Differences between supermarket (over-the-counter) insoles and custom-made insoles
In many sports shops, supermarkets and pharmacies you can find standard anatomical insoles for your feet, advertising benefits such as pain-relief and cushioning. What is the difference between this type of insole and those made by a podiatrist?
Differences between insoles
There are clear differences between the insoles that a podiatrist can perform prior to a biomechanical study of the footprint and its physical examination of the foot. The custom-made insoles are unique and personalised to the individual patient’s foot anatomy. It is important to remember that all feet are different from others’. On the other hand, the insoles in sports shops or supermarkets have standard sizes, depending on the size and model, and are designed to be applied to everyone without any consideration to anatomical alterations or asymmetries you may have.
These standard insoles are not intended to correct, relieve or compensate for foot conditions. Those personalized by podiatrists, in addition to offloading and relieving the foot, our custom orthotics allow a redistribution of weightbearing loads as well as correcting biomechanical alterations and other foot problems.
The price is a difference to be highlighted. While supermarkets can be found from 6 euros, those made to measure have a higher cost. This cost is justified by the fact that it is custom-made, prior to a foot examination and an examination by a foot care professional or podiatrist.
For example, when a person has a vision problem, he or she has two options: to purchase inexpensive eyeglasses at the pharmacy or to visit an ophthalmologist for a complete eye examination, explaining the problem and the prescription needed. Based on this information, the optician can order glasses with the precise prescription, which logically has a much higher cost compared to pharmacy glasses. This is a similar case with bespoke insoles.
The materials used to make prefabricated insoles (or supermarket insoles) are different from those used by podiatrists. The custom-made ones are usually made of high quality thermoformable materials with specific properties for each case, for example, in diabetic patients.
In general, it can be said that some patients respond very well with supermarket inserts, especially if they only require a little more comfort when fitting. Normally, these patients have a normal foot anatomy, without asymmetries or biomechanical problems.
The importance of custom templates
On the other hand, patients with different foot anatomy or asymmetries will need custom-made orthotics. The use of custom insoles is especially important when the patient has a biomechanical problem, imbalances or simply require a specific correction, for example, to correct the foot from an excessive pronation (low arch).
The invested time and cost of custom-made insoles is often quickly recovered, with long-term improvement, improved well-being and fewer visits to the specialist.