Tread Labs Insole Reviews

Read what our customers say about our company.

Scroll down to see reviews of our 2-part, customizable insoles.


Based on 1556 reviews
71%
(1111)
13%
(208)
8%
(122)
3%
(49)
4%
(66)
Found much needed support without the weight

I've taken them for a number of runs, generally between 3-5 miles each. I really like them so far! I always train in stability shoes like Kayanos, but like to do tempo runs & races in a pair of lighter, neutral support Nikes. These insoles worked great for the Nikes since they gave me just enough support inside without weighing them down. Looking forward to many more miles!

Stride Thin Insoles

I got the Stride Thin Insoles and they work very well for me and are comfortable on my feet.

Although we decided to go with another product, the customer support was impeccable. Very easy to deal with. Thank you for a positive experience!

Awesome

Love these for everyday, no noise at all and feel great.

Great improvements

Love these insoles, super light and great for my high arches.

Only one complaint

As much as I love my insoles and they've made a great difference in my life my one criticism is I've never been able to find an extra high arch in a size 8.

Hi Melissa, Tread Labs now offers every arch height for all size insoles. Please let us know if we can help find the right insole for you! Thanks, Tread Labs
Excellent insoles.

My son and was suffering from plantar fasciitis caused by very high arches that would collapse while playing sports, hyper stretching the bottom of his foot. We tried several other insoles, but they were either too soft / unsupportive or did not offer true arch support. The treadlab insoles have been amazing. Although very firm, they offer the correct height of arch support and the support is firm through all athletic movements. Foot pain problem solved! Thanks for truly understanding how feet work.

LOVE THESE!

I love these insoles! I have a ton of TOMS and then started developing footpain after I got a certain age, but these fit in TOMS and support my foot to where I don't get foot pain. Thank you, Tread Labs!

Results! A long time coming!

I have tried everything from insoles to ultrasound treatments to injections and even surgery. After a recommendation from a fellow Soldier I took a chance and tried this product! After just a few weeks of having these inserts in my combat boots I have seen positive results! Now I need to get inserts for my other footwear.

Hi Jay, We're so glad to hear that the Tread Labs insoles are providing relief for you. If you decide to get a second pair don't forget to take advantage of our Military Discount! Applying for the discount only takes a moment and is a great way to save some money. Thank you for your service, and for giving our insoles a try! -Tread Labs
Good product

These insoles were comfortable from the first step, and I wear them in three pairs of shoes.

They work great.

Bought Stride Insoles because of plantar fasciitis. I've been pain free since installing them and looking to buy another pair or two. They feel great also. Fitting them was a breeze. Certainly worth the cost and effort to purchase.

Great Product

I have a very high arch and the insoles are very helpful. They are still a little big (wide) for my very nice dress shoes (Allen Edmonds), but with everything else they work great. Not sure why everyone complains about them moving in their shoes. I have no problems with this.

Did not work for me!

I am sad to say that these were a disaster. My heel is wider than the heel cup which I didn't realize until after I cut them down to fit my slippers. As a result, the sides of the heel cup dig into my foot and they are unwearable. I don't have especially wide feet, for what it's worth.

Hi E, Thanks for taking the time to review our insoles. We were sorry to hear that your experience with the Stride Thin wasn't a positive one. If you'd like to set up a return for refund please let us know and we can certainly assist. Thanks again for giving us a try. -Tread Labs
Good arch support

This is a good arch support for athletic shoes.

Perfect for hiking - no foot problems

I got these after needing some better insoles for my hiking boots. I can't remember where I heard of Tread Labs, but I'm really glad I did!

My feet are pretty problem-prone - high-arch and high in-step. So finding adequate insoles for such annoying feet are an issue. I got the Extra-High Stride Insoles for size 10-11.5. My first usage of them was my 18-day trek through the Annapurna Circuit. In a word, they were perfect.

Over the 18-days I put in just over 200 miles and over 30,000ft of elevation gain and loss, and my feet never posed a problem or even a slight annoyance. The padding was perfect, the arch was enough (could even have been a slight bit more), and I didn't have a complaint over my feet or foot pain the entire time. And, no blisters. What a night and day difference these insoles make!!!

I will definitely be looking to Tread Labs for future insoles, because these are truly a great product!!!

Hi Nial, We're so glad to hear the our insoles provided the perfect fit and feel to keep your feet happy and comfortable on such a long hike. We love hearing about our customers adventures! Keep trekking! -Tread Labs
Support?

Very disappointed with these so called arch support! Ordered the ones for very high arches and they didn't come anywhere near my arches! Sent them back immediately!

Hi Anna, Though our Extra High arches do provide more arch support than most other over the counter insoles, there are folks who require an even higher level of support. We do appreciate you giving us a try. Thanks again, Tread Labs
Supports high arches

Have now used both the full length insoles in my running shoes and the half-length ones in my city-tourist-walk-all-day sneakers, and they're fabulous. No more talk-back from my back!

Great feel, great fit, great solution

After trying many options including all of the Superfeet models I’ve found the fit to be ideal as well as the ability to change the insert without having to change the insole. This benefit alone will be super ideal for me on my next thru hike on the PCT.

Hi Anthony, We are so glad to hear that our insoles are working out for you. We'd love to see some of your photos from the PCT if you feel like sending some our way! Enjoy the Trail! -Tread Labs
Useless Short Insoles

Without the front portion of the insoles there is nothing to contain the insole in the shoe.
Simply pushing your foot into the shoe and the short insole slides forward away from the heel , rendering the short insole very uncomfortable and useless.

