Our quest for being constantly on the move and being active in the modern times takes a toll on our bodies. Legs and Feet are perhaps the first casualty of this and very often the struggle to deal with sore legs or feet can be agonising. This can also hinder physical activity regardless of one’s age or foot condition. While consulting a Podiatrist, a medical professional dedicated to treatment of foot and ankle, may be a natural choice, orthotic devices may be the lifeline for such people in the longer run. The devices, useful support for weak muscles, are placed on the insole of shoes to not just facilitate comfort but also provide the much needed support for the tender body part. We decode the best orthotic shoes to facilitate your selection. Some symptoms can be an important factor to decide the need to opt for Orthotics, including excessive wear down, chronic back or heel pain or even frequent ankle injuries.
Yes, Orthotics are the answers, that may ensure you don’t need to give up your love for the evening walk or refreshing morning jogs. If you are an aspiring sportsman, choosing an orthotic shoes over a regular shoe can be an ideal choice. Custom-made orthotics will not just provide sturdy support, help maintain a balanced posture but also minimise any shock on this sensitive part of one’s body.
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Orthotics
Chronic foot pain not just hinders movement but also reduces daily activity, depriving you the chance of living to the hilt. It is this precise reason that Orthotics can be a lifeline ensuring the much needed relief for the feet and enabling you to a pain free routine. Though Lightweight, Orthotics do take up some space in the shoes and this entails that a user must choose a wider shoe to ensure comfort.
It is essential that one should buy shoes that do not twist easily and have a firm heel. This will ensure that Orthotics are not impacted while running or walking fast. In addition, shoes must have easily removable footbed to ensure that Orthotics can be removed and inserted easily. A wide toebox and low heel shoes go a long way in ensuring comfort walking with Orthotics. It may seem a cumbersome exercise to account for myriad factors before choosing a shoe but this can be transformational for your lower body and improve your overall health.
Most stock insoles of running shoes lack heel drop and hence an insert can have a super effect for optimal fit. It is possible to replace the insoles of most shoes above $100 by cushioned orthotics. Orthotics can majorly be divided into three groups. First are cushioned ones made of foam and gel designed to provide additional cushioning. The second is a cushioned support insole, i.e soft foam and supportive frame located under midfoot and heel. This indeed comprises of most aftermarket orthoses. Corrective insoles are the third ones having a rigid frame manufactured from Nylon or TPE. Orthotics can both be thin as well as thick. It is possible that you may not get the desired result of choosing orthotics at the first instance and hence the need is to be open for experimentation. Some of the manufacturers like Revere and Ziera have developed the perfect fit including half inner soles, strap extensions etc. Getting accustomed with Orthotics in shoes can take up to six months, entailing the buyers to be patient.
Some of the important factors to consider before buying an orthotics compatible shoe include straight-lasted and extra thickness in the upper.
Top 10 Best Shoes for Orthotics
It is not an easy choice for consumers to find the ideal pair of orthotics shoes in a deluge of options. We bring some of the better options amongst the best to facilitate your decision making.
This amazing pair comes with High Energised cushioning and is ideal for a runner with needs of orthotics. Its ‘BioMoGo DNA’ cushioning, gives an incredible feel during your run, to help you to the extra mile. To ensure breathability, an engineered mesh is tucked in at the forefoot and breathable fabric lining gives a perfect in-shoe feel. The quality of rubber is a vital component for any good shoe and the Dyad 10’s Abrasion-resistant HPR Plus outsole gives it a longer durability. Your heels are well protected thanks to segmented crash pads which absorb shocks while the Omega Flex Grooves let the continuation of natural movement. Spacious upper and insole thickness allow you to put in orthotics easily providing an additional layer of comfort.
- BioMoGo Cushioning- super comfortable
- Abrasion Resistant- super durability
- Lack of colours
- Reviews of an unimpressive style
This shoe not only comes with BioMoGo DNA, a specialised cushioning that adapts to your movement and weight, to reduce impact on joints but also comes with ample room for orthotic needs. Further, the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar, gives arch support to ensure the body’s natural path of motion. Top notch cushioned experience, Energized experience and Connected experience protect your feet through the soft, springy and lightweight feel adding zing to your run. A brilliant option for orthotic wearers looking for higher stability, the model also fits narrow feet perfectly well. With plenty of colour options to choose from, Brooks does deliver for runners looking for style and comfort. Unfortunately, the Addiction 14 may slip a bit towards heels and buyers have opined that the previous model was a better fit.
