Best Insoles of 2021
You might not think that the Superfeet Green insoles will impress at first glance. You won't find the advanced padding and appearances of some support insoles; however, this classic style will work with most shoes and provide superior daily support. If you spend long hours on your feet working in a restaurant or hospital, need extra arch support to keep plantar fasciitis at bay, or simply want better supportive foot care than your built-in insoles, the Superfeet Green is our recommendation. We love that the narrow shape fits well into running shoes, casual shoes, and hiking boots while leaving enough room for a good fit, and they aren't overly padded, making them almost unnoticeable. They are designed with a classic foam forefoot and a strong plastic arch and heel support that kept our feet feeling well supported and pleasant.
Our main gripe with these great insoles are the cost. Since they are only good for 500 miles or around 12 months, whichever milestone is crossed first, the need to replace them will increase costs down the line. They don't come with the same amount of cushion as some other insoles we tested, but the Superfeet Green aren't created to just be comfy; they are built for support, and they succeed in their purpose quite well. The design of these insoles is specifically to help with high arches, but they also come in other styles for a variety of different foot support needs.
The Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer insoles are specially constructed for athletic users. However, they are also a great option for budget-minded folks seeking additional comfort and who want to reduce impact for their feet in day-to-day scenarios. The forefoot and heel both feature extra built-in padding, allowing these insoles to take on additional shock in the area of the foot most impacted when running and doing other sports.
If you have a condition that requires specific arch support, the lightweight polyurethane foam used in this model might not be the best as it only boasts moderate arch support. The insole doesn't have any rigid components, and the lightweight design means they are more prone to wearing away over time. They aren't as durable as some others we've tested, and their flimsy nature means they're a bit tricky to get into your shoe. However, their super-thin profile and high level of cushioning make them great for those who don't have extra room to spare but want extra comfort. We think you should consider the Spenco insoles if you are shopping for comfort on a budget.
The Dr. Scholl's Plantar Fasciitis pain relief orthotics are designed to specifically target the areas affected by plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the plantar fascia — a fibrous tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. This inflammation causes intense heel pain and is common for runners, athletes, or those who spend a lot of time on their feet for work or other activities. A highly cushioned heel cup absorbs shock to the sensitive heel area, and semi-rigid arch support helps stabilize and prevent further stretching in the plantar fascia.
While our reviewers enjoyed the high cushion and comfort of these insoles, they were high-volume, taking up a lot of space in our shoes. They are also much wider and larger than other insoles we tested, making them better for boots or work shoes and not as much for tight-fitting casual or athletic shoes. Someone who suffers from plantar fasciitis might like to have extra support in all the shoes they wear to help prevent pain, but these insoles are not easy to switch in and out of shoes because of their size, volume, and lack of rigidity.
The Superfeet Carbon are a low-volume, low-profile pair of insoles made for performance athletic shoes and tight-fitting casual shoes. With thin, lightweight yet high-density foam and a hard, carbon fiber stabilizer cap, these insoles are high-quality and help give your feet extra comfort and support. With moderate arch support, these insoles are excellent for those with flat feet and can slip easily into any shoe. The perforated forefoot is also a unique touch that enhances breathability and also makes these insoles even more lightweight.
If you are looking for a lot of extra cushion, the Superfeet Carbon is not our top choice for pure plush comfort. But since the structured heel cup helps to naturally absorb impact, they are actually very comfortable in the long run, and their bonus low-profile won't take up a lot of space in your shoes as other more cushioned insoles will.
The Currex RunPro are German-designed insoles made specifically for running. Runners who often suffer from foot and knee injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner's knee, and other issues due to participating in the high-impact activity require extra support to alleviate their pain. The Currex insoles have triple support for the areas impacted the most by running with rigid arch support, a cushion for the ball of the foot, as well as one for the heel for shock absorption. Made of high-quality materials, they also have a bamboo and charcoal mid-layer for help with moisture-wicking and odor control.
A great product comes with a price, and the Currex are among the most expensive insoles we tested. These insoles may be better suited to serious runners who log a lot of miles and need high-quality, reliable support, and seek the customization of a brand that makes different models for your specific arch type. If this sounds like you, then the Currex RunPro will not disappoint.
