Custom Orthotics vs. Store-Bought Insoles

Your feet do a lot for you, from standing up and walking to playing sports. They might need extra support, literally. That’s where orthotics come in. Orthotics are shoe inserts that help with a variety of foot problems, providing relief and comfort for minor pain.

While store-bought insoles have a similar structure to the custom orthotics you’d get from a podiatrist, they are pretty different. Read all about their differences below!

What Are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are constructed with superior materials to be durable, moldable, and lightweight. They’re specifically designed to treat medical conditions, including:

  • arthritis,
  • bunions,
  • deformities,
  • flat feet,
  • hammertoes,
  • high arches,
  • plantar fasciitis,
  • and more!

Are Custom Orthotics Worth It?

The differences between store-bought insoles and custom orthotics go to show that custom orthotics are worth it.


Store-bought insoles are a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting your feet. These kinds you’d find over the counter are typically made of gel, flexible plastic, or rubber, which can lose integrity quickly.

Meanwhile, a podiatrist will order orthotics customized to the exact fit of your feet. They’ll also account for any abnormalities or structural issues that may be present. This way, your inserts will meet your exact needs.


Since store-bought insoles only closely resemble your feet, they’re likely not as comfortable as specially-made ones from a podiatrist. Plus, if you want an insole that will work with all kinds of shoes, these are not the answer.

A podiatrist will discuss what shoes you typically wear. In the end, you’ll walk away with orthotics made for your feet and with your preferences in mind.


Generally, store-bought shoe inserts help achieve the goal of adding cushioning to shoes that need it. If hard soles are bothering your feet, this will easily add a soft layer to your shoe. Beyond that, these orthotics usually fall short.

Custom orthotics provide unmatched levels of support, as they account for your exact foot structure.


Keep in mind that the lower cost of a store-bought orthotic comes at a price. Store-bought orthotics are inexpensive because they’re made for the general population, relying on basic principles of foot shape and size.

Fortunately, some insurance providers cover the partial or full cost of custom orthotics. Discuss the cost with your insurance company and podiatrist.

Visit The Foot & Ankle Center Today

If you’re dealing with foot pain, visit The Foot & Ankle Center. Since 1989, we have been proud to deliver the highest quality of care in the St. Louis area.

Our custom orthotics are comfortable and flexible and work to alleviate any pain you may experience. By using our digital orthotic scanner, we can make an accurate digital model of your foot without the traditional plaster. This new method presents detailed results and is faster and more precise.

Let us help you take steps toward being pain-free. Request an appointment or call (314) 487-9300 today!