How to wear orthotics in a dress shoe

Written by lane cummings
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How to wear orthotics in a dress shoe
This gel insole is an orthotic you can buy in drugstores. (insole image by Vasiliy Koval from

The term "orthotics" encompasses many different types of devices designed to correct, alleviate or adjust biomechanical foot disorders. You can get orthotics custom made to fit your feet, or buy them over the counter in a pharmacy. Orthotics range from cushioned heel cups, arch supports or cushioned insoles. There's a requisite break-in time that you have to employ when using orthotics, starting out by using them just an hour a day and gradually increasing. There are several things to keep in mind when using orthotics with dress shoes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Orthotics
  • Dress Shoes

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    Check the Dress Shoe

  1. 1

    Choose a dress shoe that has a stable enough to support your foot and orthotics. Start by picking up the back of the shoe between two fingers and squeezing it. This is the heel counter. If the shoe bends inward, it's not stable enough.

  2. 2

    Squeeze the midsole of the shoe. This area should feel firm. If this area isn't firm enough, it could collapse under the weight of your foot and your orthotics and cause your foot to pronate as you walk.

  3. 3

    Bend the sole of the shoe near your toes. The area of the shoe where your toes will bend should bend easily.

    Add the Orthotic

  1. 1

    Remove the insole that came with your dress shoe.

  2. 2

    Place the orthotic flush against the heel of your shoe. Make sure there are no gaps.

  3. 3

    Put on a sock or stocking and put on the shoe with the orthotic inside. Your foot should feel absolutely comfortable, not cramped or tight.

  4. 4

    Repeat steps one, two and three with the other shoe. Test your ability to walk in the dress shoes. Walking should be completely comfortable.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider purchasing an absolutely flat insole to replace the one that came in your shoe.
  • Any gaps between your shoe and the orthotics or any pain or discomfort while wearing your orthotics are signs you should consider getting smaller, custom-made orthotics for dress shoes.

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