Are your shoes too big or a little too loose? Perhaps they rub slightly and feel uncomfortable after a long day on your feet. Be it your favourite pair of heels or a new pair of loafers you’ve bought for the office, adding a pair of insoles can quickly put a spring back in your step.
What are insoles and what do they do?
Insoles are pieces of material that are placed inside your shoes for extra comfort and a better fit. Sometimes referred to as ‘foot beds’ or ‘inner soles’, the primary purpose of insoles is to make shoes more comfortable to wear. While insoles don’t physically make a shoe smaller, they fill out the empty space between your feet the inside of the shoe.
Why use insoles?
- A better fit.
The most common reason to wear an insole is to make your shoe feel slightly smaller and fit better. Different shoes can fit differently depending on the brand, shoe type and others. Having one foot longer than the other is also a common phenomenon among women. In such a case, it is advisable to choose a shoe that fits the longer foot. Then complement the shoes with an insole to fill up the gap and give the shoe a tighter fit.
- Prevention against blisters.
Often the result of ill-fitted shoes. As such, insoles can also help to prevent blisters. A tighter-fitting shoe won’t rub as much and cause irritation and discomfort.
- For support.
Insoles can also be used to give that specialised support or to the help correct issues with posture. These types of insoles are are known as orthotics or orthotic insoles. They can be custom-made to provide appropriate treatment for certain problems that affect standing, walking or running – providing arch support where it is needed.
What are insoles made from?
Insoles come in various materials which have different pros and cons. The most common ones are the foam insoles. They are the cheapest and widely used for shoes due to their naturally shock absorbing feature. However, it can wear down quickly.
To get the best returns, we would recommend the ones made of natural gel silicone. These insoles are not only soft and flexible, they are reusable and washable too. Talk about smart buys!
How do I choose the right insole?
Unless you need a specific orthotic insole, choosing the best insole for you depends on the specific fit problems you have with your shoes, and what feels comfortable for you.
If your heel is slipping, or the heels of your shoes are rubbing, you may be able to fix the problem with a simple heel grip.
If the balls of your feet are burning or aching, especially when wearing high heeled shoes, a ball of foot cushion can provide extra comfort by reducing the pressure on metatarsal bones. These pads are also smaller than a full insole – so they fit neatly in to slimmer heels or tight-fitting shoes while providing relief for your feet.
If your heels are too big, toe inserts can be a welcome addition, providing support at the front of the shoe.
For support and pain relief (due to fallen arches, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, ) inserts like the gel arch pad and ¾ orthotic insoles (Bella) could help. They are specifically designed to reduce the excess force on the forefoot, heel and arch, thereby providing lasting relief from pain and discomfort.
How do I care for my insoles?
Looking after your insoles can prolong their life and in turn make your shoes last longer, too. Here are some top tips for insole care to keep yours in great condition:
Remove them from your shoes to let them dry out. If you have insoles in your everyday shoes, they can easily get sweaty and the moisture can get trapped inside so take them out every so often to let them breathe.
Hand wash insoles. Simply wash your insoles in water with a mild detergent or sports detergent, rinse out and leave them to dry out before placing them back into your shoes.
Insoles can help you overcome a number of issues relating to comfort and posture. They are always handy to have as they help with so much. Don’t discard shoes that are a little too big before you’ve tried an insole.
If you’re still having problems getting comfy in your shoes, check out our guide to choosing comfortable shoes for a little extra help.