Semelle orthopédique : avis médical, bénéfices et comparatif 2023

Orthopedic insoles are medical devices used and prescribed by a podiatrist or orthotic surgeon to correct foot deformity problems (flat foot, toe in, toes turned inward). Orthopedic insoles can improve foot health and thus prevent more serious problems such as chronic pain, infections and other diseases.

There are orthopedic insoles for children, adults and the elderly. Orthopedic insoles are available in different shapes, sizes and models. However, in order to help you learn about the benefits and disadvantages of these insoles as well as the best insoles adapted to your pathology, we invite you to read us until the end to find out more.

Plantar pain: a recurring case in France

Plantar pain is a major health problem in France. These are pains that affect the feet and ankles. People who experience them experience painful sensations in these parts of the body. It is not a serious illness, but it can still be very debilitating. 

According to studies carried out, it is often due to the fact that people wear unsuitable shoes to their activity. They affect 12% of the French population aged 20 to 64, a figure which is increasing over time.

Typically, plantar pain occurs in the arch of the foot, which is made up of the bones of the foot and heel. This can happen for a prolonged period of time, and there are different reasons why the pain may appear. However, before opting for orthopedic insoles as a means of therapy, it is first a good idea to have a brief overview of what they are and what exactly they are used for.

What are orthopedic insoles used for?

Soles Orthopedic shoes are accessories that will help you maintain a healthy foot position. They aim to improve comfort, posture, appearance and daily well-being.

People who wear them are relieved of pain in their feet, ankles and legs because they can finally move around normally. In addition, they help restore a harmonious appearance to your shoes. In this case, it is important to choose insoles that match your specific needs.

Note that these insoles can be used in several different circumstances, particularly in the event of:

  • Pain that affects the forefoot
  • Rearfoot pain
  • Plantar deformities (flat or hollow feet)
  • Discomfort in gait
  • Hallux valgus

What are the advantages of orthopedic insoles?

Orthopedic insoles have many advantages. If you suffer from foot problems, they can help you regain your mobility and live your daily life better. In fact, orthopedic insoles allow you to:

  • Relieve pain in the feet, ankles and toes: Orthopedic insoles are becoming more and more popular as people recognize their benefits. In particular, orthopedic insoles are very useful for relieving pain in the feet, ankles and toes. When you walk, orthopedic insoles create a slight effect that distributes weight correctly and thus reduces the strain on painful joints.
  • Orthopedic insoles prevent your feet from becoming deformed. Feet naturally stretch over time, causing toe pain. Orthopedic insoles then provide additional comfort and keep you upright even if you suffer from arthritis. They are essential for the elderly and recommended for anyone suffering from foot and knee pain.
  • Improve blood circulation: Orthopedic insoles are a real asset for your health. They improve blood circulation in the feet and stimulate the regeneration of cells and skin. In addition, they reduce perspiration and humidity for better ventilation. Orthopedic insoles are also made of different materials to meet everyone's needs.
  • Strengthen mobility: Orthopedic insoles are shock absorbers that guarantee mobility. What is this ? It is an element of footwear that serves to improve mobility and comfort. In fact, it is a device with molded elements that provide excellent stability. These insoles can be said to improve mobility because they help people move more easily and not feel pain. Thanks to this, older people can walk with more ease. They can do activities such as walking, gardening or even cooking.
  • Improve the approach: Orthopedic insoles have flexible soles, which are designed to improve gait. Orthopedic insoles are very useful because they improve gait, and they can be used by people suffering from foot pain. In fact, these insoles can even be worn at any age. They help relieve many foot pains and provide optimal comfort. The latter, in fact, make it possible to correct certain walking abnormalities, such as flat foot or deformation of the plantar arch and are also effective solutions for improving the health of the elderly, who most often have problems with their feet. legs.
  • Relieves pain, back pain: Orthopedic insoles are not designed to prevent problems related to back pain. However, if you suffer from back pain, it is possible to relieve the pain with orthopedic insoles. These products can be very effective if you suffer from a herniated disc or back pain.
  • Relieves knee pain: If you suffer from knee pain, you can relieve it by wearing orthotic insoles. These are designed for everyday use, and they can be very effective if you suffer from pain associated with body position issues.

Over time, our feet assume an incorrect position, leading to pain in the back of the knees. Orthopedic insoles can relieve this pain by repositioning the feet into the correct position, as well as the rest of the body.

Once again, orthopedic insoles are particularly effective for athletes who suffer from pain in the knee, elbow and foot. If you are athletic and suffer from pain in your back, knees, hips or ankles, orthopedic insoles can be very effective. These products can help you relieve pain related to excess weight or poor body position. 

