Shoes for Problem Feet

Published on March 21st, 2010 | by Kirsten Borrink


Best Shoes for High Arches (6 Great Styles Reviewed)

Do you realize in my 2 1/2 years of blogging about comfortable shoes, I have never written about best shoes for high arches? Bunions–no problem. Plantar Fasciitis? Check. Even hammertoes have pushed their way into a blog post, but not the instep. Until now.

Nancy wrote to me last week asking me to help her find best shoes for high arches, or “tall feet.” Nancy states, “The high instep means I actually get blisters on the tops of my feet. It also means straps that attach with Velcro (boooo) often don’t span my foot.” Can you relate? After some good ol’ Barking Dog nose-to-the-ground research, I’ve come up with quite a few options for the tall-footed. Keep in mind Nancy also suffers from metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot pain), so the recommendations listed all have a cushioned forefoot or anatomical footbed. While I can’t promise these will work for all high insteps, remember the free return policy at Zappos!

1. Naot Tamariki: I chose this comfortable shoe because of the open space in the middle of the foot; no mary jane-type strap. Plus the Naot anatomical footbed is unsurpassed for support. $168 @ Zappos.

best shoes for high arches
2.  Wolky Cusani: Not only are both cross-straps adjustable, the footbed is completely removable if you need to insert a thinner orthotic to create more depth. I love, love, LOVE Wolky: room for toes, supportive yet cushioned footbed and fun styles. $149.95 @ (free shipping and exchanges).

best shoes for high arches

3. Aravon Maya: Made by New Balance. The Maya has an ankle strap but no instep strap. Hurrah! This dress comfort shoe features a rocker sole and roomy toe box too. I chose this style because of a customer comment regarding her high instep and how these shoes have been so good to her. Comes in medium and wide widths at Zappos for $145 and FOUR widths at Shoebuy for $149.95.

best shoes for high arches

4. Clark’s Un.Crow: The hook and loop closure to adjust the top straps made me think this comfortable sandal could definitely be in the category of best shoes for high arches. Customers love the cushioned footbed of the Un.Structured line. $110 @ Zappos.

best shoes for high arches

5. Rieker Celia 87: Can you see how long the velcro cross straps are here? I dare a tall foot to stop those straps. Plus Rieker is known for their padded footbed, roomy toe box and forgiving instep straps. $99.95 at Zappos.

best shoes for high arches

6. Dansko Alize: Nothing across the mid-section of the foot, soft nappa leather, foam footbed and adjustable buckle slingback. $125 @ Zappos.

best shoes for high arches

Ok, now it’s YOUR turn. Do you have “tall feet?” What would you say are the best shoes for high arches? Leave a comment below to help our friend, Nancy and others with vertically-enhanced feet.

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41 Responses to Best Shoes for High Arches (6 Great Styles Reviewed)

  1. Kimocean says:

    I love the idea of tall feet. At 5’3″ they’re about the only tall part of me! I have to say that I’d be quite surprised if any of the velcro strapped shoes work. Maybe the ones with the ankle strap but velcro just doesn’t usually work for me at all because it gets pulled from the ends and eventually loses it’s hold. Otherwise though I think there are some good recommendations.

  2. Audrey says:

    I have “tall feet” too, and I think some of these might work. I worry about the ones that don’t have any sort of strap or are slingback, because along with my high instep comes the issue of not being able to keep a shoe that doesn’t have a strap on my feet! I think it has something to do with the sides of the shoe not having an arch to hold onto, if that makes sense. Anyway, I don’t know if others with tall feet have this same problem. I find that most shoes with a buckle strap work better than those with velcro. Some shoes that have worked for me in the past include Clark’s styles with buckles, and even Kork Ease sandals, since the front part of the shoe ends before my arch starts, and the strap is at the ankle, not across the top of the arch.
    Oh, and I also have ball of foot pain, which means platforms are ok, but anything that makes my feet pitch forward hurts.