Hi Robert, Sorry to hear that the Stride Short insoles didn't work out. If you have a bit of room in the toe box area of your footwear you may find that our Stride Thin can provide the fit and feel you are looking for. The Thin offers a 3mm thick cover and is versatile enough to fit a very wide array of shoe styles. If you would like to exchange your Stride Short insoles for a set of the Thin, please let me know and we'd be happy to assist. Thanks, Tread Labs
Not very good

I wore them once and they moved around in my shoes and caused more pain than helped

Hi Charles, Sorry to hear that your experience with our insoles was less than expected. If you would like to try one of our full length insoles, or return your item for a full refund, please let us know and we'd be happy to assist. Thanks, Tread Labs
Don’t buy these

Terrible product. Cheaply made, no support, and squeaks with every step. For $70, go elsewhere (like the Walking Company) for better quality. Or go to CVS, and get some $9.99 inserts. Only positive I can relay is they processed my refund timely.

Hi Andrew, We're sorry to hear that you were disappointed with our insoles. If you would like to return your item for a full refund we can absolutely help set that up, or you can visit our Returns/Exchange page to initiate the return. Please let us know how we can help. Thanks, Tread Labs
Fantastic Support

I have had my Stride Insoles for a couple months and the support and flexibility are wonderful. I have extremely high arches so I got the Extra High Arch. I have no complaints and think it is fantastic that I can swap out the top of the insole for $15 while keeping the orthopedic... great idea!

Finding the proper fit for extremely high arches can certainly be tough. We're happy to hear that we were able to help! Thanks, Tread Labs

Stride Insoles

Expensive but feet feel better

The insoles worked for me but price was more than my shoes.

Hi Zach, While the price of our insoles may initially cost more than other over the counter orthotics, ours do come with a life time guarantee, and the advantage of replaceable top covers. These two features will save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Thanks again for giving us a try, and taking the time to review our product. Cheers, Tread Labs
Most Comfortable I've Been On Concrete.

After working for a month on concrete for 12hr shifts with these insoles, I've got to give them 5 stars. Not only do my feet hurt less, but my back too.

The only thing I'd add/do differently would be better heel strike cushioning.

Hi Josh, Thanks for taking the time to review our product. We're happy to hear that the insoles are providing a good fit and giving you relief while working. With the right fit, insoles should provide great support for your feet and help reduce the pressure you put on the knees, hips and back while standing on concrete for multiple hours. Thanks again, Tread Labs

Tread Labs Million Mile Guarantee

Tread Labs unique 2-part insole system is designed for the long haul. The molded arch supports are unconditionally guaranteed. Forever. The interchangeable top covers are easy to replace, as often as you need.  

Want proof? Try us for 30 days. If you’re not completely satisfied, send your insoles back for an exchange or full refund, we’ll cover US shipping.

Tread Labs Shipping & Returns

Shipping Policy

USA - Everything we sell is shipped for free via USPS. Simple as that. Transit time is 3-4 business days. Expedited shipping is available for $35, orders must be received by 2 pm, east coast time.

Canada - For our neighbors to the north, we offer a discounted standard shipping rate of $10. Transit time is 5-7 business days.

International - We ship to most countries of the world. International shipping costs $30 for 1-2 pairs and $45 for 3-5 pairs. All duties, taxes and fees must be paid by the customer.

Returns and Exchanges

It can take time for your feet to get used to a new level of support. Wearing your new insoles for a few hours each day is a terrific way to achieve comfort. Our fit guarantee lasts for a month. Please give the insoles a chance to do their work.

Concerned about the fit of the insole in your shoe or the size of the insole relative to your foot? Give us a call, we’d be delighted to help you find the best solution.

Instructions for returns:

USA -Tread Labs returns process is simple and easy. We’ll email you a pre-paid return label. You may return anything purchased from Tread Labs in exchange for another product or receive a credit to your original payment method.

Initiate a Domestic (USA) Return – Click Here

Canada and International - You may return anything purchased from Tread Labs for a credit to your original payment method. You are responsible for the return shipping costs.

Please contact us for international returns

Plantar Fasciitis Insoles: How They Help and Where to Find the Right Fit

Discover why choosing the right insoles is counter-intuitive; the soft pillowy insoles that appear to cushion the best will actually prolong your discomfort.

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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes. You can feel your own plantar fascia by pulling your big toe towards your ankle and feeling the pronounced ridge that runs down the middle of your arch.

Plantar fasciitis (fashy-EYE-tis) is an inflammation of this band of connective tissue. When the band is overstretched, tears occur on the surface of the fibrous tissue. Inflammation and pain follow. Pain usually occurs where the plantar fascia attaches at the center/bottom of your heel bone. 

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common foot condition in the USA. 1 in 10 people will experience this painful ailment at some point in their lifetime. The most common symptom is a stabbing pain on the bottom of your heel. The pain is often worse in the morning or after standing for an extended period.

Who Gets Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury. It is a chronic irritation of the foot due to excessive strain. With this in mind, some people are more prone to developing the condition than others

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia, in addition to other muscles and tendons in the foot and lower leg, supports your arch. When excessive forces collapse the arch, plantar fasciitis can occur. 