What are the disadvantages of wearing orthopedic insoles on a daily basis?

Orthopedic insoles are shoes to relieve people suffering from plantar pain. The problem with these shoes is that they are not always easy to wear on a daily basis.

When you wear orthotic insoles on a regular basis, you sometimes find yourself with different problems. So, what are the disadvantages of everyday orthopedic insoles?

The risk of injury

Orthopedic insoles are often thicker and larger than normal shoes. This can impact the way you walk, which can lead to injury and pain.

The risk of infection

Orthopedic insoles can keep your feet cool and comfortable. However, they can also retain too much fluid or bacteria which can cause infections. Orthopedic insoles should be removed regularly to allow your feet to breathe and air out.

The risk of warts

Orthopedic insoles can cause warts on your feet. If you wear orthotic insoles for a long time, your body may think that your feet are smaller than they really are. When your body tries to respond to this, it can produce more keratin and collagen. This can cause warts.

The heat produced by orthopedic insoles

Most orthotic insoles are actually wider and flatter than other insoles. This results in a larger contact surface with the ground which can cause your feet to feel hot when you walk.

It's important to keep in mind that a sick or injured foot may be more sensitive to heat, but if you feel uncomfortable due to the heat in your shoes, you may want to consider other solutions.

The weight of orthopedic insoles

Orthotic insoles are actually small plates of metal or plastic that are attached to the sole of your shoe. However, they are much stiffer than your shoe, so it can be difficult to walk on very uneven surfaces and be comfortable for a long time.

The discomfort of orthopedic insoles (often too tight)

Besides the heaviness and weight, orthopedic insoles have another major disadvantage. The elasticity of the materials used in these shoes is not sufficient, this can cause pain in the foot.

Orthopedists are forced to use multiple materials to achieve good elasticity to allow your toes to be more airy in the shoe.

Medical opinion on orthopedic insoles, what do podiatrists think?

Podiatrists are health professionals who specialize in the study and treatment of foot problems. They take care of all cases of foot-related pathologies.

Before you decide to use orthotic insoles, you should make sure that your podiatrist agrees with their use. It would be a shame to use shoes that could worsen your foot problem, instead of improving it.

Podiatrists' opinions on orthopedic insoles

Podiatrists believe it is important to have orthopedic insoles. Indeed, this type of sole helps improve the quality of life of their customers. For what ? It's quite easy to imagine sore, aching, tired feet. Orthopedic insoles provide a lot of comfort to the feet, and they are mainly used by people who suffer from back problems or are overweight.

What factors should be taken into account according to podiatrists?

For most podiatrists, there are three factors that contribute to the effectiveness of orthopedic insoles: foot size, foot stability and body weight. Once you have found the right orthotic insoles for your foot problem, it is advisable to keep them for a while.

Some podiatrists recommend wearing these insoles all day for the first week. To maximize the effectiveness of orthopedic insoles, It is important to adapt your diet and physical activity to the insoles you wear.

Diet and physical activity are very important for health in general, but also for foot problems. Foot problems can be caused by improper diet and physical activity. Thus, diet and physical activity can help reduce pain, improve mobility and reduce foot deformity.

Foot problems are quite common (for example, about 10% of adults have foot problems) and you should therefore consult a podiatrist if you have them.

However, foot problems should not be neglected: a podiatrist can help you improve your comfort and mobility, and it's much better than having to wear orthopedic insoles. If you have foot problems, be sure to talk to your podiatrist.

Comparison of the best orthopedic insoles

In this current context, it is important for you to take care of your feet. In fact, you can't afford to let these organs go idly by. That is why some people are ready to give a lot of money to get orthopedic insoles.

If you also want to avoid pain and health problems related to the soles of your feet, now is the time to choose from these best orthopedic insoles.

Picture Description Features Price Customer reviews Product link
Description Smartfeet Orthopedic Insoles Features
  • Arch support
  • Relieves heel pain
  • Daily use
Price 39.90€ Customer reviews 4,6/5 See the product
Description Thermoformed Orthopedic Insoles Features
  • Reinforced arch support
  • Shockproof
Price 29.90€ Customer reviews 3,7/5 See the product
Description Orthopedic Flat Foot Insoles Features
  • Flat foot correction
  • Comfortable
Price 39.90€ Customer reviews 4,3/5 See the product
Description Plantar Fasciitis Orthopedic Insoles Features
  • Relieves Plantar Fasciitis
  • Suitable for long walks
Price 37.90€ Customer reviews 5/5 See the product
Description Comfort Gel Orthopedic Insoles Features
  • Cushioning gel
  • Ideal for sports
Price 35.90€ Customer reviews 4,4/5 See the product
Description Orthopedic Sports Insoles Features
  • Protects the entire foot
  • Ideal for running
Price 29.90€ Customer reviews 4/5 See the product

How to choose the right orthopedic insole?

