Foot orthotics or supports are meant to correct biomechanical issues of the foot and to improve the biomechanics of the lower limb and the rest of the body. There are many different kinds of foot orthoses and methods of fabricating them for podiatrists to use and select from. A lot of people need and do reap the benefits of made to order foot orthotics while some might be helped by the easier and cheaper mass-produced foot supports. What type is right for each person will depend on precisely what is leading to the problems and what the treating doctor advises is the best for that person. All different foot orthoses have got different design features and a good clinician will attempt and match those up to the requirements of the individual. If that is not done the right way, then there may not be any kind of improvement in the symptoms.
Foot orthoses are not without their issues. When they are not the right choice for the individual, then they won’t work. You are also restricted by what footwear you need to use, in that you have to be able to fit them into the shoe and there may not be adequate space. There are also varieties of footwear, for example the flip flops which they simply can’t be used in. This may cause an issue in warmer climates that make closed in footwear necessary for foot orthoses uncomfortable. There are alternatives, for instance, the Archies which have a foot support integrated. The design of the arch supports in these Archies flip-flops are like what you should get in an over-the-counter arch support, but most likely not as good as what you will get from a customized foot support. Using these do give you a useful alternative to foot orthoses, based on where one can wear them and also the character of the biomechanical problem. If you do need foot supports there isn’t any harm in trying these types of choices or raising it with your treating podiatrist to see what they think.