Best Running Shoes for High Arches Reviewed & Rated
Whether you’re running to get in shape, keep healthy, or to get some fresh air on a daily basis, it’s important to do this activity in the right type of footwear. If you happen to have an arch that is higher than normal, you may need to look into running shoes for high arches which will provide you with sufficient support in order to ensure proper alignment and a natural gait cycle.
While people with normal or flat feet need to buy supportive or even motion control running footwear, there is a very limited number of running sneakers aimed at those with high arches. These individuals are more likely to underpronate, putting more stress on the outside of the foot, which means that they require higher levels of shock absorption in order to prevent pain or even injuries.
The list below looks at the highest-rated running shoes for high arches.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Air Mesh Upper
Midsole Cooling System
Infinity Wave Plate
Pebax Heel Insert
Blown Rubber Outsole
10 Best Running Shoes for High Arches
1. Mizuno Wave Creation 20
Air Mesh Upper
Midsole Cooling System
Infinity Wave Plate
Pebax Heel Insert
Blown Rubber Outsole
Limited Width Options
This model by Mizuno is another neutral model, made for road conditions. It’s the 20th release in Mizuno’s line of flagship maximalist footwear, and it’s ideal for marathon training or use by those who need added shock-attenuation. This contemporary-looking sneaker comes in a limited number of color choices which are all quite down to earth, and although it doesn’t offer width options, it was designed so as to provide a good fit for most runners.
The upper portion of the Wave Creation 20 is made with a combination of Air Mesh for breathability and lightweight performance and printed and sewn-on overlays that ensure stability and a locked-in feel. Padding is provided in the tongue and collar, and you can expect this model to breathe and allow airflow, as well as to accommodate any swelling that may occur during your training session.
The most impressive feature of the Wave Creation 20 is the newly-developed Infinity Wave Plate which is a double-layer TPU system inserted into the midsole unit. What it does is disperse and absorb shock, without the common downside of packing (most often encountered with EVA midsoles). It also supports the heel, encouraging a healthy alignment, and is topped with a Pebax plate that ensures additional support and a highly energy-returning experience. Another feature worth mentioning is the midsole cooling system that promotes moisture-management on the bottom of the foot as well as the upper.
As for the outsole, the Wave Creation 20 utilizes blown rubber which works well on all surfaces, is lightweight and does a good job at providing added cushioning. On the whole, this is not a cheap buy, but if you’re after the best of the best, it definitely is highly recommended, especially if you tend to stack up miles quickly.
2. Brooks Glycerin 17
Sizes Run Small
The Brooks Glycerin 17 is marketed specifically for those with a tendency to underpronate (a common side effect of those runners with high arches), seeking a neutral shoe. Segmented cushioning (or “crash pads”) make for a uniform, yet flexible buffer that adapts to your running style; while “pressure zones” on the outsole fight against shin splints by evenly distribute pressure throughout the foot. The shoe also combines mesh and synthetics to create an upper that is flexible and breathable, while being more durable than some on this list.
An update of the Glycerin 16s, the Brooks Glycerin 17's still managed to maintain an ideal amount of cushion by segmenting it. Keep in mind, with high arches you’re going to want to look for a shoe with a decent amount of cushioning, while still being a neutral midsole throughout.
Too narrow of a shoe and you end up exasperating the rigidity of feet with high arches, restricting rotation and making an already bad underpronation worse. Owners comment time and time again that the Brooks Glycerin 17 manages to stay streamlined and light, while still being comfortable and flexible enough for quality runs and mobility.
3. Brooks Ghost 12
Stretch Engineered Mesh
3D Print Overlays
BioMoGo DNA Cushioning
Blown Rubber Outsole
Restrictive Toe Area
The latest edition of the popular Brooks Ghost shoe is a highly rated neutral model made for road conditions. It utilizes the brand’s exceptional cushioning technology, without allowing supination which is a common issue for runners with high arches. The Ghost 12 comes in several width options, including narrow, medium and wide, and has removable insoles for users who require a higher level of arch support. It can also be purchased in a variety of colors, from neutrals to vibrant eye-catching designs.
