We Examined Dozens of Working Footwear. These Are the Greatest for Excessive Arches

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If you have high arches, you often have to search far and wide for running shoes that work for you. Although not always the case, many times because it's because you experience a constant ache in the midfoot caused by overworking your plantar fascia, the thick but flexible strand of tissue that connects your heel to the ball of your foot.

I’ve had plantar fasciitis since I was in high school, and while I’ve mostly gotten it under control, there are still some weeks where I can’t escape arch soreness. If you’re like me, when you find a running shoe that's comfortable, you stick with it.

After testing dozens of pairs, I rounded up the best running shoes for high arches. I also spoke with Dylan Sykes, D.P.T. and 2:25 marathoner, on how to choose the best shoe for your specific needs. The best overall pick is Asics vablast 4 because it's a versatile shoe, responsive for the days you're feeling the need for speed, but plush enough for easy days. 

Related: We Tested Dozens of On Running Shoes. These Are the Best

Best Overall Running Shoe for High Arches: Asics vablast 4

Asics vablast 4

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When I’m out running I don’t want to think too hard about what’s on my feet; it either works or it doesn’t. Asics vablast 4 just works. Over the past couple months, the it's been the first shoe out of my closet for standard training miles. 

As one the best running shoes from Asics, the vablast midsole is bouncier but stiffer than the previous version, yet it retains its plush, snug ride. While the upper feels more insulated than the previous vablast, it locks my foot down better, which keeps me riding right on the super supportive midsole. I felt the older version lacked arch support, as my foot rolled inward slightly. The updated midsole feels a lot more balanced for any runner, especially high arch runners like me. All this adds up to a versatile shoe: responsive for speedy days, plush for easy days. For $140, there aren't many better trainers out there.

As with many plush trainers these days, the outsole is mainly foam, so it wears down relatively quickly and doesn't grip bumpy terrain as well as other shoes. But don't let that stop you from enjoying the ride it provides.

Weight: 9.2 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm


  • Doesn’t feel wobbly or unstable for a max-stack shoe.
  • Soft and supportive ride, great for high arches.
  • Versatile for an everyday trainer.
  • Excellent value.
  • New upper provides better lockdown than previous version.


  • New upper is more insulated, which can make feet feel warm.
  • t super durable or grippy.

$140 at Amazon$140 at Zappos

Best Stability Running Shoe for High Arches: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 has firm "guiderails" that run along each side of the shoe to prevent the foot from collapsing inwards or rolling outwards. While stability shoes don't always suit runners with high arches (as it depends on whether or not you overpronate), the Adrenaline is plush enough to balance out the firmer stability features. 

Similar to Brooks Ghost 15, the Adrenaline is nearly universally beloved for its cushioning and fit. The shoe’s popularity isn’t a fluke; it’s just a testament to how well it works for so many people, myself included. It’s easy to find a version that fits you right, a colorway that you’re excited to wear, and once you’re out logging miles, the shoe is comfortable and fun to run in.

Weight: 10.1 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 12mm


  • Reliable fit and comfortable, plush feel.
  • t overly stiff, but still supportive.
  • Classic, utilitarian upper and lacing.


  • High heel-toe drop isn’t for everyone.
  • Stability features may feel weird to neutral runners.

$137 at Amazon$140 at Brooks

Best Max Cushion Running Shoe for High Arches: Skechers GoRUN Max Road 6

Skechers GoRUN Max Road 6

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I try not to break out my favorite max cushion phrase too much, but Skechers GoRUN Max Road 6 are certified 'plush puppies.' When my dogs (feet) are barking, I slide on the latest Max Road for easy miles. 

The Max Road 6 is a big step up in cushioning from the previous version, and the carbon-infused midsole is thick and soft. They have one of my favorite road outsoles, too—made from Michelin rubber. t only running long in these, I also spent two 12 hour days moving my things and my feet were just fine. 

I notice that the shoe cradles my arch from heel to toe, making it a great choice for high arch runners. I value that support—and the extremely supple feel underfoot—for recovery runs. Sure, they aren’t fast or versatile, but at $130 they are more affordable than most max cushion competitors. One last thing I noticed: the upper isn’t breathable, so the shoe heats up after awhile. However, the upper never leads to slippage or irritation.

Weight: 11 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 6mm


  • High stack height and carbon-infused cushioning makes for super comfortable ride.
  • Accommodating, locked down fit.
  • Durable, tacky midsole rubber.


  • Thick, unbreathable upper.
  • t versatile.

