Today, I’m going to talk about my picks for the best basketball shoes for flat feet.
If you’re one of those people who experiences this – you damn well know how tough it can be to not only live a quality, active life but also play a sport that you love like basketball. It’s tough to actually find a shoe that would cater to players with this condition.
I’ve noticed the market does have shoes that work very well for flat footers but the problem is – these aren’t marketed in such ways, so people have simply no idea what to look for.
Having a few friends who have mild to severe cases of flat feet combined with research, I did my best to compile a list of best shoes for the job & provide some critical keys to remember as a flat footer who plays basketball.
I. BEST BASKETBALL SHOES FOR FLAT FEET: OVERVIEW
Short on time? Here’s a quick look at the best shoes for a flat footer
|FLAT FOOT RATING
|UA Team Drive 4
|Budget buyers, wide footers
|adidas D.O.N. Issue #3
|Budget buyers, guards
|Air Jordan 34
|Most players, wide footers
|Air Jordan 36
|adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
|Explosive/athletic styles, comfort seekers
|adidas Dame 8
|Nike KD 14
|Most players, explosive/athletic styles
|Li-Ning Way Of Wade 8
|Heavier/explosive players, maximum support
|Nike LeBron 18 Low
|Explosive/athletic styles, higher profile ride
II. EXPLAINING FLAT FEET & EFFECT ON PLAYERS
It’s important to be aware of what having flat feet means & what it DOESN’T mean
The Internet is full of misconceptions and myths on the subject of flat feet and potentially other related foot conditions.
Before you go hunting for shoes, I think it’s vital to know some key points on the flat feet subject as a whole, and also be aware of certain nuances to understand your own situation and choose your moves wisely as a result.
FLAT FEET: CAUSES
An average healthy human is actually born with flat feet because our tendons, muscles, and bones of the arch are not yet developed.
Most people gradually develop a pronounced foot arch due to physical activity and daily lives that require walking, running, and constantly putting out foot anatomy under load.
We usually fully develop proper foot arches in our childhood when our activity level is the highest.
However, some people fail to develop arches during this time due to factors like genetics or lack of physical load for the feet. This is the most common reason why some adults have flat feet.
Other causes can include foot tendon injuries, broken bones that fail to correctly heal, and overuse during one’s athletic career.
There are also some opinions that arches can actually fall over time since the tendon that supports them gets progressively weaker due to constant physical stress.
On the flip side, many physical therapists would disagree with the idea that foot arches can gradually fall, so take this one with a grain of salt.
The more rare causes of flat feet include obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease).
FLAT FEET: SYMPTOMS
A good portion of people that have flat feet doesn’t actually feel any downsides in their daily lives or even during sporting activities. There are many professional athletes with flat feet that have been able to perform at the highest level pain-free.
But not to say there aren’t trickier cases.
If you have a more severe case of flat feet (for example, discomfort during running or even walking), Plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain) is the most common condition for those with flat arches.
TROUBLES FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS
While there are plenty of athletes who have adopted their flat feet to play sports trouble-free, it’s not the case for everyone.
Any shoe that doesn’t offer strong torsional support and other optimal qualities for flat feet can quickly become a nightmare for some people.
Tons of performance footwear models share a similar tooling structure that has a pronounced arch and a significant heel-to-toe offset which is designed to propel movements.
This can cause a great deal of pain for some since the shoe is forcing your bones and tendons to act as they would if you had neutral arches.
Lack of impact protection on a basketball sneaker can also introduce pain and instability.
Those who experience pain while putting weight on the arches must have a platform in place that absorbs each instance of impact with the ground in order to relieve at least part of the pain.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE SHOES
There’s a lot of mixed reception on the subject of orthotics for flat feet. Hundreds of companies will do their best to sell you expensive products claiming they’ll cure your condition.
However, if you experience a severe level of discomfort, no shoe or aftermarket insole will completely fix the issue for you.
Professional help is what you need along with your own research since even some “experts” will ultimately lead you to buy their orthotics for a fortune.
Custom orthotics are a subject I don’t have a ton of knowledge on since I never had flat feet but looking up Bob’s and Brad’s YouTube channel is a good start in my opinion.
Those guys have been putting out practical, non-biased information on various physical therapy topics including flat feet.
Let me know in the comments how severe your flat foot situation is and do you experience any discomfort while playing sports – let’s attack the issue!
