Top 10 Best Insoles for Flat Feet 2018 (Best Sellers & Highest Reviews)
If you’re familiar with saying that “What goes up must come down,” you may know that the phrase was coined by Sir Issac Newton. Considered one of England’s renowned thinkers, Newton conjured his famous quote during a long and legendary career as a mathematician, physicist and astronomer. Referring to the dynamics of gravity, his words have been applied to myriad situations–so why not use it to describe flat feet?
There’s nothing mysterious about the condition also known as fallen arches. All humans are born with flat feet, but as the body develops, tendons tighten so by the time a toddler is mobile, arches are usual formed as a natural part of the foot’s growth. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people never develop arches in the first place while others develop them due to an illness, injury or advanced age.
Rarely painful, having flat feet can nevertheless be problematic for those who spend a lot of time on their feet–particularly for athletes who take their exercise on the paths and tracks set aside for recreational runners.
Since fallen arches have been around since man first walked the earth, rudimentary attempts to alleviate this problem go back centuries, states Dr. Joshua Kaye. “The first insoles were made by innkeepers from matted animal hair retrieved from the local barn,” he notes. Fortunately, today’s medical specialists take the job of compensating for the lack of an arch so seriously, you won’t find them making orthotics in barns!
Best Insoles for Flat Feet 2018 Reviewed & Tested
Last update on 2019-01-23 PST - Details
Exactly What are Insoles?
According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, orthotic insoles are devices worn to correct certain foot problems in cases where surgery isn’t necessary but comfort may be at stake. Some people call these aids arch supports, but in fact, today’s variety of orthotics do more than support arches; they also serve to correct a person’s gait in the form of ankle braces, foot pads and shoe inserts.
Once upon a time, the only way to obtain inserts required a visit to the doctor followed by a prescription for a custom-made insert fashioned by a prosthetics maker. These days, arch supports can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies and retailers like Walmart, K-Mart and Target.
Whether you feel more confident having your insoles made by a professional or you’re not hesitant to try an over-the-counter (OTC) product, neither promise perfection, but one way to ensure a better result is to involve a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Whether you opt for a pricey, custom-molded aid or your doctor recommends a more affordable OTC product, your chances of finding symptom relief are excellent.
Types of Orthotics on Today’s Market
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, prescription insoles are divided into two broad categories: Functional and accommodative. Functional types control “abnormal motion” but they don’t address the problem of flat feet. Accommodative orthotics are engineered to resolve conditions like flat feet because they provide the sort of cushioning and support that relieve discomfort.
Just because you’ve received a diagnosis of flat feet from a medical professional and an orthotic is prescribed for your flat feet, that doesn’t mean you must go to the trouble and expense of having custom insoles make to correct your condition. Today’s OTC orthotics are so reliable, doctors recommend them to clients who can’t or won’t go the custom route. Expect at least six-months of continued wear with proper care if you choose an OTC product. If properly cared for, custom-inserts could last twice as long.
5 Things to Consider When You Shop for Insoles
- 1.Brand reputation: Plenty of consumers buy a specific brand based on reputation, print and broadcast ads blanketing the media or a specific brand is familiar because they’ve heard about it since they were kids. But don’t let brand comfort keep you from considering competitor OTC products, especially the ones featured in our review section!
- 2.Price: Making an informed decision about insoles that factors in your budget helps shoppers winnow down choices if you decide to go the OTC route. To get an idea of pricing, visit CostHelperHealth.Com. If your health insurance covers orthotics, price may not be a concern–in fact, some policies only cover custom-made inserts, so read the small print carefully.
- 3.Availability: How many times have you read about a product and were favorably impressed enough to buy it–only to learn that it can’t be returned? In fact, insoles belong in a class of products that usually can’t be returned due to hygiene restrictions. Your best bet is to buy your initial insole from a local retailer and if it works out for you, order your second on the Internet.
- 4.Consumer ratings: What did we do before there existed sites on the Internet that published reviews? If you’ve come to depend upon these in your decision-making process, it just makes sense to see what people with flat feet have to say about the OTC insoles they selected.
- 5.Doctor’s recommendations: Plenty of people stop and start with a doctor’s recommendation. If that describes you, follow your doctor’s recommendations. On the other hand, if friends or relatives with flat feet wear insoles, don’t discount their opinions because they’ve got nothing to lose or gain by being honest.
The Advantages of Wearing Insoles
Whether the orthotics you wind up wearing are the result of a doctor’s prescription or a trip to your local Walgreen’s, wearing insoles could lead to a more active lifestyle:
- You’ll experience more support when walking and standing.
- The alignment of your feet as a result of wearing insoles may alleviate pain.
- Other limbs and joints within the skeletal system could feel relief.
