Finding shoes for those formal occasions, or just when you want to look smart, can be difficult with flat feet. You need a shoe that will provide support for your arches and cushioning for every step that doesn’t look like a bulky orthotic shoe.
Our best dress shoes for flat feet reviews aim to help you find, for both men and women, that perfect shoe for formal or special occasions. It could be a wedding, an important dinner date, or simply something to impress the boss at work, but shoes for flat feet don’t need to be ugly and possibly draw unwanted attention to your feet.
Our Top 5 Picks of the best dress shoes for flat feet for men & women
1. Alegria Women’s Paloma Flat
Finding a dress shoe which reflects your personal style can be difficult if you’re a woman with flat feet. These pretty Mary Jane style flats not only feature a wide choice of boho stylish patterns but also a supportive footbed with shock absorbing rubber rocker type sole.
- Accommodates orthotics
- Approx. ¾'' platform height
- Approx. 1½'' heel height
- Handsewn construction
- Leather lining
2. ECCO Men’s Helsinki Oxford
The Helsinki Oxford is a classic lace-up dress shoe design from Norwegian manufacturer ECCO, which features an injection molded sole for arch support. Using a full grain leather upper and a cushioned leather insole with a foam layer underneath, these shoes will be stylish yet comfortable enough for most formal occasions.
- Bike-toe oxford with blind-eyelet lacing and double-stitched seams
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Direct injected one-component PU outsole with shock point
- The distressed cocoa brown version offers a more casual distressed-leather style appearance. The leather naturally becomes more distressed during wear and is meant to give a more "worn-in" appearance
3. Clarks Women’s Brier Dolly Dress Pumps
This classic dress pump offers as much comfort as they do style for women with flat feet who thought they would never be able to wear such a shoe. An ortholite-molded footbed offers ample arch support with the almond-shaped toe box preventing the pinching feeling high heels can cause women with flat feet.
4. Dunham Men’s Burlington Waterproof Oxford
Even if the weather report isn’t looking too good, you can still head out with these waterproof Oxford style shoes from Dunham. This dress leather shoe features a seam stitched waterproof construction with an EVA footbed and embedded nylon stability shank for more support to your flat feet.
- 360° fit design considers not only length and width but also volume
5. Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Adele
Although they may not be the most elegant dress shoes for evening wear, these Cobb Hill Adele shoes can contribute to an everyday smart look for the office. With a padded heel collar and thermoplastic polyurethane inner for better arch support, it can provide all-day comfort for women who have flat feet but like to look stylish.
- Eva foot bed conforms to the shape of the foot for a personalized fit
- 1 1/2 inch heel height
- Steel shank
- Synthetic lining
- Full grain leather upper is easy to clean and maintain to extend product life
Reviews of The Best Dress Shoes for Flat Feet in 2019
If you have flat feet, chances are that you have already invested in some running or walking shoes to help relieve the pain your flat or fallen arches can cause. You may have even invested in some work shoes for standing on your feet all day. But often these arch supportive shoes will be too casual for many formal occasions.
Working in an office or attending your sister’s wedding may involve standing or walking for just as long, but a pair of sneakers just won’t cut it. Below we have taken a look at some of the best dress shoes for flat feet when you need to dress your feet up a little, yet still get that same support.
Both men & women will often need dress shoes which cater for flat feet, but the choice can be more difficult for women—how many different styles are there really for men? Hence we have focused more on dress shoes for women with flat feet and the different style options offered, but there are a couple for men thrown in there.
1. Alegria Women’s Paloma Flats
Dress shoes don’t always have to be boring black colors, some people like to express a bit more of their personality in their look. If you are a little bit more quirky or bohemian in your style, these Mary Jane style dress shoes could be an ideal go-to choice for the office or perhaps less formal evening gatherings.
A patent leather or full grain leather upper is available in a wide choice of unique colors with names as exotic as Midnight Garden Suede or Jazzy Wine, to name just two. But we’re not here just to choose the most fashionable shoes for flat feet, we also need to choose ones which offer the correct support and comfort.
It may be advertised as a flat but it features a 1.5-inch heel which offers just enough elevation. Rubber soles offer great shock absorption with leather lined latex and cork footbeds, which mold to your foot for arch support. The bottom of the sole is flat for more stability with a rocker outsole helping to correct your gait for less fatigue and impact.
