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Best Insoles For Running in 2021

 

Have you ever had to get rid of a beloved pair of running shoes because the cushioning wore down and your feet began to suffer?

Or have you ever found a pair of shoes you really love the look of, but they don’t quite cradle your feet as your old pair did?

Or perhaps you have a foot condition such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, or heel spurs, and you need a bit more cushioning and shock absorption.

There’s an easy and cost-effective fix for many of these problems: insoles. Your shoe probably comes with an insole already, but if you buy a separate insole, you can customize pretty much any shoes to the exact needs of your feet. It’s not feasible for a shoe company to consider every foot that goes into a shoe. But insoles vary so widely, tat you can combine your beloved trainers with a great insole, and have the best possible pair of shoes for your feet.

Whatever reason you have for needing them, we’re checking out the best insoles for running today.

Some insoles are designed for walking, but the models below are specifically for running. They’re a bit more hardy and durable than others, and take running mechanics into mind.

Our top product is the Superfeet RUN Comfort. They’re designed to support walking and running, feature ArroSpring Dual Foam Comfort Foam, and have a deep heel cup for extra support.

Here’s our full list!

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Superfeet RUN Comfort

 

  • EVOLyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap
  • AeroSpring Dual Comfort foam
  • Deep heel cup for support
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Powerstep Pinnacle

 

  • Full-length arch support
  • Hypercel foam for durability
  • Contoured stabilizing heel cup
Check Price

 

Protalus M100

 

  • Triplanar technology for stability
  • Rigid heel cup for support
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Superfeet RUN Comfort

These insoles aren’t named Comfort for nothing!

Their purpose is to reduce foot fatigue when walking or running, and they have a number of features that help do just that. Although they mention that they’re best for medium to high arches, they’re suitable for most feet!

As a high-volume insole, they’re robust and sturdy. You’ll definitely feel these insoles in your shoe – they’re not flimsy or thin.

This may take some getting used to, as your foot will sit higher up on the bottom of your shoe than you’re used to. This could lead to the upper putting extra pressure on the bridge of your foot. But that usually disappears after a few days, once the insoles are worn in.

They provide a triple layer of support for your feet. The top layer consists of AeroSpring Dual Comfort Foam, which is cushy and smooth and delivers a great energy transfer from heel to toe.

Under that, in the midfoot and heel, is an EVOLyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap. This adds a layer of firm support under the soft cushioning. Under the deep heel cup is a Heel Impact Technology Pod for extra bounce and to reduce heel pain.

As well as being soft in all the right places, durable (lasts up to 12 months or 500 miles), and supportive, the foam has Moisturewick anti-odor technology to keep your feet feeling and smelling fresh, no matter how far you run.

They really will keep your feet feeling super.


PROS:

  • EVOLyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap
  • AeroSpring Dual Comfort foam
  • Deep heel cup for support
  • Moisturewick odor control technology

CONS:

  • These insoles may need time to break in – you may find that they’re painful the first few days of wearing them

Check Price on Amazon

Top Value

2. Powerstep Pinnacle

This layered, USA-made insole is supportive, cushioned, and durable, and fits into almost everyone’s budget. It’s our top value pick, and is suitable for all arch types.

The base of this full-length insole is molded from EVA foam and features Variable Cushioning Technology, which targets the places on the feet most likely to need extra soft support.

There’s another foam layer on top made of Hypercel foam, which maintains its density even as you run, so it should be a long time before you need to replace these insoles.

Between the two foam layers is a contoured heel cup, to help stabilize and lock in the heel. The top layer is soft, comfy, and plush. It’s also antimicrobial and keeps your feet cool, dry, and free from any dodgy odors.


PROS:

  • Full-length arch support
  • Double-layer cushioned insole
  • Hypercel foam for durability
  • Contoured stabilizing heel cup

CONS:

  • Heavier runners may find that these don’t offer enough support

Check Price on Amazon

Best for Wide Feet

3. Protalus M100

Finding insoles to fit running shoes for wide feet can be difficult.

Your insole needs to fit snugly, and if you have a wide shoe, some insoles may feel like they slide around in there and don’t sit where they should to give you the necessary support.

The Protalus M100 is specifically designed for wider shoes. You won’t have extra space or find your insole moving around under your foot. The underside of the insole has anti-slip ridges as an extra measure to keep it stable.

