Are you dealing with running injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or the runner’s knee? If yes, then insoles might help.
Running has a lot to offer. It can help you improve your cardiovascular health, reduce stress, build muscle—I can go on and on.
But the sport’s high-impact nature can take a toll on your body, especially your feet.
The harder you run, the greater the force, which often leads to foot pain. Foot pain can be several limiting, and it might stop you from training for a long time.
Fortunately, using insoles is a good option to prevent pain before it turns into a problem.
For this reason—and some more—many runners turn to purpose-built running insoles that offer added cushioning, support and protection.
However, choosing the right running insoles can be tricky. There are plenty of running insoles in the market that target specific runners’ problems, so it’s key to understand the different variables before choosing the best running insoles for you.
In this article, I’ll share with you the full guide to running insoles. More specifically, I’ll look into the following;
- What are running insoles
- The functions of running insoles
- The pros and cons of running
- How to choose running insoles
- And so much more.
Let’s get started.
What are Running Insoles?
First things first, let’s start with the basics.
Also known as running orthotics or shoe inserts, insoles consist of materials placed inside of a shoe on which your feet rest.
More specifically, running insoles tend to be custom-made inserts to prevent the feet from rolling too far inward. They are made by a medical specialist and are often used for treating and managing specific foot conditions.
Most modern running orthotics are constructed from synthetic, high-performance materials to ensure effectiveness and durability.
The main goal behind running insoles is to offer extra support and cushioning for your feet.
Note – Before you decide to try running insoles, make sure you have the proper running shoes first. Check my full guide here.
High-performance running shoes can last up to 400 to 600 miles. Running insoles have a similar lifespan. Although running orthotics tends to be super durable, they’ll, sooner or later, lose their usefulness over an extended period.
I’d recommend that you replace your running insoles at the same rate you replace your running shoes.
Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to Anterior Tibial Tendonitis
How Do Running Insoles Protect Against Running Injuries?
Most quality running shoes feature plenty of support and cushion. That said, a cushioned or structured insole can supplement your footwear’s built-in features to provide a smoother ride.
A lot of runners suffer from overuse injuries caused by structural problems in the feet.
If overpronation—which is a common condition in which your ankles bend inward during running—running insolates may help keep your ankles and feet aligned and in a more supported and comfortable position as you run.
Running inserts may also help runners with flat feet as they help prevent post-run soreness in the ankles and feet.
Have high arches? Good. Insoles may help provide more support to this injury-prone area of your foot.
Additional Resource – Here’s how to use KT Tape for runners knee.
Do You Need Running insoles?
Here’s the truth, though.
Just because you have flat feet doesn’t mean that you need extra support in your shoes.
The truth is, it depends on your body’s mechanism. Insoles are not the answers to all of your running prayers.
If your body needs extra support, insoles can help.
But if your body can reject the extra support, the insoles will cause more harm than good.
So tread carefully.
Try out the first insoles for a few weeks, then see if you notice any improvement. If it’s not the case, know that insoles aren’t for you.
Try fixing what’s wrong by doing something else.
Who Needs Running Inserts?
In general, running insoles can help if you have any of the following issues;
- A history of plantar fasciitis
- Flat feet
- Chronic pain in the ankles or feet
Running insoles are commonly prescribed to address overpronation when the ankle turns too far inward when the foot strikes the ground.
Additional Resource – A Tibial Posterior Tendonitis Guide in Runners
Who Doesn’t need Running Insoles
Although most runners can benefit from a little extra comfort and support, running insoles aren’t for everyone.
As a rule, if you’re not dealing with any abnormally drastic pain in your lower body while running, you don’t need to shell out your money on a pair of insoles.
If you’re not experiencing any serious problems with your feet or running gait that cannot be mended by improving your technique—or taking other corrective measures—running insoles are pointless.
Remember that not all runners turn to insoles to manage injuries or problems.
Additional Resource – Your guide to runners itch
What to Look For In Running Insoles
There are various running insoles on the market for the over-the-counter product you can grab at the nearest sports store to fully custom orthotics provided by a podiatrist following a thorough assessment.
Looking for personalized comfort and support? Then costume made insoles are the way to go
When you go for this option, you’ll get 3-D printed inserts designed to suit your unique feet and needs. These custom inserts may feature arch support for healthy pronation as well as the limited load on your plantar fascia.
Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.
Shoe Insert Fit Tips
Once you’ve chosen a few insole models, make sure to test them out and see which one suits you best.
Start by standing on the insole outside of your shoe. Next, raise your other foot so you’re balancing on the planted foot. Check your stability as well as the pressure you feel and whether your feet feel comfortably supported on the insole.
Last up, put your running shoes on with the insole inside. Remember to remove the stock insole, though. Now you’re checking the fit as well as the support and feel.
As a rule, both of your feet should feel comfortable and stable, and the insert is taking up the proper amount of volume—not too much and not too little. Find the sweet spot.
Additional resources –
Here’s the full guide to underpronation
Here’s the full guide to arch support for running
Running Shoes Vs. Cross Trainers
Running shoes for plantar fasciitis