- A choice of over 60 fashionable patterned leather or patent leather uppers.
- Slightly dainty and boho look.
- Leather lined cork and latex inner sole is comfortable for longer wear.
- Footbed molds to your foot for arch support and can be replaced with custom orthotics if needed.
- High-quality materials used in both the upper footbed and outsole.
- Easy to slip on and off, the strap ensures a snug fit.
- Rocker outsole to propel your foot through the proper gait cycle from heel to toe.
- Might not be dressy enough for very formal occasions.
- Sharp edges on the strap can occasionally cut into the feet.
- The rubber soles can squeak excessively as the shoe “rocks”.
|Finding a pair of dress shoes which fit your personal style isn’t always easy when you’re a woman with flat feet. With over 60 designs to choose from, these cute little Mary Jane style shoes might just have a pattern you fall in love with. A cork and latex insole liner molds to your feet for better arch support when you have flat feet. You could even fit custom orthotics to this shoe without spoiling the pretty lines. And the rubber sole with rocker technology helps absorb shock as you walk.|
2. ECCO Men’s Helsinki Oxford
Norwegian-based manufacturer ECCO has been a leader in the comfortable yet stylish shoe market since the mid-1960s. Don’t let that make you think they’re shoes are anything but up to date though. The classic Oxford design of this durable shoe is a timeless classic which will impress many with your sense of style.
The full grain leather upper is dressy yet not too shiny, with highly advanced processes in the treatment making it more durable. A unique inlay sole is made with a vegetable-tanned leather which has a moisture absorbent foam layer underneath for more cushioning and better circulation of air around the foot as you walk.
What we really like about this stylish shoe is the injection molded polyurethane (PU) soles which offered great arch support and an anatomically aligned midsole. Apparently, robot precision is used for consistent quality of the insole, with polyurethane being more flexible and retaining its shape better than rubber alternatives.
- Classic profile is versatile enough for most socializing, formal gatherings, or office use.
- The soft leather uppers offer durability and breathability to the foot.
- Excellent arch support from direct injection molded outsole made from tough polyurethane.
- Nylon support shank in the sole means you may not have to remove at some security machines.
- Shock absorption offered by polyurethane is superior to many plastics or rubbers.
- The easily removable and replaceable insoles feature odor and bacteria control treatments and are moisture-wicking too.
- May take a few trial wears to break in properly.
- Sizing is European and can run a little on the large size.
- Imported and more expensive than many US produced dress shoes.
|Those Europeans are renowned for their style and fashion, and the ECCO Helsinki Oxford Shoes are some of the most classically stylish shoes a man can own. The injection molded outsole ensures arch support and shock absorption as well as style for your flat feet.|
3. Clarks Women’s Brier Dolly Dress Pump
Many women with flat feet think they will never be able to wear a classic pump shoe with heels for fear of too much discomfort. However, Clarks has produced a range of pump shoes that offer just as much comfort as style.
Thanks to an ortholite footbed for a heel to toe cushioning, this shoe offers more than adequate arch support for those with flat feet. A round toe pump, it also features a covered platform with a molded heel of approximately 3.25 inches for more stability and impact absorption.
Available in a choice of five colors, including two lighter shades, this is a stylish leather shoe that could easily make the transition from daytime office wear to evening wear. The specially molded footbed with arch support sits on top of a specially coated undersole for more traction as you walk or even dance.
- Fashionable yet smart formal styling.
- Well-balanced and molded high heel.
- Molded ortholite footbed for superior arch support.
- Comfortable even when worn for longer periods.
- Versatile and can be used for the office or more formal occasions too.
- Can make a strange noise for the first couple of months as they conform to your feet, described by some as “a strange farting” sound.
- Sizing runs large and you are recommended to choose half a size smaller.
|With its classic court shoe profile and 3.25-inch heels, the Clarks Brier Dolly Dress pump can look just as good with a formal ball gown as with business attire. The arch support offered for flat feet can ensure all day (and all night too!) comfort as you stand or dance for longer periods.|
4. Dunham Men’s Burlington Waterproof Oxford
Dunham is one of the oldest shoe manufacturers in the US and has been producing quality footwear since 1885 in Vermont. Their expertise shows in these versatile and stylish dress shoes with an understated look but incredible arch support and comfort for flat feet.
