Do shoe insoles work?

I have worked at a sports store selling shoes for little over 2 years now. One thing that we are encouraged to push to our customers is shoe insoles. We make it a priority to put the customer who is buying shoes in one of the insoles to feel the difference in comfort. I have wondered if insoles truly do work for people. I have never worn insoles. There are typically two groups of people that wear insoles ; athletes and older people. The athletes wear the insoles for support,comfort,and durability and while the older group of people wear them for support, they have different functions for many different people. This blog post will attempt to answer the question of if shoe insoles really work or if there are numbers supporting insoles.

Types of insoles
To start off, there are two different types of insoles that someone can wear. The two types are insoles and orthoses. Insoles are made my the thousands and made for all types of peoples’ feet. They are often used for athletes, such as runners or football players. They are made for comfort as well as support like I stated previously. There are two types of orthoses. The first is functional, which works on your structure of your foot and keeps it aligned. Accommodative orthoses are made just to cushion ones foot and not worry about the alignment of the foot. throughout studying insoles and various case studies, I came to the conclusion that scientific data does not throughly support if the insole will work or not, it is mostly dependent on the person that is wearing the insole. I did find a specific case study that was particularly interesting.

Case Study
The case study that I examined for the purpose of this blog post actually was not what I expected at all. The case study was an anecdotal case study that examined how using less of an insole and less of a shoe can actually raise your heel, so you are not flat footed. Just over the course of two years, it is proven in this case study that this persons foot was lifted. This not only lifted the heal , but it also aligned the foot too. Like I mentioned before, this was very eye opening for me. I expected it to be the opposite way. This case study was so important because it could help out many runners in what they are doing. The foot that was used saw dramatic changes over time, and at the end of the day her foot practically became healthier, all because she did not use an insole.

Uses of insoles
I never have once used an insole. The case study that I found kind of goes against what I am trying to do, but it shows that not all insoles are the best possible solution for everyone. It is very dependent on the foot of whoever is using it. Athletes use insoles for explosion and command of their feet, in many sports insoles are encouraged if you do not want to get blisters. Older people typically use orthoses because they truly realign their feet and keep them healthy.

I would like to run my own experiment with insoles to see if my arch support increases and the comfort of my shoes changes drastically. In my personal opinion it would be smart to try the insoles out for a short period of time and then stop. It would be logical to do that.



Do Customized or Advanced Insoles Really Work?

6 thoughts on “Do shoe insoles work?

  1. Amanda Voirrey Rust


    I personally relate to this blog because as a child, I have always suffered from extremely flat feet. In fact, I had an issue with my bone alignment and doctors were even considering surgery to help the pain. However, one podiatrist that I saw thought that a simple solution would to use special made insoles that were made specific for my feet. They took molds of my feet, and I inserted the insoles into my sneakers whenever I played sports or did anything physical. Although it could not help my bone problem, the pain significantly subsided and I was much more comfortable. On a later occasion I purchased a pair of Dr. Sholls insoles, but they did not help my pain nearly as much. Overall I think that store brand insoles could potentially provide people with mild support and comfort, but I do not think they should be completely relied on. I think it depends on the person, their foot type, and what type of physical activity they are engaging in.

  2. Thomas Tatem Moore

    This article really caught my eye as someone that periodically runs in races. This past May, I took part in the annual Broad Street run in Philadelphia. Throughout the 10 mile race I found my feet feeling extremely uncomfortable at many points throughout the race. My theory behind this was I wore an older pair of shoes that were worn down. This was because it was a very gloomy day where it rained throughout the duration of the race. Not your prototypical Sunday afternoon in the middle of May. Here is an article I found on a site called runners world that describes some of the possible consequences of running in an older pair of shoes.

  3. Daniele Patrice Loney

    The case study that you found was very interesting to me. On Thanksgiving morning, my dad and I ran our annual 5k together. As we waited for the race to start, we noticed a man who was completely barefoot– he didn’t even have any socks on his feet. After reading your post, my hypothesis is that he believed in the same sort of thing that the case study was measuring!
    I had been under the impression that running shoes, if selected properly depending on your gate, the width of your foot, and the heigh of your arch, would enhance your experience by making it as painless as possible. The website that I linked supports the anecdotal evidence that was found though, and totally proved me wrong! Check it out if you’re a runner and if you ever experience discomfort when you’re out & about. Great blog post!

  4. Marielle Concetta Ravally

    Ironically enough I just bought shoe insoles the other week! I am no athlete, nor am I a senior citizen, but I tend to wear a lot of shoes with little to no support. I was tired of my feet constantly hurting after wearing my shoes, and hoped the insoles would help. I don’t know whether it is a placebo effect, but I see an improvement after wearing them. I find that they offer me more support, and allow me to wear certain shoes for longer periods of time without foot pain.

    Shoe insoles are also used in medical cases. I found this particular study to be interesting. In the study, scientists found significant improvement in patients suffering from Knee Osteoarthritis when wearing a specific wedged insole.

  5. Jason Williams


    I have been interested before by shoe insoles as I frequently had foot pain after sports and other activities. The biggest problem I had with inserts was the overall lack of research information and the price. First, there does not seem to be a huge amount of research conducted. And the research that is conducted, tends to be biased towards support of the insoles as it’s often paid for/done by the insole company. Lastly, I often think many can be overpriced, charging large amounts and in store brands will not be covered by insurance. A bio-mechanics professor at the University of Calgary, Benno M. Nigg, thought that the inserts might help with temporary pain relief, but are not a complete solution to the pain.

    Here’s the source: NYTimes

  6. Julia R Martini

    I really enjoyed this! I liked how you organized this post, added a link at the bottom to read more about the topic, and added a chart! It’s also very informative. The words you used to describe this made me want to keep reading. I also found the case study you used very interesting. Talking about the shape of the foot instead of a study on how insoles work, since you already described that, made this a lot more interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed this!

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