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Anatomy of an Orthotic and Materials

When it comes to custom orthotics, there are many layers of materials that come together to create a complete device. Every layer of the orthotic has a different function and each material has its own unique characteristics.

Unlike prefabricated orthotics, custom orthotics are made by hand to fit the needs and lifestyle of the individual patient. Every layer of a custom orthotic is customizable or interchangeable during the manufacturing process depending on what role the device is needed for.

Different combinations of materials will result in a different experience for the end user. Understanding the benefits of each material/layer will play an important role in the effectiveness of the final product and your overall customer satisfaction rate.

Top Cover Material

This is the first layer that the patient’s feet will come in contact with. The choice of top cover material will affect the aesthetic appearance, comfort, and function of the device.

Marine-grade with anti-fungi additives. This material is extremely long lasting and durable while also being thin and water-resistant. Low friction and grip can cause feet to slide around in shoe if used in certain sports.

Perforated polyethylene foam. Soft and durable while also resistant to compression. Perforations allow for increased air circulation and breathability of the orthotic in the shoe and increased moisture wicking.

Garment leather made from cow-hide. Very soft material that is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and good for dress devices. Not recommended for sweaty feet, high activity patients, or wet environments due to decrease durability.

Soft, closed-cell rubberized foam that is compressible and not slick. Durable and easy to clean, provides great grip and forms to foot shape. Not recommended for patients prone to blistering because of high friction.

Neoprene foam with nylon fabric. Good cushioning and shock absorption, great for patients who are consistently on their feet or standing for long periods of time. This material can be prone to absorbing water/sweat.

3mm foam with that is similar to neoprene. The top fabric of this material is infused with silver. Anti-microbial benefits make this effective against a wide range of bacteria and can also help to reduce bad foot odor.

Top Cover Length

The length of the top cover comes in 3 different lengths and can be adjusted based on your customer’s lifestyle. Here are some of the top cover materials and options available at Forward Motion: