Complete Guide to Insoles

Do you walk a lot? Do your lift heavy objects often? Does your job require you to stand for hours? If you do, you are likely to experience frequent foot discomfort and pain. These things can kill your feet right now especially if you have the wrong footwear. But if you wear the right insoles, you’re going to get relief regardless of your foot condition. You must be able to choose the proper insoles, to experience the relief you deserve. 

Everyone’s feet are different, so insoles are also made to differ in shape, size, form, material, flexibility and composition. But they are meant to provide relief from foot discomfort and pain, as well as provide support to your feet.

This guide will explain everything you need to know about insoles. How they work, the types available and what features you should look for.

What are Insoles?

An insole is a detachable layer inside a shoe or boot, and it is the most important of all types of soles available. Insoles are designed to provide extra support and comfort. Walking, standing or running for prolonged periods put a lot of strain on your feet. The cushion built into shoes is not enough, so you need insoles to provide relief.

Insoles come in many styles and shapes. Some insoles are designed for shoes while others are designed for boots. They are also built to support different foot types, which is why it is important that you choose one which fits your particular condition and needs.

Types of Insoles

  • Comfort – These insoles especially for people who spend long hours up on their feet, walking or running on hard surfaces. As the name implies, these insoles provide comfort and relief to general foot pain and discomfort. Comfort insoles are usually flat and are made of gel or foam. They can be full length, ¾, arch or heel.
  • Support – These types of insoles are made of durable, harder materials compared to comfort insoles. However, they make this up with their balance and stability that they provide. People who suffer common foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, structural misalignment and over-pronation which may otherwise totally damage the feet.

There are also two types of insoles, by volume:

  • High Volume – These are used on high volume footwear like running shoes, ski boots, and hiking boots.
  • Low Volume – These insoles are commonly used for low-volume footwear such as cycling and ski shoes.

There are also custom orthotics available on the market, which are insoles made specifically to address different types of foot pain.

What are Insoles Made Of?

  • Air – Insoles which have pressurized air bubbles covered in foam. The foam bubbles offer excellent support and shock absorption. Unlike foam insoles which compress over frequent usage, air insoles retain their shape, thus extending its useful life as a support of your shoe.
  • Gel – Insoles which consist of a gel encased in bubbles, and then embedded into the foam footbed. The gel component helps in extending the supporting life to your shoe, thus retaining much of the foams’ original shape. They are excellent in providing cushion and support especially to the more vulnerable parts of your foot.
  • Foam – The traditional foam insoles usually have a hard, rigid base. Dense foam insoles are excellent in providing arch support and heel cupping. They are also great in absorbing impact which then returns in the form of energy, and at the same time minimizing possible risks of injury.

Why Do We Need Insoles?

You don’t think you need insoles because you don’t feel any pain. Besides, most shoes have an in-built cushioning. However, your feet can only take so much pressure particularly if you stand for long hours, walk or run a lot or lift heavy objects often. Your feet can also feel the pressure too if you’re overweight. And that’s where you will need to have helpful shoe inserts.

Using the right type pair of insoles provides big benefits: relief from discomfort and prevention from further foot pain and injury risks. If you spend almost the rest of your day on your feet, wearing this pair of insoles is going to make a difference down the line.


  • They provide support for your feet. Reduce discomfort and pain;
  • They come in different types and support the needs of different individuals;
  • They are comfortable and ease the pressure on your feet;
  • Some insoles provide support up to your ankles and ease plantar fasciitis;
  • They have antibacterial properties which reduce and prevent odor;
  • There are insoles for casual shoes, boots, sports shoes, and other footwear;
  • They make shoes more comfortable and provide room for your feet to breathe.


  • Insoles take some getting used to;
  • There are so many options it may be confusing for beginners

Insole Using Tips

  • Use the insoles only as directed on label. If it’s a high volume insole, do not use for low volume footwear and vice versa. Improper use of insoles won’t provide you the relief and comfort that you expect; instead, it will bring further problems to your feet, so appropriate use is absolutely necessary..
  • Never allow your insoles to get wet, even though they are labeled as “water-resistant.” It is still advisable to keep them dry. Foam insoles are usually the most prone to damage.
  • Wet insoles should be taken away from the shoe as soon as possible. Pat dry with a clean dry towel. Lay the insoles in a place where there is proper ventilation. Let the insoles dry. This can take overnight or several days depending on how wet they are.
  • Clean the insoles with warm water and mild soap. Don’t let them soaked with water.
  • Avoid using silicone-based cleaners as they may damage the insoles.
  • Avoid machine-washing the insoles as it may damage them.
  • Consider replacing your insoles every three to nine months. Their longevity depends on how often you use them.
  • You may need to re-mold the insoles using heat, to provide better support to your feet.

Who Needs Which Insoles?

  • Air Insoles – These types of insoles is for those who want comfortable, long lasting insoles. Plus, they are very breathable.
  • Foam Insoles – These are for people who prefer firmer soles. They are also more traditional in construction and work with different types of shoes.
  • Support Insoles – These are designed to give support to those with plantar fasciitis and other types of foot like high arches or even medium arches.
  • Orthotic Insoles – These are for people have specific types of foot problems and need support.

There are many different reasons to buy shoe insoles. You might be experiencing foot pain and seeking relief, or you might be looking for an insole for sports activities. Since there are many different products available and so many reasons to be shopping, choosing the right insole for your needs can be a daunting task. This guide has been designed to help point you towards the right products for your needs.