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Is Dr. Scholl's Footmapping Useful?

Podiatrists Comment on the Footmapping Technology

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Updated June 02, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Dr. Scholls Footmapping Kiosk

Dr. Scholls Footmapping Kiosk

Wendy Bumgardner © 2010
Dr. Scholl's Footmapping kiosks help people find the right insole for their arch type and foot pressure points. These do-it-yourself kiosks can be found at major retailers and used at no cost. Up to 14 different insoles are provided at the kiosk to buy based on the recommendation.
Dr. Scholl's Footmapping

Dr. Andrew J. Schneider, a podiatrist with Tanglewood Foot Specialists describes the technology: "The Dr. Scholl's kiosk provides a static, weight bearing footprint and recommends a packaged insole based on size and general foot structure. A similar device is the Aetrex iStep, which is found in many podiatrist's offices and at [pedorthist stores]. It also does a custom mapping of the foot and recommends a Lynco product." Some running shoe stores also use this sort of device to do a foot analysis.

The Footmapping scanner takes a static look at the footprint. Dr. Schneider commented, "The mechanics of the foot is not taken into account." He considers the AMFIT system, which creates a custom insole from a static, weightbearing model of the foot to be a step up from the Footmapping scanner and the Aetrex iStep.

Getting a Footmapping

I visited the kiosk at my local Wal-Mart store. I took off my shoes and stepped onto the platform. It took only moments to map the pressure points on my feet. Then it asks you to stand on one foot, in turn, while it maps each foot individually. At the end, it gave me a recommendation for an insole for a person with low arches and high foot pressure. That sounded correct for me.

I could then have bought one of their insoles for $49.96. An insole might provide better cushioning and arch support than the insoles that come with athletic shoes, which generally do not have arch support or extra cushioning.

Insole Recommendations

The Dr. Scholl's insoles are labeled as "Custom Fit Orthotics." While they vary as to cushioning location and arch height in 14 different combinations, they are not the individualized custom orthotics that are built by a prescription from a podiatrist. Dr. Schneider says, "These insoles are certainly better and more supportive than their general off-the-shelf insoles, but not nearly as supportive as a custom device. It is not as reliable as a custom orthotic made from a mold of the foot by a podiatrist."

Dr. Lisa Kleymeyer of the Aesthetic Family & Podiatry in Sarasota, Florida says, "I always recommend over-the-counter products to my patients before having them invest in a custom functional orthotic device. I generally advise to spend $20 to $40 a pair. I also encourage them to go to stores [that offer] assistance from trained staff to choose which type is right for them."

Bottom Line

An over-the-counter insole can provide arch support and cushioning beyond what is built into an athletic shoe. Athletic shoes in general do not have any arch support, and their removable insoles do not have any extra cushioning. A footmapping kiosk may help point you towards the right kind of insole.

More: How Pedorthists Do a Foot Analysis
When to See a Podiatrist vs. a Pedorthist

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