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Shoe inserts, foot orthotics, insoles – call them what you will, but you won’t find a more economical and effective way to help with all manner of misalignment in your body.
Insoles often get overlooked or end up as an afterthought when talking about back and joint pain, but they help a lot more than most people realize. The key, though, is consistency. It’s imperative to a) wear the right insoles for you and b) wear them as often as possible and for as long as possible.
The part about being consistent in wearing them is going to be up to you. But, as far as finding the right ones, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find reviews of the best insoles for standing all day that will get the job done.
What You Will Learn
- Quick Look at Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Sole Active Thick EVA Footbed
- Editor’s Choice: Timberland PRO Men's Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole
- Budget Option: Sof Sole Insoles ATHLETE Full-Length Gel Shoe Insert
- Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis: Samurai Insoles Instant Relief Orthotics for Flat Feet
- Best High-Support Option: Superfeet Insoles, Professional-Grade High Arch Orthotic Insert
- Why Do We Need Insoles?
- What Can Insoles Help With?
- How to Select the Right Insoles
- Fitting Your Insoles
- Caring For Your Insoles
- Our Favorite Insoles for Standing All Day
Quick Look at Our Top Picks
|Sole Active Thick Eva Footbed||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Timberland Pro Men's Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Sof Sole Insoles Athlete Full-Length Gel Shoe Insert||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Samurai Insoles Instant Relief Orthotics For Flat Feet||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Superfeet Insoles, Professional-Grade High Arch Orthotic Insert||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
Best Overall: Sole Active Thick EVA Footbed
Sole Active Thick EVA Footbed
In a perfect world, you would get custom orthotic inserts to deal with gait issues and alignment problems. Until that perfect world comes around, Sole Active insoles are the best option.
These insoles hit all the right notes. They come in three different volumes, so you can always find one that fits your shoe. The volume refers to how much space the insole takes up in your shoe and different shoes have different amounts of extra space for the insole.
The Sole Active insoles are made with EVA foam which, without getting too technical, is the perfect material for insoles. It comes in various densities, which is important because not every part of your foot needs the same amount of support. The soles are density mapped to provide the right amount of support and relief where needed.
One of their best features is that they’re heat-moldable. To achieve the perfect fit, you can heat them in the oven and then put them in your shoe while they’re warm to mold them directly to your foot. There’s no better way to ensure a perfect fit and comfort.
If that weren’t enough, they’re clinically proven to reduce plantar fascia strain which helps alleviate the pain associated with the condition.
Editor’s Choice: Timberland PRO Men's Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole
Timberland PRO Men's Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole
Timberland is the company you probably know for their legendary work boots. Well, part of what makes those boots so successful is the technology that goes into the insole.
The secret is in the inverted-cone design in the foam of the insoles. It dampens the impact of every step making it easier on your joints. Moreover, the ground reaction effect of the foam effectively stores the energy from your steps and returns it as you walk, making it easier to stand and walk for extended periods.
The top is lined with an Outlast technology cover, the same technology that was developed for NASA to help with heat regulation in spacesuits. It has antimicrobial properties that will keep your insoles odor-free longer and heat dissipation that will keep your feet from getting too warm.
It has a very mild arch design that suits the vast majority of users but some users might find that they need a little more arch support than what these provide.
Budget Option: Sof Sole Insoles ATHLETE Full-Length Gel Shoe Insert
Sof Sole Insoles ATHLETE Full-Length Gel Shoe Insert
The Athlete insole may come at an affordable price point, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality to get there. With its neutral arch design and gel pads in the heel and forefoot, it’s the perfect insole for active users looking for extra support.
This all-purpose insole is designed to improve comfort and support while walking, running, and cross-training. Additionally, its Hydrologix technology helps with moisture management. This helps keep your feet dry, thus improving your shoes’ lifespan.
The foam of the insoles is infused with Microban, an active antimicrobial ingredient that gets integrated into the foam itself. That means that the foam maintains the antimicrobial effects throughout the life of the insole.
It’s a very light insole with low volume and low profile. That means it takes up very little space in your shoe. It also comes with a 1-year warranty that covers any factory defects.
Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis: Samurai Insoles Instant Relief Orthotics for Flat Feet
Samurai Insoles Instant Relief Orthotics for Flat Feet
These insoles were designed by a podiatrist specifically to treat flat feet and help with plantar fasciitis pain. They have a molded inner core that not only provides support but helps you walk by returning energy from your natural gait.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and low-profile insert to help you with pain in the plantar fascia, look no further. These are guaranteed to provide pain relief associated with plantar fasciitis.
