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Last updated: February 09, 2021
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Having flat feet is very common, but it can be a challenge for those who enjoy hiking. Wearing regular shoes can be uncomfortable, so bad hiking boots can be a real pain. Having badly fitting hiking boots can lead to pain and inflammation that can spread into your ankles and even lead to hip and back problems. Fortunately, many companies understand the problems associated with flat feet, so it is possible to find a quality hiking boot that provides you with the right support and flexibility.
We had our team review over 40 pairs of men’s and women’s hiking boots to assess how they handle days of hiking and backpacking. We’ve compiled a list of five men’s and five women’s hiking boots for flat feet that can handle the rigors of outdoor adventuring. Our top picks of Merrell’s Moab 2 for men and SALOMON X Ultra 3 for women offer fantastic breathability, durability and waterproofing while avoiding being heavy and clunky. While our runners up are also fantastic choices with more budget friendly options and other features to suit your unique needs.
Our team has completed extensive research on the hiking boots on the market. We looked at features including sizing, materials, weight, outsole and construction in addition to user feedback and manufacturer information to determine the best hiking boots for flat feet. Using this data, we have compiled in depth reviews, product tables and a buying guide to help you make an informed purchase decision.
The Merrell company has been around since 1981 and continue to produce some of the best boots on the market, catering to all types of feet. Merrell has a great solution for flat feet – the Moab 2.
The Moab 2 has lots of features including high quality materials. The performance suede and mesh creates breathability, so you can avoid sweat problems on longer hikes. Additionally, the closed cell foam tongue also helps to keep moisture out. This is a technology that is not often available in a hiking boot in this price range.
In addition to the quality materials and sturdy design, there is a rubber toe cap to provide increased protection, a durable Vibram sole and a heel air cushion to absorb shock and add stability.
What makes the Moab 2 a great option for the flat footed hiker is the nylon molded arch shank. This feature makes it easier on the feet that is sure to benefit those with flat feet. There is also a forgiving midsole made of EVA to increase comfort and stability. This makes this our pick for the best hiking boots for flat feet and overpronation.
The Salomon Quest is a high cut boot that is 6.75 inches from the arch to top to provide fantastic ankle support. The boot has a Gore-Tex and nubuck leather construction with a reinforced rubber toe to ensure that it will stand up to many miles in any weather.
The Salomon Quest 4D offers superb arch support. The Salomon technology includes the innovative 4D chassis, which has been specially designed to provide stability and foot control. The Quest also features an EVA molded shaped midsole and footbed that offers lightweight flexibility, while providing a lot of structure.
The Salomon Quest feels comfortable straight out of the box, with many users reporting few blisters during the breaking in process. They are highly recommended for anyone with flat feet or other feet issues. The durable lacing and waterproof finish will ensure that your feet feel comfortable on even the longest hikes. The boot is also available in a variety of colors, to suit your personal preferences.
The Danner shoe company has a history dating back to 1932, when the company was established to make work boots for loggers. The company survived WWII and the depression and flourished in the 1960s when hiking became popular. In fact, Danner was the first manufacturer of hiking boots in the United States. Danner received the APMA acceptance seal in 1992, showcasing the brand’s comfort for people with feet issues.
The Danner Mountain 600 is a nice choice if you want to step away from the traditional leather and mesh designs used in most hiking boots. The waterproof, sleek suede upper, makes these boots suitable for rugged trails or urban adventures.
The Mountain 600 is equipped with a Vibram SPE midsole and Vibram Fuga outer sole, so it is not only flexible in the arch with cushioning and support, but also provides superior traction. This means that you can enjoy ankle flexibility, while there is protection against the rigors of uneven terrain. The boot is available in four colors and the company offers a “recrafting” service to refresh your old boots and make them look like new.
Vasque has been a popular hiking boot company since the 1960s and the Inhaler is the lightest boot to date. The Inhaler II has almost a running shoe look to the design, which is a refreshing change from the traditional clunky and heavy boots offered by many brands.
This makes the Vasque Inhaler II another good option for the best hiking boots for narrow flat feet. With a Vibram Pneumatic rubber outer sole and Gore Tex construction, these boots are ideal for warmer climates. The mesh and breathable Gore Tex waterproof liner make it easier for the feet to breathe when you’re tackling a longer hike in warmer weather.
If you prefer a boot with structure to support your flat feet, yet like the flexibility of mesh rather than stiff leather, the Inhaler II may be just what you’re looking for. The high sides keep the ankle supported, while there is stability and cushioning offered by the TPU midfoot stabilizer. Many customers report no problems or blisters on significant hikes, but if you have a wider foot, you may find the toe box a little tight and need to go up half a size.
