Best Shoe Insoles Reviewed & Rated for Comfort
Do regular daily activities like walking, running, or shopping cause your feet to feel sore and fatigued? If your answer is, “yes,” then you are not alone. Over 70% of people in the United States suffer daily with painful feet. The good news is that having the right pair of insoles can dramatically improve the way your feet feel; effectively reducing pain, swelling, aches, fatigue, and a whole slew of other complaints related to the foot. There are many benefits that are gained from using the right shoe insole, including; added comfort, orthopedic correction, expedited recovery from injuries, odor reduction, and heightened athletic performance.
Insoles are often referred to as inserts, footbeds, or inner soles and can be purchased separately from your shoes to improve upon and enhance the overall comfort and wearability you experience. Insoles have all kinds of benefits besides just making your footwear more comfortable, for example; they can make shoes that are too big fit your feet perfectly, along with helping to prevent blisters by stopping your shoes from rubbing. For anyone who is on their feet walking, or standing all day, investing in a quality pair of insoles is paramount to keeping your feet healthy and happy; preventing discomfort and foot pain.
- Superfeet Green
- Odor-fighting Coating
- Arch Support
- Powerstep Original
- Low Profile
- Dual-layered Padding
- Pedag 196
- Washable Cotton Terry
- Sock-free Design
On a side note: consider a highly cushioned pair of shoes for jobs that require standing all day. Regardless of whether it’s for work or for recreation, no set of footwear is complete without a comfortable set of insoles in staving off potential medical issues like plantar fasciitis, blisters, and heel spurs. With that said, we certainly hope this buyer’s guide in the top 10 insoles provides important insight into what’s available on the market today.
10 Best Shoe Insoles
1. Superfeet Green
Built from the bottom up with environmentally-friendly materials, the odor-eating power of its coating exudes an understanding of feet rarely found.
These feature a contoured, memory foam layer and supported arch; while having a design with vigorous activity in mind. Sleek and slender, these are made to fit in, virtually, any footwear.
Cost and Value
Considering it'll cost the consumer a lot more in medical costs and livelihood, than to invest a feasible amount on a pair of odor-stopping memory foam insoles, quality outweighs the cost. As such, these are worth the asking price.
Deep Heel Cup
A bit pricey
2. Powerstep Original
Beautifully crafted to fit in any shoe without trimming, the anti-micro constructed Powerstep insole is designed for high-endurance activity and continuous standing, regardless of the surface you walk on.
An aesthetic as pleasing as the insole itself, Powerstep insoles provide the user with a moderately rigid support of the arch and heel cradling to alleviate and reduce foot pain.
Cost and Value
When faced with the possibility of disability, why skimp on the quality of a well-established brand that's been a mainstay in foot support for nearly ten years of production? In other words, you will be happy you made the investment.
Flexible Arch and Heel Cradling
Fits most footwear
Semi-rigid Arch Support
Better for low arches
3. Powerstep Pinnacle
Powerstep insoles are made with VCT® (Variable Cushioning Technology), a high-performance foam that offers a soft and supportive wear which softens to conform to the shape of the foot. This contoured insole is anatomically shaped to provide strong arch support and cradles the heel for all-day comfort.
The Pinnacle is an orthotic insole that will work hard to alleviate the symptoms of various foot problems, including; plantar fasciitis, fatigue, pain, and mild-to-moderate pronation. Boasting dual-layered cushioning that is both targeted and controlled, this insole will noticeably lessen your foot pain and let you get back to doing the things you love.
Cost & Value
Relatively inexpensive, the Powerstep Pinnacle is a good option to consider if you suffer from painful feet. These insoles will drastically reduce complications and discomfort associated with various types of foot problems, including; plantar fasciitis and mild-to-moderate foot pain.
- Antimicrobial Odor Control
- Semi-rigid Arch Support
- EVA Foam Base
- Cushioned Top Layer
- Orthotic Pain Relief
- Better for medium arch
4. Superfeet Blue
The NXT anti-bacteria coating promotes healthier feet by reducing the chance for bacteria growth. This means they will last longer and do well in the area of fighting against an unhealthy foot environment.
Medium arch support is what this pair is designed for. If you are in need of a lot of arch support for higher arches, then these are not for you. For those with low-to-medium arches, however, these are perfect.
