When you receive your custom-made orthotics, you should feel a significant reduction in pain and discomfort. You’ll now be able to resume much or all of your daily activities. But the relief of your feet, ankles, and legs lasts only as long as the orthotic itself.

That raises the question: “How long do custom-made orthotics last?”

Whether you take up running or prefer a more sedentary lifestyle will affect the longevity of the orthotics. In contrast to poor-quality insoles, however, they’re unlikely to begin fraying or wearing out in a matter of mere months – most lasting years.

How long do custom orthotics last?

Learning how long custom orthotics last isn’t solely about getting value for money. You’ll want to look for the signs of wear as the orthotics are near the end of their lifespan; that ensures the orthotics are always protecting and supporting your feet.

Custom-made orthotics are built to withstand the stress of daily activities; and being molded to your feet, there are not likely to be any areas of increased friction.

Normal use should mean the orthotics last around 2 to 3 years on average. Again, that’s wholly dependent on the stresses the orthotics undergo. Some people manage to get five years or more out of their orthotics, while others, particularly runners or hikers, may be lucky to see a year.

You’ll also need to consider the type of orthotic you use. Just as leather lasts longer than cotton, so too do softer materials like foam, cork, or leather wear down quicker than semi-rigid materials.

Factors affecting your custom orthotics’ lifespan

No single factor dictates how long your orthotic will last. Several factors gradually wear your orthotic down, including:

  • Materials. As mentioned, softer materials tend to become worn out quicker than alternate constructions. Semi-rigid materials such as graphite or carbon fiber are more effective than softer, squishier materials.

  • Frequency of use. The more often you wear your orthotics, the quicker they’ll break down. Some patients may be instructed to wear orthotics continuously. However, many people only need them for certain shoes or activities – increasing the lifespan of their custom-made orthotics.

  • Lifestyle. Spending much of your time standing, walking, or running will wear out the orthotics faster than people who sit for much of the day.

  • Weight. The heavier you weigh, the more pressure you place on the orthotics, increasing the rate at which it wears out. Even a lighter person with a more active lifestyle may get longer out of their orthotics than a heavier counterpart.

  • Medical events. It’s not just the orthotics that can wear out; your foot can also change. If your foot is altered – for instance, due to surgery or pregnancy – then your custom-made orthotics may no longer be suitable for your foot shape or gait mechanics.

  • Time. Our feet are in constant flux and gradually change shape throughout our lives. Even if you maximize your orthotic lifespan, your feet may simply no longer fit the orthotic after several years. That’s perfectly normal.

Can orthotics be adjusted or repaired?

Yes! Not all worn-out or poorly fitting orthotics need to be thrown away. Depending on the extent of the damage or the alterations to your foot mechanics, your original custom-made orthotics can be repaired, refurbished, or adjusted to ensure you receive maximum relief.

For example, the orthotics can be re-customized to your feet through heat molding, adjusting the arch height, adding cushioning, or using heel lifts.

However, if your feet have changed considerably or the orthotics are past the point of repair, you will need a new pair of custom orthotics.

When to get new custom orthotics?

Remembering how long custom orthotics last doesn’t just mean replacing at a set interval; you can also look for signs of damage or wear. The most common warning sign is pain. If the orthotics no longer works, then your initial symptoms are likely to return, e.g., pains and aches in the foot.

While a small stain won’t affect the orthotic, warping, cracking, or buckling are early indicators of a soon-to-be broken orthotic.

Final thoughts

If you’ve noticed your orthotic is beginning to wear down, speak to our team about repair or getting new ones fitted. Orthotics are a simple yet effective intervention for reducing foot discomfort, and it’s always better to have a functional orthotic than struggling on when it’s broken.

Remember, your orthotic won’t last as long if you’re overweight, experience injury, surgery, or pregnancy, or are particularly active. Be on the lookout for any signs of wear within a year.