    • Elisabeth says:

      Audrey, my “tall feet” have the same problems precisely, including the bit about any and all shoes that make your feet pitch forward. Fun times

  3. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Audry,you are in good company. Nancy mentioned the same thing about the slingbacks not staying on with her high arch. Of course, not having this particular foot issue myself, I had no idea! It’s so helpful to hear from others with high insteps. I love Kork-Ease. Good recommendation. Here’s a link for other readers:

  4. emt says:

    I have tall feet too (to go with the rest of me that’s elongated/tall). I don’t think these Reiker, Clark, and Aravon styles would work for me due to the strap placement. I have problems with a lot of shoes because the top of the shoe or the straps is too tight right on the bone on the top of the arch. I have to be really careful with Mary Jane styles & sandals. Lace-ups can be hard to adjust so they stay on the foot without being painfully too tight across the height of the arch. Boots are pretty impossible, although this year I finally found a great pair of ankle boots from Everybody by B.Z. Moda that are wonderful & well worth the price. (I had a pair of Frye’s years ago that I loved, but it took me forever to get my feet in or out of them because they were so tight through the ankle & instep for the years I owned them. The salesman had optimistically told me they’d stretch out.) Plus, some ballet-type shoes are cut so low at the sides that the outside arch of my foot is above the side of the shoe.

  5. emt says:

    Update – I just received the Naot Matai pair I ordered & they are wonderful. The velcro strap works with my tall arch & the shoes feel great on my foot. I definitely will be ordering in more colors as I can afford them – well worth the price.

  6. Kirsten Borrink says:

    EMT–the Naot Matai is the best. I know at least 10 people that have a pair ranging in ages 30s-70s and they LOVE them. Glad the velcro strap works for you.

  7. Diana says:

    Dansko Alize are really good and exactly match to my dress which i dought to my birthday.Can anyone tell me where can i buy such pair of shoes.Please help me..

  8. meems says:

    I discovered Soffts this month and I felt like Cinderella with the perfect fit slipper. The first pair I bought were Mary Jane style medium heels for work, and every other Soffts shoe I tried on felt wonderful to walk in with my high instep. I never knew, in all my 59 years that there were dress or business dress shoes that could feel so great!

  9. Pamela DuBois says:

    I not only have a high instep, but due to poor circulation, the tops of my feet swell along with my ankles, so shoes with ankle straps or Mary Janes style shoes don’t work because the straps are NEVER long enough. AND the worst part is my feet are extra, extra wide. What can you suggest to all this?

    • SuChez says:

      Ditto!! I also have the luck of having size 13WW feet with the high instep. Impossible to find cute shoes. Usually end up having to buy mens or super cheap ballet flats at Payless which make my feet hurt. Bah.

    • Kris says:

      Me too!!! None of the shoes shown will work for me because of the high instep, swelling and extra wide feet. The only thing I can find for work is the cheap ballet slippers or untied men’s work boots and even those I have to buy 2 sizes bigger just to accommodate the high arch which starts where my toe begins. So while the front of the shoe is cutting into my arch the back of my foot is flopping out of the shoe. I can find sandals once in a while but they are always too casual for the office and tennis shoes are out also. I also live in the north where we have severe winters and the building I work at, the closet parking to the building is 2 blocks away. It’s not fun walking in 8 inches of snow with ballet flats or men’s steel toe work boots, Does anyone know if there is somewhere that makes shoes custom for your feet?

    • Helen says:

      While searching for shoes on line that will accommodate my very high insteps, I came across a UK comfort brand caller Hotter. They have a huge selection. I found most of their footwear very boring, but not all of it. They have pumps that are appropriate for the office and for more dressy occasions. There is a lot footwear on their site to sift through, but I kept looking and found several pumps that I would be happy with if I still worked in an office or had an event to go to. What’s more, you can order in either a regular or extra-wide width. It was not the case for all of their shoes, but it was the case for the pumps I looked at.

  10. Kirsten@BarkingDogShoes says:


    Have you ever taken a look at ?
    They specialize in multiple width footwear. Are you looking for a flat or heel?

  11. Maggie says:

    I Have very high arches too, i just hate shopping for shoes, boots are vertually impossible to get on, high heals make my feet look worse, strappy shoes are a definate no no as the straps never reach, i always end up with flat shoes that spoil any out-fit if i am going somewhere special – i hate my feet!!!

  12. Michelle says:

    Can anyone offer help wiht locating a shoe that will help me. I have ball-of-foot pain and very wide feet. I need sometign supportive with an instep. I have orhtodics, and I don’t want to ahve to rsort to the “old-lady” shoe since I am in my 30’s. I have bought the Mophisto brand and they have velco, but i hate thema nd tehy are not wide enough with my orthodic. Dansko is not wide enough. I have been able to use a New Balance mens 9EE…but not cute…I pourchased a Klog in a 10w, but after wearing it around the house, it is not going to be wide enoug either….any suggestions?

    • Diane says:

      *EASY SPIRIT TRAVEL TIME* shoes are the most comfortable out-of-the-box shoes I ever have worn. They support my high arches and come in wide, wider, and extra wide widths. I was shocked they work so well. They look kinda clog-ish, and have that half back, slip-on kind of design. ICK! In theory, I don’t like the design, but a sale, great reviews, and a desire to get through airports more efficiently possessed me to try them. Turns out they look good; even great. I have half a dozen pairs, now, in different colors.

      My foot doctor complains that the construction of Travel Time can’t offer me enough support, so, I wear them selectively. (The doc’s practice sells Dr. Comfort. I have a few pair of them, too, but, for the most part, they are clunky. Dr, Comfort does have a sweet-looking sport Mary Jane, and, recently, my “shoe lady” talked me into a pair of Dr. Comfort slip-on athletic shoes in flashy colors. They are supportive and comfortable, but pricey.

      BOTTOM LINE: I highly recommend that anyone who has the HIGH INSTEP, EXTRA WIDE foot issue go for EASY SPIRIT’s TRAVEL TIME shoes.

      You’re welcome! WINK.

  13. Tamara says:

    So happy to discover this blog! But I disagree about Naot Matai. I found it very shallow. My feet couldn’t tolerate the strap at all.
    What’s more, the shoe was somehow too soft and unsupportive.

    I found much better arch support with Alegria Paloma shoes…also fit my instep. Trouble I’m having with them is that the uppers are a little stiff and the strap is not on a loop and is just, well, crappy and rubs my foot. I’m hoping if worn with tights in the winter they’ll be OK because otherwise they’re great.

  14. LG says:

    You described my same foot deal. I so agree about tennis shoe or lace shoe hurting across the top and straps being bad also. I do well with the full Birkenstocks (not the newer types that are not as intense in the arch height), and I do love the Naot Matai as long as it is a sandal, but one needs to know it’s a cork inner sole that takes time to compress to one’s foot. They were so light that they didn’t hurt even with a strechy strap near the ankle. I did ok also with MTB’s and some orthopedic shoes. Some shoes did better with added orthotics that had a metatarsal pad to offset the odd landing that can come from landing too hard on the wrong part of the forefoot due to the high arch (I tend to land more on my toes or tip of ball which causes a lot of pain).
    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I have never been able to just buy shoes….so hard. Loafers with a short toe box work well, I learned that from a movie where Jason Alexander had a line about how he needed expensive loafers with a shorter toe box because of his high instep. I tried it and it’s true. Anyway, good luck!

  15. Joann says:

    I wear a size 10 narrow and have a high instep. I am looking for a black dress flat or sandal with closed toe or strap covered toe. It is for a semi-dress event…on stage,where we will be standing for some time…and my feet won’t show.

    This is a TALL order I realize. If you help me my feet and I would be so very grateful!