This insole is made up of five pieces. The main player is the full-length foam cushion in the middle that uses Protalus’s Triplanar technology to keep your foot properly aligned and reduce unsafe and unnecessary movement of the ankle, heel, and foot muscles.

The rigid heel cup supports this alignment and keeps your foot locked in place without being uncomfortable and restricting.

Underneath the heel side of the foam cushion is a stiff shank, designed to offer a bit more stiffness and support in the heel striking area. There’s also two cushions – one at the heel and one at the forefoot – for impact absorption.

The top layer is an antimicrobial and antibacterial cloth layer that’s soft, breathable, and keeps your feet fresh.

Narrow-footers, you may be the only ones who have trouble fitting this insole into your shoes.


PROS:

  • Anti-slip ridges to keep it in place in the shoe
  • Triplanar technology for stability
  • Rigid heel cup for support
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial properties

CONS:

  • If you wear narrow shoes, these insoles may not fit into them

Check Price on Amazon

Top Insole for Stability

4. Spenco Total Support

If you wear stability shoes, you’ll naturally want to consider a stability insole too. These are perfect for runners who overpronate, as it features rigid arch support.

The forefoot is moderately cushioned, with a metatarsal pad to reduce force when transitioning from heel to toe.

In the midfoot, a stiff, raised arch keeps the foot where it needs to be, and prevents the usual falling over that happens when overpronators run.

The rearfoot features their unique 3-PODTM modulation system. This works using foam “pods” of different densities to provide variable cushioning throughout.

Most of the insole’s mid and rearfoot is made up of the black pod, which is rigid and provides hard support.

The two blue pods on the outer side are softer and are meant to guide your food gently to keep your stride correct. The red pod on the inner side of the heel is stiffer and helps counteract overpronation.

This unique system gives the wearer a well-rounded cushioning and support system.


PROS:

  • Patented 3-POD system
  • SpenCore heel plug
  • Silpure antimicrobial layer
  • Metatarsal pad for additional cushioning

CONS:

  • Can run a bit large, so we recommend getting a size smaller

Check Price on Amazon

Best for Tight-Fitting Shoes

5. Superfeet RUN Comfort Thin

Some runners like their shoes tight. If you’re one of them, you might be concerned that insoles won’t fit properly into snugger shoes. Not to worry – thin options exist, and Superfeet’s RUN Comfort Thin is our top choice.

The Superfeet Comfort Thin is a slimmer version of our overall top choice, and it’s designed specifically for tight-fitting shoes.

Although these insoles are thin, they’re still designed for running. They’re 20% thinner than the original RUN Comforts, which can go a long way when it’s a tight fit in your shoes!

They’re quite well padded, despite their thinness, ideal for shoes like racing flats that have snug uppers.

The AeroSpring foam layer is springy and rebounds well, reducing jarring on every step. Underneath it, you’ll find a carbon fiber plate to keep you supported, which hardly adds to the thickness at all.

A Heel Impact Technology pod spreads out the impact over a greater surface area, which helps to ease impact and avoid jarring on one particular spot.


PROS:

  • Carbon fiber stabilizer cap
  • H.I.T. Pod for impact dispersion
  • Aerospring rebound comfort foam
  • Sculpted for comfort

CONS:

  • If you aren’t specifically looking for a thinner insole, you’ll most likely find these to be not cushioned enough

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Most Environmentally-Friendly

6. Tread Labs Ramble

Tread Labs makes insoles to last, and they’ve designed these in a 2-part system that makes replacing them easy and friendlier on the planet.

Most insoles incorporate foam cushioning in the middle of the insole. When it wears away or flattens, you need to get rid of the entire insole. Tread Labs has created a separate foam and heel piece, so you don’t have to get rid of your whole insole when the foam needs replacing. These insoles aren’t environmentally-friendly in the classic, biodegradable way, but they do far better than others in reducing waste.

Choose the arch that best suits your foot – low, medium, high, or extra high. Although the molded arch support is the real draw, the polyurethane foam top layers add a bit of extra cushion and comfort and are super easy to replace.

The molded arch support part of these insoles have a “Million Mile Guarantee” (if you do ever reach a million miles, we’d love to know about it!). Basically, they’ll replace your insoles free of charge if they ever crack, break, or lose their shape. No other company offers such a thing!

That makes a big difference to the environment – less stuff in landfills!