These insoles are also great if you’re not a fan of doing any modifications yourself. They’re very low-volume, meaning they’ll fit just about any shoe right out of the box. No need to cut, shape or otherwise correct the size.
Samurai Insoles are manufactured with the same precision and attention to detail you’d get at an orthopedic lab. They’re medically designed to treat the root causes of foot pain and will have similar effects to custom orthotic inserts.
Best High-Support Option: Superfeet Insoles, Professional-Grade High Arch Orthotic Insert
Superfeet Insoles, Professional-Grade High Arch Orthotic Insert
These insoles are perfect for people who need a lot of support. They have a high profile and high volume. They won’t fit that well in light shoes but the support they provide is unmatched.
The rear of the insoles is supported by a stabilizer cap. This is a piece of tough material that helps keep the insole flat and prevent it from jostling around in the shoe. It’s imperative that insoles don’t move once they’re placed in your shoe, otherwise, they can cause gait imbalances.
They have a very deep heel cup. The function of the heel cup is to disperse energy in your heel from landing directly on your calcaneus (heel bone). Too much pressure on the heel bone can cause painful bone spurs.
Their high profile helps stabilize the entire foot. You’ll feel support across the length of your foot during every step you take. The high-density foam won’t collapse under your weight either, which would defeat the purpose of the insole.
Why Do We Need Insoles?
That’s a valid question that a lot of people ask. Why would we add something to our feet that changes the way we walk? The short answer is that our feet weren’t really designed for the world we live in.
On the one hand, we almost exclusively walk on flat and even surfaces. We are either on pavement, flooring, or tile all day, every day. Moreover, we wear shoes most of the time and some people even wear shoes at home, meaning their feet are covered all the time except when sleeping.
That makes it easier to get around in the world but it also makes certain parts of our feet develop less than they’re meant to. Tendons, muscles, and tissues that would otherwise get much more activity, are allowed to coast pretty much undisturbed. That can lead to all manner of complications. There are also congenital problems as well which insoles can help with.
So among the chief reasons to wear insoles is to make your feet hardier. Since you can't get the stimulation of walking barefoot through fields, the next best thing is to support your feet where they’re weakest. This means distributing your weight across your entire foot as much as possible, including your arch and the sides of your heel.
This helps to prevent and correct foot disorders. Keeping your feet comfortable and aligned is important to counteract the effects of a poor gait. If you consistently walk with an imbalance, it becomes worse and worse over time. That can lead to poorly aligned joints and pain all the way from your ankles to your neck.
Even for people who have a good, steady gait it’s important to find the best insoles for standing all day. By distributing weight more evenly across the foot, they allow you to use your entire foot’s muscle structure and experience less fatigue while walking and standing.
This is similar to the effect that’s seen with anti-fatigue mats. You can think of insoles as miniature anti-fatigue mats for your feet.
Finally, wearing insoles can actually help your shoes last longer. They reduce the impact of your feet on the ground which helps keep the damage your soles accrue over time to the minimum. Furthermore, they also give your foot a snug fit inside the shoe. This prevents too much jostling and movement which wears down the insides of shoes. If the insoles have antimicrobial action, this can also extend your shoe’s lifespan.
What Can Insoles Help With?
In general, insoles can relieve most symptoms associated with improper gait patterns and foot anatomy.
Now, it’s important to note that insoles are a very mild intervention. A serious bone deformity can’t be solved by wearing insoles. Insoles are appropriate for things such as over- or under-pronation and calluses.
A prevalent condition that’s easily treated with insoles is leg-length disparities. If one of your legs is shorter than the other, an insole can help correct that difference instantly. Length disparity in the legs causes a shift in hip alignment that, in turn, causes serious spinal issues in the long run.
Calluses on your feet can also be resolved through the use of insoles. Calluses form when a part of your foot is receiving much more pressure than other parts.
Soaking and scraping calluses only treats the symptom. To solve the root cause of the problem, you need to shift your weight onto the rest of your foot and that’s one of the primary functions of insoles. After a few weeks of wearing the right insoles, calluses will start to recede naturally.