The Merrell Moab Adventure is an all-round shoe for all weather and all occasions. The lightweight appeal makes them ideal for light trails or even in the office, with a sturdiness that does not overpower comfort. This boot offers top notch comfort straight out of the box. Additionally, there is a roomier toe box, which makes this boot our pick for the best hiking boots for wide flat feet. This means that you can feel comfortable wearing this boot all day whether you’re hiking, walking or doing any other outdoor activities. The sneaker style boot holds up well even with consistent use and it is so versatile you can go straight from the streets to the trails.
The only potential flaw to this multi-purpose style footwear is that it lacks bellows along the shank. The upper does offer waterproof capabilities, but the lack of gussets does leave the boot vulnerable to water entering if it rises above the level of your laces.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 offers a superb balance of comfort, waterproofing and support within a light build. This makes this boot a great choice for those looking for a light yet supportive hiking boot. This is why the Salomon X Ultra 3 is our pick as the best women’s hiking boots for flat feet.
The X Ultra 3 requires virtually no break in period, yet the lightweight construction can hold up to considerable wear. Despite the lightweight construction, it is a very supportive boot and offers excellent waterproofing. So, you can keep your feet dry on hikes with wet encounters. Additionally, the sole offers remarkable traction, so you can keep your grip in the toughest terrain.
However, some users report that the lightweight construction means that there is a lack of stiffness underfoot, which some people may find uncomfortable. This lack of stiffness may mean that the X Ultra 3 may not be suitable for really rugged terrain.
The Merrell company has been producing superb hiking boots since the 1980s, including women’s hiking boots. The company has specifically paid attention to the unique stride, profile and bone structure of female hikers rather than just making smaller versions of men’s boots. The Moab 2 is a more visually interesting boot with mostly mesh construction that provides a breathable finish that is ideal for warmer climates.
The lightweight, breathable construction includes a standard Vibram sole, which means that you won’t need to spend weeks breaking them in. Even if you have totally flat feet, you can enjoy comfort with minimal blisters on even moderate to longer hikes. The boots provide fantastic support from day one making them a great option whether you have feet issues or not.
The Moab 2 has a contemporary aesthetic that looks great on the trail or on your urban adventures. The boots are so stylish, you can easily go from the streets to the trail.
What we liked:
Reasonable price point
Lightweight and breathable
What could be better:
Some users report the boots feel larger than their standard size
The Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry delivers support and comfort on the trail. The construction allows for a quick breaking in period making them ideal for a day hike with a lightweight pack. If you’re not planning on carrying a massive pack, you’re likely to find these boots highly comfortable.
The Talus Trek UltraDry features a tailored instep to ensure that your feet is locked into place to minimize foot movement and reduce friction. This provides great stability with excellent shock absorption. Additionally, the cuff rises above the ankle for greater foot control and also protect you against small rocks and gravel entering the boot.
The boot is available in both narrow and wide fit, so you can find the perfect sizing for you, while the versatile Vibram outersole ensures durability. In short, this is a decent quality, well priced hiking boot that is ideal for day hikes and traveling for those on a budget.
The Keen Targhee II is a well-priced and all around hiking boot that has been around for years. These boots are supportive and comfortable, while retaining that good value appeal of previous Keen boots. The Targhee II has the classic Keen look with a rubber covered oversized toe box, yet it looks sleeker than the Targhee III. The design feels lighter underfoot providing excellent comfort even on a long hike. The contoured heel and Torsion Stability Flank ensures extra support, as your foot is prevented from moving around inside the boot.
The Targhee II is one of the lightest women’s hiking boots, weighing just 14.2 ounces, so they are ideal for day hiking. You can be assured that they will never feel heavy on your feet even if you’re tackling a full day on the trails. Despite this lightweight design, the sole feels stiff, so you have the protection underfoot you need on rugged trails.
Timberland has an excellent reputation in boots for men and women for good reason. The Timberland line not only look good, but are very comfortable and this is exemplified by the White Ledge boot. If you are searching for a boot that isn’t flashy and has a great deal of structure, then the White Ledge is a good way to go. The boot is available in born or dark brown with a clean, smooth leather finish that look better and better as they become broken in.
The D ring, speed hook and heavy duty lacing means that you’re not likely to have problems with broken laces when you’re out on the trail. The 4.5-inch-high ankle, tongue and collar provide additional padding to reduce the risk of blisters and chafing. For those with feet issues, the White Ledge offers the Timberland trademark BSFP Motion Efficiency System. This system is based on the curved path of pressure that is exerted on the foot when you’re walking, so the boots are aligned along this path to assist with comfort and traction.
