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MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT INSOLES

MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT INSOLES

Insole Myths
There are plenty of myths and misconceptions about insoles. Sometimes, with all of the myths milling around out there, insoles can get a bad reputation. While some of these myths simply have eroded due to improvements and research over time, others were never based in fact from the start.

Over the years as insoles have become more popular to help consumers deal with their foot ailments, certain myths and untruths have become popularized due to lack of education on the subject.  This blog is intended to help detail and explain some of these myths, as well as to explain how SelectFlex Arch-Adjustable Support insoles deal with these mythical claims. 

1) When It Comes To Shoe Insoles, Softer = Better
Completely soft insoles are not only ineffective, but they actually “pamper the problem”. You may find that initially you love the feeling of slipping your foot into a shoe with a soft, cushiony insole, but in reality those types of insoles do nothing to fix the root problem: misalignment of the feet.

A good insole should provide a mixture of supportive, hard structures and softer structures which work together to reshape the alignment of your feet.

SelectFlex provides a PUR polyurethane medical grade footbed for maximum comfort while dynamically aligning your foot arch from a flexible lifting arch that supports your foot with three adjustable support levels.

2) Insoles Should Be Comfortable Right Out Of The Box
Similar to the theory that “softer = better”, most people think that their insoles should feel comfortable the first time they put them in their shoes. Once you learn the purpose of insoles, to reshape and realign your feet to their anatomical perfection, it should be easy to understand why insoles have a breaking-in period.

Insoles for your feet work much like braces for your teeth, applying pressure to specific areas in order to move them into correct position. That pressure can feel uncomfortable while your muscles, tendons and bones re-learn how to work together to form a proper shape.

SelectFlex molds to your unique arch shape to provide arch aligning comfort. Our initial recommendation is wear our insoles for 2 to 4 hours a day for the first week to allow your feet to adjust to our unique lifting arch to support and align your foot.

3) Insoles Are For People With Foot Pain
While shoe insoles certainly do help many people overcome foot pain, that is not the only reason to wear them.

As the children’s song goes, “The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…” Nature gave our bodies the perfect pattern to deal with movement, especially agility moves like running and jumping. Because the body works together as a chain of muscles, ligaments, and bones, when one part is misaligned it throws the whole system out of whack.

Through realigning the placement of the feet, shoe insoles have been shown to help with pain and inflammation in the knees, hips and lower back. So the next time you experience problems with one of those joints, make sure your feet aren’t the true culprits!

SelectFlex is the first insole to provide three adjustment levels to dynamically lift your arch into correct comforting alignment to reduce pain and dynamically realign your foot throughout the entire gait cycle.

4) Insoles Work By Bracing Your Feet
Just as your insoles cannot work if they’re too soft, they don’t work by bracing, either. Many insoles provide support and stability to the arch while completely ignoring the front and rear of the foot. An effective insole has zones of support and cushioning designed to retrain your muscles and tendons to move in a more natural way.

There is an anatomically-ideal pattern for foot movement while walking/running (spiral torsion): moving from the rear lateral (outside) of your heel at an angle through the center of the arch and finally pushing off at the inside of the big toe. This movement cannot be supported by simply bracing the arch, your insoles should encourage it with the right kind of flexibility.

SelectFlex has a PoweCup that delivers up 50% more ankle stability with up 89% more flexible lifting arch support to brace your feet in aligned comfort throughout the entire gait cycle.

5) Insoles Are Only Made For Athletic Shoes
While the majority of insoles are made to be used in athletic shoes, some insoles are designed to work in a variety of shoes.

SelectFlex is designed to work in multiple shoe types with footbed trim lines to customize their fit into your favorite shoes.

6) You Only Need 1 Pair of Insoles - Move Them From One Pair To Another
While it is true that you can theoretically move your insoles from one pair of shoes to another, as humans we tend to forget these things. If you want to see the true effects of retraining your feet and posture, it’s best to ensure the shoes you wear most often have their own, dedicated pair of insoles. This might mean investing in 2 or 3 pairs of insoles.

SelectFlex is 1/4 the cost of medical orthotics and provides three adjustment levels to customize your arch support for maximum comfort.

