Best Insoles & Orthotics for Flat Feet Reviewed

Do you have flat feet? You’re not alone. In just the United States, 1 in 4 people do — that’s approximately 78.5 million people! With those kinds of numbers, it’s safe to say that you are not alone, or even out of the ordinary. Just because it is common, however, does not mean it isn’t an uncomfortable and even painful situation.

If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely because your feet are flat and you have pain points needing relief. While some people manage to naturally adjust the alignment of their body to accommodate flat-footedness and live pain-free, many of us aren’t that lucky. For the rest of us, this is where modern technology swoops in to save us.

Featured Recommendations

Superfeet Green
  • Superfeet Green
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Biomechanical Shape
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Price: See Here
Powerstep Pinnacle
  • Powerstep Pinnacle
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Semi-rigid Arch Support
  • Double EVA-foam Base
  • Price: See Here
ViveSole Plantar Series
  • ViveSole Plantar Series
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Deep Heel Cup
  • Moderate Firmness
  • Price: See Here

Insoles and orthotics, used interchangeably from here on out, are shoe inserts made to remedy the discomfort of various foot ailments. Insoles specifically for flat feet are widely available. These days, though we don’t recommend it, you can even pick up a pair from the grocery store. (Aisle 9, next to the pasta.)

In this guide we’ve reviewed the best over-the-counter orthotics, so you don’t have to.

 

10 Best Insoles for Flat Feet

 

1. Superfeet Green

Superfeet, founded in 1977, is another brand that creates medical grade insoles. Part of their Heritage line, the Superfeet GREEN orthotic is perfect for providing the cushioning and arch support that flat feet need. Available up to a Men's size 17, the Superfeet GREEN is built for flat feet of all sizes. It is also important to note: the GREEN is a full-length insert that may require trimming.
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Polyethylene Foam Construction
This is the Superfeet GREEN insole blend: polyester fabric atop a soft polyethylene foam. fused with an EVA-based adhesive. This insole has the maximum thickness available from the Superfeet brand, making it a top choice for relieving foot pain. Furthermore, the GREEN is coated with an all-natural substance to discourage the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

Biomechanical Shape
Another facet of the Superfeet GREEN orthotic is the science behind its shape. Taking into account biomechanical studies, the GREEN is built with a focus on supporting the rearfoot (heel). This insole works to support the foot joints that control propulsion, stability, and shock absorption through a deep heel cup and stabilizer cap. (The stabilizer cap provides structure to the foam layer above it.)

Cost and Value
The Superfeet GREEN insole is significantly costlier than the Powerstep Pinnacle. It is more expensive, in fact, than most orthotics and insoles. However, the GREEN is projected to last for either a year or 500 miles, whichever is reached first. If the price isn't immediately justifiable, take a moment to think of all of the pain-free days that could lie ahead.
Pros

Vegan-friendly

Lasts for 500 Miles

Perfect for Plantar Fasciitis

Available in Children’s Sizes

Cons

Not allergy-free

2. Powerstep Pinnacle

As a brand, Powerstep immediately invites trust; it was founded by a podiatrist, who was also a runner and a foot surgeon. The Powerstep Pinnacle is a professional-grade orthotic; it's guaranteed to reduce the soreness related to flat feet. Most prominently, these insoles have a deep heel cup for stability, cushion, and motion control. The Powerstep Pinnacle is flexible enough to fit in any shoe, whether it's casual, dressy, or somewhere between.
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Full Arch Support
The Powerstep Pinnacle orthotic features firm and flexible semi-rigid arch support. The arch in Pinnacle insoles is meant to complement arches of all kinds. Nevertheless, they are often prescribed by podiatrists as a remedy for ailments specific to flat feet such as plantar fasciitis and bunions.

Anti-Microbial
The top fabric of the Powerstep Pinnacle insole is antimicrobial, allowing it to reduce the heat and friction of your feet as you move. The antimicrobial top fabric also keeps feet free of odor and dry — a key point of blister prevention.

