The Best Insoles, According to Podiatrists and Customer Reviews
Beauty can (oftentimes) be pain — and this is especially true when it comes to those four-inch sandals in your closet. Reserved for fun nights out or weddings, these bad boys have a standing life of about two hours before you need to find a seat, stat (or risk long-term foot problems). But then there are your everyday shoes and sneaks, which should comfortable, even if you wear them all day. And yet, donning certain pairs for countless hours can still lead to some pain. Sound familiar? Then insoles might just be the solution you need.
Insoles can alter the inside of your shoes by adding some much-needed arch support, which "can help bring the foot's arch back up to a more neutral position," explains NYC podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, D.P.M. "Insoles can also offer added cushion, comfort, shock absorption, and padding."
If you're suffering from significant foot pain, don't start shopping for the best insoles just yet. Instead, make an appointment with a podiatrist to evaluate what's going on with your feet and determine whether a custom insole or orthotic is right for you. If that's the case, then you'll likely have to get a personal assessment — i.e. a scan of your feet and an analysis of your foot pressure — to ensure the orthotic will address your foot's specific needs. That sounds great and all, but, unfortunately, custom insoles can get pricey. The good news if they're out of your budget: less expensive over-the-counter options can be equally as effective.
Just be sure to look for styles made of rigid materials, such as plastic, says board certified podiatric surgeon Miguel Cunha, D.P.M., founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. These will offer stability and help address any structural misalignment, plantar fasciitis, or ankle rotation. Knowing your foot issues and your arch height (which a podiatrist can measure for you) before purchasing a pair of insoles is also key, as it will help narrow down the insole options and make finding the support you need much easier. (You can also do a little at-home test to determine your arch height, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System, but a podiatrist is your best bet.) After all, the market is packed with insoles for flat feet, for plantar fasciitis, and for high arches — plus, they come in a range of styles, from insoles for active sneaks to those for office-appropriate shoes.
Ahead, the best insoles for foot issues according to raving customer reviews and podiatrists.
Best Insoles for High Arches
If you have high arches — aka cavus foot — excessive weight is placed on the ball and heel of foot when walking or standing, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. For this reason, you're going to want to opt for an orthotic that helps redistribute your weight to the entire foot, says podiatrist Velikmir Petkov, D.P.M. These insoles from Super Feet have a deep heel cup that will help provide stability for high impact activities or long days. This purple style has a narrow cut, made specifically for women. It also eliminates odor-causing bacteria, so no more shoe stink.
A vet tech, who tends to be on her feet all day, left a stellar review of how she is a happy customer. "I literally can't explain to you why these work so well. To be honest, when I opened the box, I thought I'd been ripped off because they really don't look like they'd do much of anything. I'm a vet tech who is on her feet for a minimum of 10 hours per day and have stupidly high arches. I've tried nearly every insole on the market with only temporary relief. My boss recommended these and they are 1 of 2 insoles out there that have given any kind of lasting relief. My knees, ankles, and arches aren't even a little sore at the end of a 12+ hour day. Highly recommend. Guess I learned to not judge a book by the cover!"
Best Insoles for Flat Feet
The combination of a non-arched foot and a shoe with no inner support will most likely cause pain in your feet. (Consider shopping some of these best workout shoes for flat feet.) Two layers of foam cushioning create this sculpted insole that will provide firm-yet-flexible full-foot support. The deep heel cradle will cup your heel and help to fix the shaky step that occurs with flat feet. In one review, a customer writes, "These are the best insoles anywhere."
She goes on to say it takes some time to get used to them, since they correct the weight imbalance your flat foot is causing — but that it's totally worth the learning curve. "Sure, they cost money, but these will put a pep in your step, improve your posture and stance, increase your confidence and energy, better your mood, and improve the quality of your whole life! Even if your shoes or boots are VERY comfortable, pull those original insoles out and put a pair of these in, you'll be even better off and flying." Who couldn't use that?!
Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
ICYDK, plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. A cushioned orthotic, like this one from Walk Hero, will ease pain by absorbing shock the entire length of your foot. Also, a deep heel drop will make sure your foot remains in a healthy position from first thing in the morning when you slip your shoes on till night when you finally get to slide them off. One reviewer can attest that they work: "Great product! Plantar fasciitis had me to the point that I could not walk. These inserts immediately supported my arch." She also shared did not have to cut or alter them at all to fit in her shoes."
Best Insole for Overall Foot Pain
Sturdy and flexible, these inserts will make all your shoes feel like slippers. The 3D-molded arch support and low-friction fabric will keep each stride comfortable. That said, the brand also sells replacement covers for when the 100-percent recycled polyester top loses some of its cushion from extended wear — which is certainly a less expensive (and less wasteful) alternative than purchasing a brand new pair.
Fans love the fit, with one reviewer commenting: "The arch support is firm and solid so it doesn't lose or change shape (maintains support). They are thin, even in the heel. This is great because other brands I have bought at stores are thicker in the heel because of extra cushioning, but that changes the angle of my feet and puts more pressure on the balls of my feet which made them burn. The Rambles do not do that. Being thin also means my shoes still fit like they are supposed to. I also love that the top part is replaceable for a reasonable price. Other brands want you to replace the whole insole every 4 - 6 months at $60 +/- per pair. That's craziness (in my opinion)."
Best Insole for Regular Shoes
Designed by a podiatrist, these will work in both flat and heeled shoes. The SlimFit Insole creates a more natural position for feet and will relieve foot issues and prevent problems like corns, bunions, and calluses from occurring. Sutera highly recommends this style: "It's thin enough to fit [into most shoes], all while offering technology to support and cushion your feet." One fan even says these saved her feet: "I started having foot pain 3 months ago, and the doctor told me to start wearing supportive shoes all the time. I could not afford to replace all the shoes in my closet, so I am so glad I found these orthotics! They fit nicely into all my shoes, and it is easy to move them from shoe to shoe as I need to. I highly recommend them!"
Best Insoles for Sneakers
Cunha suggests choosing a high-volume style for active shoes like hiking boots or running sneakers. These athletic-focused inserts from Dr. Scholls have reinforced support in three key areas: the ball, arch, and heel. This helps to prevent other issues that occur from running besides foot pain, like runner's knee and shin splints, at bay. One runner shared her experience after replacing the insoles in her sneakers with these. "I noticed a difference on the first use. I didn't get shin splints while jogging so now I can just focus on going farther. I am thankful I tried these first before buying new shoes. Thank you so much for providing an affordable relief option for runners!!!"