Best Shoes & Best Insoles
Best insoles for flat feet [Best Shoe Insoles & Arch Support Insoles]
We review the BEST insoles for flat feet and best insoles for flat feet running. Also, the BEST insoles for overpronation and flat feet.
Table of Contents
Best arch support insoles for flat feet quick overview:
Buying the best insoles for your flat feet can be tricky and confusing if it is your first time.
As podiatrists, we see people struggle with overpronation and flat foot pain almost every single day.
Some common insole buying decisions we see are:
Should you buy cushy foam inserts or firm and supportive insoles?
How aggressive should the arch support height be? Should the arch height be very aggressive, or should it be less aggressive?
Can a flat foot be corrected by an insole, or is surgery sometimes needed?
What are overpronation and flat feet?
Some people are born with bone structure that promotes flat feet, while some have arches that have fallen over time due to compensation in other parts of their body.
- Some common causes are back problems, hip problems, hamstring, and calf tightness.
The video below shows particular causes of flat feet, overpronation, and tight joints surrounding this.
In the video below, we review flat feet exercises, flat feet stretch, the best shoes for flat feet, the best slippers and sandals for flat feet, as well as surgical options for overpronation and flat feet.
Dr. Scholl’s cushy foam or Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts won’t provide your foot with any arch support at all, which usually means you will be out $70-$100 without much relief from your foot pain.
To get the right insoles, you have to determine whether your flat feet are rigid or flexible.
If your feet are flat when standing or sitting, you have rigid flat feet and want low arch insoles. If you are someone older, you may benefit from more cushion and less aggressive correction.
If an arch appears when you’re sitting, you have flexible flat feet and want medium or aggressive arch insoles. If you are younger, you may benefit from more aggressive correction than an older and more stiff person.
Best insoles for flat feet & best insoles for overpronation and flat feet video:
Best insoles for overpronation and flat feet & best insoles for flat feet video summary:
This video includes the best insoles for flat feet, the best shoe insoles for flat feet & the best insoles for flat feet running. We go over how to correct overpronation & fallen arch treatment. We also review overpronation vs. underpronation.
0:00 What is overpronation
1:05 Flat feet pain & flat feet symptoms
1:24 Overpronation vs. underpronation
1:55 Plantar fasciitis & overpronation
2:17 Subtalar joint pain & overpronation
2:55 Overpronation meaning
3:34 High arch feet vs. flat feet
4:00 Calluses & corns from flat feet
4:22 How to fix flat feet & flat foot pain
5:01 Overpronation running
6:05 Gait analysis by a podiatrist
7:30 How to rebuild arches in flat feet
8:19 Flat feet pain relief
9:39 Flat feet exercises
10:11 Overpronation exercises
11:33 The best insoles for flat feet & best shoe insoles for flat feet
11:57 Orthotics for overpronation
12:28 Best Running shoes for flat feet
13:15 Custom insoles for overpronation & flat feet
13:37 Best shoes for flat feet
14:12 Best shoes for overpronation
14:30 Overpronation vs. supination.
16:14 Arch support for flat feet
16:47 What causes flat feet
17:13 Flat feet treatment & how to fix a flat foot
What are insoles for flat feet?
Foot orthoses or insoles are special shoes or heel inserts prescribed by a doctor or a podiatrist, particularly the custom-made or prefabricated, provide a cushioned and off-loading effect to the foot frame. Your doctor prescribes these treat many problems associated with the foot, leg, or backbone.
Custom insoles: Custom-made insoles or heel inserts are contoured devices designed by plaster cast or a 3-dimensional impression of a laser scan of your feet. Prefabricated insoles are over-the-counter or non-prescribed masses formed based on the size of your foot. Foot insoles are used to help, support, and correct the foot posture with a good weight-bearing condition of your feet. Along with support and protection, they adjunct the patients in treating any pathological condition of lower limb or foot such as plantar heel, heel pad syndrome, plantar fasciitis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic plantar ulcer, bunions (hallux valgus), and juvenile idiopathic soreness of joints.
