Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big shoe insole test 2021. Here we present all the insoles we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best insoles for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy shoe insoles.




Summary

  • The market for shoe insoles is very large. First of all, you should understand why you want to buy insoles. In general, you can distinguish between universal and individual insoles.
  • Shoe insoles are suitable for various foot malpositions and complaints as well as for sports or as cushioning for long days on your feet.
  • When buying shoe insoles, it is important to pay attention to the different materials, the type of insole and its suitability for different types of shoes.

The Best Shoe Insoles: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying shoe insoles

What are shoe insoles?

Shoe insoles are insoles made of different materials that you can put in your shoes for different medical or therapeutic purposes.

In addition to the insoles that are already in your shoes, special insoles can make sense for you in certain cases. (Image source: pixabay.com / Hans)

For example, you can use them to treat various ailments, if your shoes are too big, or for sports. However, they are primarily used to treat foot malpositions.

In general, you can distinguish between universal and orthopaedic shoe insoles, which are made individually for your feet.

Who are shoe insoles suitable for?

Shoe insoles are suitable for you if you have a diagnosed foot malposition. These include:

  • Splayfoot
  • Bending foot
  • Flat foot
  • High arch
  • Pointed toe
  • Hallux valgus
  • Hallux rigidus

In addition, shoe insoles can also make sense for you if your shoes are too big, you want to appear taller or you want to insulate your shoes against the cold in winter with an additional insole. There are also insoles that only provide additional cushioning during sports.

Your shoe insole depends primarily on your foot (mal)position. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

How much do shoe insoles cost?

Universal insoles cost between 10 and 20 euros, depending on the material. Custom-made orthopaedic insoles, on the other hand, cost between 100 and 150 euros. Depending on the type of insurance (private or health insurance), you can submit part of the costs for orthopaedic insoles to your health insurance. However, you will always need a prescription!

What are the different types of insoles?

In general, we distinguish between supporting, bedding, corrective and sensomotoric insoles. The different basic types can be further differentiated between slow-soled (complete sole) and short insoles (ball, pad, heel). Supportive insoles serve to relieve the pressure on your foot and have a positive influence on your gait and overall posture. An example of a supportive insole is a synthetic leather insole.

In addition to supporting the arch of your foot, corrective insoles primarily have the task of correcting your foot malposition. A classic example of this is shell insoles. The insole is drawn around your foot in the shape of a shell in order to achieve the necessary stability for correction. This type of insole is most often prescribed for children in the growth phase with bent feet.

What are the alternatives to shoe insoles?

Depending on the complaint you need insoles for, there are different alternatives for you:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Exercises for healthier feet
  • Barefoot walking
  • Surgical correction of foot malpositions

Decision: What types of insoles are there and which one is right for me?

If you want to buy insoles, you have the following options to choose from:

  • Orthopaedic shoe insoles
  • Soft foam insoles
  • Cork-leather insoles
  • Sports insoles

First of all, you can distinguish between universal and orthopaedic insoles. Universal insoles can be found prefabricated in shops, while orthopaedic insoles are custom-made for you.

You have many different options when it comes to the material. The most common are insoles made of gel or leather.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of orthopaedic insoles?

Orthopaedic insoles are prescribed by your orthopaedist. After he or she has diagnosed your symptoms, the insoles are made for you in a medical supply store or by an orthopaedic shoemaker/technician. An impression of your feet is made so that the insoles fit your feet and shoes perfectly.

It can then take a few days until the insoles are ready and you can pick them up. The big advantage of orthopaedic insoles compared to standard insoles that you can buy directly from the shoe shop is their individuality. Through consultation with your doctor, the insole can be made for you in such a way that it is individually adapted to your feet and your diagnosed foot deformity or other condition.

Advantages
  • Customised manufacture
  • Detailed consultation with your orthopaedist
  • Partial costs may be covered by your health insurance
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Time-consuming
  • No exchange possible

What are the advantages and disadvantages of soft foam insoles?

Soft foam insoles are a generic term for shoe insoles that contain a gel or foam core. You can use them to relieve the pain of sensitive pressure points, heavy legs and to increase comfort in the shoe. Usually, these soft insoles are a little thicker than other models, which may make them a little tighter in the shoe.

As an alternative to a whole insole, some manufacturers also offer gel cushions or gel pads for shoes to relieve small pressure points.

Advantages
  • Cushioning
  • Customisable for different shoe types
  • Inexpensive
  • Convenient to buy in shop
  • Wide range of applications
Disadvantages
  • Thicker sole (may not be suitable for every shoe)
  • Always slow-soled
  • Material does not adapt to the foot

What are the characteristics of cork-leather insoles and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

In addition to soft shoe insoles, there is also a hard version of supportive shoe insoles with a firm core made of cork leather. They are often prescribed for foot malpositions. Usually, the underside of the sole is made of cork and the smooth upper side, with which your foot comes into contact, is made of leather.