- If your body is out of alignment, wearing insoles could remedy that situation.
- You may be able to return to recreational activities you abandoned.
- Wearing insoles can increase your mobility enough to improve your social life.
- Travel you’ve postponed may now be possible due to more comfort and less pain.
- Wear insoles and you could prevent potential stress or hairline fractures.
- Your posture may improve due to the new way your joints and muscles function.
- If range of motion issues plagued you, insoles could remedy that, too.
Controversies You Should Know About
The American Podiatric Medical Association isn’t the only industry group seeking to convince consumers that doctor-prescribed best insoles for flat feet remain the only show in town. Visit their site to find convincing arguments for skipping OTC inserts.
But, says a “New York Times” article discussing the rise in popularity of orthotics, “…some foot specialists and athletes say that custom insoles are over-prescribed. Some research indicates that in many cases less expensive prefabricated inserts may work just as well.” The choice is up to you, but an overall solution to this dilemma may be a combination of a doctor’s diagnosis with a recommendation for an OTC insole.
Can Insoles Prevent Injuries?
Sadly, this is not likely because while your body benefits in multiple ways from the boost to your arches, there are no injury prevention guarantees. If an insole promises this benefit, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction! Sales pitches that encourage sufferers of flat feet to buy a high-priced insoles may be more about a manufacturer’s bottom line than the health of people suffering from flat feet.
Says Dr. Rock Positano of the Hospital for Special Surgery, “Some over-the-counter orthotics may exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions. Those at particular risk are people with heel pain, Achilles tendon pain, back or knee problems, or those who have a high arch foot type or flat feet,” he adds. Because manufacturers of OTC products may look for ways justify a higher price, claiming injury prevention should always be met with skepticism.
Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Orthotics
For newcomers to the world of insoles, it’s natural to think that all there is to making the most of the shoe inserts that are designed to alleviate pain and benefit your body is to slide them on and go about your business. Want yours to last a long time? Follow these 12 dos and don’ts:
The Care and Feeding of Your Orthotics
Nobody needs to tell you that if you take care of your personal items, they will take care of you—and for far longer than they would if you treated them badly. Getting into the habit for cleaning your inserts adds to their longevity and the benefits you receive, so make it a point to clean yours using a gentle soap solution and lukewarm water. Your instinct may say, “the hotter the better,” but heat and orthotics work at counter-purposes and you could even damage your inserts so badly, you might have to replace them.
Drying is the second most-important task you’re asked to undertake. Slip those orthotics into your shoes and take off for a full day of activity and you risk mold development and/or athlete’s feet, that nasty fungal infection that triggers flaking skin, irritation between toes that could leave you in more pain than the flat feet that triggered your insole purchase! Suffice to say, the offensive odor associated with athlete’s foot alone may be enough to remind you to thoroughly dry your insoles.
Can Insoles Cause Injuries?
Having reiterated claims by orthotics manufacturers seeking to drive sales by insinuating that inserts can help wearers avoid injury, you’ll want to hear the other side of the story to cover all bases. Orthopedists and manufacturers hedge their bets by making statements like, “Orthotics are not risk-free.” Like every aid made to correct a defect in the human body, there will always be risks. Your job is to differentiate whether injury is caused by the insole or the shoe you wear.
“Orthotics are like prescription drugs,” says Dr. Positano of HSS, an organization that focuses its educational efforts and treatments on musculoskeletal health. “When indicated and prescribed correctly, they are beneficial to the user. When unnecessary or prescribed incorrectly, they can be dangerous.” An important reminder as you search our list for the orthotic best suited to your unique situation.
Want to verify your guess before you go to a doctor? These YouTube videos can assist you in understanding whether your own flat foot diagnosis has validity:
As always, the information presented to you in this review is aimed at helping you make informed decisions about products that are the most reliable remedies for your flat feet issues. Keeping in mind the fact that your ultimate goal is reaching a point where you’re able to resume activities no longer available to you as a result of your condition, sensible approaches to wearing orthotics offers you the most amount of success.
Apply due diligence by carefully considering the products profiled in our survey section, talk with medical professionals and purchase your insoles based on information you’ve evaluated, taking into account your budget. Once you’ve selected your inserts, break them in slowly to avoid problems that run the gamut from acquiring blisters to subjecting your flat feet to additional pain. Importantly, adhere to those important cleaning and drying protocols.
Fortunately, there are plenty of manufacturers producing these aids that are eager to resolve the discomfort you suffer as a result of having flat feet–they want to get you back to the active life you enjoyed. Hold up your part of the bargain and you may call the insoles you added to your shoe wardrobe the wisest decision you’ve made since your doctor delivered that diagnosis.