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Here's How To Choose The Best Insoles For Your Feet

A lot of ~Feet Talk~ in this post, don't be surprised.

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1. Be honest with yourself about whether you need a pair of insoles or a pair of shoes that fit better. Insoles can correct (or enhance) the comfort and fit of your favorite pair of shoes, but they can’t bring them back from the ~footbed dead~.

Walt Disney Studios / Via youtube.com

In some cases, insoles can be perfect way to marry form and function, like these insoles for high heels, but they aren’t going to make your pair of Converses (that you’ve been wearing since freshman year) ready for a hike or some kind of magic like that.

2. Familiarize yourself with some of the more common foot problems and biomechanical issues that are correctable with insoles and learn your gait type.

Alice Mongkongllite / Via buzzfeed.com

To learn your gait type, you can do a walking wet test by wetting your tootsies and walking across a long piece of paper, then check the paper to see how much you roll to the inside or outside of your foot when walking. Also, you can check out our guide to finding the perfect running shoe for more info on pronation!

3. To correct overpronation, try out these Spenco Total Support Max insoles with advanced support for your arch and heel, so you can get running right (and left, maybe even backward).

Promising review: "I have bunions, fallen arches, and significant overpronation. With these in my shoes, I can comfortably walk two to four miles per day! Very highly recommend for anyone needing very supportive insoles." —Jenny NelsonGet it from Amazon for $29.41+ (available in women's sizes 3 through men's sizes 13.5) or Walmart for $26.29+.
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Promising review: "I have bunions, fallen arches, and significant overpronation. With these in my shoes, I can comfortably walk two to four miles per day! Very highly recommend for anyone needing very supportive insoles." —Jenny Nelson

Get it from Amazon for $29.41+ (available in women's sizes 3 through men's sizes 13.5) or Walmart for $26.29+.

4. Or, to correct underpronation, use these New Balance insoles with an arch shape that allows warm air to flow out while bringing cold air in, keeping your toes fresh and aligned.

Promising review: "These provide really nice relief for bunion/metatarsal pain and are great for those who under pronate, as they reduce pressure on the outer edges of the foot." —DCGet it from Amazon for $24.23+ (available in men's sizes 4-14.5) or a similar item from Walmart for $34.95+.
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Promising review: "These provide really nice relief for bunion/metatarsal pain and are great for those who under pronate, as they reduce pressure on the outer edges of the foot." —DC

Get it from Amazon for $24.23+ (available in men's sizes 4-14.5) or a similar item from Walmart for $34.95+.

5. Determine the kind of support you want (/deserve!) by identifying your arch type.

FootSmart / Via youtube.com

A simple way to figure out your arch type is to do another wet test, this time by wetting the bottom of your foot and stepping onto a piece of paper (not walking, like before) and comparing your results to a graphic representation of each arch type.

Check out FootSmart for an extensive selection of women's and men's orthotics, once you've figured out your arch type.

6. For high arches, check out these premium-EVA insoles with an anatomical arch that improves your foot and leg alignment, because your feet need a hero to protect them from soreness.

Promising review: "I have doctor-made insoles, but these actually work better for me on long hikes. They have a little bit of padding at the balls of the feet, which makes a big difference. I'd highly recommend these to someone with high arches who needs firm support, and they fit me perfectly." —EsKezzyGet it from Amazon for $10.92+ (available in men's sizes 4-16).
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Promising review: "I have doctor-made insoles, but these actually work better for me on long hikes. They have a little bit of padding at the balls of the feet, which makes a big difference. I'd highly recommend these to someone with high arches who needs firm support, and they fit me perfectly." —EsKezzy

Get it from Amazon for $10.92+ (available in men's sizes 4-16).

7. Or, for low arches, slip these Sof Sole FIT insoles into your shoes and walk off into the sunset.

Promising review: "These are the best orthotics I've ever had, and were recommended by my podiatrist. They're comfortable and my feet are feeling much better, even after standing on them for eight hours a day." —Virgil HoganGet it from Amazon for $27.65+ (available in women's size 5 to men's size 12, and for high and neutral arches).
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Promising review: "These are the best orthotics I've ever had, and were recommended by my podiatrist. They're comfortable and my feet are feeling much better, even after standing on them for eight hours a day." —Virgil Hogan

Get it from Amazon for $27.65+ (available in women's size 5 to men's size 12, and for high and neutral arches).

