Orthotics are inserts for shoes, usually sold separately, that may provide support for a variety of foot conditions. Many healthcare professionals recommend them for people with certain foot problems, and they can provide relief for many people. This is only the case when they properly fit in the shoes, and there are a number of issues to consider when you choose the best shoes for orthotics. This choice tends to be individualized, but there are ways to make the decision.
You probably should not buy shoes that you intend to use with orthotics from online stores. Many Internet retailers will allow you to return shoes that don’t fit, but this may mean that you need to buy several pairs at once, receive them, and then return those that don’t work. This can be inconvenient and costly if the shoe store doesn’t pay for return shipping. The better choice is to find a brand and size that works in person, and then order additional pairs online if the website offers more variety or better pricing.
Some of the things to look for when you choose the best shoes for orthotics are features that allow for the roomier accommodation of your foot. Look for rounder toes, wider footbeds, and a secure fit. Most shoes will need to be flats or have only slight elevation, and a wider shoe better accommodates orthotics that are formed or hard. Some people do need to either move up a half to a full size to fit a shoe insert, and others might need a wider shoe.
When you're ready to choose your shoes, plan to visit stores that sell comfortable shoes. Bring the orthotics with you for the fitting process. Looking at a shoe from the outside, no matter how comfortable it might look, really says nothing about how comfortable it will feel once it's on.
This process requires trying the shoe on, and you should definitely spend some time walking around the store. It can be important to also plan shoe shopping for afternoons, when your feet may be slightly swollen. Any questions how the shoe and the orthotic fits on your feet are likely to be answered when your feet are at their largest. Choosing the right socks for the outing can also matter, and you should wear socks you expect to ordinarily wear with the shoes.
Trying on orthotics with different shoes and spending at least two to three minutes walking around the store in each pair usually yields the best information. It’s also not a bad idea to get recommendations on brands that are most appropriate to certain types of inserts. It's best to get this advice from the medical professional who ordered the inserts, but it might also come from other healthcare experts, friends, or online sources.
The difficulty is that everyone gauges foot comfort differently, and people have a range of issues to deal with when fitting shoes. Many people may find advice from others useful, but the very best feedback comes from how your foot responds when you try on the shoes. When your feet are comfortable in a pair, you've probably found the right shoes for you.