With the knowledge of our Pedorthists, we've answered some of our most asked questions about footwear and orthotics, and compiled some Pedorthist recommended products.  

Q: What is a Pedorthist?

A: Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – are foot orthotic and orthopedic footwear experts. They are one of the few healthcare professionals trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and muscle and joint function. With specialized education and training in foot orthotics and footwear, Canadian Certified Pedorthists help to alleviate pain, abnormalities and debilitating conditions of the lower limbs and feet.

Q: When should I see a Pedorthist?

A: Pedorthists help patients with a wide range of foot and lower limb problems including: Arthritis, Diabetes, Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, Bunions and bunionettes, Shin splints, Claw toes or hammer toes, Limb length discrepancies, Sports injuries, Metatarsalgia, and other foot injuries due to accidents. If you are having problems with your feet, then it is a good idea to see your doctor who will refer you to a Pedorthist.

Q: I am confused about all the different kinds of shoes! What is the difference between neutral, stability, and motion control? Which one do I pick if I have orthotics?

A: Unlike most types of footwear, athletic footwear and athletic running footwear in particular offer footwear options that address ones’ specific foot biomechanics.

Motion Control shoes are designed for people who need maximum stability and support.

This type of shoe is for people who pronate excessively (feet roll inwards) with each step, and often have flat feet (little or no arch).  People who have low arches typically over-pronate more than people with higher arches, although this is not always true. Those people who have a heavier build and overpronate will usually have more success with a motion control shoe versus a stability shoe as the broader platform (straighter last) will provide them with the additional foundation of support they need. The person who over-pronates has arches that collapse as their body weight comes down, allowing their feet to excessively roll to the inside (or medial side).  To prevent your feet from over-pronating, Motion Control shoes feature midsoles with supportive features, usually a firmer area of EVA foam called a dual density post. The post is a usually a darker color, and works by reinforcing the medial side of the shoe. This allows the over-pronator to walk/run with their feet and legs in proper alignment, minimizing the likelihood of injury.

Stability shoes are a slight step down from Motion Control shoes in terms of support.

People who need stability shoes have arches that over-pronate (or collapse inwards) just like people needing motion control shoes - but to a lesser degree.  Stability shoes also feature dual density material in the midsole to prevent the foot from over-pronating, but are more mild than the correction present in a motion control shoe. Stability shoes feature a more curved or "carved out" platform, more similar to a neutral shoe, and not as broad and supportive as the wider platform found on Motion Control shoes. Stability shoes also have plenty of cushioning as well. Most runners- ranging from the beginner jogger to the well-seasoned marathoner - over-pronate mildly and require at least some stability from their running shoes.

Neutral Cushioned shoes are intended for people who have higher arches and do not pronate, or collapse only slightly inwards.

Neutral Cushioned shoes have very little or no pronation support, and usually offer substantial cushioning. People who require a neutral shoe usually show wear on the outside corner of the heel, and in the center of the forefoot or the outside of the forefoot. Supinators also require Neutral Cushioned shoes. Supination occurs when your foot strikes the ground on the outer edge of your heel, and instead of the arches collapsing in and over-pronating, they do the opposite and roll slightly outward. A supinated wear pattern will show wear at the outside corner of the heel, and significant wear along the entire outside edge of the shoe. As Neutral shoes do not have stability features to correct over-pronation, and feature a more curved "last" or platform that encourages the foot to roll inwards naturally to help absorb impact forces, they work best for the runner who supinates.

If you wear custom orthotics, it is best to use them with a more neutral shoe allowing the orthotic to do its job while lessening the risk of over correcting the problem with a shoe that is too supportive or corrective when combined with an orthotic.

Q: I have orthotics and don’t want to wear one pair of runners all year! What do I do in the summer and in the winter when I want to wear sandals or boots?

A: The orthotics that you wear in your runners can also fit in other styles of footwear. For summer time, you can choose sandals that have removable foot beds that will accommodate custom orthotics. In the winter, look for boots that have removable liners and there is a good chance your orthotic will fit. Another option is to have a second orthotic fabricated which is smaller and less bulky that the running shoe one. With this style of orthotic, it will be more versatile and fit in a wider range of footwear.

Q: Are over the counter insoles good if I don’t want to spend money on custom orthotics? Which ones would you recommend?

A: Over the counter insoles are a good option and starting place if you can’t afford or are not sure about custom orthotics. OTC insoles will offer good arch support for most people, however it does depend on your foot type. The style of OTC insole will depend on the footwear you are in. If it is for athletic shoes, The Sole insole or Powerstep insole is a good choice as they are full length and offer the best arch support of our OTC insoles. For casual styles of footwear, the Birkenstock insole is a good option. We carry a diverse range of OTC insoles and our expert fitters would be happy to help you.

Scroll down to check out our picks from our Pedorthists! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. We are always happy to help! 

Picks from a Pedorthist

Picks from a Pedorthist

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