What we liked:
What could be better:
Users report sizing issues
Not very breathable
Things to Consider
Features to consider when choosing hiking boots for flat feet
There are a number of features to consider before you make your purchase decision. Buying hiking boots for flat feet can be a little more complex, but with these features in mind, you should be able to narrow your choices to find the right pair for you.
Arch support is important for anyone buying hiking boots, but it crucial when you have flat feet. If the boots lack a structured arch, you will start to experience problems with foot pain and fatigue. A boot with good arch support provides the structure needed to protect your ligaments and tendons between the front of the foot and heel, so you can hike for longer without experiencing problems. All of the boots we’ve listed here offer excellent arch support, which is why we have chosen them as great options for people with flat feet.
However, even this support varies from boot to boot, so it is important to assess the arch support before you make your purchase decision.
Support in the ankles
Flat feet can lead to over pronation. This means that the foot can roll inwards to a greater degree, leading to pain and injury. This can be highly dangerous when you’re hiking on uneven surfaces and trails, so it is crucial to have a well-structured hiking boot that is securely fitted around the ankle. Good ankle support can help you avoid sprains and twists that can compromise the enjoyment of your hike. For example, the Danner Mountain 600 has been designed to not only provide arch flexibility, but also excellent ankle support.
A comfortable sole
Most of us have worn uncomfortable shoes; you can put up with an uncomfortable sole when you’re around the office, as you can sit down and relieve the pressure. This is a far cry from being out on the trail. You can’t possibly stop every few minutes to take the weight off your feet, so a comfortable sole is vital. A good sole is crucial when you have flat feet, fallen arches or any other feet issues.
Feet issues make your feet more prone to fatigue, so you need plenty of padding in the footbed, without sacrificing support and structure.
Supportive insoles are crucial for overall comfort, but they can also assist for over pronation or structural misalignment. A good insole can not only improve foot pain, but also discomfort in the knees, hips, ankles and back. Many good hiking boots not only provide a comfortable sole, but also accommodate an insole. This can help to improve the comfort and support offered by your boot, so that you can cope with miles on the trails without worrying about pain and discomfort.
However, if you are considering wearing insoles for additional comfort, be sure to have your insoles handy when you’re trying on hiking boots.
If you want your hiking boots to last for years of hitting the trails, it is important to invest in high quality materials. Good quality materials offer durability, so your boots can hold their structure and offer the best possible support. Although a cheap pair of boots may be good in the short term, if you want to get out into nature frequently, it is worth paying a little more for high quality synthetics or leather than can work with your foot issues rather than making them worse. Fortunately, there are some great compromises that balance cost with high quality materials. We have a few more budget friendly options in our list such as the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry that is a decent quality boot without an excessive price tag.
Any sports footwear needs to have a sole that provides freedom of movement, but on serious hiking trails, your sole is crucial for physical integrity and safety. The sole provides grip on the terrain, making it possible for you to traverse those tough areas. Many leading brands feature Vibram soles to provide grip and protection.
Like all of your hiking gear, it is always essential to consider breathability and waterproof ability of your hiking boots. You need your hiking boots to keep you dry and comfortable, preventing overheating. However, you also need your boots to protect you from the elements. You may not just be exposed to rain or snow, but also mud, rivers and puddles. Fortunately, there are some boots that manage this balance, so you can enjoy breathability to keep your feet cool while offering decent waterproof qualities to keep you dry.
Having the right size of hiking boots is vital for comfort and foot protection. Unfortunately, sizing can be a challenge. Different manufacturers size their boots slightly differently, so you will need to measure your feet and check the sizing guide for the specific product.
Your hiking boots should fit snugly everywhere. A good fit is not tight anywhere and provides room so you can wiggle your toes. Ideally, you should try your hiking boots at the end of the day, when your feet will be at their most swollen and wear the socks you would typically wear during hikes, so you can judge the fit accurately.
Flat feet are remarkably common and they are not necessarily a bad thing. However, flat feet can put you at greater risk of foot conditions and other problems, particularly if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking. These problems can also occur if you have high arches, so one is not necessarily better than the other. It is far more important to focus on supporting your foot properly.
While we’ve discovered some excellent hiking boot options that can provide the support you need for your flat feet, our top pick for men has to be the Merrell Moab 2, which offers excellent shock absorption and superb support. While for women, the SALOMON X Ultra 3 has a lightweight construction, so it has virtually no breaking in period. However, it also offers excellent waterproofing and excellent support, which is why it is our pick for the best hiking boots for flat feet for women.