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What kind of shoes should I wear with orthotics?

What kind of shoes should I wear with orthotics?

Posted by Sabrina on June 19, 2012

One of the most common questions people ask us is “I just got custom orthotics – what kind of shoes should I wear with them?” 95% of the time, the answer is a neutral shoe, and for fit reasons, most people choose a running shoe.

Neutral shoes are shoes that use the same density of cushioning throughout – like the 1080, 890, 880, or 840. These shoes are built particularly for cushioning; they are not made to change your running gait. Most running shoes sold (unless identified as otherwise) are neutral shoes.

The type of shoe you don’t want to wear with orthotics is a stability shoe. Stability shoes have a denser foam underneath the arch that corrects runners tendency to overpronate – that is, to roll inward as they run. Wearing a stability shoe with an orthotic inside means that you have two devices correcting your gait.

When it comes to fit, you may have to go half-size to a size longer to accomodate an orthotic, and sometimes a width wider. Look for a shoe with a removable insert (all New Balance shoes except for the minimalist shoes have this) and something with a deeper toebox. Orthotics tend to be much thicker than shoe inserts, so something with a more relaxed last (like the SL-2 last) often works well.

There are a few cases where your doctor or pedorthist will tell you to get a stability shoe in which to wear your orthotics – in that case, they’re going to design the orthotic to fit with a stability shoe. Situations like these are the 5% of the time rather than the 95%.

New Balance motion control shoes are also designed to take an orthotic. Although neutral shoes are best, motion control shoes do work, as a true motion control shoe features a support feature (say, a graphite insert) to keep the heel stable as you walk. Some brands will call a stability shoe with very dense foam in one side a motion control shoe, so if you’re not buying New Balance shoes, it’s a good idea to make sure the motion control shoes you’re buying are not in fact a stability shoe.

Questions? Give us a call at 1-888-501-1333 – we’re happy to help out.

61 Responses to What kind of shoes should I wear with orthotics?

  1. Lisa Herider says:

    I need to find a sneaker for my new orthotics. I have large bunions and one foot is a size 8 and the other a size 9. My orthotics have a 1/2″ lift on the left shoe but that may be changed to something higher in a few months. What would you recommend? My Merrills are pinching my little toe on the left foot where it hits a seam.

  2. Kelsey says:

    I just purchased the New Balance 711 print shoe. I was wondering if this shoe would work with my custom orthotics? I am having a hard time finding a comfortable shoe that will fit my orthotics in the heel. Thank you!

  3. cris says:

    I have plantar fascititis and accilles tendonitis and my feet and legs hurt pretty much every day. I wore custom orthotics and my doctor switched me to an over the counter spenco. I have the Brooks stability sneaker and am thinking it is too much with the orthotic. Can you advise me.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Cris,

      For special cases, some doctors will recommend a stability shoe to go along with orthotics. However for the the most part, we would recommend a neutral running so that it does not over correct your gait and orthotic. If you were looking for switch over to New Balance runners, I would recommend taking a look at any of the 80 series New Balance running shoes.

      Thanks, Ritchie

  4. Eva says:

    I wear orthotics, have on and off plantar fascitis, and a hammer toe on my right foot. No matter what shoe I buy, my right toe ends up drilling a hole in the shoe (the hammer toe leans vigorously against this toe). I’ve been happy with NB 1080, but am wondering if the 928 might be better. Thank you so much for your help.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Eva,

      I would say that it all depends on what you would be using the shoes for. If you were looking for an everyday shoe, the 928 has a deeper toe box for your hammer toe and they’ll give you more support especially with your plantar fasciitis because of the stiff rocker forefoot. However the 1080 would be a better exercise shoe because its lighter weight, more breathable, and offers more cushioning.