$130 at Running Warehouse

Best Racing Shoe for High Arches: Nike Vaporfly 3

Nike Vaporfly 3

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I probably don’t need to talk about how good of a shoe the Vaporfly is, as it's one of the most famous running shoes of all time. I’ve tried a ton of elite racing shoes, and Nike Vaporfly 3 works for my arches. 

A few quick highlights: It weighs practically nothing (6.5 ounces), it's super peppy yet comfortable over long distances, and the upper is extremely light and breathable. The midsole is narrow, but that slimmed down portion hugs the arch, so when properly laced, the shoe supports and comforts the foot. 

Nike has released other models since the Vaporfly 3, like the Alphafly, which some people prefer. But if you need a pair of racing shoes and you have a high arch, then the Vaporfly 3, one of the sport’s most popular racing shoes, is a great pick. However, the lacing can be a bit flimsy, and like all super shoes, they wear down pretty fast. So use them wisely, because, according to studies, they do indeed improve your running performance.

Weight: 6.5 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm


  • Light, bouncy, and comfortable.
  • Breathable upper.
  • Proven to improve running performance.


  • Bad lacing system.
  • Wears down quickly.

$270 at Nike

Related: We Tested Every Running Shoe Asics Offers. These Are the Best

More Running Shoes for High Arches We Love

Best Recovery Running Shoe for High Arches: Brooks Glycerin 21

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Another popular high cushion shoe is Brooks Glycerin 21. It's my favorite Brooks shoe, and I’m still logging tons of early week recovery runs in these. While they have a similarly soft midsole feel to the Skechers GoRUN Max Road, these lightweight trainers are a lot more versatile.

At 9.8 ounces (or 9.3 in the StealthFit version) the Glycerin 21 is light enough for speedwork, and though the foam is really soft underfoot, it has more pep than expected. The heel counter is really supportive, and the laces are comfortable. This shoe is somewhat distinct from others on this list in that it doesn’t have a notably stacked arch. But as I broke these shoes in, the insole molded to my foot shape. The supple foam cushions and supports the feet during impact, so despite the lower arch stack, the shoes never feel like they are taxing your plantar fascia.

Weight: 9.8 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 10mm


  • Lightweight enough to be versatile trainers.
  • Soft and comfortable cushioning, while maintaining plenty of pop.
  • Upper and lacing setup works well for many foot shapes.
  • Durable outsoles.


  • t the most breathable upper on the list.
  • stacked arch.

$160 at Amazon$160 at Brooks

Best Everyday Running Shoe for High Arches: Asics Gel-Kayano 30

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As one of the best Asics shoes this year, Gel-Kayano 30 has picked up a lot of miles in recent weeks. I've previously experienced both lower leg injuries and arch pain, so the Kayano's supportive, plush cushioning and high heel-toe drop has placed stabilizes and supports my feet. While I’m not breaking any speed records in these, I really appreciate the easy miles in shoes that feel comfortable and stable, but not overly squishy or plodding. Additionally, the stability features, which are totally unobtrusive, cradle the arch. For pretty much every run—save for fast workouts or races—the Gel-Kayano makes a superbly supportive shoe for runners with high arches and plantar fasciitis.

Weight: 10.7 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 10mm


  • Soft, stable, and supportive.
  • Durable outsole.
  • Snug, sock-like upper and comfortable laces.


  • Too heavy and plush for faster runs.

$160 at Amazon$160 at Asics

Best All-Around Running Shoe for High Arches: Hoka Clifton 9

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The latest iteration of the popular Hoka Clifton is a comfortable, tried-and-true high arch shoe. While I don’t think the Clifton 9 feels like it was made exclusively for folks with high arches, there are plenty of runners who benefit from the midsole structure.

Elite runners and casual walkers alike sing the praises of the Clifton. I’ve run in three different versions of this shoe, it just works so well. The shoe is lightweight (under 9 ounces). It's got an approachable 5 mm heel-toe-drop, ideal for those who don't land so hard on their heels, but not low enough to scare off runners who aren't used to it. And the Clifton has a really lockdown fit for a stable ride. Finally, there is supportive foam that reaches under the arch—right where you need it.

Weight: 8.7 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 5mm


  • Lightweight and versatile.
  • Cushioning works great for high arch runners.
  • Great value at under $150.


  • Low drop isn't for everyone.
  • t as soft as Hoka’s max stack offerings.

