Orthotics and footwear are two of the most popular topics patients ask their podiatrist about. Often when getting fitted for orthotics it can get quite confusing as to which shoes are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for our feet.
Orthotics are devices used to help offload areas and redistribute pressure. Although orthotics are becoming more
adaptable to many different footwear options, there are certain shoes they work best in. As technology has advanced over the years, orthotics can now be made slimmer and are more user friendly in a wider range of shoes. However, it is important to remember this isn’t true for every single shoe type. High heels are still not orthotic friendly, no matter how slim or low bulk the orthotics have been made. This doesn’t mean you can never wear high heels again, it is best to just wear them in moderation. In general, orthotics fit more easily into shoes that are orthotic friendly.
Some key features we often recommend when looking for shoes include:
- Firm heel counter: this will help provide the rearfoot with extra support, and allow the orthotics to be more beneficial to you.
- Firm/stiff sole: This provides the sole of the foot with more support, preventing it from moving in all directions, and again allowing the orthotic to be more effective.
- Bend at the toe: This will allow your foot to toe-off and leave the ground more easily.
- Strap/lace/buckle across the front of the shoe: this ensures your foot is nice and secure in the shoe and isn’t slipping out in all directions, and again allows you to gain more benefits from the orthotic.
- Removable insole: By having a removable insole it allows us to easily replace the original insole with the orthotic, this ensures there is enough room in the shoe and the shoe won’t be too tight or shallow.
While many shoes are compatible with custom orthotics, there are many styles that are not. Occasionally the volume of the interior of the shoe is simply too shallow to accommodate the foot and orthotics. This is commonly found in more casual or dress shoes. In some cases, some changes can be made to the orthotics to allow a better and more comfortable fit.
The orthotic should fit comfortably and securely with your feet inside your shoes. It is best to remove the insole from the shoe, to allow for more room and depth for your foot and orthotic. The front of the orthotic should slide in smoothly and fit comfortably into the front of the shoe without any bunching or wrinkling.
In general, your podiatrist will advise you of what footwear is best for you and can assess any of your current shoes and recommend if they are suitable or need updating. Your podiatrist will also advise you on how and when you should be wearing your orthotics and this may also change as your injury or pain changes and improves over time as well. If you would like to know more about what shoes fit your orthotics best or are needing footwear recommendations, all our podiatrists here at The Footcare Clinic are ready to help and answer any questions you might have.