  5. Suzie says:

    I wear custom hard (with a light foam lining) orthotics to accommodate my very high arches. I have a narrow heel and need a wider toe box. I find that my orthotics push me up and out of most shoes, and they slip in the heel. If I go smaller, my pinky toe is pinched in the toe box. For tennis, I have worn a pair of New Balance WC654W (c. 2009!) that I had fitted at a running store to accommodate my orthotics. But now I’m finding that when I am in the gym, my feet are all over the place inside the shoe and I have zero stability, and knee pain. I’ve read through this post and have gathered that I need a “neutral” shoe because of my orthotics, but I have no idea where to start. Can you help??

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Suzie,

      Seems to be that your WC654W is due for a replacement. The leather has probably stretched and the mid-sole has compressed to the point where they no longer absorb shock. I would recommend trying the NB 928 which is made with the SL-2 last which accommodates a narrow heel and wide forefoot, however, the NB 928 would be classified as a walking shoe. If you were looking for a shoe suitable for tennis I would recommend the WC806 which is new balance’s most supportive tennis shoe and also has a deep heel cup to prevent heel slippage. Both shoes are neutral and would fit your orthotics just fine.


  6. Joseph Piedagnel says:


    I have been dignosed with Plantar Fascitis. I am looking for the right pair of sneakers that would best fit my feet. I have been fitted with orthotics. I had to let go my treadmill due to too much impact on my feet. I now exercise with an elliptical machine. What brand and style sneakers do you recommend for my condition.

  7. Natalie says:

    Hello! I am having trouble fitting my orthotic into a running shoe. I currently have a pair of asics which are usually my go to shoe, but my orthotic is so thick they don’t have enough room for both my orthotic and my heel! The orthotic is 1 1/8″ at its thickest (heel). Any recommendations on a shoe with a large enough depth to accommodate it, without having it feel like my foot is always slipping out? Thank you!

  8. zooie says:

    i have always worn barefoot style shoes; but now i have new orthotics with a 4ml lift for my left foot. can you please recommend a lightweight shoe that would work well with my new orthotics? these would be for walking. thank you for your help!

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Zooie,

      I would definitely recommend the 980 Fresh Foam. They still have a 4mm drop just like the barefoot shoes, but they have more cushion and removable insoles to accommodate the orthotics.


  9. Cheryl says:

    Hi I just went my foot specialist & found out I have one fallen arch but the other foot still has an arch-I was also told I had chronic conditions with my feet & arthritic changes as well because I always wore cheaper shoes & flip flops and didn’t take care of my feet like I should have. I am now wearing orthotics . I went to a new Balance store and got measured and was told I am a 9 to 9 1/2 wide depending on the shoe. I was curious if the shoe’s I ordered would be supportive enough for my feet. I ordered 2 pair of women’s new balance–A NB Walking in:: WW496WP and NB Running in: W880WB2 . I’m sure they will be ok with the orthotics but I just wanted to be sure .. Thank you for your help :-)

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      Yes, both pairs of shoes that you ordered will definitely accommodate orthotics! I hope they help!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  10. Amanda says:

    Hi Sabrina,

    I have flat, wide feet and heel spurs. I do wear custom orthotics and have worn New Balance for years. My main form of exercise is walking but I have recently started Zumba as well. I’m in need of new walking/running shoes, but after some research it sounds like I may also need a cross-trainer for lateral support during Zumba. I’ve tried the 867 and they are just too narrow for me, despite always wearing a D. Are there cross trainers you can recommend with good lateral support, cushioning for heel spurs and wider widths??

    I’m desperate! My heels are in so much pain after wearing my regular running shoes to class!


    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Amanda,

      All of our cross training shoes are definitely a bit less cushioned than a running shoe, but out of all of them, the 1012 would be the best option. They accommodate orthotics quite nicely in most cases and they have a good amount of cushioning.


  11. barbara green says:

    Hi there
    I have been calling around sports stores in order to replace my New Balance WR840WB which apparently are now W840WB2.

    I was told that I could get a pair of WR840WB but because they have been sitting on the shelf for 5-6 months that the foam inside will break down fast than if I bought a new pair. Is this correct?