Custom insoles are proposed to alter the role of the lower limb and foot joints during weight-bearing activities such as walking, running, and prolonged standing to decrease pain and boost the foot’s function and improve the quality of life. The demand for custom insoles has increased dramatically over the years globally, and the market has reached 3.5 billion US$ by the year 2020.
Custom insoles are generally considered the gold standard; however, the featured mechanism is not fully understood. Many studies on insoles found that custom insoles are more effective than the prefabricated insoles for the prescribed purpose estimated through biomechanical evaluation of pressure relief, weight distribution transversely the plantar regions, and dynamic balance of the body. Custom-made insoles are comparatively more expensive than prefabricated insoles; their medical efficacy and cost-effectiveness need to be estimated.
Custom insoles are necessary or not?
Custom insoles are designed precisely to suit your specific condition, foot type, weight, and the desired activity. Generally, they offer better control than other kinds of insoles for flat feet; in addition, they are more durable and long-lasting. Their biomechanical modification is achieved by using foams and plastics of high density, which may appear too hard initially but, with time, typically become more comfortable. Research shows that in many cases, custom insoles can rectify pain and prevent further joint debility. This also suggests that insole therapy is not for everyone, but specialists prescribe footwear mostly with simple advice, and the patient gets well with this therapy.
Conditions for insole therapy:
insoles are recommended in certain conditions of feet to treat them; depending upon your condition, the particular design and feature of the insole will offer you the best therapy outcome.
Custom insoles are not a separate treatment; rather, your podiatrist recommends you some workouts, footwear changes, and medications as well. Here is a list of some conditions of foot abnormality in which insoles are recommended:
- Plantar heels
- Heel pad syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Bunions (hallux valgus)
- Knee pain
- Flat feet condition
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- High arches condition
- Accidental foot injury
- Neuroma or lower limb nerve issue
- Swelling of the Bursa (Bursitis)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Hammer’s toes
Difference between custom insoles & over-the-counter insoles?
- Custom insoles for flat feet are special insoles prescribed by a specialist or podiatrist, a physician of sports medicine, or by an orthopedic surgeon, after a thorough evaluation of your lower limb, feet, and ankles. Custom insoles are specifically designed for foot and gait purposes, and they accommodate properly to your feet.
- Over-the-counter inserts are designed for the foot, such as arch heels, heel liners, and footbeds or cushions. Not all over-the-counter inserts are made identical, especially in terms of the level of support and protection offered to the feet by them.
Do custom insoles help flat feet?
Custom insoles are placed in your shoes to deal with various problems associated with your feet, like flat feet, foot inflammation, or pain. Scientific research has verified that insoles help protect against injuries in the leg, foot, ankles, and heels. These custom insoles are beneficial in treating leg and foot aches, so before fitting over-the-counter or custom insoles, judge both of them and then make a final decision. Insoles for flat feet provide release and comfort from minor pain, but they cannot deal with major problems of feet.
Do custom insoles work for plantar fasciitis?
In case if you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or you have been suffering it for months or years, you have consulted a podiatrist or not whether you need custom insoles or not.
Custom insoles help work for plantar fasciitis. A pair of custom insoles of high quality is found to be effective in improving plantar fasciitis, as it supports your foot arch and cushions the sensitive heel pad. That is why custom insoles are considered one of the best tools in treating plantar fasciitis, and it is the top-recommended method by doctors, especially podiatrists.
Biomechanical evaluation of custom insoles
How are custom insoles made?
Custom insoles process includes:
- Biomechanical assessment
- 3-dimensional scanning
- Prescription by the podiatrist
- Manufacturing process
Custom insoles get ready in a multi-step process that starts with a detailed assessment by a podiatrist. During the evaluation process, the podiatrist asks how and when you got symptoms of feet issue. After that, he thoroughly examines your foot, and feet assessment typically includes a visible gait assessment.