Cost and Value
In the range of insole prices, the Powerstep Pinnacle orthotic straddles the middle. The Pinnacle is more expensive than a pair of insoles you would purchase from your local drug store, absolutely. Yet these insoles are also medical grade; that alone makes the Powerstep Pinnacle incredibly budget-friendly.
Pros

No Trimming Needed

Available in Pink

Double EVA-foam Base

Lasts up to a Year

Cons

Requires breaking in

3. Powerstep Original

With these, there is no trimming. This means you can move them to various footwear, as you change shoes. Furthermore, they are ultra-thin and will fit most footwear, too. They utilize VCT (variable cushioning technology) which is deployed with a dual-layer system. This is an ideal system for athletic use or simple daily walking. They, also, are made with an EVA foam base, as well.
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Usage
These insoles are made to be handled with athletic footwear or even casual and dress shoes. They are very versatile and because of the lack of trimming needed, they can be transferred to other shoes, too.

Shape
This pair is full-length and contains an EVA foam base. They have an ultra-thin profile which will work for dress footwear, athletic sneakers, and just about anything you can imagine.

Cost and Value
These are midrange in cost association and are well worth the investment. They have been around a long time and have proven their worth, as a result. You cannot go wrong with this product if you are in need of semi-rigid arch support.
Pros

Polypropylene

Semi-Rigid Arch Support

Heel Cradle

No Trimming

Ultra-thin

Cons

Break-in period

4. Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx

4. Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx
This is the Powerstep Pinnacle to the max, so to speak. They have a firmer arch support system than the Pinnacle. Furthermore, these are full-length, have a slightly angled exterior heel platform, and utilize variable cushioning technology. They are perfect for severe pronators and have greater motion control, as a result. An anti-microbial top fabric helps to fight odor-causing bacteria and is made of a 100% anti-microbial polyester.
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Usage
These are great for severe pronators in need of firmer arch support and need more in the way of heavier motion control. They fit most footwear and can be trimmed down as needed.

Quality
This pair has great technologies, such as an anti-microbial top layer, firmer arch support, and better motion control. They can be interchanged with other footwear and are not a one-pair-only solution.

Cost and Value
These are at the high end of cost association but the price is justified, in terms of usability and overall quality. If you are a severe pronator, this is the correct pair for you.
Pros

Made in the USA

For Severe Pronators

Firm Arch Support

Better Motion Control

100% Anti-microbial Polyester

Cons

A bit pricey

5. WalkFit Platinum

5. WalkFit Platinum
If you’re a channel-surfing night owl, it’s entirely possible that you’ve seen the WALKFIT Platinum orthotic for sale. The WALKFIT Platinum is one of many As Seen On TV products advertised to fill up TV time. Don’t let this deter you, however, from considering the Platinum insole as an option to remedy flat feet woes.

The WALKFIT Platinum insole is 3/4ths length, allowing it to fit in just about any shoe. There is also the option to purchase a sandal converter to transform the WALKFIT Platinum into insoles suitable for sandals.
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Interchangeable Arch Inserts
The main draw of the WALKFIT Platinum orthotic is its customizable arch inserts. Each pair of the Platinum comes with a ‘low,' ‘medium,' and ‘high' arch insert. It's recommended to start at low and gradually swap the inserts until you've reached the desired level of support necessary. These arch inserts help to distribute your weight evenly across your feet and prevent your arches from flattening as you walk.

Clinically Proven Relief
Nothing proves the effectiveness of a product more than clinical trials. For the WALKFIT Platinum, 99% of study participants reported relief from foot pain. Furthermore, the Platinum orthotic was designed by doctors to relieve more than just foot pain — knees, hips, and shoulders also benefit from WALKFIT’s alignment-correcting functionality.