III. WHAT MAKES A GOOD FLAT FOOTER’S SHOE?
For those who will be doing some basketball shoe shopping on their own, here are the qualities to look for as a flat footer
Let’s talk hoop shoes.
For those that are still able to play but perhaps aren’t feeling ideal, it’s a good time to know what kind of shoes you’ll need if you’ll be choosing them on your own.
Next to solid overall performance (traction, all-around security, quality materials) you’ll also need to make sure a certain model fits the criteria for a flat foot.
You won’t really find a basketball shoe with a completely flat base but you can track down models that are pretty close to it.
This one’s fairly obvious: the more in tune a shoe’s structure is with your foot, the more comfortable your movements will feel. Playing in a sneaker with a pronounced arch area will apply unneeded pressure to the arches of your feet and potentially cause pain.
This one’s critical: a sneaker that features strong torsional rigidity will make sure the most sensitive area of flat feet isn’t doing more work than it should.
The less structure a sneaker has torsionally, the more work your foot tendons will have to do in order to stabilize the foot.
Avoid sneakers like Kyrie’s which typically have extremely minimal arch support to be as light as possible.
Make sure that the shoe you’re buying has some sort of torsional system in place. Midfoot shank plates or torsional plates are the most common systems for basketball models.
Impact protection is also very important for flat footers who experience discomfort.
Proper structure is essential for stability but absorbing a part of the impact with the ground is also just as vital to make sure your arch isn’t solely soaking up all the load.
I wouldn’t recommend court feel-orientated shoes like the Kyrie or Curry sneaker lines and opt for something more balanced instead.
The adidas Dame line, the KD line, and the Air Jordan line are some of the best options for the best of both worlds (cushion and responsiveness).
PROPER FOOT LOCKDOWN & CONTAINMENT
Next to having proper impact absorption and torsional support, you’ll also need to make sure your foot isn’t moving inside the shoe. You need excellent lockdown and containment.
Each unnecessary shift inside the shoe during any movement introduces a chance of additional pain and a sense of insecurity.
Make sure to read up on detailed shoe reviews for sizing tips if you’re ordering a sneaker online. You MUST ensure a shoe will properly fit you and make sure your feet are locked in place.
IV. BEST BASKETBALL SHOES FOR FLAT FEET
Shoe list last updated: August 3rd, 2022
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UNDER ARMOUR TEAM DRIVE 4🛒 STOCKX 🛒 GOAT
Entry-Level Budget Pick
A continuation from the original Clutchfit Drive line, 2017’s Team Drive 4 does a damn good job carrying the legacy. It’s a solid, budget-friendly, and overall well-rounded shoe.
Now, of course, we’re looking for criteria that would make a flat footer’s day on the court as comfortable and as less painful as possible, and the Team Drive 4 accomplishes that.
MicroG cushioning in the midfoot and heel returns from the Clutchfit Drive 3 and it’s awesome. You ride low and feel responsive but it’s still very comfortable, stable, and provides adept impact protection.
It’s almost an ideal setup for a flat foot – you’re stable and secure but also very comfortable as the midsole molds to your foot, making the experience seamless.
On top of that, there’s an integrated midfoot-to-heel plate for extra torsional stability and support, plus a heel counter and stand-out Achilles support. Your foot is going nowhere with these.
An excellent entry-level model for those who don’t want to spend too much but still looking to aleviate their constant flat foot troubles.
A thing of note, these are quite roomy in most areas: the toebox, the ankle collar, and the midfoot are all catered towards a larger, wider foot. Something to keep in mind if you’ve got a more compact foot.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $115
CUSHION: heel & forefoot Micro G
UPPER: mesh (outer layer) + neoprene (inner layer)
SIZING: true to size for a loose fit, or down 1/2 size (TTS for wide footers)
ADIDAS D.O.N. ISSUE #3REVIEW 🛒 ADIDAS 🛒 AMAZON
Budget Pick For Guards
A neat guard’s package that doesn’t break the bank would be adidas’s 3rd Donovan Michell signature shoe, the D.O.N. Issue #3.
adidas has a knack for making very strong and supportive chassis for their shoes and this one’s no exception. It’s a very strong shoe with large TPU heel counters that extend all the way to the midfoot to act as prominent torsional plates – exactly what we want.
The base of the Issue #3 is close to flat and the forefoot area is very wide, so wide footers like myself will find these great, and flat footers won’t find them intrusive.
adidas’s Lightstrike cushioning isn’t out of this world when it comes to actual feedback but they handle the load in terms of impact protection. The ride feels lightweight and fast but also secure.