If you need any further imagining of your feet to evaluate an underlying abnormality, your podiatrist will make an X-ray or Ultrasound image to confirm specific pathology in that area. After assessing your foot condition through visual examination, pathology, foot activity, and footwear, your podiatrist will recommend certain custom insoles suitable to you. The podiatrist will send your custom insoles design to an insoles art laboratory where highly accomplished experts make these.
Types of custom insoles:
We can differentiate custom insoles based on the material from which they are made and their shape. Depending upon the foot condition, workout, and type of footwear, your doctor will change the prescription. Different options for custom insoles include:
- Full-length insoles: This is an insole designed for shoes with a removable footpad; it provides optimal support and function to the footpad.
Ideal shoes include:
- Running shoes
- Workout/ exercise boots
- Bounded footwear
- Stretched forefoot pad to provide ease and firmness
- Decreases insole movement, i.e., descending forward
- Increased surface area for higher pressure dispersal
- 3/4th length insoles: it is more versatile in most the shoes
Ideal shoes include
- Dress shoes
- Narrow shoes
- Appropriate in size
- Slim fit insoles: This type gives full comfort and function in a different way to fit shoes
Ideal shoes include
- Ballet flats
- Dress shoes
- Walking/athlete boots
- Cushioning of the forefoot
- Adaptability to slim fit shoes
- Light in weight
- Adaptability to fit slim shoes without compromising on comfort and function
- Carbon insoles: This orthotic is made up of graphite (carbon fiber)
Ideal shoes include
- Dress shoes (both men & women)
- Durable and long-lasting
- Children’s insoles
If you are concerned about your children’s feet, you must think about whether your children need insoles or not. Or you have flat feet and are worried about your children.
Foot posture problems and abnormalities in the gait are common issues with growing children. In most cases, consultation with a podiatrist clears all the issues with foot gait and posture, or with age, the child clears all the issues by itself. There are a lot of common non-invasive methods that resolve the issues very easily. Most cases need advice in footwear selection, posture workouts, hope, and time to raise. But in the case when custom insoles are necessary, podiatrists evaluate the whole case by assessing all the necessary things.
Before considering any therapy (insole), a complete assessment by a podiatrist is of prime importance. Podiatrists consider these factors:
- Age of the child
- Family history
- Level of daily activity
- Trauma or injury
- Medical history, if any
- Clinical signs and symptoms
- Custom footbeds
Custom shoes improve your efficiency of work and reduce the chances of injury. The custom footbeds are effective in the improvement technique, control of edge, and balance out other problems of feet.
There is a standard footbed for every boot, but like flakes of snow, every foot is different, and every person has a different style to place and distribute their weight. So, the podiatrist advises skiers to have a right footbed along with the custom fit boot, as it can prevent them from footsore and aches.
Custom footbeds are created based on the foot profile, not just considering the prior mold, made from various materials, and durable with more effectiveness than simple insoles. There are many important factors considered in designing the custom footbeds, with an arch of the foot, warmness, and blood flow are among the vital ones. A footbed will be considered good if it promotes blood flow to cold feet, giving a competitive edge in accuracy turns and good protective support needed in skiing the whole day without any problem.
The process of custom footbeds involves; foot assessment, foot molding, customizing footbeds, modification, trial your new custom footbeds, and finalizing your footbed.
Working on custom insoles
The patients are always curious about the working of custom insoles and ask this question from podiatrists to answer it in the best possible way. The main objective of orthotic therapy is to decrease the internal and external forces acting on different parts of the foot, to reduce the pain and any injury present in the foot.
- The reaction force of the ground
Insoles work by altering the pressure from the earth’s surface to the foot while standing, walking, or running. They change these forces’ intensity to achieve better foot functioning and decrease any undue force that causes foot injury.
- Design of custom insoles
Reliant on the underlying pathology and where your foot pain is sited, diverse insole design with specific structures can change location, degree, and effectiveness of force acting and within the foot. These extreme forces inside the foot and ankle are the source of nearly all mechanically associated wounds that we treat regularly.