Above all, orthopedic insoles must be very effective for you. Their effectiveness is linked to physical criteria. There are many different orthotic insoles available, and it is important to choose the ones that best suit your needs.

So, here are the criteria you should take into account when choosing the right custom orthopedic insole.

Depending on the pathology

To help you choose the right orthotic insole, you must first determine your problem by taking into account the area where you are experiencing pain, because foot problems are very different from each other. Thus, there are among others:

  • Flat feet: if your toes are wider than your heel, your feet are flat. You must choose an orthopedic insole that is well pronounced on the forefoot to repair your imbalance.
  • The heel spur: If you feel excruciating pain in the back of your foot due to a bony growth, it is most likely that you are suffering from a heel spur. For this, you should choose a rubber sole with a wide heel and especially of medium height in order to relieve your foot.
  • Valgus feet: If your toes point toward the inside of your foot, your feet are valgus. You should choose a wide orthopedic insole on the back of your feet to correct your imbalance.
  • Diabetic foot: Diabetic foot is a foot condition caused by an increase in blood sugar levels. When diabetic foot is left untreated, it can develop ulcers, leading to loss of the toe or the top of the foot. Thus, it is mainly characterized by a loss of sensitivity in the feet.
  • Metatarsalgia: It is one of the forms of foot pain that manifests itself as a burning, pulling or painful sensation when walking. This pain is generally felt in the front of the foot and is most often due to plantar inflammation.
Metatarsalgia can also be caused by a joint-related problem. It is also frequently associated with problems related to the bones of the foot, particularly in the case of a misalignment of the bones on the outer side of the foot.

Depending on the type of activity

Choosing an orthopedic insole based on the type of activity you do is important, because some insoles are more suitable for certain activities than others. It is therefore important to choose the sole that best suits your needs.

  • For outdoor/daily activities, you need to choose shoes that will allow you to move quickly in all situations. The sole should be strong and rigid, and the heel should be fairly high. You must be able to walk on any type of terrain with shoes adapted to your sport.
  • For Sport : Orthopedic insoles are essential since they reduce joint pain while increasing the stability of the feet. You absolutely must use orthopedic insoles if you play sports. Since not all orthopedic insoles may be suitable for you, However, it is advisable to consult a specialized practitioner before wearing them during your sporting activity.

In depending on your podiatrist's prescription

Indeed, if you suffer from foot pain, you will probably have to resort to orthopedic insoles. You will find different models on the market. They are all designed for the comfort and health of the feet.

But before making your choice, it is important to consult your podiatrist. He is the one who has the necessary expertise to help you find the best Orthopedic sole which best suit your situation. He is also able to refer you to multidisciplinary rehabilitation centers or organize therapies.

Depending on the type of soles

Choosing the right orthopedic insole is not always easy. It depends on the type of use the patient has to make of it. Indeed, an orthopedic insole that is suitable for athletes is not necessarily suitable for older people. It is therefore important to know the different types of soles.

So, there are several types of soles. The main difference between them is their composition and how they are made.

  • Classic orthopedic insoles
They are made of natural and synthetic materials. Classic orthopedic insoles are the most used. They are made of rubber, foam, silicone or resin. In terms of comfort, these are the best insoles for seniors. However, they are not suitable for athletic people or people suffering from respiratory illnesses.
  • One-piece orthopedic insoles
One-piece orthopedic insoles are used to support the feet and ankles in cases of pain. They consist of a single block and are therefore very discreet. They are manufactured from a single piece. These insoles have a beneficial effect on your feet, as they increase the comfort when walking by lightening the feet.
  • Orthopedic comfort insoles
Orthopedic comfort insoles are designed to improve foot comfort and posture. These can be painful, particularly if you have intense physical activity or if you walk a lot during the day. Thus, these soles aim to absorb shocks while offering better distribution of the different pressures on your feet.
  • Thermoformed orthopedic insoles
Thermoformed orthopedic insoles represent a simple and effective way to relieve foot pain. They are very practical for those who suffer from ingrown toe problems, calluses or even foot rigidity. Thanks to these thermoformed orthopedic insoles, you have less risk of sustaining foot injuries.
Their particularity is that they are molded directly on the patient's foot and can adapt perfectly to each morphology. In addition, these thermoformed soles are most often prescribed to people with diabetes and athletes, and depending on the different pathologies, the base of these thermoformed insoles can be made of foam, double resin or cork.
  • Soles epidermal conditions
These insoles, reserved for people with epidermal problems, are most of the time used with the aim of ejecting the pressure which rests on the areas of the foot concerned. They can suffer from warts, plantar corns, and even calluses.
  • How use your orthopedic insoles correctly?