The EasyFeet Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles boast a unique, hard arch design made of thermoplastic polyurethane. Unlike other insoles that are made with regular polyurethane, which may lose its shape over time, the EasyFeet arches are sturdy and durable, providing support and pain relief directly to the heel and the plantar fascia. They also include a thin yet very comfortable layer of memory foam cushion for comfort and an odor-neutralizing top layer. By providing direct support to the arch, these insoles are designed to help relieve pain associated with plantar fasciitis and other foot-related issues, as well as keep the feet in proper alignment for reduced foot pressure and muscle fatigue for hard activity or long days on your feet.
The hard backing provides noticeable pressure on your arches and takes some time to get used to. After a couple of days of continuous wear, our testers found the targeted support to be quite comfortable and supportive. But this could be different depending on your arch type and foot size, and the pronounced arch support could be too much for some. Our reviewers were impressed by the quality of these insoles, and for the price, they seem like they will provide great comfort and support over the long run.
The Dr. Scholl's Running Insoles offer excellent shock absorption and arch support with their triple-zone design. Like the ones from Currex RunPro, these running insoles have padding for the ball of the foot and the heel as well as hard plastic reinforced arch support. The extra padded zones help absorb the shock associated with pounding pavement or trails, and Dr. Scholl's claims that these insoles reduce shock up to 40%. This reduced shock combined with the thin plastic arch can help relieve pain associated with runner's injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and runner's knee.
These insoles slipped easily into our tester's running shoes, who noticed their stride feeling lighter and easier due to their great shock absorption. But our testers found that these insoles took up valuable real estate in their running shoes, which made them feel snugger than they would prefer. There is also pronounced extra padding directly under the metatarsal, which could be great for someone suffering from metatarsalgia, but since our testers do not, this extra padding just put unwanted pressure on that part of the foot. Though they may sacrifice some room in your running shoes, these insoles provide great shock absorption and support for a low price.
The insoles from Powerstep Pinnacle are the best insoles we tested for helping remedy foot pain due to pronation. The most common pronation issues are overpronation and underpronation, whereby the natural inward rolling of the foot on impact either rolls too much (overpronation) or too little (underpronation), putting pressure on specific areas instead of distributing force evenly throughout the foot. This can lead to many issues down the line, including the common plantar fasciitis. The Powerstep Pinnacle insoles help keep the feet from over or under pronating with their deep heel cup that aids with natural alignment, and a semi-rigid shell with arch support that provides stability. These insoles are stiff and slip easily into your shoes, allowing you to put them into multiple pairs of shoes without hassle, and are low-profile enough not to take up too much room.
While Powerstep advertises these insoles for all arch types, the arch support is pronounced and may be uncomfortable for those without high arches. These insoles are also thin with low cushion and are not our choice for plush comfort. But the plus is that the rigid support will help provide much-needed structure for those who regularly over or under pronate and therefore require more supportive footwear, leading to healthier feet in the long run.
The Walk-Hero Comfort and Support insoles are low-profile, rigid insoles that provide support for all arch types and are made to help alleviate symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Firm and pronounced arch support help provide stability to the plantar fascia, and a thin mid-layer of silicone gives a slight cushion to the entire insole. With their rigid support shell, they are easy to slip into any shoe and are great for casual, athletic, or work footwear. Because of their ability to support all arch types and their ease of fitting into multiple different shoes, these insoles are an excellent choice for everyday use.
Although these insoles are advertised as helping with plantar fasciitis, our gear testers found the cushion to be quite low in the heel — the area that experiences the most pain due to the injury. While there is a slight give in the heel area that is most likely due to a little extra silicone padding, there are no shock-absorbing pads like on the Dr. Scholl's models to really help cushion and support the heel. The heel cup is also wider than other models we tested, and we felt our heel slide around and hit the edges of the insole instead of feeling supported and secured. While this may not be our top choice for plantar fasciitis relief because of the low cushion, they are a good choice for everyday wear in multiple footwear options and provide okay support for the plantar fascia.
The slightly gimmicky design of the Dr. Scholl's UltraCool insoles is due to the thick, honeycomb foam bottom that is supposed to enhance airflow, but ends up taking up a lot of space in your shoe. These insoles were designed for those who want better ventilation and odor control, with built-in activated charcoal and baking soda and the supposed cooling action the holes in the foam provide.
