Studies show that about 30% of the general population have flat feet. Its prevalence has led manufacturers to develop footwear for fallen arches.
Although several shoe companies design orthopedic work boots (e.g., Orthofeet), some of you might be interested in buying from Red Wing and Carhartt.
Hence, I reviewed the best work boots for flat feet from both brands for this article, rating each pair based on the three factors I’m about to share below. Here’s why they are crucial:
- Insoles: Pairing your shoes with the appropriate insoles can help relieve pain and discomfort, especially when you’re on your feet all day. While most soft- or steel-toe boots come with footbeds, they may need to provide more support.
However, many of them are removable, allowing the wearer to swap them with specialized inserts. Not a single pair of footbeds can resolve all kinds of “flat feet issues.” I suggest consulting a podiatrist to help you identify the correct insoles for your feet.
- Shoe material: When looking for boots for pronation, choose a model that is flexible enough to let your feet move naturally but not too much that it fails to support your arch.
One such example is hiking boots, which are generally composed of pure leather or a combination of animal skin and synthetics. Either way, they can flex while also stabilizing your arches and ankles, thanks to their shafts.
- Fit: Did you know that most of those with flat feet tend to have wide feet, too? With that in mind, I recommend choosing brands that offer wide sizes or shoe models with roomy toe boxes.
There are a lot more factors to consider when buying work shoes, but we’ll get into that later as I’m sure that you’re excited to learn more about my recommendations.
With that, allow me to share five of my favorite boots and explain why they are suitable for flat wide feet.
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Top 5 Work Boots for Flat Feet
1. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell hiking boots have a reputation for having roomy toe boxes. But what makes them apt for low instep is that they have cushions known as the Kinetic Fit ADVANCED, which provides medium support for the arches.
Furthermore, the brand’s proprietary Air Cushions absorb the shock in each step and stabilize the heels. The manufacturer also added nylon shanks between the EVA midsoles and insoles to distribute the load evenly across the feet. In a way, the combination of these two features makes for a good remedy for foot pain.
Remember, they do not have toe protection and are not rated for electrical hazard protection. However, their Vibram outsoles are quite useful for outdoor tasks. Thanks to their high traction lugs, I don’t lose my footing when walking on any kind of terrain.
With the waterproof membrane, the pigskin leather and mesh uppers allow the air to circulate within the footwear while simultaneously letting the air circulate within the footwear. They help in keeping my feet dry and sweat-free.
Moreover, the so-called bellows tongues do a great job of preventing the debris from getting into the shoes. Perhaps the only problem I had was that the collars gave me blisters unless I wore thicker socks.
2. Irish Setter 83605-M Men’s Ashby Boot
Next on my list of reliable flat-footed boots is the Ashby from Irish Setter. By design, the moc-toes have spacious toe rooms. Besides that, the wedge sole’s entire surface area touches the floor while its heel is slightly raised. Overall, they are one of the most comfortable footwear styles for flat-footed folks.
It is also worth noting that they are fashionable and lightweight yet lack of protective toe caps. Nevertheless, the manufacturer recommends them for roofers and pavement workers owing to their heat-resistant grippy outsoles.
On top of that, the 6-inch shafts keep my ankles stable when I walk on roofs or uneven terrains. But these are good work boots for casual wear and household chores.
No doubt, durability is Ashby’s strongest suit, knowing that the boots are made of full-grain leather. Plus, the shoe-makers built them using the Goodyear Welt construction technique. Such a design allows me to re-sole in the future, prolonging the footwear’s lifespan.
Unfortunately, the Texon insoles feel a bit thin and flat. The good news is that they are removable, so I could invest in specialized store-bought footbeds with arch support for flat feet.
It takes a week or two to break them in, but once the leather softens, I guarantee they become ultra comfy.
3. Carhartt Waterproof Moc Toe Wedge Boot
Moc-toe boots are generally an excellent choice for those with wide and flat feet. But what sets Carhartt’s moc-toes apart from its competitors is their thick PU insoles and Strobel pads.
Like pillows under my feet, they are comfortable to walk in as they provide ample support around the arches. I think they are perfect for workers who walk on concrete.
Another highlight is their top-tier waterproofing system. Using the Storm Defender, these boots remain breathable while also keeping my feet dry when I walk in the rain or wade puddles. At the same time, my sweat is wicked away by the FastDry lining.
The high-traction dual-density rubber outsoles effectively prevent slipping accidents regardless of the terrain. Moreover, these boots can protect me against electrical hazards.
Beyond that, these slip-resistant shoes are also stylish. Since its upper is made of gorgeous brown oil-tanned leather, I don’t mind wearing them to parties or camping. Rest assured; these Goodyear-welted boots can last years with good care and re-soling.
I just wish that Carhartt also made their shoelaces durable. The shoestrings snapped after only a few months, prompting me to replace them. Apart from that, the boots did not come with pull tabs; putting them on is not as quick as with other boots.
4. Orthofeet Orthopedic Boot
Orthofeet is one of those brands that dedicates its work to addressing various foot conditions by crafting a wide array of casual, hiking, athletic, and work boots.
