You’ve no doubt seen shoe inserts lining a shelf in your local pharmacy or big-box retailer. You may have even purchased a pair to try them out. And even though they look like a fancy version of the insoles that already come in most shoes, there’s quite a bit of science behind them and they can solve a lot of foot health problems if you get the correct ones.
Given that, let’s take a few minutes to dive in and see what’s really going on.
Inserts, Insoles and Orthotics, Oh My!
Yes, there are quite a few different terms people use to describe shoe inserts and it can be a little confusing to keep up with them.
- Insoles: This is the liner inside the shoe, the part that your foot touches. Most of the time, these are removable so they can be easily replaced, but in certain shoes, they may be glued or sewn in.
- Footbed: Purely a marketing term, footbed is often used in place of insole by shoe companies. Why? Because beds are comfortable and hopefully people will think a footbed must mean the shoe is really comfortable.
- Insert: Often used interchangeably with insole, but with the understanding that it’s a separate product that can be added to or removed from the shoe. An insert can be designed to solve specific foot health problems, but most store-bought inserts are designed to add cushioning or manage foot odor.
- Orthotic: A type of insert that’s designed specifically to manage foot health problems. Orthotics may be prefabricated and purchased over-the-counter, or they can be customized to an individual’s unique needs as part of a prescription foot treatment.
There. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s keep digging in.
Why Use Them?
In short, pre-fabricated orthotic inserts are designed to mitigate or offset the shortcomings of a pair of shoes.
Because a lot of times, people buy their shoes based on how they look (we don’t necessarily recommend that), not how well they support the foot. When this happens, it's easy to unknowingly end up with shoes that aren’t well-designed for your foot, which can in turn lead to foot, leg and even lower back pain.
So, it's entirely possible to purchase a pair of shoes that cause pain right out of the box. And that's where orthotic inserts come in – they can help correct or eliminate these problems.
The Apex Orthotic Suite
In 1946 when our founders, Paul and Charles Schwartz, opened up shop and started doing business, they primarily made stainless steel and leather arch supports for people to put in their shoes. It was pioneering stuff back then and these inserts would later turn into what we now call orthotic inserts.
Needless to say, we have a long history of creating innovative foot health solutions that help people stay active and pain free. And that’s what sets us apart from those mass-market inserts you see lining a shelf in your favorite big-box store or pharmacy.
- A-Wave: Available in three levels of support, the A-Wave is designed to offer additional shock absorption and help the foot move in the most natural, energy-efficient motion.
- DynaFlange: Designed specifically to support those who have more active lifestyles, the DynaFlange contains a patented rearfoot flange that flexes upon heel strike to absorb shock, which is then released as you continue to walk forward.
- SelectFlex Rx: A fully-adjustable insert that allows you to fine-tune the level of support provided for a truly customized experience.