Wearing orthopedic insoles has never been an easy task since it is in some way a big upheaval for your feet in particular and your lower limbs in general. However, there are some very practical tips that can help you get used to your orthotics better in order to to obtain optimal results.

So, you are really advised to wear insoles actively for about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon for more or less 3 days if it is your very first time using orthopedic insoles. For this purpose, you have the possibility of increasing the time gradually until you no longer feel any discomfort while wearing them.

However, it should be noted that the adaptation time will be less for a patient who has already had to wear orthopedic insoles in the past. However, when using orthotic insoles, some problems such as leg pain and fatigue may arise.

Generally, in this case, do not hesitate to remove them at all, and therefore be attentive when your podiatrist may ask you, for example, when and in what way his symptoms appear.

  • The importance of choosing the right size

Do you think the size of orthopedic insoles does not matter? You are wrong. Choose the correct size of orthopedic insoles is fundamental. In fact, the size of your insoles can have a huge effect on improving your back pain. How ? Depending on the size of your insoles, you may be more or less uncomfortable.

Therefore, insole length and shape are important for better comfort. Orthopedic insoles of the right size and shape can therefore reduce your pain in your feet, knees, ankles and back and allow you to regain your mobility, and this is undoubtedly the reason why at Smartfeet, Most insole models are cuttable to allow a good fit.

  • Maintenance/renewal of orthopedic insoles

The maintenance and renewal of orthopedic insoles are procedures that can be carried out at home. Maintenance prevents the formation of bacterial deposits and wear on the soles. Renewal consists of replacing worn soles with new ones made of plastic, fabric, leather or metal. The insoles can be renewed after 6 to 12 months.

There are different types of orthopedic insoles to vary the types of use and therapy. Orthopedic insoles are made of plastic, leather, fabric, metal or several materials, and most of these orthotic insoles are manufactured according to the type of problem of the person.

However, there are several simple and effective products that can help you restore luster and shine to your soles. So you can have

    • Soapy water
    • Baking soda
    • methylated spirits
  • The duration of use of orthopedic insoles

Orthopedic insoles are very popular because they help relieve pain in the feet and ankles. Their lifespan is on average two to three years. But this varies depending on the type of sole. For example, classic, one-piece or thermoformed soles have a lifespan of two years. As for the soles made of steel, they are designed to last a little longer.

However, it should be noted that several elements can also influence the lifespan of your orthopedic insoles such as: Lifestyle, the quality of the insoles and the maintenance carried out on these insoles.

  • When to use your orthopedic insoles?

Orthotic insoles have become quite popular over the past few years, and yet many people aren't really sure when they should use them.

It's important to know when to use your insoles, because too often people use them simply because they need them (since they are their only option). There are several situations where you should use your insoles, but here are the most common ones.

    • In case of knee problems: Insoles can be very useful for people who have knee problems. In fact, they are designed to improve the position of the knee and foot. This will allow you to have a more harmonious posture and be comfortable.
    • In case of ankle drop problem: Insoles can be very helpful for people who have drooping ankles. Indeed, if you have a problem with ankle drop, it is important to use insoles to relieve the pain and swelling that results from it.
    • In case of back problems: As insoles help improve the position of the foot and knee, they can also be very useful if you have a back problem. Indeed, by improving the position of the foot and knee, the insoles help relieve tension on the muscles and ligaments. Therefore, it can relieve back pain.

Prescription/reimbursement of orthopedic insoles

The prescription and reimbursement for orthopedic insoles depends on the situation and is first decided by your doctor. It is usually necessary to see a doctor to get a prescription, but some people are able to order insoles over the Internet. If you buy insoles without a prescription, you should know that reimbursement cannot under any circumstances be made by social security.

Please note that reimbursement for an insole is only possible if it has been prescribed by a doctor or purchased through a medical prescription. But in this case, theSocial security only reimburses 60% of the conventional rate, That said, for a size 38 of a pair of orthopedic insoles for example, reimbursement by social security can only be €17.30, because for a patient whose pair of orthopedic insoles is size 37 and above, the agreed price is €28.86.

Taking into account the fact that these conventional prices depend on the patient's shoe size, we can have the following sizes and prices:

Sizes Conventional rates
Under 28 25,88 €
From 28 to 37 28,04 €
More than 37 28,86 €

However, for an online purchase, some mutual insurance companies can reimburse a portion upon presentation of an invoice. But to achieve this, the patient absolutely must first subscribe to mutual health insurance.

