Sandals With Awesome Arch Support
If you ask us, there’s nothing like that moment when you finally get the chance to stow your sturdy winter boots and break out a fresh pair of sandals for the season. Hello, summer! Sadly, though, uncomfortable shoes tend to reign supreme throughout the warm weather months. After all, how many pairs of cute women’s sandals with completely lackluster soles and footbeds have you seen lining the aisles of shoe sections at your favorite department stores?
Don’t even get us started with high heels. Stilettos? We don’t think so. On the other hand, sandals that are supportive but stylish at the same time? You can certainly count us in for those!
Luckily, there are plenty more options than there used to be when it comes to stylish sandals with arch support. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite options, ahead; because whether you’re at work or at play — or maybe even traveling somewhere tropical and idyllic — it’s important to consider arch support when selecting shoes for your everyday adventures and beyond. That way your sandals will provide you with the comfort you need, no matter what fun warm weather activities you’re taking part in.
What do we really mean by supportive? If you weren’t already thinking it, it’s time to talk about why you need sandals with awesome arch support!
First, though, let’s take a look at the different arch types, why it’s important to know your arch type, and what to look for when it comes to sandals with the right arch support.
The Three Arches
You might think there’s only one arch in your foot — but you’d be wrong! Very Well Health tells us that the foot actually has three distinct arches, the most prominent of which is what is typically referred to as “the arch.”
To give you a mini science lesson, this is also called the Medial Longitudinal Arch. It runs from the front to the back, along the inside of your foot. As the most prominent arch, it absorbs almost all of the shock of impact from walking, running, jumping, and other forms of physical activity.
Next is the Lateral Longitudinal Arch. This arch runs parallel to the medial, along the outer edge of your foot, and shows most evidently on the feet of people with extra high arches. But more on that in a moment!
Last is the Transverse Arch. The transverse runs across the middle of your foot, from the outside to the inside.
Common Arch Types
Now that you know what the three distinct arches of the foot are, what does “arch type” actually mean? When you hear someone refer to arch type, what they’re really referring to is the position of the plantar fascia ligament. The plantar fascia ligament runs along the bottom of your foot, from the ball to the heel of the foot.
Most people have either low arches (what you’ll usually hear called flat feet), normal or medium arches, or high arches. Ideally, the arch of your foot curves slightly upward. This helps to evenly distribute the impact from the weight of your body while walking, engaging in sports and other physical activities, and more — as well as keeping your foot muscles nice and healthy.
It’s important to know what kind of arch type you have, so that you can factor that in when shoe shopping, prevent common and painful injuries like plantar fasciitis, and more.
If you’re not sure what kind of arch you have, there’s a fairly easy fix for that. It’s called the “Wet Test.” After stepping out of the shower, place your foot onto a flattened piece of cardboard. Be sure to press all its weight onto the cardboard. Next, do the same with your other foot, then observe the shape of your footprints.
You can observe what the shape of your footprint, as it correlates with each arch type, means by comparing your footprints to the imagery in this table.
Medium or “Normal” Arch
Since approximately 60% of the population has medium or “normal” arches, this is definitely the most common arch type. What do we mean by “normal”? According to the Wet Test, a medium arch correlates to the medium part of your foot being just about halfway filled in. Your footprint will also include a noticeable curve along the arch, and a well-defined heel and “forefoot” area.
But what about the percentage of people who don’t have “normal” arches? Well, if your footprint reveals the ball of your foot, your heel, and your toes — without much else filled in between — you’ve got high arches.
Some say high arches indicate healthy arch height, while others point out that high arches can be problematic in that they don’t offer much in the way of impact absorption. For people with high arches, supportive shoes need extra cushioning to keep them feeling comfortable. And, when shopping for spring and summer staples, women’s sandals with high arch support are a must!
Like we mentioned above, a very small percentage of people have EXTRA high arches. If this is you, you’ll want to be even more cautious when it comes to selecting shoes with the right arch support, in order to avoid foot pain and injuries. Shoes with proper “cushioning” are the best option for those with high or extra high arches.
Flat Feet / Low or “Fallen” Arches
How to tell if you’ve got the dreaded flat foot? If, on the Wet Test, your entire footprint — or almost your entire footprint — shows, without very much of an inward curve showing in the center of your foot, fallen arches it is.
Low or “fallen” arches, more commonly known as flat feet, can be the source of a whole lot of pain and suffering if not treated properly. Unfortunately, heel pain, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis are common ailments if you’ve got fallen arches. They can also cause pronation — what happens when your foot rolls inward while walking or running.
We all have that friend with flat feet; and if it’s not a friend, it’s us! Dealing with low arches can make it hard to keep up while walking with others, much less engaging in team sports and other fun activities that involve running or getting physically active. This is especially true if your feet don’t have much flexibility.