Cost and Value
Slightly cheaper than the Powerstep Pinnacle insert, the WALKFIT Platinum insole is an absolute steal. Customizable support has never been so budget-friendly before.
Pros

Acupressure Massage Insert

Available in 11 Sizes

Machine Washable

Prescription-like Arch Support

Cons

Slow to break in

6. HappyStep Orthotic

6. HappyStep Orthotic
At first blush, the Canadian-made HappyStep orthotic looks just like any other insole on the market. Once you look closer, the deep, balancing heel cup and arch support becomes evident. The HappyStep insole is full length and requires trimming for most shoes. The length also means that there will be a bit less room in the toe box of your shoe. It’s best to wear these in roomy shoes and without the default factory insole.
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Memory Foam Construction
The HappyStep orthotic features a thick, high-density memory foam that's integral to its design. The primary function of the memory foam is to promote energy rebound. Energy rebound, in short, is when a shoe returns some of the energy that is expelled by your feet when you take a step. The memory foam construction for the HappyStep orthotic not only improves that return of energy but also provides cushioning.

Full Arch Support
The HappyStep insole provides support across the entirety of your arch. The full arch shell boosts motion control, relieves pain, and increases side-to-side stability. The arch shell within the HappyStep orthotic is also ideal for discomforts associated with plantar fasciitis; the lift provided by the arch shell is gentle.

Cost and Value
The HappyStep insole is the cheapest orthotic in this guide thus far. Usually with products in this price range, ‘caveat emptor’ hangs over you like a dark cloud and you’re automatically tempted to dismiss the item. The HappyStep orthotic is a bold exception to the rule.
Pros

Thick Cushion

Extraordinary Flexibility

Deep, U-shaped Heel Cup

Fits Wide Widths

Cons

Runs small

7. Samurai Instant-Relief

7. Samurai Instant-Relief
Samurai Insoles have a lofty claim to fame: they provide the only over-the-counter orthotic created specifically with flat feet in mind. The Samurai Instant-Relief orthotic is also designed by a podiatrist and their team of biomechanical engineers. Made of neither hard plastic nor flimsy foam, the best part of this design is the barely-there, lightweight fit inside of your favourite shoe.
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Hidden Orthotic
In what is likely an attempt to avoid the overly rigid feel of other insoles, the Samurai Instant-Relief buries its orthotic shell in the middle of the insole. The signature red top fabric reduces friction, wicks away moisture, and covers the first layer of padding. Beneath that is the actual orthotic, designed for springy rebound, joint alignment, and shock absorption. Another layer of padding finishes off the insole.

Versatile
The low-profile nature of the Samurai Instant-Relief orthotic allows it to fit well inside of any shoe. Since the sizing of this insole is based on whole shoe sizes, rather than a range, any shoe of the right size can be worn. One caveat with the versatility of the Samurai insole: there isn’t pronounced heel cushioning.

Cost and Value
The Samurai Instant-Relief orthotic is moderately priced, falling between the Powerstep Pinnacle and the Superfeet GREEN insole. However, this insole is a tenth of the price of a custom orthotic (and half the thickness too). Put in perspective, the Samurai Instant-Relief is a budget-friendly option for long-term flat foot support.
Pros

Uses Regular Shoe Sizes

Made in the USA

No Breaking In

Molds to Feet

Cons

Hand wash only

8. ViveSole Plantar Series

8. ViveSole Plantar Series
The ViveSole Plantar series orthotic, created by Vive Health, is an insole primarily tailored to relieve the stresses of plantar fasciitis. The ViveSole Plantar insole is podiatrist designed and can be trimmed to fit in any size shoe. That being said, the ViveSole fits best in roomy casual, work, and athletic shoes.
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Superior Cushioning
The ViveSole Plantar features multiple cushions just for improve shock absorption; one for the rearfoot and one for the forefoot. These cushions help relieve heel spurs and metatarsalgia that result from flat feet. Furthermore, the lightweight EVA foam layer deters foot fatigue and soothes common painful pressure points.

