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Best Insoles for Shin Splints in 2021

 

Struggling with shin splints can make running and walking miserable. But thankfully there’s a simple and easy way to alleviate the pain—the best insoles for shin splints.

You don’t need to replace your shoes and hope that will help. You don’t need to ice your shins every time before and after you run. Or, worst-case scenario, give up running because you don’t want to deal with the pain.

Insoles can make a huge difference to your comfort when running. They keep your feet in proper alignment, and the benefit of this extends to your shins, knees, thighs, and hips.

If you want to try using insoles for your shin splints, we recommend the Tread Labs Pace Insoles. They’re a 2-part insole system, with a firm, molded arch support, and come in 4 different arch heights so you can find the perfect one for you.

There are many good products out there though, so keep reading to find out our full list.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Tread Labs Pace Insoles

 

  • 2-part insole system
  • Molded arch supports
  • 5mm thick top cover
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Vionic Relief Full Length Insole

 

  • Tri-Planar Motion control
  • Medium-density molded EVA base
  • Deep heel cup
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Protalus M100

 

  • Patented heel cup
  • Tri-Planar Alignment System
  • Designed for larger volume/wider feet
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Best Overall

1. Tread Labs Pace Insoles

Shin splints can have many causes, and flat feet is one of the most common culprits. And there’s only one way to fix that. You either need shoes specifically designed for flat feet, or you can get an insole that will help with flat feet that you can put in whatever shoes you’re currently wearing.

These insoles are designed to provide support for flat feet. You can choose from four different arch heights, so it doesn’t matter if your foot is very flat or only a little, there will be an insole to suit you.

It’s a 2-piece system that consists of a molded arch support and a padded top cover. To get just the right support, there are four different sizes for the arch portion, and the parts are medical-grade and guaranteed for life.

You can remove and replace the 5mm top covers as often as you need. They attach to the arch support piece using Velcro, so whenever you feel that it’s becoming less padded, you can simply buy a new one and switch them out.

This means that you end up spending less money on insoles in the long run, as you’re only replacing half of it. It’s better for you and better for the environment too. You can also move the arch support from one shoe to another easily, so you’ll be supported whether you’re going on a run or going dancing.

If you prefer a firmer cushioning, you may need to look at different Tread Labs insole models, as some may find these to be too soft underfoot.

PROS:

  • 2-part insole system
  • Molded arch supports
  • Choose from 4 arch heights
  • 5mm thick top cover

CONS:

  • Some may find that these insoles aren’t firm enough
 

Top Runner-up

2. Superfeet RUN Pain Relief

Superfeet is a well-known name in the insole world. These professional-grade insoles are called RUN Pain Relief, which is an indication already that they’re great for shin splints.

Each insole has its own heel stabilizer, which keeps your foot as stable as possible inside your shoe.

Just above the stabilizer cap is an EVOLyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap. It’s firm but responsive, providing good energy return on every step and helping to minimize shock from repetitive ground impact.

On top of that is a therapeutic foam layer that offers light cushioning and is infused with MoistureWick technology to keep your feet dry, cool and odor-free. This layer also has a deep heel cup, which provides extra support on the footstrike.

The protective heel stabilizer, responsive heel cap, and cushioned foam reduce jarring impact and have a pain-relief effect all the way up the leg. They also help to keep the foot and ankle properly aligned, which can improve pain from many conditions.

Superfeet insoles should last you a year, or 500 miles, whichever one of the two comes first.

PROS:

  • Independent heel stabilizer
  • Evolyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap
  • Moisturewick
  • Layer of therapeutic foam

CONS:

  • Some people may find that these insoles are too stiff
 

Best Value

3. Vionic Relief Full Length Insole

For the best value, we’ve selected Vionic Relief Full-Length insoles. They are one-piece insoles, designed by a podiatrist, and have the APMA Seal of Acceptance for being beneficial to foot health.

They’re designed to prevent overpronation, which is common amongst runners with flat feet. This condition can lead to excess strain in the muscles of the lower leg as they compensate for the unusual running position.

Vionic insoles feature Tri-Planar Motion control to align the feet back to their natural position and keep them there, taking pressure off the muscles of the lower leg. A medium-density EVA base provides support and a good amount of cushioning, and has a deep heel cup to prevent the foot from moving out of alignment again.

Extra padding in the heel and forefoot absorb impact and reduce jarring, as well as providing good energy return that requires less muscle strain to propel you forward. This doesn’t mean that the muscles don’t get a good workout – but they do have less pressure on them.

EcoFresh earth-friendly microbe shield technology prevents the growth of bacteria that could cause odors, so you’ll be fresh as well as pain-free.

