Finding Comfortable Shoes Can Be Difficult With Flat Feet

Rethinking What Shoes Work for my Flat Feet

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

Share this article:

Share article via email
main graphic for column titled

Shoes and I have an interesting relationship. I’ve said before that I seem to be much more susceptible to blisters, but my flat feet are a different issue.

Like many people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), I’ve always had flat feet. That was one of the many things doctors noticed about me growing up, but they didn’t put it all together until my diagnosis at 22. Other signs included excessive bruising, easy injury, and gastrointestinal issues.

When I was younger, athletic trainers and doctors sometimes told me that because my feet were so flat, I should wear arch supports in my shoes. They hoped that this might help my back, neck, and shoulder pain. I tried that, but rather than helping, it caused intense pain and cramping in my feet. Not to mention the fact that it did nothing to help my other pain, which I now know had nothing to do with my flat feet, but was rather a symptom of my EDS.

I quickly ditched the arch support and went with the most comfortable shoes, which generally have minimal to no arch support. I like Birkenstocks, but I can only wear them for short periods of time before their arch support causes me problems. I’ve found that many Skechers shoes work well for me. Not only do they tend to be very soft and not cause blisters, but they usually have pretty basic arch support.

Because I live on a farm, the dogs tend to track in a lot more dirt than in your typical household. As a result, I always have some kind of soled slippers or house shoes that I wear downstairs. Upstairs, where it’s a dog-free zone and just my cats and me, I can relax without them.

I needed a new pair for this summer, and after some research, I ordered a pair of Crocs-style clogs called Bobs from Skechers. (As an avid animal lover, I love the added bonus that the company donates a portion of the proceeds to animal welfare organizations.)

I was surprised to find that these clogs actually have some arch support. I was even more surprised to find that this moderate support isn’t causing me the same issues as it has in the past. I’m not sure if this is because my body is in a much better place than it was before my diagnosis, if it’s the style of these particular shoes, or if it’s a combination of both. But it’s definitely gotten me thinking about how our bodies change. What once seemed like an absolute may turn out not to be.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


Cynthia Willner avatar

Cynthia Willner

I found that not only did the arch supports that Dr's thought I need thru my natural alignment if my knees out. Sooo much pain. I found two items to help when my flat feet need help, Bzees by Naturalizer and lowest arches from The Good Feet store. My feet can be so difficult that I may wear up to 5 or 6 different pair a day because of such discomfort. Some days they just hurt. Thank goodness I'm retired so I can change them that often and my husband is the best, if I find a pair that are especially comfortable he insist I buy more than one pair. At age 42, I'm now 68 I insisted to my podiatrist that if he could really help with my pain in my flat feet that he issue a statement for a permanent placard. I have days I don't need it and days I do. I also have days when my feet feel great but by time I'm finished shopping at big box stores I can barely make it to my car without hobbling, limping and having poor balance. Most of us look good so people don't always see or understand our pain.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.