There are many Orthotics / Insoles / Inserts on the market to choose from. Most people don’t know what the difference is from one to the next. There are vast differences in orthotics in function, effectiveness, longevity and economy. Two automobiles may look similar but drive, respond and cost completely different. Same holds true for Orthotics, they may look similar but feel completely different. Listed below are the most common Orthotics available on the market today.
Dr. Scholl’s, Spenco and other over the counter insoles:
These are basically single arches, the little side arch you find in your shoes is essentially the same design. If you weigh more than 100 pounds they are good for about four to six weeks. Most people don’t realize you have four major arches in your feet, but you seldom get support for them in shoes or over the counter products because two people with the same size feet have different arches. The only way you can support all four arches is to stand on sand. So is the solution to put sand in all your shoes? Of course not! You need orthotics that are fit properly to all four major arches.
Phase 4 / Walk Fit Orthotics:
Not a bad product, but there are several problems with fittings. When you order their product, it’s by shoe size not arch size. What you’re not told is your shoe size and your arch size are two different measurements. Two people with the same size feet have different length arches so you really can’t get a correct fit by shoe size. They are sometimes offered with a “Lifetime Warranty” (even though they are produced with a limited lifespan to promote reorders) and “Free Bonus products”, but by the time you try to return your orthotics you have more tied up in S&H fees than you could ever recoup from the warranty. A further problem with their product is that it is sold by mail order and on the internet only; you are basically talking to “order takers”, not skilled technicians.
Barefoot or “Alznner” Orthotics:
This is a good Orthotic and is sold by retail franchises such as “Good Feet”, “Foot Efx” and others. The Barefoot is the lower line copy of the Alznner. They advertise on TV for $59.00, but when you go into the store they really want to upgrade you to the $350.00 Alznner. The Barefoot is only good for about 6 months; the Alznner for about 5 years. As mentioned, Mr. Hants White actually sold the Alznner in his early years in business. If it is fitted correctly it can be a good product, providing the wearer with good support, balance and comfort.
Feather Spring Orthotics:
This company mainly does mail order and large commercial ads in magazines. Last time we checked their prices were around $250.00. The good thing about this company is they have a refund policy. There are two significant features about their product. One, their orthotics are metal and metal is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Two, the heels of their orthotics are flat-across and thus do not cup your heels, so there is a tendency for your feet to slide in your shoes. Also, if you can’t control the heel, you can’t keep the foot from rotating inward or outward. For those of you that wear out your shoes on one side of the other, your heel needs to be cupped to control this kind of wear.
Custom Molded Orthotics:
These are the conventional Orthotics that Foot Doctors usually sell to patients. They are hard, non-flexible and rigid. I am not a big fan of these types of Orthotics. In the first place if you have a bad foot and you do a cast mold of that foot, you now have a perfect copy of a “lousy foot”. Secondly since your foot wants to flex, it doesn’t want to be held in one position. Instead, it wants to move around. There are exceptions to this: if you’ve had major surgery on your feet, many times the only solution is to hold that foot still in its position. (If your feet don’t fall in to that category your better off with a flexible Orthotics.) These types of Orthotics, if professionally molded and produced, usually sell for $500.00 and up.
Soft Step™ by Michael D Ellis, LLC Orthotics Arch Supports™
These orthotic arch supports are special. As the user walks on the devices, the foot gradually conforms to them. These devices do not fit the foot, they correct the foot, then support that foot in a corrected position. In the process, they help with the problems created in the foot and the body while the foot was not properly supported. Our Orthotics Arch Supports™ are made from a proprietary blend of the highest quality materials and proudly produced in the USA.
We most often recommend that our clients use the maximum flex “FirmFlex”. However, the medium flex “MidFlex” should be used in specific situations; such as where the client is diabetic, older, sedentary, or may potentially have trouble adapting to the FirmFlex of the OAS.
At Soft Step ™ by Michael D Ellis, LLC Orthotics Arch Supports™ we do not diagnose, prescribe or fill prescriptions. For serious foot related problems, please consult your physician. Use of products and information provided herein is at the clients’ sole discretion.