Another common problem that arises from over-exerting your feet is plantar fasciitis. This is a condition where the long ligament connecting your heel to your toes becomes inflamed. It can be very painful and the ideal treatment is not walking or standing until it heals. However, that’s not very practical, so special insoles can help reduce the pain by diverting the pressure away from the plantar fascia and on to other parts of the foot.
Finally, one of the most painful and obnoxious conditions that insoles help treat is heel spurs. These are small calcifications on the bottom of the heel bone that can become a real problem. In extreme enough cases they may even require surgery.
To reduce the discomfort from heel spurs, insoles are made with a deep heel cup. This transfers weight from the center of the heel (where the spur is) to the sides. The less weight that gets placed on the spur, the less pain it causes.
How to Select the Right Insoles
Getting insoles that fit your needs is mostly about knowing what you want to accomplish. Sadly, there can never be an insole that works for every application.
If you’re not concerned about treating any specific condition and just want to reduce fatigue while working or exercising, you’ve got the most options. You want an insole that has a low profile, meaning little arch support and little to no pronation correction. The Timberland PRO insoles in this article fit the bill perfectly.
Now, the way to tell if you need other kinds of support is pretty simple – look at your shoes. Take a pair of shoes, ideally with hard soles, which you’ve worn for a long time. Examine the soles and look for places where the sole is worn down.
If your soles are more worn on the inside (the side of your big toe) then you’re likely overpronating. That means you’re walking with your ankle bent inwards. The obverse is also true; if the sole is worn down more on the outside, you’re under-pronating.
In either case, you want an insole that provides high-profile full foot support. Ideally, you’d get custom-made inserts but short of that, you might experience some improvement with high-profile inserts made of dense foam.
Next, check your arch height. If you can fit your index finger under the arch of your foot while standing, you’ve got a high arch. If you can’t you shouldn’t choose insoles with very high arches. A high arch is desirable but you have to fix it over a long period of time. If you have low arches, you should start with a small arch in the insoles and replace the insoles with a slightly higher arch every few months to lift it gradually.
If you’re buying insoles for boots or hiking shoes, you generally want to buy something with a lot of volume. These tend to be roomier and they can fit a thicker insole so don’t be afraid to go big. For running shoes, it’s best to stick with medium- to low-volume options. Soccer shoes or cycling shoes and other tight-fitting models will do best with low-volume inserts.
If your heel slips and moves around inside your shoe, try an insole with a significant heel cup. This will help stabilize your heel and prevent it from moving around.
Fitting Your Insoles
When you buy a pair of insoles, you may find that they don’t fit inside your shoes perfectly. That’s not a big issue. It can be solved easily by trimming the inserts in the right areas.
If you have the original insoles that came with your shoes, then it’s a very simple process. Take the original insole and place it on top of the aftermarket insole you purchased. Align the insoles at the heel, not at the toes. Then, trace the original insole onto your new insole with a marker.
Take a sturdy set of scissors or kitchen shears and cut along the tracing. It’s very important that you only trim at the toes, never go past the top third of the insole. Definitely, don’t trim, cut or otherwise modify the heel. When you’re done trimming, the insole should fit your shoe perfectly.
Caring For Your Insoles
The average lifespan of aftermarket insoles depends a lot on their build quality, but on average you should expect them to last about a year.
That’s not to say that your insoles will disintegrate after a year (though some will), but they will probably be worn down to the point where they’re not providing enough support anymore. So, it’s a good idea to replace your insoles every year if you wear them regularly.
To help them last longer there are a few things you can do.
First and foremost, never leave them in your shoes if they get wet. Excessive moisture will delaminate your insoles and provide an environment for mold and bacteria to thrive. If they ever get wet, take them out of the shoes and air them out until they’re completely dry and ready to be used again.
With a lot of use in the wrong environments, insoles can get very dirty. When it gets really bad, wash your insoles with a mild detergent and dry them immediately after.
Our Favorite Insoles for Standing All Day
Insoles can be helpful to just about anyone, even people with no overt foot problems. They’re ideal for reducing fatigue, stabilizing your gait, and relieving some aches and pains. The trick is to find the right insoles for your foot. There are so many to choose from that it’s hard to tell which one’s best at times.
Sole Active Thick EVA Footbed
So, we’ve done the work for you, our pick for the best insoles for standing all day is the Sole Active Thick EVA Footbed insoles. They have the perfect mix of support and customization. They’re available in three different profiles, so there’s one for every shoe, and they’re heat-moldable. Just pop them in the oven for a bit and you’ll have custom inserts in minutes.