    Also, on your website there is a new balance 840V and I wondered if they were the same just your coding or what?

    I also where orthotics with a heelcup and sometimes it is difficult to fit the heel cup orthotics. Is this right shoe for them?


    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Barbara,

      To my knowledge that is definitely not correct. The only way they would break down is from somebody wearing them. They would be just as good and last just as long as a pair that has just been manufactured. If you type in WR840WB in our search bar on our home page, the 840v1 will show up. The 840v2 is the new version. We have very limited sizing left in the 840v1, but they are an awesome shoe for all orthotics, so if your size remains, it would be an awesome option.


  12. Anne says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just got custom orthotics and they don’t fit in any of my shoes! The guy who fit me for them insisted they’re fine in my Sauconys, but you can see they’re too wide and are stressing the shoe. After spending as much as I did on the orthotics, I was not happy when I realized I need new shoes too! I have never had “neutral” shoes because I needed the support of sturdier ones, but I’m off to buy a pair now…

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Anne,

      I’m sorry that you ended up needing to get a new pair. I know orthotics definitely cost a lot as it is. I’m really happy you found our post useful!


  13. Sandi Sewell says:

    I have very abnormally high arches and I wear orthotics. Which I don’t care for. I cannot find a pair of shoes that offers any kind of comfort and that the orthotics fit in very well. My pod said to get a neutral stability shoe. So far I can only find one or the other. I hate clunky looking shoes. Do you have a shoe that might fit the bill? I am on my feet a lot though. Thanks Sandi

  14. Rehana says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    My sister who lives in Pakistan has fallen arches. I think she has acquired flat feet due to standing all day. She does not like to wear sneakers. However she would like to wear sandals or dress shoes. Do you have any recommendation for her?

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Rehana,

      Unfortunately there are not very many dress shoes or sandals that will help with that. I would say her best idea would be to get a supportive insole and put them in a pair of shoes that she has.


      • Rehana says:

        Hi Sabrina,

        My sister is a Dentist in Pakistan. As I told you previously that she has flat feet. What New Balance Sneakers would you recommend for her? I need slip resistant shoes for her.

        Thanks in Advance.

  15. Jerome Ng says:


    I’ve bought the 890V3 but I realised that it arches inward whenever I use it. It does not seem to able to support my mass of 68.0kg. Which pair of shoe do you recommend me to get? Please help. Thanks.


    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Jerome,

      It sounds to me that you are pronating. The 890 is a neutral model, so if you need something that supports your arch more, you could try the 1260v3 or the 940v2. They are both stability models.


  16. yvette says:

    My problem is I have low arches and I have one leg almost 2 inches shorter then the other not to mention a torn meniscus.
    Any sneaker i wear tends to lean on shorter leg, what sneaker should I buy. Please help. Thank you.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Yvette,

      I apologize for the delayed response. I just want to clarify before advising you, are you meaning that one of the shoes are wearing out faster?


  17. Marilyn says:

    I am looking for a new pair of running shoes. I have orthotics and wear WR759BN currently. I love that shoe so much that I had purchased 4 pairs. Now I am ready for a new pair. What do you recommend?

  18. John Brookham says:

    can you tell me if any of the newbalance sandles will accommodate orthotic? Thanks.

  19. Rick says:

    Hello. I just got fit for orthotics…never had them before, but due to the plantar fasciitis I was developing my podiatrist said I needed new shoes. From what I have read here and elsewhere I now need a neutral shoe, maybe even lighter weight, which I never experienced before. Can you recommend some? Thank you.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Rick,

      The shoe I would recommend for you would be the 840v2. This shoe fits orthotics really nicely and has a ton of cushion.


  20. Laura says:

    I have been wearing custom made orthotics for many years to correct over pronation and pain under the toes. I also have bunions on both feet. I was originally fitted in a New Balance running shoe (don’t remember the model number) which worked very well. I currently wear a New Balance walking shoe model 659 (with an SL-2 last) that is no longer available. I purchased many pairs of these because they worked so well. The model that replaced the 659 is not comparable to the 659. Can you recommend a running shoe or another walking shoe that may work for me?
    Thank you!

  21. Lori Reed says:

    I have a wide forefoot, high instep, and need a deep toe box to accommodate hammer toes. I need a 4E that is a neutral shoe to wear with my orthotics. The only thing width wide I’ve found is the 1540 in a 7.5 4E. However my orthotist would prefer a neutral shoe. I think I’ve tried everything on in my local store and nothing is wide enough that’s neutral. Since the 1540 has support on both sides is it considered neutral?

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Lori,

      The 1540 is okay to wear with an orthotic, but it would not be my recommendation for you. The best model would be the 928. It comes in a 4E for women, has a lot of depth and is by far our most podiatrist recommended shoe. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  22. Maree says:

    Hi guys,
    My son is just about to get new custom made orthotics. He has very flat feet and has plantar fasciitis… The podiatrist suggested Asics Gel Katoomba 3 do you have a shoe similiar to this?? We have always found new balance great for our three children and would like to be able to stay with New Balance!

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Maree,

      With the issues that your son is having with his feet, I would recommend the 840v2 or the 1080v3. They are both made with the N2 cushioning system which is our highest quality cushion. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  23. David says:

    Hey guys, I am having lots of trouble finding a pair of shoes. I recently went to the podiatrist and he told me i have flat feet and gave me custom orthotics. Now that I have the orthotics I cant fit them in the shoes without my heel coming out. So the main problem is that the orthotic is too thick, so I have to find a shoe that is deep enough to compensate.
    Any suggestions?

  24. Leslie says:

    Hi I just got orthotics to correct my over probation caused by very flat feet. I bought a pair of 940 v2 but I’m wondering if these are the best shoes for me? What else would be better for moderate exercise?

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Leslie,

      The 940v2 is a high stability model meaning, when your feet pronate, it brings you back up to a neutral position. They are great shoes, but they are definitely not recommended to wear with orthotics because the high structure of the shoes with the orthotics will over correct you. Any neutral model will be the way to go. A couple of models that work really well with orthotics are the 840v1, the 840v2 and the 1080. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  25. Mel says:

    Hi Rohan
    I’ve been wearing New Balance running shoes since my first marathon in 2004. I use to wear the NB 855 stability shoe and now on NB 840. I’m a pronator so I recently got orthotics made. My shoes are a wide width. You mentioned that with orthotics to at least go half to size bigger. What about the width? Should I go regular or medium width or stay with the wide? Thanks.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Mel,

      You want to go half a size longer, but make sure that the orthotics fit nice and snug in the width. You don’t want them to slide around in the shoe. You will have to put the orthotics in the shoes and make sure that there isn’t space on either side of them.

      Thank you, Sabrina

  26. Lindsay says:

    I have had orthotics for over 10 years now and have always used new balance but I have never quite found the right shoe for me. I am looking for a shoe that will accommodate a sports type orthotic and that is good for 12+ hour days of standing, walking and moderate hiking. I also have small, wide feet and have had trouble finding shoes to fit them. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!


    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Lindsay,

      All of our shoes other than the Minimus will accommodate orthotics. If you are on your feet all day and want a good cushion based model, I would recommend the 840. It has a ton of cushioning and comes narrow to extra-wide. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  27. rohan newcomb says:

    I am a moderate over pronator and have worn orthotics for over 10 years. I am looking for a cross-training (something to do exercises and walk in) shoe in which I would be able to wear my orthotic. Would you have any recommendations?
    Haven’t been able to locate the correct shoe for a Male for along time
    Please help
    Thank You

