Whether you’re spending all day on your feet working or you’re training for your next marathon, a comfortable pair of shoes can make or break your day. They can also make or break your feet, ankles, knees, shins, and back — literally. Feet have a lot of pressure riding on them. They sustain all our body weight and in return, we jump on them, walk on them, and stand on them for extended hours each and every day. If we don’t treat them well, they react with plantar fasciitis, a stabbing pain that often shows up in the heel following exercise or prolonged periods spent on your feet. Plantar fasciitis often becomes more pronounced as we age and gain weight, and aside from shedding a few pounds or canceling our gym membership, one of the best ways to combat the painful condition is by ensuring our feet are well supported with a pair of performance insoles.
Staying active as we age is important, but a bad case of plantar fasciitis, as well as knee pain, ankle pain, shin splints, and foot pain can derail even the most committed of athletes. Using a performance insole that provides support is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to stay on your feet.
When looking for an insole, it’s important to know what your feet need. Are you flat-footed? Then you need arch support. Do you have narrow feet? Then an insole with a slim profile is appropriate. Do you like to run or train at the gym or outside? Then searching for an insole that is breathable and can be easily washed to help control odor should be at the top of your list.
Most people look for comfort when buying shoes, but even the most comfortable brands can use help from insoles. Whether you’re running a 10K or adding a daily walk into your routine, you need a good performance insole. Here are some great options.
1. Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts with Arch Support
We love that the Physix Gear Sport Full-Length Orthotic Inserts with Arch Support is a one-stop shoe shop for just about every ailment below the knee. Made from medical grade EVA foam and PU material, the insole helps to lessen the discomfort caused by shin splints, flat feet, runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, metatarsal arch and heel pain, and plantar fasciitis. Have some pain higher up in the body? The deep heel cradle provides stability, which in turn combats low back pain. The insoles are ideal for just about any activity, with the lightweight ergonomic design providing comfort for activities that range from standing all day to running and hiking, with the shock-absorbing insoles appropriate for work boots, dress shoes, and sneakers.
Pros: Designed for high impact sports, relieves upper back tension, lightweight and breathable.
Cons: It may take some time for customers to get used to the high arch support.
2. Superfeet GREEN Insoles
The Superfeet GREEN Insoles have a long list of happy customers whose shoes you’ll want to walk a mile in. The high-density foam insoles are one inch high and six inches wide, making them a high volume insert (ie. they’ll take up a lot of room in your shoe). Ideal for sneakers and work boots, which tend to allow for more room, the Superfeet GREEN Insoles use their high profile shape and deep heel cup to provide excellent stability for the foot, which in turn takes the pressure off the ankles and knees. The all-vegan insole comes with an organic odor-control coating, which helps to eliminate odor-causing bacterial, a must for anything designed to support your hard-working feet.
Pros: Eco and vegan-friendly design, odor-control, provides added stability.
Cons: The plastic bottom of the insole can create a squeaky noise with some shoes.
3. GAOAG Orthotic Plantar Faciitis Shoe Insole
GAOAG Orthotic Plantar Fasciitis Shoe Insoles prove that not only can you afford to have comfortable shoes, but you also can’t afford not to. The affordable performance insoles are designed specifically for users with flat feet, providing arch support and Skydex air bubbles in the heel of the shoe and the arch to absorb impact. The insoles, which can be machine washed to stay fresh, have a deep heel cup for added support. The insoles work with both dress and athletic shoes and are a great option even if you don’t suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Pros: Designed for flat feet, machine washable, work with dress and sport shoes.
Cons: The GAOAG may be too narrow for wide feet.
4. EasyFeet Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles
Cross the finish line with a pair of insoles that didn’t give out at the halfway mark. The EasyFeet Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles are designed with athletes in mind and provide high arch support for runners and walkers with plantar fasciitis, flat feet, pronation, back issues, heel spurs, shin splints and bunions. Recommended by podiatrists, these premium athletic insoles have anti-pronation technology and use gel and air capsules to help absorb shock. A deep heel cradle with built-in heel support provides added stability for a wide range of motion. The insoles feature a hard TPU layer covered by a memory foam base for cushioning. The breathable and heat-reducing insoles are available in five size options and can be trimmed with scissors.
