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How Do Custom and Pre-Made Foot Orthotic Insoles Differ?

Joel Taylor
By Joel Taylor
a woman wearing a red sweater and a necklace
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published July 31, 2021.

How Do Custom and Pre-Made Foot Orthotic Insoles Differ? main image

Depending on the severity of your foot condition, you may need to invest in a pair of orthotics, but not all people will necessarily need a tailor-made pair of custom ones.

If you're thinking about getting a pair, here are some key differences between custom and pre-made orthotics that should help you decide:

The One-Size Fits All Approach

The most significant disadvantage to pre-made orthotics is the fact that they are designed without any consideration or thought to your specific feet, which is a problem as everyone's feet are different. This doesn't take into account the subtle intricacies that make your foot condition different from someone else with the same condition, which means that they can never be a perfect fit, only a general design for a general purpose.

Custom orthotics, on the other hand, are made to an identical mold of your feet to combat a specific set of circumstances.

The Cost of Orthotics

Although pre-made orthotics aren't necessarily cheap, they are relatively inexpensive in comparison to custom orthotics, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Even though you can still find more expensive pre-made orthotics constructed of high-quality materials, you don't have to pay for the difficult labor involved in designing and manufacturing a unique set of orthotics that would only work for you.

Usability With Shoes

Since custom orthotics are designed to the exact specifications of your feet, you have more room to use them in multiple pairs of similar shoes. You may have some difficulty doing this with pre-made orthotics as they are designed to cover a wider range of conditions and thus only resemble your foot. Unfortunately, this limits the number of shoes that are compatible per pair.

Should You Buy Pre-made or Custom Orthotics?

A question like this can only really be answered by a registered podiatrist, but if you have a serious condition that needs maximum support, you will simply never get the same benefit from a pair of pre-made orthotics that you would from a pair of custom ones.

However, if all you're requiring is a little extra cushioning or support to ease some mild pain during certain activities, you might be okay saving yourself some extra cash by opting for a set of pre-made ones.