The answer to this frequently asked question is in fact neither.  This is to say that neither a "hard" or "soft" orthotic is better or in fact ideal.  An orthotic, when properly made, should be hard enough to gently support and realign the bones of your foot yet be soft enough to compress slightly during activity to allow your foot to function properly.  Your foot is dynamic - it is not rigid or static in nature.  Therefore, the best performing orthotic is one that is dynamic because it both supports and flexes in a controlled manor during activity.  The Total Contact Orthotics your doctor uses does just that.