One thing that slightly bothered me was occasional heel slippage and while it wasn’t a dealbreaker, I still recommend checking out my heel slippage guide to find ways to combat it.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $110
CUSHION: full-length Lightstrike
UPPER: textile w. synthetics
SIZING: true to size (slightly long & slightly wide)
AIR JORDAN 34REVIEW 🛒 STOCKX 🛒 GOAT
An All-Around Classic
A surprise that came out of nowhere for me personally – the AJ XXXIV happens to be one of the greatest performance basketball shoes of recent years AND I think it’s currently among the best options for a flat footer as well.
To start things off, Zoom Air cushion is implemented and along with many other shoe testers, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply couldn’t find a better implementation of ZOOM cushion anywhere else in 2019.
Now, is it the best cushioning setup ever in general? I’m really not sure, I’d have to really sit and think about it. What impressed me so much is just how balanced the ride felt, which is something my friend that has a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis also stated.
My cuts, lands, jumps, and changes of direction felt just as amazingly plushy and explosive, as they felt super stable, contained, and responsive. It does take a few days to break in the shoe’s upper and the cushion units to achieve the optimal experience but when they peaked – the foot molded to the midsole and the ride is amazing.
On top of that, we have a very prominent heel counter that cups your Achilles really well, there’s a torsional plate implemented which is critical for flat footers and AJ’s so-called Pebax chassis ensures that the fit is extremely secure, which is crazy since the shoe’s upper is mainly woven.
Hats off to Air Jordan this time – they truly outdid themselves after a streak of “fairly good” models. Seems that that’s history now. Flat footers, wide footers, or anyone looking for a quality basketball shoe – this is one of the GOATS.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $175
CUSHION: forefoot & heel Zoom Air + Phylon midsole
UPPER: textile (outer layer) & Performance Woven (inner layer)
SIZING: true to size
AIR JORDAN 36REVIEW 🛒 NIKE 🛒 STOCKX
An Upgraded, Strengthened Jordan 34
For those wanting an even stronger build than the awesome Air Jordan 34, check out the 36. Most performance traits feel similar to the shoe launched a couple of years ago but there are some changes.
The cushion feels a bit more explosive, though not as pillow-like. The new Leno-Weave upper replaced soft textiles and while you could argue these aren’t as pleasant to wear, the build’s containment is far stronger now. Your foot is not budging in there. No chance.
Flat-footers will find relief in the fact that the tooling of the AJ 36 is very linear and doesn’t have an outrageous drop-off from heel to toe.
Jordan’s proprietary Eclipse Plate 2.0 technology also returns to offer a very strong torsional system along with awesome movement propulsion properties. These are FUN to play in as much they are great for flat feet.
Overall, if you prefer a bit more comfort and pillows under your feet – go with the 34. However, if you’re opting for a stronger upper and an even larger torsional plate – the 36 is the way to go.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $185
CUSHION: full-length Zoom Strobel + forefoot Zoom Air + Phylon midsole
SIZING: true to size
ADIDAS CRAZY EXPLOSIVE 2017REVIEW 🛒 STOCKX 🛒 AMAZON
For the Ultimate Jumper & Comfort Seeker
I might be a little biased since the Crazy Explosive 2017 is easily one of my all-time favorite hoop shoes but it also happens to be an excellent choice for hoopers frustrated with their flat-foot nightmares.
Full-length BOOST cushioning is at its full glory on the CE 2017 and it really shows. An extremely fun ride that is also responsive and does not feel like you’re slower or bulky.
It’s contained very nicely in the midsole – pair that with an almost flat and wide base, amazing support (even on the Primeknit upper version), and, most importantly, adaptiveness to your foot shape thanks to the materials, and you got yourself a top contender amongst the best basketball shoes for flat feet.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $150
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: mesh (variant 1) or Primeknit (variant 2)
SIZING: true to size
ADIDAS DAME 8REVIEW 🛒 ADIDAS 🛒 AMAZON
Balanced Pick For Most 1’s-3’s
The Dame 8 is an excellent all-around shoe for just about anyone, though it still excels the most for guards or wings.
It’s got great traction that works outdoors, a lightweight mesh upper that does the job without breaking the bank, and these are a fantastic option for wide footers.
