The other day I was looking at my beautiful feet and was thinking ‘hmm, my feet are really flat … But, I am not bad at soccer though!’
Then, I felt it was a good idea to put together this short post to explain how the feet shape (especially when they are flat) could impact a physical activity like soccer …
… Let’s dive in!
Can you Play Soccer with Flat Feet?
The short answer is Yes! You can even play this sport on the highest level with such a foot shape. There are, indeed, many superstar players who had that constraint as well.
However, you should be thoughtful about it, otherwise you will be easily vulnerable to unnecessary injuries not only while playing actual games, but also while practicing.
Indeed, 3 years ago during a soccer match, I had a little injury on my feet after a harsh contact with another player and when I got my foot checked I was told that the injury could have been less intense if my foot were arched.
Warm-ups are, obviously, important, but are even more important in this case!
Also, wearing proper cleats is crucial to minimize the fatigue during soccer games or drills.
The playing position is also an important factor to consider, in this case, opting for positions that require less running would be better in general, yet, this is not a rule!
What cleats you will need to play soccer in this case?
This question is a little bit hard to answer but in a positive way! Indeed, there are several options you can choose from …
… As far as I am concerned, the cleats that I recommend are the ones from Nike. In particular, the Tiempo Genio 2 for outdoor soccer and Phantom Vision Academy for indoor soccer!
Below few reasons why I am recommending this and other similar models:
- They feel really soft, this will significantly decrease the fatigue and or pain that you should be feeling if you wear a lower quality cleats.
- Mostly made out of leather, so they stretch easily. Flat footed people have, in most case, large feet. So, shoes with stretching capabilities are very important. Keep in mind that they will feel a little bit ties at the beginning.
- They’ve got a rubber sole that should support your feet throughout the usage properly.
What soccer position is the most adapted for flat footed players?
People with flat foot like myself will certainly lack a little bit in certain attributes like speed! I am not saying here that you will be slow, all what I am saying is that you be crazily fast like Jordi Alba for example …
… Based on that assumption, positions that require the most speed won’t be totally adapted for you!
Playing as a right or left fullback and even on the wings require in most cases (depending on your strategy) high speeds to be able to dribble and create scoring opportunities for the strikers.
A great example for that is the Brazilian player ‘Kaka’ (one of my favorites) use to play on the wings when he was the AC Milan. Due to his skills and speed he managed to win the 2007 Ballon d’Or …
… However, once he was badly injured it was very hard for him to get back to his speed, thus he was never the same even when he played in Real Madrid!
Bottom line, positions like the Goalkeeper, central defender, and midfielder would all be a better fit as far as I am concerned!
For the striking position, this just depends on your style … If you feel you are more of a classical striker like the Former German Player Miroslav Klose, then you should be good to go, because this striking style doesn’t require lots of speed, only the instinct of being in the right place at the right time.
What drills do flat footed soccer players need to do?
There are 2 drills that I recommend in this case:
- Calf Stretch
- Heal raises
Those drills could help correcting the cause of overpronation! In fact, this could be the result of a lack of ankle flexibility …
… So, by working on the flexibility through these 2 exercises you should be doing just fine!
For Calf Stretch, you need to stand and have both of your hands on the wall; Extend the leg you want to exercise by pointing your toes forward and keeping your knee straight. The try to lean forward slowly until you feel your calf for stretched enough.
Try to hold this stretch at least for 20 seconds, but don’t go beyond a minute.
For each leg, repeat this exercise 3 to 4 times.
Heel raises on the other hand are going to strengthen the lower part of your leg supporting your arch! Just try to raise your heels from the ground as high as you can and hold that for 2 seconds before returning gently to the initial position.
I personally, do 5 sets of 20 repetitions!
Routine to help fast feet recovery after games?
There are plenty of routines that you can opt for, but to be upfront with you, a physical therapist is the most qualified person to help you develop a customized recovery routine for you.
But here what I personally use to do, right after a game, I use to instantly put my beautiful feet in cold water for couple of minutes to instantly heal all the small inflammations. Also, I make sure to not do any significant effort involving my feet through the rest of the day!
Heel stretches are also helpful to avoid developing and spreading of some kind complications that could cause serious problems afterwards.
The most important thing for you is to figure out a routine that will help you recover faster after each game or training session.
Do arched-feet players have any advantages over flat footed ones?
Yes, they do! But these are not like crazy advantages that you won’t be able overcome!
The most notable one is speed, there is a reason why those with arched feet tend to perform better in running and this is no different from other sports including soccer.
Another advantage is being less vulnerable to fatigue because of the minimal foot touch of the ground! In other words, only the toes and the heel will touch the ground which will fairly minimize the running movement.
Less vulnerability to injuries is another one!
Again, this doesn’t mean that an arched-footed is a better soccer player! The skills are much more important, and you should easily overcome those little disadvantages through proper work.
Examples of famous soccer players with flat feet…
Luis Figo who’s one of the best Portuguese players of all time who played for the best clubs ever including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has flat feet.
His position as midfielder played to his benefit as he was not the fastest player ever, yet he was great when it comes to assisting strikers.
Another case which is very very interesting is Robert Pires! He had a prolific career as a player winning the world cup and Euro cup plus many achievements with Arsenal …
… The reason why I consider his case to be interesting is that despite he has flat feet he was a very fast player! I remember some of his accelerations and I couldn’t help by admire that … However, the issue is that he was vulnerable to injuries, and his foot shape played a role in that, especially because he was relying a lot on his speed and crazy accelerations …
… Remember when I told you earlier that you should avoid positions requiring speed in this case?
Hope this short post gave you a clear idea on how you should approach playing soccer or any other sport with flat foot!
With the right cleats, drills and aftermath recovery routine you will do just fine.