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.