- Specialised Cushioning
- Ideal for Orthotics
- Multiple colour options
- Slippery towards heals
- Previous model a better fit
Unique in design, impressive in looks and made for comfort and durability, the Gel-Fortitude 8 comes with inbuilt SpevaFoam Midsole plus rearfoot and forefoot GEL technology cushion. This ensures a wider fit making it apt for runners entailing orthotics. Priced at par with some of the high-end Orthotic shoes, ASICS is credited with Impact Guidance Technology and Guidance Trusstic System Technology that improve gait efficiency. Nice wide toe area, medium width and flat arch that accommodate orthotics inserts are other key features that make these worth buying. The Gel Fortitude 8 also has heavy duty plastic to ensure no bending or twisting and extra material close to the heel for stopping heel movement. ASICS aim to give runners durable rubber and shock absorption capabilities is etched in this model, that has a mesh upper to ensure ventilation. Perhaps, the only drawback of this product is the bulkiness and being too spacious for narrow feet.
- Best in looks
- Unique Gel technology cushion
- Heavy plastic helps avoid twist/ bend
- Too roomy
Designed for over pronators, this one has T-Beam technology enabling stability, high-density medial post and unique ABZORB cushioning. The thick insole may be removed to insert orthotics of one’s choice. It is definitely an improvement over its previous version with softer and accommodating interiors. The 940 V4 can be called an epitome of ‘stability’. Mixture of Synthetic and Mesh, the model comes in several varieties of blue colour. Highly recommended by several enthusiasts, the 940 series is perfect for people event with flat feet, being obese or even with challenges like arthritis or tendinitis, preventing from additional friction that can aggravate pains.
- ABZORB Cushioning
- Ultra Stable
- Feedback on quality deterioration
Recognised for making world class shoes for over a 100 years, this model from Saucony is especially useful for runners suffering from supination. A toe box providing ample air, while midfoot and heel do make sure that feet are well positioned. Engineered mesh, orthotic friendly, Foundation Fit insole providing strong heel support and EVERUN topsole for cushioning and energy during the entire run makes these a clear favourite. It is ideal for both wider feet and orthotic users. The special feature of a toecap prevents bruising and evenly distributed cushioning, the shoe helps in avoiding injuries during your run as well as improving balance through gait cycle enhancement. Only drawback of Echelon 7 are the lack of many colour options or even being extra wide in the midfoot. Formfit performance contoured footbed and reflective elements on heel gives additional comfort to all runners. Unfortunately, it is neither water resistant nor water proof, making it vulnerable to weather vagaries. The 8 mm cushioning ensures comfortable position with every move while the Tri-Flex technology facilitates optiomal traction and flexibility.
- EVERUN Topsole for cushioning
- Formfit Performance for comfort
- Tri-Flex Technology
- Non water-proof
- Extra wide midfoot
Aerodynamic style design and superb stability makes this truly inimitable and the go-to pair for any runner. Airmesh upper, cushioned sockliner and U4ic midsole gives the Wave Horizon 2 perfect feel for long distance running. Mizuno has combined its new stability technology and Cloud Wave to bring out another special pair that demonstrate its legacy of giving runners solid protection on impact as well as flexibility. Softness and comfort are hallmarks of the model thanks to the special Mizuno foam. Made of 100% synthetic, this model has shaft measures from the low-top of the arch. The only downside perhaps is being on the heavier side. The shoes also come in very distinct colours like Silver, Sapphire blue and lime punch adding colour to your collection and making a statement while you are outside. Mizuno’s unique technology allow its shoes to generate heat in cooler conditions while allowing breathability in humid weather ensuring peak performance for runners and fitness enthusiasts.
- Incredible stability
- Amazing colour options
- Perfect for long-distance running
Priced slightly higher as compared to other orthotic friendly shoes, the Beast 20 is incredible for runners looking for cushioning and comfort. The extra space in the forefoot makes them even more appealing. DNA Loft Cushioning provides a luxurious feel while the engineered mesh upper paves way for enhanced fit for sports lovers. It comes in a variety of colours including Grey, Ebony and Black. Brooke has shifted its attention to the knees, the body part most prone to injury and the GuideRails support keeps excess movement in check. The product ensures maximum stability and is one of the leading ones in both appearance and the fit. Like some of the other models of Brooke’s, this one has shock absorbing midsole manufactured of BioMoGo DNA, which ensures natural adaption to every step. The beast 20 is also environmentally friendly having been made from biodegradable materials. To ensure natural body motion scheme, the extended progressive diagonal rollbar (pdrb) has been put in place while the segmented crash pad comprising unique paddings between outsole and midsole give soft feel to the heels. Another amazing feature is the Omega Flex Groove that helps in improving flexibility. Sweat is a major challenge for most runners and the Beast 20 manages moisture and ensures breathability through the perforated mesh upper keeping the feet dry and cool. An orthotic friendly shoe, the spacious upper and thick sockliner allows you to insert an insole easily.
- Orthotic friendly
- Enhanced fit
- Shock absorbing midsole
- Sweat absoption and breathability
- Too much space in the upper
Designed for orthotics and manufactured for stability, another perfect fit from Brooke’s is especially for those with low or flat arch. BioMoGo DNA cushioning is intended to provide a soft feel and minimise shocks while running on hard surfaces such as concrete. Credited with being lightweight, it has incredible toe room comforting for people with wide feet or looking to insert orthotics. An upper mesh gives breathability while the ‘Dual Arch Pods’ augment stability. Though there are hardly any cons, the Dyad 11 may be a too wide for some people.
