In the last several posts, we have explored what custom orthotics are, how they are made, and their costs. In the final part of this series, we will consider the difference between custom and over-the-counter insoles. Is there really a difference between custom orthotics and after-market insoles in comfort and support?
The key difference between custom (or prescription) orthotics and over-the-counter (or aftermarket) insoles is that custom orthotics are fitted to your individual foot while over-the-counter insoles come in generic molds.
While research has proven that insoles help treat and prevent leg, foot, and other lower-extremity injuries, scientists have not found a significant difference between pre-fabricated versus custom orthotics. In other words, for most people, after-market insoles like Tread Labs work just as well as prescription orthotics – at a fraction of the price. In fact, many podiatrists believe prescription orthotics should be a last resort.
That being said, there are specific groups of people who will need prescription orthotics. These include:
If you don't fall into these three categories, after-market insoles might be a better option.
The most important thing to consider is that not all after-market inserts are made alike. Their quality and effectiveness varies greatly. Here are some of the choices out there:
Why do we think our structured insoles stand above their competitors? Here’s why Tread Labs is your best option for after-market insoles.
At $75, our Stride insole uses the same materials as custom orthotics, provides the same structured support, and lasts a lot longer than other over-the-counter versions – and just as long as the ones your podiatrist prescribes. In fact, the arch support is guaranteed for life. It’s like getting a prescription insole for a quarter of the price.
We want to know what you think. Have our insoles proven as good as – or better – than custom orthotics?
Nearly everyone can benefit from arch supports of some kind. But with a variety of products on the market, it can be difficult to know what type of arch support you need. Are you a good candidate for custom orthotics, shoe inserts, or insoles? How do you know?
Think about arch supports, feet, and walking the way you think about eyeglasses, eyes, and seeing. Most people (especially as they get older) benefit from some kind of corrective lenses to improve vision. In the same way, most people benefit from arch supports to optimize their stride.
Depending on your eyesight, you might need a specific prescription or a simple pair of generic reading glasses found at the drugstore. Generic reading glasses are similar to shoe inserts that don't have much variety in sizing and fit.
If you require more than drugstore reading glasses, you will need an eye exam, after which you get a prescription for lenses. The prescription is written in a detailed scale because added precision enables better sight.
Like with glasses, having precision sizing with insoles enables a higher level of support and better biomechanics. For many people, an eye exam and simple prescription is enough, much like after-market insoles with precision sizing works for most people in relation to arch support.
Let's continue the analogy between vision and forward motion. Sometimes, a prescription for lenses gets very complicated. It may have a basic correction for distance vision, a correction for astigmatism, and a correction for reading.
A complicated diagnosis for your feet might point towards a custom foot orthotic, which is an insert for your footwear that is made especially for you based on the exact needs of your feet. It would be smart to seek out this kind of custom orthotic if you weren't achieving comfort and performance in footwear using simpler methods.
If you feel that you need a complete custom solution, give us a call (781) 435-0662. We may be able to help you find a good provider, or at least give you the tools to evaluate the options.
If your needs are less complicated, Tread Labs provides excellent foot support for most people. High arches or flat feet, we have insoles to support your active lifestyle.
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