Flat Feet VS Arched Feet: What I Look Like From Underneath

Me (left), boyfriend (right).

A very rarely seen side of me!

For some reason, when people hear I have flat feet they become concerned….as if it’s abnormal, and perhaps a painful condition.  But no, it’s really not a big deal.  No, I am not in pain when I run; I was born with flat feet, I grew up with flat feet, and my body knows how to carry itself very well with flat feet.  It does limit my footwear, however. The majority of Americans have arched feet, and unfortunately there’s a LOT of shoes that are shaped to give “arch support”.  THIS KILLS MY FOOT!!!  I can raise my arches at will, the way ballerinas practice, with no problem….but I can’t do that every day, 24/7!  That’s just not my body’s default state.  So having that extra “support” bump in a shoe is murder, like a dull knife driving up in to my foot from underneath.  When I buy shoes, I look at reviews that say “1 star, no arch support, returned immediately!” and then I know it’ll be a good shoe for me!  Converse shoes are awesome because they lack arch support – for me they are the ultimate in comfort.  Adidas, in contrast, almost always has “arch support” in their sneakers and it does make walking all day a pain in the foot.

Sometimes I wonder if arch footed people are the one who have it bad.  When I read shoe reviews of people complaining about lack of arch support, I wonder if maybe they need to strengthen their ankle and calf muscles?  How would they walk if they were barefoot, as Nature intended?  If being barefoot is painful (barring stepping on sharp objects, of course!), I think there is a problem….humans ought to be able to support their own weight, they should be able to move in comfort with what they are born with.  Then again, people are growing HUGE boobs nowadays and I always hear that’s a huge, literal pain too.  Although it’s debatable how natural that is – many say that the various hormones and medicines we give to our food and drinks causes women to grow bigger boobs….so that’s probably NOT a good comparison!

So I don’t know about all that.  But I do know that “80% of Asians are flat footed – more than any other ethnic group”, and that’s perfectly fine.  According to the internet, Black people also commonly have flat feet, but not nearly as often as us Asians.  I remember when the Vibram 5 Fingers came out, I excitedly got some – I LOVE being barefoot, and a barefoot running shoe sounded awesome! – but the front of it pinched in a bad way.  Upon returning it, along with 3 of my Asian male friends, the Asian cashier commented that he “Totally understands.  Asian feet are shaped different; a lot of the shoes here [in the US] just don’t fit right for us.”  I found it interesting.  It’s not one of the racial characteristics one normally thinks of in regards to Asians.

Inspired by and written for Sue’s A Word A Week Photography Challenge: Underneath!


2 thoughts on “Flat Feet VS Arched Feet: What I Look Like From Underneath

  1. I know this article is old but I’m an African American woman and I have what’s called flexible flat feet….meaning there is an arch when I’m not standing but when I stand I lose that arch. In fact, from my observation, most minorities…..African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Australian Aborigines, etc all have flatter feet. It’s normal for us but somehow it’s deemed as abnormal and I think it’s because the field of medicine and everything else is geared around Caucasian anatomy.

    Take for example, lordosis…..it’s a common spine structure in Africans and African descended people. However, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone for back x-ray’s or physical therapy and the nurse or therapist will always say “I need you to lie flat and straighten your back”. I’m like….. “this is normal anatomy for African and African descended people. This is the flattest I can lie and the straightest my back can get”.

    I remember reading somewhere that Native Americans could tell a Caucasian footprint from a Native American footprint when tracking someone because a Native American foot is flatter while a Caucasian one has high arches.

    Someday I hope to see non-Caucasian people’s anatomy taken into consideration when it comes to medicine, shoes, clothes, hair etc you name it. It’s been long overdue!

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