Your feet take on a lot of stress throughout the day. From walking to standing, they carry the weight of your body. Because they endure so much stress, if your feet are not properly supported, you could end up in serious pain. Not only will your feet begin to ache, but so will your legs and back. The right shoes can provide your feet with great support; however, adding aftermarket insoles to your shoes can bump up that support.
Aftermarket insoles are designed to absorb the shock that your feet are exposed to, and they properly align your feet in your shoes, evenly distribute your weight and provide better support for your arches. If you are looking to add aftermarket insoles to your shoes, finding the best pair can be a bit of a challenge. With so many types of insoles available, and each type offering different benefits, how can you find the best pair for your needs? To help you find the best support, we have created this hand buyer’s guide, which is loaded with information that will help you find the best pair of insoles for improved foot health.
Types of Shoe Insoles
There are five main types of shoe insoles:
- Orthotic arch supports
- Arch cushions
- Cushion insoles
- Athletic / sports insoles
- Gel insoles
Orthotic Arch Supports
Orthotic arch supports are designed to provide extra support for your feet by improving the position of your foot in your shoes. They help to spread the weight and shock of walking, running and standing throughout the foot and use the foot’s natural heel pad to aide in shock absorption. They also align the feet and ankles. These insoles are ideal for people whose foot arch falls to flat when they are moving or standing. If the arch of the foot falls too much, you can sustain damage to your feet, such as rips or tears in the muscles and tendons. Often, orthotic arch supports are prescribed by a doctor, which will allow you to get the proper insole for your feet.
If you are looking for extra support for your arches, but you don’t have a severe issue with your arch, this type of shoe insole is a great choice. Arch cushions have a similar design as the orthotic arch supports; however, they feature foam padding over the arch. These insoles are also designed to absorb the shock of walking and running and help to evenly distribute your weight.
Cushion insoles are designed to improve comfort for your feet. They do absorb shock, but not to the same degree that orthotic or arch support insoles provide. Cushioned insoles provide extra circulation for your feet and offer extra support, which helps to improve the comfort of your feet while you are wearing shoes.
Athletic / Sports Insoles
As the name suggests, these insoles are designed specifically for those who participate in sports or lead a more athletic lifestyle. Athletic / sports insoles are specifically designed for the needs of athletes or highly active people and their feet. They provide more heel padding and an improved support system, which assists with heel to toe movement. There are several different types of athletic insoles that are designed to provide the proper support for specific sports-related activities; running and biking, for example.
Gel insoles provide increased shock absorption while improving the softness inside the bed of the shoe, too. These shoe insoles feature anti-shock silicone, which provide extra cushioning for the foot and help to reduce stress on the joints of the feet and the spine. As you step, the gen inside this type of insole absorbs the shock, which reduces pain and reduces strain on the arches and soles of the feet. Gel insoles can also improve the fit of your shoes and reduce the chances of developing blisters and other irritations.
Shoe Insole Considerations
When purchasing insoles for your shoes, there are definite factors that you are going to want to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the right pair that will offer you the best comfort and support.
The arch is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing shoe insoles. The shape of your arch will determine what type of insole will provide you with the best support. Arches can be high, medium or low, and you want to make sure that you choose a shoe insole that will properly feet your arch.
Your gait refers to the way your feet are positioned when you stand and walk. There are three types of gaits:
- Over pronation, or your feet turn inward when you walk and stand
- Supination, or your feet turn outward when you walk and stand
- Neutral, which means your feet neither over pronate nor supinate
A neutral gait is ideal, as it allows the weight to be evenly distribute across your feet, which means less strain on your feet and spine, and less pain.
Do you have any health issues with your feet? Plantar fasciitis, bunions and heel spurs are all common foot problems that shoe insoles can assist with. Different shoe insoles are designed to offer different support and knowing what type of foot health issues you suffer from will allow you to choose the best insoles for your needs.
What are you hoping the shoe insoles will do for your feet? Are you looking to improve your gait? Improve your comfort? Increase your support? Get a more customized fit for your shoes? The reason why you are looking for insoles is of paramount importance and should be one of the biggest factors you take into consideration when choosing insoles for your shoes.
Price is always a factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing any product. Shoe insoles come in a wide range of prices, and the price is impacted by the design, the material, and the features that the insoles will offer.
Shoe Insole Features
Shoe insoles can be outfitted with a number of features. The type of features you will want your insoles to offer will depend on your specific needs and goals. Typically, the more advanced the features are, the more expensive the insoles will be. Additionally, certain features may not be beneficial for you, so you want to make sure that you understand the different features and their benefits.
If you have a particular gait or arch that you want to improve, custom fit insoles are a great option. The best custom fit insoles are fitted by an orthopedist, who will take the measurements of your feet, and those measurements will be used to craft custom made custom fit insoles for you. Be leary of custom fit orthotics that require you to make your own imprints, as you may not be able to get the proper measurements, which can lead to having insoles that are not properly designed for your feet.
Shoe insoles that feature an antimicrobial coating are excellent for keeping germs and bacteria at bay. This is a particularly beneficial feature if your feet are prone to sweating, as bacteria and germs flourish in high moisture. This feature will also prevent your shoes from smelling.
Low Friction Cover
Friction creates heat, and heat can cause problems for your feet. Because your feet are rubbing against the interior of your shoes, friction naturally occurs. The best insoles offer low friction top covers that offer proper contours for your feet, as they will hold properly hold your feet in place and.
No two feet are the same; even your own two feet are different. For that reason, it is a wise idea to purchase shoes insoles that you can trim, as you will be able to trim them to get the proper fit for your feet.
Best Shoe Insole Brands
We found that there are literally dozens of shoe insoles to choose from, which can make the task of finding the best brand a challenge. Each brand offers something different, and after doing some extensive research and testing insoles out ourselves, we found that the following shoe insole brands are the best of the best.
Power Step manufactures are variety of shoe insoles that boast different features and provide different benefits for the feet. Their insoles are made of high quality materials and provide outstanding support. We noticed a marked difference in comfort when we wore shoe insoles from Power Step.
Sof Sole specializes in manufacturing high performance insoles that offer outstanding cushioning and exceptional comfort. Their insoles are particularly ideal for athletes and those who suffer from certain foot health problems. We couldn’t believe the difference in our comfort when we tried out the Sof Sole shoe insoles.
If you are looking for orthotic shoe insoles, we think that Ortha Heel is the best option. Their shoe insoles are designed to target heel pain by providing a cushioned heel and arch support. They are great for improving the pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, heel spurs and other common foot health problems.
Dr Scholls has been manufacturing shoe products to improve foot comfort and health for generations. They offer a wide range of shoe insoles for various needs. All of their insoles are manufactured from the highest quality materials and use the most cutting edge technologies to ensure a proper fit and improved comfort for your feet. We also really like the varied price range that they offer.