If you’re a runner and you have a high instep (the opposite of flat feet), you need to make sure you buy the best running shoes for high arches. You’ll most likely have under-pronated feet and need to purchase the best neutral running shoes, with adequate cushioning and a good amount of flex and bend; this will encourage a more natural foot motion. Whether you call them trainers, sneakers or runners, finding the right pair of athletic shoes for your feet will provide you with comfort and protect you from injury when you’re running, jogging or even just walking for long distances.

How do I know if I have high arches?

High arched foot printIn medical terminology, feet with high How to test for a high archarches are referred to as being of the cavoid or supinated foot type; the sole of the foot is clearly hollow when bearing weight. Less common than having flat feet (where the entire sole is in contact with the floor when weight bearing), a high-arched foot is characterised by an abnormally high medial longitudinal arch.

But how do you know if you have high arches? Follow this simple test to find out:

  1. Fill a tray with water
  2. Step into the water with bare feet
  3. Step onto a blank piece of paper
  4. Take a look at the imprint your foot has made
  5. If you only see marks where your heel, the ball of your foot and a thin line on the outer side of your foot have met the paper, you have a high arch.

Most people who suffer from high insteps (or Pes cavus), also under pronate.

Under-pronation explained

Under pronated feet have limited inward movement when making contact with the ground. When you run, if you tend to feel the impact more greatly on the outside of your foot, it is likely that you are under pronating. Check the bottom of an old pair of running shoes; if there is more wear on the outer side of the soles than anywhere else, you are an under-pronator. This video from Runner’s World explains the condition more thoroughly.

What makes good running shoes?

If you have high arched feet, you are primarily supported by the ball and heel of the foot only. You won’t be evenly distributing pressure throughout the foot. This means that you don’t absorb the shock of impact very well when running, so you need to invest in trainers that minimise strain on your muscles and joints, in order to remain injury-free.

Neutral Shoes

Neutral running shoes are the perfect choice for high arched feet. They are specifically designed to have no medial post and don’t provide unnecessary support or stability (as this can be detrimental for people with high arched feet or suffering from under-pronation). Neutral running shoes have a wide base to make it easy to run with long, smooth strides. They also provide extra cushioning which helps guide the centre of your heal to the ground on impact and correct the imbalance.


Look out for athletic shoes with extra shock absorption and adequate cushioning. The best running shoes for high arches will have maximum mid-sole cushioning and minimum medial (arch-side) support; this will assist you in achieving a normal and healthy running motion. Try and find shoes with a rear foot grid to provide extra cushioning and support. This is particularly important if you are considering entering a long-distance event like a marathon or half-marathon.


Running with high arches means you need a flexible athletic shoe to give your foot enough movement. Ideally, the running shoes you choose should have solid rubber forefront soles and softer mid-foot soles; this will give the bend and flex that is vital in shoes for people with high arches. Choose breathable mesh trainers for ultimate flexibility and comfort.

What to avoid

It’s best to steer clear of stability or motion-control features when searching for the right pair of running shoes, as these can tamper with your natural running patterns. They are made specifically to help over-pronators, not people with under pronated feet.

Checklist for buying training shoes for high arched feet

  • Neutral shoes for under-pronators
  • Wide base
  • Mid-sole cushioning
  • Rear foot grid
  • Breathable mesh
  • Rubber forefront soles
  • Soft mid-foot soles
  • No stability or motion control features

The 3 best running shoes for high arches

Asics Gel Series

Brooks Ghost 4 Running Shoes(104791)

The Asics Gel series of trainers are the top-choice athletic shoe for many runners and fitness fanatics.

Asics Gel-Fortitude shoes provide ultimate protection against shock of impact and reduce the risk of injury. The midsole wraps under the arch to hold it firmly in place. The shoes retail for around $100.

Brooks Ghost 4 Running Shoes

The Asics Gel Nimbus have been voted Runner’s World Editor’s Choice on more than one occasion. If you are looking for shoes to run short speedy distances in, these may not be the choice for you. The trainers are fairly weighty and better suited for long distance runners who don’t suffer from over-pronation. If comfort is your ultimate goal, look no further as reviewers have described these shoes as ‘plush’, and the breathable mesh keeps the foot cool during exercise.

Brooks Ghost 4

Brooks Ghost 4 Running Shoes(104795)

These superior running shoes were voted Editor's Choice in Runner's World’s 2012 Shoe Guide. They are the ultimate in lightweight training shoes and are part of the famous Brooks Neutral collection. Ghost 4 sneakers were described by Runner’s World as "lightweight shoes with a snug fit and springy midsole”.

Available in styles for men and women at around $100, Brooks offers the under-pronator comfort, balance and power.

Saucony Grid Cohesion NX

Saucony Grid Cohesion NX

Saucony Grid Cohesion trainers are neutral cushioning shoes and the perfect choice for runners and joggers with high arched feet. They are specifically designed for those people whose feet roll naturally outward (or under-pronators).

They receive a plethora of 5 star reviews on Amazon and other consumer sites, for comfort, durability and price. A great buy at almost half the price of other top brands, and available in two widths.

The Saucony Grid Cohesions are some of the best running shoes for wide arches on the market.

Saucony Women's Cohesion 6 Running Shoe,Purple/Black/Pink,7.5 M US
Amazon Price: $55.00 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 8, 2016)

Related Content:

Heart Rate Monitor Reviews

The Final Week of Marathon Training

Have You Got What it Takes to Run a Marathon?

What to Eat and Drink on the Day of a Marathon

Making it to the Finish Line