Basic Foot Bio-Mechanics

Here is how your weight should transfer through your foot as you take a normal step:

  1. Your foot strikes the ground at the outside corner of the heel. Wear on your shoe at a 45 degree angle is completely normal.
  2. Your weight moves to the center of your heel, making use of the body's natural fatty pad, located beneath the heel bone.
  3. As the foot rolls forward, your weight transfers along the outside of your foot until it reaches the ball of your foot.
  4. The center of weight then moves inward, across the ball of your foot. This inward rolling motion absorbs some of the shock of the step and is called pronation.
  5. When your center of weight has moved to a spot just behind the 2nd toe, you push off onto the other foot.

Unfortunately, most people's bio-mechanics are not perfect. Most steps actually end more like this:

  1. As the weight shifts inward across the ball of the foot, it continues past the area behind the second toe. This excessive rolling motion is called over-pronation.
  2. When this happens, the arch of the foot stretches, putting stress on the plantar fascia. In addition, the ankle, knee and hip rotate inward, compromising the alignment of your bones and joints.

This video explains pronation and over pronation.


Curing Plantar Fasciitis

A 3-prong approach works best:

How To Choose the Best Insoles For Plantar Fasciitis

Shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis relieve pain by limiting pronation (the foot rolling inward). To be effective, the best insoles for plantar fasciitis should have the following characteristics.

Tread Labs Plantar Fasciitis Insoles

The key to finding the right insole to alleviating your plantar fasciitis pain starts with determining your arch height. You'll want to make sure you're giving your aches the full support they need. Once you know your arch height, you can choose your plantar fasciitis inserts based on the shoes in which you'll wear them. We make it easy with our Find Your Fit tool. Start by clicking the button below. 

FIND YOUR FIT

 

Heel Spur Vs Plantar Fasciitis: What’s The Difference?

If you've ever hopped out of bed in the morning and felt a bothersome pain at the bottom of the heel when you take your first few steps, you've probably wondered what what causing it. Even if it ends up going away later in the day. We'll explain what it could be, and what you can do to stop it from happening.

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Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are two terms frequently used when discussing certain types of heel pain. And while they're actually very different issues, they can be addressed with the same types of treatment. 

Difference Between Heel Spur Pain And Plantar Fasciitis Pain

For one reason or another, there are some misconceptions about how plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are connected. People tend to think that heel spurs are a common cause of heel pain, however that's not the case.

The truth is that while heel spurs might be associated with pain, they are usually not the reason it occurs, as the Cleveland Clinic points out. Instead, the majority of the time, plantar fasciitis is the responsible party when heel pain strikes.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

According to Podiatry Today, "plantar fasciitis is at epidemic levels with suggestions that one in six Americans may have the condition." As it has become so common, it's important to understand exactly what plantar fasciitis is.

The plantar fascia is a thick, connective band of soft tissue that stretches from the back of your heel to the base of your toes. As a ligament, it connects the bones in these two areas and it’s designed to be a shock absorber for the high amount of stress you put on your feet.

The plantar fascia is strong and can withstand a great deal of force, but too much pressure can damage or tear it. The body responds to this damage by becoming inflamed, and inflammation of the plantar fascia is called plantar fasciitis. 

Plantar fasciitis is usually described as a stabbing pain under the arch and/or on the bottom of the foot near the heel. This pain tends to be worse in the morning and after long periods of standing, exercise, or rest. There may also be some redness and swelling in the area.

Sometime plantar fasciitis can be confused with Achilles tendinitis. As the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains, "Achilles tendinitis is a common condition that occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed.

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It attaches the calf muscles to the back of the heel and allows you to stand on your toes when walking, running, or jumping. When you train too hard or intensely without enough rest, Achilles tendinitis can occur, causing pain at the back of the heel or directly above it.

What is a Heel Spur?

A heel spur, as explained by ScienceDirectis a type of bone spur, or calcium deposit, that develops toward the back of the calcaneus, or heel bone, where the plantar fascia inserts. These small, jagged bumps of bone usually develop in response to lots of trauma—or damage—to the heel.

This means that in most cases, heel spurs actually form as a result of plantar fasciitis. If the plantar fascia continues to be damaged for a long period of time, the body will eventually create a heel spur to provide additional support for the heel.

Heel spurs are associated with a similar stabbing type of sensation in the heel that is usually worse in the morning and comes and goes throughout the day. But the major difference here is that the heel spur itself is rarely the actual cause of this pain.

In fact, about 10% of the population has heel spurs whether they know it or not, but only 5% of those with spurs will have heel pain. The true reason for pain in most of these individuals, as you might have guessed, is plantar fasciitis.

Heel Spurs vs. Plantar Fasciitis: Similarities & Differences

Here is one of the easiest ways to remember how these two conditions are different: many people have heel spurs without plantar fasciitis or heel pain, but it’s rare to find someone with plantar fasciitis who does not have a heel spur.

According to one study, approximately 50% of patients with plantar fasciitis also have bone spurs. Since about 1 in 10 people would show a heel spur on an X-ray of their foot, they are only considered an incidental—or insignificant—finding unless there is also foot pain.

When a heel spur forms, it is usually not responsible for causing any foot pain on its own. Instead, the pain is due to the foot condition that caused the spur. So, if you have a heel spur and notice pain at the back of the heel, you probably have Achilles tendinitis.

If the pain is on the bottom of the heel, plantar fasciitis is most likely the reason. Many people have heel spurs without any symptoms at all, and experts are still trying to figure out exactly how spurs relate to heel pain.

