The Best Plantar Fasciitis Inserts for Runners in 2018
Whether you have mild plantar fasciitis pain daily or struggle to get a run in without caving to flare-ups, you’re probably familiar with plantar fasciitis inserts. These orthotic devices slip inside your shoes to properly align and support the plantar fascia.
As WebMD explains, orthotic arch supports and heel cups can often relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis, enabling you to keep running when you feel like it, not when your symptoms subside. Also, if your heel pain is due to pronation, that’s another reason to try an orthotic insert.
With the right inserts, you’ll get a custom fit and effective pain relief.
Here are the best plantar fasciitis inserts for runners…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Superfeet Green
Comfortable inserts with tons of arch support, the Superfeet Green orthotics use high-density foam to support your feet. The foam and gives cushioning throughout your run (or walk or workout), keeping you from experiencing every bump in the road.
The heel cup is wide and deep to position your heel for optimal shock absorption. At the same time, the closed-cell foam can take a beating while offering stability to your feet. Plus, a stabilizer cap at the base of the insole supports the back of your foot, giving the foam layer a sturdy base.
Despite a relatively trim profile, the Green inserts give wearers sturdy support that feels light and cushiony. According to Superfeet, you can expect a pair of inserts to last for around 300 to 500 miles of running, which most runners average in about 12 months.
Many wearers who use the Green inserts daily may notice that walking feels soft. But with a filled-in arch area, there’s no bowing of the insert as it compresses. However, you’ll notice when it’s time to order a new pair based on how they respond underfoot.
- Standard and wide sizes available
- Solid arch support
- Extended sizes available and you can cut insoles to size
- Hand wash and air dry only
2. Superfeet Run Comfort
Another Superfeet offering with high arches, Run Comfort (which are also green) insert caters to runners specifically. The same deep heel cup as the Green inserts hugs your heel, but the rest of the design is all new.
Superfeet uses Aerospring foam for its Run Comfort inserts. Aerospring is a viscoelastic foam that is closed-cell and absorbs impact. There’s also a gel insert in the heel-strike zone that accommodates a running gait. Long lasting odor control helps keep smells away, a must for athletes.
In another departure from the Green inserts design, Run Comfort inserts have carbon fiber-blend stabilizer caps for exceptional support during heavy impact. Overall, the inserts fit running footwear better than previous versions, especially with the beveled foam edge that makes the most of your shoes’ width.
If your priority is efficient energy transfer, you can’t go wrong with a high-performance insert that uses modern technology to complement your foot’s natural movement. Especially if traditional inserts are too bulky for your footwear, Superfeet’s Run Comfort can give you an edge.
- Carbon fiber stabilizer cap
- Aerospring foam
- Controls odor better than most inserts
- Hand wash and air dry only
3. Sole Performance Thick
When you think of performance plantar fasciitis inserts for runners, cork may not be the first material that comes to mind. But Sole Performance Thick inserts use a recycled cork base for flexible and forgiving cushioning.
An odor control feature, moisture-wicking top sheet, and high-volume cushioning add to the function of these insoles, which fit best in loose-fitting footwear like work and hiking boots, running shoes, and other shoes with removable insoles.
Since cork is naturally lightweight, these soles feel just as airy as memory foam versions. Plus, the top sheet absorbs shock and contours to the wearers’ feet. Along with its recycled components, Sole’s insoles are also latex free and vegan, meaning they use no animal products in construction.
To maintain proper positioning, these thick inserts are density mapped, delivering the right support to each area of your foot. They’re also zero drop, meaning your heel is at the same height as the ball of your foot, so people with low or regular arches won’t feel strain.
At the same time, the positioning helps relieve the tension and pain associated with plantar fasciitis, regardless of your arch height or condition.
- Latex-free and allergy-friendly
- High volume cushioning
- Difficult to trim (not recommended), so won’t get perfect fit in shoes
4. Powerstep Original Shoe Insoles
Semi-rigid arch support inside a flexible shell makes the Powerstep Original shoe insoles a runner’s best friend. The full length prevents slippage inside your shoes, and the deep heel cradle positions your foot correctly while it cushions against impact.
Targeted cushioning, which Powerstep calls “dual-layer cushioning” with Variable Cushioning Technology, accommodates running, walking, sitting, standing, and everything in between. The low-profile and thin design means you can wear them with most shoes without trimming.
Semi-rigid arch support makes these insoles suitable for people with plantar fasciitis and challenging-to-fit arches. But be sure to select the right size since it’s difficult to cut them to fit without destroying the function of the inserts.
Ultimately, the polypropylene shell helps retain the insoles’ shape and support structure, but because it’s an open arch rather than solid construction, it’s possible that these inserts will wear out faster than solid arch options.
