Shoe inserts are a podiatrist’s not-so-secret weapon to combat foot pain. If your favorite pair of shoes is a walking nightmare, don’t take another step.
“Shoe inserts, also known as orthotics, help to improve your foot health by stabilizing your mid-foot joints and supporting your arches,” says Velimir Petkov, DPM, a podiatrist at Premier Podiatry in Clifton, New Jersey. “Providing proper arch support can improve your overall gait and posture, and therefore relieve your ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain. In addition, proper shoe inserts can relieve heel pain and reduce arthritic pain.”
There are many different types of shoe inserts, from options that slide into your high heels to those made specifically for your boots or sneakers. When possible, however, Dr. Petkov prefers to go the custom route. “Custom molded orthotics are so much more accurate and effective than store-bought over-the-counter inserts,” he says. Dr. Petkov uses an in-office 3D-scanning device that captures each foot individually to produce a create custom orthotics for his patients. To mimic the process, there are some kits you can use right at home.
The best shoe inserts for happy and healthy feet
After receiving this kit in the mail, you’ll create a mold of your feet and send it back. A few weeks later, your insoles will arrive, which are made with cushioning layers of shock-absorbing material.
Shop now: Hammacher Schlemmer The Custom Fit Insoles, $120
2. Upstep On My Feet All Day, $230
These shoe inserts are designed to help reduce arch collapse and prevent fatigue, pain, and injury. There are also multiple design options that can fit any type of shoe you desire.
Shop now: Upstep On My Feet All Day, $230
3. Conventional Custom Orthotics, $100
These shoe inserts come in full length and 3/4 length, and you can choose to add extra support if you wish.
Shop now: Conventional Custom Orthotics, $100
Affordable alternatives to custom molded orthotics
1. Powerstep Original Shoe Insoles, $37
Dr. Petkov loves Footmaxx for custom orthotics, but they must be ordered through your podiatrist. This is an affordable alternative he recommends. “They can give sufficient arch support for the average runner that has flexible flat foot deformities,” he says. “In combination with good running shoes, such as Brooks or Asics, they can work really well.”
Shop now: Powerstep Original Shoe Insoles, $37
2. Powerstep SlimTech 3/4 Length, $35
If you’re looking for something perfect for your fall boots, this is a great pick. Because of the shorter length, they can fit a variety of different shoes. “These affordable shoe insoles provide sufficient arch support,” says Dr. Petkov.
Shop now: Powerstep SlimTech 3/4 Length, $35
If you’re experiencing foot pain, try these mobility stretches:
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