When I say the words flat feet, it seems pretty self-explanatory. Of course, I know what the words “flat” and “feet” mean, but do I really know what the term means?
Flat feet is the term used when the arch of your foot appears to be absent. This results in most of the bottom of your foot coming in complete contact with the ground.
Flat feet can be categorized as rigid or flexible, with flexible being the focus of the article and the most common classification when people generically refer to flat feet.
So what if the arch appears to be absent? Why is the arch of your foot so important? The arch provides support to the rest of your body when you stand or walk.
So, a lack of arch could result in some discomfort, specifically when you are using your feet more, whether that’s with walking longer distances, running, or playing soccer.
Flat feet tend to occur as time progresses and are not typically painful, but many people have flat feet and are looking for solutions, either starting with the right shoe or the right exercises to help.
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Do soccer players have flat feet?
Since every soccer player is not the same, flat feet are not ubiquitous in the soccer community. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t players with flat feet.
So many players have flat feet that there are exercises designed to aid in strengthening your feet and ankles as well as soccer cleats recommended for flat feet. If you have flat feet and play soccer, know you aren’t alone!
- Luis Figo
- Michael Owen
- Robert Pires
Playing soccer with flat feet
Like many things, having flat feet probably isn’t going to stop anyone from playing soccer, you just might need to make some accommodations – cleat choice, stretching, rest, etc.
Because the arch of your foot absorbs shock when you run, it tends to reduce the stress on your muscles, bones, and joints. Since flat feet don’t allow you to absorb the shock of each step as well, your body may compensate and try to absorb the shock by changing your foot strike.
Technically, this would be considered a change in your foot pronation. (Heartland Foot & Ankle)
If you don’t feel any pain while playing soccer due to your flat feet, then great! Keep doing what you’re doing. If you do feel some pain, it may be time to invest in cleats fitted properly for your flat feet so that you can have more stability and cushioning while you play or take some extra time to complete some strength exercises for your feet and ankles.
Advantages of being flat-footed in soccer.
We’re all looking for an edge to being the best soccer player, but unfortunately, being flat-footed doesn’t give you any superhuman soccer abilities.
While it may not give you any special playing abilities, completing exercises designed for flat feet may help with your foot and ankle strength and stability.
I doubt many of your non-flat-footed competitors are taking the time and having the dedication to do that!
How to fix flat soccer feet?
While flat feet aren’t something that can be fixed entirely, there are certain exercises that can help. The following is a list of some potentially helpful ones. (Clifton Foot & Ankle)
- Calf stretches
These can be done in many ways including leaning your foot up against a wall or standing and pulling your toes back toward your body.
- Tiptoe stretch
This can be done by standing on your toes, and attempting to raise your heel as high as possible.
- Toe stretch
This can be done by keeping your foot on the floor and attempting to first lift your big toe, leaving the rest of the toes on the ground. This would then be repeated keeping your big toe on the ground and raising the rest of your toes.
- Tennis/golf ball rolls
This can be done by sitting on a chair and rolling a tennis or golf ball under the arches of your foot.
For additional stretches and some awesome GIFs regarding the stretches listed, check out this link: Flat Feet Exercises.
What are the best soccer cleats for flat feet?
Because there is no expert podiatrist weighing in on their best choice for a soccer cleat in patients with flat feet, the following recommendations are based on information gathered from multiple sources. (Reviewgem, Futuresports, Boothype)
- Nike Tiempo
This classic Nike cleat has been around since the 1980s, so with the newest iteration you know you’re getting all those years of wear and tear, trial and error. Players like Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have been known to wear them, so you know you’re in good hands. (ESPN Boot Guide)
- Asics Lethal Tigreor
Although Asics has seemingly limited professional soccer players on its payroll, they sure know a thing or two about making shoes. The Tigreors come highly recommended within the flat-footed community.
- Ex-Skin Microfiber Synthetic Leather Upper
- Lightweight performance
- Air Mesh Tongue
- Lightweight breathability
- Solyte Midsole Material
- Mizuno Morelia
While you may not see too many players wearing Mizuno’s cleats on the field, they come as a recommended option for flat footed soccer players. One of their higher profile professional soccer players is Fernando Torres who has a signature boot with the brand.
- MORELIA Station Limited Model
- Light, Soft, Barefoot Feeling
- Made in Japan
- Scotch Guard Kangaroo Leather
- Adidas Copa Mundial
The classic soccer cleat of classic soccer cleats. Even your mom would be able to pick Copas out of a lineup. There’s a reason these cleats are so beloved and flat-footed players have even more reason to love them.
- Legendary soccer cleats for stability on firm natural ground
- Leather upper with premium K-leather in the forefoot for comfort and flexibility
- Move with explosive speed and traction on dry natural grass with the Firm Ground outsole
- Die-cut EVA midsole for lightweight comfort
- Soft, durable synthetic lining
If none of those cleats strike your fancy, you can also try orthotics designed for flat feet and place those in the cleats of your choice.
Of course, if you do feel the pain that you are not able to ease, always seek the advice of a medical professional. Get out there and play, flat feet and all!