There are a couple of common misconceptions about feet with high arches.
The first assumes that all runners with high arches – also known as Pes Cavus – supinate or roll outwards during running or walking. Supination is also called under-pronation, the opposite of over-pronation.
That assumption isn’t necessarily true. A high-arched foot will also pronate under certain circumstances.
It is also assumed that high-arches do not require footwear with arch support. This assumption is also misplaced.
Under usual circumstances, the arch is meant to help absorb shock and stabilize movements. So a high arch will redistribute the loading stress to the forefoot and heel.
Thus, having an adequate level of under-arch support and midsole cushioning will help support the loading movement.
Though many running shoes have a supportive midsole along with varying levels of under-arch support, it might be a good idea to get a custom orthotic or an aftermarket insole. If that’s the route you want to take, read our buyer’s guide on orthotic-friendly shoes.
The running shoes that feature in this guide do two things very well.
They have a cushioned ride that makes landings and transitions go easy on your feet and the arch. At the same time, they aren’t overly structured and do not overcorrect the gait.
The terms ‘cushioned’ and ’softest’ aren’t the same thing – though many believe that to be true. Excessive softness can cause a shoe to be unstable – and that is undesirable regardless of the arch type.
However, if you want a really soft shoe, give the Nike ZoomX Invincible a try. It won’t go fast, but is lightweight with oodles of soft and deep cushioning.
None of the models recommended on this guide overdo the ride softness part. Instead, they combine impact-absorbing cushioning with a midsole that keeps the foot supported. Most of them do well in the under-arch support department, but it’s a good idea to get an aftermarket insole for an optimal ride experience.
If your high arches are a source of pain, please go see a physiotherapist first instead of reading this shoe guide. Our list is sorted alphabetically.
1) adidas Solar Glide
The adidas SolarGlide combines the best of both worlds. There’s an abundance of cushioning softness in the form of the Boost core. At the same time, the firmer EVA rims and the plastic Torsion shank work together to provide stability during runs.
The outsole plays a part too. A single-piece of latticed Continental rubber covers the underside and supports the midsole. The SolarGlide is very neutral in its cushioning delivery, and that works to its advantage. The loading process and transitions happen without any gait correction.
This blend of soft cushioning and support makes the shoe suitable for most runners. There’s not much to say about the upper, except that it has a comfortable and snug fit without any slippage or hot spots.
2) Asics Gel-Cumulus 22
What do you know – the Cumulus is getting better with each passing year. The previous-gen Cumulus 21 was also a competent and versatile daily trainer.
The redesigned Cumulus 22 has a cushioned and comfortable ride that doesn’t try to correct the gait. In other words, the shoe has a very neutral ride character with lots of comfort for runners of most foot types.
The single-piece mesh upper has an excellent fit behavior. Its true-to-size build comes with a smooth interior and zero hot spots.
Being a daily trainer is the best use for the Cumulus, as long as you’re not pushing higher paces.
3) Asics Gel-Nimbus 23
The Nimbus 23 is the best version of the Nimbus in a long time. Though it may seem a bit out of place in the contemporary running shoe world with its visible Gel windows and plastic half-shank, make no mistake – underneath all those layers is a capable daily trainer.
Unlike some of the previous editions that were either too soft, too firm, or simply inconsistent, the 23 gets its act right with a balanced ride character. The different densities and Gel come together as a cohesive unit that delivers a supportive and smooth transition.
There’s ample ride comfort for long-distances should your run take you there.
One of the other things we like about the 23 is its neutral ride character – a trait that fits the context of this guide.
For this year, the visible Gel wraps around the heel and extends to the medial side – thus reducing the bias that used to be a part of the previous models.
The plush upper also gets a gusset that reduces tongue slide during runs.
4) Brooks Glycerin 19
The Glycerin has been Brooks’s neutral running staple for nearly two decades. Its balanced ride is one of the reasons why it’s been around for such a long time; that hasn’t changed for the Glycerin 19.
The ride isn’t super-soft or super-plush as Brooks’ marketing would have you believe. When compared to truly soft shoes, the midsole is still in the medium-soft territory. The combination outsole (soft blown rubber + hard rubber) fills in all the transitional gaps for a smooth ride.
This ride behavior makes it suitable for most runners looking for a daily driver – high-arched or otherwise.
It’s worth noting that in its stock form, the Glycerin 19 doesn’t have a filled-up under-arch area. If the latter is what you want, an aftermarket insole will help enhance the sensation of support.