7) Insoles Are Only For ‘Old People
Insoles are not just for ‘old people’ or those who must wear ‘ugly’ orthopaedic shoes. Regardless of age, foot problems can affect anyone. Painful arches, heel pain and bunions are but a few. Pain related conditions such as arthritis or diabetes can affect anyone. Such conditions may benefit from insoles.

SelectFlex’s PUR medical grade footbed distributes foot pressure while the PowerLift Arch further distributes foot pressure over the entire arch to alleviate arthritic and diabetic pressure points.

8) You Need Insoles For ‘Flat Feet
Not all people with ‘flat feet’ need insoles. Some people have naturally low arches. Generally if your feet are pain free then you won’t need insoles regardless of whether you have ‘flat feet’. Your first step should be to check your shoes. Make sure you wear shoes with some structure and support to them.

A majority of our customers with flat feet, pes planus or fallen arches wear SelectFlex that provides just the right amount of adjustable lifting arch support from three settings.

9) Custom Made Insoles Are Much More Expensive
Basic over-the-counter, mass produced, foot insoles are typically cheaper than custom-made insoles (at first glance). However, over-the-counter foot insoles generally have a much shorter lifespan. As such, cheaper insoles may end up being more expensive over time. Without professional help you might purchase the incorrect product or one that is ill-fitting. This could aggravate your foot condition instead of improving it.

SelectFlex is engineered from premium medical grade polymers to ensure support and guaranteed to last up to 3 months and often 6 to 9, at 1/4 the cost of custom insoles.

 Find out more today about SelectFlex!

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HOW OFTEN SHOULD INSOLES BE REPLACED (and why own more than one)?

3 Factors that Affect Insole Replacement

Like shoes, insoles have a lifespan and wear down over time, but how quickly depends on 3 primary factors:

1) Quality of Insole: Higher quality over the counter insoles generally last longer than insoles made with cheaper polymer materials.

  • Full length, high quality insoles typically cost between $40 - $80 and usually only need replacement when shoes are replaced, which can be anywhere from 6 – 12 months depending on usage.
  • Lower quality insoles cost between $15 - $50 and, though they may be supportive for a week or even a month, they break down fast and must be replaced more often, which can end up costing more than better quality insoles.
  • Softer insoles also tend to wear out quickly and need replacing every 1 – 6 months.

2) Level of Activity: With normal wear during daily activities like walking the dog and running errands, quality insoles could last up to 12 months.

  • High impact sports such as running, hiking or tennis put more stress on inserts, as well as on shoes. Most athletes know that both shoes and insoles used for strenuous activities should be replaced every 4-6 months. (Help Shoe)

 3) Frequency of Use: Some people wear insoles all day every day, while others only wear them during specific activities. Logically the more you wear them the quicker they’ll wear out.

5 Signs that it’s Time to Replace Insoles

  1. Visual Damage: Torn, cracked, etc., which can cause blisters
  2. Fading: Color and Logo
  3. Bad Odor: Indicates bacteria or fungal growth, which can lead to foot infections
  4. Compressed: Constant wear will eventually compress insoles and no longer offer cushioning and support
  5. Life Changes: Pregnancy, surgery, increased physical activity, etc.

  4 Reasons to Own Multiple Pairs of Insoles

  1. Prolong the life of shoes: Not everyone knows that replacing factory insoles with new insoles improves the wearability of shoes by adding more comfort and support. Better alignment in turn will allow for less wear and tear on your shoes / soles. (FootHealth.com)

  2. More footwear choices: There are more types and styles of shoes than ever. Thus, it stands to reason that the more footwear you own, the more insoles you may need.

  3. Rule of thumb (or toe): It’s best to have at least 3 pairs of insoles—One for work, one for play and one for every day. (Or, one for work shoes, one for athletic shoes and one for casual shoes.)
  4. Insoles are for Everyone: Insoles aren’t just for those with foot, back and joint pain. Wearing insoles that provide additional cushioning, arch support, ankle stability and alignment is good for anyone anywhere anytime. So invest in comfort for yourself and for your loved ones too.