- Low profile/trim fit
- Polypropylene-encased shell holds insole shape
- Many wearers experience a slightly uncomfortable transition period when using these for the first time
5. Vionic Active Orthotic Insert
For runners who deal with pronation, the Vionic Active Orthotic inserts help realign your feet and prevent excess pronation. A hard plastic shell gives stability and holds your feet in place while providing means of energy control.
Whether you walk or run, the cushioned area in the heel accommodates shock and absorbs extra energy. The rear of the insert also has a 4-degree wedge for controlling pronation, while contouring around the heel and arch keeps your foot in contact with the insole surface.
An odor-absorbing cover gives the insoles a clean look and prevents bacterial buildup and smells, although the manufacturer recommends letting the orthotics air out periodically. To clean, you’ll have to stick with hand washing and air-drying.
Each set of Vionic Active Orthotics spans a range of sizes, and you can trim them in the forefoot area for a precise fit. Wearers note that symptoms of plantar fasciitis seem to subside while wearing these orthotic inserts during daily activities, athletic and otherwise.
While a low profile and the ability to trim them as necessary, Vionic’s orthotics make ideal plantar fasciitis inserts for runners, walkers, and anyone else who needs to move their inserts as they change shoes.
- Can trim to fit
- Fits many types of shoes easily
- Hand wash and air dry only
- Measure relatively wide
6. CurrexSole RunPro
With three profile heights, CurrexSole RunPro inserts let you choose the option that suits your feet and your gait. Across options for high, medium, and low arches, CurrexSole maintains deep heel cups, triple layer materials for moisture wicking, and exceptional rebound technology.
A deep heel cup ensures a secure fit in-shoe, and three layers of material keep moisture off your feet and prevent blisters. There’s also an arch technology made from silver Nylon 6 composite, which supports a range of arch heights.
For competitive rebound capabilities, CurrexSole insoles have special forefoot material and cushioning that enhances rebound and helps reduce pronation. In contrast with other insoles, the RunPro orthotics focus on power transfer to the ground. This means less fatigue in your feet and calf muscles.
Also, CurrexSole notes that its insoles work in both traditional running shoes and minimalist shoes. The midsole cushioning maintains contact with your shoe of choice, and lightweight materials keep you from feeling weighed down.
Zero heel drop and a 4mm profile make these work with any shoe that has a removable liner, but there’s no shortage of padding and shock absorption throughout the forefoot area and heel.
- Can trim to fit
- Variety of options to suit your unique arch height
- Zero drop works with classic running shoes and minimalist/barefoot type shoes
- Casual runners or other athletes may not notice as many benefits as serious runners
- Doesn’t provide as much support as other inserts
7. Protalus M100
While other insoles focus on cupping the heel to keep your feet from moving, the Protalus M100 shirks tradition and goes with a flexible heel cup. A malleable heel cup allows your foot to move naturally, Protalus explains, maintaining mobility where you need it.
To keep the inserts where you want them, Protalus has designed anti-slip ridges that run the length of the arch area. Apart from positioning features, there’s also ample cushioning for shock absorption so you can walk more comfortably all day.
Beyond running, Protalus intends its M100s for use with work boots, basketball shoes, cushioned trainers, and more. While these rank among the best plantar fasciitis inserts for runners, there’s no reason you have to run to enjoy them.
Plus, perks like moisture wicking material and subtalar joint support are suitable for all wearers. Protalus M100s are also unique because their sizing starts with youth shoes, so kids can reap the same benefits of proper alignment and arch support as adults, potentially preventing long-term plantar fascia damage.
Also, the M100 (and other M-series inserts) redistributes pressure along the foot, absorbing impact while encouraging movement. The pressure redistribution also helps reduce inflammation and pain, the manufacturer notes.
- Size range includes men’s, women’s, and youth sizing
- Wide width may not suit narrow running shoes
- Cannot trim to fit
- More expensive than other inserts
8. Tread Labs Stride
With arch heights ranging from low to extra high, the Tread Labs Stride inserts accommodate wearers with a variety of positioning and support needs. Their sizing isn’t as precise, however, since each size of insert fits a range of men’s or women’s shoes.
The cushioned top covers are 4mm thick, so you can wear these inserts with running shoes or other footwear. A deep heel cup cushions the heel and creates a comfortable ride while open cell polyurethane foam offers trim padding throughout the insert.
Although it admits that top covers may need replacing, Tread Labs guarantees its arch supports forever, so you can get great mileage out of a single pair of inserts over an extended period. Antimicrobial fabric treatment helps keep things clean, killing 99.9 percent of odor-causing bacteria.
These orthotic inserts may take some getting used to since they do not use thick foam to line the footbed, but the mechanical function of the structure is effective in reducing plantar fasciitis pain. That said, some wearers may prefer solid-construction arch support rather than the flexible arches these inserts have.
- “lifetime wear” with replacement top covers (a separate purchase)
- Custom arch heights available
- Can trim insoles to fit
- May require a break-in period before plantar fasciitis symptoms subside