FACT OR MYTH - Off-The-Shelf Orthotics Are The Same As Custom-Made Orthotics

 Are off-the-shelf orthotics the same as custom made orthotics? Are custom made orthotics worth the money? Will either option benefit me? There are lots of different options, for all income levels. The real question is, which option works the best for you and will be the best to support your foot health. After all, they do carry all the weight.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between off-the-shelf and custom made, what option may best suit your needs, and what to consider when making the decision. 

What Are Orthotics? 

Orthotics are inserts you place into your footwear to help with a wide range of problems. They provide pain relief, comfort, and support. Orthotics can be inserted into your runners, boots, sports shoes, dress shoes, and sometimes heels. They minimize the damaging forces that result when the foot’s mechanics are misaligned. Not only does it support your feet, it also supports your legs, knees, hips, and lower back. Orthotics improve function, weight distribution, alignment and posture, and the pain associated with misalignment.

Off-The-Shelf Orthotics

Off-the-shelf orthotics are much cheaper than custom made ones. But that’s true with anything. They are designed to have a generic insole and arch support that will help as many people as possible. Since it has to support the majority of people, it may not provide you with the best shape or support you need. That being said, it does help a lot of people by providing some benefits and relief, but not as much as a custom made orthotic does. There are a wide variety of options available such as, arch supports and gel-insoles.

Custom Made Orthotics

Custom made orthotics are just that, custom made for you! They are tailored to your individual needs. You’ll know when orthotics are custom made because you will need to provide an impression of your foot. These high quality orthotics are designed for a wide range of conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, or to provide arch support and additional cushioning. They are even used to treat patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses.

How To Decide Which Type Of Orthotic Is Right For You


1.How severe is the pain you are experiencing and how much does it affect your day-to-day life?

2.How much are you willing to spend on orthotics?

3.Do you have coverage? Are there are some limitations surrounding the coverage? Or will you be out of pocket?

4.How likely you are to wear the orthotics?

A brand new pair of orthotics takes some time to get used to. You will need to gradually work them in to ensure your feet are fully comfortable. The more you wear your orthotics, the better they work and the more improvement you will see.

If you are in a lot of pain, or a constant low level of pain, we recommend custom made orthotics. Because they are custom made to your foot, they are likely to work much better and last a lot longer than off-the-shelf ones. Although they may be more expensive upfront, they are a better value in the long run. If you are not in pain, or aren’t quite sure if you need custom made orthotics, an off-the-shelf pair would be a good start. This allows you to get used to wearing orthotics, without spending too much on a custom pair.

What’s the Difference?

It is important that you are making the right choice for your feet. Some people experience a short term relief from off-the-shelf orthotics, whereas others find they work great. They are made with arch support and other cushioning features that can be cut down to the size you need and inserted into your shoe. They can be useful for minor pain, or provide relief that comes from activities such as standing all day. While off-the-shelf orthotics can provide temporary relief, they won’t provide long term benefits and support if you have biomechanical problems or underlying medical conditions. They generally last a few months before needing to be replaced.

Custom made orthotics are matched to the contours of your feet and are more precise. They do much more than simply supporting your arches and providing additional cushioning. They are designed to properly align your entire body, starting from the feet up. Custom made orthotics can last for a long time, depending on wear. We always recommend replacing your orthotics every two years. Over time your feet change and the support that you are used to, may need to be tweaked.

Still not sure which option to choose? Give us a call at 1-800-643-1969 or send us an email to csr@orthoticsdirect.ca for more information.

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