The upper of this pair of running shoes for high arches is made with an engineered mesh that includes stretch sections in key areas. What this means is that the shoe will require absolutely no break-in time, and will feel like a second skin from the first wear on. To add structure, durability, and support, Brooks has included 3D Print overlays which are lightweight and offer low-light visibility.
The sole unit of the Ghost 12 is made with the brand’s highly-rated BioMoGo DNA cushioning system that is one of the most effective shock-absorbing systems in running footwear at the moment. It’s so effective at protecting the musculoskeletal system from the landing-generated impact that it can easily be worn for marathons, all the while providing the energy return of more minimalist-oriented running sneakers. A segmented crash pad integrated into the outsole helps further disperse shock, without sacrificing the flexibility that’s crucial for a powerful toe-off.
The blown rubber outsole is durable and works well on asphalt, even in less than ideal weather circumstances. As for price point, the Brooks Ghost 12 requires a considerable initial investment, but that’s to be expected from flagship models such as this one. If, however, you’re on a budget yet still wish to benefit from this type of shoe, you could check out one of the previous models from this line, which are still very much relevant.
4. Salomon X-Mission 3
Contagrip MD Outsole
These trail runners are perfect for those who want to invest in high-quality running footwear made by a brand that understands trail running and hiking. Neutral in terms of support, with a standard 10mm heel to toe drop, these are ideal for varying surfaces, including both dry, wet and muddy terrain. There’s not much variety in terms of color options, or even widths, but considering the fact that this is a specialized type of shoe, that’s quite understandable.
The upper of the X-Mission 3 houses quite a bit of tech. Made with a 3D mesh material with Sensifit stretch overlays, you can expect this model to wrap around the foot providing it with high levels of breathability and moisture management. The Quicklace system utilizes Kevlar cords that are easy to adjust on the go, and require no tying. The toe area features a protective overlay to keep users safe from accidental bumps.
The sole unit of the X-Mission 3 is impressive in two ways. Firstly, it uses an EnergyCell midsole that is made with EVA foam and is quite successful at absorbing shock. Geared towards users who tend to land with their heel, this system protects the joints and muscles, allowing you to run for longer. The second layer of cushioning comes from the Ortholite insole which has antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties, ensuring a dry and healthy foot environment.
The best part of the X-Mission 3, however, has to be the Contagrip MD outsole with aggressive, multidirectional lugs that are sure to provide the required level of traction. It’s resistant to abrasion for greater durability and should clog up, even if you tend to run in muddy terrain. Do keep in mind, though, that this model is not waterproof. As for price point, you’ll find that the X-Mission 3 ranks average compared to the other running sneakers listed.
5. ASICS GEL-Venture 7
Synthetic Leather Overlays
Rearfoot GEL Cushioning
Another pair of trail runners to be featured on this list, the ASICS GEL-Venture 7 is a highly-anticipated continuation in a successful series of running footwear. Made for daily use, this model makes use of traditional and modern materials, providing athletes with an affordable option for training on moderate trail surfaces. The color options are slightly limited but in terms of sizing, the GEL-Venture 7 comes in several versions, from narrow to extra-wide.
The upper of this model is made with synthetic leather over a mesh material, which is a combination that’s been used for decades. It provides wearers with a great combination of durability, support, and breathability, and is relatively easy to keep clean. Generous padding is included in the tongue and collar portions, and you’ll even find a heel pull tab at the back of the shoe for easy on and handy carrying options.
The sole unit of this model makes use of two materials developed by the brand. First and foremost, there’s the Rearfoot GEL cushioning which aims to absorb shock that is generated upon impact. This cushion is housed inside a foam unit that is lightweight, responsive and provides a smooth transition from heel to midfoot. You’ll also find an Ortholite insole in the GEL-Venture 7 for added shock-absorption and in-shoe comfort.
As for the outsole, it utilizes ASICS’ High Abrasion Rubber compound that’s very durable on a variety of surfaces. The traction lugs are placed in a reverse manner, increasing grip during uphill and downhill runs. The best feature of this model, however, has to be the price that is affordable for this type of quality, and it is largely what makes it so popular among runners of all experience levels.
