Shoe Insoles and Orthotics – What Are They and Do They Work?


There are a number of different shoe insoles aimed at offering solutions to a range of comfort and corrective foot, leg and walking problems.

Regular insoles

The most basic type of shoe insole is one that is added to, or used to replace, the insole already in a shoe in order to make the shoe feel more comfortable.

This kind of insole may be added to gain a “snugger fit” or, more probably, to add extra cushioning and impact absorption to the shoe’s structure.

Insoles of this type are frequently made from a gel like material and they may use air cushioning or other composite constructions. There objective is to create a softer and more shock-absorbent surface on which the foot can bear weight, hinge and gain feedback from the walking surface. This kind of Customised insoles in Singapore can be beneficial to general wear or sports use and it adds an extra level of comfort and padding to a pair of shoes or boots.

General insoles of this type may be the full length and width of the shoes, or they may cover a certain zone like the heal-to-ball of the foot area. Most insoles will have a surface that will adhere to the shoe to avoid slippage during use.

Medical insoles or orthotic inserts

In addition to comfort insoles, there are a number of different orthotics that fit into a shoe and target a specific foot or walking problem. These orthotics can be bought online and off the shelf, or they can be custom built for a particular individual.

Orthotics of this type can help to relieve pressure over certain areas of the foot, provide additional support to the foot, improve the mechanical function of the foot, improve the position of the foot, or compensate for some form of foot deformity.

These orthotics cover a broad range of foot, lower leg and walking disorders from the very minor to the quite serious and, when fitted correctly, they can significantly enhance the quality of life. The best medical orthotic inserts should always be customised for their user.

Typical examples of foot problems that can be assisted by medical orthotics include:

Pronation, where the foot appears to collapse inwards and can ultimately lead to a fallen arch and plantar fasciitis (a painful and mobility affecting inflammation). This can be treated with a customised arch support.

Supination, which is the reverse of pronation and sees the foot tilting outwards and producing an exaggerated foot arch. This can be treated with a customised arch support.

The extent to which inserts and orthotics work is open to debate. Inserts designed to aid comfort and shock absorption are widely seen as effective. They are also cheap to buy and can usually be washed and switched from shoe to shoe.

Medical orthotics appear to have a more mixed reception. Custom designed and fitted orthotics are seen as a solution to a number of serious foot problems, but off-the shelf versions of these inserts meet with less favourable receptions.

There is also a view point that it is better to buy good quality and well made (or customised) shoes in the first instance, rather than try to compensate for lower quality shoes with removable insoles or corrective orthotics.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *