Skates for flat feet—need help!

mayhemily

Spectator
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Hello! I'm a huge fan of figure skating, but have never been particularly adept at doing it myself :) However, I'd like to take the time to improve at it so as to have a hobby I enjoy (and be able to keep up with my Canadian classmates, as I have just moved to Montreal for school)!

However, my main difficulty with skating is that I have VERY flat feet—truly, no arch to be seen at all—and after skating in rentals for only about 10 minutes, my feet will hurt. It's not a problem of width: my feet are very narrow, so even despite having flat feet, they never get very wide. Instead, what hurts is the feeling of the blade under my feet; it feels like there's uncomfortable pressure directly under my foot, but after skating for a while, it becomes almost unbearable.

Obviously, the blade isn't going anywhere, so I know there's no workaround for that :) But I wanted to know if that pain is universal, or if it's also symptomatic of having flat feet. More than that, I was wondering if anyone else had flat feet, similar to mine or not, and if they could recommend a kind of skate or insoles that they have found to be helpful. I'm trying to figure out now if I have to resign myself to skiing as my winter activity, since skis are nice and flat and don't hurt my feet :laugh:
 

Snorlax

Rinkside
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Country
United-Kingdom
Insoles have a solid chance of working. Source: Me and some other flat-footies :)

I started using insoles (just cheap generic 10quid ones) for my rollerskates since the blisters became unbearable, and it worked very well. The same principle will work with iceskates if necessary.

For my iceskates, I have used insoles before but had no issues whatsoever with my new Edea boots. They have some nice arch support and I never had issues with them. However, footshapes can vary significantly, and it may be that your flat feet are narrower/wider at different spots, so the best advice I can give is to visit a skate shop and try a few boots to see which is the most comfortable and then get those for yourself. I know it's not the easiest to do with the current Covid situation, but I wish you best of luck. I think there will also be folk in this forum who know much more about the intricacies of iceskating boots and the differences in shape etc (@Ic3rabbit I can hear you coming... :biggrin: )

Edit: Another thing you may want to consider - if you really only skated for about 10ish minutes each, it may also be a question of your body getting used to the feeling of skates. Pain and cramps at the beginning can be absolutely normal, maybe give it a while. Your body needs to adapt, muscles need to learn how to hold this new position etc.
Usually, beginners also tend to bend their ankles to the inside (pronating) - this will go away once your muscles get stronger and it may also help take away pain/pressure from the spots that hurt.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
OP, do you have flexible or rigid flat foot? The two are a bit different (disclaimer - I'm not an expert, just an adult skater with pronation). You can appear not to have an arch at all even with flexible flat foot (which is more common) but may eventually develop an arch if the intrinsic muscles of the foot are built up over time. Rigid flat feet cannot change their shape except by surgery, though this is rarely necessary.

I have flexible flat feet (i.e. collapsible arches) and skate with orthotics. You could try skating with over-the-counter arch support insoles such as Superfeet Yellow (found in sports stores in Canada, they're a fairly affordable option) and see if that helps reduce the pain? If not, you might want to seek advice from a podiatrist or physio.

Another factor is rental skates. Most people find them uncomfortable as they generally fit abysmally and have poor support. If you want to pick up skating even as a hobby, it's better to get your own skates (it's well worth it for the comfort/safety/aiding progress). Someone here can probably recommend a decent beginner skate based on your foot shape and what skills you're working on now and in the near future :)
 

jcskates

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Country
Canada
I have flat feet too. Now I really would suggest that you go to a fitter and discuss your issues with them because every feet is different. Rental skates are the worst.

What worked well for me might not necessarily work for you.

I have a medium wide, flat feet and what worked well for me was the brand Risport paired with orthotics. I use superfeet carbon pro as my insoles. Some people do not like superfeet but it has done wonders for a lot of skaters. I planned on getting another orthotics from a reputable fitter but decided to give my old superfeet a try (didn't work for my old skates), and my arch pain was significantly reduced in my Risport skates.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Hello! I'm a huge fan of figure skating, but have never been particularly adept at doing it myself :) However, I'd like to take the time to improve at it so as to have a hobby I enjoy (and be able to keep up with my Canadian classmates, as I have just moved to Montreal for school)!