Since both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs result from a similar process, the risk factors associated with them are shared in common. The following factors increase the chances of developing both conditions:

It’s also important to point out that although the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and a heel spur seem similar, there is one way to help tell them apart. Plantar fasciitis symptoms may be felt in the arch as well as the heel, some patients have it for a while before they notice the stabbing heel pain. In rare cases where heel spurs are responsible, the jabbing pain will be centered in the heel.

Treating Both Conditions with the Same Type of Approach

If you’re experiencing heel pain, your doctor will examine your foot and may recommend an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. Although plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, it’s important to rule out other causes like Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, a broken heel, or tarsal tunnel syndrome.

With a diagnosis of either plantar fasciitis or a heel spur, nonsurgical treatments are always recommended first and are usually successful. These include:

For patients whose pain doesn’t improve after 6-12 months of trying these nonsurgical treatments, surgery is an option. 

Healing From Plantar Fasciitis And Heel Spurs

When it comes to heel spur vs plantar fasciitis conditions, it's important to remember that the latter often leads to the former. The good news is that more than 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve in less than 10 months after following these simple nonsurgical treatments.

On the other hand, allowing the pain to persist or trying to push through it will only make matters worse and can lead to bigger foot problems.

With so many different options for treatment, it can be hard to figure out where to start. But, taking charge of your heel pain by finding one that works for you can have you experiencing more mobility and freedom as your heel pain gradually fades away.

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What Are The Best Insoles For Flat Feet? A Guide To Finding Comfort For Flat Feet

Foot arch height is unique to each of us, and ranges from flat as a board to sky high. When people with flat feet think about what type of insoles to buy, things can get really confusing.

Should they look for cushy foam inserts or firm and supportive insoles? Do they need low arch support that mimics their low arches, or higher arch support to create the arch they don't have? Wonder no longer. We're answering these questions and more.

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The arches of our feet help us move efficiently throughout the day. By allowing the middle part of the foot to flex like a bow, they add shock absorption and flexibility to our gait. Whatever your activity, your arches absorb the physical shock of landing and improve your balance when standing or moving.

Supporting your arches is crucial to preventing foot pain and injuries. For people with flat feet, it can be tricky finding the perfect amount of arch support. Supporting the arch however, is crucial in preventing pain.

What Causes Flat Feet?

Insoles for Flat Feet

Flat feet (pes planus) occur when the entire bottom of your foot (the sole) touches the ground when you’re standing.

Both genetic and environmental factors can lead to flat feet. Most of the time, genetic factors will lead to people have flat feet their entire life. However, environmental factors can lead to flat feet later in life. This is called acquired flat foot, or fallen arches.

Common causes of flat feet include:

Not sure if you have flat feet? Use this quick, simple test to determine your arch height.

What Injuries Are Caused By Flat Feet?

Whether you have flat feet naturally or fallen arches because of an injury or other condition, both can cause many of the same injuries and problems including tired feet, foot pain, ankle swelling, and overpronation.

While many of these flat foot problems and injuries can be addressed easily with the right insoles, avoiding them altogether is the goal.

How Can I Relieve Pain From Flat Feet?

Strengthening and stretching exercises for the feet, calves and ankles can help alleviate pain related to your low arch height. For long term pain relief, add arch supporting insoles to your footwear.

Start by taking some time to do the following exercises:

Strengthen And Stretch The Foot

A weak "foot core" (intrinsic muscles of the foot) can lead to instability and injury. While we often focus on the big extrinsic muscles that support the ankle and foot (these generate most of the foot's motion), there are 11 small intrinsic muscles located entirely in the foot. These stabilize your foot during strike and push-off. They absorb load and store energy mid-stance. Most importantly, these muscles support the arch of the foot. Strengthening these muscles will allow them to better support the arch.

Here are two quick foot core exercises:

Strengthen And Stretch The Calves And Ankle

Tight calves and Achilles tendons pull up on the ankle, forcing the foot to pronate, or roll inwards. This, in turn, causes the arch to collapse. Stretching the calves and heel cords are important to prevent fallen arches.

Here are two simple exercises to try:

Stretching and strengthening the arch and calves will help relieve the pain associated with flat feet. But finding supportive insoles for flat feet will provide the long-term arch support your feet really need.

Do Flat Feet Need Arch Support Insoles?

People with flat feet are often confused about how much arch support is optimum. They wonder if a soft, cushy shoe insert is better than a firm one with a defined arch. Flat feet do need arch support insoles, the best of which offer a low, but supportive arch and heel stabilization.

Finding the best insoles for flat feet starts with identifying the type of flat feet you have - rigid flat feet or flexible flat feet. 

It is important to make the distinction between rigid flat feet and flexible flat feet because the best flat foot insole arch height for each arch is different. 

The best insoles for flat feet will have:

Remember, if you have flat feet, wearing the the right footwear will make a huge different. Shoes that don't offer support or let you add arch support insoles will leave your flat feet feeling tired and in pain at the end of the day. High heels, flip-flops, and sandals can aggravate pain associated with flat feet.

The best thing you can do for flat feet is to determine the kind you have (rigid or flexible) and add flat feet insoles with the appropriate arch height to your footwear. Supporting your low arches with the best insoles for flat feet will do wonders for relieving pain.

Have insoles helped you find comfort for your flat feet? Share your story below.

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Do I Need Prescription Custom Orthotics?