- Orthotic friendly
- Cushioning lowers shocks on hard surfaces
- Arch Pods for higher stability
- Too wide for some people
Saucony is truly versatile bringing shoes with multiple colour options. Comprising EVERUN Topsole for continuous cushioning, the Redeemer ISO 2 has an engineered mesh upper ensuring lightweight fit and coupled with Foundation Platform, its an even fit through the entire sole. Built of 100% textile and synthetic materials, the ISO 2 combines amazing cushioning and comfort support helping deliver an adaptive fit. Flat insole and sole make it receptive to orthotics while the gentle 8mm drop ensures a natural feel. Perhaps its drawbacks are the steep pricing and the heavy upper making the overall breathability lower as compared to the other models.
- Lightweight fit
- Adaptive fit
- Steep Pricing
- Lower breathability for runners
Best fit for runner with narrow feet, this shoe isn’t the best for thick orthotics but well suited to narrow ones. Lightweight, the 840 V4 is ideal for power walking and provides comfort and stability. Its special ABZORB foam has both cushioning and compression properties. Nice breathable mesh, it is durable and well suited for flat feet runners.
- Ideal fit for narrow feet
- ABZORB Foam
- Unsuitable for thick orthotics
- Not great for thick feet
Can orthotics be worn in any shoe?
Not really but a variety of orthotics are now available for buyers, which makes it possible to insert them in most shoes. Yet, it is always a good idea to either do a good research before buying them online or check with Pedorthist, who can either suggest the best orthotics option or the ideal shoe for an orthotics. It may require additional effort to adjust or make your current pair compatible for orthotics but some styles do not allow any orthotics adjustment. Many pairs have a typical problem of less interior volume disallowing any extra insert.
Do you need bigger shoes for orthotics?
It is recommended to buy shoes perfectly fitting your feet. If a footwear is manufactured to have a custom orthotic device, there is no need to buy large size shoes. Additionally, every brand has different sizing and manufacturing styles, making one size fits all a difficult choice in this case. You are best advised to consider your shoe size but the final choice should be based on fit and feel as no two products are alike. If there is a possibility, it may be a good idea to enquire regarding custom foot orthotics fitting with your choice of shoe before clicking on the final buy button. Manufacturers would definitely respond to ensure a smooth customer experience from the start instead of disappointments later.
Can Orthotics cause more problems?
Difficult to imagine a solution may become a problem but like all possibilities, orthotics can even create more problems. Improper use may cause pain and discomfort with a chance of injury in some cases. They have been compared to prescription drugs by some as correct dosage and timing can heal sickness but little drifting may wreak havoc. People with Achilles tendon pain, heel pain, back or knee problems should be especially careful before starting to use Orthotics with their shoes. They are suggested by healthcare professionals to stabilise a joint, prevent deformity, lower pain or improve positioning by removing pressure and stress from painful parts in the ankle and foot.
Why do my Orthotics hurt?
Improper fit is the top cause of any pain from orthotics as buyers tend to choose the product off-the-shelf. There is also a possibility of orthotics being worn-out. Another reason why your feet may be paining is that the orthotics chosen may not be compatible with your footwear. It is must to check the suitable running shoes with the orthotics to get the best result. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that you allow your feet to get used to the orthotics instead of using it for several hours right from the beginning. It takes atleast two weeks for a person to get used to the new orthotics and one may always consult an expert in case the issue persists.
Should you wear Orthotics all the time?
The process must be gradual as mentioned earlier starting with 30 mins daily with an slight increase of 15 or more mins daily. One can obviously wear them all day long eventually but it is futile to expect quick results. Orthotics typically last for 1-4 years with proper use and of course may last longer depending on body weight and activity level. This can be done by ensuring that they aren’t put in washing machine or dryer and rather let it dry on its own before putting them on again.
What happens if I stop wearing my orthotics?
Ans. Well, simply put you will start feeling pain issues again and you may need medicated attention or pain relieving methods. Some people do stop wearing after moderate recovery or improvement but it is best advised to reduce its usage instead of stopping it all together.
The pandemic may have made your plans go astray but don’t let feet pain take away your love for sports and running. Find the right shoes and orthotics to support fitness and health goals. While going to a store and outlet may seem little risky, our choice of shoes are carefully selected to facilitate your purchase. Orthotics are not the permanent solution to your pain problems but can definitely alleviate some of it and give you the much needed vigour to walk or run and keep yourself healthy and move around. Orthotics is evolving fast as more people have taken on to the parks and streets for the love of walking and jogging not just as a means of keeping fit but also means of socialising actively. It is good to try orthotics and experience the benefits of the wonder medical science has brought to the fore.