Custom-Made Orthotics vs Over-the-Counter

Custom-Made Foot Orthotics

A custom-made foot orthotic is made specifically for the patient following an assessment of their feet and legs by a footcare expert such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.

A custom-made foot orthotic is made from a three-dimensional model of the patient’s foot and is fabricated from raw materials. It is designed to meet the patient’s unique and specific needs.


Where the primary goal is to deflect pressure away from ulcers, calluses and other painful pressure points


A device primarily designed to control foot and lower leg biomechanical function


  • Custom-made foot orthotics provide accurate biomechanical assistance.

  • There is an ongoing ability to modify the device to create perfect fit and function.

  • A vast variety of materials can be used to provide specific support and cushioning for increased function and comfort.

  • Custom-made foot orthotics have a longer lifespan that may off-set the greater initial cost.


  • Although many insurance programs cover orthotics, a custom-made foot orthotic costs significantly more than an over-the-counter device.

Over-the-Counter Devices

Unlike custom-made foot orthotics, basic over-the-counter devices are mass produced and sold through pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail stores. More supportive types of over-the-counter devices can be found at pedorthic clinics.


  • Over-the-counter devices have the added benefits of convenience and affordability.

  • Many over-the-counter devices bring satisfactory results in treating common foot conditions resulting from minor biomechanical abnormalities. For example, they can be used as a temporary device for a child who is rapidly growing or as a “first step” to provide insight into how a patient will respond to and tolerate an orthotic.


  • They do not fit all foot types.

  • They only support moderate biomechanical abnormalities. More significant issues will likely require a custom-made device.

  • They typically have a shorter life span than a custom-made foot orthotic.

To make an appointment with a Pedorthist to receive an examination and get fitted for a custom-made foot orthotic, click here to find a Pedorthist near you.