There are two kinds of athletes when it comes to insoles. Those that buy new shoes and never change the stock insoles, even when they become paper-thin. And those that use the stock insoles for a bit, or even right from the start, and then purchase new insoles.
I think stock insoles have gotten better, but many are simply a cardboard style insole that may have some sort of pressed form around the heel or arch. They may work okay for a while, but over miles and miles of wear, they lose what little structural integrity they had.
A week ago, I saw a paid Facebook ad/post for an insole that looked interesting. I clicked on it—and the rest is history. Now every day, I find my social media page filled with more insole ads/posts. So, in no certain order, are seven of the most interesting ones I saw. The text I give for each is copied from their website. I make no claim or endorsement of any of the seven. I’ve included the link to their website in case you want to check them out.
At the bottom of this post, I’ll share a few of my tips on choosing insoles.
Z-Liner is a new breed of insole built with ZL™ HEXCORE. Engineered to give you a custom fit and feel, Z-Liners adapt to your natural foot shape, cradling your feet and increasing stability with the added help of built-in arch support and an adaptive heel cup. Hexagonal foundation and mesh top layer, reduce sweat and odors by circulating airflow with each step you take, helping your feet stay cool and dry. Shock absorption takes the jolt out of your steps and keeps your feet feeling more refreshed throughout your day.
Through the proper arch and gel heel support, Caresole insoles relieve and protect your heel from discomfort and irritation, resulting in the elimination of plantar fasciitis. Relieves and eliminates pain due to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, Morton’s neuroma, heel and arch pain. Contains a unique silicone gel that relieves your heel and foot in critical areas that most shoe insoles overlook. Works to heal through proper alignment – when your feet are aligned, stress and strain are taken off of the plantar fascia. Absorbs shock and supports the whole foot, not just the heel.
SelectFlex Adjustable Orthotic Insoles is our first commercial product launch that combines our adjustable, realigning technology to dynamically LIFT the arch of the foot with every step, mimicking the spring ligaments within your foot. The PowerLift Arch dynamically aligns the arch of your feet and the entire kinetic chain with each step, leaving you with less pain, more energy and comfort all day. With each adjustment, our proprietary technology increases or decreases the flexural resistance to support variable arch loads.
Our Tri-Planar Support System is built into the Protalus heel cup, improving shock absorption by 20%, aligning the ankle by 62% closer to neutral and providing significantly more comfort, proving Protalus to be statistically superior to the leading over-the-counter insole. Our patented, curve-shaped heel cup provides optimal contoured cushioning with a design that allows the weight of your body to be redistributed over a larger surface are within the heel cup, relieving the pressure and shock of each step. Improves efficiency, reduces risk of injury, reduces fatigue, and improves performance.
Superthotics is the first genuinely personalized orthotic available without a doctor’s visit that can instantly relieve pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back. Superthotics provides the kind of custom support and alignment you used to only be able to get with expensive prescription orthotics. Its patented design uses customizable biodynamic balance inserts to correct the angle at which your foot strikes the ground, providing a perfect fit for your unique gait.
We engineered a line of insoles that can help prevent injuries AND improve performance AND reduce pain-reducing up to 20% of the impact force. Zelus Insoles are a combination of SmartCells Cushioning fused with custom orthotic components to create an insole unlike any other. Zelus Insoles support your feet correctly. When your feet are supported, you limit the risk of pain or injury, allowing you to perform your best.
Introducing FX-360, the latest FLXSO creation. This insole is specially designed to help our customers to overcome foot pain developed from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, high arches, flat feet, and more. We understand how difficult it is to perform day-to-day tasks, being active, getting work done, or even taking that first step when you wake up in the morning if we suffer from any type of foot pain. This insole solves all of these problems by providing the proper shock-absorbing technology, enhanced stabilization to the whole foot, and extra cushioning at the bottom of the foot for everyday activities support.
If you want to look around, I always encourage you to check your local running or outdoor store first. Sometimes drug stores carry a few types. A good place to see a lot of brands is TheInsoleStore.com. They have a large selection.
Here are my tips if you are interested in buying a replacement pair of insoles.
- While it isn’t rocket science, there is a lot of engineering and testing that most companies use to validate their insoles. So, read their About page on their website. Look for any studies or test they quote. In other words, do your homework.
- Remember that insoles, especially in the heel cup area, can vary in thicknesses. Try them in your shoes. If the heel cups is deep or built up, it could raise your heels in the shoes, changing the way the shoes fit.
- Do they come in sizes or are they a one-size-fits-all with markings on the front edge of the insole to cut them to size? If they have cutting marks, make sure you trim them to the length of your old insoles. Maybe even cut them a mark longer, try them, and then cut more if necessary. Remember once it’s trimmed, you can’t put it back.
- Unlike the front of the insole that often has trim marks to fit your shoes, the heel cups have no ability to modify their width and depth. Make sure the heel cup fits into your shoes.
- Check the surface of the insole. Some of the top materials are rough and are less likely to allow motion between your sock and the insole that is helpful to reduce friction.
- Check the top edge around the heel cup. I do not like an insole that has a thick edge around the heel. This can cause problems when your foot tubs against the thick edge. Time and time again, I’ve seen side-of-the-heel blisters that are straight across—meaning the blister started because of constant rubbing at the thick side edge of the insole.
- If you want to learn more, read the Insoles section in the chapter Footwear and Insoles in whichever edition of Fixing Your Feet you have.
If you have an old and outdated edition of Fixing Your Feet, here’s a link to Amazon for the current 6th edition.