6 Best running insoles available in 2021
Six of the best insoles for running shoes, including inserts for flat feet, overpronation, and those experiencing shin splints or shin pain.
If you suffer from running fatigue or pain, a pair of running insoles may just be what you’ve been missing. Running insoles can be purchased over-the-counter and also online from specialist brands, designed to improve the comfort of your running shoes.
Often, the insoles that come with regular running shoes don’t provide that extra support and comfort, with these being rather fragile and weak. A well-made pair of running insoles can even reduce pain in the plantar fascia, allowing those suffering from the common running injury, plantar fasciitis, to still train.
However, there are various different types of insole, with some designed specifically for overpronators (when your foot rolls inwards), underpronators (when your foot rolls outwards), those with high arches, and even insoles designed to reduce the pain of one of the most common running injuries, shin splints.
First, we will highlight six of the best running insoles, followed up with more information on the popular orthotic, and then will finish a brief FAQ.
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1. Best overall insoles for running
- Designed to prevent shin pain, knee pain, and plantar fascia pain
- Triple zone protection decreases shock absorption by up to 40%
- Deep heel cup to absorb impact with every step
- Anti-odour design
Dr Scholl’s athletic insoles are some of the best insoles for running on the market. Ranked as our best overall insole, the reinforced arch support, deep heel cup, and foot padding increase shock absorption, reduces pain, and promotes proper running form and technique. This, in turn, will also reduce your risk of injury.
Our overall best running insoles may also help prevent and/or lessen the pain associated with shin splints and plantar fasciitis, too. Mainly, this is because you’re lessening the overall shock absorption sent through the joints and body. However, these insoles are more of a general approach – we recommend purchasing a specialist pair (e.g. a pair designed for shin splints) to suit your individual condition or associated pain. But if you’re unsure and need a place to start, then Dr Scholl’s athletic insoles offer something for every runner.
2. Best running insoles for flat feet
- Deep heel cradle for increased stability
- Anti-microbial top fabric
- Great for flat feet, increased arch support, overpronation, & those with heel pain
Flat feet are where your feet press flat on the ground when walking or running. This is also commonly called “fallen arches.” Those with flat feet are more prone to developing muscular strains in the lower limbs, with these pains and strains beginning in our feet. This can be painful and may lead to running injuries down the line, such as plantar fasciitis.
These running insoles from Physix Gear are designed to increase comfort and stability for those with flat feet. This will reduce pain both walking and running and prevent further tears in the feet that may lead to an injury such as plantar fasciitis, or in some cases, also Achilles tendinitis.
One of the main benefits of these inserts is the robust functionality – not only can they be used for running, but also for other activities too, such as rock climbing, walking, ball games, and even great for those who work in the service industry constantly on their feet.
3. Best running insoles for overpronation
- Non-slip design to prevent burning sensation and blisters when running
- Ideal for those who overpronate
- Specialist heel pad to increase shock absorption
Overpronation is when your foot rolls outwards each step. This is often a result of high arches, causing our feet to roll outwards to compensate. If left unattended, overpronation may develop into Achilles tendinitis – a painful injury that impacts the band of tissue from the calf muscles to the lower leg and heel.
These running insoles from Sidas are specialized for those with high arches and/or those who overpronate, increasing comfort, decreasing shock through each step, and reducing your risk of picking up an injury in the near future.
Overpronation insoles for running shoes (and other inserts) may take a while to get used to. However, if you experience severe discomfort which does not go away after two or three runs (or walks), then you may have the wrong insole. This is why we always recommend visiting a specialist running store for a gait analysis.
4. Running insoles for plantar fasciitis
- Shock absorbing and increased heel support for plantar fasciitis
- Coolmax technology wicks sweat away from the body, increasing comfort & keeping your feet cool and dry
- Antibacterial sheet promoted optimal hygiene and ventilation
Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury where you have pain in the bottom of your foot, mainly in the heel and the arch. This running injury can be a result of many things. However, generally, is a result of overuse and too much impact going through your feet. A great way to reduce the pain of plantar fasciitis is a specialized pair of running insoles. This, paired with regular icing and stretching should see the everso common injury go away within a number of weeks.
