My new sneakers are killing my feet! Help!
June 6, 2012 7:27 PM   Subscribe

My arches are killing me! Do these sneakers need to go?

It had been about 5 years since I purchased a pair of sneakers, but given that I'm going to be doing A LOT of walking in a new job, I decided it might be time to get a pair. My feet are wide and pretty flat. I went to a specialty shop (Marathon Sports), got sized, the saleswoman watched me walk in bare feet, had me try on a few different styles, and I went with the women's Brooks Addiction 10 in a wide. They felt great in the store, but not so good out on the street. After about 5 minutes the soles/arches of my feet are in pain! I walked for 20 minutes today and yesterday and that was all I could do. I had to stop a few times to bend my arches (maybe a sign that there is too much motion-control)?

The saleswoman originally suggested a sneaker that had medium support because although my feet are flat, from the way I was walking it didn't appear that I needed more support. However, that shoe - I think it was an Asics, didn't feel great on my feet.

I normally walk around with some Clark's mary janes and they have never given me any trouble. Do I need to break in these sneakers or bring them back? What type of sneaker would you suggest for a wide and flat foot that won't cause some serious arch pain?

posted by Sal and Richard to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Take them back and buy a regular shoe designed for walking (clarks are good), not a running shoe.
posted by fshgrl at 7:48 PM on June 6, 2012

I used to wear Pumas, which look great but provide no arch support. I haven't yet found sneakers with decent arch support, and moving to casual dress shoes and Birkenstock sandals has helped a great deal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:16 PM on June 6, 2012

Best answer: If the shoes are causing you pain after 5 minutes, they are not the right sneakers for you. Many running stores will allow you to take shoes out for a "test drive"- a quick turn or two up and down the block, so that you can see the difference between different speeds, different kinds of pavement/flooring, and so forth. Unless it's more a superficial kind of friction pain, which it doesn't sound like, the shoes are clearly not helping. If they really are a specialty shop, you should be able to see if they can be returned, or traded in for a new pair, as in general a shoe that renders one unable to walk is not really a good fit. Also, did she specifically mention motion control? Motion control is a little different (at least to me) than simple arch support. Brooks' website describes them as designed to"suppor[t] low arches and kee[p] pronation under control" but if you don't actually pronate, it may be too much shoe for you. Did you only try on the two shoes?

Clarks are great for walking, though more for strolling than mail delivery, say; if your feet are happy with them, why not test out some of their other more substantial styles? Do you need a running shoe, or are leather ones okay? There are also some good basic orthotics sold for arch support that are designed to be slipped into hiking boots or walking shoes, if you find a shoe that you like but that needs more boost for your arches.

But seriously, blisters aside, walking in new sneakers should be a pleasure! Not a source of crippling pain!
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:34 PM on June 6, 2012

Best answer: This isn't advice about wide flat feet, but shoes fit people in such different ways that my experience might not be helpful anyways.

When I have gone to Marathon Sports they have been really good about allowing me to return shoes until I find the right ones. Many feel fine in the store but turn out to be a bad fit once you put them to the test. Places like Marathon Sports understand that and even expect it.

Keep trying until you find a pair that are great. Don't be afraid to go back several times and be as specific as you can about what was wrong. Once you find the right pair you will be glad you stuck it out. Especially considering that the price of most shoes like this makes them a serious investment. Once you find a pair you like keep your eyes out for them so you might be able to pick out a replacement pair for cheeper. It's nice having a back-up pair so once your first pair need to be replaced you don't have to go through the process of being fitted again.

Good luck, happy walking.
posted by rip at 9:02 PM on June 6, 2012

I have (very narrow) flat feet, and my arches really hurt if I wear the wrong kind of shoes.

I'm not sure what to tell you about your new sneakers, but you can make your arches feel tons better by rolling a golf ball around on the floor with your foot. Use a moderate amount of pressure. It's a nice stretch/massage for your arch. When I do it it's one of those pleasurably uncomfortable sensations, kind of like cracking your knuckles or getting a vigorous back massage.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 10:04 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would look into some superfeet insoles if arch support is the issue. Otherwise, I would try going back to the specialty shop and tell them about what you're experiencing with these shoes--they would probably have more experience with the issues that you're having.
posted by scalespace at 6:27 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definitely Superfeet insoles. I have them in my sneakers.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:36 AM on June 7, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice everyone. I took the sneakers back to Marathon Sports and they took another look at my feet, I tried on several pairs of sneakers (including men's sneakers to get the width I need). I wound up with a pair of Brooks Dyad sneakers in a 2E width. Took them home, went around the block, and SAME ARCH PAIN after 5 minutes of walking. I came back home, put my Clarks back on, NO PAIN! Tomorrow this 2nd pair of sneaks will go back and I'll stick with the Clarks.

BTW, I've tried the Superfeet insoles and they destroyed my feet. I put them in my Clarks for more support and they were not comfortable for me and caused huge blisters. Ouch!
posted by Sal and Richard at 6:08 PM on June 7, 2012

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