Finding shoes for exercise or everyday wear can be tricky enough as it is.
However, trying to find the right shoes to accommodate your orthotic inserts can make the whole process twice as hard, as most trainers and shoes are designed to mold firmly to the foot and leave little room for any additions.
Orthotic insoles are lifts that restore the natural arch of the underside of the foot, usually experienced with people who have fallen arches. Low arches can severely affect your gait and posture, leading to chronic back and knee issues.
Orthotic inserts are a way of augmenting your walking style and alleviating the pain you might experience from being on your feet all day or repetitive exercise such as long-distance running.
Sadly, many running shoes lack the excess room in the upper, so if you are going to need to add an insole, you can expect a shoe that is very tight and unforgiving.
Thankfully, shoe manufacturers are cottoning onto the fact that more and more people need to augment their footwear to accommodate their preexisting spinal and postural needs. This means they are making shoes and trainers with removable inserts and wider uppers on the inner shoe.
But where can you find these shoes? What designs and features do shoes that allow for orthotic inserts have that will give you the most durable and comfortable wear? How much can you be looking to spend on a decent shoe for orthotic inserts?
Well, don’t fret, because we’ve got an in-depth rundown of some of the best shoes for orthotic inserts currently available on the market.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide that will help you track down some of the most adaptable shoes, as well as some frequently asked questions about shoes and orthotics in general.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first trainer is made from running on hard tarmac but is one that can easily be used for walking and everyday use.
Coming with a specially designed foundation platform, this shoe is naturally more accommodating for wider feet and users who have to insert orthotics to complement their natural gait - introducing Saucony Men’s Echelon 7 Running Shoe.
This shoe contains a design and materials that will support the whole length of the boot, with a heel frame to prevent the back of the foot from sliding, a midfoot cushioning and a toe cap that prevents bruising.
The cushioning runs right throughout the shoe, with a gait cycle that improves the natural balance of the wearer.
The base of the shoe is designed to support low to medium-arches, making it ideal for those runners or walkers that experience joint pain from excessive movement.
- The inside mesh of this shoe is very stretchy, meaning that it will expand to accommodate a raised insert. The cushioning on the inside will prevent the foot from landing lopsided on the heel.
- The sole of the shoe enhances a smooth toe-to-heel transition, making for a smoother and more comfortable walking style.
- The inner capacity and the mesh are both designed with extra room in mind and will stretch to accommodate an orthotic insert. It will also ensure that the foot is flexible and well ventilated.
- The price - you can pick up a pair of these shoes relatively cheaply, making them ideal for around-the-house wearing.
- Runners might find that this shoe is too wide in the midsole area.
This next brand of shoe is one that has been constructed for balance and stabilization in the foot, the base of the inside specifically designed for flat or low arches.
This shoe has a BioMoGo DNA cushioning in the foot that moves with rather than against your feet, giving it that crucial support you might need to avoid repetitive strains - introducing Brooks Women’s Addiction 14 Shoe.
This shoe will absorb the high impact of harder surfaces like tarmac, which is great for women runners who want to reduce the level of shocks in the spine and knees.
This shoe is more lightweight than previous versions, with lots of room in the toe box for wider feet or people who need to use orthotics.
The mesh on the inside of this shoe is very flexible and breathable, which will allow your foot to dictate the movement of your shoe.
Coming with dual arch pods and a thick sock liner, you can expect both comfort and stability from this Brooks Women’s Addiction 14 Shoe.
- The space on the inside of a shoe is always crucial, especially if you’re planning on using orthotic inserts. This model is plusher, so is perfect for those who want a comfortable long-distance run.
- The stability of this shoe’s body is unrivaled - the heel frame and the roomy toe box makes it a shoe that works with your foot to give it the ultimate support.
- This shoe has great shock absorption, coupled with your orthotic inserts, you’ll feel like you are walking on clouds. This will be especially important if you’re a long-distance runner.
- Some runners who want that extra stability in the toe box might find it too roomy in the toe portion.
Our next shoe comes from a well-known brand that manufactures high-quality footwear, and this model is no exception to their excellent standards.
It is made from neutral runners, with a supportive midfoot that expands for both you and your insole - introducing the ASICS Men’s Gel-Fortitude 8 Running Shoes.
As you might have already guessed from the title, this trainer is lined in the rear and front foot with gel, which greatly increases the shock absorption.
A lot of the time foot stress comes from repeated impact in specific locations. This shoe distributes the weight evenly across the foot and encourages a natural flow of movement.
