Our Top Picks for Women’s Sandals with Arch Support
According to research published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, women are 40% more likely than men to suffer from foot pain. If you’re like we are, you probably nodded when you read that statistic. It isn’t easy wearing those three-inch heels every day, after all. Other issues such as obesity and pregnancy also lead to higher rates of foot pain, making it more important than ever that women have a quality, stylish orthopedic to turn to when that foot pain begins to set in.
Whether you’re going on a European vacation or just running errands, having great arch support is important. When summer hits, you want something more than a sweaty pair of tennis shoes to wear. Fortunately, there are a number of cute sandals with good arch support that give your feet the protection and boost they need to stay healthy and mobile. This guide will take an in-depth look at why these sandals are top options for those suffering from foot pain, as well as examine some of the top arch support sandals for women on the market today.
Contrary to popular belief, proper arch support is not just for people with high arches! Even those with flat feet need reinforcement because, as time moves on, arches can collapse. Shoes with the right amount of arch support are critical in protecting your comfort and guarding you from the development of conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Still not convinced you need proper arch support?
Below, we’ve outlined seven reasons why arch support is important to both your feet and overall health.
Reason One: Your feet affect just about everything else, including your posture
Poor posture has been described as a modern day “epidemic,” with several notable consequences on health. Unfortunately, one of the common causes of poor posture routinely goes unnoticed: foot pain. If you’ve got problems with your feet, such as over or under pronation, you may find this manifesting in poor posture in your lower and upper back.
Let’s take it back to your high school anatomy class—can you remember how many bones are in the human body? We’ll give you a refresher: 206, with roughly a quarter of them being located in your feet. That’s a lot of “leg work” for such a small part of your body.
To make things even more complicated, your feet contain more than one arch. Specifically, there are three main arches and countless ligaments and muscles woven across the anatomy of the feet to enable us to walk. The short of it is this: your feet do a lot of work and contain a lot of moving parts (literally), so it’s important that you help them out with the right pair of shoes.
Reason #2: Proper arch support in your shoes can help reduce painful foot conditions
Having shoes with poor arch support can radiate stress to other parts of your body. Fortunately, investing every few years in a pair of orthopedic shoes will help to prevent serious issues like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, stone bruises, and heel fractures.
Experience intense foot pain on a day-to-day basis? You could be suffering from plantar fasciitis, a condition where the connective tissue that links your heel to your forefoot tears (see the diagram below).
Our feet tend to tense when raised; plantar fasciitis occurs when this tension builds and causes inflammation on the plantar fascia. About 10% of the population will experience this condition in their lifetime. Additionally, one study found that 14% of plantar fasciitis patients noticed an improvement in their symptoms simply by wearing shoes with better arch support.
What’s more, heel spurs (metatarsalgia) can occur when ligament strain wears out the soft tissues in the heel. An even worse condition of heel spurs occurs when the membrane that covers the heel bone tears. Symptoms of a heel spur are pain in the heel area, heat sensation, visible protrusion, tenderness, etc.
Stone bruises occur following prolong pressure on the ball of the foot while walking, eventually causing bruising in the area. Importantly, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and stone bruises can all be migrated, and in some cases prevented, with proper footwear.
Reason #3: Know Your Arch, Know Thyself
It’s a common myth that one type of arch might be better than another. The truth is, no one is worse off and each type needs attention. Let’s get to know the three types of arches:
Flat Feet (No Arches)
If your feet bear a striking resemblance to Wilma Flinstone’s, it’s a safe bet that you suffer from flat feet. While this is something you want to address, it’s also nothing to worry about. Flat feet occur when tightness is present in the Achilles tendon and the back of the leg when walking. Repeated walking with this tightness can strain the ligaments that support the arch.
As you likely inferred, a flat foot has almost no arch. Arches are flexible which makes flat-footers susceptible for pronation which is the behavior for the foot to roll inwards.
But with pronation, everything is good in moderation—a little bit of pronation is healthy to absorb shock and stabilize the body when running (otherwise, the foot would be rigid and hard to walk with).
About 20% of the population have flat feet. This group also needs the least amount of arch support.
