TOP 13 Best Trail Running Shoes for Flat Feet Tested & Reviewed 2020

If you’re a trail runner with flat feet, you can’t just wear any old trail shoes, right?

You need a shoe that will stand up to the rigors of the trail but also provide you with the right kind of support.

I’ve got you covered!

This article will explain what to look for, and review 13 of the best trail running shoes for flat feet in 2020.

TOP 13 Best Trail Running Shoes for Flat Feet 2020

Asics Women's Gel Kahana 8

Review: You can’t really go wrong with Asics for a great balance of stability and comfort. To get this balance in a trail shoe without being excessively stiff and heavy is even more impressive.

The Kahana is adequately cushioned and supportive while being durable, light and comfortable to wear.

Pros

  • Durable.
  • Protective mesh upper.
  • Laces that stay tied up!
  • Reliable Asics stability and arch support.
  • Gel cushioning system.

Cons

  • Possibly on the narrow side.

Takeaway

A comfortable Asics stability shoe with ample cushioning but rugged enough to survive the trails, the Gel Kahanas are likely to be among the best trail running shoes for flat feet.

New Balance Women's Leadville V3

Review: This is a shoe designed for the trail but that performs equally well on the road, with good traction, multiple protective components and ample cushioning.

It is classed as a stability shoe and is designed for medium arches, but the arch support isn’t too pronounced so it’ll still be very comfortable for flat feet. And, its medial post provides reliable protection against overpronation.

If your priority is comfort and versatility, then these are good trail running shoes for flat feet.

Pros

  • Gusseted tongue and toe guard for protection.
  • Breathable.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Responsive.
  • Supportive medial post.

Cons

  • Feels a little stiff and firm.

Takeaway

A comfortable, protective shoe providing reasonable support and a versatile ride on a range of surfaces.

Salomon Women's XA Pro 3D GTX Trail

Review: For those wanting a shoe that will put up with whatever you throw at it on the trails, protecting your feet from the elements and debris while not falling apart, this is it.

This Salomon is a rugged, hardy trail shoe, with the added benefit of arch support for the flat foot. It’s a reliable and comfortable shoe with great shock absorption for heel strikers, though it may feel a little heavy.

Pros

  • Waterproof Gore-Tex upper.
  • Good protection from debris.
  • Excellent stability and arch support.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Versatile tread.

Cons

  • A little heavy.

Takeaway

The ideal trail running shoe for an overpronator who wants to hit some serious trails.

Hoka One One Women's Mafate 4

Review: This is a highly cushioned trail shoe with aggressive tread and excellent stability. However, it is a low drop shoe, so even though it provides great arch support, it does encourage forefoot striking which might take a bit of getting used to.

If you’re ok with that, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most highly cushioned and comfortable trail shoes on the market.

Pros

  • 5mm lugs for aggressive tread.
  • Wide toe box.
  • Breathable upper mesh.
  • Well-cushioned.

Cons

  • 4mm drop promotes forefoot striking.

Takeaway

A great option for those who want a comfortable, well cushioned shoe that will support them on the trail.

Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 20

Review: Strictly speaking these are road running shoes, however, their mesh upper and rubber sole make them ideal as a lightweight trail shoe, and they’re perfect if you want one pair of shoes for all of your runs, road or trail. Also, they’re so popular and highly rated, it wouldn’t seem right to not have them on this list.

They are classified as motion control shoes, so, being designed for overpronators, they have an extra layer of support on top of the standard stability shoe.

Consequently, they are good trail running shoes for flat feet with a good amount of cushioning as a bonus.

Pros

  • Removable insole.
  • Available in a wide size.
  • Well-cushioned.
  • Lightweight.
  • Highly supportive.

Cons

  • Less durable than a specific trail running shoe.

Takeaway

If you’re not spending all of your time on rough trails and want a shoe that will provide you with a well-supported, comfortable ride, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS is ideal.

Merrell Women's All Out Crush 2

Review: This shoe is designed for a range of trails but does particularly well on technical terrain. It is a neutral shoe so it’s not designed with excessive overpronators in mind.

But, in saying that, if you’re working towards building up your foot strength and running with less support, then transitioning to a neutral shoe is a necessary stepping stone. And, this shoe, with its 6mm drop, encourages you to land on your midfoot so it could be the perfect transition.

Otherwise, adding custom insoles will provide the extra arch support you need while this shoe will do everything else.