Avoid Smelly Feet
Like many shoe inserts, the top fabric layer of the ViveSole Plantar series insole is coated with an antimicrobial compound. Antimicrobial properties wick moisture to keep feet dry and discourage the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

Cost and Value
While the ViveSole is only #7 on this list overall, it’s absolutely #1 in price. Cheaper than even the HappyStep orthotic, the ViveSole Plantar insole is the ultimate wallet-friendly choice. ViveSole is immediate relief for a shoestring budget and an option if you need a backup pair of orthotics.
Pros

Deep Heel Cup

Retains Shape Over Time

Moderate Firmness

Washable

Cons

Not for sandals

9. NAZAROO Orthotic

9. NAZAROO Orthotic
Despite being a small, unknown brand, the NAZAROO orthotic is built with flat feet and sufferers of plantar fasciitis in mind. Podiatrist designed, the NAZAROO orthotic is medical grade for the utmost comfort available. Arch pain, heel pain, and ankle pain are also maladies remedied by the NAZAROO insole.
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Technical Materials
It appears to be standard to include antimicrobial, moisture-wicking properties in the top fabric of an insole; NAZAROO doesn't deviate from this. Not only does this insole keep feet cool and dry, but it also provides odor and mildew resistance. Underneath, the plastic arch shell is semi-rigid, yet flexible and deceptively thin. Moreover, the NAZAROO orthotic is made of EVA foam material but features a latex heel pad for extra shock absorption and pressure relief.

One Size Fits Many
The NAZAROO orthotic fits in most shoe styles, ranging from casual sneakers to work boots. Crafted primarily for function, these insoles are available in sizes up to Mens 16/Womens 14, so it's nearly guaranteed you will find the fit you need. However, the NAZAROO orthotic is a thick and solid insole, and does not have much leeway for trimming.

Cost and Value
With a price point between the FOOTIU insert and the Spenco Rx orthotic, NAZAROO makes it clear that good value doesn’t have to be expensive.
Pros

True to Size

Professional Grade

Stabilizing Heel Cradle

Fits Most Footwear

Cons

Not for heels, sandals

10. Sof Sole Airr Orthotic

10. Sof Sole Airr Orthotic
For active users, this is a great pair to have. they are classed as athletic orthotics and contain moisture-wicking properties. Furthermore, they utilize SKYDEX air bubble technology for maximum cushioning. This, in turn, will help to reduce load-rate and make those joints in your ankles, hips, and knees feel a bit better throughout the day. These, also, help to fight odor-causing bacteria.
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Usage
These are the better fit for athletic wear but can be used in most sneakers. They do run a bit small and narrow, so it is advisable to size up when purchasing.

Quality
This pair does a decent job at absorbing shock and supporting your feet. They contain SKYDEX air bubble technology to help soften the blows from daily walking.

Cost and Value
Falling into the upper midrange of cost association, this pair has sturdy construction and decent support. They are a good purchase for athletic footwear.
Pros

Athletic Orthotic

SKYDEX Air bubbles

CoolMax Fabric Top Cover

Prevents Odor-causing Bacteria

Cons

Size runs small

Size runs narrow

There you have it! The best insoles and orthotics available on the market today are all compiled here. Whether your overpronation is mild or moderate, there’s an orthotic available to complement your unique situation. Relief and support is only a click away.

 

Criteria For Evaluating the Best Insoles for Flat Feet

This guide was compiled with the knowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for flat feet and the hardships that can come with it. Though every situation presents unique challenges, there are a few standards by which a good orthotic can be judged.

Cushioning

Problem feet often require extra cushioning to ward off heel spurs, metatarsal pain, and to enhance or even replace the natural padding of the foot. The cushioning an insole has, therefore, is essential in choosing the right one for yourself.

