Shoe Arch Supports
Choosing the best shoe arch supports doesn't
have to be confusing if you understand what you should be looking
"So, what should I be looking
for?" you ask.
Okay, let's break it down. There are
seven main things you should be paying close attention to when
choosing your shoe arch supports:
- Do you want custom-made orthotics
or off-the-shelf generic arch supports? Realize that your feet are
as different as your finger prints. Let's say we both wear a size 10
D. Does that mean our feet are exactly the same? Of course not.
There could me minor differences in the length and width. There are
26 bones in each foot and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments.
What makes you think the bones will be shaped the same or positioned
the same? Do you think the muscles, tendons and ligaments will have
the same length, thickness and elasticity? They obviously won't. Not
only that but I'm sure you already know that each of your feet are
different as well. So, now do you think it doesn't matter if your
orthotics are custom-made to your unique individual foot? So
choose personally fitted and custom-made orthotics.
- Do the orthotics correct for
over-pronation? What do I mean by that question? Well, most feet
have excessive pronation or a rolling inward. You will also find
that one foot will probably pronate more than the other. Most
orthotics, even some custom-made shoe arch supports, are not built to
correct for over-pronation. If they are built for over-pronation do
they correct your excessive pronation or are they the same from one
orthotic to the other? So, choose orthotics that will correct your
- Do they support all three arches
of the foot or just the medial longitudinal arch? Did you know you
have 3-arches in each foot? They are: the medial longitudinal
arch, the lateral longitudinal arch and the transverse arch.
Those generic retail store arch supports only help support the
medial longitudinal arch and some will offer support for the
transverse arch. Few, if any, have any support for the lateral arch.
Once again generic arch supports do not offer supports for your
unique foot and its unique individual arches. So, choose arch
supports that support all three of your arches.
- Do they have shock absorbing
material manufactured in the heels? Most do not. If they do it is
usually inexpensive, poor quality shock absorbing material that is
not much more than a piece of foam or rubber. So, choose arch supports
with quality shock absorbing material.
- Are they flexible, semi-rigid, or
rigid? Your foot is not rigid. It is a dynamic set of joints,
muscle, tendons and ligaments that are designed to stretch and
contract, and support and allow give all at the same time where it
is needed. There is a constant change happening with every step you
take and every move you make. If the supports are rigid (hard
plastic) they will prevent and interfere with this dynamic action
and they will transmit shock when they should be allowing for shock
absorption or dampening affect. Now forces are transmitted up the
body to the knees, hips, lower back and even the neck. So, choose
flexible or semi-rigid arch supports depending on activity.
- What are the materials used in the
manufacture of the orthotics? You get what you pay for. Are the
materials of the highest grade (leather) or other composite? Or are
they manufactured using cheap synthetic materials that is reflected
by the price of the orthotic. So, choose high quality leather or
other materials when purchasing orthotics.
- What kind of guarantee do they
have for workmanship and satisfaction? Most generic off-the-shelf
arch supports offer no guarantee or a minimal one at best. Why would
you purchase any product with an inferior warranty/guarantee for
workmanship or comfort. You are purchasing orthotics with the
intention of using them daily. Make sure they are built to last.
Purchase quality arch supports that are backed-up with a full year
warranty on workmanship and materials and a guarantee for
satisfaction in comfort.
So, choose quality orthotics that
offer a full year guarantee on workmanship, material and
With these questions and concerns
answered and addressed the choice should be obvious. Remember, you
are needing shoe arch supports that will correct for your individual
weaknesses and structural faults or breakdown. You will be using them
daily. Make sure you purchase orthotics that are custom-made,
comfortable and of such quality that they will last for at least one
My personal choice and the choice and
the brand that I have used in my practice for hundreds of patients
with over 99% satisfaction are Foot Levelers.
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