  16. Pam says:

    **sigh** none of those will fit my feet – I have EXTREMELY high insteps – I guess I’ll just keep on keepin’ on with my Men’s athletic shoes – they don’t even come together all the way on the top of my feet – I guess cute shoes are just not in my future. :0(

  17. Pam says:

    I checked those out and have been looking since 2010 – still have found nothing – even diabetic shoes don’t fit.

    • Katie says:

      Leather can be stretched professionally. If you buy real leather shoes and take them to the right person (an orthotist or shoe repair person) they should be able to stretch them for you. They may also be able to add material or make you a custom strap, just make sure you get your shoes in a color which they have (usually black).

  18. Kirsten@BarkingDogShoes says:

    Hi Pam,

    This post is rather old, but I just noticed this new style by Naot. I like the strechy collar around the instep. No reviews yet, but wondering if it might work for you? I know it’s pricey, but maybe worth a try?

  19. Tallfoot says:

    As the other tall footed people mentioned, slingbacks may as well say “sling right off your foot with every other step”. They look really cute as long as you stand still and don’t go anywhere.

    Also, as they mentioned, even these long straps don’t tend to work when you can only make 1/2″ of the velcro come together.

    And trying on shoes doesn’t take that long because we literally cannot put our feet in the shoes most of the time. It looks like the Cinderella’s stepsister shoe fitting all the time for us. If you’d like to replicate the experience, borrow a kid’s doll shoes or some toddler shoes and attempt to put your feet in them.

    The downside of lowering the edges to expose more foot/avoid sizing issues is that you end up with the shoe edges biting your feet in unexpected and uncomfortable places, which means painful cuts and blisters. And, as was mentioned, the “hello, would you like to see the underside of my instep?” peep show that happens with ballet flats.

    I’ve occasionally found some no-name boots that have lots of room, and those have become my everyday shoes.

    One slip-on shoe that has more give than it looks like: Sketchers has an elastic-topped casual shoe that looks like a tennis shoe without laces. Sketchers changes the exact fit and the color palette from year to year, but sometimes they fit.

  20. Carolyn says:

    I have to say it heartens me to read all these comments from women with high instep problems! I don’t feel so alone. No one has mentioned what the issue is with boots….. I describe it to people as “not being able to get my foot around the corner” to slip into the shoe…if that makes sense to you all.
    I also have a wide foot and wide calves so I’m not looking for high boots, but even low ones are impossible to get on.

    Any suggestions?

    • Claire says:

      I have the same issues exactly. You can get boots, shoes and even long boots that will fit your calves perfectly at Ted & Muffy. They do width fittings and calf fittings, although I can’t say that they are cheap – I normally wait for the sales!

  21. JoJo says:

    An old blog, but I have to chime in. The angle of the top of my feet rises right where my toes end. Do for me, it’s not the straps that concern me as much as just getting my toes in. Usually shoes will cut me off right there, and there is a lot of pain with each step. I am hoping to find some new options with these brands at least.

    • Carrie says:

      Jojo, yes…my daughter is the same. I have been standing here in Payless watching her attempt every shoe in the store! Nothing! Even if it doesn’t have a strap across the middle of the foot, she can’t get her toe into the front of the shoe at all. Looking at those Dansko Alize for instance — I doubt she could get her toe into that.

  22. Jennifer Bellinger says:

    I have high arches, and lymphedema in my right leg. In sandals I look for shoes with adjustable buckles. Some velco adjustable shoes have worked but buckles look better…I always need to make the shoe wider ( velco shows…ugly). I know how you all feel about shopping for shoes for problem feet. Very Frustrating.
    Here is one shoe that I don’t hesitate to call the most comfortable shoe I have ever owned since my edema problem: It is a monk strap, and with long pants it passes as a ankle boot look….I love it and can stand all day and my feet don’t hurt.
    I just bought Wolky Jewel sandals in black, because in the fun colors, the velcro where I need to make the shoe wider shows; on black not as noticeable. I have glued on a piece of velcro to make the strap over my high instep work. I have tried going from medium width to wide thinking I could tighten the straps on shoes…but the whole shoe is then too wide, heel, etc.
    Hope my little rant helps. I’m glad to have found your blog Kirsten. I do most of my shoe shopping online with sites that have reviews posted, which helps. I will check out some of the shoe recommendations.

