You might not think twice about them, but insoles are a huge deal!
They have various added benefits that are important to know about. I will give you an overview of the different type and material options, how to pick the right ones for you and also touch on the myths surrounding insoles - so take advantage of them to maximize the comfort of your shoes.
In the most general sense, insoles can be the reason that a pair of shoes will go from slightly loose to the perfect fit, or give that extra cushioning for comfort. If you live in an area with very cold weather, they can also help to give you some extra warmth as they provide extra insolation.
Now let’s get to it!
What are the benefits of insoles?
- Added comfort
- Improve posture & weight distribution
- Prevent and protect from foot-related injuries
- Prevent and protect from other physical injuries or health problems
These are the most common type. They are the least expensive version and most commonly found. They are shock absorbing and rigid, so give good support. The problem with foam insoles is that they can wear out quickly, but given their price, can easily be replaced (such as the below from Shoe String).
Memory foam insoles are comfortable and long lasting. They are the best next thing to getting a custom-made insole because the material molds into the shape of your foot (such as the below from Kanauk).
Leather insoles are a more expensive option. Cow-hide versions provide good support as they are tough and hardwearing (such as the below from Saphir).
Gel insoles are usually a great option for high-heel shoes. They provide additional grip (especially if the shoes are a bit loose) and avoid your shoes from slipping off. They also help to address the pain that happens in the balls of the feet after wearing heels for a few hours (such as the below from Body Jones).
Of the options in this group, air cushioned insoles provide the most comfort. Their supportive foam sole comes with air bubbles inside that also prolong the life of your shoes (such as the below from Puppy Zoom).
How do you know how to pick the right insoles for you?
There are many different types of insoles to select from, and this is definitely not a one-type fits all situation. It is important to identify the problematic area you are facing, and select the insole accordingly. It is also a good idea to visit a specialized shoe-accessory shop where sales assistants would be able to guide you best. A few points you would need to share would be:
- What type of shoe you will be using them in (running shoes, high heels, sandals ect..)
- What type of problem you are facing (is it a foot problem such as arch pain, over-pronation, heel pain or related to knees, hips and lower back)
- The amount of support needed (is it strong posture related support, or more for additional grip and slippage issues)
- If you are looking into customized insoles (this might not be necessary unless you have severe foot conditions)
What are some of the myths surrounding insoles?
They will be comfortable from day 1
Insoles have a combination of hard and soft structures that need a break-in period to fit your foot. Since they are designed to reshape and realign your foot, they may feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
They will only help people that have foot pain
Although insoles are a great solution for direct foot pain, they also help to address other problems. Your feet may be the reason to feel knee, hip and even lower back pain. Finding the right insoles may help provide the solution to problems in other joints of your body.
You can switch the same pair of insoles between all your shoes
Since the insole bed of your actual shoes are different in each pair, it is always better to invest in a separate pair of insoles for each pair of shoes (or at least the shoes you wear most often).
Custom insoles are best for medical conditions
Although custom insoles may seem like the only solution to getting the best and most comfortable insole support, this might not be necessary unless you have severe foot conditions. Purchasing a good quality over-the-shelf option that addresses the specific needs you have may just as well help solve your problem at a fraction of the price.
If you have a pair of shoes that you love but can’t wear anymore, find that they are no longer as comfortable as they once were, or that the fit has changed, it can be as simple as changing the insole! They are also a great way to keep your shoes feeling fresh, as they can easily be taken out to dry (since your feet sweat all day) or even hand washed with a mild detergent and water.
If in doubt, always ask an expert, or reach out to us, we are always happy to help! And as always, read our guides to get further insight on all shoe-related issues, such as 10 Tips for Finding the Right Shoe or How To Choose the Correct Size when Shipping for Shoes Online to make sure you pick the right shoes for you!
Signing-off: Rana Cheikha for The Shoe Advisor