PROS:

  • 4 arch heights to choose from
  • 3D molded polyurethane foam
  • Firm, flexible arch support
  • Deep heel cup

CONS:

  • Runners with plantar fasciitis or similar conditions may find that these don’t offer enough support and cushioning

Check Price on Tread Labs

Best Insoles for Races

7. Tread Labs Dash Insoles

This offering from Tread Labs is super-lightweight and supportive at the same time, making them perfect for race day.

The arch support of these 2-piece insoles is made entirely from carbon fiber. It’s firm and rigid, providing plenty of support for your underfoot. They’re around 12mm thick, and are covered by the most serious guarantee in all of the shoe business – Tread Labs’ Million Mile Guarantee.

The foam covers are 5mm thick and offer just enough cushioning to be responsive and allow for a good push-off on race day. When they wear out, simply replace the top covers and keep the arch support.

As long as you choose the right type of arch support for your foot (low, medium, high, and extra high), these insoles should last you for ages.


PROS:

  • 100% carbon fiber arch support
  • Super lightweight
  • Replaceable top cover
  • Million Mile Guarantee

CONS:

  • Some runners may find these too firm and not springy enough for racing

Check Price on Tread Labs

Best for High Arches

8. Tread & Butter Cascadia

Runners with high arches, these are the insoles we recommend for you. Unusually, they’re crafted from cork, which is just the right combination of firm and plush.

Cork makes them fantastically supportive for arches that need a little bit of extra help. You’ll also find that they offer some nice rebound when running, and the cork is quite a bit more lightweight than plastic or dense foams.

A nice touch is the silver ion technology, which is a very effective antibacterial agent and prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria in the shoes as you sweat.

The cork may take a little bit of time to mold to your foot shape, so don’t expect total comfort immediately!


PROS:

  • Xstatic Silver ion technology embedded in the insole
  • Handcrafted from cork in Portugal
  • High volume and high arch
  • Good mix of support and cushion

CONS:

  • It takes a little time for the cork to mold to your feet

Check Price on Amazon

Best Cork Insoles

9. SOLE Performance

Like the insoles above, these are made from springy but supportive cork that’s easy on the feet and recyclable.

The zero-drop, full-length insoles feature a moldable cork base that fits itself better to your foot the more you wear it. A deep heel cup keeps your heel in the right position and prevents it from moving out of place while you run.

Arch support is more than adequate, with some flex to accommodate movement. The top layer is made of Softec cushioning to provide some shock absorption when you’re on the go.

Polygiene technology is a helpful addition that wicks away moisture and inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes bad odors.

This insole is recommended as a solid option for runners suffering from plantar fasciitis.


PROS:

  • Moldable recycled cork base
  • Polygiene antimicrobial technology
  • Softec cushioning
  • Firm and flexible arch support

CONS:

  • Runners with wide feet may find this insole to be too narrow to fit comfortably in their shoes

Check Price on Amazon

Top Energy Return

10. CURREX RUNEXPERT

If you like a springy shoe, then these insoles will replicate that bounce without sacrificing arch and heel support.

Semi-rigid arch support and a solid heel cup keep your foot in the right position throughout your run. Choose from high-profile, low-profile, and medium-profile, depending on your arch.

A couple of technologies contribute to the superior energy return of this shoe. PORON heel cushioning absorbs impact and bounces back, and PROPO+ dynamic arch support has a powerful rebound to propel you forward with each step.

Assisting with energy return are the sensor gels beneath the heel and big toe, which minimize impact and increase propulsion.

The layer of foam cushioning on top of the arch cradle is made of Freeflex memory foam. It’s not a thick layer, but it’s been reported to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis and other common foot problems, according to a study by the German Sports University of Cologne.

The insole is constructed with bamboo (to eliminate moisture) and charcoal (to absorb odor and kill bacteria).


PROS:

  • Semi-rigid orthotic arch support
  • Dynamic arch cradle in three arch types
  • Freeflex memory foam cushioning
  • Sensor Gels located beneath the heel

CONS:

  • Some runners may find that the toe gel sensors don’t sit quite in the right place

Check Price on Amazon

 

FAQs

Still wondering if insoles are the way to go?

Here are some questions and answers to help you understand their value and decide whether or not buying a pair of the best insoles for running would be the best way forward.

Why Should Runners Use Insoles?

Recent research has found that insoles help to protect athletes from plantar overloading and help to correct issues with running form. They also help to correct overpronation and can help with the following:

  • Reducing foot fatigue
  • Stabilizing the ankle and foot so they don’t roll
  • Improving overall gait
  • Reducing impact stress on the foot
  • Alleviating pain
  • Reducing leg injuries
  • Improving running efficiency.

