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The Different Types of Insoles Compared. Insight.

Made From The Molds Of Your Feet

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Designed for an active lifestyle.

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Designed for normal day-to-day use.

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:

  • 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

When it comes to foot pain and discomfort, the world of insoles is vast. From generic drugstore options to various custom orthotics providers, choosing the right solution can feel overwhelming. But for those seeking the best possible support and personalized care, Bilt Labs custom orthotics stand out as a superior choice. Here's why:

  • Precision Meets Convenience: Bilt Labs ditches the messy impression trays and impersonal approach. Their innovative 3D scanning technology utilizes a smartphone app to capture the exact contours of your feet from multiple angles. This translates to custom orthotics designed for your unique anatomy, ensuring an unmatched level of targeted support that generic insoles simply cannot provide.

  • Focus on Function: Bilt Labs goes beyond just arch support. They analyze your foot scan to identify specific pressure points and gait abnormalities. This allows them to incorporate features like strategically placed arch supports, medial wedges, and heel cups. These elements work together to address the root causes of your foot pain, whether it's flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or heel pain. Generic insoles often offer a one-size-fits-all approach that may not address your specific needs.

  • Comfort You Can Customize: Bilt Labs prioritizes both support and comfort. Their orthotics are crafted from high-quality, medical-grade materials that are breathable and shock-absorbing. Plus, you can choose from a variety of top cover materials to add a touch of personalization and ensure a perfect fit that eliminates rubbing and discomfort. Many generic insoles are made from less durable materials and may not offer the same level of breathability or customization.

Bilt Labs custom orthotics aren't just about temporary pain relief. By addressing the biomechanical causes of discomfort, they can improve your overall foot health and mobility in the long run. With Bilt Labs, you're not just buying insoles; you're investing in a personalized solution designed to keep you moving comfortably and confidently.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

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.

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.

Types of Insoles


Whether you're a weekend warrior, a busy professional, or someone who simply wants to experience everyday comfort, there's an insole option to address your specific needs. From generic cushioning insoles to custom orthotics designed for complex foot issues, the right insole can make a world of difference in your foot health and overall well-being. So ditch the discomfort and explore the world of insoles – your feet will thank you for it! Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.