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Insoles: The Ultimate Buying Guide

You recently bought a pair of nice shoes – cost a pretty penny too – and you ensured they were your size when you got them. They fit perfectly at first until they didn’t anymore, or rather, they suddenly started pinching. What could be the problem? Before you shelve or replace them with yet another expensive pair, you may want to consider the insole.

A few years ago, people didn’t really think of insoles as a necessity, but things have changed since great quality insoles came to the market, led by the Mindinsole brand, which is a real game-changer.

Why you Need Insoles

If you spend the better part of your day on your feet, then you already feel the pressure you are exerting on your ankles and the rest of your feet. It is not only about the type of shoes that you choose, but also the hours you are in this position. While insoles are only a part of the solution for your aching feet, they help immensely at alleviating pain and pressure on certain pressure points on your foot.

Millennia ago, the evolving human trudged the world barefoot and things were alright with the world. No mention of plantar Fasciitis or knee problems, yet the terrain wasn’t the friendliest. With evolution and discoveries came the knowledge to make shoes, which were designed to make life much more comfortable. We have since developed way too many shoe designs, forced out feet to wear too many weirdly shaped shoes that our feet are crying for help. Still, want to give up your sexy stilettos for a moment of comfort? Didn’t think so, which is why insoles were invented.

Types of Insoles

There are three main types of insole.

Rigid Support

This technical insole is used when the foot is prone to turn in excessive pronation. It therefore provides ample support from the ankle down. Since it is meant to be quite rigid, this insole is made out of polyurethane plastic together with foam for much-needed comfort. It can either be 3D printed or molded traditionally. Because these insoles are not very regularly requested, they are custom-made.

Soft Support

Most people who seek shoe insoles that ease pressure on the foot and so this type is one of the more popular options. These insoles are quite lightweight and they ease pressure on specific pressure points on the foot. They are other gel or foam-based for that support your foot needs and they are ideal for absorbing shock.

Semi-Rigid Support

These insoles are popular with sports people as they are a combination of soft and rigid support. Made of either foam, leather, cork, or plastic, they are neither too soft nor too rigid.

Though many of us realize it, we need insoles for various reasons. Standing or walking for too many hours in a day takes toll on feet and so the ever so slight damage that occurs needs to be repaired as soon as possible. The right insoles massage your foot’s pressure points to reduce pressure and prevent damage even if your job demands you be on your feet for the better part of a day.

Here is what you need to look for when choosing the right pair of insoles to make those shoes more bearable.


Insoles are mainly made from these four materials; cork, foam, gel, and leather. Each of the material does its bit and so preference will depend on what your feet need. Foam is great for support while gel is preferred by those seeking shock absorption – from impact caused when your foot hits hard surfaces. When you need slight cushioning and support, you will be best served by cork while leather provides some cushioning especially on days when you wear thin socks. Most insoles for sports people will be made of foam and gel for cushioning and shock absorption.

Foot Arch Type

There are usually three foot arches; High, medium, and low arches and so naturally, insoles will follow these arch types. Before buying insoles, it would be best to find out which works best with your foot arch, and this video is quite elaborative. Quite frankly, selecting the wrong insole for your foot arch will do more harm than good.

Insole Sizing

Insoles are not one-size-fits all, because shoe are not either. The maker of a particular brand will usually have a range of product – for instance “Men’s 9-11” to cater to the three shoe sizes. The wearer will them have the product trimmed to fit. Some sizes are not meant to be trimmed before they are inserted in the footwear, for instance sizes 9-10 for those who wear size 9.5. They will fit just fine. To be certain that you are picking the right size for your shoes, make sure to make further inquiry before purchase.

Insole Replacement

Do you need the existing sole if you insert new ones into your shoes? Not really and especially when the new insole is full-length. It will completely take the place of the insole the shoe came with originally and will do a better job at support when inserted. 3/4-length ones are meant to be worn together with the original insoles, so you won’t have to remove them.

Custom or Off-The-Shelf Insoles?

Mentioning that you want anything custom-made sounds fancy, but it really is not always the case. Rigid support insoles are mostly custom-made because they are quite particular and not as popularly requested. Would you be better off with customized ones? Sure, because they will be specifically made for your feet and so you won’t have to cut them later for proper fitting.

Additionally, off-the-shelf insoles are made for mass market while their customized counterparts are specific to the user. You could have them as comfortable as you want them – with more foam and other material – considering you will have them for longer.

Still stressing over your pinching new-ish shoes? Now, that should not be case and especially when you have a wide selection of high-quality insoles at your disposal!

February 25, 2019


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