The APMA Seal of Acceptance and Seal of Approval are granted to products found to promote good foot health. The Seal of Acceptance is awarded to shoes, socks, insoles, materials, electronic health records/practice management software, and equipment. The Seal of Approval is awarded to therapeutic products such as lotions, deodorizers, wound care treatments, regulated medical devices, and medicines. Products awarded the Seal of Approval may be available over the counter or by prescription only.
To earn the seal, each product is reviewed by a group of APMA podiatrists to ensure it promotes foot health. The committee also looks at information on the product’s safety, quality control, and other data. For more details on the evaluation process, please read the FAQ below.
Please note: APMA is not a testing laboratory and does not test all products on the market. Only products that are submitted to APMA are evaluated. Comparisons are not made between competitive products.
Companies may request a copy of the seal guidelines by e-mailing Sealinformation@apma.org.
1. What is the APMA Seal Program?
The APMA Seal of Approval/Acceptance Program recognizes products which have been found beneficial to foot health and of significant value when used in a consistently applied program of daily foot care and regular professional treatment. The Seal of Approval evaluates the use of therapeutic agents and their adjuncts (pharmaceuticals). The Seal of Acceptance evaluates footwear, materials, insoles, hosiery, and equipment. The seal is awarded to a product after the Podiatric Seals Committee, a standing committee of the American Podiatric Medical Association, scientifically evaluates and determines whether the product allows normal foot function and promotes quality foot health. Additionally, evidence of usefulness and safety must be established, either by an appropriately recognized laboratory or clinical investigation, or by the products meeting certain physical standards applicable to materials, footwear, insoles, hosiery, equipment, or pharmaceuticals. Companies must provide research documentation, information on intended use, patents, composition, and evidence of quality control procedures for each product. A detailed scientific evaluation is conducted by each committee member on every product. The committee then sends its recommendation to the APMA Board of Trustees, which has the authorization to either accept or reject the recommendation.
2. What is the value of the seal?
The value of the Seal of Acceptance is twofold. First, and foremost, it is the desire of APMA to provide information for podiatric physicians and their patients, and for the general public, to ensure that they can make the best possible decisions regarding foot health. Because podiatrists (doctors of podiatric medicine) provide the majority of all foot care services rendered in the nation, APMA has accepted the responsibility of informing Americans of the importance of recognizing and maintaining comfortable foot health. A major goal of APMA is to raise awareness by identifying products of exceptional quality that are manufactured with the consumer's comfort and safety in mind.
Second, as part of its long history of supporting preventive medicine and good foot health, APMA has a responsibility to assist the public in making informed decisions about foot health. APMA believes that this service is appreciated and needed in order to keep America walking on a firm foundation.
3. Describe the process a company must go through to qualify for either seal.
The company must submit an application for each product; original trade package items produced for market for each submission; the necessary application and processing fees; required documentary evidence regarding composition, physical and chemical properties, evidence of safety and efficacy, quality control systems utilized by the manufacturer; all labeling, package inserts, advertising, and promotional materials; and objective data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that support any claims made about the product.
4. How is a product scientifically evaluated?
A detailed scientific evaluation is conducted by each committee member on every product. The specific evaluation process is different for each product category. The overall scientific evaluation on each footwear product includes the following: adequate toe-box dimensions; lining material texture; seam friction; durability; flexibility; slip resistance; thickness; and shock absorption of outsole; durability; shock absorption; cushioning and removeability of insole materials; breathability and durability of upper; type of shank and total ground contact; heel counter support; heel height and stability; comfort; size range; and weight of shoe.
5. Are products ever rejected, and why?
Yes, some products are rejected. Products that lack documentation to substantiate claims, that are primarily cosmetic, that do not allow for normal foot function, or that do not promote good foot health would not qualify for the seal.
6. How long is the seal valid and can it be renewed?
The seal is awarded for up to a three-year period. Renewal of the seal will be considered by APMA upon request by the manufacturer.
7. How can I get a copy of the seal guidelines?
To request a copy of the Seal of Acceptance or Seal of Approval guidelines, please send APMA an e-mail. Make sure to include your name, company name, contact information, and the type of product you are planning to submit.