If your condition doesn’t require you to see a doctor, a pair of insoles could be the answer. Most orthopedic arch supports available through retail cost around $20. On the other hand, custom-made inserts average $400 to $600. Why spend hundreds of dollars when you don’t need to? We’ve gathered our favorite off-the-shelf insoles for flat feet to share with you.
Why buy insoles for flat feet?
There are many good reasons to buy insoles if you have flat feet or fallen arches. It doesn’t matter how you acquired them, but it does matter that you do something about them. Why? Poor arches affect your ankles, knees, hips, and back, changing the alignment of your whole body. Fallen arches often co-occur with overpronation, where the foot turns inwards and downward, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, a condition that occurs when the plantar fascia ligament suffers small tears and becomes inflamed. Misalignments limit the mobility of these joints, and the effects can be painful.
So if there’s a solution, why not try it out? Prefabricated insoles for flat feet are relatively inexpensive, and many are high-quality. They support the arch and feet, distribute the foot’s pressure across the sole, improve balance, and relieve pain in affected areas of the body.
What should you look for in a pair of insoles for flat feet?
- Fit: You want to find insoles that fit just right. They’re made to relieve, not cause pain, so finding the appropriate fit is key. Many prefabricated insoles come one-size-fits-all with instructions on how to trim along the outline of the toe bed. You may want to trim with caution. If you cut off too much, the insert won’t extend the entire length of your foot; cut off too little, and you may experience cramping in the toe bed and a squeaking sound when you walk. Some insoles come in numerous women’s and men’s sizes so that you don’t have to do any trimming.
- Material: The shoe and foot care industry involves an overwhelming variety of materials, including ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) memory foam, injection molded plastics, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and more. EVA is a closed-cell foam known for its flexibility, durability, shock absorption, and lighter weight. Many quality insoles feature EVA, often in more than one place of the insole, such as a bottom layer and reinforced heel. TPU has high rebound, firmness, and durability. The ideal cover is both nonslip, breathable, and absorbent. If your foot moves around in your shoe due to the fabric and possibly poor fit, the friction may make your feet sweat more and cause blisters, especially if you’re running.
- Activity-Specific: Look for running-specific insoles if that’s your jam. The same holds for exercise walkers. Be sure the insole is made for fast-paced motion and sufficient support. A nice pair of walking shoes becomes a terrible pair if the insert is one-size-fits-all for non-specific activity. You want an insole designed for your preferred activity, which is where having quality EVA, TPU, and design become essential. However, a general insole may do the job if you need an insole for daily activity at the office, school, or home.
When should you seek out custom-made orthotics?
Consider seeing a specialist if you have advanced plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, or significant knee or hip pain. If you experience a jolt of pain by simply standing on your feet when you wake up in the morning, it’s likely time to see a doctor. If you choose the store-bought insole option and your pain increases, it’s a good idea to go to a professional. Custom-made orthotics can be life-changing.
Dr. Scholl's Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics
A quality, long-lasting insert made by a reliable brand.
Pros: Dr. Scholl’s has been around for a long time! Their foot care products started in 1906. These quality and affordable orthotics feature shock guard technology, which absorbs impact in the heel as you walk and run. If you have a bad case of plantar fasciitis, you know why you need extra protection in the heel. The full-length insert includes reinforced arch support, which, hopefully, prevents the condition from expanding beyond the heel. The insert even gives your toes soft but firm protection. Easy to trim to size, these insoles provide a simple treatment for intense heel pain.
Cons: Some users expressed disappointment because the inserts broke down faster than expected.
Bottom Line: Dr. Scholl’s plantar fasciitis insoles offer basic, reliable support with a reinforced arch for heel pain relief and a shock guard. They work well for tennis shoes, work boots, or everyday shoes.
WALK·HERO COMFORT AND SUPPORT Insoles for Flat Feet
A lightweight, durable arch support for sports or daily wear.