6. ASICS GEL-Kinsei 6
Impact Guidance System
Narrow Toe Box
The ASICS GEL-Kinsei 6 uses all of the ASICS athletic gear building experience to create a comfortable, stable, personalized feel for runners with high arches. The external heel counter will provide excellent support at the heel and the shoe has won the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance.
The upper of the Kinsei is made of a multi-directional stretch mesh that is supportive and adapts to your feet. The personalized feel will leave you comfortable and secure while you run your body through its paces.
Finding a great pair of shoes only to discover that one of the seams inside rubs against your skin, causing friction, sores and blisters is aggravating. Shoes with seamless construction, like this ASICS, avoid the problem of hot spots from seam friction within the shoe, leaving you that much more comfortable during your run.
7. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36
Engineered Mesh Upper
Flywire Cable Lacing
Full-length Air Zoom
Forefoot Sole Durability
Runs Slightly Narrow
Not many pairs of running sneakers can boast of the same type of iconic reputation as those in the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus line. The latest model to be added to the family brings back some of the sneaker’s best features all while updating the upper to be more comfortable and less bulky. In true Nike fashion, it is one of the best looking models listed in this guide, with eye-catching color options, a recognizable sole silhouette, and the prominent Swoosh on the sides. Notably, this shoe also comes in a trail-specific version for those who prefer to run in more natural surroundings.
The upper of the Pegasus 36 is made with engineered mesh that is even more breathable than the shoe’s predecessors. It also features updates on the tongue, which is slimmer and conforms to the shape of the foot more easily. Additionally, the collar is slimmer as well, with a heel design that is more efficient at protecting the sensitive Achilles area. As for the lacing system, it utilizes exposed Flywire cables which help you get a secure fit that wraps up from the midsole to the top of the foot.
The sole unit of the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is made with a full-length Air Zoom unit which is cased inside a Cushlon midsole. This makes for a very lightweight shoe (one of the most lightweight on this list) that ensures excellent shock-absorption for all types of landing, as well as plenty of ground feel for a powerful toe-off. Notably, the sockliner included in this model is made to provide a higher level of arch support, which is something that’s not often found in footwear made for high arches.
The outsole combines blown rubber and carbon rubber for a combination of cushioning and abrasion resistance, and it features a waffle-patterned traction design that is quite successful at ensuring grip in most conditions. As for cost, you won’t have to spend too much on the Air Zoom Pegasus 36, seeing that it’s an averagely priced model compared to the other items listed.
8. Saucony Ride ISO 2
Jacquard Mesh Upper
Double Layer Midsole
Runs True to Size
Unsuitable for Wet Terrain
Recently released, the Saucony Ride ISO 2 is a great choice for users whose arches are between medium and high. This neutral running shoe is made for road conditions. It can be purchased in regular and wide widths and it is offered in several color options for those who want attractive design. Like all Saucony models, it boasts a low weight, as well as a technologically advanced responsive midsole for maximum performance.
The upper of these running shoes for high arches is made with a jacquard mesh which has a number of benefits. First and foremost, it’s breathable and moisture-wicking, but it also ensures great fit and adaptability during your movements. It is flexible, which means that the foot won’t be constrained while running, and it will be more comfortable thanks to the fact that it’ll adapt to each individual’s foot. Both the tongue and collar include generous padding, which protects sensitive foot areas from irritation or injury.
The midsole of the Ride ISO 2 features an 8mm offset which is slightly lower than most models listed. It utilizes two types of foam, the first one being PWRFOAM which is a full-length cushioning system with a lot of thickness to it in order to ensure maximum shock-absorption. It’s topped with EVERRUN technology for added durability and a removable insole that allows the addition of custom orthotics.
As for the outsole, it’s quite flexible thanks to the zig-zag grooves that allow the foot to move in a natural way. Made from a special rubber compound it provides users with a combination of softness and traction required for running on asphalt. As for price, this shoe ranks average, which may be a bit too much for beginners, but on the whole, it makes for a good investment.