- Neuro response or feedback
By wearing custom insoles, we can support and send back sensory reactions to your brain to prompt it to modify its program during the walk. With these signals, your brain can send the right movements to the foot and progress function, avoid discomfort and avert injury.
How much do custom insoles cost?
Custom insoles are recognized notorious due to the diverse price choices. People suffering from foot and ankle pain or other feet issues try to seek help from custom insoles if prefabricated or over-the-counter insoles failed to provide the necessary support and relief from the pain. Whenever you visit your podiatrist, you must keep in mind the price of custom orthotics to avoid any shock. After all, an average person cannot afford too much costly custom insoles. You should make a wise decision in selecting a specific custom orthotic suitable to your foot in an affordable price range.
Some of the basics of buying custom insoles:
Whenever you visit a podiatrist, always keep these things in your mind.
- Custom insoles range anywhere between 200$-800$; your visit and consultation also add up to the total cost of custom insoles.
- When podiatrists give you the final diagnostic advice of custom insoles, you must consider the final fee of custom insoles to be a complete total of all the smaller fee services accumulated in the whole orthotic diagnosis and treatment regimen.
- The overall fees of insoles for flat feet treatment vary from doctor to doctor; the difference in the cost is brought about by the discrepancies in the biomechanical exam, material quality, and casting process, among other charges.
- Most of the doctors do not charge an actual fee for the treatment. Rather, and they quote an entire treatment cost. The program comprises visual gait analysis, biomechanical exam, orthotic devices fee, and a fee of the negative impression casts.
- Always seek a confirmatory diagnosis from a specialist or podiatrist for custom insoles for flat feet. Many patients with foot issues think that custom insoles can resolve their problems; in this case, over-the-counter insoles or other alternatives can be effective for certain foot problems. But it is vital to always consult your podiatrists for professional input by him to solve your foot problems.
- After long use of custom insoles, the plastic or other material used in it will tear out, which means you have to buy a new pair of custom insoles for flat feet. Over a prolonged period, the cost will add up to a big number.
Are our custom insoles covered by insurance?
If your general health insurance covers the cost of custom insoles, you need to pay 10 to 50 % of the total price. Though custom insoles are often not covered by insurance, you must check your insurer before fitting your custom insoles.
And one important thing, first ask yourself if you need custom insoles for your feet or you can remain easy without them. Many doctors conclude that some people do not need custom orthotics and can become normal using other therapies. People with certain conditions need custom insoles; these include:
- Complex disorders of feet
- Diabetic ulcers in feet
- Poor blood flow to the feet
- Severe developmental abnormalities of feet
Are our custom insoles worth it?
The definite cost of custom insoles manufacturing (including resources) is usually 100 dollars or less, so why are custom insoles cost too much? It’s for the reason that you’re paying for the biomechanical and visual examination, negative casting or molding of your feet, and a substantial mark-up. Here is what adds up to the total price of prescribed custom insoles:
- Visual & biomechanical examination: The podiatrist examines your lower limb extremities and general body gait and takes your lifestyle history. For further diagnosis, he performs an X-ray or Ultrasound analysis with further analysis of the feet.
- Negative casting or molding: Your podiatrist will take a negative cast of your feet.
- Mark-up: Your feet are the main business; he’ll again check them.
- A podiatrist performs a comprehensive diagnosis with specific treatment of past, present, and future problems for which a patient pays. A reputable podiatrist can always give you the exact price of everything used in the diagnosis and, finally, the treatment. You can ask your podiatrist to break the price for you, so you may be able to judge the price of each element. If your podiatrist is charging you a high cost of custom insoles with a poor examination of your feet, then you need to be suspicious and ask him about the true results.
Who can make custom insoles?
When you are going to order your custom insoles, you have to keep few things in your mind:
- Hands-on evaluation of custom insoles: They cannot be made online; they require a face-to-face visit. Some providers send out an impression cast (stompbox), instructed you to take impressions of each foot, and send it back to the laboratory to make insoles for flat feet of your size. But without any experienced examination by a podiatrist, you make your foot impression, with the time your biomechanical chemistry may build according to the design of your insoles.