If you're experiencing foot pain, you might be wondering if you need to invest in a pair of custom orthotics. You may have even already seen a podiatrist who has recommended you be fitted for them. But the expensive of custom made orthotics can be a hurdle for lots of people, especially since insurance may not cover them. That might leave you asking yourself, "Do I really need custom orthotics?" Let's find out.

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Orthotic inserts are foot supports worn inside the shoe that provide more comfort and stability than the factory inserts that come in footwear. Scientific research has shown again and again that both over-the-counter and custom molded orthotics, or orthopedic insoles, are effective in treating lower-extremity injuries and pain. Insoles can also help correct biomechanical irregularities in your feet, and solve many foot issues like fallen arches and plantar fasciitis.

Sports podiatrist and Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) Richard Braver considers orthotics a “cure-all” for many lower-body injuries and pain. According to Braver, “orthotics can prevent and cure a problem by reducing and eliminating the stress that caused it.” Clearly, orthotics are important additions to our shoes. But what are custom orthotics?

What's The Difference Between Custom Orthotics And Over-The-Counter Insoles?

There are two types of orthotics: over-the-counter and custom-made orthopedic insoles (also called custom molded orthotics).

As the American Podiatric Medical Association explains, custom molded orthotics are insoles that have been prescribed by a doctor, often a podiatrist, sports medicine physician, or orthopedic surgeon after conducting a thorough evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs. They are built for your specific foot and gait, and accommodate your individual foot structure.

Over-the-counter inserts encompass a variety of different foot products including arch supports, insoles, heel liners, and foot cushions. Not all prefabricated insoles are made alike, however, especially when it comes to the level of support they offer.

While scientific research has proven that that insoles help treat and prevent leg, foot and lower-extremity injuries, studies have not found a significant difference between prefabricated versus custom orthotics.

In fact, Dr. Braver believes that for most people, orthopedic or custom-made orthotics should be a last option. Think of it this way. If you have a headache, you rest, take an anti-inflammatory, and drink water. You probably don’t immediately rush off to get an MRI. It’s the same with orthotics. With prices from $300 to $500, prescription insoles are not necessarily the best option for everyone.

So who may be a good candidate for custom orthotics?

People Who May Need Custom Orthopedic Insoles

  1. Diabetics - Diabetes and poor circulation increase the risk of foot ulcers and infections. You might want to see a podiatrist if you have diabetes.
  2. High-performance athletes - Running an ultra-marathon is different than a completing a 5K. If you engage in sustained, high-level activities (particularly weight-bearing ones like running), you could benefit from an orthopedic insole.
  3. People with serious biomechanical issues and recurring injuries that aren’t addressed with over-the-counter versions - If you've tried many over-the-counter options and still suffer from plantar fasciitis, pain or other issues, prescription orthotics may be a good option. However, you'll need to first see a podiatrist or physical therapist to rule out other causes of foot pain such as tight muscles and improper footwear. 

If you don't fall into these three categories, the best over-the-counter insoles might be a better option.

The Types Of Custom Orthotics

  1. Functional orthotics - As William R. Olson, DPM, and former President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) writes, “The purpose of the functional orthotic is to accurately and precisely position the foot throughout the gait cycle so as to promote proper function.” These orthotics control abnormal motion. They also treat foot pain and injuries such as tendinitis and shin splints. Functional orthotics are often crafted of semi-rigid materials like plastic and graphite.
  2. Accommodative orthotics - Accommodative orthotics are designed to provide cushion and support. They are often custom-fitted for people suffering from diabetic foot ulcers or painful calluses on the bottom of their feet.

Getting Fitted for Custom Molded Insoles

Podiatrist and range of motion test for fitting orthopedic insoles

If you’ve decided you might be a good candidate for custom-molded insoles, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Here is what you can expect when getting fitted for your orthotics.

  1. A Range of Motion Test - Your podiatrist will measure the motion of all your lower-extremity joints (such as your hips, knees, and ankles) in order to identify any irregularities in joint motion like excessive flexibility or extreme limitation. Your doctor will also establish the weightbearing and non-weightbearing functional positions of these joints by testing them while you're standing and walking on them, and when you are lying down.
  2. A Muscle Examination - Your podiatrist well test the lower-extremity muscle groups like the quadriceps and calves to identify any overly weak or tight areas. This will show if your muscles are adding to your injury, symptoms, or biomechanical problems.
  3. A Non-Weightbearing Neutral Position Cast of the Foot - Your podiatrist will cast your foot to provide a model for the orthotic laboratory. As Dr. Olsen says, “The specific method of casting is critical and must be done accurately in order to achieve an accurate impression of the foot in its neutral position.” 
Because custom orthotics must be based on your foot in it's neutral position, stomp-box moldable orthotics are ineffective in treating biomechanical problems. They take an impression in a weightbearing position, thus incorporating any biomechanical issues into the build of the orthotic.

    Questions Your Podiatrist May Ask

    Your podiatrist should perform a thorough examination that includes all the elements listed above as well ask you questions about your pain and foot problems.

    A good podiatrist will ask you to explain the type, frequency, and duration of all the activities you engage in as well as your overall lifestyle. Are you on your feet all day at work, lifting heavy loads? Your podiatrist should know this. Have a long history of plantar fasciitis or stress fractures? This is important information.

    Your podiatrist should also look at the wear pattern of your shoes to understand your gait mechanics. Podiatrists look for the following patterns:

    A thorough examination is the foundation for effective, reliable custom-made orthopedic insoles.