Insoles and orthotics come in a range of materials, mainly dependent on its intended function. Orthotics that focus on relieving the pain of flat feet are often made of gel or foam. EVA foam, found on insoles like the Powerstep Pinnacle, is a popular choice because of its flexibility and supportive cushioning ability. EVA foam is lightweight even when it is thick, making it an excellent choice for the construction of an orthotic. Gel, on the other hand, provides superior shock absorption. Orthotics often mix gel and foam for this reason.

The perfect insole should be soft and comfortable, but not so soft that there is no shape to guide and correct your feet.

Shoe Style

Before you can choose the best-fitting orthotic, the type of shoe you plan to wear needs to be considered. For example, full-length orthotics take up the entire footbed of a shoe, making them an unwise choice for a pair of flip-flops or strappy sandals. The flipside is that too short of an insole will slip around uncomfortably inside of your shoes. (This can also happen if you trim them too much.)

The thickness of an insole also needs to be reviewed relative to your shoe. It’s all well and good to grab the cushiest orthotic available, but if the insole forces the tops of your feet to rub against your shoe, or takes up all of the room in your toe box, it’s useless.

Arch Rigidity

The amount of support you get is directly related to the rigidity of the arch in the insole that you choose. Rigid and semi-rigid are the two types of arch support orthotics available. Semi-rigid insoles, such as the NAZAROO orthotic, feature a somewhat flexible build. If you have tried orthotics and found them to be “too stiff,” look for the semi-rigid.

Rigid orthotics, like the Spenco Rx, are nearly completely stiff. These are often the most supportive insoles available and have the longest break-in time. If you are looking for aggressive arch support, reach for rigid inserts.

The rigidity factor will always be in relation to how firm you need your arch support but, also, the more rigid the insole, the more motion control is occurring. Motion control helps determine the amount of your foot rolling or not rolling, so to speak.

Providing you are flat-footed, as you walk, your natural gait has an overpronation to it. This simply means there is little to no motion control and your foot is rolling inward way too much. With rigid insoles, typically speaking, there is more motion control; thereby, lessening the amount of inward roll. Using a more rigid insole as a severe pronator, you may or may not correct the underlining issue, but you will surely reduce the amount of daily pain you have been experiencing. Because of this, we recommend a more rigid insole for severe pronators.

insoles-flat-feet2

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is the difference between an orthotic and an insole?
A: Technically, the difference between insoles and orthotics is customization. Both offer support, cushioning, and relief. However, orthotics are often medical grade and molded to fit your feet perfectly.

In more recent times, with the improvement of technology, the gap between the over-the-counter insole and professional orthotics has narrowed. Because of this the terms ‘orthotic’ and ‘insole’ are used interchangeably, often alongside ‘insert’ and ‘footbed.’

Q: Who gets flat feet?
A: Anyone! Flat feet can be genetic, brought on by age, injury, or compounding medical conditions. Even pregnancy is a cause of flat feet, for some.

Q: How are flat feet diagnosed?
A: Aside from the informal ‘wet test,’ flat feet are diagnosed by a podiatrist. Podiatrists can review the foot with CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays to determine the ‘why’ of your flat feet.

Q: Are flat feet and fallen arches the same thing?
A: Yes and no. ‘Fallen arches’ occur in people who previously had an arch of some kind and lost it over time, due to a myriad of factors. Like a bridge, prior functioning arches have collapsed.

‘Flat footed’ is reserved for those whose flat feet are the result of heredity, such as children who never develop arches.

Q. When should I add more rigidity to my insoles?
A. Generally speaking, the more severe your pronation, the more rigidity you will need. Semi-rigid insoles imply that you have moderate pronation, in terms of flat feet. This means that if you are a severe pronator, then you should start with firmer rigidity to help with arch support and motion control.

 

 

Sources

  1. The Insole Store, Insole Guide 
  2. Spectrum Foot Clinics, The Difference Between Insoles and Orthotics
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, Flat Feet
  4. Medical News Today, What to know about Flat Feet


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