Despite their wide clinical application and success, our understanding of the biomechanical effects of foot orthoses is relatively limited. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of medially wedged and laterally wedged foot orthoses on the kinematics and joint moments of the rearfoot complex, knee, hip and pelvis and the ground reaction forces. The principal effect of the foot orthoses was on the rearfoot complex, where significant changes in joint rotations and moments were observed. Medially wedged orthoses decreased rearfoot pronation and increased the laterally directed ground reaction force during the contact phase, suggesting reduced shock attenuation. The laterally wedged orthoses increased rearfoot pronation and decreased the laterally directed ground reaction force during the contact phase, suggesting increased shock attenuation. The effects of the orthoses on knee, hip and pelvis kinematics were generally minimal. In view of the minimal effect the orthoses had on joints proximal to the foot, it is suggested that the orthoses may have additional effects on the passive and active soft tissues of the lower limb and it is these changes that result in the documented clinical success.