activity such as hiking.
The Saloman also boasts Sensifit. This is a wrapping on the boot that ‘ensure(s) a snug, comfortable fit for every foot shape' (Amazon.com). Not only does the Salomon account for the most important aspect, comfort, but it also has the more intricate details you would expect from a high-end hiking boot to ensure you’ll be able to tackle any terrain.
2. Danner Men's Mountain 600 4.5" Hiking Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These hiking boots are super lightweight so won't feel like you're trekking with two blocks of cement attached to your ankles. They provide good ankle support but are not as structured as some of the other boots which provides a little bit more flexibility and allows you to feel the terrain more.
They’re made of suede and do state that they’re waterproof, but I would advise buying some waterproofing spray to help the boot last longer.
The D-ring lacing means that there won't be too much pressure applied to the tongue of the shoe which can sometimes cause a pressure point on the foot, whilst the MegaGrip sole ensures that there’s excellent grip on wet and dry surfaces.
Moreover, if there's something these boots can promise is durability and the best quality when it comes to craftsmanship. The Danner official website states:
To this day, our commitment to superior craftsmanship remains unchanged. We continue to craft high quality boots, using the best possible materials we can find, to create a product built to last".
This is why spending a higher amount of money on shoes like these makes the purchase worth the expense.
3. Hi-Tec Men's Logan WP Hiking Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These boots are made of both leather and fabric which cushions the foot and provides flexibility, as well as water resistance. The sole is rubber so it provides excellent grip. But one of the biggest features of this boot is that it has a contoured sock liner which means it hugs the foot and provides support for all the different areas of your foot.
It’s a high-rise boot so your ankle is adequately supported, giving you that extra confidence when going over particularly difficult terrain. The mesh uppers allow the feet to breathe.
Robert Fairbank is a customer who mentions these shoes are "perfection". His review has been found helpful by several users, in which he says:
I tried 15 different styles/brands and as soon as I put these on I knew these were the ones. It was like putting on furry house slippers (...) I wear these 12 hours a day every day. Overall great fit, feel, support, waterproof, lightweight (...)
UPDATE 2 YEARS LATER-
I now have purchased 4 pairs, all are great, no issues. I get about 6 months out of them while wearing them 80+ hours a week".
One negative is that the laces do have a habit of fraying quite quickly so you would have to purchase replacement laces to keep the boot in top condition.
1. Timberland Women's White Ledge Hiking Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have heard of Timberland. Although they’re now seen as more of a fashion brand, these boots provide a more practical option. They’re leather so will mold around the shape of your foot, however, they may need some wearing in before they become supple.
The rubber sole is shock absorbent, and also provides great grip which is why they're an amazing option for hiking out there.
They’re waterproof, so need to worry about dodging the puddles and have a padded tongue and collar which provides both comfort and support. These boots currently sit at number 10 on Amazon's Best Sellers rank for Women's Hiking boots, so it’s clear they’re a tried and tested favorite.
The one thing many adventurous people dislike about the Timberland boots is that, for activities like hiking, they may be just too heavy:
You might not think weight is a huge deal, but 1 pound on your feet equals 5 pounds on your back. And the longer the hike, the more important weight becomes (...) Every foot type is different and different boots are just going to feel more comfortable to certain people. If Timberland boots fit you comfortably and they work fine for you, great. The important thing when it comes to footwear is that it’s safe and comfortable".
One thing I’ll point out is that I personally don't think that they’re the best-looking boot. They only come in brown, which is excellent for hiding a multitude of stains, but they don't have the WOW factor which I’ve come to expect from a Timberland boot.
2. New Balance Women's WW1400V1 Walking Trail Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
By now, it's clear what features all these hiking boots have, and these boots have all the required specifications. They’re waterproof, have a rubber sole for grip and provide support to all areas of the foot and ankle.
However, what I particularly liked about this boot is the flash of color that these boots have. It just adds a bit of fun to an otherwise practical boot. If these are still to plain for you, just buy a pair of funky colored laces and it completely transforms to boot.
Another bonus to this boot is that they’re also perfect for those of us who have feet that are, shall we say, on the wider side whilst also providing adequate cushioning.
B. Terril is just one of many customers who are enchanted by these hiking boots because they are true to the expectations they set. Take a look at her review where she calls these boots "bulletproof" to see it yourself:
These were so much better than I thought possible: they are sturdy and supportive, but very comfortable and soft on the inside. They're fairly lightweight and needed no breaking in; I did not have any blisters or chafing. The thick soles allowed me to trudge over sharp lava rock, uneven cobblestones streets, mud, wet grass, and -- most impressively -- through several inches of cold running water over slippery rocks at the base of waterfalls! My feet stayed dry and warm, and these never once slipped".
These boots are currently number 18 on Amazon's Best Sellers list which speaks for itself really.
3. Nevados Women's Klondike WP Hiking Boot
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These are the only boots in this review that don't have the high-rise style around the ankle, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not as supportive as the other boots. One of the benefits of this boot is that it allows your foot to react to the terrain rather than the boot doing all the work.
It provides a bit more freedom to your hike and in some ways, can make you feel closer to your environment. The fabric and leather blend means that they don’t need wearing in and are ready to go straight out of the box and the rubber sole provides confidence on any terrain and in any weather, even when it's rainy since they are waterproof as well (the mesh allows breathability so one thing doesn't sacrifice the other).
The durability is something that's also worth mentioning. Previous customers highlight this particular quality when reviewing these boots:
I bought these boots 3-1/2 years ago (...) I looked for a hiking boot that was waterproof and also had a heel for occasional horseback riding. None of the expensive boots fit those criteria or had poor reviews on being waterproof. These Nevados at half the price I was willing to spend have been great. No wet feet. Great for hiking. I just replaced the laces for the first time. The tread is still good. Hope to get a few more years out of them".
Overall, they offer great value for the cost.
Regardless of the boot being for men or women, they all boast very similar qualities that are crucial for people with flat feet. They all provide the grip a hiker needs but also the comfort and support required to prevent any damage.The only thing that really differentiates them is how they look. All you need to do is choose which style you prefer. Practicality wise, they’re all perfect hiking boots for flat feet.
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