A Layman's guide to Orthotics, Insoles and Arch Supports.
Why insoles? What you put in the bottom of your shoe can have many names: insoles, arch supports, orthotics, shoe inserts and even footbeds. The reasons why you put something in the bottom of your shoe can be many, but there is one common reason: your foot is not working as well as you would like it to.
For example maybe your foot is not protecting your heel or arch with enough skin padding so you add more with a cushion insole. Or maybe your foot was not designed by Mother Nature as well as it might be and you need to correct its shape with more arch or support. There are also people that have poor circulation from Diabetes and some insoles can improve that circulation. Maybe your feet are cold and you want a heated insole, there are insoles for that. Or maybe you are pushing the limits of your foot by running marathons so you need to have shock absorption that last 26 miles or longer. Whatever the reason you can be assured that there is somebody out there that makes an insole for it.
The most popular insoles purchased are Arch Supports. Another name for an arch supports is Orthotics. Simply put, arch supports are rigid and stiff. They may have different amounts of padding on top but they all have a reinforced arch that is designed to keep your arch in place. When you walk, the arch of your foot collapses by design. If it collapses too much you rip small tendons and muscles at your heel that can develop a condition known as Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is the most common foot problem that podiatrists treat. Wearing improperly fitting shoes and sandals can exacerbate this problem. Rigid Orthotics need to be stiff to keep the heavy impact of your body from collapsing your arch, for this reason they can sometimes feel uncomfortable when you first start wearing them. However, after a few days or weeks, you will not want to walk anywhere without them. You should always get medical advice before self prescribing orthotics.
If your arch problem is less severe, or you truly cannot get used to Orthotics, Arch Cushions may be for you. Arch Cushions give tend to have the same design as orthotics but instead of a rigid arch insert they use foam padding to support your arch. Of course, foam padding will give and hence, be more comfortable. Arch Cushions may be a first step towards wearing rigid orthotics.
Cushioned insoles are just for comfort. Yes they have more arch padding, or heel shock absorption, but they generally are simply to make you and your feet feel better. Spending 8 hours on your feet at a trade show, wearing hiking boots, cowboy boots, steel toed work boots, or just have tired feet at the end of the day? Cushioned insoles can make your feet feel better almost every time. They give you more shock absorption, better support, better circulation, keep your feet cooler and just feel good. Many people wonder why they never used them before and then typically put them in all their shoes.
Sport Insoles are more technical in their design. They are engineered to address specific needs of the athlete. Runners need to have more heel to toe rolling action with extra padding in the heel. Bicyclers need insoles that fit in smaller shoes and that breath better. Snowboarders and skiers need insoles that keep their feet warm, and reflect the cold away from their feet. Hikers need the extra padding for backpacks. Again, there are insoles for most every sport.
Other unique insole examples are: insoles that contain heat packs to help keep your feet toasty warm in the snow. Insoles that have water packets built into them, insoles that have magnets built into them, and even insoles made from recycled materials for those “Green Minded” buyers. One thing you can bet, is that if it works and is made well, Best Insoles carries it.