There are basically two different kinds of orthotics – Accommodative and Functional and they require different shoes
Accommodative orthotics are designed to “accommodate” a foot that cannot be restored to normal natural function as a result of birth defects injuries and surgery. Accommodative orthotics often require specialty shoes that are more rigid, have a deeper toe box and other features.
ProKinetics® Insoles are designed to "functionally" restore a more normal gait to feet that do not adapt well to standing and walking on flat surfaces. ProKinetics® Insoles if you want to call them orthotics would be categorized as functional.
The foot is designed to function in an unrestricted mode, which means that ProKinetics® Insoles work best in shoes that do not restrict the motion of the feet. However, not restricting the feet is not equivalent to extra wide, sloppy fitting shoes. A sloppy fit leads to excessive motion inside the shoes, blisters, skin irritation and makes our insoles less effective.
Shoe brands and models:
We’re often asked to recommend specific brands and models, but as you know, shoes are fashion, and change constantly. If you find a pair of shoes that are perfect for your feet, buy several pair because they'll soon be discontinued. There are a few exceptions like the Converse which has a reputation for providing absolutely no support, but actually works excellent with ProKinetics® UltraThin Insoles.
When you shop for shoes, this is what to look for:
Do not use ProKinetics® Insoles with Motion Control and Anti Pronation Shoes
These types of shoes are recommended by the industry for people who over pronate. ProKinetics® Insoles are not designed for use with Anti Pronation or Motion Control shoes. These kinds of shoes are statically or dynamically posted (elevated) in the medial side for the purpose of tilting your ankles outward causing a more supinated movement. Both the heel and forefoot are tilted out like walking on top of a roof with one foot on each side of the gable.
Stability shoes are a mixed bag, so beware. Some of them may just have a wider heel or a cup surrounding and holding the heel, but others offer the same features as motion control shoes and would not be compatible with ProKinetics® Insoles.
Extra cushioning is often recommended for people who supinate. We do not because ProKinetics® Insoles address supination by controlling structural over pronation. Because supination is a neuromuscular compensation for over pronation, extra cushioning is usually not needed.
Cushioning in shoes come in a couple of forms – the sock liner or the shoe inner sole, or cushioning may be incorporated in the midsole design. Some sneakers particularly incorporate a honeycomb design with fins inside the midsole, and Nike is famous for its air cushioned heels. MBT made the soft midsole famous that Sketcher later copied in their fitness shoes. Beware of an increased potential for ankle sprains.
Cushioning is a two edged sword. Too much definitely can hurt you by destabilizing your feet which is particularly bad for people who supinate. Correctly functioning feet cushion themselves. Some people, as they age, complain about loss of the padding underneath their feet, and a thin cushion for comfort is OK.
We recommend neutral shoes. Neutral shoes would be low tech shoes that do not force or restrict motion of the feet. The inside of the shoe is flat and parallel to the ground, often with a slight lift in the heel.
Zero Drop Shoes
ProKinetics® Insoles work fine with shoes that maintain the heel and ball of the foot at the same level. Raising the heel does not alter the efficiency of ProKinetics® Insoles. They work fine in western boots and high heels.
Negative Heel Shoes
A few brands offer a negative heel design where the heel drops below the level of the ball of the foot. The advantage is said to be an improvement in posture. We do not recommend them with ProKinetics® Insoles.
Straight vs Curved Shoe Last
The shoe last determines the shape of the shoes. The last itself is a model of the foot that the shoes are built around. We recommend a straighter last over a curved last.
Supportive vs Flexible shoes
The shoe shank is part of the midsole and creates the rigidity of the shoes, preventing the sole from twisting. Podiatrist recommend shoes with a stiff shoe shank because rigid shoes provide better support for their arch support orthotics. This kind of shoe is often less comfortable because as the foot tries to move, a restriction and collision between your feet and the shoes is unavoidable. If you want to restore natural foot motion using ProKinetics® Insoles, flexible shoes work best.
Laced vs Slip-on Shoes
Shoe laces gives you the advantage of making your shoes fit better. While ProKinetics® Insoles will work fine with most snug fitting slip-on shoes, we often recommend laced shoes and particularly shoes with lacing starting closer to the toes because this kind of lacing allows a greater forefoot fit. Adjusting the laces just right provides a nice snug fit across the forefoot which keeps your feet in the right place on the insoles for optimal function and benefit.