The insoles are meant to be cut down to fit inside your shoe. However, some people may find that the insoles are quite thick and they could be uncomfortable under their foot, or lift their foot too much in their shoe so that it pushes against the upper.

PROS:

  • Tri-Planar Motion control
  • EcoFresh earth-friendly microbe shield technology
  • Medium-density molded EVA base
  • Deep heel cup

CONS:

  • Some people may find these insoles to be too thick for their shoes
 

Top for Wider Feet

4. Protalus M100

The Protalus M-series is designed for wider feet and helps to prevent stress and strain on the lower legs caused by overpronation.

There are five distinct elements to this insole. Two cushions under the insole provide shock absorption. One is placed under the heel, and one under the forefoot so you’re covered from both sides.

Below the heel, above the heel cushion, is a tough shank, designed to offer more stability and support when you walk. A full-length cushion provides arch support and padding for every step, keeping your foot aligned and not allowing it to fall over. A moisture-wicking top cloth adds a final layer of comfort, coolness and breathability.

Protalus’ Tri-Planar alignment system makes use of all of these features to keep your foot in the right position. They understand that the human foot is a complex structure and needs special support, so their patented heel cup is the final piece of the support puzzle.

It may take some time for your feet to wear these in, which is to say you might feel discomfort at first.

PROS:

  • Patented heel cup
  • Tri-Planar Alignment System
  • Designed for larger volume/wider feet
  • 3 mm cushioning at the forefoot and 4 mm of cushioning in the heel

CONS:

  • They make take some time to wear in before you starting getting the pain relief benefits
 

Most Supportive

5. Spenco Total Support Max

Sometimes one of the things causing shin splints is that you don’t have enough support for your feet. Often, the problem originates somewhere else and the pain in the shin is a referred pain.

If you feel that your feet aren’t well supported in your shoes, then you may benefit from this supportive insole.

Spenco’s unique 3-POD Modulation System is the secret behind their support. They have two foam pods on the heel of the insole and one in the forefoot. These multi-density pods mean that you have varying levels of cushioning when your foot hits the ground, so the parts that need it most are protected with cushioning that’s made just for them.

This system reduces impact-pressure that could cause pain in the shins and other places. As well as that, these insoles feature an extra-stiff arch cradle and a deep heel cup so your foot has no chance of moving out of alignment.

A SpenCore Forefoot Pad cushions and relieves pressure on the forefoot, adding extra comfort. They are guaranteed for one year after purchase.

Runners with narrow feet may find that these insoles are too wide, and they cannot be trimmed down from the sides to fit.

PROS:

  • Patented 3-POD modulation system
  • SpenCore forefoot pad
  • Rigid arch support
  • Silpure antimicrobial

CONS:

  • Some people may find these insoles are too wide
 

Best for High Mileage Runners

6. CURREX RunPro Insole

If you run many miles in a week, you need an insole that’s a bit more durable than others but that still offers support, cushioning, breathability and comfort.

This insole should provide long-lasting relief from the pain associated with shin splints, and you can choose from low, medium, or high arches to suit your foot best.

They use a unique color system to indicate the arch height, so choose blue for high arches, orange for medium, and red for low.

They look different from others, with a porous full-length cushion that is extra plush under the heel for better support. The extra foam provides a good rebound with every step you take.

The heel cup is deep but naturally comfortable, keeping your heel stable in its position no matter how long your run is.

Underneath, you’ll find three specific support pieces. The small piece under the heel guides your foot into a natural rolling motion when you land, without going into overpronation.

The white midfoot bridge support uses Dynamic Arch Technology to distribute impact along the foot instead of targeting one area, reducing shock and pain. The ProPo+ recoil pad under the ball of the foot helps to propel you forward.

Everything about this insole is designed to cushion, support, and minimize shock on the foot when you run long distances or many miles. They are easy to cut to the shape and size of your current shoes.

Some may find that they’re too soft and don’t offer rigid enough support underfoot.

PROS:

  • Dynamic Arch Technology
  • ProPo+ recoil pad
  • Extra heel cushioning
  • Choose from low, medium or high profiles

CONS:

  • Some may feel that they don’t offer enough rigid support
 

Top Form-fitting Insoles

7. Formthotics Everyday

If you like a shoe that conforms to your foot’s shape, then you may appreciate these form-fitting insoles.

Not everybody’s foot is the same, so a product like this is a great choice for those runners who struggle to find shoes or insoles that fit comfortably.

These are made from Formax foam, which is a kind of thermoformable foam that reacts to heat. When you put your shoes on, your body heat begins to affect the foam, causing it to mold to the shape of your foot and provide cushion and support where you need it most. It should take about two weeks to mold properly to the shape of your foot and remain that way.