The footbed of these shoes is unusually plush, offering luxury cushioning with a nylon stability shank embedded into the midsole to provide more support to the arch. This support shank also promotes a smoother gait and can help with pronation issues. The Dunham shoes are even Medicare approved diabetic shoes for many foot health problems.
A synthetic sole and full grain leather uppers with detailed overlays feature a rugged construction which is also waterproof for all eventualities—it does sometimes rain at formal outdoor gatherings, unfortunately!
- Designed for a variety of foot problems and Medicare approved.
- Nylon stability shank in the midsole for arch support to flat feet or fallen arches.
- Long wearing and durable construction—fully waterproof.
- Known for extreme comfort due to the plush lining, which offers more cushioning.
- Understated yet timeless Oxford design with subtle detailed overlays.
- Full grain leather for better breathability.
- Available in a variety of sizes including wide sizes for people with broader feet.
- Can be too rigid for some users.
- May take a few days to break in, especially in the heel area with the top edge of shoe being very rigid.
- Heavy construction means a heavier weight than many other dress shoes.
|The Dunham Men’s Burlington Oxford is another classically styled shoe for more formal occasions for men who have flat feet. An attractive leather upper makes it smart enough to wear with a suit for the office or with slacks at more casual yet smart occasions. A super plush cushioned lining and a nylon stability shank for arch support ensure more comfort for longer periods.|
5. Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Adele
Available in a choice of four attractive colors, the Rockport Cobb Hill Adele shoe can add a dressy touch to jeans for those casual Fridays at the office. But with a profile similar to a low bootie, the 1.5-inch heel makes it not too high or too low and suitable for smart wear with slacks, skirts, dresses, or pants too.
Rockport shoes are well known for the support and comfort they offer to all kinds of foot issues, with these dress shoes having a reinforced TPU inner for better arch support for flat feet. An EVA top layer of the footbed conforms to the shape of your foot with a steel shank offering more arch support.
Twin Goretex panels at either side of the tongue and a padded heel collar ensure the shoes are easy to slip both on and off. The burnished leather upper with handcrafted stitching makes it a very distinctive fashion shoe, although you still would want to wear it with most evening wear.
- Great styling for more formal situations.
- Real leather uppers.
- Padded heel collar for extra comfort.
- EVA footbed molds to your feet for a more even pressure and shock absorption.
- Reinforced inner with great arch support from a stability steel shank.
- Unique riveted accent and hand stitching add a distinctive visual appeal.
- The snug fit can be too narrow for some women. Wide sizes are available though.
- A bit too chunky to wear with evening wear.
- Sizing can be erratic in the larger sizes available.
|Rockport shoes have certainly become more stylish over the last 10 years or so, but still offer the same support and comfort. The distinctive leather upper with antiqued riveted accents makes this a very distinctive dress shoe which offers reinforced support for the arches of flat feet.|
What to Look for in Dress Shoes for Flat Feet
With current estimates of 60 million Americans having flat feet, or 25 percent of the US population, flat feet are the most common foot deformity today. That’s big business with many of the shoe manufacturers now realizing the worth of that market.
It’s not just about runners and walkers anymore, but less athletic types who just need an everyday shoe which can help with many of the problems associated with flat feet. Sometimes you’re going to need more than a sneaker or trainer, a work boot, or clumsy orthotic shoe. Something more stylish—dress-to-impress shoes.
Both men & women can find it hard to find dress shoes for flat feet, although women more so with many standard dress shoe designs likely to cause pain for the condition. So what should you be looking for in the best dress shoe if you have flat feet?
Proper arch support is a must in the best dress shoes for flat feet. Overpronation can be an issue which causes much of the pain of flat feet and sometimes the condition itself, in the case of fallen arches. Unlike normal feet which have a more defined arch, flat feet will often have no arch at all or lower arches.
When you are looking for dress shoes for flat feet, you need to put the primary importance on the arch support. A proper arch in the shoe will help distribute the weight more evenly across your feet, especially the balls and heels, so you remain more comfortable as you walk.
We’re not talking the huge raised arch supports you use for high arches—they would just cause even more pain. But a dress shoe for flat feet should feature a supportive sole with a midsole which can correct that pronation issue while offering support to the whole foot.
