Complete Guide to Insoles
Do you carry a backpack often? Do you walk around a lot? Or you have foot aches, discomfort or hot spots? Your feet are probably killing you right now, but with a good pair of insoles, you’re going to get relief regardless of your foot condition, for this to work though, you must be able to choose the proper insoles. While they are all built to provide support, features differ.
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 – Comfort Insoles are designed to provide relief for general foot discomfort. This type is often flat and made from foam or gel, and can be heel or arch, ¾ or full length. People who spend hours on their feet, running or walking on hard surfaces may find these useful.
- Support – This type of insole is made of durable, harder materials than comfort insoles. However, the tradeoff means they’re more stable and balanced. These are most suitable for those with Plantar Fasciitis, over-pronation, supination and structural misalignment.
This can also provide relief for head, neck and back pain. A lot of these conditions are due to poor foot support, so supportive insoles will help. Plus, they make your feet less likely to roll in or roll out which also causes pain and discomfort over time.
- High Volume – These are used on high volume footwear like running shoes, ski boots and hiking boots.
- Low Volume – These are aimed at low volume footwear like ski skate boots, in-line skate boots, cycling shoes and casual shoes. The thickness of your socks has an effect on how comfortable the insoles will be.
- Custom Orthotics – This is a general term used that are manufactured for specific types of foot problems. A lot of insoles provide relief for different types of foot pain, so they fall under the term orthotic insole.
What are Insoles Made Of?
- Air – Insoles have pressurized air bubbles covered in foam. Foam gets squeezed with prolonged use, but the air bubbles prolong their lifespan. Brands use different types of air capsule systems to prolong its life.
- Gel – Insoles have a foam footbed with liquid gel covered in bubbles. The gel element is used to extend the insole’s lifespan. Plus, they also provide support for vulnerable areas of your feet.
- Foam – Foam insoles have a hard base, and they’re dense for arch support and heel cupping. This type provides maximum energy transfer while reducing injury risks.
Why Do We Need Insoles?
Insoles provide support for your feet. You may think it’s unnecessary now because you don’t feel any pain. However, your feet can only take so much pressure especially if you’re overweight, stand or walk for hours.
These work two ways, provide relief from discomfort and prevent pain from occurring. If you wear these, the chances of developing foot injuries will go down. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, having a good pair of insoles is going to make a difference down the line.
- Provide support for your feet. Reduce discomfort and pain
- Come in different types and support the needs of different individuals
- Comfortable and ease the pressure on your feet
- Some insoles provide support up to your ankles and ease Plantar Fasciitis
- They have antimicrobial properties to 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 in label. If it’s a low volume insole, do not use for high volume footwear and vice versa. A lot of problems and issues with insoles arise from improper use, so proper care is necessary.
- Don’t let your insoles get wet. Foam insoles are especially vulnerable to damage. Even if the insoles are advertised as water resistant, it’s still better to keep them dry.
- If your insoles get wet, remove them as soon as possible. Pat dry with a clean dry towel. Lay the insoles in a place where there is ventilation. Let the insoles dry. This can take overnight or several days depending on how wet they are.
- Use mild soap and lukewarm water to clean insoles. Do not drench them in water.
- Do not use silicone-based cleaners as it may cause damage.
- Do not machine wash insoles as it will destroy the material.
- Insoles should be replaced every 3 to 9 months. Its longevity will also depend on how often you use it.
- You may need to heat mold the insoles.
Who Needs Which Insoles?
- Air Insoles – This type is for those who want comfortable, long lasting insoles. Plus, they are very breathable.
- Foam Insoles – These are for individuals who prefer firmer soles. They are also the more traditional in construction and work with different types of shoes.
- Support Insoles – These are designed to give support for 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.