Pros: These full-length, semi-rigid WALK-HERO insoles make an excellent option for runners, walkers, professionals, and people moving through their regular day. A lot of thought was invested in the intelligent design; each insole section is integral. The semi-rigid 7mm TPU arch support, deep stabilizing heel cup, and three-layer cushioning create an impressively comfortable and effective pain-reducing insole. The EVA bottom layer is similar to the inserts that come with most shoes and can be used in most shoes. The middle layer offers semi-rigid support, and the top is antibacterial, soft, and durable.
Cons: The WALK-HERO insoles aren’t machine washable, and some might find them too hard.
Bottom Line: The WALK-HERO insoles are a lightweight, affordable, and well-designed option to relieve plantar fasciitis pain and stave off the onset. They also come in many sizes to accommodate as many sizes as possible, so you don’t need to worry about trimming.
Samurai Insoles Ninjas Arch Support
Slip these in your shoes for ninja-fast foot pain relief.
Pros: You must admit that the brand name is catchy. These Samurai insoles possess qualities that provide quick pain relief and might even make you lighter on your feet. These insoles are reputed for their custom-made and top-notch design. The brains behind the design happen to be a podiatrist and a team of engineers, which may bring you comfort knowing that you can trust the product. The goal is to support your feet in the right places to address numerous conditions like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and more. Another enticing quality is their simplicity. They’re one piece of injection-molded plastic; there’s no friction, no odor-causing fabrics or layers to worry about.
Cons: According to user feedback, these are on the hard side of most insoles. For some people, it’s the perfect solution. Others find them uncomfortable.
Bottom Line: The Samurai Ninjas offer a stress-free solution to flat feet discomfort. The low-profile insoles come in many sizes for men and women and just slip right into the shoe.
PCSsole Orthotic Insoles for Flat Feet
A low-profile shoe insert with ample arch support.
Pros: Finally, a medical-grade insole for flat feet with rigid arch support! Only those of us with flat feet can genuinely appreciate excellent arch support. The multi-layer, full-length design includes nonslip fabric, cushioning EVA, rigid TPU for support, and hard anti-slip EVA foam. It might sound like the insert takes up a lot of space with all the layers, but it’s low-profile. The only thick part is the arch, which is right where you want durable support. Because the inserts are thin overall, you can slip them into street shoes, work shoes and boots, running shoes, and even slippers.
Cons: While the 3-centimeter arch support works for many, it’s not enough support for others. It takes a while to break them in.
Bottom Line: A combination of rigid arch support and cushioning EVA, these insoles promise to add stability to your gait and provide a comfier ride. Some users say it took them a while to break them in and were happy they waited. Give them some time, and the results should win you over.
Walkomfy Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics
These intelligently designed insoles feature a three-point design and odor-reducing fabric.
Pros: The Walkomfy insoles for flat feet stand out from the others for their inventive three-point design, which supports the heel, arch, and tibia. The U-shaped heel features a Rogers PORON® shock-absorbing heel cup. A 3.4-centimeter cork ProBarlOC thermoplastic device at the arch stabilizes the foot as you move forward. Finally, the 5-millimeter latex metatarsal pad reduces friction and pressure at the ball of the foot, preventing tibia supination. The multiple layers above and between the supports include OrthoLite® foam, EVA (memory foam) punching for comfort and ventilation, velvety top fabric treated with DuPont INTELLIFRESH®, and built-in odor-causing bacteria prevention.
Cons: If you’ve never had insoles with metatarsal support, you may want to give these insoles some time before you decide to try a different pair. Some users might find the arch support insufficient.
Bottom Line: These accommodating insoles come in several men’s and women’s sizes. They’re great for most shoes, too. They may work for running and hiking, but they’re most appropriate for walking, everyday wear at home, and work.
If your flat feet hurt, there’s a solution! Get a pair of high-quality insoles. Remember to get the right size, design for your physical activity, and support where you need it most. And if that pain worsens, don’t hesitate to see your doc.