Insoles are now medically recommended products for preventing so many different foot conditions. They are the go-to because they are effective solutions, but public opinion is a little more skeptical. Some people believe they are a placebo and nothing more than a little cushioning for your feet. This might be true of the standard insoles you can get in a generic shoe shop, but orthotic insoles are biomechanically designed, specialist medical supports that are a preventative measure for pain relief. The biggest issue when it comes to the misconception around orthotic or arch support insoles is that some consumers are buying the wrong type for what they need:
Rigid or Robust Insoles
Rigid or robust insoles tend to be the medical-grade insoles or foot supports. However, it is a misconception that because you are in pain, you need the most ‘supportive’ solution. Similarly, the most robust solution is going to be the most comfortable – both of these things are not necessarily true.
Robust insoles are best for targeting things like over-pronation, plantar fasciitis, and weight distribution issues that might be affecting the knees and ankles. This is because the shape of the insole will support each individual issue. These orthotic inserts are biomechanically engineered to work with the body’s natural movements so they’re not painful to wear but also, they gently correct and condition the foot over time into reducing pain on a long term basis.
Medium Support Insoles
Insoles that offer a medium level of support are often best for work boots, hiking boots and those who take part in high impact sports. This is because they offer enough comfort and support, without over-correcting the foot.
In all these activities, the foot is subject to more than usual impact. Insoles will have a built-in shock absorb to ensure the joints in the foot, ankle, knee and up to the backstay aligned and comfortable throughout the day. It can help to encourage and condition the lower body to prevent sports-strains and sports-related injuries, including shin splints and Morton’s neuroma.
This kind of over the counter, generic, one-size fits all insole is purely for comfort. They are recommended for people who spend a lot of time working on their feet or have slightly uncomfortable shoes. They can help you to maintain comfort throughout the day and also provide an extra layer of insulation. One of the main purposes of comfort insoles is that they prevent the wear and tear of the shoes you spend all day in.
¾ or Full-Length Insoles
The effect of the insoles also depends on the shoes you wear. It’s important to match the length and size of the insoles to your shoes, for the best results. Dress shoes, or anything that narrows towards the end, you are more likely to be suited to a ¾ insole. Alternatively, if you are experiencing conditions related to the toe box, hammertoe or bunions, a ¾ length insole will accommodate the extra space required within the shoe.
Full-length insoles are usually the best go-to, including for work boots, running shoes, and everyday shoes. They will have padding and curved, ergonomically designed supports the full way along the foot.