Everyone has different feet. Custom orthotics are meant to be specially made and fully tailored to one’s unique structural and biomechanical needs. If you’ve ever heard that you need to “break-in” a shoe before it can truly be comfortable to wear, it’s because of this.

What Exactly Does Breaking In Your New Custom Foot Orthotics Entail?

When it comes to the Pedorthic professional, this is easily one of the main questions you will get. “How long is it going to take to get fully used to these new orthotics?” The truth is, there is no direct answer to this question. It’s going to take each different amount of time because everyone will adapt at different intervals. If you are getting brand new orthotics, everything from your ankles to your knees, hip, back, and feet have all been functioning in a specific movement pattern for your whole life (or a long time). Because of this, everything needs to be given time for the adjustment to be made. There will be a new alignment that your body needs to get used to.

Because of this, as a Pedorthist, it’s always a good idea to let a patient know that there will be a “break-in” period and it may be uncomfortable. Letting a patient know about this period is not only going to enhance patient compliance, but it can also help ensure they remain true to the treatment plan and increase the likelihood of success.

What Does Breaking In New Custom Foot Orthotics Feel Like?

Whenever you get new Xelero Shoes, it can introduce a lot of new variables and new sensations. The majority of people will experience unusual sensations at the start. It could feel as if you are standing on a very hard and round ball and applying more pressure to different areas of your feet that didn’t experience before. Your foot could even feel tight or congested. For others, the orthotic could feel as if you are stepping on a cloud right away. It doesn’t matter if the orthotics feel great or completely uncomfortable, you need to break them in. 

What Are Some Of The Best Tips For Breaking Into Your Orthotics?

1. Start Slow

The last thing you want to do is introduce new orthotics and run a marathon in them right away! Instead, try to wear them around the house. Try to wear them at lesser intervals throughout the day. Start by wearing them for 1 to 2 hours at a time. Do this for at least a week. This is important because it can keep you from injuring yourself or getting blisters. After all, you went too fast. You also don’t want to get yourself discouraged if they feel uncomfortable at the start. It’s going to take you some time to get used to the changes they’ve introduced. It could take upwards of a month to get used to them. Allow yourself to go through the “break-in” period to see if you come out the other side with more comfortable and healthier feet.

2. Know Your Body

You need to try to journal your experiences and get to know your body. No one knows your body better than yourself. If you start to feel any new pains in your knees, ankles, toes, back, or hips, you want to remove the orthotics. Try to start fresh once the pain subsides. If you continue to use them as you develop new pains, it could force you to change the way you walk and result in an injury. You could also develop blisters because of it. Look for red spots on your feet because they are likely spots where the orthotics are generating more friction than normal.

3. Start With New Shoes

It’s always a good idea to start wearing your new orthotics with new shoes. You want new shoes because there could be previous wear patterns from your old insoles that can change the way the orthotics insoles work. This can reduce the overall effectiveness of the orthotics because they were designed for new shoes. You also want proper fitting shoes. Try to get new shoes that have the appropriate width and depth for your orthotics. You can try to fit the orthotics in various pairs of shoes you own. That way, you can see which one delivers the most comfortable wearing experience. This could also tell you what brand you might want to stick with.

If your shoe allows for it, you can open it up to get the orthotic properly fitted. This can keep your socks from bunching up and it can protect the collar of the shoe from getting stretched out.

4. Do Walking Before Running

You don’t want to start wearing your orthotics and start introducing rigorous activity right away. Instead, you want to try to break them in beforehand. You want to be able to wear them for a full week before introducing any physical activity. If you are competing in a sport, try to wear them for practice before wearing them in a game. If you are experiencing any pain or muscle soreness, it could be a sign that you wore them too soon.

5. Adjustments Are Normal

You will find that new orthotics will typically introduce new pressure points and they could be uncomfortable from the start. This is because your feet and your entire body are adapting to the changes. If it’s been 3 or so weeks and you’re still not adjusting, you may need to reach out to your Pedorthist. They can alter the orthotics if necessary. Don’t attempt to do it on your own. You could find yourself ruining them. Adjustments are normal as everyone’s feet and body are different. Try to be patient with the “break-in” period. You will find that once you get through it, the orthotics can make a big difference in your everyday comfort.