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Which orthotic inserts are best?

If you have pain or discomfort in your feet or legs, adding orthotic inserts may help address these symptoms because they ease the pressure on your arch. 

While you can easily purchase orthotic inserts over the counter, it isn’t always easy to find the right pair for your needs. Always choose inserts that provide adequate cushioning under the arch and heel, like the Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer Athletic Cushioning Arch Support Shoe Insoles.

What to know before you buy orthotic inserts

Gel vs. foam inserts

The two most common types of orthotic inserts to help cushion your feet are gel and foam inserts. Gel inserts usually have a squishy feel and provide you with a little extra cushioning when you walk or run. On the other hand, foam inserts are great at evenly distributing your weight and cushion your feet in all the right places.


Some manufacturers make insoles specifically for people with foot discomfort and leg fatigue, using materials that make the wearer more comfortable in their daily life. While gel insoles are usually more comfortable than foam insoles, they don’t offer as much support. The type of fabric used to make the insole also determines the level of comfort. For instance, inserts made with temperweave fabric or hydrologix moisture technology can keep your feet smelling fresh by reducing moisture and odor when you wear them.


Orthotic inserts can improve some painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, arthritis and heel spurs. Some even realign the affected area which helps alleviate pain and inflammation. Foam insoles are a great choice if you want a supportive insole to improve your alignment. Also, if your job requires you to stand or walk for hours, insoles with advanced cushioning technology can lessen the impact of being on your feet.

What to look for in quality orthotic inserts


There are several different types of orthotic inserts, such as over-the-counter, custom fit and heat-moldable options. Most people find that over-the-counter insoles work great for them, which you can purchase online or at your local drugstore. Heat-moldable inserts are usually form-fitting as they are made into the shape of your feet. Custom-fit inserts include individualized features and are often very expensive. 

Arch support

Quality orthotic inserts provide adequate arch support. Some orthotic inserts are designed specifically for individuals who experience discomfort due the to high, low or fallen arches of their feet. If your feet have high arches, look for orthotic inserts designed for high arches so they provide the proper support.


While you shouldn’t expect your inserts to last forever, they should be useful for quite some time. One of the best insole materials for durability is sorbothane, which effectively absorbs the impact of walking and running.


Orthotic inserts will likely change how your shoes fit. Full-sized insoles can make your shoes feel tight. Shorter forms, by contrast, can be placed on top of your existing insoles to give your feet the right cushioning and arch support. Furthermore, you can trim some insoles to fit your shoe size.

How much you can expect to spend on orthotic inserts

Depending on the type, orthotic inserts generally cost between $10-$800. When buying the over the counter options, you can expect to pay $10-$80. Prescription or custom inserts can cost you between $200-$800.

Orthotic inserts FAQ

Q. How do I put insoles into my shoes?

A. When putting your insert in your shoe, bend the bottom of the insole toward the inside of the shoe at a 30- to 40-degree angle. Once that is done, the insert should slip in easily. You can also use the insoles that come with your shoes as a cutting guide if you have to trim your inserts to fit your shoes. 

Q. How do I wash my orthotic insoles?

A. You should wash your orthotic insoles by hand using mild soap and warm water, and then lay them flat to allow them to air dry naturally. Allow your insoles to dry completely before inserting them into your shoes again. Before wearing your shoes with the insoles, always wash your feet.

What are the best orthotic inserts to buy?

Top orthotic insert

Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer Athletic Cushioning Arch Support Shoe Insoles

Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer Athletic Cushioning Arch Support Shoe Insoles

What you need to know: Made with nylon, these lightweight insoles are a great option if you need additional cushioning for workouts, walks or runs.

What you’ll love: They have four-way stretch fabric that helps prevent blisters. They also provide excellent cushioning and shock absorption thanks to the EVA forefoot cushion and the Spencore heel plug.

What you should consider: Some users mention that they are better for heel cushion than arch support.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top orthotic insert for the money

Plantar Fasciitis Feet Insoles Arch Supports Orthotics Inserts

Plantar Fasciitis Feet Insoles Arch Supports Orthotics Inserts

What you need to know: You can add these arch support orthotic insoles to your casual shoes, running shoes, cleats or dress shoes to provide support and comfort.

What you’ll love: They come with a deep heel cup to protect your feet against the impact of walking or running. There is also a semi-rigid orthotic arch support that helps to alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis, arthritis or bunions. 

What you should consider: These are not suitable for those with high arches.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Dr. Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics 

Dr. Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics 

What you need to know: If you have plantar fasciitis and want to add orthotic inserts to your footwear, these are an excellent option.

What you’ll love: They include a shock-guard technology that can provide immediate pain relief. These insoles lessen pain in the morning and aches throughout the day. They can fit into virtually any type of footwear, from casual shoes to sneakers and even work boots.

What you should consider: Some users felt these inserts were too wide for their shoes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Ayotola Ogunsipe writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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