When it comes to orthotics and comfort shoes, taking the advice of a professional is crucial, especially if you suffer from foot pain or have health concerns like plantar fasciitis or arthritis. Podiatrists can help you find everything from ankle-supporting winter boots to insoles that will fit into any pair of shoes. Their advice can help you be more comfortable on your feet, and can even lead to your new favorite — and fairly affordable — finds.
For instance, Dr. Ashley Lee, a board-certified podiatrist at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, recommends insoles from Superfeet, a brand that sells most of its supportive styles on Amazon for $50 or less. The pain-relieving options range from arch-supporting foam to anti-fatigue stabilizers, and come in men's, women's, and unisex shapes.
"Superfeet offers a variety of levels of support," Dr. Lee tells PEOPLE. "It's my go-to. Especially for people in tight-fitting shoes."
She says that having a pair of insoles, especially in the winter for snow shoes, ensures that your feet are getting the appropriate amount of arch support. Many popular styles of boots are rather flat, Dr. Lee explains, so adding that extra accessory can make a big difference in terms of comfort and support.
Most boots come with removable liners, Dr. Lee says, so removing those and adding ones that can accomodate your specific needs can help with a variety of common winter issues, such as feet aches, slipping, and tripping. These lapses often happen because your Achilles tendon isn't getting enough support, she says — a quick fix when insoles are involved.
"Alleviating that stress can help improve your posture and balance, making falls or injury less likely," says Dr. Lee.
Superfeet has a bunch of different insoles to choose from, but you can shop some of the most popular and best-rated picks below.
Berry Women's Comfort High Arch Support and Forefoot Cushion Insoles
Designed for those who suffer from high arches, these memory foam insoles have a reinforced stabilizer cap at the base that keeps your foot in place and supported throughout active days. The heel cups and foam cushion support your feet during high-impact activities such as running and walking — an especially handy feature for those who get their exercise on cement sidewalks and gravel roads.
"I'm a vet tech who is on her feet for a minimum of 10 hours per day and has stupidly high arches," wrote one reviewer who said that while wearing these insoles, "my knees, ankles, and arches aren't even a little sore at the end of a 12-plus hour day."
Buy It! Women's Comfort High Arch Support and Forefoot Cushion Insoles in Berry, $50.46–$54.95; amazon.com
Unisex Aerospring Dual Comfort Foam Insoles
Trusted by athletes, the Aerospring insoles have high-volume foam cushioning that provides much-needed relief to those who experience knee and joint pain. Close to 4,500 people have rated these popular insoles and they've maintained a stellar 4.4 stars.
"I am a runner, but I was in so much pain I had to stop," wrote one five-star reviewer. "I went to podiatrists and they recommended these inserts. I was reluctant because they were expensive but I have been pain-free since I started using them. I get a new pair every time I get new sneakers and they have worked so well. I recommend them to everyone!"
Buy It! Unisex Aerospring Dual Comfort Foam Insoles, $54.95; amazon.com
Copper Unisex Memory Foam Anti-Fatigue Insoles
Similar to other Superfeet insoles, these anti-fatigue models come with a heel cup for stabilization, as well as a memory foam base for comfort. Many of the 1,000-plus reviewers say these insoles have been a saving grace for relieving plantar fasciitis pains.
"With expensive prescription orthotics, I was barely able to hobble from my car to the grocery store handicap carts," wrote one shopper. "The first day I used Superfeet Copper, the pain disappeared from the balls of my feet; the second day the heels stopped hurting; the third day the knees. The fourth day, my lower back, injured over 50 years ago, had reduced pain. I am now able to walk around the grocery store without the handicap cart, and am looking forward to starting a walking exercise program."
Buy It! Copper Unisex Memory Foam Anti-Fatigue Insoles, $47.74–$54.95; amazon.com