8. Recognize the difference between the three insole types: rigid, soft, and semi-rigid support insoles.

Rigid support insoles are the ones podiatrists and custom insole makers will recommend to you, like these Corefit moldable orthotics ($49.95 on Amazon), since they do the most to correct biomechanical problems. If you over- or under-pronate, have a pronounced difference in leg lengths (only 1 in 4 people have legs of exact equal lengths), or suffer from plantar fasciitis, these are the Foot Friends you need.Soft support insoles are shock absorbers, pressure-point soothers, and optimal foot comforters (some of them are even made from memory foam). Though they can’t keep you in a pair of shoes that simply don’t fit, they can make your shoes fit a bit more snug and ~slightly~ extend the life of shoes with worn-out soles.Semi-rigid support insoles, like these Powerstep Originals ($22.10+ on Amazon; pictured above), are in the middle of rigid and soft, a balanced and zen approach to the world of binary-minded insoles. Mostly, they’re used to enhance performance and response, so they fit in well with hikers, runners, and Moms who have to chase their kids at the grocery store (I was one of those kids, and still am).
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Rigid support insoles are the ones podiatrists and custom insole makers will recommend to you, like these Corefit moldable orthotics ($49.95 on Amazon), since they do the most to correct biomechanical problems. If you over- or under-pronate, have a pronounced difference in leg lengths (only 1 in 4 people have legs of exact equal lengths), or suffer from plantar fasciitis, these are the Foot Friends you need.

Soft support insoles are shock absorbers, pressure-point soothers, and optimal foot comforters (some of them are even made from memory foam). Though they can’t keep you in a pair of shoes that simply don’t fit, they can make your shoes fit a bit more snug and ~slightly~ extend the life of shoes with worn-out soles.

Semi-rigid support insoles, like these Powerstep Originals ($22.10+ on Amazon; pictured above), are in the middle of rigid and soft, a balanced and zen approach to the world of binary-minded insoles. Mostly, they’re used to enhance performance and response, so they fit in well with hikers, runners, and Moms who have to chase their kids at the grocery store (I was one of those kids, and still am).

9. Don’t be afraid to consider higher quality insoles, even insoles customized to your feet, because foot health is serious business and you want to keep the proper glide in your stride.

Wiivv is one of many services that lets you create a custom pair of insoles (full or 3/4 length) based on your measurements.For the most part, you can buy insoles within your shoe-size range and trim them as needed. If you decide to get a custom insole, you’ll need to measure your foot length and heel-to-ball ratio, which you can do with the help of this guide and (yet) another piece of blank paper.
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Wiivv is one of many services that lets you create a custom pair of insoles (full or 3/4 length) based on your measurements.

For the most part, you can buy insoles within your shoe-size range and trim them as needed. If you decide to get a custom insole, you’ll need to measure your foot length and heel-to-ball ratio, which you can do with the help of this guide and (yet) another piece of blank paper.

10. Or, add a bit of luxury to your shoe-game with a pair of Australian Sheepskin insoles guaranteed to fluff up even your ~homely~ slippers.

Rather than support, these insoles are all about excess and warmth, like a fur coat for your toes.Promising review: "These are the real deal; a piece of lamb hide with leather on the bottom and fleece on top. The fleece is so thick I can't imagine it will ever wear down to the bottom, but, if it does, I will be walking on soft leather, which isn't bad. I will be buying again." —Linda WilliamsGet it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in women's size four to men's size 13) or a similar item from Walmart for $14.95+.
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Rather than support, these insoles are all about excess and warmth, like a fur coat for your toes.

Promising review: "These are the real deal; a piece of lamb hide with leather on the bottom and fleece on top. The fleece is so thick I can't imagine it will ever wear down to the bottom, but, if it does, I will be walking on soft leather, which isn't bad. I will be buying again." —Linda Williams

Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in women's size four to men's size 13) or a similar item from Walmart for $14.95+.

11. Elevate your performance by adding SOLE running insoles into your whatever shoes you use to pound the pavement. Running is tough enough without the proper support, right?

Promising review: "These are the best footbeds I've ever used, after trying many different brands and reading dozens of reviews. Consider this a longterm review; I've been using Sole footbeds for over ten years in trail running shoes, regular running shoes, winter boots, Chuck Taylors, Blundstone boots, cycling shoes, climbing approach shoes, and almost everything else. These particular Soles hold up very well, and I use them in almost all my shoes. When I get a new pair of Soles, they go into performance shoes (like my running shoes) and the old hand-me-downs from those shoes go to some others where support is less critical. After about five or six years, they're pretty shredded and have earned their retirement." —P. RaphaelsonGet it from Amazon for $39.99+ (available in men's sizes 2.5-12) or a similar item from Walmart for $14.54.
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Promising review: "These are the best footbeds I've ever used, after trying many different brands and reading dozens of reviews. Consider this a longterm review; I've been using Sole footbeds for over ten years in trail running shoes, regular running shoes, winter boots, Chuck Taylors, Blundstone boots, cycling shoes, climbing approach shoes, and almost everything else. These particular Soles hold up very well, and I use them in almost all my shoes. When I get a new pair of Soles, they go into performance shoes (like my running shoes) and the old hand-me-downs from those shoes go to some others where support is less critical. After about five or six years, they're pretty shredded and have earned their retirement." —P. Raphaelson

Get it from Amazon for $39.99+ (available in men's sizes 2.5-12) or a similar item from Walmart for $14.54.

12. And take to the trails like never before with Timberland anti-fatigue insoles, perfect for hiking the backcountry or up that last hill on the way to work.

Promising review: "I'm hard on my feet; I hunt the backcountry mountains of Colorado and hike at least a hundred miles a season, so I rely on my feet and demand comfort. For years, I bought much more expensive insoles, but have never been completely satisfied. Last year, I decided to try these and can honestly say these are the best yet. I recently bought another pair for my everyday shoes, because they're so amazing, so comfortable and cushy. I highly recommend these, and know you will love them." —JaredGet it from Amazon for $22.73+ (available in sizes XS-XXL).
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Promising review: "I'm hard on my feet; I hunt the backcountry mountains of Colorado and hike at least a hundred miles a season, so I rely on my feet and demand comfort. For years, I bought much more expensive insoles, but have never been completely satisfied. Last year, I decided to try these and can honestly say these are the best yet. I recently bought another pair for my everyday shoes, because they're so amazing, so comfortable and cushy. I highly recommend these, and know you will love them." —Jared

Get it from Amazon for $22.73+ (available in sizes XS-XXL).

13. Support your kids ~from the ground up~ by giving them memory foam insoles made for their cute little play-shoes.

Promising review: "My eight-year-old son is very active and especially likes to run, so he wears out his shoes quickly. He also seems to be over-pronating lately, and has reported pain and discomfort in his legs. With these things in mind, I wanted to get him a supportive insole to add some cushion and arch support to his running shoes. These insoles were easy to cut to size, appear well-constructed, and were not too bulky inside the shoe. I like that they had the gel-support areas, and didn't seem as flimsy as others we've purchased. While the first wearing was a little uncomfortable for him, probably just because the feeling in his shoe was different, he later reported they had 'squished down' and felt 'great.' His legs aren't hurting anymore, so that's wonderful!" —yogagalGet it from Amazon for $15.99 (also available in toddler sizes) or Walmart for $18.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "My eight-year-old son is very active and especially likes to run, so he wears out his shoes quickly. He also seems to be over-pronating lately, and has reported pain and discomfort in his legs. With these things in mind, I wanted to get him a supportive insole to add some cushion and arch support to his running shoes. These insoles were easy to cut to size, appear well-constructed, and were not too bulky inside the shoe. I like that they had the gel-support areas, and didn't seem as flimsy as others we've purchased. While the first wearing was a little uncomfortable for him, probably just because the feeling in his shoe was different, he later reported they had 'squished down' and felt 'great.' His legs aren't hurting anymore, so that's wonderful!" —yogagal

Get it from Amazon for $15.99 (also available in toddler sizes) or Walmart for $18.99.

14. Cushion the ball of your feet with shock-absorbing gel inserts to prevent toe slippage and add stability to your strut.