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CUSTOM MEDICAL ORTHOTICS vs. OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) INSOLES

If you’re suffering from foot, leg or back pain, perhaps you have tried over-the-counter (OTC) retail insoles (also called prefabricated insoles) to ease your discomfort. Maybe you have even tried custom medical orthotics that were prescribed for specific ailments. In either case, both options have pros and cons which we will help explain.

The Quick Fix - OTC Insoles

If you’re in overall good health, there’s no harm in trying OTC insoles. Studies show that the nonprescription variety can be as helpful as custom versions for certain conditions (Berkeley Wellness). For instance, in a 2014 study in Musculoskeletal Care, people with plantar heel pain who wore prefabricated insoles for eight weeks had the same reductions in pain and disability as their counterparts who wore custom orthotics—at considerably lower cost. Though OTC insoles can be 1/10th the cost of custom medical orthotics ($15 - $50), there are often tradeoffs in terms of support, firmness, durability, and comfort.

OTC insoles fall into 3 categories:

  1. Foam insoles. When first inserted in shoes, foam insoles usually provide some level of comfort. However, due to lack of firmness, they offer minimal arch support. In addition, foam inserts tend to degrade very quickly and have a wearable life of less than 2 weeks.
  2. Gel insoles. Gel typically provides more support than foam but, because they offer no firmness, gel inserts are not considered a viable solution for long-term ailments.
  3. Rigid inserts. Rigid inserts are usually a piece of hard molded plastic placed under the heel or arch. Although they do provide support for those areas and are typically the least expensive OTC option, most people aren’t comfortable with this level of rigidity.

The Costly RX – Custom Medical Orthotics

If you have a serious foot, knee, hip, or back problem, it is well advised to see a doctor first, preferably a Podiatrist, Certified Pedorthist or Orthotist. Custom medical orthotics require a physical exam and digital foot mapping. Given this fundamental difference, custom medical orthotics can bio-mechanically correct / address the way you personally experience knee, heel or arch pain, and some lower back issues (Podiatry Today). They may also be recommended for specific biomechanics issues or health conditions.

Custom medical orthotics have the obvious benefit of being crafted to treat specific ailments for individual feet, but they also offer a longer wearable life (3-5 years is suggested) (Pain Science). However, their extended useful life is due to a higher level of rigidity than most OTC insoles. Though they may treat or provide support to specific areas of the foot, the rigidity may also cause additional discomfort and can become an issue if a foot or ailment profile has changed over time.

The biggest deterrent people face when considering custom medical orthotics is cost. Typically, they range between $400-$600, which amounts to more than 10x the cost of prefabricated insoles. Thus, if a less-costly OTC solution will ease a foot or lower body extremity ailment, most consumers are apt to go in that direction.

The Best of Both Worlds – Adjustable Arch Control Insoles

OTC insoles are accessible to everyone at retailers and pharmacies everywhere for reasonably low prices. However, they don’t always provide enough support due to the nature of the materials and one-size fits all mass manufacturing. On the other hand, custom medical orthotics may make a difference when OTC remedies fall short, but they can also be cost prohibitive as well as too rigid, causing discomfort and other issues.

Luckily, there is a new solution that provides customizable comfort, dynamic support and longer-lasting durability at near OTC prices.

SelectFlex arch control insoles are the best of both worlds. Uniquely, the patented SelectFlex PowerLIFT Arch™ (PLA) is the only insole technology that lifts the arch into correct anatomic alignment, simultaneously providing therapeutic benefits and comfort (ISHN April 2020). With the turn of a key, the SelectFlex PLA is easily customizable to 3 stiffness levels that conform to each individual’s arch and can be adjusted for either foot or type of activity. The chart below clearly illustrates the many enhanced benefits of SelectFlex in comparison to OTC retail insoles and custom medical orthotics.

The ultimate benefit of SelectFlex insoles are felt at day’s end, when dynamic alignment, arch support and energy return leave feet feeling comfortable and refreshed, even after walking miles. Studies show the SelectFlex PLA achieves 52% more arch support with each step in the gait cycle, and the PowerCup™ Heel provides 50% more ankle stability. When combined with the cushioning and moisture wicking PowerBed™, premium engineering and materials, SelectFlex insoles deliver maximum comfort and long-lasting durability at 1/4 the cost of medical orthotics.

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