Like there are different arch types, there are also different types of flat feet. Some are more extreme than others! Medically, flat feet are separated into two types: Flexible or rigid. If you’ve got flexible flat feet (try saying that 5 times fast), it’s flat only when weight is put onto the foot.
You can test your foot flexibility in two ways: The first is by standing on your tip toes and having someone check to see if your arches reveal themselves. If they do, that means your feet are fairly flexible.
The second way is by sitting with one leg over the opposite knee. Does your foot look more arched than was revealed by your footprint on the Wet Test? If so, this means your low arches are caused by weight bearing, which means they are flexible. Basically, the weight and impact of your body isn’t being optimally distributed.
If not, it’s likely that you have rigid flat feet. While flexible flat feet are more common, a rigid flat foot is “rigidly flat both with and without weight being placed on the foot.” According to Verywell Health, “Rigid flat feet may be due to the tarsal coalition (a condition in which the bones have grown together), arthritis and congenital conditions.” Ouch.
So, why is it so important to wear sandals with excellent arch support? Well, in addition to it potentially helping stave off fallen arches occurring later in life, wearing the right shoes can help improve balance and posture, help maintain structural integrity of the feet, and lessen foot pain, among other reasons. Keep reading to find out more.
Reason 1: Arch Support Sandals Help to Improve Balance & Posture
We all know how important healthy feet are in improving one’s sense of balance, as well as posture. If your feet aren’t aligned, after all, how can you expect the rest of your body to be?
Good posture starts from the ground up, literally. So when you invest in orthotic insoles or orthopedic shoes with arch support for women, you’re investing in an overall straighter spine and better posture and positioning for your entire body.
You can also do simple stretches, focusing on your calves and fascia especially, as well as taking care to walk on the balls of your feet instead of landing hard on your heels. Some stretches people with flat feet can do to improve flexibility include picking up marbles or other small items, like a napkin or handkerchief, with your toes.
Check out this video for some great foot stretching exercises:
Surprisingly, too, it’s been suggested that those with flat feet should go barefoot more often! It’s thought to improve the strength of the muscles of the foot. Because people with flat feet are believed to have less intrinsic muscle strength, this is key. Intrinsic muscles are the muscles along the bottom of the foot.
But of course, investing in sandals with cushion and arch support is one of your best options when it comes to getting the proper arch support on a regular basis. After all, it’s not like we can go barefoot all the time.
Reason 2: Proper Arch Support Will Distribute Pressure More Evenly
The right sandals can also help improve issues like pronation and other gait abnormalities. Both of these issues will affect your posture, too — it’s all connected and all important in helping maintain pain-free posture and a straight spine!
Again, the alignment of your feet is optimal in absorbing impact and distributing pressure more evenly as you walk, run, jump, or take part in any kind of physical activity.
Because our feet can bear 200,000 to 300,000 lbs. of stress each mile we walk (!), wearing shoes that distribute the pressure more evenly will help maintain the structural integrity of the foot for years to come.
Reason 3: Sandals with Arch Support Can Lessen Foot Pain
Another reason arch support in shoes should be a priority is to lessen foot pain and typical ailments like blisters, foot swelling and inflammation, and more. When your feet are stable, you’re less likely to face any of these common foot problems.
Think about it: Wearing spindly heels, too-tight shoes, or any of the other less-than-ideal typicalities belonging to women’s footwear today, you’re doing the exact opposite of placing your feet in stable conditions.
This is also why anyone who’s ever sported a pair of towering high heels for the night usually ends it with their feet aching. Making the switch to comfort sandals with arch support — or even bringing along a pair in your bag to change into later on in the night — can work wonders. Blisters begone!
Reason 4: Sandals with Arch Support Can Help Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Speaking of inflammation, plantar fasciitis is a very common inflammation of the plantar fascia — or the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes. It’s also sometimes referred to as “policeman’s heel.”
Because our feet tend to tense up when raised, tension can build over time and cause inflammation in that particular tissue. And because the plantar fascia is crucial to stabilize the foot and provide support to arches, you can imagine just how much painful such an inflammation must be.
Those who suffer from plantar fasciitis report that the pain starts from the moment you rise in the morning. In fact, it’s worst in the morning, strangely enough, and can be quite severe.
If you notice that your heel pain is worst in the morning, or when you stand after an extended period of sitting, it’s likely that you’ve got plantar fasciitis. While we’d suggest a visit to your doctor for a true diagnosis, you can read more about plantar fasciitis and supportive shoes here.
Reason 5: Comfortable Sandals Can Help you Maintain A Healthy & Active Lifestyle
Because our arches can change with age, or be affected by various medical conditions, proper arch support should be a priority at any age. In fact, according to Livestrong.com, “Age itself may bring about changes in foot shape through fluid retention, relaxing ligaments, and the effects of gravity and weight over a lifetime.”