What’s The Difference Between Insoles and Orthotics?

There are similarities between insoles and orthotics as they both help to absorb the shock of impact, reduce pain, help with postural issues and provide cushioning to the foot.

But there are important differences between insoles and orthotics as well.

Insoles

You can buy insoles over the counter and you’ll find that they’re usually made from a soft gel or cork. They’ll consist of different layers of foam, carbon fiber or plastic that help support feet with fallen arches, high arches, or other issues.

They’ll support the foot and provide pain relief, but you may have to experiment with different insoles until you find one that suits your needs. While individual insoles target specific kinds of feet and offer better customization than the standard insoles in your shoes, they are still mass-produced to help with a range of foot issues, as opposed to a specific issue.

Orthotics

Orthotics are customized to a person’s specific foot problem and will be molded to fit your foot perfectly. Your customized orthotics will help correct the way you stand and walk while preventing any deviation that could lead to further injury.

They will relieve pain and distribute the pressure evenly throughout your foot. This will prevent aches in certain spots of the foot like the ball of the forefoot.

If you’re not sure which would be best for you then make an appointment with your podiatrist so they can assess your feet. They’d then either recommend the insoles or orthotics.

Orthotics tend to cost more and – depending on your insurance – may or may not be covered by your health plan.

How Long Do Insoles Usually Last?

When you’re looking at the lifespan of your insoles you’ll need to take into consideration the following factors:

  • Type of activity you do (high impact vs. low impact)
  • Intensity of use
  • Your foot structure
  • Quality of the insole

If you’re a serious runner who does 80 miles a week, then you’re running 320 miles per month. You’d need to make sure that you have a high-quality insole that would last you 6 months at that pace.

If you’re doing 20 miles a week then the insoles could last up to 12 months. If you’re not wearing the insoles every day and you’re doing a low-impact activity then you could stretch the lifespan of the insole for a bit.

Features to Look For:

When you’re looking at getting insoles you want to make sure that your feet are going to be very comfortable and that you can run without pressure points or blisters forming. Consider the following:

Size

Most insoles are designed to be trimmed before you insert them into your shoe, so that you can have a secure and exact fit. You may find that you get an insole that fits perfectly and that you won’t need to trim at all.

You want your insole to fit comfortably in the shoe, where it doesn’t move forward or backward, as this can create pressure points in the arch or even in the heel. Some shoes have a narrow toe box and this could lead to a very tight fit if your insole is wide.

When you order your insoles, check the sizing chart to see if they are wide or narrow, or if they tend to run big or small. Most companies will make a recommendation to go a half size bigger or smaller so that you’ll have a comfortable and supportive fit.

Comfort

Get an insole that’s going to provide you with the support in the areas where you need it. If you have high arches for example, make sure that you have a deep heel cup and good midsole support so that your arches won’t collapse.

It should also distribute weight evenly across the foot so that it helps to alleviate any pain, reduce the impact of shock, and reduce the risk of injury.

Shock Absorption

Cushioning of the insoles will help absorb the impact of footstrikes and reducing the risk of injury. If you’re looking for a bouncy feel then go for a foam insole. A gel insole will have a plush feel to it when your foot comes into contact with the ground.

Both will help to protect against overuse injuries while reducing the impact of running. This will help you to run longer and run faster.

Material

Get an insole that’s been made from good quality material and that will help sweat to evaporate without leaving an odor. Insoles are made from a variety of materials, and you may even find that you’re insole has a carbon fiber midsole.

The material of the upper of the insole reduces the amount of friction. That should be a soft material, as this helps to prevent blisters when you run. Make sure that the material has antimicrobial or antibacterial properties to help keep your feet feeling fresh and reduce odors.

What Foot Issues Can an Insole Improve?

If you often experience pain or discomfort in your feet, or if you have a medical condition like plantar fasciitis, then insoles may provide pain relief. Insoles could also help to treat the condition.

Insoles can help to prevent foot disorders, and will let you lead an active lifestyle while keeping your feet comfortable and supported. They’ll absorb impact and distribute pressure evenly when you’re standing, walking or running, and prevent fatigue.

Wearing insoles can also help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the following:

  • Shin splints
  • Overpronation
  • Bunions
  • High arches
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Haglund’s deformity
  • Neuromas
  • Hammer toe
  • Achilles and Peroneal tendonitis
The Wired Runner