These running insoles from Sorbothane provide you with full confidence and protection when running or walking. The increased shock absorption and heel support lessen the pain of plantar fasciitis, allowing you to focus on what matters – breaking those personal bests.
It should be noted that for some runners, plantar fasciitis may be temporary or more long-term. Often, it is a case of learning to listen to your body, perhaps providing more time to treat and perform rehabilitation and pre-hab exercises before and after running.
5. Best for shin splints
- Viscolatex rearfoot technology increases shock absorption, lessening the impact on our joints and lower limbs
- Rubber foam forefoot increases sporting performance
- Slim and sleek design
Shin splints are one of the most prevalent running injuries. Quite simply, shin splints are a sharp pain felt in the shins, often as a result of excessive exercise. There is no be all end all treatment, but regular icing, stretching, running on softer surfaces, and using a pair of specialized running insoles for shin splints will help.
The Viscolatex rearfoot technology reduces the shock absorption through the body, also lessening the impact through our shins. While a pair of running insoles may not directly fix your shin splints problem, they’re certainly part of the rehabilitation recipe, especially when it comes to preventing further pain.
6. Best running insoles for supination (underpronation)
- Deep heel cup helps stabilize your foot and provides additional shock absorption
- Natural design promotes the correct running form and foot strike
- Durable construction provides an optimal ride mile after mile
Supination, also known as underpronation, is when your foot rolls to the outer edges of your feet. If you experience particularly severe supination, you may encounter foot pain, general soreness, and perhaps an increased risk of injury.
A pair of supination running insoles, however, (such as the pair above) can help re-align your footstrike to a more natural position with increased support, providing additional comfort and protecting your feet from further pain.
If you’re unsure whether or not you underpronate when you run (or whether you have any other foot problems or issues), as previously mentioned, then we recommend having a gait analysis test done. This can be performed at most high-end running stores, conducted to determine your running style and foot strike.
What are running insoles made out of?
Running insoles are made out of a variety of materials, some using gel, foam, EVA, plastic, or carbon fibre to increase comfort and support lower limb motion when running.
The general goal of these insoles is to better position and support the foot during exercise, preventing discomfort and increasing shock absorption. Also, running insoles are often also used with some athletes when returning from injury, especially if they’ve suffered an injury such as plantar fasciitis, as aforementioned.
How to choose the best pair of running insoles for YOU
Choosing the best insoles for running can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re currently experiencing pain or discomfort when running, we recommend visiting a doctor, physio or pediatrist for expert advice. Additionally, you should also have a gait analysis performed (if not conducted during your initial appointment) to determine your foot strike and style.
Alternatively, if you already know for example that you suffer from shin pain or plantar fasciitis, then choosing a running insole is an easy and quickfire solution to perhaps eliminating this pain entirely.
Frequently asked questions:
Okay, hopefully, you now have an idea of what insoles are best for you. However, in case you have a few additional questions we’ve put together a short FAQ below:
Are insoles good for running?
There are various different kinds of running insoles - some designed for those who overpronate, others with plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or to simply increase cushioning and support. In short, yes - running insoles are great for increasing the cushioning and support in our running shoe.
Can you get custom made running insoles?
Yes. You can get custom running insoles made but these can be quite expensive and not entirely necessary for most people. Instead, we recommend trying a cheaper pair and if the pain persists perhaps investing in a custom made pair in hopes of lessening this pain.
Are gel inserts the best?
There is no best running insole but gel inserts are great for reducing impact and the stress felt by your feet and lower limbs. A high-quality pair of gel insoles will reduce your risk of injury and perhaps increase performance.
Do insoles hurt at first?
Your new insoles should feel comfortable upon first using these. However, it is normal to feel a little adjustment - after all your foot is placed in a different position. However, you should not feel any pain - if this is the case this is likely the wrong insole for you.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.