Best Orthotics: Inserts and Insoles for Shoes
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the main things you should have in mind when purchasing shoe orthotics 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 orthotics 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 shoe insoles that are 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 orthotics. 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 orthotics. Orthotics 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 innersoles, 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 orthotic has a break-in period associated with it. Some orthotics 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 in your orthotics, instead of enjoying the day, as it were. So, it is vital to watch out for break-in periods associated with your inserts.
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 orthotics 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 orthotics 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 orthotics that highlight 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 orthotic 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 orthotics 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.
With orthotics 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 orthotic 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 orthotic 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.
We all know how hard it can be sometimes to find the perfect pair of shoes that we not only love, but that also fit snugly and comfortably. With so many styles, brands, colors and models, how can one compare hundreds of supposed “size 10s”?
To assess for trueness-to-size, we considered the opinions of thousands of wearers from across the globe to find out the answer to the ultimate question: do these 10s fit like a 10? While some things can give you a hint as to whether they will fit true, small or large; like brand name, shoe type and year of make; we believe that the opinion of buyers cannot be wrong. If they say the shoe doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to, then you won’t find it in our 10-best list.
You will find that a pair of shoes or boots or sandals that score high on this metric tend to experience a trueness-to-size that was verified by our large community of sampled buyers. Just don’t forget to take into account the factors above to also make sure your favorite pair will fit you perfectly.
Best Shoe Inserts Reviewed
1. Dr. Scholl's Work Gel
Spending a lot of time on your feet- especially at work- is just a regular part of life for a lot of us. Foot pain, however, doesn't have to be. These shoe insoles from Dr. Scholl's are specifically designed for use at work and feature the brand's signature gel technology. This gel offers a wide range of benefits, which we'll discuss in more detail after the jump.
Massaging Gel Technology is the signature feature in Dr. Scholl's insoles and for a good reason. It offers a variety of benefits, including shock absorption and overall comfort. It absorbs some of the shock and pressure put on your feet, which can be multiple times your own body weight. This, along with the comfort factor, reduces pain and fatigue, even if you're on your feet all day.
It's important for shoe inserts to be able to be used in a wide range of shoes. While some insoles are specifically made for a certain type of shoe, more versatile options like the Dr. Scholl's Work Gel insole are more popular because of their versatility. These insoles work very well in boots, dress shoes, casual shoes, or even sneakers. On the bottom on the insole are score marks that correspond with different shoe sizes, making it easy to cut them to the appropriate size.
2. Powerstep Original
Cradling the heels and supporting your arches are just as important as proper posture and lifting techniques. Powerstep Original insoles for shoes provide comfort and convenience, without the hefty price tag of a personally-fitted medical insole. Super thin and low on its profile, these dual-layered, moderately cushioned innersoles are a perfect complement to any highly active consumer's footwear.
Beautifully crafted to fit in any shoe without trimming, the anti-micro constructed Powerstep inserts for shoes are 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 moderately rigid support of the arch and heel cradling to alleviate and reduce foot pain.
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.
3. Powerstep Pinnacle
The Powerstep Pinnacle is designed to offer targeted and controlled cushioning to amplify the comfort of your shoe. The Pinnacle yields semi-rigid arch support that is both firm and flexible, along with a long-lasting EVA base and ample top-layer cushion. If you suffer from foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis, tired achy feet, moderate pronation, or other common conditions of the foot, then this is the perfect orthotic option to alleviate your discomfort.
Powerstep shoe 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 shoe inserts 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.
4. Superfeet Blue
For those of you in need of low profile, medium arch support, these innersoles are perfect. They are made with closed-cell foam, have NXT anti-bacteria coating, are latex-free, and vegan-friendly. These insoles for shoes are good for common foot pain, plantar fasciitis, arch and heel pain. Since they are low profile, they will fit in most shoes.
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.
These inserts for shoes are a bit pricey, in terms of cost compared 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.
