People skateboard for a variety of reasons. From tricks to transportation, skateboarding is both a sport and a form of recreation and art. While skateboarding can be a lot of fun, it can also be tough on your body. For those with foot conditions, especially flat feet, it is important to take extra care to avoid pain and injuries.
Do flat feet affect skateboarding? As long as proper precautions are taken, and suitable footwear is worn, flat feet do not affect skateboarding. Finding the right insoles can go a long way with helping to make skateboarding more comfortable and prevent potential foot and ankle injuries.
Importance of Insoles
Most skateboarding shoes come equipped with basic insoles that offer little to no support or cushioning. It is highly beneficial to purchase special insoles that provide adequate support for pre-existing conditions and forceful impacts. I got my first heel bruise when I was 16 and that and it never really went away.
Insoles help protect the body from potential injuries and reduce foot pain. They also provide proper support for all areas of the foot to evenly absorb pressure and provide comfort in the form of arch support and cushioning. Whether you land a trick or bail out, insoles help to lessen the impact to help keep the lower body safe.
Insole Sizing and Proper Fit
Depending on one’s footwear needs, finding the best insoles requires identifying how much cushioning and support is necessary. It is important to test out a variety of insoles to see which ones provide stability and reinforcement.
The insoles should fit comfortably in the skate shoe after the generic insoles are removed. If the sizing is too far off or the insoles change the quality of support, it might be necessary to test out other insoles to find a better fit. If the insoles are just a bit too big, they can be cut down to fit better in the shoes. Generally speaking, insole sizes are the same size as one’s shoe size.
Finding Insoles for Flat Feet
For skateboarders with flat feet, finding insoles with arch and impact support can make skateboarding more comfortable and reduce the risk of injuries. From skateboarding-specific to shock-absorbing insoles, there are many choices on the market. Be aware that insoles wear over time.
After a few months of regular skating, they lose their shock absorption ability depending on the quality of the insole and how often you skate. If you only cruise they will last longer but if you engage in more technical street skating, they need to replaced more often.
Skateboarding Specific Insoles
Etcetera insoles are made with Impact Support Gel to help absorb shocks. They include a Primo Pad to protect arches from intense contact. They are designed to have a low profile and will fit comfortably in any shoe. They also have an increased potential for airflow to decrease possible smells.
Remind insoles take the pressure off of the arches and heels to increase shock absorption. They provide an increased level of comfort and cushioning for both arches and heels as well. Additionally, these insoles offer benefits for posture, stability, and endurance.
Footprint insoles allow the user to heat mold at home to exactly match one’s individual arch size. After molding, these insoles support arches from both injuries and collapsing. They also help with increased balance and overall performance. The memory foam technology is designed to withstand repeated impacts and is exceptionally comfortable for flat feet.
Shock Doctor insoles are designed for high impact performance and foot alignment support. The super-thin design allows for good board feel while providing arch support. They are also proven to reduce a variety of joint pain. The insoles help control motion to align feet for added comfort and support. Additionally, they also assist with balance, especially for landing or skateboarding on uneven surfaces.
Shred insoles are made with DuraShred foam for extra support and comfort. They are soft enough to be able to feel the skateboard while still cushioning the foot. The insoles include a shock-resistant gel for hard impacts with additional support for stability and control. There is also arch support for both high arches and flat feet.
Shock Absorption Specific
Dr. Scholl’s insoles are constructed with Shock Guard technology for extra arch support. They provide immediate and all-day arch pain relief. The lightweight design helps to reduce the bulkiness after fitting inside one’s shoes. These insoles also include massaging gel for motion control. The technology used helps to cushion feet to help absorb shocks and impacts.
Powerstep insoles have a base made of foam cushioning for added foot support—their flexible design allows for arch and heel comfort. The shock-absorbing technology used helps with landing tricks and protecting against strong impacts.
Walk Hero insoles are made to be shock absorbant for intense impacts. The arch support is constructed specifically for flat feet. Additionally, the deep and cushioned heel makes these insoles comfortable for long periods of time.
FitzSole insoles are designed specifically for flat feet and help prevent discomforts such as foot pain and fatigue. The foam cushioning is made for impact absorption and added control. These insoles include gel shock pads to keep feet in place.
Superfeet insoles have a durable construction for long-lasting support. They are made with therapeutic comfort foam for pain relief. The insoles come in a variety of thicknesses that offer options for the amount of board feel. The impact technology used is designed to disperse strong impacts.
