People with “average” feet are lucky not to have to think about buying shoes beyond thinking about styles and colors (okay, price too!), but those with of us with stubborn foot problems can splurge on high-tech, walking-friendly sneakers and still suffer from sore feet. Sometimes special insoles can help. For example, if you have high arches, flat feet, or plantar fasciitis, arch support insoles can provide relief when walking and running.
The first rule of wearing arch support insoles is to make sure you really need them. As Dr. Frances J. Lagana, a podiatrist at UMass Memorial Health, explains, “Often a patient’s problem isn’t that they need arch supports; rather, it is because they are not wearing the right shoes or are the wrong size. Having the right, well-fitting shoe is essential before we even talk about getting arch supports.
To confirm your shoe size, Dr. Lagana recommends getting measured at a physical store. “Over 40% of adults in the United States — and I was one of them — wear the wrong size shoes,” she says.
Dr. Lagana suggests consulting a podiatrist before buying insoles because wearing the wrong type can make your foot problems worse. Also avoid the pharmacy. “Items you get at Walmart or CVS can never solve your problems,” she says.
Dr. Lagana shared some key basics for using arch support insoles: buy full-length insoles, wear them in both shoes, and remove existing insoles from athletic shoes first.
Try one of these 10 arch support insoles and your feet will thank you.
Best arch support insoles
BERRY Women’s Superfeet Mid Arch Support and Forefoot Cushion – $60.00
Superfeet is a well-known brand among runners and Dr. Lagana recommends it as a good choice for arch support insoles. These insoles are specially designed for a woman’s foot (many insoles are unisex) and reduce stress on your feet, ankles and knees by providing stability and support. They are designed for high impact activities and can withstand long distances.
Benefits: Wide range of sizes (women 4.5-12) and odor control.
The inconvenients: More expensive than some, and must be cut to size.
Spenco Polysorb Arch Support Insoles – $25.00
Recommended by Dr. Lagana as a quality option, this brand has been around forever (well, since 1967), and these particular insoles have nearly 4,000 5-star reviews. They have enough cushioning, including the forefoot and heel, to absorb shock for high-impact sports, and their 4-way stretch fabric prevents blisters.
Benefits: Wide range of sizes (women’s 5 to 12.5) and odor control.
The inconvenients: The heel height of the insole may elevate your feet too much for low profile shoes.
Walkomfy Arch Support Insoles – $19.00
These arch support insoles provide moderate support for walking and running in all kinds of shoes, including hiking boots, everyday shoes, and work shoes. The company claims that the insoles can correct overpronation (feet roll inward when you move) and relieve heel and ball pain, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. (If you think you have any of these conditions, it’s best to see a podiatrist.)
Benefits: Non-slip surface, moisture-wicking technology and a wide range of sizes (women’s 6-15.5).
The inconvenients: Reviewers say it takes a while to adjust to the round stand in the middle.
Powerstep Pinnacle Arch Support Insoles – $26.00
PowerStep’s insoles – “the #1 brand of podiatrist recommended orthotic insoles” – are designed by a podiatrist and made in the USA. The two-layer padding limits stress on your feet, joints and tendons while providing comfort and support. They’re compatible with walking and running shoes, work shoes, and some casual and dress shoes, and they’re available in women’s sizes 5 through 12.
Benefits: 12,000 5-star ratings, antimicrobial top layer, and trimming generally not required.
The inconvenients: Some reviewers say they are too thick for some shoes.
10 Seconds 3810 Arch Support Insoles – $41.00
These insoles feature extra deep heel cups to cushion your foot naturally, carbon fiber material for strong support, and special “foot strike pads” that provide maximum shock absorption. They are compatible with athletic, hiking, casual and dress shoes (if they have removable insoles) and are available in women’s sizes 5.5 to 12.5.
Benefits: Very durable and latex free (a bonus if you have a latex allergy, at least!).
The inconvenients: Some reviewers are not fans of the metatarsal cushion in the insole.
New Balance Slim Fit Arch Support Insoles – $36.00
Many arch support insoles don’t offer a choice of widths, so if you wear wide shoes, these insoles from New Balance are for you! (A medium width version is also available.) They are specially designed to be thin enough to fit in tight-fitting shoes, unlike a range of shoes like many other insoles. In addition, they are designed with Superfeet insole technology (see above).
Benefits: Wide range of sizes (women’s 4.5-12), moisture-wicking top layer and odor control.
The inconvenients: A few reviewers disliked the deep heel cup.
Sorbothane Mid Arch Support Insoles – $52.00
Sorbothane is another of Dr. Lagana’s recommended insoles brands that are available online. These insoles were created for “very active” people and are made in the USA. They are compatible with athletic, casual and dress shoes and are designed to relieve Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, arch pain and fatigue, flat feet, overpronation, supination, splints, tibia and onions. (If you suspect them, a visit to a podiatrist is a smart move.)
Benefits: Non-slip surface, up to 94.7% shock absorption and a “60 day wear test guarantee”.
The inconvenients: More expensive than some.
Birkenstock Birko Sport Arch Support Insoles – $70.00
Yes, Birkenstock doesn’t just love or hate sandals, but also insoles! Made in Germany, these arch support insoles are for sports shoes and are made with a shock absorbing top layer and extra padding for the ball of the foot. Since this is a Birkenstock product, it’s no surprise that the design contains cork, specifically their very own “BirkoCork” (cork and EVA foam).
Benefits: Wide range of sizes (women’s 4-13.5), hand washable with light detergent, and can wear both pieces or one.
The inconvenients: More expensive than some.
Pedag Arch De Luxe supportive insole – $19.00
These arch support insoles have one key difference from the others on our list: they are made of leather. Handmade in Germany, they are relatively thin and designed for flats and low heels. The leather is vegetable tanned (rather than synthetically treated), the adhesives are water-based and skin-friendly, and no solvents are used. (Leather production solvents are harmful to the environment and also to workers.)
Benefits: Self-adhesive, sticker; critics say it helped them “hike 12 miles pain-free”, “walk all over DC” and… dance the Argentine tango.
The inconvenients: A few reviewers didn’t like the lack of metatarsal support.
PCSsole Arch Support Insoles – $21.00
These lightweight three-quarter insoles work well with athletic shoes, casual shoes (including canvas), dress shoes, and work shoes. They’re designed to relieve pain and reduce fatigue during exercise and daily activities, and the deep heel cup helps stabilize and balance your foot.
Benefits: Over 4,000 5-star reviews, very affordable and non-slip.
The inconvenients: Some female reviewers say they wish the insoles were narrower.
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