For those with flat feet, you’re in luck: the Dame 8 features a very flat platform (probably the closest to entirely flat out of this list) along with a wide forefoot to cover a lot of ground.
They also have strong torsional plates, internal heel counters, and lateral barriers for further stability. Bounce Pro is the cushion choice for the shoe and it’s every bit of awesome: loads of impact protection at the heel combined with speed and responsiveness in the forefoot.
A thing of note, the Dame 8 isn’t the best pick for someone with a narrow foot due to the widened toebox. Those guys should step a whole size down or skip the shoe entirely.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $120
CUSHION: full-length Bounce Pro
UPPER: mesh + Fuse panels
SIZING: 1/2 size down (fits long & wide toebox)
NIKE KD 14REVIEW 🛒 NIKE 🛒 AMAZON
An All-Around Package For Everyone
Nikey’s KD 14 is the definition of versatility. It’s easily a basketball shoe for any player or style. It also happens to be a pretty good choice for someone with a flatter foot.
Full-length Zoom cushion combined with a Cushlon midsole shines in providing tons of shock absorption and comfort but also in keeping things fairly low to the ground, so you’re not losing speed as a result.
As you can see, these also sport a flat base but a pair of large midfoot plates are there to keep heel-to-toe transitions smooth and explosive.
I love how smooth everything about the KD 14 feels: the grippy outsoles, the cushion, the soft multi-layered mesh build, and even the comfortably padded ankle collar that doesn’t get in my way.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $150
CUSHION: full-length Zoom Strobel + Cushlon midsole
UPPER: multi-layered mesh
SIZING: true to size
LI-NING WAY OF WADE 8REVIEW 🛒 STOCKX 🛒 GOAT
For the Most Demanding Playstyles
Talk about a maximalist basketball sneaker. Dwayne Wade’s 8th collaboration with the Chinese brand Li-Ning showed us what it means to put a ton of STUFF all over the shoe and still make it effective.
You’re getting a pair of huge internal heel counters for ankle & heel lockdown, foam midsole caging all over the shoe, extra lateral stitching around the midsole for containment, very dense BOOM midsoles that provide both cushion and torsional rigidity, and carbon fiber torsional plates for even further arch support.
And that’s not everything. You’re also getting outriggers for lateral stability, Li-Ning’s customizable lacing system, a flat platform to ride on, and a licensed Cordura’s Nylon upper.
The whole thing sounds quite ridiculous and over the top but once you play in the shoe for a few days and break all the components in – you’ll quickly understand both how good it is & how it’ll aid your flat foot when it’s time for action.
It’s pricy but if you can afford it – the shoe is a BEAST.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $225
CUSHION: full-length BOOM (Pebax)
UPPER: Cordura Nylon w. TPU panels
SIZING: down 1/2 size
NIKE LEBRON 18 LOWREVIEW 🛒 NIKE 🛒 AMAZON
A Tweaked, Strengthened LeBron 18
Last on the list is LeBron’s 18th flagship basketball shoe in a low-top variant. I picked the low version particularly because of the changes they made since the original model.
The LeBron 18 Low is specced with a React midsole + heel Max Air for cushion which isn’t as crazy as what the original shoe packs but still plentiful.
The shoe is built in a decoupled fashion but it doesn’t feel like it. Step transitions are smooth as butter, traction delivered, and the support aspect didn’t give me any issues.
React foam is very lightweight compared to something like adidas’s Boost but it’s rigid enough to provide plentiful torsional coverage. The platform you ride on is nice and wide, and lateral containment underwent an upgrade from the original LeBron 18.
FLAT FOOT RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
RETAIL PRICE: $160
CUSHION: React midsole + heel Max Air
UPPER: double-layer ripstop + Fuse overlays
SIZING: true to size
V. BEST PLACES TO GET THE SHOES
Here’s a brief guide on where to get each sneaker for the best possible prices
Depending on your financial situation and where you’re located, it might be tough to track down a good deal of a shoe you desire. Or, you might not even be familiar with the best places to look for basketball shoes.
Let’s talk all about that.
FOR CURRENT RELEASES
For basketball sneakers that are only up to 1 year old, things are pretty straightforward.
All fresh releases will be found at the manufacturer’s website, so if you’re buying a Nikey model, you’ll find it on Nike.com at retail pricing.
Other places to look for new shoes if the manufacturer is running out of stock would be DICK’s Sporting Goods, Finish Line, Champs Sports, Foot Locker, Eastbay, Shoe Palace, and a few others.
