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Orthopaedic Footwear

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Orthopaedic shoes are specially designed footwear that provide more support for the feet and ankles than basic footwear; they are essentially the gold standard of footwear.  Contrary to popular belief:

  1. Orthopaedic shoes are worn by people of all ages, not just the elderly (foot pain does not discriminate)
  2. You can find very stylish and fashionable orthopaedic shoes (check out our Products page for some great options)

Non-custom orthopaedic footwear and modified orthopaedic footwear are available for purchase and special order at Feet First Clinic. We can also order modified insoles for footwear purchased elsewhere (this is different from a custom orthotic). We do not offer custom orthopaedic footwear.

If you think you would benefit from orthopaedic shoes, start by booking an appointment with one of our chiropodists. At your appointment, a chiropodist will conduct a comprehensive biomechanical assessment and gait analysis. The chiropodist can then prescribe orthopaedic footwear if they determine it is medically necessary and justified, in accordance with the Standards of Practice for Prescription Footwear set forth by College of Chiropodists of Ontario.

After your appointment, you can browse our on-site footwear shop with our knowledgeable staff. Our staff will size you and help you select the best shoes for you.  We can also order orthopaedic footwear on your behalf if we don’t have it in stock.

Once your shoes arrive, you can try them on at our foot clinic and our staff will make sure they fit properly.

Conditions Treated

Orthopaedic shoes are an important piece of the treatment puzzle for those suffering from functional or structural foot problems, such as:

The Process

How Can I Get Orthopedic Shoes?

A prescription from a foot specialist, such as a chiropodist, is required by most insurers to cover the cost of orthopaedic footwear. To get a prescription, you must first book a footwear assessment with a chiropodist. You can book your assessment by calling us at 416-769-FEET (3338) or through our online booking form.

Note: Orthopaedic footwear can only be prescribed if the chiropodist determines that it is medically necessary and required for the prevention, treatment or management of a disease, disorder or dysfunction of the foot.

If you already have a valid prescription for orthopaedic footwear, or do not plan to claim your footwear through insurance, you can also drop by our clinic during office hours to select the footwear that best fits your needs.

Before Your Footwear Assessment

Not all orthopaedic shoes are covered by insurance. Therefore, if you plan to claim your orthopaedic shoes through insurance, it is very important that you first verify your coverage for non-custom orthopaedic footwear prior to your appointment. You can do this by checking your policy breakdown in your online benefits portal, benefits information booklet, or by contacting your insurer directly.

When checking your coverage, please get the exact terminology for the type of orthopaedic footwear you are covered for, as this can affect what happens during your footwear assessment. Failure to do this may result in your claim being denied. Please read the “Insurance Coverage” section below for further information.

Note: We do not offer custom orthopaedic footwear.

Footwear Assessment with a Chiropodist

During your footwear assessment, your chiropodist will assess your feet and biomechanics to determine your foot type, foot condition, and whether you require orthopaedic footwear. They will then make recommendations and – if orthopaedic footwear is medically indicated – write a prescription. Click here to learn more about what happens during a foot assessment.

If the chiropodist prescribes modified orthopaedic footwear, a foam mold of your foot will also be taken at your appointment. This mold will then be sent to a lab to construct a modified insole for your specific foot needs. Please advise us before your appointment if your insurance provider requires modifications.

If you require modified orthopaedic footwear, our chiropodists will take a foam mould of your foot in a foam box.

Selecting Your Shoes

After your assessment, our staff can size you and help you select the right shoes from our specially curated on-site footwear shop. If you don’t see something you like in the brands covered by your plan, don’t worry – you can pick a style you like from our online catalogues.

Once you select your shoes, we will prepare a footwear quote for you to submit to your insurance company for pre-approval (if you intend to claim your shoes through insurance). We will order your shoe once we receive confirmation from you that you are pre-approved. When your shoes arrive, you can try them on at our foot clinic to make sure they fit properly.

Please note: not all shoes available at Feet First Clinic are covered by insurance. Please read below for further information.

Insurance Coverage

Are Orthopaedic Shoes By Insurance?

Orthopedic shoes are covered under some supplemental insurance plans. However, each insurance company has their own stipulations about the types and brands of orthopaedic footwear they cover. Prior to your appointment, please check your policy to see which specific type of orthopaedic footwear you are covered for.