9. Hoka One One Clifton 5
Breathable Mesh Upper
Breathable Fabric Insole
Sizes May Run Small
Hoka One One makes running shoes for a variety of athletic needs, including Clifton 5 which is a good runner for high arched feet. It features great cushioning, a solid rubber sole and a rounded toe box for comfort and confident traction. The shoe will take the beating you give it on the road, on a treadmill or on light trails.
For those with both high arches and a wider forefoot, this is a comfortable running shoe. Well-cushioned as well, your toes will not be cramped in the front of the shoe, leaving you pain-free and ready for your run.
The shoe looks substantial and is a secure sneaker for sure but it is also very lightweight. With a breathable mesh upper, and a very lightweight frame your feet will not fatigue from weight in this shoe, giving you the most of your exercise.
10. New Balance Hierro V3
AT Tread Outsole
When you're looking to do some off-road trail running there is no better shoe than the Hierro V3 Trail Shoe. Complete with AT Tread Outsole for ultimate traction. The Ortholite insert provides the perfect arch support for mile after glorious mile.
As an update to the Hierro line, they are designed to support the highest arches, the Ortholite Insert is removable to customize the feel. The high arch support that these shoes provide comes directly from these comfortable inserts.
For many runners with higher arches, it is scientifically proven that your foot is going to have a heavier heel strike than those without high arches. New Balance designed this Fresh Foam with the proper density to provide perfect support.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Many factors contribute to the overall comfort of a pair of running shoes for high arches. For high arched feet, those factors can be very specific.
“High arches” are so-called because the foot curves upward from the toes to the heel of your feet. So, the position of the cushioning within the inner soles of the shoes is highly important. The purpose of any shoe, especially running shoes, that deal with this physical disorder is to cut down the pain as much as possible. High arches demand great cushioning and arch support. Look for runners that either have high arch support build in or are well cushioned with a removable insole so that you can use your own custom insert or orthotic.
Don’t overlook the front of the foot. The toebox of the shoes for high arches must have enough room for the toes to move around a bit. This will help remove some of the pain from the area along with the toes, especially for those with bunions, or hammer or claw-like toes.
Whether you have high arches, average arches or flat feet, heat must be able to get out of the shoes so the feet can cool off. Otherwise, the heat will cause moisture to build up and add more problems and complications to the feet that are already hurting from their high arched disorder.
Finding a perfectly-fitting pair of shoes can be like finding the holy grail; there are so many brands, styles, models and makes of shoes that it seems like it’s next to impossible, especially when you are shopping online! Fear not, as we’ve ranked each product on our list for their fit and trueness-to-size to help guide you in finding the perfect match for you.
To come up with a score for the fit of a shoe, we considered several factors, like the ones mentioned above, in addition to real customer reviews, to help boil down everything into one simple score. For example, Nike tends to make shoes that are true-to-size, meaning that you can buy a pair of 11s one year, and another pair of 11s next year in a different model and they will usually still fit (unless your feet have grown or shrunk). A brand like Nike will most likely have a high score when it comes to fit, but the other variables in play, such as make, model, and purpose, will also affect the overall score.
Consider that a running shoe, with its thicker midsole and a synthetic sole, might fit differently than a flat shoe, with its thinner midsole and hypothetical leather sole. Each of these shoes, even if they are both from Nike, may have similar scores for trueness-to-size, but a size 11 in one might not be the same as an 11 in the other. What’s a reader to do in this case? You must also consider the purpose and type of shoe it is. Knowing what kind of shoe you are buying, and for what purpose, will help you make a better decision. A running shoe might run smaller than a flat because it has thicker materials, so read customer reviews as well to arrive at the best decision for fit, in addition to just our overall score.
At the end of the day, however, a higher score for the “fit” criterion will tend to mean that the shoe experiences a better trueness-to-size than a competing product; just don’t forget all the underlying factors that are baked into arriving at that single score! Finally, if you are looking for tips on how to identify your shoe size, check out this guide for help.
Regardless of your arches or pronation, the outsole used on your running shoes will have a big impact on your overall experience. When shopping, this is an important aspect to take into consideration, as it will tell you whether a particular model will be suitable for use on certain types of terrains, or if it will perform well in bad weather conditions such as rain, snow or even ice.