This pair of orthopedic work boots is one great example. It checks my list of “must-haves” for flat feet. Let’s get into these features one by one:
Firstly, their leather uppers are soft and flexible, straight out of the box. There was no need for me to undergo a painful break-in period. More importantly, their ankle-high shafts give me ample ankle support, allowing me to walk on gravel without losing my balance.
Meanwhile, its interiors are lined with padding, adding to the overall comfort that the boots provide.
Furthermore, the brand has innovated insoles that relieve the discomfort of plantar fasciitis, arthritis, bunions, and many more. In my case, the arch booster helps a lot in supporting my flat feet.
This pair of boots is rather durable with this 100% leather construction and rubber sole. I have worn it for several months and the pair is still in good condition despite abuse.
My only complaint is that the outsoles need more traction. For this reason, I wear these boots mostly on dry, non-slip flooring.
5. WOLVERINE W04821 Buccaneer-M Work Boot
People with flat feet and overpronation know they are prone to developing plantar fasciitis. For that, I highly recommend the Buccaneer to those looking for comfy footwear to ease the pain and discomfort. Thanks to the Multishox technology, they absorb the shock in every step and reduce fatigue.
As with most Wolverine work shoes, the design of these Buccaneer boots provides generous space that allows my feet to take their natural position whether I’m walking or standing.
Moreover, my tootsies remain dry during heavy downpours since the waterproof leather and boot’s construction can sufficiently seal out the moisture. Meanwhile, the moisture-wicking lining draws out the sweat, which helps in preventing foot odor.
This review also highlights the outsoles since the rubber material can resist abrasion, chemicals, oil, moisture, heat, and slipping. But they differ from other brands because their lug patterns do not pick dirt. I don’t have to remove debris and mud each time I go inside the office.
However, I had blisters during the first few days of wearing them. But this is a common experience when putting on stiff-new full-grain leather boots. Besides that, the factory shoelaces broke after a couple of months, so I bought new ones for replacement.
Factors to Consider When Buying Work Boots for Flat Feet
Besides addressing your concerns about your foot condition, you should also consider all the risks associated with your job. Are you exposed to inclement weather? Do you walk on slippery surfaces? Do you work where your feet could be crushed by heavy objects or large animals?
Note that companies employ safety officers to assess workplace hazards. They are also tasked to inform workers of the risks and recommend appropriate safety footwear—electrical hazard protection, steel toe caps, fire-retardant properties, or high-traction outsoles.
If you’re a worker like me, you probably wear your flat feet work shoes daily. Unfortunately, some designs and materials can wear down much faster, especially when exposed to rough conditions. Once the boots break down, they cannot provide the support and protection that our feet need.
Generally speaking, leather and rubber are considered to be among the most hard-wearing materials.
Meanwhile, Goodyear Welt is a shoe construction technology that allows the shoes to last longer than cement construction. That’s because the former involves stitching, while the latter utilizes adhesive to attach the uppers and soles. As much as I would like to recommend Goodyear-welted shoes, they are quite expensive.
Cement-constructed shoes are quite good for three kinds of consumers: Those on a tight budget, those who rarely go to job sites, and DIYers who like to do home improvement projects in their spare time.
If you live in cities that experience all four seasons, you would need different kinds of boots throughout the year.
When your feet get wet due to the shoes’ failure to resist water, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting blisters, fungal infections, or frostbitten during winter. Likewise, your tootsies can feel uncomfortable and stinky when soaked in sweat.
To prevent such issues, opt for boots that feature waterproof and breathable membranes as well as moisture-wicking linings. At the same time, you can also buy a waterproofing spray and apply it as suggested by the manufacturer.
4. Shock-absorbing Soles
Walking and standing all day can put a lot of stress on your tootsies. Thus, you need to ensure that the boots of your choice can absorb the shock and distribute your body weight across the feet.
Those who spend more time on concrete floors may find wedge soles comfier as they spread the load more evenly. But in uneven terrain, many prefer heeled soles as they provide better traction.
Shanks are also a must-have feature. For those who don’t know, they are essentially strips of steel, nylon, fiberglass, or another type of material that is placed between the midsoles and outsoles. They provide the wearer with better stability while supporting the load your calves and feet carry.
There are several work boot “styles,” and each caters to specific jobs. Slip-on work boots with high shafts (e.g. cowboy boots and rubber boots) are more popular among ranchers, farmers, and landscapers. That’s because the tall shafts can provide ample protection against moisture.
Hiking boots are a good option for those who work in the great outdoors. Meanwhile, construction workers typically wear traditional lace-up safety-toe boots as these types offer better ankle support and traction on uneven ground.
On the other hand, factory and warehouse workers wear wedge-soled moc-toe boots because, as explained earlier, they walk on hard concrete floors.
Just like our feet, women’s and men’s work boots come in different shapes and sizes. But while having a wide variety of options is good, finding the best work boots for flat feet can also be challenging. I hope that my article was able to provide you with useful information.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that choosing the right flat-footed boots is just one of the many steps that one has to take to alleviate discomfort. If the pain is persistent, get your foot checked by a doctor.
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.