Type the word insoles into Google and in 0.44 seconds you have 77,800,000 results!
So that’s it you are sorted out and ready to go, if only it was that simple.
Obviously I am being a bit flippant and you can be incredibly accurate with your search terms to get exactly what you need providing you know what you are looking for.
There are so many options out there for you to choose from. With many varying selection criteria at your disposal.
Do you buy because of reputation, reviews, recommendation, prescribed by a professional, price or sound marketing?
There are lots of good companied in the healthcare market who provide some good clinically developed insoles. These insoles can be developed to meet certain needs such as condition specific insoles with certain features and benefits to alleviate your symptoms.
There are many general comfort insoles & activity-based insoles on the market with a huge variation in material choice, shape, thickness and price.
If you have painful feet for a prolonged period it would always be best to seek medical intervention and professional advice from a foot care expert.
However, in today’s fast paced world the consumer may not have the time to go and see a specialist, so a quick search on Google can be the next best thing.
In the UK many insoles can be provided free of charge through the NHS.
This can be a lottery for many reasons. You could expect to wait up to 18 weeks in some areas to get an appointment. The NHS will also likely provide you with a cheaper insole as many services due to budget measures will be very cost conscious.
So, if your prepared to wait to get a free insole then this can be your best option.
Then there is the private practice market, you will see on virtually every high street in some form of medical practice offering Biomechanical assessments.
This can be provided by an Orthotist, Podiatrist, Physio, Chiropractor and so on….. Again there will be so many variations with assessment techniques and diagnosis of condition or foot problem.
Now there are many excellent private practices who will have your best interests at heart. But be aware there are many unscrupulous practioners operating in the market also.
It can be a bit like taking your car to a garage when you know nothing about cars. Some clinicians will try to blind you with science and tell you that your condition requires a bespoke insole which can set you back hundreds of pounds. So be aware!
The custom insole market is an expensive form of treatment. I am pretty certain after many internet searches there is little or no validated evidence anywhere to suggest a custom insole will be better for you than a much cheaper and readily available stock item.
Now you have the emergence of all these 3D printed insole business, wanting to charge even more for basically just using a different way to make a bespoke insole. Because its 3D printed does that mean its going
to be clinically better for you? If so, prove it with evidence, as so far, I haven’t seen anything to substantiate the claim.
Also be aware of the specialist shops who get you on the treadmill to analyse you. This is very much snake oil and just another way to charge you more for a modified prefabricated insole.
Not to say that these insoles won’t work it’s just the claims that some of the companies make is a bit misleading.
So, to sum up, we know that it can be confusing to get what you need. My advice would be as follows, do your research on a specific brand, company, clinician before committing to anything.
Get professional advice when and where appropriate for foot pain.
Unless you really need it or have enough spare cash to spend on bespoke insoles then I would opt for an off the shelf insole 9 out of 10 times.
Look after your feet and they will look after you!