However, my main difficulty with skating is that I have VERY flat feet—truly, no arch to be seen at all—and after skating in rentals for only about 10 minutes, my feet will hurt. It's not a problem of width: my feet are very narrow, so even despite having flat feet, they never get very wide. Instead, what hurts is the feeling of the blade under my feet; it feels like there's uncomfortable pressure directly under my foot, but after skating for a while, it becomes almost unbearable.

Obviously, the blade isn't going anywhere, so I know there's no workaround for that :) But I wanted to know if that pain is universal, or if it's also symptomatic of having flat feet. More than that, I was wondering if anyone else had flat feet, similar to mine or not, and if they could recommend a kind of skate or insoles that they have found to be helpful. I'm trying to figure out now if I have to resign myself to skiing as my winter activity, since skis are nice and flat and don't hurt my feet :laugh:

First of all, all rental skates are junk. Secondly, it's very common among skaters (I know many elite skater friends who are flat footed), it's more common to be flat footed as a skater than high arches like myself.

Look into a brand called Harlick, they should be great for your flat, narrow feet. Graf or edea would be good as well. But please, go to a reputable figure skating fitter in your area (not a hockey skate shop or a sports store/department store, etc) who will properly fit you for figure skates for YOUR feet. They should take measurements and tracings and so on to assure the proper fit and boot for you.

If you need anything don't hesitate to message me. Good luck! :)
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
Another adult with flat feet here. What's important is to figure out whether or not you have no/low natural arch, or normal arches that are collapsed. I kept reading that yellow superfeet were the way to go (they have a whole line of products), but the first time I put them in my boots at home, it felt like my feet were being stabbed, and I couldn't stand up for more than 2 minutes, truly. And I know foot discomfort is exacerbated once you're actually on the ice.

So it seems that yellow superfeet are meant for collapsed arches or arches that need more support. And black superfeet are for truly non/low arched feet. I got the black insoles, and it helped quite a lot. Your description sounds as though you might be a naturally flat footed person.

Don't know anyone who's done superfeet insoles in rentals (which, as IceRabbit says, are junk), but I could understand your hesitance in shelling out a few hundred bucks off the bat for decent skates. If you do try out the superfeet with rentals, come back and tell us how it went, I'm curious to know what that's like.
 

hanyuufan5

❅*:・。.✨
Medalist
Joined
May 19, 2018
However, my main difficulty with skating is that I have VERY flat feet—truly, no arch to be seen at all—and after skating in rentals for only about 10 minutes, my feet will hurt. It's not a problem of width: my feet are very narrow, so even despite having flat feet, they never get very wide. Instead, what hurts is the feeling of the blade under my feet; it feels like there's uncomfortable pressure directly under my foot, but after skating for a while, it becomes almost unbearable.

Definitely see an experienced fitter. This sounds like a structural thing rather than the usual "flat feet" which are actually normal feet with excessive pronation. I had a friend with completely, 100% flat-as-a-board feet who couldn't wear any shoes with arch supports (sneakers, etc) without pain, because he had no arch to support. If that's what you have, you'll need something very different than the usual "flat feet."
 

SmallAminal

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
As an adult "skater" with flat feet, I will echo a few things that have already been said above:

--My personal experience coming back to skating after decades away was that I experienced excruciating arch pain, even with custom Harlicks fitted with built-in orthotics. My guess is that I wasn't using the muscles in my feet, so they were completely unused to the workload of skating. Over time it improved, which I think if a function of getting a bit stronger.

--rental skates are awful and I'm surprised that anyone can skate in them without a great deal of pain. If you have to pay to rent, you may as well start putting that money towards a pair of skates that are fitted by a professional figure skating fitter. Honestly, if you are in a ton of pain, skating is not going to be any fun.

--the fact that your feet are flat are only one aspect of your feet and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to flat feet. I agree with everyone who said to talk to a fitter and look at getting proper skates.
 
Top