I love the Sof Sole inserts that we sell at Insoles and Beyond. Sof Sole’s approach to shoe inserts is a little bit different than the others, and these insoles all perform their given tasks really well (as do all the high-quality insoles we offer in the shop).
Two of the products we carry from Sof Sole are the Airr and the Airr Orthotic. One of the great things about both of these is that they each come in variants specifically designed for men and women, so their fit and their contours are going to feel even better if you get the right one for you.
These two products share a name, but there is a big difference between the Airr and the Airr Orthotic. The clue to the difference is found in the word “orthotic,” and it all goes back to the philosophy of the shoe insert. Didn’t know there was an insole philosophy? Read on...
Generally speaking, there are two basic approaches to replacement shoe insoles. One approach is to design an insole that provides a lot of cushioning, which offers extra comfort, shock absorption, and relief when standing or walking long hours. Sometimes these insoles have support built in, but not always. Not everyone needs a lot of support, just some comfort where it counts.
The other approach is to go for support, with cushioning added as necessary or available. (“Thin” insoles, for example, don’t necessarily have a lot of room for the extra volume that heavy cushioning would add.) Following that line of thought, we like to think of an “orthotic” insole as one that is primarily designed with the intent of supporting the foot. The benefit of this type of insole is that it offers stability, balance, and a reinforced alignment mechanism that helps the foot keep its proper shape, therefore reducing pain and increasing efficiency and comfort.
This brings us to the Airr vs. Airr Orthotic debate. The Airr is primarily an awesome cushion for the foot that needs a little more comfort than anything else (for example, if you suffer from neuropathy, heel spurs, or metatarsalgia). The nature and shape of the Airr offers some support, but arch support does not seem to be the primary focus. The Airr Orthotic, on the other hand, offers a lot of the comfy cushioning that the Airr has, while also featuring a reinforced arch to serve as a foot-aligning comfort machine that works great for plantar fasciitis relief. While the Airr Orthotic has cushion-aplenty, it is not quite as cushy as the Airr.
So there you have it! That’s the difference between the Airr and the Airr Orthotic, as witnessed by one gal who spends a lot of time thinking about these things. Any questions? Let us know!