This construction is especially good for protection against the cold. The great advantage of these insoles is their great comfort. Since the cork-leather material is very flexible and adapts well to your foot, you will have broken in the insole yourself after wearing it a few times.

Advantages
  • Air-permeable
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Adapts to the foot because the material is more flexible
Disadvantages
  • Only has a cushioning effect in combination with slow-soled soft padding
  • needs to be renewed after 12 months because after that it no longer has a corrective effect

What are the characteristics of sports insoles and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

In addition to the different types of insoles described so far, there are also insoles that you can use specifically for sports. The focus of such sports insoles is primarily to cushion your feet and also to help your foot avoid malpositions during sports. In addition, the mostly soft sports insoles offer optimal support during hard training sessions for your tiring muscles and shape your feet at the same time.

Advantages
  • Reduces stress on the body and joints during sports
  • Relieves existing knee, hip or back problems during sports
  • Prevents injuries
  • Breathable
  • More comfortable running
Disadvantages
  • Specific insoles needed for different sports
  • If necessary, extra cutting to fit the shoe of some models
  • No correction of foot malpositions

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate shoe insoles

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible shoe insoles. The criteria you can use to compare the different insoles include:

  • Suitability for different shoe types
  • Pad
  • Insulation
  • Cushioning

Suitability for different shoe types

To make sure you wear your insoles regularly, it is important that they fit your shoes. Not every insole fits every shoe. Therefore, depending on the type of shoe, different types of insoles may make sense for you.

Always make sure that your insole fits your preferred shoe model.(Image source: unsplash.com / Una Kao)

If you choose a universal insole that is not made specifically for you, make sure you check the size and thickness of the insole first. It's best to take the shoes you plan to wear the insoles in most often with you when you buy or pick up the insoles to make sure they fit. If necessary, you will also have the opportunity to cut the insoles to size for many models.

Pad

A pad is a cushion-like elevation made of gel, foam rubber or leather. It can either be built into the insole or placed or glued directly into the shoe as a single insert. A pad is inserted at the point of the metatarsal arch and supports your foot there. Because you can choose between a shoe insole with a built-in pad and a mobile pad, this type of insole offers you a wide range of applications. These include, for example:

  • Work shoes
  • Safety shoes
  • Boots
  • Sports shoes
  • Open shoes
  • Sandals

Insulation

Both the insulation possibilities of your insole and its cushioning depend on the material. In addition to disposable heat pad insoles, the market also offers thermal and insulating insoles for winter.

This type of insole usually consists of several layers and is primarily designed to protect you from cold feet. The top layer is a soft material like wool, followed by one or two bottom layers of an insulating material like insulating foam or aluminium.

Cushioning

A shoe insole with cushioning is particularly suitable for:

  • Sports shoes
  • Work shoes
  • Standing for long periods, walking, running

As mentioned in the decision section, cushioning soles are usually also soft and thicker soles, as this can provide great cushioning. Their general function is mostly limited to cushioning and thus protecting your ligaments and joints. Of course, there are also orthopaedic insoles with a cushioning and corrective effect.

In sports, an additional insole to cushion your movements, in addition to the existing cushioning of your sports shoe, only makes sense under extreme stress.

Facts worth knowing about shoe insoles

Which insoles are best for flat feet?

A flat foot is a foot deformity in which the longitudinal arch on the inside of your foot is flattened. This means that your foot lies flat on the ground.

Such a deformity can be congenital or acquired. If you have flat feet, you should visit your orthopaedist and have him or her prescribe and make you a custom-made insole. For such a foot deformity, you need a custom-made orthopaedic insole. A universal insole makes less sense for you in this case.

How long can I wear my insoles? When should I replace them?

Basically, we can tell you the following: In the case of acute illnesses, the duration depends primarily on your recovery. Often you can take the insoles out of your shoes again shortly after your injury has healed. For permanent conditions such as back, hip or knee problems, you may need to wear insoles for the rest of your life.

Always remember that you will need some time to get used to your insoles before they fit perfectly and you get used to them.

How do I clean my insoles?

After wearing them for a while, your insoles may get dirty or smell unpleasant. Of course, you don't have to get new insoles, but you have the following options:

  • Hot water and soap
  • Gentle cycle in the washing machine
  • Disinfection with rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda

My insoles are slipping. What can I do about it?

Short insoles that do not fill the entire length of your foot can sometimes slip inside your shoe. If slow-soled insoles slip inside your shoe, they are probably the wrong size or too small for your shoe. The classic solution is to glue the insole into your shoe.

However, if you change insoles between shoes, you can improvise with carpet tape or double-sided tape. This will come off more easily when you change shoes.

What are magnetic massage insoles?

Magnetic massage insoles are a special type of insole. They are slow-soled insoles that have magnetic nubs or spherical ridges on their underside. This type of insole provides stimulation and reflexology to your feet while you walk due to its uneven surface.

Manufacturers also advertise that the magnets in the insole relax your blood vessels, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow. In addition, magnetic massage insoles can relieve back pain and increase comfort in your shoes.

Image source: pexels.com / Tirachard K.

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