5. Sof Sole Athlete
Sof Sole Athlete innersoles are sports-tested shoe insoles available to the most discerning and industrious of athletes, shop workers, streetwalkers, and hyperactive stage performers. These shoe inserts are synthetically designed with gel cushioning, in order to provide the durability and comfort needed to push your body to its absolute max and increase endurance for the marathon runner and construction worker alike.
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.
These insoles for shoes 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.
6. Physix Gear Sport
This particular orthotic insole was designed with the athlete in mind. Active individuals sometimes experience pain from running, resulting from shin splints, or tendinitis, and the Physix Gear Sport can help ease the pain while you work through healing. With quality medical grade materials to help support your steps, you’ll find your feet aligned properly and supported with cushioned EVA foam and PU stability. If you’re an active individual looking for a bit of extra cushion or padding, this insole is for you!
The Physix Gear Sport was designed for supporting those with arch pain or issues, and its robust design can help stabilize forces that impact the heel and metatarsals for these individuals. From those with flat feet to those with higher arches, the EVA foam dual base will feel soothing and cushion footfalls when used properly. Along with its anatomical design, a deeper heel cup allows for further stability and support of the foot. PU material constructed in the insole also provides stability and support in line with the anatomical design.
Along with support, this insole has a low profile that is thinner than other insoles but doesn’t lack in cushion. It’s also antimicrobial treated, so you won’t have any problem with bacterial build up or resulting odor. At the bottom of the insole is a non-slip grip pattern, helping it to stay put inside the shoe even as you move. It’s an ideal option for anyone active, either through fitness, or those working longer hours on their feet!
7. Superfeet Berry
These shoe insoles have a design for a woman's foot having medium arches. There is the NXT anti-bacteria coating to help fight against odor-causing bacteria and high-impact foam to help reduce load-rate. These are latex-free, vegan-friendly, are 2 inches high and 4 inches wide. This insole, also, helps to alleviate general foot pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and arch pain. They are perfect for women who need intermediate support.
These shoe inserts 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.
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.
8. Spenco Polysorb Heavy Duty
Sometimes a heavy duty insole is necessary, especially for those who are on their feet a lot or need something hefty for their work boots. These Polysorb insoles from Spenco are made specifically to be heavy duty and provide the support your feet need without compromising overall durability. The stretch fabric and antimicrobial treatment work to mitigate blisters and odor, while the forefoot section features additional EVA padding for further support.
Everyone's feet are different, and some will require more arch support than others in order to be fully comfortable. These insoles are outfitted with a lightweight polyurethane foam that is designed to properly support even high arches, as well as further supporting the heel. A specialized strike pad in the heel section also works to absorb shock, reducing the likelihood of fatigue and pain.
Shock absorption and energy return often go hand in hand. Where shock absorption refers to how well the insole handles the pressures placed on your feet, the energy return is the proverbial "bounce in your step" that is often a result of good shock absorption. The strike pad in the heel, along with an EVA pad in the forefoot, work together to handle the shocks and pressures placed on your feet and return some of that energy back to you.
9. Spenco Rx
Sleek, simple, slimming are the first three words conjured up when talking about Spenco Rx shoe insoles. They are low profile with absolute comfort; allowing the wearer to move along most work surfaces without added stress on the heel and plantar. Considering the small size of the insole, it can be placed on top of the original insole without hassle.
These shoe inserts 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-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.
10. Pedag 196
Never judge a book by its cover and, in this case, never judge an insole on its matted cotton-ball appearance. These are German-made, are eco-friendly, and are a delight to the wearer, regardless of the size of clogs they’re wearing to the dance hall. Designed to be worn by those that don’t wear socks, these innersoles provide structural integrity and the well-ventilated comfort.
Designed with high-quality terry cloth and environmentally-safe latex padding, these insoles for shoes are re-washable wonders and 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.
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 inserts for shoes for your slip-on footwear.