Summer’s here, calling for long strolls in the great outdoors. If you’re an avid sandal-wearer who’s looking for comfortable (and stylish) options with arch support, you’ve got no shortage of options.
First off, why would someone need arch support?
“Just like our eyesight, which changes as we age, so do our feet,” says Dr. Najwa Javed, a board-certified podiatrist at Silicon Valley Podiatry Group and founder of the footwear brand E'MAR Italy. “Changes in weight, lifestyle, medical conditions or just genetics can cause your arches to collapse. Known commonly as flat feet or collapsing arches, this condition causes pain.”
Therefore, adding orthotics, or semi-rigid inserts, into your shoes can help prevent pain when walking. Javed notes that shoes with built-in arch supports are great because it eliminates the need to buy extra inserts, especially when most shoes can't accommodate bulky ones.
These days, you can find many different types of arch support sandals on the market. One thing most of them have in common: “They redistribute pressure across the sole of the foot,” says Javed, who notes that the areas most commonly protected with arch supports are the heel and arch.
“However, there are many orthotics which can have built-in metatarsal pads, which help to support the ball of foot from conditions such as neuromas, bunions and hammer toes,” she adds.
What to look for in arch support sandals
If it seems like there are endless number of options of sandals with arch support, we’re here to make the shopping process easier. These are the top factors to consider when shopping:
Need for arch support
Before delving into your search, think about whether you need sandals specifically made for arch support. When it comes to your footwear, if it's not broken, don't fix it.
"If you have nothing wrong with your feet, I don’t think you specifically need arch support. If you notice that your arch is collapsed and tend to overpronate — that's when the outside edge of your [heel] turns outward and lifts up — then it’s a sign you need arch support,” shares C.Ped and footwear consultant MacKenzie Ami Yamamoto-Lane.
Most of the fluffy, good-feeling footbeds found in the market feel great in the beginning but tend to lose comfort after wearing them for a certain period of time.
"The higher-density EVA foams actually give your foot more long-term support but don’t feel good in the store," Yamamoto-Lane says. "Most memory foam flattens out after three to four hours of wearing them out. It’s the same with your memory foam pillow; it cushions the shape of your head, but it doesn’t hold the shape."
One way to identify if a shoe is the right fit is to make sure that the metatarsals (the bones of your arch) are hitting the wall of the shoe. Normally, you want to feel a snug fit and not have too much space left inside the shoe.
But note that "a common misconception about shoes is that shoes must be super tight, which can cause pain in the long-term," says professor of footwear and shoemaker Marcell Mrsan.
Javed notes three design elements to look for in the arch support: “It should be semi-rigid (meaning it should not bend if you push on the arch), it should have a rounded heel cup (not a flat one), and it should be full-length. And of course, when shopping for sandals, look for a pair that aesthetically aligns with your style.
To shop our picks in a breeze, use the below links to jump to each sandal category:
Best budget | Best overall | Best slip-ons | Best for plantar fasciitis | Best platforms | Best for wide feet | Best for narrow feet | Best for arch pain | Best dressy | Best for hiking | Best for walking | Best closed-toe | Best lightweight | FAQs | Meet our experts
Best budget sandals for arch support
“Crocs have become extremely popular for those seeking a minimalist shoe that's also easily washable,” says Javed. This pair is under $30, lightweight, flexible and even customizable with charms that you can also snag from their website. No wonder Javed notes the brand is a favorite from kids to adults alike.
Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate sole | Sizes available: 6-12 | Colors available: 6 | Widths available: One width
Best overall sandals with arch support
Consider these a major upgrade from flimsy flip-flops. Slip on this pair from LifeStride and feel the supportive sole and a just-right height of 1.25 inches. Trust that the slingback style will keep your foot secured through each step. It also has a super soft and shock-absorbing insole for extra comfort.
One of the happy reviewers on LifeStride’s website noted, “These are the most comfy shoes I have owned in years. I’ve ordered multiple pairs in different colors because I want them around forever! I have a wide foot and a high arch and wear 7.5 wide.”
Material: Microfiber lining, cork heel | Sizes available: 5-11 | Colors available: 2 | Widths available: Medium, wide
Shop TODAY associate editor Fran Sales was gifted a pair of these Taos Gift 2 leather sandals designed with a hand-stitched scrunch pleating.
“I have a collapsed arch and can only say this is my go-to sandal,” she says. “The first time I stepped into them, I was speechless. My only dock is that it doesn’t come in half-sizes.”
The website notes if you normally wear a half-size, get the nearest whole size. Choose between seven colors, or even get multiple pairs (since the fit is so good) to match your wardrobe.