There are three types of pronation: neutral pronation, over-pronation and under-pronation. Remember, a little bit of pronation is required in order for the foot to be flexible and roll while walking. Over-pronation is when the feet roll in too far and arches collapse, and under-pronation is when the feet don’t roll inward at all. Both over- and under-pronation can cause serious foot pain and necessitates the use of special footwear.
In order to discover which, type you are, you can do what podiatrists call the “paper bag” test. This involves wetting your feet with water, stepping on to a paper bag and cross referencing the result with the below chart:
If you have a medium arch, you may find yourself struggling to find the right fit. You might experience heel or ball of the foot pain because your foot is essentially working harder to provide a flat surface to absorb shock. 60% of the population have a medium arch.
Similar to architectural high arches, a high foot arch needs a lot of support. This is because it sits higher off the ground and has further distance to collapse and less area to absorb movement each time you take a step. Supination, the inward roll of the foot, is common with high arches. 20% of the population has a high arch.
Reason #4: Arch support can help to distribute weight more properly
Balance is everything! One in every three older Americans fall each year. Supportive shoes can help you to distribute weight more evenly to protect you against such falls.
In sports, some coaches have even taken interest in what kind of arches their players have as it can vastly change an athlete’s ability to shift body weight around while pivoting, running, batting, etc. The idea is that the right walking sandal with arch support can help you increase your mobility and participate in a wide range of activities.
It’s helpful to know your specific style of walking so you can choose a sandal that works best for you.
Reason #5: The name of the game? Comfort.
Foot fatigue is no joke. And if you’re a woman with foot problems, count yourself part of the 87% who have experienced pain due to wearing high heels or other various confining footwear. A large majority (68%) of men have also reported pain linked to type of footwear.
What does this mean for you? Simply put, next time you groan at the thought of packing up your heels and slipping on your commuter shoes, you can think of the favor you’re doing for your feet. That simple shoe swap will not only save the day but also preserve your foot health in the long run.
Remember—high heels aren’t the only culprit! It’s worth examining your entire shoe selection for those secret sabotagers—we’re looking at you, flimsy flip flops.
Research shows that the average person takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day. Of course, if you’re on your feet all day for your job, you can expect that number to climb. Walking such long distances can easily lead to foot fatigue, something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. This generally involves exhaustion and the cramping up of the foot muscles.. Once this happens, rest and relaxation is the most common treatment method. Unfortunately, most of us are required to remain active for our jobs—so it’s best to think preventatively.
While it’s true that you can’t save yourself completely from foot fatigue, you can safeguard your feet and entire lower body from loads of unnecessary pain simply by opting for shoes with proper arch support.
We get it—choosing the right shoe is hard and what you might think feels comfortable may not necessarily be the best choice for your foot. For example, super soft shoes are generally considered a no-no, even though they do offer short-term comfort.
Why is this the case? To put it succinctly, comfort is only one factor important to those with foot pain. In other words, you want a pair of shoes that provides the right amount of support, as well, as these give the necessary rigidity to keep your feet stable. From a purely scientific perspective, the best shoes have something called torsional stability—the ability to withstand twisting. We urge you to redefine what comfort means to you.
Reason #6: Can help with gait abnormalities
If you have problems with your arches, this is likely to manifest in your gait. Studies reveal that many who experience foot pain do not have a normal walk—even if they do not realize it. This damage can accrue over time, making the use of orthopedic shoes an immediate imperative.
Just how prevalent is this issue? According to research, 10% of people aged 60 and over 60% of people aged 80 years or older have gait abnormalities. What’s more, the main reason people have an unhealthy gait is due to a foot injury due to an accident or prolonged lack of arch support.
It’s not just the elderly, however, who suffer from these gait problems. By around age 7, a child has already developed their walking style for the rest of their life. Existing gait issues can be solidified during this time. There is a variety of other reasons why someone might have an abnormal gait such as injuries, diseases, abnormal development of the muscles or bones, movement disorders and vision or balance issues.
Pair your new knowledge of arch support with foot stretches. Most of us have accepted that stretching should be incorporated into our daily routine to reduce stiffness, feel better and reduce potential injuries. But as you’re doing your butterflies or legs up the wall, do you think about your feet?
Arch support isn’t everything and is not an end-all solution. Instead of thinking of a weekly foot soak as your self-care, opt instead for some of these quick and easy exercises:
Using these stretches in addition to supportive footwear can strengthen the foot and increase toe dexterity. The best thing about these exercises? People of almost any age can participate. Get the kiddos involved or pass this article along to your grandparents to educate them on foot health. It’s never too early or too late to start caring about your feet.
A sizeable number of consumer have reported that their arch supports, or shoes with arch support, brought them pain upon the first couple wears. This is normal. Doing foot exercises can help combat this pain, which is largely caused by incorrect sizing. For this reason, it’s crucial that you buy a pair of arch support shoes that are your exact size.
Improperly fitted, unsupportive shoes are a major cause of foot pain and injury. But you’ve been wearing the same size shoe since high school and your foot has already stopped growing, right? Not exactly.
Our feet get longer and wider as we get older. If you plan on becoming pregnant at some point in your life, you can also count on a change in foot size. This is due to an increase in relaxin—a hormone that relaxes ligaments in the pelvis in preparation for the delivery. The hormone also relaxes other ligaments throughout the body which coupled with weight gain, results in an increased foot size.
For you, this means getting your foot measured before buying a pair of orthopedic sandals so that you get a pair that will bring you comfort and aid your cause.
Reason #7: It can increase your activity level
With proper arch support, there are no more limits as to what you can accomplish on foot! Don’t put limits on your mobility—now or ever. No more worrying about what will happen when you jump over that puddle or jog up the stairs.
It’s also important to switch up your footwear styles. If you wear the same pair every day but participate in varied activities, you’re not mixing up support for stress placed on your muscles or joints. You’re also guaranteeing that your sandals will give out quicker than you want.
We certainly don’t want anyone to shy away from walking. It’s a wonderful means of transportation if you live in a city or a perfect means of exercise in nature. Check out what will happen to your body if you walk every day:
It’s also important to switch up your footwear styles. If you wear the same pair every day but participate in varied activities, you’re not mixing up support for stress placed on your muscles or joints.
It may also be helpful to look toward power walkers for wisdom on how to walk fast without damaging your muscles or feet.
Which Sandals are Right for You?
With all this in mind, how do you find which pair of sandals is right for you? There are a number of considerations you’ll want to make, detailed below:
Why buy a pair of shoes you’ll be ashamed to wear? One of your first considerations when buying a pair of cute sandals with arch support is the design. Ideally, you’ll want something you can wear in a variety of situations (while also receiving compliments from your friends). This will help you get the most out of your sandals.
Being cute is just part of the equation. Most importantly, your arch support sandals should be able to withstand and balance your weight for all-day wear. The perfect pair of sandals will work to fix your specific type of pronation problem to alleviate stress on your feet and lower body.
It’s as simple as this: your sandals won’t be comfortable without the right degree of arch support. Quality orthopedics go to the root of the problem to remedy any underlying issues you may have. In other words, they work to ameliorate any specific arch issues plaguing your feet to provide better balance, a more even gait, and a greater degree of lower body support.
We know what you’re thinking: pretty sandals with arch support must not come cheap. And you’re right—sort of. While it’s true that there are several high-end models that will require a bit of budgeting, it’s also true that a number of designs combine the best of support, aesthetics, and price. You’ll want to make sure you consider the price of your sandal to make sure you’re getting a quality option that fits your budget. Later on in this guide, we’ll go over the best cute arch support sandals to make this task easier.
Women’s Sandals With Arch Support
The moral of the story: life is too short for uncomfortable shoes. And even if it weren’t, why would you want to go through the hassle?
Don’t let foot pain affect you! This summer, ditch the backup pair in the purse and opt to wear stylish but comfortable sandals on your next adventure. Sporting healthy footwear will help to alleviate future issues and anxiety surrounding foot health, giving you a comfortable day, every day.
With that, here’s our list of top cute sandals with arch support!
Viakix Samara Walking Sandal
Viakix offers some of the best option for orthotic sandals with arch support for women. One of our most popular sandals, the Samara Walking Sandal, was designed to be both functional and fashionable, especially for those who crave additional arch support. This attractive sandal has a thick, comfortable EVA foam midsole, which provides more cushioning and reduces stress on the joints.