Pros

  • Multi layered mesh upper is breathable.
  • Very lightweight.
  • M-Select GRIP rubber outsole with lugs for great traction.

Cons

  • A neutral shoe so custom insole required for excessive pronators.

Takeaway

This is a sleek and lightweight trail shoe well suited to technical trails.

Interested in more of the best women’s trail running shoes? Check out our article right here.

Asics Men's GT-2000 7 Trail

Review: If you run in Kayanos on the road, then these are the unofficial trail alternative.

They’re a reliable Asics runner with ample cushioning, support, traction and durability. They’re stiffer than the road shoe, but that’s to be expected from a trail shoe.

Like most Asics shoes, the fit is on the narrow side, so if you have narrow feet, they’re perfect.

Pros

  • Durable.
  • Well supported.
  • Does not require breaking in.
  • Good traction.
  • Cushioned.
  • Responsive.

Cons

  • Narrow fit.

Takeaway

If arch support combined with the classic features of a trail running shoe are your priorities then this is the shoe for you.

Saucony Men's Guide ISO 2 TR

Review: This is the highly popular Saucony Guide ISO but with some trail-specific features added in to provide extra traction and durability.

It has a PWRTRAC outsole with 6mm lugs for off-road traction, an engineered mesh upper that works together with ISOFIT technology to provide a snug, secure fit, and a PWRFOAM midsole that provides responsive cushioning.

Pros

  • Supportive.
  • Well-cushioned but responsive.
  • Excellent traction.
  • Durable.
  • Comfortable padded tongue.

Cons

  • May feel a little firm.

Takeaway

Saucony make excellent trail shoes and this one is no exception. It comes highly rated for supportiveness and traction.

The North Face Men's Ultra 109 GTX Trail

Review: A comfortable and rugged trail running shoe with built-in arch support and protective components.

The only downside appears to be the reports of the less durable upper than you would expect from a trail running shoe.

Pros

  • Enhanced breathability.
  • Good traction.
  • Waterproof Gore-tex upper.
  • Good stability and arch support.

Cons

  • Material is not as durable as it could be for a trail running shoe.
  • A touch heavy.

Takeaway

These are a comfortable, supportive and protective trail running shoes.

Adidas Men's Terrex Skychaser GTX

Review: Designed for mountain running and adaptability on rocky surfaces, this Adidas shoe is a great option for someone wanting the stability and durability of a trail running shoe with a stable midsole and heel design.

But, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is another low drop shoe (6mm) that will encourage midfoot striking.

Pros

  • Great traction.
  • Durable.
  • Stable and supportive.
  • Lightweight, breathable textile upper.
  • Low to the ground feel.
  • Waterproof Gore-Tex upper.

Cons

  • May require a break-in period.
  • Sizes run small/narrow.

Takeaway

A reliable, supportive and responsive trail shoe likely to be a great option for the flat footed trail runner who wants something durable.

Brooks Men's Beast 18

Review: Designed with road running in mind but built for the severe overpronator, the Beast 18 provides serious support and cushioning.

Flexible enough to not feel stiff and restrictive while still being supportive, the Beast provides a really stable platform with excellent shock absorption and is popular with heavier runners.

Pros

  • Moisture wicking, breathable mesh upper.
  • 12mm drop.
  • Full-length segmented crash pad.
  • Suited to wide feet.
  • Motion control.

Cons

  • On the heavy side.

Takeaway

A great option for flat footed runners with wide feet who want a comfortable, supportive ride that they can take both on and off trail.

Inov-8 Men's Mudclaw 300

Review: A shoe designed for the muddy extreme of trail running, providing traction, stability, protection and a lightweight, flexible ride. It is a neutral shoe so not recommended for extreme pronators.

But, for those of you working on building up your foot strength and transitioning to less support, this is a great shoe.

Alternatively, a custom insole can be inserted to make up for the arch support that’s missing.

Pros

  • Extreme traction.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Protective components such as the gusseted tongue.
  • Water repellent.
  • Flexible.

Cons

  • A neutral shoe so may require a custom insole.
  • Size runs small.
  • Not suitable for road running.

Takeaway

For those of you planning a muddy adventure, this is the shoe to keep you on your feet.

BONUS: A different option to add to the mix!

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Trail

Review: This is a barefoot style shoe, included in the list purely as an option to consider if you’re interested in going in that direction.

But, be warned that it takes time to transition to this kind of shoe.

Pros

  • Wide to cater for the spread of a flat foot.
  • Good grip.
  • Lightweight.
  • A fabulous barefoot feel.