- Type of healthcare provider: A qualified podiatrist or certified Pedothrist (C. Ped) makes a compulsory diagnosis of foot abnormalities and prescribes insoles according to the individual. C. Peds have good experience of insoles and structural anatomy of feet, and they are specialists of feet. They can easily diagnose and prescribe treatments to the feet issues. Musculoskeletal problems are dealt with, diagnosed, and treated by a chiropractor; some also provide custom insoles.
- Experience: Recommend suitable custom insoles is both a mixture of science and art, as it takes years to learn about the right choice of custom insoles for each patient that meets their true functional requirements. The history of custom insoles also matters a lot in choosing future success.
- Hands-on fabricated custom insoles: Some experts evaluate the patient’s true needs, transmit information to the lab, and create custom insoles of the actual requirement. This system can only work if the insoles are made at the diagnostic place to prevent communication errors and ensure the necessary modification.
How can you keep your insoles clean?
Custom insoles can provide many benefits such as cushioning and supporting effect to your feet, alleviating pain in your foot and leg. Custom insoles are prescribed for various issues like bursitis, foot ulcers, plantar fasciitis, and tendinitis. Clinical research shows that foot inserts and custom insoles decrease pain in the feet and improve the functional anatomy of feet.
With a lot of health benefits provided by custom insoles, there are some problems with them too. It is a natural phenomenon that the custom insoles will get smelly over time if they are not kept smell fresh.
- Try to avoid them from the too wet condition.
- If they got wet, try to remove them from the shoes immediately
- If they come in contact with water, dry them with a good quality towel and leave your insoles in a good ventilated area
- Try to lay your custom insoles flat to dry
- Allow plenty of time to get dry, and shoe inserts require several days to completely dry, depending on their making material.
- Leaving wet insoles in your shoes may decrease their efficiency of work
Cleaning, scrubbing, and washing of the custom insoles:
To wash your custom insoles or shoe inserts, use a slight soap and detergent with hand-hot water, be sure about their water-absorbing capacity, and do not leave them to absorb too much lukewarm water. To remove any stain from your insoles, try to scrub that area with a soft toothbrush to treat it gently. After rinsing them gently with removing extra dirt and cleaning them whole, try to dry them completely. Never wash or dry your insoles or shoe inserts in the machine, as it will destroy the internal structure of orthotics.
Replacement of custom insoles: How do you use and wear your custom insoles makes the expected lifespan of custom insoles or shoe inserts insoles. You will think about changing your custom insoles every three to nine months to enjoy the true benefits of custom insoles.
Factors affecting the lifespan of custom insoles
Custom insoles or shoe inserts are made to enjoy the whole life; insoles aim to give you as full comfort with full use of custom insoles as possible. But some constant factors can be used to determine whether your insoles are in good health as expected or in poor condition.
These consist of:
- Building materials: Custom insoles made from a partially rigid material like graphite are long-lasting than insoles made from soft and squishy material.
- How often you use them in your routine: Most of the time, the patients are advised to wear insoles all the time. Though some of them need to wear them for certain activities, you may have different insoles for different types of shoes. If you are wearing them on and off in a week, they’ll be long-lasting.
- Routine lifestyle: The people involved in standing, walking, or running activity, will tear off their insoles sooner than those with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Your body formation: different body formations will put a different strain on the custom insoles; a young stout person will put more pressure on the orthotics than a slim lady of 30 years.
- Major life events and medical history: In the formation of custom insoles, not only the specific shape is under consideration, but a special set of gait procedures is also set. Major life events like pregnancy, any accidental injury are also considered, and it may alter your custom orthotics to a new one of your required needs.
- With time: As discussed above, life events can alter your insoles; similarly, with time, your feet may change a little due to the aging process. Therefore, there is a need to re-cast and replace your custom insoles or shoe inserts, even if they remain the same in original condition.
