Orthopedic Shoes...
Are They Right For You?

Drew Parade II Shoe

You've probably heard the term 'orthopedic shoes' . You may even be wondering if you need them. Are they the right shoe for you?

These types of shoes come in two broad categories

  • 'off the shelf' shoes
  • 'custom' shoes

First A Little Homework

Start by asking yourself why you're considering orthopedic shoes. Is it because of

  • Foot pain from a serious foot issue?
  • Foot pain from a poorly fitting shoe?
  • Foot pain from poorly fitting shoes you've worn a long time?

The first and last call for professional help. The second just may be correctable by taking more time to understand how to get a great Shoe Fit for pain free feet.


Another good thing to know is that many 'off the shelf' shoes are actually endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Here's a directory of shoes that have received that endorsement. Shoes that are designed to properly handle a variety of foot health related factors.

You can also see which of our favourite ECCO Shoes have received that endorsement.

In short, depending on the severity of your condition, you may have quite a number of 'off the shelf' choices before you need to consider the more expensive custom shoes.

To be sure of course you do need to ...

See you health professional or podiatrist

It is crucial that you determine whether there are more serious issues with your feet that absolutely require orthopedic shoes. You want to find solutions that allow you to not just 'sorta walk' but WALK! Just like our little green buddy here!

Note: Need help tracking down a qualified person? Here's a link for folks in the United States to help you do that. It's called The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics

Your podiatrist can confirm what type of shoe will be best for you.

Off The Shelf

Some features of orthopedic shoes are

  • a bit more padding and cushioning,
  • more interior volume,
  • seamless interior construction,
  • room to add side padding in specific areas (toe, ball, heel)
  • in some cases room for double insoles.

Funny thing is many of these features can be found in many normal 'off the shelf' shoes IF you know what to look and ask for!

As you saw in Foot Pain, over 75% of people wear shoes that don't fit properly! It follows that a whole lot of people have a whole lot of foot pain!Pain that could be corrected just with better fitting normal shoes.

Does it make more sense to switch to a (usually more expensive) custom shoe when just properly fitting your shoe could solve your problem?

Depending on what your podiatrist says, you may be just as well off with the 'off the shelf' shoes. Remember you can always check out shoe models that have received the Seal of Acceptance of the APMA as discussed above.

To be very sure, we encourage you to work through all the steps involved in properly choosing shoes. A bit of work the first time but well worth it.

Custom Orthopedic Shoes

More serious foot issues likely may require you to have a custom orthopedic shoe made specifically for your foot. This will give you the best opportunity for the best fit, most comfort and easier walking with truly problematic feet.

You'll likely need to get a full casting made for each foot and then have the technical pros construct shoes made exactly for your feet. This would have all the necessary 'corrections' prescribed by your podiatrist or health professional built into them (or added in if that is part of the treatment).

You probably already guessed that these type of shoes will be the most costly. Get guidance from your podiatrist or health professional for sure. Accept that guidance.

This link may be helpful in tracking down qualified professionals in the US.

A Final Note

IF you still have pain with your new shoes, go back to the person guiding you and have it corrected.

Do NOT keep wearing them and expect the pain to go away eventually. It probably won't! Do NOT wait to get further help. Do it now.

All fitted out with your new shoes? Great! Head over to our Fitness Walking Programs and get started!

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