12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (2024)

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (1)

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All of my prima ballerinas out there know too well that those pink satin dancing shoes fall far from the realm of comfort. Consequentially, their watered-down, functional fashion counterpart, the ballet flat, doesn’t exactly provide much in the way of relief or reinforcement, either. So while the concept of ballet flats with arch support may seem contradictory, rest assured that you can still wear one of this season’s hottest fall shoe trends without totally compromising comfort.

And who better to pirouette-turn to than Dr. Ann Anderson, podiatrist and podiatric surgeon with a background in ballet? “A ballet flat will not usually give as much arch support as a sneaker,” she admits. “But [they] can be supportive if the construction of the shoe incorporates an arch support...” Despite the name, a “flat” shoe can still offer adequate support if it’s intentionally designed.

Thankfully, certain brands have mastered the art of comfortable ballet flats. Anderson suggests looking for a heel cup or arch support that is part of the shoe design in order to help support your foot overall. Below, shop the 12 best ballet flats with arch support to wear this season.

Best Sustainable

Vivaia Aria 5° Pointed-Toe Ballet Flats

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (12)

Best Sustainable

Vivaia Aria 5° Pointed-Toe Ballet Flats

Now 19% Off

In all likelihood, you’ve already seen Vivaia flats trending across social media, touting extreme comfort and earth-friendly composition. Complete with an Armisia Argy herbal insole, the Aria 5° provides promising heel rebound, arch and forefront support, and a padded heel patch for extra cushy comfort. This style is also machine-washable, making it a champion of convenience as well.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: 31 options

Material: Recycled cardboard, carbon-free rubber

Customer review: “Vivaia’s shoes are made from recycled plastic bottles, which is what originally got me interested in the brand. I think we can all agree, 6 plastic bottles never looked this good...the first thing I noticed was the insole; these are now more cushioned and structured around the arches and toes.”

Best Mary Jane

Cole Haan Bridge MaryJane Ballet

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (13)

Best Mary Jane

Cole Haan Bridge MaryJane Ballet

A style I’m most looking forward to wearing this season, the Mary Jane makes a case for comfort with this square-toed, patent pair of flats from Cole Haan. An easy accomplice for fall denim or cozy sweater dresses, this shoe is lightweight and comes equipped with additional arch support.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: Black/Gold, Lizard Gold

Material: Synthetic, polyurethane

Customer review: “I wanted simple flats that weren’t boring. I wore them for the first time to a wedding. 10 hours, standing at least half of that time, plus dancing, and they were completely comfortable (and I have flat feet).”

Best Ruby Slipper

Margaux The Demi Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (14)

Best Ruby Slipper

Margaux The Demi Flat

If you only add one shoe to your closet this year, make it a ruby red slipper. This one from Margaux has a 4.8-star rating from nearly 850 reviews, most of which praise the shoe’s plush, customizable fit and multi-width sizing. And if you need even more support, Anderson suggests adding a custom molded orthotic prescribed by a podiatrist—as over-the-counter options can sometimes be too bulky or thick.

Sizes: 3-14

Colors: 15 options

Material: Nappa leather

Widths: Narrow, Medium, Wide

Customer review: “A problem I have with most flats is that they’re a little too flat. I’ve had more success with Margaux flats than other brands because they have a little cushioning inside.”

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Best Pointed Toe

Rebecca Allen The Skim Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (15)

Best Pointed Toe

Rebecca Allen The Skim Flat

Designed in nude shades and natural palettes, Rebecca Allen’s patent flat features breathable lining and a foam-cushioned footbed for squishy-soft support. Side note: If you have a wider foot, you may want to size up in these, given the pointed toe.

Sizes: 6-11

Colors: Black, Nude I, Nude II, Nude III, Nude IV

Material: Leather

Customer review: “I own two pairs and absolutely love them and get so many compliments! I’ve never had a pair of flats/skims that don’t slip in my heel when walking UNTIL these!”

Best Square Toe

Trotters Honesty Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (16)

A lovechild of the classic ballet flat and timeless loafer, this airy flat comes with a molded EVA insole and a memory foam midsole. It’s also available in multiple widths, so it’s great for those with particularly wide or narrow feet.

Sizes: 5-12

Colors: Black, Silver Metallic, Beige, Navy

Material: Leather, fabric, synthetic

Widths: Narrow, Medium, Wide

Customer review: “These shoes appealed to me straight away. They’re classic and comfortable. Dressed up or casual, I just love them.”

Best Pastel

Rockport Reagan Ballet Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (17)

Best Pastel

Rockport Reagan Ballet Flat

Now 50% Off

Not only do these classic ballerinas add an unexpected pop of pastel to your fall wardrobe, but they also cradle your feet in molded, shock-absorbing EVA foam.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: Jade, Natural Beige

Material: Synthetic, microfiber

Customer review: “LOVE the jade green color!”