Cost and Value
These are a bit pricey, in terms of cost comparison with others on this list. They are, however, made with durable construction, promote a healthy foot environment, and aid in reducing foot pain. As such, this pair is a great choice for investing.
NXT Anti-bacteria Coating
A bit pricey
5. Sof Sole Athlete
Top-rate, synthetically-molded insole with a gel heel comfort encasement allows the would-be Olympian to run shuttle sprints up and down the running trails for extended periods of time.
While it’s nothing like walking on a cloud, these are a close second with a neutral design in the arch and wet-resistant material for almost any climate condition.
Cost and Value
These are midrange in cost association. When it comes to providing the absolute finest in athletic and occupational insoles, the cost is never an issue with quality materials and meticulous design in mind for your chosen footwear.
Contoured and Slimming Design
Better for medium arches
6. Timberland PRO
These insoles are, certainly, built with a highly-deft set of hands to place into any Timberland boot available or other footwear of your choosing. Moreover, they have an inverted cone design that is both lightweight and supportive.
These insoles are built as if they were feet themselves, feet that were designed with anti-fatigue technology and a synthetic sole to help regulate internal temperature and circulation.
Cost and Value
These Timberland insoles are midrange in price. Made with OrthoLite® and anti-fatigue technologies, this is a pair worth considering for your next purchase.
Fit better with work boots
7. Superfeet Berry
These have a slim heel and arch length to match a woman's foot. This helps to better stabilize and support the foot; thereby, reducing overall load-rate.
These provide decent shock absorption during more active events, such as jogging, running, and walking. They are, also, good for those who might find themselves on less-forgiving surfaces, such as concrete.
Cost and Value
These are at the upper end of the price range. They are biomechanically engineered which reflects in the price. These do, however, have a high-quality build about them and contain decent technologies. As a result, they are worth every penny spent.
NXT Anti-bacteria Coating
Not for high arches
A bit pricey
8. HappyStep Cushioned
Made of a sturdy grade of top-brand memory foam, HappyStep insoles are an alternative to costly medically-formed insoles one would expect out of a podiatrist’s office.
A set of these provide the same comforts of gel-based or polypropylene-based insoles to provide effortless and supportive comfort in all of life’s activities.
Cost and Value
For those looking for more bang for their buck, these ultra-affordable insoles provide the right amount of comfort for the frugal 5k runner or city streetwalker.
High-density Memory Foam
9. Spenco Rx
These offer a pliable fabric that provides extended coverage of the shoe and odor-fighting properties to provide ample levels of comfort during long stretches.
While the low profile of the sole may seem off-putting to some, the ability to place them on top of other insoles for additional comfort is a true blessing in itself.
Cost and Value
Cost-effective comfort without breaking the bank is something all insole developers should strive to achieve. This is truly a great option for those looking for price-friendly solutions.
4-way Stretch Fabric
Absorbs Shock and Impact
10. Pedag 196
Designed with high-quality terry cloth and environmentally-safe latex padding, these re-washable wonders provide added convenience for the free-footed pedestrian.
Elegant in its design and materials, the soft padding of latex and terry cloth allows the wearer to enjoy the summer breeze; not only in their face but on their feet, as well.
Cost and Value
German engineering comes at the consumer at a budget-friendly price. For a sure fit for your summer wear, you’ll not find a better pair of insoles for your slip-on footwear.
Ventilation Contour and Perforations
These days, the task of finding the perfect insole has never been more difficult. With so many options and unanswered questions, it can leave the consumer confused and uncertain, especially without doing appropriate research on what’ll be the best yield for them. When considering what type of insole you’re looking for, take into account the type of activities you’ll be pursuing while wearing the inserts.
Also, recognize what type of footwear you’ll be placing them into so as not to choose a lightly padded insert when you’ll be hiking up mountain cliffs and, thus, desiring you had chosen a set of thicker gel insoles, instead. Regardless of the decision you make or level of uncertainty you have in your future purchases, feel rest assured with this buying guide; providing you with the comfort and confidence to make the right choice for the right set of feet.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoe Insoles
One of the main things you should have in mind when purchasing shoe insoles is being more comfortable while wearing your shoes than you were before you bought them. Some of the best features to look for that offer the most comfortable wear are:
- Dual-Layer Cushioning: Designed to provide targeted pressure relief for your feet that helps to give you great comfort during any of your athletic activities; as well as, when you’re standing or walking for long periods.