Manufacturers will all use their own types of rubber to make the outsole, and you’ll find yourself with choices such as Blown Rubber, Continental Rubber, Carbon Rubber, and many more. All of these have their benefits such as added shock-absorption, higher abrasion resistance or better grip. These benefits will be listed in the description of each product, and you can even check user reviews to see how a model fares in certain weather conditions.
But, there’s another aspect of the outsole to consider. Most traditional running footwear is made for road conditions. This means asphalt in urban environments, with rare dirt or ground contact. On the whole, you will find that this type of footwear won’t do well in muddy, wet conditions such as those found on trails or even your local park. If you want to run in nature, you will need to invest in a pair of trail running shoes. The list above features a few models that are rated highly for people with high arches. When shopping for these models, you will want to look for more aggressive lugs that will bite into the dirt, and which won’t become clogged up with sticky mud. Do keep in mind, however, that they may not be as comfortable to use on roads, and may even deteriorate more quickly when worn on asphalt.
While high arches demand a lot of cushion and flexibility, that does not mean that stability and security should be compromised. You do not want a sole that is overly stiff or an upper that will push down on and restrict your foot but you do want a stable and secure fit. High arches or not, slipping in the shoe, wobbly gaits and a lack of support can cause other conditions and risks serious injury.
Look for shoes that have the following characteristics:
The heel counter in the shoe should hold your heel securely in the shoe, preventing it from slipping out or moving from side to side. If you have a prior ankle injury or ‘weak’ ankles, look for shoes with higher cuts to provide extra support.
Flexible, but Firm Sole
Your sole needs to flex but the shoe also has to be stable enough to guide your foot strikes from heel to toe. Look for a shoe that bends easily at the midfoot but cannot be folded down the center line of the shoe.
Snug, but not Tight Upper
If you have high arches you need a stretchable, flexible upper that will hug your foot without constricting it. Look for shoes that are not too binding around the midfoot and are constructed of a stretchable mesh that can move with you. The closures should not put pressure over the top of your feet, which will cause pain, but should hold on to the foot instead.
The outsole, or more simply, the sole of the shoe, makes direct contact with the ground and therefore supports the entire foot and body when in motion. Needless to say, a poorly-constructed outsole will lead to discomfort, slipping, and foot or other bodily injuries. For this reason, many manufacturers use materials that are water-, weather-, heat-, and impact-resistant. Depending on the type of footwear, one will often see outsoles made from natural or synthetic materials, such as PVC, EVA, rubber, and leather. Each of these has its advantages, depending on the shoe’s purpose; however, as a general rule, they each are resistant to the aforementioned factors. They are also flexible enough to support a proper foot cycle when in motion, but they are not so flexible that they feel like a pair of socks. A sole made of the materials above tends to score higher on our product evaluations, as they are not only comfortable but also support other criteria, such as “support” and “durability”.
The midsole is designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption to the shoe, nestling the foot in comfort. Whereas running shoes tend to have thick midsoles, flats and thinner shoes not designed for high-impact activities often have thinner midsoles. The reason for this is simple: you need more shock absorption and vibration dampening during high-intensity movements or activities to maintain comfort and prevent foot injury then you otherwise would with a regular shoe, flat or sandal. Midsoles are often made from EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate), a synthetic plastic also used to make insertable orthotics. A firmer type of EVA for the midsole will make the shoe heavier, but more durable; whereas a softer type of EVA, like those found in running shoes, improves shock absorption, but wear much quicker. Podiatrists tend to prefer firmer midsoles for those suffering from orthopedic conditions, such as plantar fasciitis.
The insole is the proverbial foundation of the entire shoe. The sock liner lays on top of the insole, which is then fused to the midsole, and finally the outsole. A firm insole will give good structure to a shoe and increase its stability and durability, but it will also increase the weight of the overall product and be less comfortable. A softer insole might be more comfortable, but that comes at the expense of stability and durability. We tried to balance these weights when evaluating our products, but each reader and wearer is different, so be aware of this trade-off.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
For those with higher arches, cushion as well as support, is a key component when selecting running shoes. The impact from running puts stress on the arch of the foot, and high arches tend to act less flexible to help absorb it.