    Well-made, custom-molded orthotics (a pair of orthotics made for a particular individual) are quite expensive ($300 and up), and there is a small group of people who will benefit from them.

    Custom-molded orthotics are designed to control pronation and increase the comfort and performance of footwear. There are many providers for custom-molded orthotics, and some are better than others. You’ll want to consider a few factors when searching for a provider.

    Finding The Right Custom Molded Orthotics Provider

    A stomp box is used to make custom molded orthotics
    1. Hands-On Evaluation – Great custom-molded orthotics cannot be made without a face-to-face visit. There are a variety of providers who will send out a "Stomp Box," a piece of impression foam in a box. You are instructed to step into the box with each foot and send the resulting impressions off to make your orthotics. Unfortunately, without an experienced provider to position your foot as it makes the impression, your dysfunctional biomechanics may be built into the design of your orthotics.
    2. Type of Provider – A certified Pedorthist (C. Ped) diagnoses foot problems and prescribes orthotics. C. Peds often have the most hands-on experience with orthotics and functional biomechanics. Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in feet. They can diagnose foot problems and prescribe orthotics as well as perform surgery to fix problems.  A chiropractor is involved with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Some provide custom orthotics.
    3. Years of Experience – Getting custom orthotics right is a challenging mix of art and science. It takes years of experience to learn the subtleties of making custom orthotics that meet both the functional and the comfort needs of the client. Choosing someone with a long history of success will increase the chances that the orthotics will be right – the first time.
    4. Hands-On Fabrication – Some practitioners evaluate a client's needs, then transmit the info to a lab that creates the actual orthotics. While this system can work, having the orthotics made at the place of the diagnoses prevents errors in communication and insures that modifications can be easily made if necessary.

    If you’ve decided that custom orthotics aren’t right for you, or that it makes sense to try over-the-counter insoles first, you’ll find you have a lot of choices.

    How To Choose Over-The-Counter Insoles

    The most important thing to consider is that not all over-the-counter inserts are made alike. Their quality and effectiveness varies greatly. And understanding the difference between inserts and insoles is helpful.

    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.

    Shoe Inserts

    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.

    The basic cushioned inserts you find at the drugstore may be cheap, but they lack any structure and they won't provide the needed support.

    Shoe Insoles

    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 aftermarket insoles with precision sizing works for most people in relation to arch support.

    There are different types of insoles:

    When you’re considering over-the-counter insoles as an alternative to custom orthotics, look for proper fitting medical-grade arch supports that provide comfort as well as support. They should control overpronation, prevent and relieve foot pain, and most importantly, support your active life.

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    Overpronation: What It Is and Which Shoe Insoles Will Help

    You've probably heard the term "overpronation" before, especially if you've ever been fitted for running shoes. And even if you already know what overpronation is, you may not know why it happens or that there is an easy way to solve it. Read on to learn why pronation occurs and what you can do to mitigate it.

    Over Pronation Explained

    Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot as a step is taken. Over pronation occurs when the foot rolls too far inward before you push off to move forward. When this inward rolling motion goes too far, the alignment of the foot is compromised and there is a loss of efficiency in every step you take.

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    Basic Foot Biomechanics

    Here is a non-video version of what happens when you take a step.


    1. Heel strike happens on the outside of your heel. (Yes, this is normal.)
    2. The weight distribution moves to the center of your heel before progressing forward along the outside of your foot.
    3. When the weight reaches the ball of your foot, it moves across the ball towards the inside of your foot. This inward rolling motion is pronation – a valuable shock-absorbing feature of the foot.
    4. As the foot rolls inward, the ankle, knee and hip follow suit.
    5. For an efficient stride, push-off happens when your weight is just behind the second toe.
    6. Unfortunately, most people continue to roll their feet to the inside. This is overpronation.
    When your foot overpronates, the arch flattens, the toes pivot toward the outside and the ankle, knee and hip rotate inward. None of these motions are positive for your body.
    1. When the arch flattens, it puts stress on the connective tissue between your heel and the ball of your foot, causing fatigue and in some cases plantar fasciitis. In addition, your foot now has a lower instep and tends to slide forward in your shoes.
    2. As the toes pivot outward, the bones of the foot are no longer in a stable position and forward motion is much less efficient.
    3. The inward roll of the ankle, knee and hip can cause discomfort and alignment problems, especially if you are on your feet all day.
    There is an excellent control point to limit pronation for an efficient, comfortable stride. There is a "shelf" on the inside of the heel bone, towards the rear of the arch. This is the calcaneal shelf. Support beneath it is the best way to limit pronation.
    1. By providing support under the Calcaneal shelf, pronation can be controlled.
    2. Spreading the support forward into the arch makes the support much more comfortable.
    3. The most effective support is firm, with a spring-like feeling. An accurate fit is necessary to insure that this firm support is matched to the contours of your foot.

    The Negative Effects of Overpronation

    1. Arch Collapse - As the arch flattens, your foot slides forward in your shoe. This causes friction resulting in blister and/or calluses. When hiking, your toes can hit the end of your shoes causing blackened toe nails and no small amount of discomfort.
    2. Plantar Fasciitis - Constant elongation of the arch puts stress on the connective tissue (plantar fascia) on the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis affects 1 in 10 people at some point in their life and can be excruciatingly painful.
    3. Inefficiency - We all want to get the most out of our efforts. If each step you take is inefficient because your not properly aligned, you're wasting your energy. 
    4. Pain in the Kinetic Chain - Your kinetic chain is the series of joints that are affected by a particular motion. The rolling in of your foot, twists your ankles, knees, hips and back - all in ways that may cause pain or overuse injuries.