- Gel Padding: Gel padding provides an excellent amount of cushioning that reduces any pain or strain you may currently feel when you take a step. Gel padding is a great feature that will keep your feet feeling great all day long, so you won’t have to worry about sore or achy feet.
- Metatarsal Pad: The metatarsal pad redistributes the weight and pressure on your feet; helping ease symptoms of common foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis.
- Memory Foam: Memory foam would be something to search for if you desire a unique comfort for your feet. The memory foam molds itself to the contours of your foot when you step down on it. The molding to the shape of your feet helps to give you the best comfort that’s specifically tailored to you.
A lot of insoles are designed to give full-length cushioning, but some focus on providing cushioning to certain parts of the foot, such as the forefoot or heel. It’s best to look for an insole that is specific to the area of the foot where you most often experience pain or discomfort, as they will be more suitable for your needs. Something else you might not be familiar with is the heel cradle feature with some shoe inserts. The heel cradle is great for cushioning your heel by helping your foot absorb those impacts in your steps; making for an easier time walking around.
The material can, also, play a role in the important comfort you’re looking for with your insole. Inserts made with material such as pure cotton terry with padded latex, which we know how incredibly soft cotton can be, is an example of the kind of softness you can get that’ll feel great on your feet. Also, shoe insoles, such as orthotics, make their inserts with material fabric specifically to benefit medical professionals who have long work hours on their feet. Lastly, any insole that’s said to have durable construction is, also, a great sign that it will give you maximum comfort for your everyday needs.
Something else to look out for is whether or not the insert has a break-in period associated with it. Some insoles may take as long as two weeks to break in, and this is an important factor when considering your purchase. If you are heading out on vacation and place one of these inserts into your footwear, there’s a good chance your vacation will be spent with moans of foot pain. You don’t want to spend your time breaking them in, instead of enjoying the day, as it were. So, it is vital to watch out for break-in periods associated with your inserts.
Arch Support/Anatomical Footbed
Sometimes the shoes you wear, such as sandals or flip-flops, don’t give you the necessary support that your foot needs, in order to avoid feeling strain and soreness. Failure to get that arch support and foot support, in general, can lead to a number of foot problems, such as foot calluses and muscle spasms. An anatomical footbed can be a great place to start, as it’s designed to support the natural shape of a human foot and, also, helps to center your heels with each step that you take. Other great shoe inserts are ones that can adapt to all foot shapes to give the best support.
There are different types of arch support you can look for with your insole that can work for your specific needs, for example:
- High Arches: If you have a high arch, most of your weight goes on your heel which may be where you feel most of your foot pain. The insole that highlights being high-arched will be best for giving you that necessary foot support.
- Low Arch: Low arches require solid stability which is why individuals with this type of arch should look for an insole with firm cushioning to help stabilize the foot.
- Unsure: If you’re not too sure whether the arches in your feet are too high or too low, then you should opt for finding shoe insoles featuring a neutral arch design. Inserts designed in this way are, generally, able to fit most foot types and give you all the adequate support you need. You can, also, keep an eye out for the semi-rigid arch support feature, which is designed to provide maximum stability to your feet.
An arch shell is another great feature you can find for adding stability to your steps. It helps to give you more effective motion control, along with some better side-to-side stability and perhaps a great feature to have in your next purchase if you’re an athlete or a dancer.
Air Circulation/Odor Control/Anti-Bacterial
With insoles adding to the density and mass inside of your shoe, there’s a concern for heat increasing inside; thereby, causing sweating, odor, and unfortunately creating a breeding ground for bacteria and infections. It’s important your footwear insert can provide air circulation to help keep things cool inside. One feature that would help you would be the perforation feature. Similarly, the way they work with shoes, these openings allow for air to flow through the insole to decrease the temperature inside. Pay attention if any footwear insole you see highlights their cover or fabric as being designed to keep your feet cool.
There are a lot of features you can find to help control any potential odors that develop in your shoe. The first one worth mentioning is active carbon fiber. An insert with that particular material has it just for the sole purpose of minimizing odor. Another feature you can look out for is a Silpure antimicrobial, which in addition to controlling odor, can help to prevent blisters, too. With sweat being the main culprit of odor, you want to find something in an insole that can reduce that. A great find would be an insert that has a built-in moisture management treatment, which will reduce moisture in the shoe and, thus, reduce odor.
