What is the Difference Between Orthotics and Insoles?


Your precious feet are the base support for your entire body.

Foot problems such as plantar fasciitis or unsupported flat feet not only create pain and grief in daily life but also compromise stability in the rest of the body.  Most Australians aren’t aware of the support available to prevent or correct these ailments.  Because foot health is essential to the health and mechanics of the rest of the body, we’re going to discuss two different forms of foot support that can provide relief to the most common foot conditions: orthotics and insoles.

Understanding the difference between these two forms of foot support is imperative to providing the best support for your lower limbs.

What are Insoles?

Insoles are an over-the-counter support product that mimics the real soles already in shoewear but with more stability and comfort. The soles of shoes, as purchased, don’t always offer much support.  After extensive wear, the factory-made soles also become worn down, providing even less support.

Insoles are inserted into shoewear to absorb heavy shock from jumping or running on the soles of your feet, providing support and stability to such a potentially compromised area.  Specific to certain foot conditions, arch support insoles and plantar fasciitis insoles are made with symptomatic relief built in.

People who are on their feet all day, working long hours on cement floors, benefit from insole inserts. They add an extra layer of comfort and support the mechanics of the foot.  While insoles are very helpful, they are not a permanent solution.  Oftentimes, they are composed of foam or gel and lose support and material over time.  For a quick fix to sore feet, insoles are widely accessible and easy to use.

Orthotics - plantar fasciitis orthotic

The insoles pictured above are a product of Global footcare.  The plantar fasciitis orthotic is specially made for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis.  This insole provides relief from pain in the arch and sole of the foot through the use of memory foam, arch support and even cushioning for toes. Sizing and fitting this insole in your current shoe is easy, provided by step-by-step instructions on the back. These insoles are available from our many foot clinics on the Sunshine Coast.

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What are Orthotics?

Not to be confused with Insoles, orthotics are a customised, more permanent solution to foot problems.  Similar to insoles in the way they support and provide protection for your feet, orthotics are custom made by a podiatrist and made to be worn for a longer time.

Custom orthotics provide more relief and mechanical support than an insole, they are made to correct the alignment in the feet as well as providing soft cushioning and shock absorption.  Because of their clinical aspect, orthotics are an excellent choice to treat conditions like plantar fasciitis or conditions where the foot isn’t properly aligned. They provide a form of therapy and can last for many years- unlike insoles.  Orthotics also address foot pain by providing the most support to the foot area and therefore relieving pain from other parts of the body that have taken on stress while not supported by the foot.

Orthotic friendly shoes are often sold alongside custom orthotics, as they are made to fit the orthotic inside.  Most shoes do not fit orthotic insoles easily, and oftentimes orthotic shoes are needed to provide the most comfortable fit when wearing.  Orthotic shoes are deep and wide for the accommodation of the orthotics themselves.  They’re made to last just as long as the semi-permanent insert.

Double Depth Sport Walker orthotic shoe by Global Foot Care

Pictured is the Double Depth Sport Walker orthotic shoe by Global Foot Care. This shoe was designed with the perfect orthotic foot support in mind, as it offers the perfect space for a custom made orthotic.  The Double Depth Sport Walker orthotic friendly shoe also incorporates a sleek, easy-to-pair design that almost hides the orthotic and exists as a style accessory instead of just a casing for an orthotic insert. The sizes available range from wide to extra wide to accommodate any custom orthotic of any size. They are available through Suncoast Podiatry. Give us a call to check stock or send an enquiry.

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    Are you Interested in Relieving Foot Pain?  

    A podiatrist is always the first stop on your journey to healthy, stable feet.  After a visit, a trained professional will be able to assist you with the fitting, ordering and newfound comfort of your foot support.  Whether you could benefit from the quick temporary fix of a plantar fasciitis insole, or the prescribed foot support and correction of a custom orthotic, relieving your foot pain is only an inquiry away.  

    Suncoast Podiatry has foot support for all of your foot pain and discomfort, including a wide array of insoles and orthotic shoes and orthotic insoles manufactured with your comfort in mind.  Our feet are the most compromised yet important part of our body mechanics!  Shop for your foot support today.