If you have to wear orthotics, chances are you’ve already run the gauntlet trying to find good, supportive shoes that still have room for your inserts. Unlike regular inserts, orthotics are typically hard, rigid pieces designed to fix a range of fairly serious foot problems.
Although some drug-stores sell over-the-counter orthotics, most people only wear them when instructed by their doctors. Such orthotics are usually custom-made to correct specific issues for individual patients. They are an expensive treatment option, and finding the right shoes with which to wear them is a not only a matter of health, but a matter of finance.
Finding good shoes is difficult enough without additional requirements, but good shoes for orthotic-wearers must have certain features.
First, and most importantly, the insoles must be removable. This is because the vast majority of orthotics are designed to be worn beneath a shoe’s insole. Unfortunately, many shoe brands now glue insoles into the shoe itself, particularly in their athletic styles.
Second, Shoes also need flexible sizing. This means the best shoes need lace or strap closures. While slip-on styles are convenient, it’s difficult to know what size will fit you once an orthotic is added. Unless you buy your shoes in a store where you can try on several sizes for comparison, it’s best to choose more forgiving options.
With these criteria in mind, we’ve looked for the best shoes to pair with orthotics. Our list below includes features, previous customer feedback, and comparable pros and cons. Even if you don’t find a shoe that fits your style or needs in this list, keep in mind that brands often follow the same set of principles across products. So, if you see something that looks promising on our list, check out the brand and see what else they have to offer.
Although New Balance’s shoes have particularly uninspiring names, they stand as one of the top brands on the market. This style features a removable insole and a lace closure. Foam padding around the collar and tongue keep the wearer comfortable, and the rubber sole helps absorb shock. The non-marking outsole improves traction.
Many previous users attested to the shoes’ compatibility with orthopedic inserts. Orthotics-wearers found the shoes fit well with their inserts, and they were able to go on long, comfortable walks with them. Several users also complimented the shoes’ appearance. The only serious critique, however, was that the shoes run small. If you are interested in buying this style, it’s wise to order a size or a half larger than you would normally.
These shoes feature a removable EVA insert and a lace closure. There is also an EVA midsole for additional support. The sole is made of rubber, and the top is made of pure suede. Available in two colors, the shoes come in a range of full and half sizes for the optimal fit. A synthetic outsole provides excellent stability.
Previous users say the shoes are well-constructed and fit just about any kind of foot, even wide and flat ones. Several previous users attested to wearing orthotics, and they claim the shoes work well with the additional inserts. There may be some manufacturer errors, but there is a solid return policy and the shoes are overall well made.
A removable Latex foam footbed keeps these shoes comfortable and flexible enough to accommodate custom orthotics. Moisture-wicking mesh lining provides for dry walks. This leather shoe features a padded tongue and collar to help prevent chafing around the ankle. The heel is specially designed for stability, and the forefoot is specially designed for flexibility. A huge range of sizes and widths and a number of different colors are available. With the leather upper and the careful design, this is an excellent shoe for all-day wear.
Many previous users reported wearing orthotics with these shoes. Not only do orthotics fit well, but in several cases, users said orthotics improved the feel of the shoe overall. The style allows the shoes to blend into most situations, including offices and semi-formal events, with ease. There are some serious potential drawbacks, though. According to some previous users, the manufacturer recently changed the materials they use for the shoe. There are even questions about whether the leather used is full grain, as advertised. Not all buyers had these complaints, however, so it’s difficult to determine if all new products have these defects, or if it was simply a bad batch.
Although all the best walking shoes for orthotics presented above are designed specifically for men or women, each brand has similar styles designed for the other gender. Rockport has women’s shoes, and New Balance and Easy Spirit have shoes for men. It’s difficult to say if any of these shoes are superior to the others.
They all meet the requirements for orthotic inserts, and the variety of styles and materials means different shoes will likely suit different needs. Someone looking for business shoes is best off with Rockport, for example, but New Balance and Easy Spirit are better for casual walking and working shoes.
Remember to always check customer feedback before ordering new shoes. Even if negative comments do not dissuade you from your purchase, previous buyers can give you vital information about fit and sizing that could save you the hassle of returns and exchanges.
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