A Guide to Different Types of Orthotic Insoles for Feet



Like the rest of our bodies, different feet have very specific needs depending on the person. That’s why orthotic insoles flex to fit individual needs—like poor alignment, calluses, heel pain, overpronation, knee pain, tendonitis, and much more. 

So no matter what condition or pain you may suffer from, different types of orthotic insoles for feet can help. But which one is right for you? 

Let’s dive in to explore the different types of insoles so you can get on your feet and out the door in no time. 


Understanding Cushioned Insoles and Their Benefits

Before delving into the various types, let’s clarify: what are orthotics? Orthotic insoles are often prescribed and custom-designed by podiatrists to fit your unique feet shape and needs. Prescription orthotics are often described in two different categories: Functional vs. Accommodative Orthotics. 

If you’re looking for particularly cushioned insoles, accommodative orthotics may be just the thing for you. These insoles are made with soft, flexible materials so they can easily adapt to the shape of your foot. 

The cushioned, flexible quality of accommodative orthotics is ideal for treating painful conditions such as: 

  • Calluses
  • Diabetic foot ulcers  
  • Arthritis 

Cushioned insoles are also great for extra comfort if you’re on your feet for long hours in the day, however, they don’t fix alignment issues that are a major cause of foot pain. 


Insoles for Foot Conditions: Corrective Support

One of the main functions of an insole is to correct poor alignment that causes the aches and pains you may be feeling. In this case, functional orthotics are made for the job.

Functional orthotics are designed with firm, rigid, or semi-rigid plastic, specifically constructed to provide corrective support and realignment of the feet. Poor foot function includes pronation or supination which can lead to injury and pain. 

Functional orthotics function to correct foot conditions such as: 

These insoles can also help someone with injuries caused by these foot conditions, like shin splints and tendonitis. While not as soft or flexible as accommodative orthotics, functional orthotics provide relief from the discomfort poor alignment can cause. 


Exploring Arch Support Insoles for Foot Alignment

Arch support is the most common reason for orthotic usage. Only about 30% of the population have “normal” foot arches, and the majority are either overpronated (also known as flat feet) or supinated (or overly high arches.) 

For such a common foot ailment, overpronation can lead to many other conditions if not attended to. Here are some examples, just to name a few:

  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Tendonitis 
  • Corns, calluses, hammer toes
  • Bunions
  • Knee pain
  • Navicular apophysitis

Many of the conditions that orthotics treat are caused by your feet and ankles rolling inwards. With inserts, you can catch this problem before it triggers something worse. 

So, which insoles are right for you? Let’s explore the various arch support options for you.


Insoles for Flat Feet: Foot Alignment

If you are trying to pinpoint how to correct overpronation, we have news for you! Certain insoles are designed to realign your feet to the ideal alignment for your body. That is, instead of your feet rolling inward, your ankle should be in line with your leg. 

There are many insole options you can try to correct your flat feet: 

  • Over-the-counter – Since overpronation is such a common problem, you can find over-the-counter insoles that help with arch support at a lower price than prescription orthotics. They will include cushioned arches to help realign your feet and are easy to slip into your shoes. 
  • Rigid support – Some cases may require rigid insoles for the best foot alignment. These are more structured insoles and range in arch heights, depending on the severity of your overpronation. They may also include a deep heel cup for stability.
  • Semi-rigid – These insoles combine the best of both worlds. It includes the rigid material required for more severe cases of overpronation but with added flexibility for comfort. 
  • Cushioned support – These insoles may include a thicker, cushioned arch for the combination of arch support and flexibility, but lack the rigid contour of structured insoles. 


Insoles for High Arches: Targeted Support and Relief

As common as it is, overpronation isn’t the only major foot problem. Your foot can instead lean outwards, causing overly high arches. 

High arches, or supinated arches, are less common but cause their fair share of leg issues. If your ankles lean outwards, you may have supinated arches. 

To support and relieve the pains you may feel from your high arches, look for insoles with these features: 

  • Medium to high arches – Orthotic insoles with medium to high arches allow for foot contact so it takes some of the pressure off the outside of your foot. This may help your balance and stabilization. 
  • Cushion – Supinated feet tend to be inflexible and more pressure is placed on the heel and balls of your feet which generates painful calluses. An insole with cushioning may alleviate some of that discomfort. 
  • Shock absorption – Feet with high arches tend to lack the shock-absorbing qualities that a normal foot has since the pressure can’t be evenly distributed when you walk. Look for insoles designed for shock absorption to relieve some of the pressure from your feet. 

