Shoe Arch Supports

Choosing the best shoe arch supports doesn't have to be confusing if you understand what you should be looking for.

"So, what should I be looking for?" you ask.

Arch Support

Okay, let's break it down. There are seven main things you should be paying close attention to when choosing your shoe arch supports:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 over-pronation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 satisfaction.
Jogger on beach

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 year.

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. 

Shoe Orthotics

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