There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this article you’ve been struggling to find the best running shoes for high arches. While runners with a high arch experience very little foot roll when striking the ground (as typically it’s the heel that makes contact with the ground first), the downside is that your foot doesn’t absorb much shock which can result in injuries if running in the wrong shoes.
To find out which shoes you should be wearing, first you need to understand a little more about the bio-mechanics of your foot.
Pes Cavus. aka High Arches
The term pes cavus comes from the Latin for hollow foot and typically affects the midfoot, although it can also affect the forefoot, hindfoot or a combination of all three. It’s quite a common condition, affecting around 10% of the population.
Depending on the severity of the metatarsal compression, high arches can either be an asymptomatic condition for those with good foot flexibility causing them little to no pain or can be extremely painful for those with severe compression.
Foot Supination / Underpronation
As a runner with high arches, there’s a good chance that your foot supinates. Foot supination or underpronation occurs when your foot rolls outwards and places the weight on the outside of the foot.
Runners who supinate often experience an outward rotation of the knee and a tilting back of the pelvis.
It’s because of this that people with high arches often find they develop ankle injuries and sometimes knee pain.
A 2001 study by the East Carolina University department of Physical Therapy found found that high-arched runners reported a greater incidence of ankle injuries, bony injuries and lateral injuries while low-arched runners exhibited more knee injuries, soft tissue injuries and medical injuries.
High Arch Treatments
Surgical treatment of high arches is really only a last resort for those who suffer from the most severe pain. For the majority of sufferers, good food care and picking the best running shoes for high arches will bring the condition under control.
There’s sometimes a temptation to rush out and buy a set of orthotics to deal with the under pronation, however for a lot of runners these are an expensive investment that won’t necessarily fix the problem.
The Best Running Shoes For High Arches
More often than not, any running pain caused by a high arch can be solved by properly finding the right pair of running shoes.
The higher the arch in your foot, the less efficient it becomes at absorbing shock when your foot strikes the ground. This means one thing – you’re going to need some cushioning.
As a runner with high arches, there’s a good chance that your foot will either strike the ground and roll outwards or will experience very little roll at all – this means that you’ll most likely need a neutral running shoe that provides uniformed cushioning across the foot.
The biggest problem with high arches is that it reduces the amount of flexibility in the foot. To compensate for this, your ideal running shoe will offer a good amount of flexibility, the amount the shoe will bend.
The Best Mens Running Shoes For High Arches
The Best Womens Running Shoes For High Arches
Asics Gel Cumulus 17
The Asics Gel Cumulus 17 are described by many runners as the glass slipper of running shoes and are probable one of the best running shoes for high arches. The fit is superb, they are light, comfortable and attractively designed.
As a runner with high arches, you’ll love the generous cushioning particularly around the heel and outer midsole.
Mizuno Wave Rider 19
The Mizuno Wave Rider 19 are definitely a “must consider” shoe. Offering a comfortable 2mm thick plushy foam sole and a light, responsive design the Wave Rider 19 is great for everything from 5K runs right through to marathons.
Brooks Glycerin 13
Brooks are quickly establishing themselves as a brand renowned for comfort and the Glycerin 13 certainly lives up to this reputation. With good cushioning throughout the sole and a durable design, this is certainly a high milage shoe that will keep going no matter what you throw at it.
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
Saucony is among the most respected names in running shoes.
Firstly the Triumph ISO 2 is a stunning shoe, it just oozes style. The design of the shoe helps to promote a midfoot strike and helps to control the roll of the foot for the many high arch runners who strike with their heel.
Research Into Running With High Arches
During the 80s and 90s, there was an increased focus on researching the causes and effects of high arches.
Interestingly, it was the military that pioneered the research after analyzing data on recruit injuries and spotting an interesting correlation between those recruits with ankle and knee injuries and flat feet.
Given the amount of running involved in basic training and the cost of training a new recruit, they were keen to figure out how they could prevent injury during basic training and thankfully a lot of this research has been channeled into developing the best running shoes for high arches.
While numerous studies have been carried out on the relationship between high arches and increased risk of injury, the results are far from conclusive.
While a study carried out by the Israel Defense Forces found that recruits with high arches suffered almost 4 times as many injuries as those with the lowest arches; studies by both the Royal Australian Air Force and U.S Navy Special Forces found that there are almost no significant difference in the number of stress fractures amongst those with different arch heights.
Common High Arched Foot Problems
For more information on foot problems commonly reported from those with high arches make sure you check out this video from Dr. Davies.
 Arch structure and injury patterns in runners – Department of Physical Therapy, East Carolina University http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11358622
Giladi M, Milgrom C, Stein M, et al. The low arch, a protective factor in stress fractures: a prospective study of 295 military recruits. Orthop Rev 1985;14:82–4.
 Esterman A, Pilotto L. (July 2005). “Foot shape and its effect on functioning in Royal Australian Air Force recruits. Part 1: Prospective cohort study”. Military Medicine 170 (6): p. 623–8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16130646
 Jones, Bruce H.; Thacker, Stephen B.; Gilchrist, Julie; Kimsey, Jr., C. Dexter; Sosin, Daniel (2002). “Prevention of Lower Extremity Stress Fractures in Athletes and Soldiers: A Systematic Review”.http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/24/2/228