Got high arches? Here are the best running shoes for you!

Last month we answered a question from a flat-footed runner wanting suggestions on the best running shoes. Never one to leave anyone out, we are now offering some advice for you runners out there with high arches…

I have a high arch and my feet tend to underpronate, which are the best running shoes for me?

Underpronation and High Arch, University Foot and Ankle Institute

Runners with high arches will want to look for neutral or cushioned shoes.

A high arched foot functions quite different than a foot that overpronates or is flat.  Pronation is a combination of the foot rolling inward and the arch flexing or flattening.  This is one of the body’s built-in mechanisms to allow for shock absorption.  Too much pronation, however, results in the foot becoming destabilized and putting extra stress on tendons and joints.   That is why runners who over pronate tend to require a shoe with stability localized to the inside portion of the shoe.

It is the opposite for people with high arched feet.  When the arch is higher, the foot functions in a more supinated position (rolled outward), which locks in several of the joints in the foot resulting in a stiffer, less shock absorbing construct. For this reason, runners with high arches will want to look for neutral or cushioned shoes.

Common Injuries Associated with Underpronation and High Arches

Because a high arched foot functions in a way that decreases the body’s shock absorption, running shoes with cushioning will help mitigate many of the problems we see in this foot type.  In a supinated position, the foot tends to roll outward instead of inward as in over-pronated feet.

It is not uncommon to get stress fractures to the outside bones (4th and 5th metatarsals and cuboid), tendonitis, ankle sprains and generalized pain to that area of the foot.  If incorrectly fitted for a stability shoe or one with motion control, many runners will feel like their feet are being forced outward even more which can make a lot of these issues worse and increase the risk of injury.

What are the Best Running Shoes for a High Arch?

A neutral or cushion shoe is exactly how it sounds, a shoe with an emphasis on cushioning and without additional support.  This type of shoe supplies a high arched foot extra cushioning while allowing it to sit neutrally within the shoe.  All running shoe brands will have a neutral cushion shoe so it can be difficult to narrow down on the best shoe.

Mizuno Wave Catalyst, High Arches, University Foot and Ankle Institute

The Mizuno Wave Catalyst is light-weight and neutral while providing good cushioning.

Some examples of good neutral running shoes for the spring and summer of 2016 are the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2, Mizuno Wave Catalyst, Hoka One One Tracer and Nike Free RN Distance.  These are light-weight and neutral while providing good cushioning which are good for runners that like or need cushioning, but also want a less bulky shoe for a lighter feel.

For more substantial cushioning the Saucony Hurricane ISO 2, Brooks Transcend 3 and Asics Gel-Nimbus are good cushion shoes for runners requiring a neutral ride and may want additional cushioning with a small sacrifice in shoe weight.

Finding the Best Store for Running Shoes

As always, I recommend going to a running speciality store as they are well versed in the different types of shoes and which work best with certain foot structures.  A thorough gait evaluation, discussion of running patterns, previous running shoes and injury history are all critical in finding a good running shoe to keep you injury free while the miles add up.

Getting the Proper Running Shoe for High Arches

A running speciality store will be well versed in which shoes work best with certain foot structures.

The original question was posed by a runner in the Chicagoland area.  There are several good running shoe stores in Chicago and the Naperville area.  Naperville Running Company has two stores in the area and provide a full range of running, walking and triathlon gear.  They also offer good form running Clinics, injury prevention clinics and meetings for marathon training programs.  Another fantastic running speciality store in that area is Dick Pond Athletics, which has five stores throughout the Chicago suburbs.  Similarly, they provide running clinics and injury prevention meetings as well as sponsorships to various races in the area.

For our Los Angeles runners, Top 2 Top, located in Santa Monica, is routinely ranked as one of the best running stores in Los Angeles.  They offer full evaluation and biomechanical fitting to find the best shoe for you as well as running clubs and informative meetings.

Dr. Jason Morris

Dr. Jason Morris

Dr. Jason Morris graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University (where he ran on the track and cross country teams), and went on to complete his medical training at Des Moines University and a three-year comprehensive foot and ankle surgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His emphasis was on sports medicine, foot and ankle trauma, reconstructive surgery and diabetic limb salvage.

As an avid athlete, Dr. Morris developed a special interest in preventative medicine and treatment of sports related injuries. He also has extensive experience in foot and ankle trauma, reconstructive surgery and arthroscopy. In addition, Dr. Morris currently works as a consultant for several companies specializing in joint implants for feet and ankles.
Dr. Jason Morris

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