Forget the Stilettos
Ladies, high heels really aren’t your best friend when you have flat feet. With lower or no arch of your foot, you are going to need support in the right places to compensate, which high heels have been scientifically proven not to provide. You can still look stylish or trendy in loafers or moccasins, with support specially crafted for your flat feet.
Shorter heels like 1 to 2 inches or so, often called kitten heels, can be ok if you have more flexible flat feet which can stand a slight elevation. Just ensure any shoes you choose has a comfortable, preferably cushioned, footbed with super efficient shock absorbing abilities.
A lot of the comfort from the best dress shoes for flat feet will come from the quality of the materials that have been used. Be wary of the many passing fads and trends in shoe designs which can often be made using cheaper or inferior materials.
Where possible choose real leather, which although more expensive, will be more durable and able to withstand frequent wear and tear. Leather will also be more breathable and ensure your feet remain cool and less stressed. And finally, leather, if properly maintained, will look a whole lot smarter—isn’t that the point of a dress shoe?
Budgetary Considerations or How Much Will They Cost?
That extra quality and comfort in the best dress shoe will often come at a cost. Although setting a budget and sticking to it is important, that little extra spend can be worth it for the comfort of your flat feet. If you find a really cheap pair of dress shoes, chances are they will be made of inferior materials and not really offer any support for your flat feet.
Although bargains and discounts can often be found, don’t let price be the only deciding factor when you select your new dress shoes. Remember that your feet bear the entire weight of your body most of the time, don’t they deserve a little bit of special treatment?
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Avoid Flat Feet?
Rather than having all these headaches trying to find the best dress shoes for flat feet would it be easier to avoid flat feet in the first place? Yes definitely, but unfortunately there are very few preventive remedies for the condition which is mainly inherited.
If there are no complications or pain arising from the condition, the correct shoes, including supportive dress shoes, can help protect the arch of a flat foot. When pain is present or persistent custom orthotics or arch support insoles can often help relieve the pain.
Are High Heels Definitely a No-Go for Flat Feet?
High heels can take a lot of practice for anybody to walk in, even when they have normal feet—just watch the men at the next Rocky Horror show you go to! But some women love their heels and the good news is with preventative measures some types of flat feet can wear high heels.
There are two types of flat feet, both a rigid and more flexible foot. According to many foot health experts, people with a flexible flat foot should be able to wear high heels with relative comfort. It’s always best if the heel also features some form of arch support and stability aid and you start with lower heels.
Bear in mind people with normal feet will struggle with most heels over 3 or 4 inches tall. The following video from Howcast shows how to walk in high heels with flat feet.
The bad news is if you have a rigid flat foot, wearing high heels will be difficult, if not impossible. When your foot is more rigid, you will be asking your foot to bend in a way that it really can’t which will cause more pain. As girls grow older, they will soon realize boys aren’t worth the sacrifices they often make for fashion!
Can You Fix Flat Feet with Orthotics and Footwear?
In most cases, no! In very rigid flat feet the bones of the foot fuse together which makes the foot flat in all positions—sitting, standing, standing on your toes, etc.. Other conditions that cause contracture of your heel cord, including cerebral palsy and many neurological conditions, can’t be treated by footwear.
If your flat foot is flexible though, there may be hope you can strengthen the arches of your feet to an extent where the arch measurement doesn’t register as flat. Posture and stretching exercise can often higher the arches over time. However, changing your footwear can often lead to those arches falling again.
Many of the best dress shoes for flat feet can also be suitable for those with neutral arches and offer support to their feet equally.
Don’t Fall Flat
You no longer need to look with envy at your “normal” footed friends and their stylish shoes. There are now many stylish dress shoes you can wear with confidence for flat feet that help prevent the pain and pronation issues of flat feet.
The ECCO Helsinki Oxford Shoes for men are, in our opinion, some of the best dress shoes for flat feet a man can currently buy. This classic Oxford shoe with a smooth leather upper is smart enough for the office and even for with a tuxedo. Those parties can go on and you want your feet to be properly supported.
For women, we were impressed with the classic good looks and formal appearance of the Clarks Women’s Brier Dolly Dress Pumps. With flat feet, you may have thought you could never wear shoes like these, but ortholite footbeds offer enough arch support for most flat feet.