Pros: Designed for athletes and recommended by podiatrists, anti-pronation technology, a deep cradle for added stability.
Cons: Because of the high arch, users may find that their feet feel sore after the first few uses.
5. Powerstep Pinnacle
For an insole that focuses on issues with arches, we recommend the Powerstep Pinnacle. The Powerstep has a semirigid arch and a deep heel cup that together provide added stability. Mild to moderate pronation can also be improved by wearing these insoles daily. The Powerstep are made with an antimicrobial top fabric that helps to control odor. The top layer also reduces friction and heat, which can help to prevent blisters. An EVA foam base and a layer of cushioning create a comfortable insole for moderate impact.
Pros: Provides stability, made with antimicrobial fabric to help control odor, reduces friction that can lead to blisters.
Cons: The Powerstep may not last as long as other insoles.
6. Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles
Help keep your feet, knees, back and other joints feeling good with a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles. Using triple zone protection, Dr. Scholl’s insoles can reduce shock absorption by up to 40 percent. In turn, this helps reduce the possibility of developing shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis. Designed for athletes, the streamlined insoles have moisture-wicking capabilities to help keep feet dry and cool. Reinforced arch support, padding on the ball of the foot and a deep heel cup help to reduce impact and keep users running and walking pain-free.
Pros: Designed for runners and athletes, reduces shock absorption by up to 40 percent, moisture and odor protection.
Cons: The insoles are only available in three sizes and users may have to do some extensive trimming on the insoles to get the correct fit.
7. Sof Sole Men's Airr Insole
Keep your feet from overheating with a pair of the Sof Sole Men’s Airr Insole. Sky bubbles in the heel and arch of the Airr absorb impact and help prevent injuries by reducing strain on ankles, knees and the lower back. Designed for athletic shoes, the Airr have gel in the forefoot to add extra cushioning for high-impact activities, like walking and running. A Coolmax top fabric cover helps to wick away moisture and bacteria and keep feet dry and cool. The neutral arch support means that the Airr are appropriate for those with and without flat feet. The Airr are available in four sizes up to a men’s size 14.
Pros: Shock absorbing, gel cushioning for comfort, moisture and bacteria-wicking properties.
Cons: The gel pad can be slightly slippery when wet.
8. Sof Sole Insoles
If you’re in search of a pair of insoles to make your next workout more comfortable, we recommend the Sof Sole Insoles. The athletic performance insoles are recommended for walking, running and cross-training, with the lightweight cushioning and gel pads designed to absorb impact without creating a bulky shoe. The insoles use Hydrologix moisture-wicking material to pull the sweat away from the feet and keep them dry and odor-free throughout the workout. The insoles have an impressive lifespan and also work well for those looking for inserts in work and combat boots.
Pro: Shock absorbing, not bulky, wick away sweat and neutralize odor.
Cons: The insoles have a neutral arch, which means they may not be appropriate for flat-footed athletes.
9. Walk Hero Plantar Fasciitis Feet Insoles
Walk Hero Plantar Fasciitis Feet Insoles are designed for customers with flat feet, pronation, bunions, arthritis and diabetes, giving moderate control and support to help ease pain when walking. The Walk Hero insoles have a 7mm arch support and the medical-grade insoles are a great option for anyone looking for a basic insole that provides some relief from common foot and leg issues. The affordable insoles, which are available in several colors and made with high-quality EVA and silicon material, have a deep heel cup that helps to stabilize the user’s foot and protect the heel during high impact movements.
Pro: Designed for a variety of foot issues, includes arch support, heel cup for stabilization.
Cons: The insoles have a firm finish and don’t offer as much cushioning as other options.