Material: Footbed lining: microfiber, lining: leather, outsole: rubber | Sizes available: 6-12 | Colors available: 7 | Widths available: One width
Best slip-on sandals for arch support
Like a hug for your feet, these puffer strap sandals will make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud. Made by Vionic, a brand that Javed recommends, this pair helps support your foot’s natural alignment and provides orthotic comfort. Choose between four colors, including a can’t-miss orange shade for a bold look.
Material: Upper: synthetic napa, footbed: manmade | Sizes available: 5-11 | Colors available: 4 | Widths available: Medium
Best arch support sandals for plantar fasciitis
This pair’s pretty much got it all: It’s recommended for those with plantar fasciitis, arch pain, hammer toes, heel pain and flat feet. The adjustable straps give you a custom fit. What’s more? The memory foam footbed provides cushioning and comfort. The soft microfiber footbed lining is also treated with antimicrobial technology to keep everyday odors at bay.
One reviewer raved, “I suffer from plantar fasciitis and searched for the most supportive and comfortable shoes. ... [These] are the most comfortable shoes I have worn in quite some time. I can walk around grocery shopping, etc., and not suffer any foot pain”
Material: Upper material: faux leather, midsole material: memory foam, footbed lining material: soft microfiber, outsole material: rubber | Sizes available: 5-11 | Colors available: 7 | Widths available: One width
Best platform sandals for arch support
FitFlop is known for comfort, and this pair of platforms is the perfect example of that. The brand’s footbed technology absorbs shock and diffuses underfoot pressure. The leather back strap gives extra support and makes it easier to walk around. Style-wise, it has a woven faux-raffia front strap and comes in three colors. I (Wendy) have a similar pair that I brought on a two-week vacation to Europe and wore it most days because it was just so comfortable.
“For anyone suffering from any foot pain, these are great stylish sandals to buy,” says Javed.
Material: Upper: faux raffia, leather, lining: leather/microfibre (upper), footbed: leather, outsole: rubber | Sizes available: 5-11 | Colors available: 3 | Widths available: One width
Best sandals with arch support for wide feet
“These German-engineered cork footbed shoes have been a staple of orthopedic design and style for 100 years,” says Javed. “The footbed within the Birkenstock is one of the best on the market and can keep your arches from collapsing.”
This Arizona style is a fresh take on the classic with its bright green color (the style also comes in five other colors). If you have wide feet, be sure to select the “Regular/Wide” option as opposed to the “Medium/Narrow” option.
Material: Upper material: natural leather, footbed lining: piumato leather, sole: EVA | Sizes available: 4-12.5 | Colors available: 6 | Widths available: Regular/wide, medium/narrow
Best sandals with arch support for narrow feet
Many reviewers agree that these Chaco sandals indeed fit narrow feet. With a criss-cross strap design (and a bevy of strap color options), this pair will keep you feeling secure with its adjustable straps and added toe loop for good measure.
One of the many five-star reviewers on the Chaco website wrote, “I had foot surgery in June and needed to wear shoes with a good arch. As I went through my shoes, I found my Chaco's from a couple of years ago. I remembered how much I loved them and ordered a fresh pair. ... I have very narrow feet, and I can get these Chacos to fit perfectly!”
Material: Upper material: polyester jacquard, midsole: LUVSEAT dual-density PU, outsole: non-marking ChacoGrip rubber compound | Sizes available: 5-12 | Colors available: 6 | Widths available: Medium
Best sandals for arch pain
As someone who owns these sandals, I (Wendy) can say these are super comfy, and the style name fits the bill. It has arch support thanks to the contoured footbed, which molds to your foot and helps reduce shock while increasing weight dispersion.
I also love the 2.25-inch wedge heel height that makes it easy to style day-to-night outfits. Tip: Size up. Since it doesn’t come in half-sizes, go with the next number up (I’m a 6.5 and got a 7 which fit perfectly).
Material: Upper: knit fabric, sole: rubber | Sizes available: 6-11 | Colors available: 2 | Widths available: Wide
Best dressy sandals for arch support
Have it all — style and comfort — with these sandals by Clarks. Along with its chic metallic design, this open-toe pair features a foam footbed that may just be the comfiest wedge around. Another perk? It feels ultra-lightweight and has a grippy sole, so you can feel confident walking without any surprise slips.
Material: Upper: metallic textile, footbed: PU foam, sole: rubber | Sizes available: 5-12 | Colors available: 3 | Widths available: Medium, wide
Best hiking sandals for arch support
Planning a hiking trip? Don’t leave without strapping on a pair of these Ecco sandals. They're lightweight, supportive, and you'll like you're wearing a pair of arch support sneakers but in sandal form, so your feet can breathe during those warm weather days.