    The Best Over Pronation Insoles

    Pronation is a powerful force. Firm support from overpronation inserts is necessary for proper alignment. There are 2 options:

    1. Custom orthotics - Ideal for people with complicated, clinical issues, custom orthotics are expensive. Do you research to make sure that custom is necessary for you and choose a orthotic supplier carefully.
    2. Non-prescription insoles - Many over-the-counter insoles do not provide the firm support to limit pronation. Look for strong molded plastic or carbon fiber arch supports and multiple arch height options.

    Overpronation is a common issue with an easy solution. By adding shoe inserts for pronation to your footwear, you'll improve your alignment and the efficiency of every step you take.

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    Best Supination Insoles For Underpronation Relief

    Having high arches can be a pain – literally. Foot shape affects pressure on other joints and, if not properly cared for, high arches can lead to knee and hip problems. Another thing affecting people with high arches? Supination.

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    Are High Arches The Exact Same Thing As Supination?

    No. Supination is also known as underpronation, which occurs when the foot doesn’t properly roll inward upon landing. As part of a normal stride, the foot will roll slightly inward after the heel hits the ground (pronation). This cushions the impact and helps you adapt to uneven surface.

    A normal foot pattern rolls inward at around 15% during your stride. When you supinate, your foot rolls in under 15%. Most of your body weight lands on the outer edges of each foot. Conversely, overpronation is defined as the inward rolling of the foot over 15%.

    Supination can put too much pressure on the Iliotibial (IT) band. Some people who supinate will experience knee pain or Achilles tendinitis. Underpronation is less common than overpronation, with up to 10% of people in the U.S. supinating. Those with severe supination are prone to inversion ankle sprains, heel spurs and stress fractures.

    While supination is not the same thing as high arches, it is a condition often caused by them. Not all people with high arches will supinate, but many are at risk. Athletes with high arches should be particularly careful in order to avoid these injuries.

    Can Someone Have Very High Arches And Still Pronate?

    Yes. Though people with high arches often underpronate, that is not always the case. People with high arches can pronate and even overpronate.

    Who Underpronates and Why?

    There are three main characteristics of people who underpronate or supinate.

    1. People who underpronate are often heel strikers – their heel hits the ground first. Then, the foot rolls out, and the force of their body weight is unevenly distributed to the outer edge of the foot
    2. Underpronation is more common in, but not exclusive to, people with high arches. High arches are often more rigid and less flexible. When your foot hits the ground, your arches don't sufficiently flex to accommodate dynamic movement.The force of the stride then pushes the weight towards the outside of the foot.
    3. Tight calves and Achilles tendons magnify the movement of supination. The tightness in the back of the heel and up the leg pulls your foot outwards when it lands. If tight calves and Achilles tendons are the cause of your supination, stretching is an easy solution.

    If you're experiencing these symptoms and the associated pain, there is an easy way to get relief. A quality pair of supination insoles can help.

    I Have High Arches, How Can I Tell If I Supinate?

    According to Runner’s World, there's an easy, informal test you can do to see if you supinate. Simply take a well-worn pair of sneakers and place them on a flat surface. Look at the shoes from behind. Do they stand straight? Or do they lean to the outer edges? If they lean dramatically to the edges, there is a high chance that you supinate. See a doctor for confirmation.

    Injuries Associated with Supination

    Like any biomechanical irregularity, underpronation can cause specific injuries. Common injuries associated with supination include:

    Neutral Shoes and Shock Absorption

    Shoe shopping can be difficult for people with high arches. If you underpronate, you need to find shoes that accommodate your gait. Because the body weight is not distributed evenly across the foot, forces of impact remain concentrated on the outside of the shoe. When you push off, your smaller toes do most of the work. This is both inefficient and lessens your ability to properly absorb the impact of your stride. Most specialists recommend finding neutral shoes with extra cushion or shock absorption qualities.

    Other characteristics you should look for in a shoe include:

    Best Shoes For High Arches And Supination

    There are many brands and styles that work well for people with high arches. To find the best shoes for high arches and supination, it's important to try several pairs on in a store before you buy. 

    New Balance

    New Balance has great running and walking shoes for people with high arches. Many of their styles provide extra cushioning, which is important for shock absorption that high-arched feet typically don’t have on their own. New Balance’s cushion features their "ABZORB" technology, a proprietary blend of rubber and foam materials that is very lightweight and can endure many miles of wear.

    Birkenstock

    Birkenstock is a well-known comfort shoe brand. Their sandals provide arch support with a molded footbed. For many, their signature footbed helps redirect and balance pressure. Make sure to try out the sandals in the store. Birkenstock's firm one-size-fits-all footbed is heaven for some but too uncomfortable for others.

    Chaco

    Developed by the founder of Tread Labs, Chaco has been making sandals with robust arch supports for decades. Originally designed for river guides, Chaco now offers many styles for off the river too. The original Z/series of sandals has very good arch support, however some of the more recent models have less-pronounced support. Very durable, Chaco sandals will last for years. 

    Saucony

    Saucony also makes great running shoes for those with high arches. Like New Balance, they provide amazing comfort and cushioning. Their PWRGRID+ technology claims to provide 20% more cushion without adding bulk or weight. A selection of their shoes are designed for daily use for neutral or supinated feet.