Extra padding in the heel and a deep cup to keep your heel stable make sure there’s a less jarring impact on the footstrike. The arch support is available in medium and low, so some people may find that it doesn’t support them as much as they’d like, even if it does mold to their foot.

PROS:

  • Formax foam with thermoformable technology
  • Deep heel cup
  • Unique arch support
  • Even distribution of pressure

CONS:

  • Only available in medium and low arch heights
 

Best 3/4 Length

8. Barefoot Science Therapeutic 3/4 Length

Some runners may find a ¾ length insole to be more comfortable, especially if you are looking for more padding in the heel and less in the forefoot.

This insole is intended to be used in shoes that don’t have removable insoles. Because of the length, it’s also very easy to switch between different shoes.

You can tuck them into the back of your shoe and they should stay in place thanks to your body weight. The heel contains a Poron insert for excellent cushioning and energy return.

These are unique because you get different strength inserts. Switch them in and out like you’re training your foot to get used to different cushioning and support. This also means you can vary your insole to suit the type of activity you’re doing at the time.

The idea behind this Foot Strengthening System is to strengthen neuromuscular pathways between the brain and the feet, effectively strengthening your feet and preventing pain.

PROS:

  • Poron at the front and heel
  • Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System
  • Anti-fungal material
  • For shoes without removable insoles

CONS:

  • If your foot isn’t securely locked into your shoe, the insole may move while you walk
 

Top Stability Insole

9. Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx

If you aren’t wearing a pair of stability shoes to counteract overpronation, you may want to try a stability insole. These are meant to position your foot in such a way that you can’t overpronate when you’re wearing your shoes (with the insoles).

An unusual angled heel stabilizer platform means that the heel can’t fall over because it’s being counterbalanced. A deep heel cup locks the foot in place. Firm arch support keeps you stable and a double-layer of EVA foam offers impressive cushioning.

They use Variable Cushioning Technology to ensure that hotspots are more cushioned and those that don’t need as much padding are less cushioned, which also reduces the overall weight of the insole.

PROS:

  • Anti-microbial top fabric
  • Dual-layer cushioning
  • Firm arch support
  • Variable Cushioning Technology

CONS:

  • If you use them often, they may not be as durable as others
 

Best for Flat Feet

10. Original Samurai Insoles

Shin splints can be caused by the way your foot moves when you have flat feet. Your inner foot tends to roll inwards, causing everything from your ankle to your hip to go out of alignment as you step.

This can lead to many painful conditions, one of which is shin splints. These insoles have been biometrically designed by a podiatrist to give you the best foot care possible and correct overpronation so you can reduce pain caused by shin splints.

They are lightweight and mold to your feet when you wear them. They are not conventionally cushioned, but feature a springy inner core that supports your foot where it needs it most and also offers a good amount of rebound every time you take a step.

PROS:

  • Designed by a podiatrist
  • Springy molded inner core
  • Molds to your feet
  • Low-profile and lightweight design

CONS:

  • Some may find them to not be cushioned enough
 

FAQs

Do insoles help shin splints?

Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to treat and prevent shin splints is to use shock-absorbing insoles.

Supportive insoles can help to control over-pronation and internal leg rotation when you’re running. This will help to keep your feet and legs in proper alignment while reducing the excess stress to ankle muscles.

When your feet and ankles are in proper alignment the rest of your body will follow. The improved biomechanics will improve your balance, reduce pain in the legs and back as your posture is better and muscle fatigue will also be reduced.

What should I look for when buying insoles for shin splints?

When you’re looking to buy insoles, there are a number of things you need to consider: what shoe’s you’ll be wearing, or the shape of your foot — flat feet or high arches. You also need to consider whether you’re only going to use insoles in your running shoes or if you need a pair for dress or casual shoes, too.

The insoles need to support the arch of your foot. The arch support of insoles should be cushioned and the insoles should have a rigid to semi-rigid footbed.

Insoles that have a rigid to semi-rigid footbed will help to correct overpronation. Ideally, an insole will keep your foot aligned and promote neutral foot movement. The insoles should also have a deep heel cup, as this will provide extra shock absorption, stabilize the heel, and keep the Calcaneal fat pad—the fatty pad beneath your heel bone—dense and together. This will help to reduce pain and prevent shin splints as your foot can effectively absorb the shock of impact.

While walking on soft, cushy insoles is appealing, if the insoles are too soft they’ll only provide temporary relief for your feet. If you spend a lot of time standing or running on hard surfaces, then you want insoles that provide a firm, flexible support.

The Wired Runner