Custom Orthotics vs Over The Counter Orthotics: Which Should You Choose?

Custom Orthotics vs Over The Counter Orthotics- Which Should You Choose

As Sydney podiatrists, we often have people ask us whether they should get custom orthotics or buy over the counter (OTC) orthotics. So when it comes to custom orthotics vs over the counter orthotics, which should you choose?

It is certainly a personal choice but it does come down to the reason for the orthotics, and what the best solution is for the foot problems you are experiencing. Always follow advice from a qualified podiatrist but here are some points you need to consider when deciding between the two.


Buying over the counter orthotics is a quick, convenient way to adjust the fit of your shoes. They can be bought in a variety of stores and easily cut to your own shoe size. The tricky bit is when you have shoes that are all slightly different sizes (as you often find when you try on different shoe sizes from different brands). Once you cut your insole down to size, you may find it doesn’t fit perfectly into another pair of shoes.

Custom orthotics can take a little longer to make but they are 100% built to fit your feet exactly. They can also be made to fit more than one pair of shoes so you don’t need to have multiple orthotics – just the one.


The obvious difference between the two types of orthotics is the price. Over the counter orthotics are usually the cheaper option as they are mass produced and not personalised at all. Custom orthotics, as the name suggests, are completely customised to your feet and therefore they will cost more.


Over the counter orthotics such as insoles are fairly cheap to make and therefore you can’t really compare the quality to custom orthotics. Materials vary depending on the type of orthotics but custom orthotics are usually made from leather, cork, carbon fibre, polypropylene or rigid plastics. Over the counter orthotics are often made from rubber or silicon and won’t have the same shelf life as custom orthotics.


How many times have you bought insoles for your shoes? They’re not something that you buy once and then keep and use for years and years. Often you’ll rebuy them as they wear down or you’ll buy a pair each time you buy new shoes so that you can cut and fit a new pair to those shoes specifically.

Custom orthotics on the other hand, due to their personalised features, will usually last for years. So while they may cost more upfront, they will usually last a lot longer.

Health Insurance Rebate

Something people often overlook is that custom orthotics may be covered by your private health insurance. Over the counter orthotics won’t generally be covered as they do not require a doctor’s prescription and they are fairly low cost. On the other hand, you may well be able to claim a rebate on your custom orthotics, making them more cost-effective than you may have first thought.

If you think you may benefit from custom orthotics, speak to our podiatrist in Alexandria today. When it comes to custom orthotics in Sydney, The Foot Hub can help you. We offer a range of different orthotics for both adults and children. Make an appointment with us online now.

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