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Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

Posted by Robin B. on 1/01/00 at 00:00 (014297)

Need some recommendations from anyone who has experience with OTC inserts for athletic shoes and for walking. Admittedly, I am a Birkenstock fanatic. I started with them in December 1998; I have already aquired 8 pairs (yikes) and to date, I believe they are one of two measures that have helped me the most. It's the low rounded heel cup and the tremendous high and hard arch support that I love. They have really helped my PF, which is bilateral.

So much, in fact, that I have been able to resume walking a little. It's actually kind of pathetic. I used to do 4 or 5 miles a day, every day. Now I can walk for a mile or one and a half. While my current mileage looks pitiful compared to what I used to do -- it's like finishing the Boston marathon to me. It's phenomenal to be walking again, and I am trying very hard to contain myself, not overdo things, etc.

But -- as any Birkenstock lover knows, Birks were not made for fitness walking. I have two pairs of Reeboks that have enormous amounts of padding that masquerade as arch support. Foam is foam; it's not great -- but it's better than what most other shoes have, which is no arch support. Nevertheless, it's not strong enough to support my aching arches (and later heels) for very long. It's a far cry from the cork of a Birkenstock.

So of course I ordered up a pair of those famous blue Birkenstock footbeds, the kind that go in athletic shoes. After trying them in three different pairs of athletic shoes (none of which I wear anymore thanks to PF), I gave up. Talk about feeling like someone was driving a nail through my heel. Yowee. Not even close to a Birkenstock.

So, I'm back to the Reeboks with foam, or trying to walk on pavement with Birks. I HAVE tried Spencos in the past and found them pretty unsatisfactory.

Does anyone have any experience with and recommendations about OTC inserts that can be used in atheltic shoes and that offer high and hard arch support? Yet without raising my heel very much? And specifically will fit athletic shoes, rather than casual or dress shoes? I have seen a couple varieties in the Feel Good catalog called Euro Arch and IsoArch -- anyone have experience putting those inside walking shoes? They're not terribly expensive, and my fear is that they're probably Spencos with a new look. Is anyone having success with the Scholl's DynaStep inserts inside walking shoes? If so, how's the arch support? Just like I was convinced I could find shoes that help (hallelujah for Birks), now I'm convinced that out there somewhere are inserts for my walking shoes that will give me Birk-style arch support. Thanks for any recommendations.


Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

VLJ on 1/01/00 at 00:00 (014304)

Hi Robin,
What are your arches like? I have high arches and I've tried just about every OTC arch support out there with no luck, including the ones you mention. I'll go ahead and share what has worked for me, in case you have high arches too.
Birks were the only thing for me until I finally interviewed Podiatrists and found one who would commit himself to getting me a pair of custom orthotics that fit correctly. It took some time, but he finally got them to fit my feet (I'd thrown away three others made by other podiatrists) and I can walk again...not as far as you are able, but I am off crutches!!! It is a 'sport' orthotic and when I needed extra height in the arch area I asked him to insert very firm foam, which has worked beautifully. Plus, he added some dense foam cushioning to the heet area on top of the stiff plastic.
I'm asking him to give me extra foam so I can replace it myself as it wears out.
I know they are expensive, but for me they are part of the cure, for sure...along with the stretching, etc that I have learned from Scott, you and others here.
I hope this is helpful...and thanks for all the supportive posts you have made here...they have really made a difference in my 'recovery' Good Luck

Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

Nancy S. on 1/01/00 at 00:00 (014305)

Dear Robin,
Just a quick comment: Your walking mileage is NOT pathetic or pitiful! It's wonderful, and I'm a tad envious. The progress you've made is inspirational (I've read your past posts).
Sorry, being relatively new, compared with you, I have no answers for your question here.
-- Nancy

Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

JudyT on 1/02/00 at 00:00 (014319)

Robin,

I just read VLJ's post and I too have tried all the otc inserts with no luck. ( I have a shoe box full!) The only thing that has worked for me in my athletic shoes (New Balance 606 & 800) are the custom inserts my pod. made up for me for $300.00. They are hard plastic (3/4 length) and have a foam pad glued on top. I have been wearing them since August. I know that is alot of money but after spending what seems like almost that amount in otc inserts and not finding anything that helped with the support the money was well worth it. I also have a high arch and wear Arizonia Birks around the house and Rockports to work. My Rockports have a removable insert and my custom inserts fit in both them and my New Balance athletic shoes. Seems to have helped me the most. Hope this helps...good luck.


Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

VLJ on 1/01/00 at 00:00 (014304)

Hi Robin,
What are your arches like? I have high arches and I've tried just about every OTC arch support out there with no luck, including the ones you mention. I'll go ahead and share what has worked for me, in case you have high arches too.
Birks were the only thing for me until I finally interviewed Podiatrists and found one who would commit himself to getting me a pair of custom orthotics that fit correctly. It took some time, but he finally got them to fit my feet (I'd thrown away three others made by other podiatrists) and I can walk again...not as far as you are able, but I am off crutches!!! It is a 'sport' orthotic and when I needed extra height in the arch area I asked him to insert very firm foam, which has worked beautifully. Plus, he added some dense foam cushioning to the heet area on top of the stiff plastic.
I'm asking him to give me extra foam so I can replace it myself as it wears out.
I know they are expensive, but for me they are part of the cure, for sure...along with the stretching, etc that I have learned from Scott, you and others here.
I hope this is helpful...and thanks for all the supportive posts you have made here...they have really made a difference in my 'recovery' Good Luck

Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

Nancy S. on 1/01/00 at 00:00 (014305)

Dear Robin,
Just a quick comment: Your walking mileage is NOT pathetic or pitiful! It's wonderful, and I'm a tad envious. The progress you've made is inspirational (I've read your past posts).
Sorry, being relatively new, compared with you, I have no answers for your question here.
-- Nancy

Re: Recommendations for OTC inserts with athletic shoes?

JudyT on 1/02/00 at 00:00 (014319)

Robin,

I just read VLJ's post and I too have tried all the otc inserts with no luck. ( I have a shoe box full!) The only thing that has worked for me in my athletic shoes (New Balance 606 & 800) are the custom inserts my pod. made up for me for $300.00. They are hard plastic (3/4 length) and have a foam pad glued on top. I have been wearing them since August. I know that is alot of money but after spending what seems like almost that amount in otc inserts and not finding anything that helped with the support the money was well worth it. I also have a high arch and wear Arizonia Birks around the house and Rockports to work. My Rockports have a removable insert and my custom inserts fit in both them and my New Balance athletic shoes. Seems to have helped me the most. Hope this helps...good luck.