Therefore, it should be noted that when reimbursed by a mutual insurance company, the costs retained by social security being 60% are also taken into account. As an illustration, for a pair of insoles of size 37 and above, and sold at a price of €200, the reimbursement by a mutual fund will be around €40, and the remainder will amount to €142.70. Either: €200 - €17.30 (social security) - €40 (mutual) = €142.70.

✅ However, it is strongly recommended to take out health insurance with a reimbursement rate greater than 400%, in order to limit remaining costs as much as possible upon reimbursement.

How to prevent plantar pain/pathologies?

There are many things you can do to prevent this pain. First, make sure you have the suitable shoes. When your feet are properly supported, they develop and adapt to the conditions that suit them best.

Second, don't forget to have a healthy lifestyle. The way you eat, drink and sleep greatly affects your feet and your entire body.

Third, pay attention to how you walk. Sometimes, even if you have the right shoes, you can cause problems for your feet by walking in a way that is inappropriate for them. But if you avoid doing these things, you will be sure not to suffer from plantar pain.

How long does it take to get results with orthotic insoles?

Orthopedic insoles are an effective solution for reducing the pain felt in the feet. But it is also important to know how long it takes to achieve results with these insoles. In fact, from a purely medical point of view, you can see results in a matter of weeks, 4 to 6 weeks. However, it is best to be patient. After all, if you suffer from constant pain in your feet, you will need a longer adaptation period to get used to these insoles.

How do I properly cut my orthopedic insole?

This is perhaps one of the most common questions among orthopedists. The fact is that you should never deviate from the instructions that came with your orthotic insole. However, at Smartfeet, there is however sole models that are cuttable 90% of the time to give you a better fit.

When cutting your sole, you should follow the cutting guide that comes with your sole. Your podiatrist can guide you if you have specific questions. The first thing you need to do is measure the contours of your foot. A good way to do this is to take a piece of paper and place your foot first on the edge of the paper. Then, you will need to use a pencil to draw the contours of your foot. 

Afterwards, you should do the same thing with the other foot. Then you should glue the two pieces of paper together and place them on your sole to see if the result is the same. If you want to cut your sole completely, you should use a scissor to cut at the edge of the sole. It is important that you take several precautionary measures before you start cutting your sole.

With what type of shoes is it recommended to use orthopedic insoles?

To ensure that your orthotics work properly, you need to choose the right shoes. Some shoes are designed to be worn with orthotic insoles, and others are not. 

You can use orthopedic insoles with:

  • City sneakers
  • City shoes
  • Safety shoes
  • Sport shoes
  • Open shoes

In general, however, it should be noted that:

 It is not very advisable to wear orthopedic insoles with heeled shoes., because with these types of shoes, the soles will tend to position themselves incorrectly because of the excessively inclined curve of the heel. With this in mind, you could not benefit from the benefits of these insoles. 

However, you can:

✅ Wear heeled shoes with orthopedic insoles if and only if the heel of your shoe is small and square in shape, because this could somehow allow the soles to position themselves well.

Is wearing orthopedic insoles comfortable?

People often think that orthotic insoles are uncomfortable, but this is not always the case. In most cases, the insoles are very comfortable and help relieve fatigue and pain, even if their basic purpose is not absolutely comfort. However, sometimes they are too rigid.

What is the best orthopedic insole?

The best orthotic insole is a difficult question to answer. Some people need an insole that cushions the shock, while others need an insole that presses against the foot, which will help relieve pain. Or maybe you need two different insoles for different times of the day? In any case, if you suffer from foot pain, we can guarantee that you will find the orthopedic insole you need among those grouped in our comparison table.

Are custom insoles better than traditional orthotic insoles?

Custom orthopedic insoles are very well suited to plantar problems because they are personalized and make it possible to optimize a patient's comfort, mobility, and health. However, traditional orthopedic insoles, of which only the manufacturing method changes, are also very practical since they allow the foot to adapt to the shoe and provide longevity. 

In addition, it should be noted that traditional insoles are generally very thin and make it easier to adapt to shoes without the need for changing sizes, and they can fit both men's and women's shoes. .


In short, the orthopedic insole was designed to help relieve your feet. It helps relieve pain and problems that you may have in your feet. Indeed, foot problems can come from different causes. It could be tendonitis, a kick, or an injury that can get worse. The orthopedic insole is therefore designed to relieve you of the pain you may have at these levels, because it reduces pain in the toes, heel and ankles.

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