Orthopedic Insoles made from Memory Foam

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Published: 16th July 2009
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"Memory foam" has recently become popular among lines of orthopedic shoes and orthopedic insoles. This visco-elastic material is designed to conform to the shape of your feet. Memory foam actually changes shape when you wear it (just as if you were making a footprint in wet sand). It's the same stuff that they use in those mattresses and pillows that are supposed to adapt so that they fit the exact curvature of your spine.

Memory foam is sensitive to temperature. It becomes soft when it heats up. Orthopedic shoes and insoles rely on the body heat of the feet to trigger a change in the material's hardness. When testing out various insoles, pay attention to the sensitivity of the memory foam when it comes to temperature. Sometimes memory foam that is too sensitive to temperature will not sufficiently conform to the feet in cold weather.

Memory foam used in orthopedic insoles and shoes also can be made in varying densities. Generally speaking, the higher the density, the longer the memory foam will hold the shape of your foot and the more resistant it will be to sudden changes in temperature.

Most orthopedic insoles made with memory foam have a three-layer structure. A central core of memory foam (about ¼ of an inch thick) is sandwiched by two thinner layers of generic cushioning. This three-part structure means that insoles made with memory foam are generally thicker than other insoles (around 3/8 of an inch in total thickness). Don't be alarmed! The insoles will "shrink" once they adopt the impression of your foot.

The main selling point behind memory foam is that no other insole can provide such a custom fit. Memory foam's ability to conform to the unique shape of your foot will make it more effective when providing support for conditions such as plantar fasciitis, dropped metatarsals, corns, bunions, flat feet and high arches. After all, what other orthotic can claim to provide cushioning that is exactly suited to the size and shape of your bunion.

Whether memory foam insoles will gradually replace gel-filled or other insoles is yet to be seen. But some major orthopedic brands seemed to have jumped on the wagon. Mephisto, for example, makes orthopedic tennis shoes that advertise memory foam insoles built into the shoe.

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