All of these sports retailers also carry stock at retail pricing and usually have some stuff available for a tad bit longer than the manufacturer itself.
FOR SLIGHTLY OLDER RELEASES
If you’re hunting for a pair that’s 2-3 years old, chances that the manufacturer (adidas.com, Nike.com, etc.) still has some stock left are pretty low. You’ll have to look elsewhere.
All the mentioned popular US sports retailers have similar availability patterns in terms of their stock but most stores still keep some shoes for slightly longer.
So, if Nikey sold out a shoe a 1-3 months ago, there’s a pretty good chance most sports retailers like Foot Locker or Champs will still have a few sizes and colorways left.
I noticed that DICK’s Sporting Goods is the one retailer that keeps older stock for noticeably longer than their competitors.
I commonly find shoes that are sold out a whole year ago elsewhere at DICK’s, so it’s a good place to double-check at those cases.
Lastly, if you can’t find an older model anywhere else, Amazon is fairly reliable at having older stock for a long time.
They don’t have everything the sports retailers have but for the models they do have, they’ll have ’em for multiple years.
6-12 months after the manufacturer has sold out their stock is the time to start checking Amazon.
As for pricing, Amazon can be a bit inconsistent as you can find shoes that are priced over retail, while on the other hand, you can also track down some pairs that are super cheap.
Always check ’em out since you never know what kind of a deal is waiting for you.
FOR DEADSTOCK SHOES
Last but not least, let’s talk deadstock shoes. Those are the releases that are 3+ years old and are not available on any regular retailer.
Deadstock sneaker marketplaces will be your best shot for those. StockX, GOAT, and eBay are the industry leaders, and my favorite option is GOAT.
Never once I had any issues with their shoe authenticity, shipping, or product quality.
Of course, it’s best to check all three and compare the pricing to get the best deal possible.
VI. PERFORMANCE INSOLES FOR FLAT FEET
Well-made aftermarket insoles could be a cheaper alternative to orthotics for flat footers
Now for the bonus part. There’s been a fairly new wave of performance insoles that are supposed to correct issues such as flat feet or simply to add extra cushion if your shoe lacks it.
I’ve made a list of my picks for the best insoles for your basketball sneakers and they are definitely worth it if you know what they’re for.
Are they the #1 solution for flat feet? I don’t think so.
The extra bulk under your foot can be present with some insoles and a lot of them aren’t really catered towards fully correcting foot conditions.
Custom-made orthotics and professional help are what you should be looking for if you want complete treatment or an assessment.
However, a quality insole CAN have some additional benefits for flat footers with mild-to-medium levels of discomfort. They won’t cure your condition but they will help stay more comfortable when it’s game time.
If you’re interested in the concept of aftermarket insoles, check out my list of the best insoles on the market for basketball.
More specifically for flat footers, I’d recommend the Move Game Day Pro insoles that are actually co-founded by Damian Lillard.
Those are a beefed-up version of their regular Move Game Day variant, providing more arch support, a stronger torsional plate, and a longer lifetime.
If looking at more established brands that have been around for longer, you usually can’t go wrong with Superfeet.
They’ve got a plethora of insoles to choose from, so I’d recommend going through their short insole finder course to help you find the right product.
Let’s wrap up all there’s to know about the best basketball shoes for flat feet
We have now learned that the best basketball shoes for flat feet aren’t really distinguishable in the market – you have to know what to look for.
The subject of flat feet isn’t a very straightforward one, and there’s plenty of misconceptions & marketing tricks to make buy expensive orthotics that might or might not help you out.
Doing your own research and sticking to a few reliable physical therapists such as Bob & Brad or Paul Fabritz will be your best bet to understand your own situation.
If you can live a comfortable life and play basketball even with flat feet – than you don’t need to overcomplicate things and just pick a good shoe. There are plenty of athletes that compete at a high level with flat feet.
If you’ll be doing shoe shopping on your own, look for a sneaker that has a near-flat platform (a wide one will also help with stability), strong torsional support, plentiful cushioning, and make sure your foot is fully locked inside the shoe.
Something just feels extremely natural when I put them on, and their all-around performance is top-notch, giving me everything I need to forget about my footwear and just play.
That is it for today, I truly hope you enjoyed and found the list useful! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What’s your severity of flat feet and do you think it’s a bit overrated in terms of the precautions you have to take?
If you got any questions, suggestions, or just want to have a chat,
Drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
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