Insoles are more than just shoe inserts.
While they all look the same at first glance, there are actually multiple types of insoles. So what are the types of insole footbed? If you find yourself asking the same question, you’re on the right page!
Cushioned Arch Supports
Also called as arch cushions, this type of insole footbed feature a flexible arch support crafted from a cushioned padding.
Cushioned arch supports are designed to give a type of foot support that focuses mainly on delivering optimum cushioning. This is also the reason why this type is not made of a rigid or even a semi-rigid support platform. Its purpose is solely cushioning, hence the name. Moreover, this type mostly features a heel cup for stability.
Cushioned arch supports are used for providing desirable support for a user experiencing foot fatigue – as the cushion can effectively alleviate it.
Runners and conventional joggers/walkers tend to seek the support brought by cushioned arch support over orthotic arch supports. Further, people who don’t necessarily suffer from any severe foot condition but has a job that requires them to stand all day long must seek the benefits from cushioned arch supports.
A cushioned arch support is ideal for people suffering from shin splints or foot fatigue. This type is also the best alternative in case you have used a semi-rigid orthotic before and found it uncomfortable.
It’s also important to note that an orthotic arch support delivers more ‘support’ than a cushioned arch support.
If you happen to suffer from supination, over-pronation, and arch pain, it’s not entirely advisable to go for cushioned arch support. Instead, it’s more ideal to look for an orthotic arch first (discussed just below).
Orthotic Arch Supports
Orthotic Arch Supports is created with a rigid or semi-rigid support platform or support plate; as opposed to cushioned arch supports that are entirely composed of a cushioned padding.
Other terms of orthotic arch supports include simply orthotics, arch supports, or orthotic insoles. This type is recommended for people suffering from arch pain and for those who spend their day standing – even with no known severe foot condition just like the cushioned type.
It’s vital to note that when it comes to insoles, softer is NOT always the better. So if you are required to use your feet and stand on your legs on a daily basis and has an existing arch pain, then the orthotic type would suffice.
Orthotics are designed with a heel cup to cradle the user’s heel of the foot and a built-in arch support to keep the arch from over-collapsing. This design is also capable of preventing excessive ankle movement, consequently keeping wear and tear of your inner tissues at bay.
Wearing orthotics gives an opportunity to eliminate strain in your plantar fascia. This is an important muscle at the bottom of your feet expanding from the forefoot to your heel.
Orthotics are designed for people who are engaged in various activities and are dedicated to maintaining healthy, natural-formed feet all day long. Orthotic insoles can do its job by focusing on two primary foot areas – the heel and the arch.
Orthotic insoles are crafted in such a way they maintain your foot’s natural motion with each step you make, consequently keeping supination and over-pronation from happening.
Two types of Orthotic Insoles
Orthotics can be categorized further down into two – rigid and semi-rigid.
Rigid orthotic arch support features a support plate that is almost entirely stiff. While this type is not suggested for first-time orthotic users, this one can be perfect for those who seek an aggressive arch support.
Semi-rigid orthotic arch support features a support plate that is somewhat flexible. If you don’t fancy an insole that is too stiff, it’s better to try a semi-rigid orthotics.
It’s important to know that using an orthotic arch support requires a small break-in period before you can be ready to wear them at all times. This is especially true if it’s your first time using such.
So here’s the real deal. It’s advisable to wear your orthotics for up to 2 hours a day for the first week, then up to 4 hours daily for the next week.
Don’t worry about feeling uncomfortable, it’s definitely normal at first. The break-in period will minimize the discomfort, eventually making you feel the comfort. However, if it already took you several weeks and you still feel uncomfortable, then it would be safe to assume that you should start considering another insole.
Replacement Insoles/Flat Cushion
This is the type that offers no arch support at all. Simply designed to line the bottom of the shoe, flat cushions only act as a replacement for the sock-liner that comes with the factory-new shoes. This also means they don’t provide any foot support at all.
Replacement insoles can be crafted from different materials. This includes leather, foam, cotton, wool, gel, and more. They also come in different colors to choose from – it would be easy to find something that matches your shoes.
The use of flat cushions focuses mainly on being a replacement from the default insole that comes with the footwear. This comes in handy in case your old insole already shows wear and tear. Further, there are replacement insoles designed to make you taller – or at least seem taller that is.
Overall, replacement insoles are perfect for people who want to change their worn-out sock liner but do not want any foot support.
So what are the types of insole footbed? Well, you already know. Now it’s your chance to at least know which type of insoles suits you best.