The Best Shoe Brands for Orthotic Inserts

The entire process of re-evaluating your shoes and getting orthotics fitted can be challenging. It’s frustrating to purchase a pair of orthotics only to find that they either don’t fit into your shoes or painfully squash your feet (if you do manage to squeeze them in).

In addition to being a huge waste of money, it also leaves you in pain and discomfort, preventing you from getting back to normal physical activities.

Today, we’ll review about what makes a good shoe for orthotics, and how you can find the best shoes for orthotic inserts without having to leave your house. Then, we’ll showcase some of our favourite brands, and tell you why they’ve earned our trust.

What are Orthotics?

To start, let’s get on the same page about what we’re talking about when we discuss orthotics.

Orthotics are a special type of insert that’s placed in your shoes to help alleviate pain and discomfort. If you’re having issues with foot pain and want to try them out, basic orthotics and pads can be purchased from most pharmacies and shoe stores. These inserts offer some padding, but cannot provide the same benefits as a pair of custom-made orthotics.

Custom orthotics are based on the unique shape of your foot and can help treat a variety of issues ranging from metatarsalgia to bursitis, arthritis, and flat feet.

If you’re experiencing pain in your feet or heels after walking, you may want to invest in a pair of custom orthotics. Your doctor or podiatrist may also recommend them if you have weak ankles, high arches, or any other condition that can lead to permanent pain and damage if left untreated.

Orthotics can also help correct the pronation and alignment of your feet, contributing to a healthier gait.

How Orthotics Fit

If you’ve explored orthotics at all, you’re likely aware that not every shoe is suitable for insoles.

Inserting custom insoles requires the shoes to offer a bit of space, and shouldn’t feel too snug before the insoles are inserted. Many people size up by half a size or more to create enough space in their chosen shoes. Here are some of the most common issues that you’ll encounter when it comes to fitting orthotics.

Improper fit

Some shoes just won’t take an orthotic insole or heel pad. Sometimes it’s because the shoe itself is too narrow, while other times it’s more about the overall shape of the shoe. The toe area is a particularly challenging area to fit.

Shoes that fit orthotics will also need to have a removable footbed. Some companies save money and time by making shoes with footbeds that cannot be removed.

Too small for both orthotic and foot

Just because an orthotic fits into your shoe doesn’t mean it’ll be comfortable to wear.

Some pairs of shoes with removable footbeds can take an orthotic but aren’t able to stretch to accommodate your foot. Even if you can get your foot in, it creates an uncomfortable experience as your foot is compressed and squeezed throughout the day.

Shoes made with laces, buckles, or hook and loop closures are much easier on your feet and can accommodate orthotics better than those without these adjustable components.

Too much built-in support

Podiatrists and orthotic manufacturers recommend a neutral shoe for use with custom orthotics. Shoes that have built-in components to help support your feet are great on their own but may neutralize or even counteract the efficacy of your custom orthotics.

The Best Shoes for Custom Orthotics

What shoes should you be looking for when shopping for custom orthotics? The best shoes for custom orthotics start with a removable footbed. The shoe should be wide enough, and most importantly deep enough to fit an insole.

They should also be adjustable. Laces, buckles, and snaps help get a snug fit that’s never too tight or uncomfortable.

Looking for a new brand of shoes to wear with your custom orthotics? Here are some of our favourites.


Some of our best walking shoes for orthotic inserts come from Brooks. These shoes have lots of features you’d expect from an active shoe, including a moulded foam insole with light underfoot cushioning, and a 3D-printed mesh upper for a comfortable, streamlined fit.

Our current favourite Brooks shoe is the Adrenaline GTS 19, which is great for urban walking.


Looking for a great casual or dress shoe that won’t look bulky once you’ve added an orthotic? Rockport makes some of the best dress shoes for orthotics. Featuring a sleek silhouette made from rich leather, these shoes have a hidden comfort factor that will make wearing them all night a cinch.

Rockport makes their footbeds from EVA, which provide gentle cushioning and flexibility. Lace closures, covered with a padded tongue, ensure you can adjust them to your precise comfort level. This way, they’ll never bruise the tops of your feet.


Clarks carries a variety of active lifestyle shoes for both men and women. Whether you prefer light, slip-on loafers or a pair of athletic running shoes, Clarks provides a lot of different options.

Some of their best offerings are casual shoes that can go from day to night with ease. Many of these casual shoes are lined with leather and are made with EVA midsoles for light and supportive tread. Some of our favourites for women and men come with exquisite detailing that disguises more accessible features like zippers and rubber soles.

Find the Best Shoes for Orthotics at Orthotics Direct

At Orthotics Direct, we create custom insoles using your measurements and adjust them specifically to your chosen shoes for a perfect fit. That’s why we’re so obsessive about our customers getting the right shoe. We care so much that we’ve taken over the job of fitting your custom orthotics into your footwear ourselves.

When you order from Orthotics Direct, you’ll use an app or foam formation kit to take an accurate impression of your foot. Then, you can choose from a huge range of compatible shoes on our website.

After you’ve made your choice, we make your custom orthotic and fit it into your chosen shoes before shipping them to you as a complete package. Shop with us today to get the fitting process started. 

Back to blog