Skate Shoes and Proper Cushioning
Update: I no longer recommend Vans Pros, go for Adidas 3st instead!
Not all shoes are equal but a couple of shoes offer a lot of support and embedded specialized insoles. The Vans Pro models feel like walking on clouds and the UltraCrush insoles offer arc support and absorb shocks like no other. If you’re in the market for a new shoe you could also just buy proper shoes instead of just insoles.
Make sure to get the Vans Pro model! Vans are great skate shoes, but not all of them can take a lot of abuse. Some are great for cruising but can’t take much abuse. Avoid canvas if you don’t want to throw away your shoes after a couple of ollies.
The image shows Vans Ultracrush, Nike Hyperfeel insoles, and a standard Fallen shoe insole. I love the Vans and Nike insoles and the Fallen insoles are acceptable. If I had to choose, I’d go for the Ultracrush insole but they don’t sell them separately.
I don’t think insoles compromise board feel, the Ultracrush, for example, make your feet sink into the insole and feel really comfy. Lots of board feel which makes you feel comfortable and confident on your board.
There are an estimated 70,000 serious injuries a year from skateboarding incidents. Most of these injuries are to boys, with almost half of the injuries involving skateboarders under 15. The most common injuries reported were to the arms, legs, neck, trunk, and face. These ranged from wrist fractures to broken noses, with the most severe injuries being concussions and a variety of head injuries.
The majority of injuries happen when riders are skateboarding too close to traffic or actually in situations where collisions with cars or other obstructions can occur. Skateboard parks offer a safe space for skateboarding that is also protected from cars and other obstacles.
Other causes of skateboarding injuries include: skateboarding on uneven surfaces or in crowded areas, using unsafe ramps or boxes, skateboarding in wet conditions or without adequate light, or holding onto a car while on a skateboard.
Causes and Characteristics of Foot Pain and Injuries from Skateboarding
Pre-existing foot conditions, disorders, and previous skateboard injuries can lead to discomfort and additional injuries during and after a session of skateboarding. Being aware of prior issues and treating them as best as one can, will make skateboarding less painful and more enjoyable.
The plantar fascia, located on the bottom of the feet, helps to absorb the shock that feet might experience from repeated impact or improperly fitting footwear. When too much tension occurs, it might tear or become inflamed.
The sharp pain caused by plantar fasciitis usually happens after exercise instead of during activities. One might not feel the pain while skateboarding, but the pain will certainly be present afterward.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel and makes it possible to walk, run, and push upwards with the feet. When it is overused during exercise, Achilles tendinitis can occur.
If the intensity of a workout is increased or exercise is not regular, the chances of developing Achilles tendinitis increases. Regular skateboarding and not pushing personal limits too far can help protect the muscles and tendons.
When the arches of the feet are flattened due to lack of arch development or injuries, flat feet can occur. While usually not associated with pain, flat feet can cause discomfort with prolonged standing or strenuous movement.
There is no need to seek treatment for flat feet if pain is not present. However, if ankle, knee, or foot pain occurs, one might want to visit the doctor. Flat feet do not commonly affect skateboarding, but an increase in physical activity could lead to foot pain or weakening of arches.
Heel bruises happen when you land too hard and all the impact energy goes right to your heel. They are very common and can come back a couple of times before they go away. Sometimes the spot remains weak, I had a really bad one over 20 years ago and every now and then it resurfaces.
There is a pad of fat under your heel that acts as a shock absorber but bruises then you hit it too hard. It also happens when you repeatedly hit it too hard and the only way to heal is by resting. Insoles can offer some comfort but it’s also a good idea to look at shoes with shock absorbers like Nike or Vans Pro skate shoes.
Whether you ride for fun, an adrenaline rush, as a sport, or for transportation, the constant movement and impacts can take a toll on one’s body. If you have a foot condition, such as flat feet, you should take extra care to avoid unnecessary pain or additional injuries. Extra shock absorption is always a good idea whether for shoes or the board itself.
Flat feet usually do not affect skateboarding as long as you take the right precautions to avoid injuries. This preparation includes finding and wearing appropriate and supportive footwear.
If the shoes you purchase shoes that do not have the type of arch support and shock absorption needed for flat feet, it is a good idea to find special insoles to insert. Preparation will make skateboarding safer, reduce the likelihood of foot and ankle injuries, and be all-around more enjoyable.