Good arch-support shoes aren’t just more comfortable but can also help prevent overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, stress fractures, and shin splints. Distance runners in particular benefit from having more underfoot support—the structured cushioning in a dedicated running shoe helps better align your body as you run, which means you can put in more miles with less pain and soreness. Here’s what you should know when looking for arch-support shoes for running.
The Expert: As a 14-time marathoner and occasional dabbler in ultra-running, I know the importance of running shoes that feel comfortable and supportive—particularly when putting in heavy mileage or coming back from an injury. I also have a great deal of experience putting running gear through the paces, after nearly 10 years of reviewing and writing for Runner’s World and Bicycling magazines.
10 Best Running Shoes with Arch Support
Targeted SupportGel-Nimbus 23 ASICS Read More
Built for SpeedAir Zoom Pegasus 38 Nike Read More
Good for High ArchesClifton 8 Hoka Read More
Most VersatileGhost 14 Brooks Read More
Solid Daily TrainerFresh Foam 880 v11 New Balance Read More
What to Look For in an Arch Support Shoe
While there will always be athletes who gravitate toward minimalist shoes, or even going barefoot, most runners need shoes with good arch support, says Austin, Texas-based podiatry specialist Daniel T. Halloran, DPM, FACFAS—particularly when it comes to “solving problems with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, posterior tibial tendinitis, medial knee pain and low back pain.” Although Halloran admits evidence for this claim is somewhat anecdotal, he clarifies that most of these issues are a result of overpronation, an excess flattening or flexibility of the foot as it hits the ground. One indicator that you pronate is if you find excessive wear on the inner side of your running shoes.
No single shoe model or type of shoe works for all runners who share a foot type or running style. However, some generalizations can be made, depending on arch height, form, and foot flexibility.
Arch Height and Form
There are three types of arches based on height—low (flat feet), medium (normal), and high. If you’re not sure what kind of arch you have, this simple test can help.
Runners with high arches tend to supinate (underpronate). Because their arches tend to flatten and rise to absorb the shock of landing and taking off, high-arched runners tend to benefit more from neutral shoes which provide built-in stability, says Halloran. Medium-arched runners also tend to do well with a neutral shoe.
Runners with flexible or low arches (flatter feet) are more likely to overpronate which means their feet tend to roll inward as they run so that the outer edge of the foot hits the ground first. For this group, stability shoes can often help. Also known as “motion control” sneakers, stability shoes use guide rails, medial posts, and other features built into the midsole to lightly correct that inward roll before it can cause injury.
While the evidence that stability shoes prevent injury isn’t conclusive, a study from a 2016 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that overpronating runners who wore motion-control shoes suffered fewer injuries over the course of six months than those who wore neutral shoes.
Find Your Fit
No matter your arch height or pronation style, the most important thing is finding a dedicated running shoe that fits well and feels supportive and comfortable. Halloran recommends the Asics Gel-Kayano, for those seeking a stability shoe, and the Brooks Ghost, a longtime neutral favorite, that works for a wide range of runners. He also finds that New Balance shoes work well for “hard-to-fit” runners, due to the brand’s wide range of sizes and widths. “However, nothing can replace going to a reputable running store and getting fit with shoe gear by a knowledgeable staff person,” he says. While good arch support can be found in both neutral and stability shoes—finding the right shoe for you might take a few test runs.
How We Selected These Arch Support Shoes
To make this list of running shoes with good arch support, I used my own extensive shoe test experience, as well as input from the Runner’s World editors and feedback from our Runner’s World wear testers. All the shoes listed here were selected based on their blend of support, comfort, cushion, durability, and value. Not every shoe will work for every runner—which is just one more reason you should consider visiting a local running store to test and purchase in person—but one of these 10 shoes will be the right fit.