$145 at Amazon$145 at Hoka

Best Shoe for Running and Casual Wear: Adidas Ultraboost Light

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Adidas Ultraboost Light is my daily shoe. I walk my dogs in them, travel with them, and often just wear them around the house. The Ultraboost Light midsole is super comfortable and stable, and the sock-like upper, while not the most breathable, is stretchy and fits perfectly.

If you go with a simple colorway, you don't need to travel with multiple shoes. These look like a modern sneaker, but perform like some of the best running shoes out there. The forefoot and heel cushioning is plentiful, and the heel contour cradles the foot perfectly.

While the $190 base price is a bit steep, old colorways often go on sale. And for how versatile these are as everyday shoes and running shoes, the price is actually well worth it.

Weight: 10.5 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 10mm


  • Look like a modern sneaker.
  • Boost foam is supple and this version is lighter.
  • Soft, stretchy upper is very comfortable.


  • A tad expensive for the performance.
  • t super fast or responsive.

$120 at Amazon$190 at Adidas

Best Everyday Trail Shoe for High Arches: Hoka Mafate Speed 4

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For trail runners looking for something a bit softer, Hoka Mafate Speed 4 is arguably one of the most versatile trail shoes ever made. While Hoka has long been recognized for the comfort of their foam, their recent push for more responsive offerings in the PROFLY lineup are great. The Mafate Speed 4 features a dual density midsole that is both firm and soft, maintaining a ton of comfort for high arches. And the versatility of the Mafate means that these remain the right choice for long, patient trail miles as well as hard uphill efforts and speedy descents. Unfortunately, I did notice some heel slippage if I didn't lace tight enough.

Weight: 10.4 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 4mm


  • Soft and supportive dual-density PROFLY midsole.
  • Excellent traction.
  • Very versatile for all kinds of trail running.


  • Had to lace tightly to avoid heel slippage.

$185 at Hoka$185 at Zappos

Best Nimble Trail Running Shoe for High Arches: La Sportiva Jackal II (BOA)

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While La Sportiva puts out a ton of really technical and capable trail runners, the Jackal II with BOA lacing is the brand's best. If you have high arches but don’t like the feel of maximalist shoes, then the Jackal II is right up your alley. They're really comfortable but also light and nimble, with responsive foam and tons of grip. And the arch support hits right where you need it.

Part of what makes these feel so comfortable for high arch runners is the secure, locked-in BOA fit. You just click the knobs on the side of the shoe until the shoe fits your foot shape perfectly. As a result, they make a great trail racer or fast shoe for trail runners who don’t want a big clunky midsole.

Weight: 10.5 ounces

Heel-Toe Drop: 7mm


  • Excellent blend between speedy performance and bouncy cushioning.
  • BOA system makes these so easy to secure to your foot.
  • Grippy, outsole rubber.
  • Breathable upper.


  • Stiffer than some high arch runners may prefer.

$185 at Amazon$185 at La Sportiva

Related: We Tested a Dozen Saucony Running Shoes. These Are Our Favorites

Do High Arches Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

According to Sykes, high arches stiffen the feet while running, which in turn sends more impact force to the forefoot and rearfoot. The plantar fascia supports your arch, and so high arch runners often feel additional strain on this tissue because it has to stretch more. For that reason, a high arch runner often finds comfort in high cushioned shoes.

Be careful, however. “A max stack shoe can sometimes act as a bandaid for arch pain rather than fixing the problem,” Sykes says. Similarly, if you were recommended orthopedic insoles by a doctor, Sykes says that while they alleviate short-term pain, they won’t address the root of your arch pain. Because, he says, there's no one-size-fits-all in running footwear. Find a pair that works for you—but ease into using any new shoes. 

Sykes recommends starting with one run per week in the new shoes, then bumping up to two, and so on for a few weeks to help your body adapt to the new gear. I've made this mistake a few times, and it has cost me weeks of training due to injury. So try a few things to see what works and stick with your successful formula.

Why You Should Trust Me

Aside from my personal experience with plantar fasciitis and arch pain, we got insight from folks who really know what they’re talking about. That’s why I chatted with Sykes, an accomplished runner and D.P.T.

Additionally, I logged hundreds of miles in over 60 different pairs of running shoes over the past year. And like many runners, I’m not immune to injury, so I make sure to note shoes that work well and cause no issues. 

On top of my individual testing, I worked with a team of testers over a variety of reviews and gleaned insight from all types of runners, from heavier men looking for maximum support to sub-4:00 minute milers.

Related: The Best Running Shoes of 2024

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