Finding a pair of sneakers with a padded heel cup, proper arch support, and a well cushioned forefoot and midsole will help reduce foot fatigue, as well as pain that results from impact absorption across the arch and foot.
Sneakers that have deeper heel pockets or cups, will also help those with high arches, as this allows the heel to nestle into a supportive structure. This in turn helps support the arch with each foot strike on the road or trail, and will lead to an overall comfortable run.
While having higher arches can make feet sore and more quickly tired, if you find the right pair of well constructed sneakers to support your foot's shape, you won't have to fight your body's build to perform the best you can!
Other Factors to Consider
Because high-arched feet tend to be more rigid, you’re also going to want to look for a shoe that’s more flexible to compensate. Look for shoes with an extremely flexible upper (everything north of the sole, basically) like mesh, and even a sole that bends easily in your hands. As a bonus, look for a shoe that’s lightweight. Remember, you’re looking to even out the impact in your stride which will naturally be rigid and uneven because of high arches.
So now that you know a little more, to get you started, check out our selection of the Top 10 Best Running Shoes for High Arches and skim through them again if needed — because the discomfort you feel should be a result of pushing your limits, not because you’re wearing the wrong type of shoe. Below you will find the criteria needed in order to evaluate them yourself from now on.
Please check out our best running sneakers review too!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are “high arches?”
Also known as “cavus foot.” (Pes Cavus is Latin for “hollow foot.”) It’s a condition in one or both of the feet that causes an upward curve shape between the toe bones and the ankle bone. The weight and pressure are placed on the heel and balls of the foot; causing pain when standing and/or walking. Cavus foot is indiscriminate; it will affect anybody at any age.
q: So what’s the cause of cavus foot?
It may just be something a person inherits; like arms that can’t bend all the way or thumbs with tiny nails. Or it could be a neurological disorder. People who had suffered from a stroke, polio, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida suffer from cavus foot. People with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder, one of the more common neurological disorders, can also cause cavus foot. If you have cavus foot, you should get a diagnosis just to be sure.
q: What are the symptoms?
Hammertoes (toes bent upwards), claw toes (toes clenched like a fist), inward-tilting heel (which can sprain your ankle), and the loss of muscle use within the ankle and foot (aka “foot drop”). Pain is also a nice, unwanted addition to the body.
q: Can it be treated surgically?
Let’s hold off on that and call it the “last line of defense,” shall we?
One way to solve this problem is to fit an orthotic device in your shoe; adding cushioning and stability to your high arched foot. Another way is to buy running shoes for high arches. The final way is for the surgeon to add a brace to your foot. (This way can also deal with the foot drop issue.)
If you do choose surgery, you might need surgery again in the future if the problem is worse than just some “bent-outta-shape foot.”
q: So what about Plantar Fasciitis?
That’s tissue inflammation at the bottom of the feet near the heel. Although it’s not usually found among those who suffer from cavus foot, it’s not impossible. As said before, ask your doctor about it and get a diagnosis.
q: I keep hearing about “pronation.” What is it?
It’s how the foot rolls inward when you run. When you’re running, the way your foot lands will cause a shock to the rest of your leg. Some of the impact caused to your legs when you run is not good. Hence, the importance of shock-absorbing in your running shoes.
Underpronation can give your lower leg too much shock. That can cause plantar fasciitis. And/or that can be the result of high arches in your foot. If you happen to underpronate, you should be looking at running shoes for high arches.
Overpronation is when you land on your heels too much when you run. So the weight is not distributed evenly; causing heel spurs and bunions. More constructive support and cushioning for your running shoes should be sought after.
q: What are some other ways to deal with high arches outside of surgery?
You can massage your feet. You can work on strengthening and stretching the muscles in your feet and legs that are tight and weakened. You can also remove some of the weight and pressure placed on your high-arched feet. Try some other strenuous exercise that doesn’t require running.
All-in-all: You should get a better answer to this question from someone who’s in the profession of caring for the feet and legs; like a podiatrist.