    The Best Insoles For Supination

    Orthotics for supination can also be a great solution to help reduce underpronation, particularly if biomechanics (and not tight calf muscles) are the cause of underpronation. As most shoes do not sufficiently support high arches, they won't correct the underlying cause of your underpronation.

    Because high arches are closely correlated to supination, you need to find supination insoles that will support the arch during your stride. By supporting your arch, you prevent your foot from rolling out.

    An insole with a deep heel cup will stabilize your heel and acts as extra shock absorption. With the proper insoles for supination correction, you can prevent injury and develop a more efficient stride.

    Are High Arches Passed Down Genetically?

    Sometimes. There are many causes of high arches. People can be born with high arches or develop them later in life. Causes include:

    Do High Arches Change With Age?

    There are a few factors, including age, that can cause fallen arches in people who have very high arches. These include:

    A series of tendons and ligaments that attach leg muscles to the foot create the foot’s arch. When these tendons are injured or otherwise loosened, arches begin to fall. This change in foot shape can be painful. Feet will tire easily and put even more stress on knees and ankles.

    To prevent arches from falling, make sure you wear high arch support insoles and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    The Bottom Line

    Millions of people in the U.S. have high arches. With proper foot care and footwear like shoe inserts for supination correction, you can participate in most sports and activities pain-free. Being proactive by listening to your body and being aware of any discomfort or changes can help you prevent injury.

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    Bursitis Foot Pain Treatment: How To Get Relief And Stay Foot Pain Free

    More common than you might think, bursitis foot pain is caused by a number of factors. Some are very easy to address while others take a little more effort. But, getting relief from bursitis in your foot will have a big impact on your daily activities and quality of life. Learn more about what causes foot bursitis and how you can treat it.

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    Your foot is equipped with its own cushioning system that helps reduce the impact of walking and running on hard surfaces. Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Tedder, explains, "The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that’s located around joints to help them function. When these are inflamed or irritated, it’s called bursitis, and can decrease the amount of motion in the joint. This most commonly occurs in the heel, hip, knee, shoulder, and thumb."

    If the bursa in your foot becomes inflamed from overuse or injury, you may experience pain, swelling, or bruising in your heel, arch, or metatarsal area (ball of foot). 

    Common Symptoms of Foot Bursitis

    Common areas impacted by bursitis

    What Causes Bursitis?

    There are many things that can contribute to the development of bursitis foot pain. The most common cause of foot bursitis is the overuse or improper use of your foot’s muscles, bones, and tendons. Other common causes include the use of ill-fitting footwear and other biomechanical issues in your feet. 

    Overuse Injuries Can Cause Bursitis In Foot

    Repetitive activities like jumping, dancing, power walking, or running can lead to foot bursitis. This can be especially true if you don’t take the time to stretch and warm-up your body—especially your feet—prior to exercise. Always spend time stretching your body and feet prior to athletic activities to ensure your muscles and tendons are warmed up, with proper blood flow and oxygen.

    If you are not accustomed to strenuous activity, take things slowly when you first begin a new exercise regimen. While you may (and should) be enthusiastic about your healthy new routine, your body needs time to adjust to the new demands. Pacing yourself in the beginning is an important step in becoming fit and avoiding injury.

    Footwear

    Ill-fitting footwear is another culprit when it comes to bursitis. If you regularly run, jump, dance, or spend many hours at a time on your feet, be sure your footwear has:

    Biomechanical Irregularities In The Foot

    Sometimes, bursitis foot pain can be caused by an existing foot irregularity, like Haglund’s deformity—a bone spur that can develop on the heel. The bursa can become inflamed as it tries to cushion the heel and the spur from impact.

    Other conditions that may cause or contribute to bursitis include problems with thyroid levels, infections, arthritis, or diabetes. These medical conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated, so it is important to see a physician if you have symptoms of bursitis in your foot.

    How is Bursitis of the Foot Diagnosed?

    If your doctor suspects you may have bursitis, they will examine your foot and ask you about the symptoms, how often you exercise, when the pain began, and your medical history. To rule out an underlying illness, injury, deformity, or bone fracture, your doctor may order an X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or blood work. If they suspect an infection, they may remove some fluid from the bursa to test it for gout.

    Note that bursitis foot pain is often confused with other foot conditions, including: plantar fasciitis, a heel spur, Achilles tendinopathy, Sever’s Disease, a trapped nerve, Haglunds’ deformity, or a stone bruise. Depending on the condition your doctor finds, they may refer you to a rheumatologist, orthopedist, or podiatrist.

    Bursitis Foot Treatment Options

    The good news about foot bursitis is that it can be easily managed with proper and prompt attention. Here are a few common bursitis foot treatment options:

    How Insoles Help Bursitis Foot Pain

    Remember, footwear manufacturers design their shoes to fit the widest range of people. That means the vast majority of shoes have minimal arch support. Footwear makers do this because they expect that people who need additional arch support will add an insole.

    You'll get the most out of your footwear by replacing the factory inserts that come in your shoes with firm, supportive insoles. To get the most out of the arch support insoles you're adding to your shoes, look for ones that:

    Podiatrists recommend firm support to improve alignment, control pronation, and deliver long-term comfort. Insoles are a small investment in good lifelong foot health. Add them to your footwear and reap the benefits.

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    Arch Height Chart

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