It’s ergonomic outsole, fully equipped with it’s unique shank stabilizer, is durable and provides excellent traction for any level of adventure
The front webbing of the Samara is made out of elastic textiles to provide a soft, custom fit for any foot. As a small family-owned American footwear company, Viakix continues to develop the most fashionable outdoor footwear. Priced at $49.99, the Samara sandals are definitely the most affordable option for long lasting wear.
In terms of style, the athletic sandals are available in black, beige, blue, and gray on www.viakix.com. If these aren’t some of the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever owned, contact the customer care team for a free return.
Therafit Leather Adjustable Strap Slip
These Therafit EVA Women's Leather Adjustable Strap Slip on Sandal are great for people that struggle with plantar fasciitis or general foot pain. Therafit’s patented technology is endorsed by the National Posture Institute and helps to reduce the aches and pains that come from the stress of everyday activities. Priced higher than some of the other options on this list, they are not for those on a budget. However, they are a great long-term investment in your foot health if you suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Chacos Z/Cloud X2 Sandal
The Z/Cloud X2 Sandal from Chaco is another comfortable alternative. Its rubber sole provides added durability, and a podiatrist-certified LUV.SEAT footbed encourages daylong comfort and support. Of note, some consumers have remarked that it takes several days to several weeks to get used to the new midsole. However, with a reasonable price, these Chacos seem to be a fan-favorite.
These sandals by Hammacher are for those who have searched far and wide for a supportive flip flop. They help to realign the foot into a natural position for those who over-pronate. People who wore these sandals reported a decrease in pronation and an improvement in their gait mechanics. Plan to see results when you wear these sandals; however you typically need to wear these sandals for at least a few hours per day over the course of two weeks before any benefit is realized. Priced at $75, they are an affordable option for the summer.
Olukai ‘Ohana Sandal
The ‘Ohana sandal from Olukai is another good flip flop option for those with high arches. The O’hana sandal has a compression molded EVA midsole with a smooth drop in ICEVA footbed that provides an anatomical fit for sustained comfort over time. These sandals are priced affordably so you can buy them even on a budget.
Birkenstocks Milano Soft Footbed
Birkenstocks have a contoured cork footbed that conforms to the shape of your foot and features pronounced arch support with an extra layer of super soft foam cushioning. The shoes first became popular with gymnasts back in the 1960s when they were introduced in the United States. Priced at $135, these are staple in your wardrobe and a great long lasting option, if you can afford the high price tag.
The Rainbow sandals with added arch support are stylish and easy to slip on and go. The company describes their shoes as “the one your kid stole from you because they wanted to be cool – and you still haven’t gotten it back yet.” We say that’s a fair description, as this sleek model is certainly one of the best pretty sandals with arch support we’ve ever come across.
According to customer reviews, this leather sandal takes a while to break in, but once you do, you’ll know this pair won’t be your last. They also have a lifetime guarantee. Priced cheap, they are an affordable option for those that need a little bit of support.
Uggs Kari Sandal
The Kari Sandal by Uggs has a plush PORON® footbed that will provide softness and crisscrossing leather straps and EVA sole for support. And they’re not just comfy, they’re also super stylish and trendy. Perfect to pair with jeans or a dress, this slip-on option is priced low so you don’t have to break the bank for style and comfort.
Ecco Damara Gladiator Sandal
The Ecco Damara Gladiator Sandal is lightweight, flexible and comfortable. The Denmark company’s design philosophy stems from the concepts of simplicity and functionality. If you’re looking for a breathable sandal that will keep your foot cool, its microfiber covered EVA footbed is the perfect choice. Priced around $100, these are a stylish choice for this warm-weather season.
The Bottom Line
Finding cute sandals with support isn’t as hard as it may sound. In fact, with this guide, getting that stylish orthopedic will be easier than ever! In this piece, we’ve examined common causes behind foot pain, the role of arch support sandals in alleviating and correcting issues related to pain in the lower body, and reviewed some of the top options on the market.
Tired of waiting on that stylish orthopedic? Make sure to check out the quality models on this list so you can up your fashion and improve your overall foot health.