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.
- Powerstep Pinnacle
- Semi-rigid Arch Support
- Superfeet Green
- Biomechanical Shape
- WalkFit Platinum
- Interchangeable Inserts
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. Powerstep Pinnacle
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.
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.
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.
No trimming needed
Available in pink
Double EVA-foam base
Lasts up to a year
Requires breaking in
2. Superfeet Green
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.
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.)
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.
Lasts for 500 miles
Perfect for Plantar Fasciitis
Available in children’s sizes
3. WalkFit Platinum
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.
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.
Slightly cheaper than the Powerstep Pinnacle insert, the WALKFIT Platinum insole is an absolute steal. Customizable support has never been so budget-friendly before.
Acupressure massage insert
Available in 11 sizes
Prescription-like arch support
Slow to break in
4. Samurai Instant-Relief
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.
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.
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.
Uses regular shoe sizes
Made in the USA
No breaking in
Molds to feet
Hand wash only
5. HappyStep Orthotic
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.
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.
Deep, U-shaped heel cup
Fits wide widths
6. FOOTIU Flat Foot
The beauty of the FOOTIU Flat Foot orthotic is its adhesive. Superior self-adhesive properties allow these insoles to be rearranged and moved between pairs of shoes, yet stay in place when needed. The adhesive also withstands multiple washings and the foot friction of running and other exercises.
The FOOTIU Flat Foot insole is designed to fit into any shoe, including sandals and high heels. Made with a cushy polyurethane gel, these orthotics are soft enough to be worn with or without socks. For wide width shoes, the Flat Foot insert can be doubled for a more expansive sphere of support.
Slightly more expensive than the HappyStep orthotic, the FOOTIU Flat Foot insole is a great, budget-friendly option for mild flat foot discomfort and arch support.
Money back guarantee
One size fits most
7. ViveSole Plantar Series
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.
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.
Deep heel cup
Retains shape over time
Not for sandals
8. SOLE Softec Ultra-U
For the scientifically minded, the Softec Ultra-U insole has been clinically proven to reduce the strain on plantar fascia by one third. Furthermore, this insole has the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance; this means that the Ultra-U promotes good foot health.
The SOLE Softec Ultra-U insole features a heat and wear moldable orthopedic base, allowing the insole to conform to the unique shape of your foot over time. As is necessary for flat feet, this type of personalized support from the Ultra-U will prevent arches from collapsing painfully. A bonus: the moldable base layer is built with 20% recycled material.
Open-cell foam technology makes up the cushioning layer of the SOLE Softec Ultra-U insert. These insoles are 3.2mm thick, which is the densest cushioning available and provides excellent shock absorption.
Sporting the same price as the Samurai Instant-Relief orthotic, the Softec Ultra-U is perfect for your active shoes. Sneakers, running, hiking, work boots — if it’s a shoe designed to take abuse, the SOLE Softec Ultra-U is the complementary insole for it.
Metatarsal support pad
Only for roomy shoes
9. Spenco Rx Orthotic
Similar to other inserts on the market, the Spenco Rx orthotic is heat moldable for a more customized fit. Instead of shaping the insert with your foot, however, it is done with covered hands after heating the insole. The Spenco Rx insole is also available in 7 sizes for correct arch placement and better fit.
The Spenco Rx insole features a proprietary SpenCore material as its cushioning layer. While the exact composition of SpenCore is unknown, it is designed to absorb shock, provide comfort, and reinforce stability. Additionally, the top fabric of the insole is stretchy and antimicrobial to reduce odor and friction.
Incredibly affordable, the Spenco Rx insole is between the FOOTIU Flat Foot insert and the WALKFIT Platinum in price. Easily customizable and popular with podiatrists, the Spenco Rx is another option for the budget conscious.
1-year unconditional guarantee
Rigid arch support
Squeaky in some shoes
10. NAZAROO Orthotic
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.
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.
True to size
Stabilizing heel cradle
Not for heels, sandals
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
- The Insole Store, Insole Guide
- Spectrum Foot Clinics, The Difference Between Insoles and Orthotics
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, Flat Feet
- Medical News Today, What to know about Flat Feet