Dealing with supinated arches can be frustrating, and picking the perfect orthotic for you can take time. With those key features, you’re one step closer to finding what you’re looking for. 


Insoles for Metatarsal and Ball of Foot Problems: Pain Relief

Metatarsalgia is pain and inflammation at the ball of your foot, just below your toes. It is caused by excess pressure placed on your foot, which can happen from an athletic activity like jumping or running, improperly sized shoes, or other foot deformities.

If you’re struggling with ball of foot problems, look for insoles with these features: 

  • Shock absorption  – Since metatarsalgia is caused by excess pressure placed on the foot, insoles with shock-absorbing properties can help alleviate some of that force. 
  •  Arch support – Arch supports also help take some of the pressure off your foot. The arch helps stabilize your feet so the force is redistributed. 

If metatarsalgia can be caused by athletic activity, let’s look at some insoles for active lifestyles so conditions like this one can be prevented. 


Specialized Insoles for Active Lifestyles

Leading an active lifestyle could mean high-impact activities like running, or it could mean you’re an avid walker. If this is the case, you may need a little extra support from insoles that include: 

  • Cushioned arch support – Arch support fueled by maximum shoe cushioning is great for athletic lifestyles as it combines foot alignment and flexibility for maximum performance. 
  • Rigid shell – An orthotic insole with a rigid or semi-rigid shell allows for greater stability and motion control. 
  • Moisture-wicking fabric – Some insoles can be made of moisture-wicking fabric that leaves your feet cool so you’re not inconvenienced by excess sweat. This feature proves particularly convenient for those curious about how to clean orthotics, providing practical solutions for maintenance.

You don’t have to be an athlete to want orthotic support. Orthotic insoles are available to anyone, whether you’re a marathon runner or an occasional walker. 


Supportive Options for Occupational Use

If your job requires you to be on your feet for long hours, you may also benefit from orthotic insoles with these features: 

  • Lots of cushioning – If you’re standing on your feet all day, you’ll want plenty of cushioned support so you’re given long-lasting comfort. 
  • Stability – An orthotic designed for stability may include a deep heel cup or a cushioned arch support so you feel comfortable for longer hours. 
  • Shock absorption – Shock absorbing qualities aren’t only great for athletes, but for long hours on your feet as well. It takes some of the pressure off your feet so it reduces potential injury. 

With so many different options that will benefit you no matter your occupation or lifestyle, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Luckily, Vionic carries options that can appeal to anyone. 


Comparing Vionic’s Insoles: Features and Benefits

All of those features we just listed? Yeah, we got ‘em. Vionic offers podiatrist-designed orthotics that are a cost-effective alternative to prescribed, custom-made insoles. 


Women’s Relief Insole

Designed for everyday comfort, the Women’s Relief Insole is clinically proven to support overpronation and lower limb alignment so you can move toward relief from the pains you may be experiencing. 


Women’s Active Insole

A good insole for active lifestyles should have cushioned arch support and a rigid shell, and Vionic’s Women’s Active Insole has just that. To make matters even better, this insole also includes an anti-bacterial cover that reduces odor. 


Women’s Slim Fit Insole

Whether it’s for your occupation or fun, you may feel like slipping into something a little dressier for a special occasion. The Women’s Slim Fit Insole offers the cushioned support that heeled shoes need. These are designed to bring relief from metatarsalgia, calluses, bunions, and more. 


Unisex Relief 3QTR Insole

The Unisex Relief 3QTR Insole is ideal for those who spend long hours on their feet. These insoles include all the necessary qualities: ample cushioning, stability, and shock absorption. 


Find Total Foot Relief with Vionic

If you’re suffering from foot, ankle, or leg pain, it can affect your daily life. Luckily, there are plenty of different types of shoe insoles specialized for each condition or lifestyle, so you can find the comfort you’re looking for. Whether it’s high arches to support overpronation and supination, or cloud-like cushioning for athletes or metatarsalgia, there’s an orthotic insole out there for you. 

With Vionic, your search for foot relief is made easier. Between our many podiatrist-designed orthotic insoles on top of our wide selection of recovery shoes and walking sneakers with arch support, you’re sure to get cost-effective comfort right at your feet.



APMA. Prescription Custom Orthotics and Shoe Inserts. https://www.apma.org/orthotics

Medical Foot Care Center. Functional and Accommodative Foot Orthoses. http://medicalfootcare.com/document_disorders.cfm?ID=148

Leaning edge PHYSIOTHERAPY. Foot Overpronation and 10 problems it may cause. 


Sanders Podiatry. High Arches: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. 


Mayo Clinic. Metatarsalgia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metatarsalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354790


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