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Best Embellished

Birdies The Goldfinch

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (18)

Best Embellished

Birdies The Goldfinch

If you’re looking to add a little bedazzle and pizzazz to your everyday black-on-black ensemble, these flats from Birdies proudly display a subtle jacquard pattern and bejeweled strap, alongside seven layers of “cloud-like comfort” in the footbed.

Sizes: 5-12

Colors: 15 options

Material: Jacquard, rubber

Customer review: “Super cute and comfortable flats! Felt a little snug at first, but fit well after wearing around the house for a little bit. Perfect addition to my workwear wardrobe!”

Best Podiatrist-Approved Brand

Vionic Minna Ballet Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (19)

Best Podiatrist-Approved Brand

Vionic Minna Ballet Flat

Anderson lists Vionic as one of her favorite brands when it comes to comfort and support. Vionic prides itself on podiatrist-approved options, no matter the style. So rest assured that this cute, orthotic ballet flat hosts top-tier technology meant to hug your arches and support natural alignment. And if you’re still not sold, this style also received the American Pediatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance.

Sizes: 5-12

Colors: Navy, Gold, Pewter, Silver, Black

Material: Leather or calf hair, microfiber, rubber

Widths: Narrow, Medium, Wide

Customer review: “These are a dream come true! I have avoided wearing ballet flats for years because they usually lacked arch support. Vionic for the win...now I can wear them with full support for all day comfort!”

Best Dressy

Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Atlas Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (20)

Best Dressy

Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Atlas Flat

These charming, feminine flats have a removable PORON®-cushioned insole that focuses on offering maximum arch support.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: Navy, Camel, Leopard, Black/White

Material: Polyester, leather

Customer review: “These are incredibly comfortable. I wore them the first day for 10+ hours and no blisters!”

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Best Cutout

Naturalizer Barlow Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (21)

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (22)

Best Cutout

Naturalizer Barlow Flat

Now 54% Off

The classic black flat gets a sleek update in the form of this pointed-toe cutout style. Not only can you wear these with practically everything, but you’ll also be relieved to know they’re built with contour and comfort technology, so you can wear them (painlessly) all day long.

Sizes: 5-12

Colors: Black, Hazelnut, Silver

Material: Synthetic

Widths: Standard, Wide

Customer review: “Cute, dressy flat. Fits true to size, rubs slightly on my heel...but they are great for dressing up an outfit.”

Best Slingback

Franco Sarto Tracy Slingback Flat

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (23)

Best Slingback

Franco Sarto Tracy Slingback Flat

These houndstooth slingback flats bring sophisticated details to a classic style—like a side cutout, oversized buckle, and a cushioned footbed with arch support. Perfect for pairing with your favorite sweater and neutral slacks.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: Black Houndstooth, Tobacco, Brown, Black

Material: Leather, synthetic, rubber

Customer review: “These shoes are beautiful! True to size fit and well made. I had read some reviews that said these shoes run small...this is not my experience. I may get another pair!”

Best On Amazon

FitFlop Ballet Allegro

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (24)

Best On Amazon

FitFlop Ballet Allegro

FitFlop burst onto the footwear scene in 2007 when they introduced biomechanically engineered sandals designed to complement “body structure, joint alignment and natural movement,” while still being non-ugly, of course. A hefty feat indeed, but they’ve overwhelmingly succeeded and expanded their footwear styles to include sneakers, boots, and flats—like this one with almost 300 5-star Amazon reviews.

Sizes: 5-11

Colors: 19 options

Material: Leather, fabric, rubber

Customer review: “These were perfect...they fit so well they feel like slippers, especially with the subtly padded insole & cushioned outsole...they look like flats but have nice arch support.”

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Why Opt for Arch Support?

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (25)

Typically, actual ballet dancers have notoriously high arches in their feet. But arch support-specific shoes are usually best for lower arch, or flatter, feet.

“Higher arch feet usually need more cushioning in the shoes for shock absorption than arch support, so I usually do not recommend an arch support shoe for these patients,” Anderson says. Whether your arches are high or low, you should always consult your doctor before ditching all your shoes for orthotics. If your feet are too flat, arch support can cause pesky callouses from excessive pressure along the arch. In this case, it’s best to seek out a custom orthotic that fits your shoes.

Why Do Ballet Flats Have Such a Bad Rap?

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (26)

“Ballet can be very hard on your feet,” Anderson notes, due to years of stretching and strengthening the midsole to stand on pointe. But ballet flats in general are “not considered a supportive shoe because they lack significant shoe structure, they have a narrow toe-box, and have no support for the foot,” she states. And a super thin flat with no support can make you feel like your feet are literally pounding the pavement all day long.

To counteract this, Anderson advises looking for flats that specifically tout arch support or a heel cup, and a wider toe-box to allow for more wiggle room in the shoes. However, if you do have severe podiatric woes, you may want to wear the style carefully. “I will caution that ballet flats are usually not as deep as other shoes, and this can lead to nail injury due to excessive pressure on the nails,” Anderson warns.

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (27)

12 Ballet Flats With Real Arch Support, According to an Expert Who’s ‘En Pointe’ (2024)
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