Insert: An insert is any device which will fit into a shoe. This can be a soft, cushioned insole you find at the drug store for $10, or it can be a custom made orthotic costing a couple hundred dollars at your doctor's office. Soft insoles are flexible and add comfort and cushion to a shoe. When you purchase a soft, flexible insole, you should know that they will not be providing support, only extra cushion.
Insole: An insole is actually the innersole or lining of the shoe. All shoes come with some type of insole. The insole may be thin and stitched into the shoe or thicker, cushioned and removeable. Insole has become a general term to describe inserts or arch supports.
Arch support is a general term to describe any device which slips into the shoe and supports the arch. Placing something under the arch may add comfort or support and sometimes simple arch supports or pads from the drug store will do the trick. If you have the feeling that you just need a little padding under the arch, arch pads may be the perfect fit for you. But, if you have pain in your arch, placing a pad under the arch may increase the pain. If you have tired feet, especially at the end of the day, a slip-in dress insole will help support the arch in dress shoes, loafers and high heels. If you are not in dress shoes during the day, moldable arch supports should fit in your shoes and give a little more custom support.
Tired Feet: If you have tired, achy feet at the end of the work day, but work all day on your feet, you will need more support. You will need a more rigid arch support that helps to control motion as well. Do not buy a drug store insole, you should buy your support at your local sporting goods store or running shop. Superfeet orthotics and ARCH Molds heat moldable insoles are both great choices. If you are a runner, walker, hiker or play sports, both superfeet and ARCH Molds are a great insole choice for impact activity.
Flatfeet: For those with flatfeet or arch collapse it is important to have an insert which controls motion. The reason the arch collapses is because of abnormal motion in the foot, called pronation. Pronation is the rolling in of the feet in combination and the subsequent collapse of the arch. Individuals with a significant amount of abnormal motion should be in an orthotic. An orthotic controls abnormal motion in the foot and takes stress off the arch and adds support. Pre-fabricated orthotics can be purchased at sports stores and custom-made orthotics can be made through your podiatrist's office. Pre-fabricated orthotics like Superfeet and ARCH Molds can help with plantar fasciitis, heel pain, sore arches, mild to moderate flatfeet and callus development. They are more rigid than most insoles to offer support and motion control, yet have enough padding for comfort. Prolab Posted Orthotics are the most rigid over the counter insert and most closely resemble a custom made orthotic. They are designed for maximum motion control (controlling over-pronation) and preventing arch collapse for those with flatfeet.Foot conditions such as posterior tibial tendonitis, tendon dysfunction or severe flatfeet need custom made orthotics through a doctor's office.
last updated 6/16/10
Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.