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In today’s consumer-driven world, the concept of “custom” or “personalized” products has become increasingly prevalent. Custom insoles marketed by pharmacies and stores often claim to provide tailored support, but frequently fall short of genuine customization. However, amidst these marketing gimmicks, podiatrists at Stride Soles offer true customization through 3D foot scanning and expert input. In this blog post, we will expose the limitations of store-bought “custom” insoles and highlight Stride Soles as a genuinely personalized solution.

1. Lack of Individualized Assessment

One of the primary issues with store-bought “custom” insoles is the lack of a comprehensive individualized assessment. While they may use rudimentary methods such as pressure mats or foot size charts, these approaches fail to capture the intricacies of an individual’s foot anatomy, biomechanics, and specific needs. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), true customization of insoles should involve a thorough examination of foot structure, gait analysis, and consideration of any existing foot conditions or abnormalities.

Pharmacies and stores that offer insoles without conducting a proper assessment are unable to provide the level of customization required to address individual foot problems effectively.

Source: American Podiatric Medical Association. (n.d.). Custom Orthotics. Retrieved from https://www.apma.org/custom-orthotics

2. Limited Range of Sizes and Materials

Store-bought “custom” insoles typically offer a limited range of sizes and predetermined materials. They often follow a generic small, medium, or large size scale, disregarding the vast differences in foot shape, size, and arch types that exist among individuals. True customization should consider factors such as arch height, foot length, width, and the specific biomechanical needs of the individual.

A study published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association emphasizes the importance of individual customization in achieving optimal support and comfort. The study concludes that generic insoles may not adequately address specific foot conditions and may even exacerbate foot pain and discomfort.

Source: Janisse, D., & Janisse, E. (2014). Foot biomechanics during weightbearing. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 104(3), 268-275. doi:10.7547/13-051.1

3. Marketing Tactics and Pseudoscience

In the competitive market of insole products, some stores rely on marketing tactics to create an illusion of customization. They may use terms like “custom fit” or “personalized support” without providing substantial scientific evidence to support their claims. This leads to confusion among consumers who seek genuine custom insoles.

An article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns against pseudoscientific claims made by over-the-counter insoles. The article highlights the importance of evidence-based approaches for true customization and cautions against relying solely on marketing gimmicks.

McPoil, T. G., & Martin, R. L. (2015). Are over-the-counter orthoses effective for relieving pain and preventing injury? Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 23(3), 176-183. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-13-00163

Comparison: Stride Soles vs. Store-Bought “Custom” Insoles

While store-bought “custom” insoles rely on marketing gimmicks, Stride Soles offers a genuinely personalized approach. Let’s delve deeper into the comparison:

  1. Individualized Assessment: Stride Soles utilizes advanced 3D foot scanning technology to capture accurate foot measurements, including arch height, foot length, width, and pressure distribution. This comprehensive assessment provides crucial data for tailoring the insoles to each individual’s specific foot characteristics and biomechanics. Moreover, expert podiatrists analyze the data and take into account any existing foot conditions or abnormalities, ensuring a holistic approach to customization.
  2. Tailored Solutions: Stride Soles goes beyond offering a limited range of sizes and materials. They provide a wide variety of customizable features, including materials with varying densities and levels of cushioning, arch support options, and additional modifications based on the individual’s needs. This extensive customization ensures that the insoles are truly personalized and capable of addressing specific foot issues effectively.
  3. Evidence-Based Approach: Stride Soles places a strong emphasis on evidence-based practices. By collaborating with podiatrists and incorporating their expertise, they ensure that the customization process is grounded in scientific research and clinical knowledge. This approach enhances the efficacy and overall quality of the custom insoles.

Store-bought “custom” insoles often rely on marketing gimmicks rather than genuine customization. Without a comprehensive individualized assessment and limited customization options, these insoles may fail to address specific foot issues adequately. Stride Soles, on the other hand, offers a personalized approach through advanced assessment techniques, extensive customization options, and an evidence-based methodology. By debunking the myth of mass-produced insoles, individuals can make informed choices for true foot health and comfort.

About the Author

Dr. Zac Cartun

After graduating medical school from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Zac Cartun consulted for health-tech companies expanding medical care. Since earning his M.B.A from Wharton X INSEAD, he is now bringing orthopedic and podiatric care to the home.