Home / Arch Support / DO I NEED ARCH SUPPORT?


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Your feet are the foundation of your everyday life whether you are casually walking around town, moving about at work, or out for a long run. The human foot is a very complex body part incorporating 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. Did you know that the average person walks 100,000 miles in a lifetime and your feet sustain roughly 300,000 pounds of downward force for each mile you walk? The arches of your feet bear the brunt of these harmful forces. Getting insoles for your running shoes or other footwear is critical to proper arch support and overall foot health.


The foot arch is the curved portion of the foot that starts just below the ball of the foot and extends to the heel. Foot arches are all unique, but there are three basic types of arch:

  • high, also called a cavus foot
  • low, often called flat feet or fallen arches
  • normal

It is relatively easy to determine your arch type. Simple wet your feet and look at the wet imprint of your foot. A low arch imprint will show the entire bottom of your foot. Low arches are more flexible and tend to roll inward and over-pronate.

low arch

A high arch imprint will only show your heel and the top part of your foot near your toes. High arches are more rigid and are usually classified as supinated.

high arch

A normal arch imprint will show the inside curve of your foot missing. Normal arches are often biomechanically efficient but still can be susceptible to common foot problems like heel pain or ball-of-foot pain.

normal arch

The arches of your feet can change over time as the body grows, as you gain weight, or due to a lack of proper arch support or improper foot alignment. Improper arch support and alignment can cause a chain reaction leading to ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain. If unaddressed these conditions can lead to other harmful foot or foot-related problems. That’s why choosing the proper arch support for foot pain is essential.


If you lead an active lifestyle, your feet are exposed to even more stress than the average person. If you’re a runner, the gravitational force absorbed by your feet increases to between 3x and 7x your body weight. The foot of a 150-pound runner absorbs 1,000 pounds or more of force for each foot strike. Proper footwear and running insoles, especially for athletic activities, is essential.

Low arches are often biomechanically imbalanced and can lead to common foot problems such as heel pain, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics should provide rearfoot posting and arch support to keep the foot properly aligned and control over-pronation. With high arches, less of the foot surface is absorbing impact placing excessive pressure on your forefoot and rearfoot areas. This may cause foot conditions such as heel pain, ball-of-foot pain, or plantar fasciitis. The use of metatarsal pads in conjunction with an orthotic insole for running is often recommended to provide additional forefoot cushioning. Normal arches, while often more efficient, can still benefit from orthotics insoles with proper arch support, cushioning, and shock absorbing materials for added comfort and foot pain prevention, especially for runners and other active people.

learn more about selectFlex adjustable insoles


Most shoes, including athletic shoes, are designed with very neutral factory insoles that provide minimal arch support and virtually no alignment improvement. Shoe manufacturers realize that everyone’s foot and arch condition are unique and assume that most wearers may need arch support for foot pain and other reasons and may consider replacing the factory insole with a proper orthotic insert.

Every foot arch is unique, so why would you use a one-size-fits-all insole to get the comfort and support you need? Won’t it be better to find the most suitable arch support for foot pain? In addition to relieving pain, the right footwear and foot orthotics can help you achieve proper body alignment, prevent injuries, and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Opting for a customizable solution, like SelectFlex™ Orthotic Insoles [ADD CTA], gives the wearer the ability to choose from three dynamic arch support settings–Medium, Firm, and X-Firm–based on your unique arch condition and level of activity. The adjustable arch feature in SelectFlex provides dynamic support throughout your gait cycle, delivering your chosen level of arch support on every down-step and lifting and releasing energy back on every up-step. And the proprietary heel cup in SelectFlex absorbs impact with up to 50% increased ankle stability and alignment making SelectFlex a perfect choice for anyone who leads a very active lifestyle. Designed in partnership with one of the world’s leading custom medical orthotics companies, SelectFlex offers all the benefits, and arch support, of expensive medical orthotics at a fraction of the cost.

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