Another fun thing to factor in when it comes to getting older! That’s why, to prevent arches from falling in the future — even if they’re perfectly fine now — let’s just say that comfortable sandals with arch support are exactly what the doctor ordered.
What to look for in your next pair of comfortable sandals
Now that we’ve covered 5 of the most important reasons it’s important to wear sandals with excellent arch support, let’s go over what to look for in shoes.
If you’re looking for some cute and stylish options when it comes to women’s sandals, we’d suggest first considering several factors, including the material of the shoe, the design and how it was constructed, and last but certainly not least, the style.
These factors will tell you whether or not they’ll give you that much-coveted support you need for walking around all day, and otherwise maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Now, orthopedic shoes can cost a pretty penny, and it makes sense, since they pretty much cover all the bases in regards to foot health. That’s why we’ve included a range of options, at different price points, to ensure you’ve got plenty of great arch support sandals to pick from. Check out some of our favorites, ahead.
Vionic Kirra Backstrap Sandal
Not only do these orthopedic sandals come in a variety of totally on-trend prints, but they’re supportive and comfortable as well. Perfect for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, the Kirra Backstrap Sandal from Vionic features an adjustable elastic strap, rubber soles, AND it’s received the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance. What’s not to love?
Our personal favorite would have to be the snakeskin print! You can purchase these sandals directly here.
The Napali Hiking Sandal
For those searching for a cute and most comfortable pair of outdoor hiking sandals, look no further! The Napali Hiking Sandal by Viakix is adjustable and water-resistant. The best part, though? It’s durable, with a rubber outsole that will actually last through many a hiking trip and adventurous vacation.
With a cushioned EVA foam midsole, this sporty walking sandal absorbs impact, making it a great pick for those with high arches. Also, all Viakix orthotic sandals feature a shank stabilizer, which provides unsurpassed arch support on any kind of terrain. Hiking, camping, water sports, and more are all a go when you’ve got these waterproof babies on.
You can purchase the Napali Hiking Sandal directly here.
Vionic Atlantic Pepper Adjustable Platform Wedge Sandal
These leather platform wedge sandals from Vionic feature concealed orthotic arch support, making them another ideal option when it comes to orthopedic shoes that certainly don’t look orthopedic. What’s not to love about these stylish platform wedges?
The hook and loop straps are adjustable, making them easily customizable. Plus, all Vionic arch support sandals come with a podiatrist-designed footbed that is basically a hug for your arches. Win-win!
You can purchase the Vionic Atlantic Pepper Adjustable Platform Wedge Sandal directly here.
Vionic Women’s Naples Platform Sandal
Another Vionic platform sandal on this list! These chic platform sandals come in a gamut of colors, ranging from lavender to navy and champagne, and they even have sweet rhinestone details.
With suede uppers, an EVA footbed, and durable rubber outsoles, the Vionic Naples Platform Sandal is a more glamorous option, which means you can happily bring them along with you to switch into from high heels. Or, just wear them out and about on the town knowing you look good!
You can purchase the Vionic Women’s Naples Platform Sandal here.
Viakix Samara Walking Sandal
Are you a fan of comfortable summer sandals? Us, too! These cute sport sandals from Viakix come in a range colors, from black, beige, blue and grey. They’re high quality, with natural rubber outsoles and a contoured EVA midsoles that provides an ultra-comfortable custom fit.
Featuring adjustable straps and water-resistant materials, these sandles also have proper medial and lateral arch support, which means they’ll supply the shock absorption you need while adventuring in the sun, on the sand, or wherever else you may be off to!
You can purchase the Viakix Samara Walking Sandal here.
Rainbow Sandals Double Layer Leather Sandal
Fans of the popular Rainbow Sandals brand will rejoice over this double layer leather pair. While they do take some time to break in, hundreds of Amazon users weighed in with positive reviews. The double layer provides extra foam as great cushioning against impact, with shock absorption and well defined arch support for high arches and more.
You can go for classic tan, brown, or black, or choose from several other shades. Plus, this pair is stink-free, so you can happily wear and re-wear them with no worries. Yes, please!
You can purchase the Rainbow Double Layer Leather Sandal here.
New Balance Women’s Traverse Leather Sandal
One of the most well-known athletic sandals with arch support on the market right now has got to be New Balance. So get you a nice pair! These leather sandals are sturdy, durable, perfectly fitted, and super comfortable. If you know you’re going to be out and about all day, hiking or adventuring on rugged train, these will undoubtedly become a go-to pair.
Plus, the footbed contains a 360-degree heel cup and anatomical arch support, with adjustable uppers that feature hook and loop closure details. A solid option!
You can purchase the New Balance Women’s Traverse Leather Sandal here.
Now that you have a good reason to pick up a new pair of sandals, along with some great recommendations, why not treat your feet to a little R&R? Go ahead…you deserve it!