Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Seek medical help if you have flat feet and pain. Arch support may not be best for every individual. (see arch support study)
It can be tricky when you buy a new shoe because the insoles aren’t always the best and many shoes don’t have room for new insole inserts. I’ve needed insoles for a couple of my shoes and it took some trial and error before I found the right fit.
The best insole for flat feet is one that gives you the right support. Those with flat feet tend to need an insole with firm arch support. Listen to your body, see a doctor, and try low to medium arch support to determine what’s best for you.
Whether your flat feet are caused genetically, by an injury, or a fallen arch, you can get relief from pain by using insoles that help provide support for your arches. Sometimes you can see a physical therapist to get pain relief with insoles. So how do you choose?
Most people are either born with flat feet that never develop an arch or they lose their arch later in life. In both conditions, an arch support insole might be helpful.
Each person is different as are different insoles. The best treatment might not be an insole but for pain immediate pain relief, insoles can make a big difference.
Born With Flat Feet
There are three things that we might happen when we are born.
- Everyone is born with flat feet. Then about the age of 3, we start to develop an arch as we walk more and more.
- Some people are born with a rigid flat foot so they can’t grow out of it. They need to seek medical help to get the best treatment.
- Others have a “Flexible flatfoot” that “is caused by lax ligaments in the foot.” (my.clevelandclinic.org) This genetically passed-on issue may not be painful and some people can do everyday activities fine without any problems.
If you were born with flat feet that never developed an arch and are starting to have pain, insoles might help. Each person is different so trying a couple of inserts is a good idea.
- If you have rigid flat feet then a low arch insole should be best for you.
- If you have flexible flat feet then a medium arch insole should be best for you.
Developing Flat Feet Later in Life -10 Reasons
Due to many reasons, we might develop flat feet when we get older. This can happen at any time in your life for different reasons.
Here are some of the reasons people get flat feet later in life.
- Injury to the bones in your arch.
- A dislocated bone.
- Obesity or pregnancy – too much weight on your arch and your foot is not strong enough.
- Arthritis – Inflammation of the joints
- Being sedentary – not moving enough and being overweight slowly drops the arch.
- Shoes that aren’t supportive – If your foot muscles weaken over time your shoes may not have the support needed to hold up your arch.
- Tightness of the Achilles tendon – “can limit the motion of the foot.” (thepodiatrygroup.com)
- A torn or stretched tendon – Your arch will not have enough support.
- Diabetes – Tendons tend to weaken causing flat feet.
- High Blood Pressure – Can cause blood blockage to feet and affect your arch.
The treatments to help heal these various issues that cause flat feet are different. One way most people may find relief from foot pain is to get the right arch support. If they have enough room in their shoe they can replace their insole with one that helps supports their arch.
Which Insole Should You Get?
Some people should consult medical professionals first. If you have foot pain or are not sure why you have a flat foot get diagnosed and find what’s going on.
Some people may not need an insole for arch support because they can rehabilitate their feet or an insole may be counterproductive.
You’ll need to consider if your shoe has enough room for a new thicker insole that may add some height. Some should be fine while other shoes lack the room.
TEST YOUR ARCH SUPPORT
To find a good insole it helps to test out a couple if you can.
- You can find various insoles when you go to the store or online, but not all of them are helpful.
- It is best to test out a couple of arch supports and do a test.
- Place the insole on flat ground, stand on it, and see if it actually supports your arch or just flattens out.
GET SUPPORTIVE ARCH INSOLES
For flat feet, you need an insole that works to support, not so much for cushion. Look for insoles that:
- Have a firm arch support area. It can still be soft or cushioned but it needs to be firm and shouldn’t compress much. For those who are heavy, look for a very rigid arch insole.
- Are the right size for your foot. Too large or too small won’t quite fit well in your shoe or your arch.
- Have a low arch for those with rigid feet and a medium arch for almost everyone else. Your foot may need a different level of support than another person with flat feet so find the right height and firmness for you.
Here are four insoles that I would try out if I had flat feet.
1. Walkfit Orthotics Insoles
INSOLE TYPE – VERY FIRM
These insoles are for those who need strong support under their arch. I would try them if I was a heavier individual with flat feet.
They work well for most people but not all, so be sure to read some of the reviews to get a feel if these are the right insoles for you.
- Come in sizes Men 5 – 14.5, Women 5 – 12.5
- Made of: thermoplastic and rubber
- Has 3 arch support inserts: low, medium, high
- Gel pad in the heel cup
2. PCSsole Orthotic Insoles
INSOLE TYPE – FIRM MEDIUM SUPPORT WITH SOME GIVE
These insoles are for those who need medium support for their arches. I would try them if I was an average to a lighter-weight individual with flat feet.
They worked well for most people with flat feet. People liked that they supported well and felt comfortable.
- Comes in sizes: Men 4 – 12.5, Women 6 – 14.5
- Made of: Non-slip Fabric, EVA cushion, rigid and hard TPU
- The arch support is 30mm high
- Stabilizing Heel cradle
3. Easyfeet Orthotic Insoles
INSOLE TYPE – FIRM AND RIGID MEDIUM SUPPORT
These insoles are for those who need medium support for their arches. I would try them if I was a heavy to an average-weight individual with flat feet.
They worked well for most people but may be too rigid for some people with flat feet. People liked that their feet felt better and that they’re comfortable.
- Comes in sizes: Men 4.5 – 14.5, Women 5.5 – 15.5
- Made of: Antimicrobial Fabric, PU memory foam, gel, rigid TPU
- Strong arch support
- Shock-absorbing heel pad
4. Gel Arch Insoles
INSOLE TYPE – FIRM SOFT THIN SUPPORT
These insoles are for those who need a little extra support. They can work with sandals and other shoes that bigger insoles won’t work in. I would try them if I had rigid feet and if I needed a thinner thickness of the support.
They worked well for most people and people thought they were comfortable. People liked the support and felt they were fairly soft.
- Comes in: One size with 6 pairs
- Made of gel material with on stick bottom. Some have a fabric layer over the gel.
- The arch support is 7.6mm high
- Thin arch support
- Shock-absorbing gel
Not Sure You Need Insoles?
You may be right. Insoles won’t solve the problem of flat feet. They help support it until you do the work to find out what the problem is and try to correct it.
If you have some comfortable cushioning shoes and you start to feel pain after an hour of walking either your shoes are getting old or your foot has a problem.
If you feel pain in your feet or the joints of your lower body this could be a sign your feet may be losing or have lost their arch.
Consulting a doctor may help you decide to just wear insoles, do exercises to strengthen your foot, or get surgery if they think that will improve your foot health.
There isn’t one type of arch support out there that is the best match for most people with flat feet. I suggest using cushiony shoes to use with your arch support so you can feel the most comfortable with firm insoles.
If you buy arch support insoles make sure you can return them if they don’t work out for you. Find one that works best for your foot. With a little persistence, you can get the support you need.
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