Using a high heel insole of half-insert reduces toe scrunching and blistering, in addition to correcting the placement of weight on your feet (thereby reducing stress on your arches, ball of feet, and knees). Foot Petals is an especially trusted high heel insole brand, and they make hot spot relievers and supports (like this discrete back-of-the-heel cushion for $6.95 on Amazon or their iconic Tip Toes for $13.89+ on Amazon) that'll last you until dawn. Fashion doesn't have to be all about suffering, not for you!Promising review: "I wear these in all of my shoes, even closed-in flats. When I purchase a new pair of shoes, I put these in immediately (before I even wear them for the first time). My granddaughter wears super high heels, so I gave her some of these and she says she's now able to wear her high heels much longer." —Donna Martin-MurpohyGet it from Amazon for $5.49.
amazon.com

Using a high heel insole of half-insert reduces toe scrunching and blistering, in addition to correcting the placement of weight on your feet (thereby reducing stress on your arches, ball of feet, and knees). Foot Petals is an especially trusted high heel insole brand, and they make hot spot relievers and supports (like this discrete back-of-the-heel cushion for $6.95 on Amazon or their iconic Tip Toes for $13.89+ on Amazon) that'll last you until dawn. Fashion doesn't have to be all about suffering, not for you!

Promising review: "I wear these in all of my shoes, even closed-in flats. When I purchase a new pair of shoes, I put these in immediately (before I even wear them for the first time). My granddaughter wears super high heels, so I gave her some of these and she says she's now able to wear her high heels much longer." —Donna Martin-Murpohy

Get it from Amazon for $5.49.

15. Or, pad the inside of your favorite heels with a grippy liner that firms up your fit and kicks blisters to the curb.

These heel liners also come with a free set of pads for ball-of-foot pain reliefPromising review: "I've bought many different sets of heel grippers before, but these are by far the best! Very comfortable, well padded, and very sticky, so they're easy to apply and stay in place all day. I will definitely be coming back for more." —SchoolrnlynnGet it from Amazon for $10.99.
amazon.com

These heel liners also come with a free set of pads for ball-of-foot pain relief

Promising review: "I've bought many different sets of heel grippers before, but these are by far the best! Very comfortable, well padded, and very sticky, so they're easy to apply and stay in place all day. I will definitely be coming back for more." —Schoolrnlynn

Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

16. Give any flats Birkenstock-level comfort with a two-part arch system designed specifically for sporty shoes.

One BuzzFeeder took these blue babies for a ride and loved it. And you can read all about it!Promising review: "If you are an ardent Birkenstock fan such as myself, you will be very happy with these inserts. As with Birkenstock sandals, this provides serious arch supports. For those who think the support is too hard, consider the following: the idea is to learn to walk properly, on the side of the foot away from the arch. If your arch hurts from the arch support being too hard, reconsider your criticism of the arch support. Rather, try very hard to force yourself to walk properly, so that your arch does not infringe upon the arch support in as hard a manner. Birkenstocks are a proven system, used by many, people (such as myself) to relieve the pain of fallen arches, but also teaches you to walk properly." —busappGet it from Amazon for $56.90+ (available in women's size 4 to men's size 13.5).
amazon.com

One BuzzFeeder took these blue babies for a ride and loved it. And you can read all about it!

Promising review: "If you are an ardent Birkenstock fan such as myself, you will be very happy with these inserts. As with Birkenstock sandals, this provides serious arch supports. For those who think the support is too hard, consider the following: the idea is to learn to walk properly, on the side of the foot away from the arch. If your arch hurts from the arch support being too hard, reconsider your criticism of the arch support. Rather, try very hard to force yourself to walk properly, so that your arch does not infringe upon the arch support in as hard a manner. Birkenstocks are a proven system, used by many, people (such as myself) to relieve the pain of fallen arches, but also teaches you to walk properly." —busapp

Get it from Amazon for $56.90+ (available in women's size 4 to men's size 13.5).

17. If you can't find what you need, make an appointment with Dr. Scholl's (or your podiatrist) to get a professional opinion on what's best for your feet.

Dr. Scholl's Insole Advisor recommends one of their renowned inserts based on your responses to a few questions, just like having a little chat with your friend who raves about insoles (me)!
drscholls.com

Dr. Scholl's Insole Advisor recommends one of their renowned inserts based on your responses to a few questions, just like having a little chat with your friend who raves about insoles (me)!

Persevere, my Footbed Friend. It can be difficult to find the right match, because your feet have their own unique shape and needs, but your Perfect Insole is out there, waiting for you!

Cinderella (1950)

Even your perfect match will require a bit of breaking in, so don't be too discouraged in the insoles you try aren't immediately comfortable, especially if you're seeking more supportive insoles.

Plus, when you find the one for you, don't forget to regularly clean them and replace them as often as your use requires!

Gotta put your heart and ~sole~ into this.

Malcolm in the Middle / Via youtube.com

Reviews included in this post have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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