A week ago, I recommended a pair of insoles to a friend, based on my experience. I have been using insoles for three years and so I normally expect everyone to know just as much as I do about these gems that changed the way I walk, quite literally – thanks to my flat foot.
Well, I was wrong, and so this Q&A answers as much as possible about insoles.
Off-the-shelf insoles are marked in size ranges so that you have “Men’s/Women’s 9-11,” meaning that they are for those who wear shoe sizes in this range. This is usually the case for full-size insoles as they are meant to be cut to fit after buying. If they are sized between 8 and 9 and you are a 9.5, then you should buy a size up. 3/4-length insoles are sold to fit as they are not meant to be cut to fit.
As for trimming, it is usually necessary when your full-size insoles do not fit properly. Trimming off the excess material ensures that they sit properly in your shoes and cover your foot properly. Most off-the-shelf insoles need trimming to fit as they are sold in size ranges as opposed to the exact shoe size. Having a pair custom-made is ideal too as it is made to your liking and sizing.
Most people buy insoles for a myriad of reasons. Plantar fasciitis, over- pronation, Morton’s Neuroma, which is that annoying tingling feeling that you get when you have an irritated nerve, and Ball-of-Foot Pain. Also, those who spend too many hours on their feet or walking pace too much pressure on their feet and so they need the relief that an insole gives.
Some not-to-medical conditions that have people wearing insoles include height – where a short person will wear length-adding insoles to appear taller as well as be more comfortable in their shoes. High-heel wearers also love insoles or sole cups that improve stability especially when the heel of their shoes aren’t as strong as they should be.
Fact: it has been noted that conditions such as plantar fasciitis and minor feet injuries can be prevented by wearing a pair of insoles.
Runners, soccer players, cyclists, and any other person participating in a category of sports that stresses the feet needs some support and increased comfort to absorb shock when the feet land on hard tough surfaces. Orthotic inserts – specifically those meant for sports – improve the wearer’s alignment, which then increases their speed and efficacy.
Depending on whether you need a rigid base for full arch support or cushioned arch support, the insole will be made of foam or cork combined with other material such as rubber and plastic for support. They will contain gel too for shock absorption and that soft landing that makes shoes more comfortable. You can buy these insoles over the counter or have them custom made to fit using a mix of material that you deem proper for your particular needs.
Insoles are made of different materials, with leather, foam, gel, and cork being the most popular. Foam is usually best for pressure relief, support, and cushioning, and so it is used to make insoles that give rigid arch support. Gel is for shock absorption and so those who participate in high-intensity physical activities prefer them. Cork is a mix of the two – for support and a bit of cushioning. Leather feels good on the foot, especially when worn a pair of thin socks. It is mostly used to support the other main material.
If you buy full-length insoles, you will be more comfortable replacing the existing innersoles of your shoes with these. You would feel the bulk underneath the innersole if you let the two of them remain intact, and so it is wiser to remove one. Also, the new insole would be more efficient at support than the pair that came with the shoe, so it makes no sense to keep them both. 3/4-length insoles are not meant to be removed as they only cover a small part of your shoe. The same applies to inserts, but they do come with proper instructions and so you’ll know how to wear them.
The material that makes the innersole determines how you care for them, but most types are not to be dipped in water. Foam cushioned and cloth-covered ones are especially susceptible to water. If they ever get waterlogged, part them dry with a piece of cloth and then lay them flat to dry. Silicone-based cleaning products aren’t any ideal as they may ruin your innersoles.
So, how do you clean them? Quite simply with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Soak up a sponge, squeeze the water out and then wipe them clean. Gets the job done efficiently.
Our feet are different in several respects. They are not of the same height or width, and so OTC insoles are not for everyone. Moldable insoles are customable in that they are made to take to the shape of your foot. Before wearing them, you will heat them in the oven for a short while then step on them before they cool completely. The foot shapes itself perfectly on the mold so that the insert fits perfectly when you wear it.
Yes, they are. Every insole maker makes and sells them in pairs as it is assumed both feet need the same level of care.
So, there you have it. Have we answered all your insole questions? We do hope you are more knowledgeable at this area.
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