What Shoes Have the Best Arch Support?

By Dr. Jackie Sutera


The right shoe is everything! Speaking as a podiatrist, I can assure you that it is of the utmost importance to have the right pair of shoes. Your shoe should be appropriate for your foot type as well as your activity. This will not only provide comfort, but can prevent injury. The right shoe can also be part of a therapy if you have a foot condition. Here are some things to think about: 


Start by selecting shoe styles that match the shape of your foot. 

Put your foot side by side with shoes before purchasing and visually assess if they are a good match to better predict if they will be a good fit. For example, if you have a bunion, making your forefoot wider and more square, avoid shoes that have a point or are more narrow in the toe box. Accommodate the forefoot by choosing shoes made of a forgiving material. Shoes that are not made of a forgiving material and are not the proper fit, will compress and squeeze the forefoot. 


Shoes should also match your activity. 

Making sure the shoes you wear are appropriate for what you are doing is a great way to prevent injury and pain. For example, activities like dancing, basketball and tennis (which have side to side, lateral movements) require a different type of support than walking, hiking and running (which are forward movements).


Arch support is a must-have feature when shopping for supportive shoes. 

Vionic’s shoes have raised padding or an elevation that is located on the top of insoles inside the shoe.  It helps elevate and neutralize the inside of the mid foot. This is important because if the arch is abnormally flat or pronated, many problems can occur or be made worse such as: bunions, hammertoes, tendinitis, fasciitis, back, hip, knee pain, etc…

Other features that I believe are very important when buying supportive shoes are deep seated heel cups and added cushion on top of a more rigid or contoured sole. The rigid sole provides some extra control and the cushion gives comfort.   Shoes and insoles from Vionic are great options because they offer their “three-zone comfort technology”  built into the shoes which includes a deep-seated heel cup, arch support, and cushioning. Additional things to think about:

-Metatarsal pads, an elevation just behind the ball of the foot, is also a popular, nice- to- have feature.  This cushions, redistributes and takes pressure off of the metatarsal joints of the forefoot.

-When shopping for supportive shoes, choose closed shoes which can be more stable and safer than very open styles. Open styles especially expose the mid foot, which can be unstable and  encourage an unsteady gait. Open styles that have adjustable straps are a better option because they can help secure the foot.


When in doubt, go with arch support.

In general, it is best to skip over the shoes with thin, flat insoles and outer soles. Wearing shoes with more structure and support, especially for people with flat feet, is not only more comfortable but also healthier overall. 


About the Author:

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM is a surgically trained doctor of podiatric medicine specializing in the prevention and treatment of foot pathology. She graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Philosophy. She later attended the New York College of Podiatric Medicine where she earned the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Dr. Sutera received her postgraduate residency training at the busy level-one trauma center at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, NY and Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. During her time there, she served as chief surgical resident and received and completed training in all aspects of podiatric medicine and surgery. Dr. Sutera is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons. She is also a proud member and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association and the New York State Podiatric Medical Society. As one of NYC’s premier podiatric physicians, she is a caring, conscientious and extremely personable doctor who prides herself on being holistic in her approach to foot care. Where other doctors treat feet only locally, she has a unique gift of being able to link some foot problems to other underlying conditions taking place in the body.

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