When to replace your custom insoles?
On an average estimate, a typical custom insole may last for about two to three years, but not all the cases are typical. Some patients need to replace their insoles every year, and others need to change them after 5 years. It depends upon their use. Podiatrists recommend evaluating your custom insoles or shoe inserts every year to clear out any wear and tear and replace them within three years. Pediatric insoles recommend their patients visit after every six months to check the development and replace their shoes when required.
Is it compulsory to replace my custom insoles instead of replacing them?
In most cases, the answer is yes. It depends upon the age, the making material, and wear and tear of your custom insoles. In general, podiatrists recommend replacing old custom insoles rather than their repairment, as repairing insoles does not give full support and protection to your feet. But repairing insoles can also be done by reshaping them with heat, adjusting the height and arch of the insoles, adding extra cushioning material, replacing the heel lifts and covers with new ones, and making them useable.
Signs showing to replace or repair your custom insoles
It would help if you inspected your orthotic regularly for any signs of damage in your orthotic. Many signs show that you need to replace or repair your insoles, but the most warning sign is pain. If you suddenly feel a huge, flashing pain in your feet, though previously your insoles are working well, you need to replace your orthotic as early as possible. Small damage or stain in your orthotic is not a sign of great worry, but if there are large changes like material warping, cracking, or any other change, you must consult your podiatrist.
You must be extra attentive if you are going through certain life events
- Going through medical changes, pregnancy, operation, or accidental injury.
- Making lifestyle changes like change in exercise
- Gaining or losing your body weight
So, consider these factors, as they can be the precursors of replacing or adjusting your custom insoles.
When to see a podiatrist for insoles for flat feet?
If someone simply wants an extra cushioning and supporting effect, firstly, they must try over-the-counter inserts designed for the feet. If you are suffering from serious pain or distress in your routine life, you should book an appointment with a podiatrist in your immediate vicinity. A good podiatrist will evaluate your general body condition and look for any other serious contributive factor in the cause of pain. Podiatrists are highly trained and experienced persons, and they assess the biomechanical history of your lower limb. They will examine your legs, feet, and heels and judge your gait to make a diagnosis, will listen to all the necessary details of your complaint, and evaluate the function of lower body parts. Some specialists also use innovative tools like Ultrasound and an X-ray specifically designed to see and assess any abnormality within your body. Your podiatrist will gather all the information and make a confirmatory diagnosis with a degree of problem. He will take a 3-D image of your feet and prescribe custom insoles of individual needs that might help relieve the body foot pain if necessary. The pictures taken by your podiatrist and all the measurements obtained help create a pair of unique custom insoles that will recover your movement and provides more comfort and stability to your feet. Your podiatrist will also suggest supplementary treatments to function your feet better.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do Dr. Scholl’s insoles for flat feet work?
In our opinion, there are more cost-effective insoles for flat feet than Dr. Scholl’s insoles for flat feet. Generally, these are more expensive and less effective than other best otc insoles for flat feet.
Do Dr. Scholl’s custom-fit insoles for flat feet help?
In our opinion, as mentioned above, No. We believe they are not the best option for most people for flat foot pain, bunion pain, or plantar fasciitis.
Where to buy insoles for flat feet & the best foot insoles for flat feet?
Do Birkenstock insoles for flat feet help?
We wrote an entire article on Birkenstock insoles for flat feet. We go over Birkenstock insoles in detail for both the left and the right foot.
What are the best insole slippers for flat feet:
Here we review the best insole slippers for flat feet:
What are the best insole inserts for flat feet & best insoles for flat feet?
What makes for the best sports insoles for flat feet?
- Sports insoles can generally be softer and less rigid depending on the sport.
- Specifically for people who play jumping and running sports, it may not always be the best idea to have hard insoles for those sports.
- We prefer more aggressive rigid insoles for walking and standing activities.
What is the best insole flip flops for flat feet?
Here we review our favorite insole flip flops for flat feet:
Best insoles for flat feet references