As mentioned earlier in this specific criteria, heat buildup in a shoe can be a breeding ground for bacteria. An insole that features anti-bacterial coating will keep the bacteria at bay and help maintain the health of your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best shoe insoles for my feet?
A: It all depends on your particular foot needs and your personal preferences. If you’re a person that desires just having more softness in your steps throughout the day, certain shoe insoles like Orthotics tend to provide more cushioning than arch support. If you’re a person whose feet need more arch support because of certain foot issues, then you need to look out for insoles highlighting their arch supports and heel cups, or ones specifically designed for athletic shoes would be a good possibility for you.
Q: How do I cut the insole to the size of my shoe?
A: Sometimes with certain shoe insoles you purchase, they’ll come to you larger than the size of the shoe you wear requiring you to cut down to size. The first thing you need to get of course is a pair of scissors. Then you need to pull out the current insole inside of your shoe. Put the old insole you removed on top of the new insole you purchased, and align it with the back of the heel and the arch. With a pencil or marker, mark around the old insole to have a marking of what extra pieces you need to cut off on the new insole. Once you do that, cut around the new insole to get sized down to the old insole and then stick the inserts inside of the footwear. After this, you can stick your feet in and take joy in all of the comforts.
By the way, if you can’t remove the shoe’s original insole for some reason, stick a piece of paper in the shoe, draw around the corners inside of the shoe to get its exact size. After you do that, cut the piece of paper to that size and then follow the rest of the steps, starting from the part where you would have put the old insole on top of the new insert.
Finally, some insoles are made in such a way that you cannot cut them down at all. In situations like this, you need to be really careful about sizing.
Q: How do I clean my shoe insoles?
A: The best way to clean your inserts is to simply wash them with soap and warm water, carefully making sure not too much water is absorbed in them. Insole experts advise that if they are foam or cloth material, you shouldn’t use any water on those inserts, as it’ll damage them. Stains that are difficult to get out can be cleaned up with the use of a small brush. Once you’re done cleaning with soap and water, rinse them off, and leave them to air dry. It’s recommended not to put them in any drying machines.
Q: When do I replace my shoe insoles?
A: It depends on your level of activity. If you’re not standing or walking around for hours of the day, then it’s suggested they will be probably last 6 to 9 months. The more you’re on your feet, the closer to the shorter end of that time span your insole life-expectancy will be.
Q: Do all insoles fit well with any shoe?
A: Not necessarily. Some insoles are specifically designed for shoe types like athletic and casual shoes. Also, some insoles can just be put into shoes, while others require you to remove the original insole first. So keep in mind the particular usage being highlighted on the description of the shoe insole you’re looking at, as well as the fact that you might have to trim your insole down to size as some of them can be large and wide.
- Abzorb® – Abzorb® is New Balance’s unique foam-based polymer cushioning compound. It works by dissipating the force out from the point of impact, thus, reducing the shock transferred through the shoe and into the foot and leg.
- Anti-Microbial – An anti-microbial is a type of agent that eliminates or inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, mold, and fungus.
- Dual-Layered – Dual-layering refers to an extra thick style of cushion that is twice as thick as single layering.
- Economical – Something referred to as being, ‘economical’ means that it is a good value for the price associated with it.
- Heel Spurs – Heel spurs are deposits of calcium that cause a bony protrusion or growth and are often associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
- Insole – A fixed or removable sole worn inside of a shoe to improve its fit, prevent odors, or add warmth.
- Orthopedic – Orthopedic medicine or technologies deal with deformities or injury of bones and muscles.
- Orthopedic Correction – Orthopedic correction is achieved through the use of an orthotic device and consists of fixing or relieving discomfort associated with an injury or abnormality.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar Fasciitis is an extremely common cause of foot pain and consists of inflammation of the thick band of tissue which runs along the bottom of the foot connecting your toes to the heel bone.
- Pronation – Pronation refers to the side-to-side movements our feet naturally make. The foot may tend to roll too far inward on heel strike (overpronation), or too far outwards (underpronation).
- Synthetic – A man-made substance or material made through chemical synthesis.
- Unisex – Unisex is the termed used to describe articles of clothing or footwear which has been designed to be worn by both males and females alike, with no distinction between the two sexes.
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