There are three main types of orthopaedic footwear recognized by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario:

  • Custom Orthopaedic Footwear – not available at Feet First Clinic: This refers to a custom-made shoe constructed from scratch by a shoemaker or cobbler. Feet First Clinic does not offer, order or prescribe custom made orthopaedic footwear.
  • Non-Custom Orthopaedic Footwear – available at Feet First Clinic: Also referred to “off-the-shelf” or “stock item” orthopaedic footwear, these are orthopaedic shoes that can be purchased from stock (or “off-the-shelf”). No modifications or customizations are made.
  • Modified Orthopaedic Footwear – available at Feet First Clinic: This is non-custom orthopaedic footwear with a modified insole (different from a custom orthotic). For modified orthopaedic footwear, the chiropodist needs to take a foam mold of your foot during your appointment. Please let us know prior to or at your appointment if your policy requires modified footwear.  Note: Some policies will only cover the modifications themselves; some will cover both the shoe and the modifications.

Once you obtain your policy breakdown, feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the terminology in your footwear coverage.

Not all brands and styles are covered by insurance companies. That’s why insurance quotes are recommended to ensure that the shoes you choose is covered. We can prepare a quote for you to submit to your insurance company for pre-approval.

Feet First Clinic is not liable if your footwear claim is denied. If your footwear claim is denied after you purchase the shoes, you will not be able to return the shoes.

Please note: The footwear assessment fee is separate from the orthopaedic shoes. Footwear assessments are a chiropodist service and are covered by many private insurance plans. Chiropodist services are not covered by OHIP.

Brands and Styles Covered by Insurance

Every policy is unique and varies from plan to plan, and between insurance companies. Most insurance companies cover orthopaedic footwear from the following companies (if you have coverage for non-custom orthopaedic footwear):

Some insurance companies and employers will cover other brands too. Most insurance companies do not cover open toe sandals or winter boots; however this may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits Of Orthopaedic Shoes?

Orthopaedic shoes are good for the sole. After all, ‘ortho” means ‘correct’ and ‘pedic’ means ‘foot’. By definition, they are as good as shoes can get for your feet. Orthopaedic shoes are designed to properly fit, support and accommodate the structure and mechanics of the feet and legs in all the right places (80% of foot problems are due to ill-fitting shoes).

How Are Orthopedic Shoes Different Than Basic Footwear?

Compared to basic off-the-shelf footwear, orthopaedic shoes usually have these key structural characteristics:

  • Extra firm heel counter:  Cradles the heel to anchor the foot and reduce overpronation
  • Wide toe box:  Extra room allows toes to move freely, reducing crowding, rubbing, and excess pressure on bunions and hammertoes
  • Stretchable upper:  Ensures your feet maintain the correct or natural shape when you wear them. In other words, an orthopaedic shoe conforms to the contours of your foot instead of your foot conforming to the shape of the shoe.
  • Extra sizing options:  Some orthopaedic brands offer shoes in wide and extra-wide widths  for a more precise fit. Some shoes are also available with extra depth to accommodate swelling, different foot shapes and high-volume orthotics.
  • Protective Interior:  Soft, smooth, and breathable interior fabric that provides gentle contact with the foot to prevent blisters, calluses, and corns, which can be especially important in individuals with diabetes.
  • Performance midsole:  Absorbs shock and promotes a natural gait
  • Removable insoles:  Many people who need orthopaedic shoes also wear custom orthotics, so this makes it easy to swap in custom devices or over-the-counter insoles for added comfort and support

What Styles Of Orthopaedic Shoes Are Available?

Feet First Clinic carries orthopaedic sneakers, shoes, boots, booties, loafers, sandals, slippers, and even pumps from designer brands including:

  • Anodyne – considered orthopaedic by most insurers
  • APEX – considered orthopaedic brand by most insurers
  • Portofino – considered orthopaedic brand by most insurers
  • Birkenstock
  • Clarks
  • Asics
  • FitFlop
  • Ara
  • Mephisto
  • Naot

You can view our shoe catalogs on our Products page, or check out our Bloor West foot clinic to view our in-store selection.

Please note: not all brands and styles are covered by insurance companies.

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.