T Nation

Orthotics (Shoe Insoles)

Thought this was the most reasonable place to put this as i couldn’t find an equipment section.

Basically, i feel i need to buy a pair, but looking at the best way of doing so. I do a fair share of walking and my primary shoes are converse’s. Which aren’t too great for doing a lot of walking and wearing all the time i feel and possibly aren’t helping my aches and pains throughout the body. When i was on vacation i wore a pair of insoles that i borrowed off of one of my cousins to try out. And i was having heel pain at the time, and they did reduce that a good amount, considering i was doing even more walking. I just put them in, on top of the converses as there’s no sole that can come out of the converse.

So, ideally, if i want to keep wearing the converse trainers, i need to buy an insole. Seeing as insoles are quite expensive, and some not so expensive, im wondering what type i will need to buy, and the best way to do so, basically for not much more money you could buy a pair of trainers, i doubt they’d be designed to do the specific job that an insole insert would, but a lot more support than wearing converse all the time.

The other thing is, i have some old pair of running shoes, when im able to run again, i should probably get some insoles for those, or just buy a new pair as i will need to soon. Do most running shoes come with the appropriate insoles, or do you have to buy those seperate as some are designed to just provide shock absorb, etc.

So, my 2 questions are;

  1. What type of insole is ideal to use, are the expensive ones worth it? I ask because ive seen various types of insoles and i am unsure which to get, full strike insole, Cush n step insole, heel gel insole, etc.
  2. If i buy a pair of running shoes, will i need to use the insole in that shoe, guess this question isn’t as important as it could vary on the shoe.

But mostly would like to hear your opinions as right now i can’t really afford to spend much, but in the future im hoping to, so ideally, looking for a good insole for now.

Get the real deal. Anything else is a band aid solution.

Go to a running store and get a decent pair of running shoes. Yes, you will pay $100 or more. Worth every penny. Have your gait analyzed to make sure you are in the right shoe. Bring your old pair so they can see the wear and tear.

Orthotics is a blessing and a curse. See a doctor to get the right fit. You will wear it for the rest of your life and will need to change eventually as your foot/feet change.

Sounds like you are looking more for some additional padding in your existing shoe as opposed to correcting a mechanical issue (i.e. pronation). If this is the case, a set of Dr Scholl’s inserts from the local drug store will do fine. I use the full profile cross trainers in my work boots. I’ll go thru several sets before my sole breaks down and I need a new pair of boots.

A better solution is to get better shoes, even for walking around. Try to match the style of shoe to the activity. For instance it wouldn’t make too much sense to run 3-5 miles in wrestling shoes (no support, thin sole). When you start running, as mentioned above, go to a running shoe store and get fitted for shoes. They should check your gait, look at the wear pattern of your existing shoes and ask about your training. It will cost more than picking up whatever is on sale at the sporting goods store but well worth it.

Thanks for the replies both. For now mostly, im looking for some insole supports because i do a fair share of walking and don’t want to be walking around without the supports and making matters worse. The converse shoes have no insoles, which is bad for this purpose. I could buy trainers better designed for walking/running, but most of the time the pair of shoes i walk in will be my casual ones.

Some running shoes Ive seen look pretty rubbish to be wearing around casually, fashion wise, of course i will change shoes if going for a run, but for this simple purpose, it seems my best bet is to buy an insole? But again i don’t know which type, if it’s a case of just anyone, which it may well be, seeing as i borrowed my cousins and that seemed to help a lot.

When i was going for runs however, i would put on running shoes, however, im not sure if the soles from the running shoes were that great for this purpose, this might sound silly and i may be overcomplicating things, but do you know to buy an insole for the running shoe, as well as the shoe itself?

With the gait anaylsis, i haven’t seen any of that around here, no sports store seems to do that at all, i guess it’s likely im a normal pronator, is there a different test i could do, such as the “wet” test?

I have had orthotics in the past but changed to the Sole heat moldable insoles a while back. Here in the states I was paying close to $300 for a pair of orthotics.

So I would say check these out, you heat them up slide them into your shoes, stand for a couple minutes and they are good to go. Very comfortable and have different kinds for different shoes.

My trainers are pretty much the same as these;


What about buying a pair of insoles like these, then just putting them in a pair of running shoes when i go for runs/sprints.

I am hesitating a bit, but with the insoles above, would these be a good choice? I just got hip pain from walking a mere 30mins in the coverse trainers, at least if i bought these insoles i can walk around in them comfortably and put them in my running shoes when going for runs?

Was going to buy the one’s above tonight, but seen these to, and i can’t decide on which pair to get. This pair attracted me as it says they fit for sports shoes and boots, basically you can wear them for sports shoes.

What im using them for will be all footwear.

There are two routes to go when choosing an insole. Either a cushioned/gel insole or an orthotic arch support insole.

For the cushioned route. I would either recommend the Spenco Walker Runners: http://www.theinsolestore.com/spenco-polysorb-walker-runner-insoles.html

of for additional support at the heel & arch the Sof Sole Airr Orthotics:

Personally, I really like orthotic arch supports. It is important to determine what type of foot arch you have -either flat/low, neutral, or high.

for a neutral to high arch, I like the Superfeet Green Insoles: http://www.theinsolestore.com/superfeet-green-premium-insoles.html

If you have a flat/low I’d go with a black or blue superfeet insole.

If you’d like to discuss in more detail please provide, here or shoot me an email. We can even discuss over the phone to talk particulars.

Is the wet test a good way to determine my arch type? Im suspecting i have a normal arch, if this is the case, would i just go for any type of insoles that i have provided?

Went for the Sorbothane ones, bit pricey for me, but they should do the job, will use for my running when i get back to that too, and will put them in every shoe i wear, especially the converses with no insole in them

A neutral Arch Type is good. Without discussing in detail, an orthotic arch isn’t absolutely neccessary and a good cushioned insole with arch support is good. I prefer the orthotic arch supports of a superfeet. A good in-between is the Sof Sole Airr Orthotic Insoles.

Let us know how the Sorbothanes work out.


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Yeah i realize that now, i was a bit hasty i must admit, but im fairly confident for some reason that these insoles will be good, at least for a while. Besides, when im away next week, there’s a chance i’ll be doing a fair bit of walking as i have been, and i just thought, it’s better to have some support than none and just live with more nagging pains.

I suppose another option is to not open them and send back, but judging by the reviews which were all good, i thought it would be a good investment, although i am 15 pounds away from being totally skint i felt it was something that was well overdue. I know everyones gaits are different, but yeah, a bit hasty on my part ;(

I’m in a little late but might still help. do you have a brand name on the kind you bought? My favorite brands are spenco, powerstep, and vasylli.

1 Heel pain- most heel pain is blamed on a tight achilles tendon. be it from plantar fasciitis, bursitis, true achilles pain, or sometimes tarsal tunnel syndrome, stretching the achilles will help

2 Orthotics- unless you have a moderate to severe foot deformity most OTC orthoses are sufficient. You should check the fit to make sure the hard plastic part of the orthoses doesn’t go under the ball of the foot when walking, it should be just behind the ball.

3 Shoes- your orthoses are only as good as the shoes you put them in. Good is not equal to cost however. the last study i saw showed that runners with higher cost shoes also had more heel pain than runners who payed in the 40-60 dollar range. Lots of biases to the study, but it showed that fancy is not better. Good means a stiff shoe that doesn’t bend easily. cushion sounds nice, but the fact of the matter is its normally the enemy. It allows unwanted movement and prevents the orthoses from doing its job of controlling the unwanted movement.