The shoe is coated in durable rubber, so you can take their one on the road, the track or the grass over and over again.
The plush collar and tongue reduce the chances of rubbing and sores that might impeded your day-to-day perambulation. The inside of the sole is flat and will easily allow for orthotic inserts.
- The looseness of the inside sole gives your foot an added flexibility without compromising on stability. You have enough room in the toes and heel to keep the blood circulating.
- The gel in the heel and toe make for excellent shock absorption, often one of the things that impact most negatively on preexisting spinal conditions such as sciatica.
- The flatter arches in these shoes mean that you can easily slot in your orthotic inserts and still have plenty of room in the upper.
- The price - these are the cheapest shoes on this list, ideal for those who want a simple pair of shoes they can wear around the house or to the grocery store.
- The build of this shoe is slightly more bulky than some of the others, which might put off buyers with more severe leg and spinal issues.
Our final shoe is one that is perfectly adapted for running or power walking, with a flexible sole and body that does not skimp on the more resilient qualities.
The arch support on this shoe is decent, with natural cushioning and compression on the inside - introducing New Balance Men’s 840 V4 Running Shoe.
This shoe has a much better drop than some of the other shoes listed here, with a lot of wearers rating it highly for its snug and airy fit.
It comes with patented ABZORB foam that creates a neutral balance in the foot, which will be very important to walkers who tend to overcorrect their gait.
These shoes are designed to accommodate people with flat feet, although some wearers have taken issue with these shoes after using the orthotic inserts, complaining that they come loose when worn and cause the heel to dislodge.
- These shoes are comfortable and flexible, the mesh on the inside stretching to accommodate orthotic inserts.
- The state-of-the-art inner foam gives the wear support and stability, which will come in handy for long-distance walkers or runners.
- The build quality of this shoe is very resilient, with a waterproof outer body that makes it the ideal choice for outdoor weather conditions.
- The mesh on the inside is also very breathable, reducing the chances of the wearer getting sores and infections after repeated usage.
- Some users have complained that their orthotic inserts don’t sit well in the base of this shoe.
Best Shoes For Orthotic Inserts Buying Guide
Finding the right shoes that will not exacerbate your awkward posture can be difficult, but it's worth putting the time and effort into doing so to avoid chronic pain.
Orthotic inserts can be thick and take up to an inch of extra room in your shoes, so you’ll want a brand that isn’t too restrictive.
So, when looking for the perfect shoe for orthotic inserts, there are a few features and capabilities that you’ll want to consider.
Is Your Shoe Straight-Lasted?
This is the best style of shoe for an orthotic insert, as it has a wider rectangle shape, meaning that there will be a lot of room to accommodate the additional support without making it feel tight.
These types of shoes will be especially important if you’ll be using an orthotic that runs the full length of your foot.
Generally, these straight-lasted shoes are better for stability, fixing your foot to its most natural position. However, you must make sure that the shoe is not too loose around the heel and ankle.
Does Your Shoe Have Extra Room In The upper?
You’ll need this extra maneuverability in the upper portion of the shoes, as orthotic inserts can take up to an inch of space.
If your shoes get too tight then you might be sabotaging the work that your orthotic insert was designed to correct.
When purchasing your orthotic, you should be aware of how thick it is to buy a shoe that will house that additional volume.
Your shoe should have at least a medium-sized upper. You might have to look for a wider shoe overall, although don’t make the mistake of thinking that a larger shoe size equates to a larger shoe width.
Some shoes have special markings such as ‘D’ and ‘E’ class to indicate wide and narrow shoe designs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Orthotic Inserts To Buy?
This will all depend on what issue in your feet you’re looking to rectify. You can get custom orthotic inserts that will be molded exactly to the shape of the desired height of your arches.
However, these can be very expensive and are not covered by your insurance.
Purchasing over-the-counter orthotic inserts is a much cheaper alternative to custom orthotics, although the design and shape will not be unique to your feet or arch issues.
Getting an orthotic insert that is too thick or maladapted can actually cause you a lot more pain, so consult with your doctor or chiropractor first and they will be able to advise you on which is the best type to purchase.
How Can You Properly Insert An Orthotic?
If you are buying a custom orthotic, then all you need to do is replace that with the one that exists in your shoe.
With an over-the-counter insert, you’ll have to make a tracing of your existing shoe insert and then use that to trace around the material of the shop-bought insert. Then simply cut around it, trimming it until it fits snugly in your shoe.