Our testers made sure to get their feet nice and sweaty, taking these insoles on runs to see how they really stood up to their claim. We had the most trouble actually getting these insoles to fit into our running shoes, as they are much wider than other insoles, were too long even when trimmed to fit, and so flexible from their soft foam build that it was a struggle to stuff them inside. While we did notice a slight decrease in odor, this benefit was outweighed by the fact that the high loft of the foam made our shoes feel too tight, thus arguably making less room for ventilation. And although the foam provides a high level of cushion, they don't provide the durable support of other insoles we tested, and will likely need to be replaced often. But for those looking for some insoles with cushion and odor control at a low cost, these could be a good choice.
Why You Should Trust Us
The main tester for this review, Miya Tsudome, has relied on insoles for over a decade to help provide comfort and support from her early days playing soccer to her later years of working in the restaurant industry spending 10+ hours on her feet, and now to her long days hiking out into the backcountry. The built-in insoles in most shoes just don't cut it much of the time, and adding extra support is key for keeping pain and muscle fatigue at bay, as well as stopping any more chronic injuries in the knees, hips, back, and even head and neck from occurring. Miya brings her own experience with foot and knee pain, as well as her rigorous experimentation with many brands of insoles, to provide you with this honest review.
Each pair of insoles was tested independently for over 10 days. The testers experimented by putting each insole into all different types of footwear, and went on hikes, walks, and runs on both pavement and trail to adequately assess the feel of each pair. This review comes to you from someone with a medium arch and currently healthy, pain-free feet. Therefore your experience with each insole may differ depending on the size and shape of your foot, the position of your arch, and whether or not you suffer from any current or chronic foot conditions.
Analysis and Test Results
Insoles come in all shapes and sizes, with some being geared toward providing more comfort, while others are geared towards providing more support or relief for foot-related pain. While this review can serve as a guideline for what the best insoles are like, if you suffer from foot pain, it should not be a replacement for medical advice from an expert in foot care. If you are not used to arch support, it is recommended that you give your feet time to adjust to your new insoles by wearing them for longer and longer each day before you decide they are not for you.
Some insoles can be ordered in your size, while others are of a "trim-to-fit" variety. Many of the "trim-to-fit" will have sizing guidelines directly on the insole so you can make an accurate cut with your scissors. Others you'll have to trim yourself, and we suggest taking out the built-in insole of your shoe and tracing it onto your new insoles for precise sizing. You should always remember to take out the built-in insoles of your shoes before using your new insoles.
Each pair of insoles was rated and analyzed according to four different metrics: fit, feel, construction, and cushion. Read on below for our in-depth review of how the 10 insoles we tested measured up in each category.
We tested the fit of each pair of insoles by assessing first how well they fit into different shoes and then by judging how much space they take up. Some insoles came in our size, while others we had to trim to fit into our shoes. Some were thin and kept the fit of our shoes the same, while others were thicker, making for a tighter fit in our shoes, which can be undesirable.
Most insoles come in a size range that you can then trim to fit your correct shoe size. The insoles from Walk-Hero and the Powerstep Pinnacle are the only insoles we tested that you can order specifically for your individual foot size with a half-size up margin. For those who would like to avoid the hassle of trimming your insoles, these are the best choices. But for those who don't mind trimming their insoles to fit their shoes exactly, all of the other insoles we tested can be trimmed. All except the Superfeet Green and Superfeet Carbon have trimming guidelines on them for quick customization. With the Superfeet brand, you'll have to trace your shoes' original insole to get a precise fit.
The Superfeet brand shines in their low profile fit, however, with the Superfeet Carbon being the lightest, thinnest insoles we tested. The Powerstep Pinnacle comes in at a close second for their low-volume insole, although both sacrifice some cushion for being thin and light.
Dr. Scholl's makes the thickest insoles we tested, with the UltraCool insoles providing a high level of cushion and comfort but taking up the most space in our shoes. The insoles from EasyFeet with their hard, TPU arch support also take up a good amount of space in our shoes, making both of these models more suitable for work shoes or other higher-volume footwear.
Our reviewers judged the "feel" of each pair of insoles as objectively as possible, noting the specific features of each insole that can be felt no matter your arch type or size. However, what the longer-term "feel" of each insole will be is sure to be different for different users. We were partial to insoles that provided good support with a light amount of cushion for comfort and assessed which insoles performed the best in both categories for this portion of our review.
While the construction of the Superfeet Green is simple, being made of closed-cell, high-density foam, the deep heel cup, and sturdy stabilizer cap give these insoles a great combination of comfort and support. These insoles are unique in that they seem to provide comfort through support instead of having a high level of cushion that could wear down over time.
