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The Different Types of Insoles Compared

The Different Types of Insoles Compared

A good pair of insoles can provide your feet with some of the comforts that they need to make it through the day and see the best results. Many patients will choose a pair of insoles to provide arch support, prevent some issues when they are looking to avoid pain, and prevent or protect against some of the injuries that they may suffer over time.

Many patients may not realize that there are quite a few different types of insoles that they are able to choose from. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option that they can choose, but they need to take the time to research all the options and make sure that they pick one that makes sense for their feet.

Picking a pair of insoles does not have to be difficult, but you do need to know some of the differences that are found between the most common types to ensure you pick one that will fit with your feet the best. Let’s take a look at some of the best types of insoles and when you should choose each one.

What are the Different Types of Insoles?

There are several types of insoles that you are able to choose for your feet. Three options that you can choose from include heat moldable, custom orthotics, and OTC insoles. Each one will have its own benefits and negatives and sometimes it will depend on your unique feet and what will work the best for them.

Heat Moldable Insoles

The first type of orthotic that we can look at is going to be a heat moldable insole. Tread Labs is a popular brand that offers this type of insole. This is going to provide you with a unique way to get a custom fit for the insole that you use on your feet. The steps that are used with these include:

Heat Moldable Insoles
  • You can heat up the insoles based on the directions sent to you. There are different timeframes and temperatures that the device will need depending on the product that you need.
  • Add the insole to your shoe when it is warm. You can then step into the shoe and stand up straight. You can look to see how long you will need to stand there, but it is usually for only a few minutes.
  • Take your feet out and allow the insoles time to cool. This can allow them time to take the shape of your feet.

When this is done properly, the new shape that you see is going to be a close match to the bottom of your foot. It can work, but it may not provide the support that you need. And it is really easy to do this the wrong way, so it is not a good idea for you to rely on this method for your feet.

The Benefits Heat Moldable Insoles

  • These are easy to get a hold of
  • You can work on them in your own home
  • They are faster than working with custom orthotics
  • May provide more support

Disadvantages of Heat Moldable Insoles

  • They will not provide the right support because they will go with your current foot, which may be misaligned right now, rather than the fixes you need

Custom Orthotics

A second option that you can choose is custom orthotics. These are going to be designed with the help of a professional doctor who has education in how the foot should work and can provide some of the support and comfort that your foot will need.

Custom Orthotics

When you want to get a pair of custom orthotics, you will need to make a visit to your podiatrist. They will be able to take a look at your foot, ask questions about your medical history, and watch the way that you walk.

They can then do a custom mold or a 3D scan of the foot. All of that information is sent to the lab to make the exact insole that you need.

These can be more expensive options, with some costing between $200 to $800 depending on where you buy them such as from a doctor or online at Bilt Labs.

They can also take between 2 to 4 weeks to get, which can be a slow process but well worth the wait since they are being customized to your foot and symptoms. Again, they are designed specifically for your unique foot and are more effective in providing some of the issues you have.

The Advantages of Custom Orthotics

  • They are custom-made for your foot, providing the best relief
  • Can help solve many different issues that cause pain in the foot
  • Done by a professional
  • Can last a long time

The Drawbacks of Custom Orthotics

  • Can be expensive if you don't shop around
  • They take a long time to make
  • Not everyone will need one

OTC Insoles

The third type of orthotic that you can choose is an over-the-counter, or OTC, insole. These are the insoles that you are able to purchase online or at a local store or pharmacy. They are easy to find and many will be specialized based on the condition of the foot that you would like to work on.

While these will not be as specialized as a custom orthotic, they can provide a good amount of support when you need to stand or walk around most of the day. These do provide arch support and a good deal of comfort as well, making them the perfect option for most people, without all the high costs as well.

If you would like some support and comfort in the foot, without having to wait up to a month for the product and for a cost that is more affordable (most OTC insoles cost less than $50), then the OTC insole is going to be one of the best options for your feet.

over the counter inserts insoles

The Perks of OTC Insoles

  • You can get them quickly
  • There are many options
  • Can provide comfort, even if you don’t have a major foot condition
  • You can get them online or at a local store
  • They are inexpensive

The Limitations of OTC Insoles

  • They will not last as long as other orthotics
  • You may find they don’t provide enough support depending on the foot condition

Which One is Better Heat Moldable, Custom, or OTC Insoles?

Now it is time to decide which of these insoles is going to be the best one for your feet, giving you the support and the help that your feet need. When you have so many options to go with, it can be hard to know which one is right for your feet.

For the most part, it is best to avoid heat-moldable orthotics. These can be done at home, which is going to be very convenient for a lot of people.

Unfortunately, it is hard to make them work and you can easily make some mistakes that will make them worthless. And since it is looking at the exact shape of your foot right now, it probably won’t give you a lot of support at all.

That leaves you with custom orthotics and over-the-counter orthotics. Which one will be right for your feet and their needs?

This will often depend on what is wrong with your feet, the amount of support that you need, and how bad the pain in the feet is at the time of getting the orthotics. For most patients, the over-the-counter insoles will be plenty of support and comfort.

These insoles are inexpensive, can last a long enough time for you, and can take away some of the pressure and pain that you may feel when you need to be on your feet all day long. Most patients will find that these provide the relief they need and there is no reason for more.

However, if you have some major issues with your feet, then it may be worth it to take a look at custom orthotics. Since these are designed to match your foot and specifically target the areas that you are dealing with the most for pain and discomfort, they can be a good solution for severe issues.

For patients with severe foot conditions and pain that limits mobility, as well as to help prevent injuries or support the lower body after an injury, it makes more sense to go with the custom orthotics and get that little extra support that the foot needs.

Picking The Right Heat Moldable, Custom, or OTC Insoles for Your Needs

Whether you choose to go with heat moldable, custom, or OTC insoles, you will find that the insert is going to provide you with a lot of the benefits that your feet need. These can be comfortable, provide support in the heel and the arches, and plenty of comfort. Picking the right one will ensure that you can give your feet the relief they need.

More Custom Insole Information

Take our free quiz to help determine what type of orthotics will be best for you. When you are ready to see whether custom orthotics are the right solution for your foot ailments, please give us a call, or email us your questions so we can better assist you.

Let Bilt Labs help you treat all of your foot conditions and give you the comfort and pain-free life you need.