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Best running shoes for high arches – 2019


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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’s not 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 advice is also counter-intuitive.

Under usual circumstances, the arch is meant to help absorb shock and stabilize body movements. So a high arch will redistribute the loading stress to the forefoot and the heel.

Thus, having an adequate level of under-arch support and midsole cushioning will help support the loading movement. Makes sense, does it not?

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 which feature on this guide do two things very well.

They have a cushioned ride which makes landings and transitions go easy on your feet – and arch. At the same time, they aren’t overly structured and do not overcorrect the gait.

We must make it clear that ‘cushioned’ and ’softest’ aren’t the same thing – though many believe that to be true. Excessive softness can cause a shoe to be unstable – which is undesirable regardless of the arch type.

None of the models recommended here overdo the ride softness part. Instead, they combine impact-absorbing cushioning with a midsole which 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 better results.

If your high arches are a source of pain, please go see a physiotherapist first instead of reading this shoe guide.

1) adidas Solar Glide 19

Cushioning and support play well together on the new Solar Glide. The breathable upper hugs the foot in comfort; a removable insole and a set of raised EVA foam rims supports the foot on the sides. A plastic Torsion shank adds stability from the inner rearfoot to the midfoot.

The single-density Boost foam midsole produces deep cushioning without the instability. The Polyurethane foam holds its structural integrity well when loaded, so this is an excellent cushioned shoe option for high arches.

2) Asics Gel-Cumulus 21

Over the years, Asics has honed the Flytefoam formula to make it more comfortable under the foot. The result of the gradual refinement is visible on the Gel-Cumulus 21.

A softer Flytefoam Propel midsole is stacked about a slightly denser layer to create a cushioned ride which doesn’t inhibit the foot’s rolling motion. The Cumulus 21’s insole doesn’t have a lot of arch support, so you may want to explore swapping the stock footbed with a custom one.

3) Brooks Glycerin 17

The Brooks Glycerin has a strong top-of-the-mind recall as a ‘supportive-neutral’ running shoe. The DNA Loft midsole isn’t as soft as Brooks claims it to be – and that’s not a bad thing at all.

The midsole is cushioned for everyday comfort, and yet has a firm undertone which bodes well for stability. The stock insole also does a decent job at creating a sense of under-arch support.

4) Brooks Transcend 6

‘Under-arch support meets stable cushioning’ could very well be the expanded name for the Brooks Transcend 6. A pair of elevated ‘Guide Rails’ cup the medial and outer side of the foot, thus making the ride more supportive than your average running shoe.

And it’s not just what’s the on the outside which matters. The Transcend’s cushy insole also props the arch. The wide midsole has lots of cushioning but without the soft compression bias.

5) New Balance Fresh Foam 1080V9

The Fresh Foam 1080V9 is an exercise in maximal cushioning, and a rather good one at that. New Balance has refined their foam formula to turn the 2019 edition of the 1080 into the best one yet.

The high-volume midsole under the foot offers gobs of high-mileage cushioning. At the same time, the full-contact outsole with a wide front and rear profile create a planted feel.

6) Saucony Ride ISO 2

Most Saucony running shoes – including the Ride ISO and the Triumph – have the contoured ‘Formfit’ insole which works for high arches. The under-arch part of the insole rises in a gentle flare and supports the foot. The Everun Topsole and EVA midsole create a cushioned ride in a neutral and unbiased way.

We often forget that the upper also plays an important role in supporting the foot. This is one area we can’t fault the ISOFIT panel for; the inner sleeve joins forces with the flared insole to support the foot during the gait cycle.

7) Saucony Triumph ISO 5

On the inside, the Saucony Triumph behaves similarly as the Ride ISO. The ISOFIT gusset works together with the Formfit insole to hug the foot from underneath. The midsole ride quality is where the Triumph ISO 5 differs.

Since the midsole is made of full-length Everun foam, the Triumph performs better for heavier runners. It’s a lot forgiving on the foot over long hours or distances. That doesn’t come at the cost of stability, so there’s little to worry here.

Do you own any of these shoes? Improve this guide by sharing your insights – submit a review here.