What are the Best Orthotics for Runners?

Running places severe force on the feet and legs. If you have abnormal biomechanics, then injury can easily occur. Many runners can prevent injury by the use of foot orthotics that are designed especially for the biomechanics of running.

A 2008 study1 looked at both short-term and long-term effects of foot orthotics on runners and found that after 6 weeks of using custom foot orthotics subjects reported:

  • An improvement in symptoms (73.1% decrease)
  • A significant decrease in pain

In a 2000 study, it was found that those with a history of running related injury had a significantly greater impact force when the foot hit the ground.2Other studies have shown that custom foot orthotics can be used to decrease these forces that lead to injury in runners.3-4

If you already have orthotics, your everyday orthotics can often be used in running shoes. Orthotics made especially for running, however, can often offer better protection against injury. Based on recent studies of orthotics for runners, running orthotics should have the following features:

  • Excellent arch contour to improve foot contact and spread force over a large surface area. These are called “total contact orthotics”.
  • A cover with extra cushion. A 2008 study5 showed that an additional thin layer of cushion can decrease velocity of the foot as it strikes the ground resulting in decreased force throughout the lower extremity.
  • Width of the orthotic equal to the width of the foot to ensure that the edge of the orthotic doesn’t irritate the bottom of the foot.
  • Friction reducing cover to reduce blister potential
  • Shock absorbing heel post (the flat part of the orthotic under the heel)

Dr. Hale and Dr. Huppin are experts in prescribing orthotics for runners. Orthotic quality varies widely between practitioners and in runners in particular it is critically important that orthoses be made in a very specific manner.

You can learn here why our orthotics work better.

If you already have orthotics from us, you can order running orthotics here.

If you are in the Seattle area you can make an appointment to see us for an evaluation.


  1. Influence of a custom foot orthotic intervention on lower extremity dynamics in healthy runners. MacLean C, Davis IM, Hamill J. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2006 Jul;21(6):623-30. Epub 2006 Apr 5.
  2. Evaluation of lower extremity overuse injury potential in runners. Hreljac A, Marshall RN, Hume PA. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Sep;32(9):1635-41.
  3. Influence of running shoe midsole composition and custom foot orthotic intervention on lower extremity dynamics during running. Maclean CL, Davis IS, Hamill J. J Appl Biomech. 2009 Feb;25(1):54-63.
  4. Short- and long-term influences of a custom foot orthotic intervention on lower extremity dynamics. MacLean CL, Davis IS, Hamill J. Clin J Sport Med. 2008 Jul;18(4):338-43.
  5. Cushioned Insole Effect on Running. O’Leary K, Vorpahl KA, Heiderscheit B. Effect of cushioned insoles on impact forces during running. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(1): 36-41, 2008
  6. Prevention of running injuries. Fields KB, Sykes JC, Walker KM, Jackson JC. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2010 May-Jun;9(3):176-82
  7. Effects of custom and semi-custom foot orthotics on second metatarsal bone strain during dynamic gait simulation. Meardon SA, Edwards B, Ward E, Derrick TR. Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Oct;30(10):998-1004.
  8. The influence of arch supports on knee torques relevant to knee osteoarthritis. Franz JR, Dicharry J, Riley Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 May;40(5):913-7.