One satisfied shopper wrote, “Somehow they hug the foot just right and they helped my ongoing knee pain. They have support like no other sandal if you have foot or knee issues. Highly recommend.”
Material: Upper: oiled nubuck, lining: fabric, outsole: rubber | Sizes available: 4-10.5 | Colors available: 10 | Widths available: One width
Best walking sandals for arch support
Fun fact: This podiatrist-designed shape was developed using 20 years of data and 120,000 unweighted foot scans. This research led to a truly comfortable sandal that’s ideal for walking.
The first time I (Wendy) slipped them on, I was impressed by the contoured footbed that fits my foot to a tee. This pair has a multi-color mesh design and a 1.5-inch heel height, all made with 100% vegan materials.
One five-star reviewer wrote, “Can't go wrong with any of their shoes! This sandal is very comfortable and goes with anything you wear!”
Material: Upper: space dye mesh, footbed: contoured Goga mat | Sizes available: 5-13 | Colors available: 1 | Widths available: Medium
Every pair of Naturalizer shoes was designed to fit the contours of a woman’s foot, so you can rest assured that it’s going to be comfy. These lugsole platform sandals are surprisingly light, making it easy for all-day walking.
One of the five-star reviewers noted, “Immediately comfortable — I wore them for maybe 14,000 steps on day one. No blisters or anything! Also so cute, and the perfect platform height. Great all around.”
Material: Upper: leather, lining: synthetic, sole: synthetic | Sizes available: 6-9.5 | Colors available: 3 | Widths available: One width
Best closed-toe sandals for arch support
If you’re shopping for a closed-toe option, look no further than this pair of clogs. The footbed is made to reduce stress on knees, ankles and other joints.
“This brand has made great strides in the last couple of years [with their] patented Oofoam technology,” says Javed. “It has a stabilizing arch profile and excellent protection for your back.”
Material: Closed cell foam | Sizes available: 5-14 | Colors available: 3 | Widths available: One width
Best lightweight sandals for arch support
Sometimes, you just want to slip into a sandal and go about your day without dealing with straps. This supportive pair from Dr. Scholl's lets you do just that while treating your feet to some TLC. The soft lining, adjustable buckle and cushioning make sure you're comfy. The lightweight, flexible construction helps, too.
One happy Amazon reviewer wrote, “Exactly what I had hoped for. ... Really comfortable, and they have a lot of support. I don’t think they will need to be broken in before wearing them for long periods of time like the original wooden sandals do. Highly recommend!!”
Material: 100% synthetic | Sizes available: 6-11 | Colors available: 5 | Widths available: One width
Questions about sandals for arch support, answered by experts
Can people with flat feet wear sandals?
“Sandals can be tricky for people with flat feet,” says Javed. “It is so important to have medial arch support, and most sandals have none.” Her tips for buying sandals for flat feet:
- Look for a style that is stiff-soled (doesn't bend easily in the arch).
- Avoid a flat style; look for a sandal with at least 1 inch of heel height.
- Look for shoes that have some support along the arch of the foot — specifically materials that will not stretch easily over the arch and will help keep it stable.
Can people with flat feet rebuild their arches?
Yes: We have more than 30 muscles in our feet, and they can be trained to keep our arches from collapsing, notes Javed.
“However, if you are born with flat feet, you cannot change that, but you can keep it from getting worse with good shoes, orthotics and strengthening and stretching exercises,” she adds.
Do flat arches get worse with age?
“Yes, and as the flat foot progresses, it causes strain on the knees, causing progressive arthritis in the knees, hips and lower back.” Javed says. Protecting your feet is so critical to the overall health of your body.
Are Birkenstocks good for arch support?
“They are one of the best!” says Javed. “The rigid cork bed is excellent, and it keeps the arches stable and reduces pain.” See more on the Birkenstock style we recommend above.
Can I add arch support to my current sandals?
“Depends; not all sandals can accept an orthotic, and there are many reasons for this,” says Javed, who notes that some sandals have orthotics built in, meaning you cannot stack on top of those.
“Others do not have enough space built into the shoe to add an orthotic. However, more companies are realizing the need for orthotics and are designing shoes to accept them.”
Meet our experts
- Dr. Najwa Javed is a board-certified podiatrist at Silicon Valley Podiatry Group and the founder of the footwear brand, E’MAR Italy. Throughout her years of practice, she has focused on achieving an optimal state of health for her patients by mitigating foot and ankle injuries.
- MacKenzie Ami Yamamoto-Lane is a C.Ped and footwear consultant.
- Marcell Mrsan is a professor of footwear and a shoemaker. He is also a sixth-generation leatherworker, production coordinator, pattern consultant and textbook author.