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Why & When To Rely On Rigid & Semi-Rigid Insoles

Often ignored, insoles are more than just some accessories you purchase if your shoes are too large or uncomfortable. In fact, insoles are extremely diversified and quite different from inserts. The more advanced version – the orthotic insole – is recommended by specialist doctors and aims to heal a series of medical conditions. All in all, insoles come in all shapes and sizes, but they also feature different levels of rigidity – soft, rigid and semi-rigid. The soft ones are recommended against calluses, bunions, hammertoes and diabetic pains, among many others. The others are suitable to those suffering from more severe conditions.


Oversupination occurs if your foot keeps rolling outward. It is not so obvious right away, but it tends to aggravate if ignored for too long. The best way to tell if you suffer from oversupination implies looking at your shoes as they wear out. If the outer lip of the sole is worn more than the rest, you have oversupination.

Since fixing the issue implies putting some pressure and force on your feet, you will need rigid insoles. It will literally force your feet to move inward. In order to keep the foot stable and in place, you will also require a decently deepened heel cup. It is not a general rule though. If you only want to deal with the supination, you will only need a specialized foot wedge.


Overpronation is the opposite of oversupination. Instead of rolling outward, the foot rolls inward. The therapy is pretty much similar to the one for oversupination – a rigid insole that will force the foot outward. It will keep the foot in a neutral place. It might feel uncomfortable for a while until you get used to it, but you will get used to it. Again, make sure the insole has a deep heel cup to keep the foot stable.

Most rigid insoles for this problem come with foam on top for a more efficient shock and tension absorption. Arch support is needed as well. Given all these factors, it might be wise to get your insoles custom made if you cannot find the perfect choice in commerce.

Extra Weight

Extra weight is never good. It can cause a series of affections – from diabetes to cardiovascular problems. When it comes to your feet, picture this – your feet capture all the stress, tension and pressure associated with your bodyweight. They also take the stress from any movement – walking, driving, running and so on. The more you weight, the harder you make it for your heels.

Insoles for overweight users must be rigid to withstand all the pressure and still be responsive. You do not need to wait until your arch collapses or your foot goes flat to invest in professional insoles. A collapsed arch will most likely require a custom insole set anyway.

Visible Differences in Leg Lengths

About 75% of all people have differently sized legs. However, differences are usually so small and insignificant that most people are not even aware of them. When the difference is quite obvious, it will affect your lifestyle. You will experience lower back pains, as well as knee and hip pains.

Rigid insoles make a good choice to fix the issue. They will not alter the length of your legs, but they will ensure they function at the same parameters. You normally need one insole to elevate the shorter legs, yet you can also get a pair for a complete experience.

While small differences are not noticeable, major differences require assistance from a podiatrist or a pedorthist. You might need a custom orthotic set of insoles for this problem.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is among the most common affections that will cause intense heel pains. Normally, you should react and get help before the pain kicks in. There are more causes behind it, such as excessive stress, stretching while wearing high heels or intense work environments that imply being on your feet all day.

While insoles can and will reduce the inflammation, it is also recommended to take a few days of rest and give the muscle enough time to recover. Based on how severe the situation is, insoles can be customized or general. They aim to evenly distribute weight throughout the entire surface of the foot in order to reduce the tension on heels.

When to Use Semi-Rigid Insoles

Semi-rigid insoles represent a middle choice between soft and rigid insoles. They make a good choice if you are into intense and high impact sports activities, such as squash. Squash makes a great workout exercise for the entire body, but jumping, running and relying on your feet and knees will put plenty of pressure on them. You have to run in all directions and side to side as well. Shock absorption is critical in this situation, hence the necessity of semi-rigid insoles.

Long time runners will also benefit from semi-rigid insoles. Running is also a high impact sport, just like squash. Sure, it may not be so intense, but it will put lots of pressure on knees and feet. The ankle will also suffer in the process if you are unable to properly absorb shocks and clear pressure. Apart from shock absorption, runners also tend to experience arch related problems, so they also have to look for arch support.

If you have to wear work boots in work due to being in a risky environment, the good news is you might have proper ankle support. But this kind of footwear is extremely inflexible though. It is hard on both the inside and the outside. From this point of view, you will require semi-rigid insoles to add to the flexibility of your feet. Opt for gel insoles or memory foam. Do not overlook the necessity of arch support and remember – your boots should always be well tightened.


In the end, rigid and semi-rigid insoles do have their roles and specific requirements. They help in certain situations. Unsure about something? Always consult a specialist doctor if your situation is not clear enough or turns severe.​

December 17, 2018


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