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Rohan,

      All of our Crosstraining shoes will have removable insoles to accommodate orthotics. In my experience, the 856 model has been a really successful model to wear with orthotics. If you would like something a bit more lightweight, the 797 and 1012 are other good options. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  28. Tammy Carter says:

    I have a pair of 572’s and am needing a new pair as I didn’t realize I needed to buy a pair at least a half size bigger than my normal 7.5. In the last couple years I’ve noticed that certain shoes really make my knees hurt. Once I switched shoes, the pain would go away, then come back if I put those other shoes on. Finally, I started wearing the 572’s but as I said, I need a half size larger as my big toe rubs the end after awhile. I cannot locate any 572’s. I cannot remember where I bought them, but it was at a small box chain store and reading through your info here it looks like they may not be made anymore or have changed numbers. What would be a good substitute for these? According to your website and a podiatrist I have a “C” shaped foot or a supinator foot. I cannot wear boots as my arch is so high that my foot will litterally not go into the shoe. Can you help me and tell me what versions would work for me??


    • Sabrina says:

      Hi Tammy,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having such a hard time finding shoes that work for you! The 572’s have been replaced by the 610, so if they worked for you in the past, I would recommend trying them again. If you would like to try more of a road running shoe, I would recommend for you to try the 1080. If you end up ordering from us and they do not work, we give you 14 days to try the shoes indoors to send them back for a full refund. You also have 30 days to try them (even outdoors) to exchange them or get a store credit. We also pay the return shipping. Hope this helps!

      Thank you, Sabrina

  29. A Khanna says:

    Hi there,

    I am a moderate to severe over pronator and I currently wear orthotics. I am looking for a cross-training (something to do exercises and walk in) shoe in which I would be able to wear my orthotic. Would you have any recommendations?

    Thank you.

    • Nathan says:

      Hi Anita,

      A cross-trainer that I would recommend that you can wear with an orthotic is the 797, the 997, or the 1012. All of them have removable insoles and accommodate orthotics really nicely. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Thank you, Sabrina

  30. Debbie says:

    I was very interested in the above blog as I have only found one shoe I am comfortable in and can walk with out pain and that is New Balance 768 (stablity shoes). I know have orthotics to help with bursitis and other foot problems. I am wanting to buy a new pair of shoes and would be most grateful for some advice on what to get that would also provide a fit like the 768.

    • Nathan says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Sorry for the delayed response! I did some research for you and the 768 was built on the PL-1 last, so the 890 series or the 1080 series would be my recommendation for you. They are both neutral models and are built on the same last as the 768 (PL-1), so they will fit very similar to what you are used to. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Thank you, Sabrina

  31. Pingback: New Balance 928 Review |

  32. BRIAN LOVE says:

    Iam going to the foot doctor to-day because I may have PLANTAR FASCITIS.
    They will ask if I wear a good support shoe.For 2 years I have been wearing NB 623
    Today I will be reciving a pair of NB 846 .because I walk 5km a day.Are theses the right shoe for me. And can I return the unopened NB 846 to you in exchangs for a shoe that you think is better for my condition

    • Nathan says:

      Hi Brian – the 623 and 846s are both good supportive shoes; they’re both shoes that podiatrists have sent patients in to buy. Ultimately, choice of shoe really comes down to foot type – whether you have a high or low arch. Both of those shoes are a good pick for people with the more common high arch. The 846s are a purpose-built walking shoe, so they’re a good choice for you. Since you bought your shoes at our store, you’ve got 30 days in which you can wear them outside, and if they’re not right for you, you can bring them back and exchange them for something that does work for you. If you do end up switching to another pair, I’d look towards a neutral cushioned running shoe like the 880 or 1080 – running shoes tend to have a LOT of cushioning, because they’re made to absorb the 2-3g impact that comes from running. When my aunt had a similar problem, I got her a pair of 1080s that helped a lot with the plantar fasciitis (more info at that link). Anyway, bottom line, 846s should work just fine for you, but if not, bring em back and well get you looked after.

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