  23. gill says:

    boring, I have really high insteps and I could always where those stout practical shoes you have here, I was hoping for some glamour

    • Kirsten says:

      Feel free to browse the rest of the blog for more stylish options. This post is from two years ago.

    • Helen says:

      Gil, I’m with you. Most of the comfort shoes are disappointing style-wise. I like an edgier shoe. I also have very high insteps. Straps that lay across my instep, and boots and lace up shoes that press against the tops of my feet, are very painful. I have had luck with the following brands:
      IRREGULAR CHOICE – Their shoes are on the wild side rather than glamorous. I can’t wear most of their shoes, but they do make some of their pumps with a lower heel and a short toe box so that it doesn’t cut into my instep. I bought a pair and it was nice to wear a fun shoe for once. I plan to buy another pair when I can. They are not comfort shoes for those people who must have a comfort shoe. They are regular shoes that happen to fit my high instep needs. They also make flats, but I don’t like flats, so I can’t say what they’re like.

      Sacha London Shoes– They make more glamorous shoes but with an eye on comfort. I bought two pair. They have a higher heel with a platform front so the foot is not really arching up all that much. The toe box does not cut into my instep and they have ankle straps. They look great on my feet. I just checked out the Sacha London shoes on, and I saw lots of other possibilities.
      BERNIE MEV – I can’t wear most of the Bernie Mev shoes because of the straps across the instep, but they make a pump where the stretchy woven upper encloses most of the foot like a glove to just below the ankle. Since there is no strap cutting into my instep when I flex my foot and the fabric has give, they are very comfortable for me.
      DR. MARTEN’S – Their boots and shoes are roomy and comfortable. The cut of their boots have been a great fit for my high insteps…no or very little pressure on the tops of my feet. I happen to like their lace up work boots, but they make other styles of shoes, also. I recently purchased a three-eyelet canvas ankle boot from their web site. Again, the cut is comfortable for my instep, and my feet don’t hurt even after wearing the shoe almost all day. They look much cuter on the foot than in the photo and can be worn with jeans or a dress. Their web site shows UK sizes but there is a sizing chart to go by.

  24. Juliette says:

    Try Vionic brand, the shoe is called “Treat.” It’s a dressy flat with super stretch upper and very high arch support. Only thing that worked for me! Dressy enough for the office. Comes in a cute leopard print or plain black. Other vionic shoes are hit or miss when it comes to the instep height, but when you find a model that fits, like the Treat, I order several pair in different colors. It’s the first flat that doesn’t cut into my foot.

  25. Diane says:

    Remember that stretchy shoes can work miracles. Go for suede or some of the new stretch fabrics;

    As for boots. I have, all too many times, not gotten around that “corner” either. For some reason, ankle boots work well for me. I look for suede. Sometimes I just rely on a pair of New Balance walking shoes. New Balance has a shoe for every foot!

  26. Denise Burns says:

    With a 10.5 WW shoe size and the highest instep (I really should check the Guinness book of world records). I have had great luck with Munro America shoes. Even those with straps running over the top are quite comfie.

  27. don vay says:

    high arch shoes for men?

  28. don vay says:

    high instep shoes for MEN??

  29. debe mathia says:

    my mother feet swell up, so we have a hard time finding shoes she can wear, she wears houseslippers but they keep falling off. do you have something that she can wear with out hurting and falling off?

  30. Haf says:

    why can’t somebody make a shoe or sandal for TALL FEEt with Wide Width that are cute and sexy and have a heel? Why do I have to look like I am 65 years old with my shoes? Is there no designer out there that realize that high arches and wide feet exists and that many of these women are under 100 years old and maybe want to go out dancing somtimes?

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