Also, the Glycerin 19 GTS is worth considering. It’s nearly the same shoe as the Glycerin but with raised midsole sidewalls (Guiderails).
The Glycerin 19’s true-to-size upper is secure and smooth on the inside. It’s worth mentioning that the Glycerin 19 has a full inner sleeve and not just a gusset. As a result, the fit is snugger, shallower, and warmer as compared to some of the previous versions.
Also see: The Brooks Ghost 13.
5) Hoka One One Clifton 7
Hoka One One is the original maximal cushioning brand, and the Clifton has long been one of its popular ambassadors.
Unlike the bulkier Bondi 7, the Clifton hits the sweet spot between max-cushioning and lightweight, thus giving it a versatility few others possess. The Clifton is effective for easy daily workouts and comfortable long-distance runs alike.
Its high-volume midsole produces a superbly cushioned and lively ride but also manages to feel agile and supportive. The credit goes to the wide base that creates a supportive foundation during runs. The rocker shape helps too, as it allows the foot to roll forward faster. Our review goes deep on the Clifton 7.
The cushioned neutral-ness of the Clifton makes it a worthy pick for most runners, regardless of foot-strike or gait patterns.
The comfortable upper of the redesigned Clifton 7 is a bonus. The forefoot is secure yet soft; in the back, the heel collar sits securely and comfortably over the Achilles.
6) New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V11
The 1080 V11’s high-volume midsole is ideal for running longer distances in cushioned comfort. Making that happen is a softer midsole and split outsole design that flexes together with the Fresh Foam stack. It’s not mushy though – just soft enough to balance ride comfort with transition economy.
This midsole design delivers a very neutral ride experience without any motion-control effect – and that makes it a good fit for this list.
The stretchy and soft mesh upper hugs the foot without being either sloppy or constrictive. The internal gusset holds the tongue in place. This shoe is also sold in wider and narrower widths should you need one.
While the upper fits true to size, the flared-out heel has a love-it-or-hate character. Also, the area near the last two eyelets is stiff and needs a break-in period.
7) Nike Zoom Structure 23
We never thought the day would come when the Nike Zoom Structure would feature on this guide. After all, the Structure used to be Nike’s most popular ‘stability’ shoe with a medial post – not exactly the kind of shoe that mixes well with regular neutral trainers.
However, the Structure we once knew no longer exists. In its place is a cushioned neutral shoe with a balanced ride and plush upper.
Unlike the prior versions, there are no ‘stability’ devices that attempt to alter the gait process. As we underscored in our detailed review, the Nike Structure 23 feels like the perfect Pegasus. It’s comfortable on long-distance runs while being peppy enough for shorter blasts.
8) Saucony Ride 13
We’ve reviewed many versions of the Saucony Ride over the years. During this time, we’ve seen various cushioning and upper fastening systems come and go.
But one thing hasn’t changed, and that would be the essence of the Saucony Ride.
That essence is the ride quality that is a functional blend of firm and soft, a combination that is excellent for multi-purpose use. On easy days, the insole, topsole, and midsole provide comfortable impact protection. On faster days, the relative firmness of the single-density midsole kicks in.
The firm-soft ride is also unique in the running footwear industry where most midsoles are getting softer. It is this very firmness that makes the Ride 13 suitable not just for various use-cases but for different runner types as well.
The Ride 13 also has an upper to match. The messy ISOFIT lacing system is a thing of the past; in its place is a non-nonsense upper design that locks the foot down in secure comfort.
9) Saucony Triumph 18
We like the new Triumph a lot better than the Everun (Triumph ISO V1 – 5) versions. Though both the Saucony cushioning systems are based on expanded Polyurethane, the latest Pwrrun+ foam delivers superior cushioning and responsiveness.
It’s worth mentioning that Pwrrun+ isn’t as soft as adidas Boost. The cushioning quality is a satisfying middle-ground between a medium-soft ride and overall stability.
Also, the Triumph 18 has a high-volume midsole that is wide under the heel and forefoot. This form factor will appeal to runners of all classes when it comes to long-distance runs or daily runs at easy speeds. The rubber outsole covers most of the bottom to deliver sufficient traction and longevity.
While the Triumph 17 and 18 are pretty similar in how they feel under the foot, the 18’s upper is slightly less narrow in the front. If given a choice, we’d pick the 18 over the 17.