It's a good idea to consider arch support when purchasing a new pair of shoes, but sometimes you need a little extra cushioning, especially if you suffer from foot pain. To the rescue: orthotic insoles, which can be slipped into less-than-comfortable shoes for added support. Custom-designed orthotic insoles will give you a truly perfect fit, but they can be pricey. For that reason, many podiatrists recommend trying off-the-shelf insoles first. "An over-the-counter device is sometimes used as a trial prior to using a prescription insole, similar to using readers before getting prescription glasses," says Grace Torres-Hodges, DPM, a podiatrist based in Penascola, Florida.
Luckily, the latest off-the-shelf insoles are available in a variety of lengths and styles, so it's easier than ever to find the perfect one for your feet. "The benefit of off-the-shelf insoles is that they provide the ability to take a shoe that doesn't fit quite right and make it more custom," explains Howard Osterman, DPM, a podiatrist based in the Washington, D.C. area. "Many ready-to-wear insoles now come full-length to replace removable liners in shoes, as well as shorter versions that can be worn in ballet flats and lower profile shoe types."
We asked podiatrists to share the orthotic insoles they recommend to clients looking for ready-to-wear options. Read on for their most popular picks.