Cons

  • Not as durable as they could be.
  • Not to be worn without prior transition period of less supportive shoes.

Takeaway

If barefoot running is something that interests you, this shoe is a good option to wear for the occasional run while you transition, before eventually wearing it all the time!

trail runners running on trail

What’s so Great about Trail Running Shoes?

Trail running shoes are similar to road running shoes but are typically more durable and provide more support and traction to cope with the variable terrain of off-road running.

They are made of a harder wearing material with a more protective upper design to keep annoying little stones and debris out of your shoes.

They may also be waterproof and have toe protection in case you stub your toe into a rock.

But, their most defining characteristic is their deep tread and superior grip, often with lugs to help keep you from sliding in even the muddiest conditions.

trail runner moving through the dirty puddle

What are the Best Trail Running Shoes for Flat Feet?

Unless you’ve already decided to take the barefoot approach and have gone through the necessary transition period to strengthen your feet and ankles, you will need trail running shoes with a good amount of arch support and a stiffer medial midsole.

Choosing a shoe specifically designed for flat feet will reduce the chances of experiencing pain as a result of overpronation and consequently reduce the chances of injury.

The right shoe will make sure that your joints stay in alignment while running, preventing the stress on tendons and muscles that would otherwise lead to pain and injury.

Things to Look For:

woman trail runner running with hydration backpack

Arch Support

This is usually in the form of a medial post, or firmer section of foam in the midsole that sits under the arch and prevents that section of the sole from compressing as much.

This prevents overpronation and keeps your joints in alignment.

Cushioning/Shock Absorption

If you have flat feet, you don’t have the natural mechanism of your arch in place to absorb the impact when you land.

This means you want really good shock absorption and cushioning to help protect your knees.

Wide Fit

People with flat feet also usually have wider feet as the foot is more spread out horizontally than someone with medium or high arches.

This means choosing a wider fit is important to keep your feet comfortable and allow for a healthy amount of toe splay.

Traction

This is more trail-specific than flat-feet specific. But, it’s really important.

Traction is probably the single most defining factor that sets aside trail shoes from their road running companions.

Look for soles with rubber in them and aggressive tread. If you know you’ll be running through soft, muddy conditions, you’ll benefit from some lugs too.

But, if you’re looking for a pair of shoes that will handle the trail and the road, look for aggressive tread but stay away from lugs as they’ll make road running really uncomfortable.

Weight and Stiffness

Last but not least, trail shoes are usually heavier and a little stiffer than road shoes. This is a result of them being more rugged and sturdy. But, not everyone loves the extra weight or lack of flexibility.

Some trail shoes are lighter than others so you can choose a lightweight option if you’re in this camp.

In summary, the best trail runners for flat feet are going to be the pair that provides the right amount of support for your degree of pronation, together with ample cushioning and adequate traction.

At the end of the day, comfort is key, so make sure the fit is perfect before you commit

If you know you have flat feet, but you’re not sure whether you want a trail-specific shoe, we have an article dedicated to the best running shoes for flat feet that will give you a range of other options.

But, there are some other things you can consider to remedy the problems resulting from your low arches:

  • Do specific arch strengthening exercises – there are some great videos on Youtube specifically for this. Check them out!
  • Walk around the house barefoot, consciously preventing your ankles from collapsing inwards using the muscles in your feet.
  • Avoid wearing shoes that further restrict your feet or put them in an unnatural position such as tight-fitting shoes or high heels.

trail runner wearing a headlamp running at dusk

What Other Gear do You Need for Trail Running?

It’s not all about the shoes anymore. Trail running is being pushed further than ever before with the advent of new technology, making it possible to run in the dark, off-trail, and over the gnarliest of terrain without ending up with half of the trail in your shoes.

Trail watches are one example of this technology, and they’ve taken the trail running world by storm. The best trail running watches now come equipped with their own GPS and topo maps so you can leave your phone at home and use them for navigation as well as tracking all of your performance stats.

Headlamps are another example, with some of the best headlamps having enough hours of battery life on high beam to see you through multiple evening or early morning runs.

Meanwhile, less technological but no less helpful, trail running gaiters are keeping trail runners everywhere more comfortable by preventing trail debris from entering their shoes. The best trail running gaiters are so lightweight and snug fitting that you’ll forget you’re wearing them!

And that’s all, folks. Thanks for reading!

Remember, the best trail running shoes for flat feet are the shoes that fit you and are comfortable!

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