The insoles from Easyfeet are also superior in their levels of comfort and support, with their hard arch being beneficial for those who suffer from flat feet as well as those with high arches, and their cushioned, memory-foam mid-layer providing a great level of comfort with every step. The Currex RunPro are excellent running insoles that seem to have support wherever you need it, while also remaining thin enough to not take up too much space in your running shoes. They provide support and shock absorption to the ball of the foot, arch, and heel, making the idea of logging long miles much easier.
While we loved the silicone layer of cushion in the Dr. Scholl's Running Insoles, the pronounced padding under our metatarsal felt strange. We preferred the Currex for their shock absorption and lack of protruding padding for specific parts of the foot. The Walk-Hero's heel cup is too wide for our reviewer's heels, causing our foot to rub against the edge of the insole, which caused discomfort.
The insoles we tested had unique constructions that were specific to what they aimed to provide. Some had many features, with targeted areas of padding, the use of multiple different materials, and claims to cure all foot pain, while others were simpler in design and function.
Dr. Scholl's are the most specific and feature-rich of all the insoles we tested. You can purchase a Dr. Scholl's insole for a wide variety of foot issues and activities, and their construction is specific to what they claim to provide their users. We tested the Dr. Scholl's Plantar Fasciitis orthotics and the Dr. Scholl's Running Insoles, which each had its own features. Dr. Scholl's starts with a basic, flexible base layer, and in the case of their running insoles, makes them narrower for running shoes and adds layers of padding or hard support for comfort, proper alignment, and shock absorption. Dr. Scholl's is accessible, widely available, and inexpensive, making them a great choice, but their quality isn't exactly up to the standards of other insoles we tested.
The quality of the Superfeet insoles is undeniable, and they are a reputable brand that also makes insoles for a wide variety of people and needs. The Superfeet Green and Superfeet Carbon are both sleek and simple, made of high-quality materials, and give welcome support to many different pairs of our shoes. We were also impressed with the construction and quality of the EasyFeet insoles, with their plush yet thin memory foam layer that covers their supportive hard arch, and their thoughtful heel plug for additional comfort and shock absorption.
While our reviewers loved the Spenco insoles for their price, they do feel a bit flimsy in their construction. They have a nice level of cushion out-of-the-box, but lacking any firmer support, they are likely to wear down quickly. The Powerstep Pinnacle and Walk-Hero were the most simple designs we tested, with no additional features besides heel cups, arch support, and a light cushion.
While some might be looking for support from their insoles to help with proper foot alignment or common injuries such as plantar fasciitis, others will be looking for insoles that provide a higher level of comfort in the form of a nicely cushioned layer between their feet and the hard floor or long trail.
The Dr. Scholl's UltraCool insoles are undeniably the most cushioned insoles we tested. In addition to their layer of charcoal and baking soda for odor control, they also have a high-loft, honeycombed foam base layer. These insoles are plush and therefore high in volume, and are better suited for work boots or hiking shoes, and will not fit easily into casual footwear or tighter-fitting running shoes, making them less versatile overall. For overall comfort, these insoles are high on the list.
The Spenco insoles, on the other hand, are much thinner in profile while still having an impressive level of cushioning with their stretchy, nylon fabric construction. For those who want comfort without sacrificing space, these are a good choice. The Dr. Scholl's Plantar Fasciitis insoles are comfortable and have slight support in the arch and heel for those who suffer from the common plantar fasciitis, which can be very painful. The cushion in these orthotics is designed to help ease the pain associated with this injury and to provide simple support to the plantar fascia.
The insoles lowest in cushioning in our review include the Powerstep Pinnacle, Superfeet Carbon, and the Superfeet Green. The Powerstep provides good support for the heel and arch and helps with pronation but doesn't provide any cushion for additional comfort. The Superfeet Carbon is made to be lightweight and low volume so it can fit into tighter-fitting shoes and sacrifices cushion as a result. The Superfeet Green are simple, everyday insoles that help support the foot and keep it naturally aligned, but do not have the pure comfort of memory foam or silicone built-in. When considering comfort, it is important to consider how much space you would like to sacrifice in your shoe for extra cushion.
Whether you are on your feet for long days at work, logging miles running or hiking on trails, suffering from foot-related pain, or simply want better support in your shoes, there is an insole out there for you. We hope you find a pair from our diverse round-up of insoles for different activities and needs, and look forward to a future of healthier, happier feet.
— Miya Tsudome
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