Last updated on October 11th, 2018 at 01:32 pm
Everybody’s feet are different, making it difficult to get the perfect fit on every pair of shoes you fall for. Some of your favourite shoes might be a little too big or loose, or perhaps they rub slightly and feel uncomfortable after wearing for a longer time. For ladies, even heels that fit perfectly can feel painful to wear at times. Shoe insoles can help remedy some simple shoe problems to give you a much more comfortable fit.
What Are Insoles?
Insoles are pieces of material that you put inside your shoe for comfort, warmth and fit. Insoles are also sometimes referred to as foot beds and inner soles. They are usually something that you buy separately and insert into your shoes, however, the soles that are fixed inside a shoe are also sometimes called insoles. Insoles are mainly used to improve the fit of shoes and are sometimes useful to keep shoes fresh as they can occasionally be taken out and cleaned.
Insole measurement is the length and width of either the foot or insole at the widest point. The insole in a shoe is the top layer of the sole, which is there for comfort.
There are a few different materials that insoles can be made of. The most common and widely found material is foam, this is the most inexpensive option. Foam is naturally shock absorbing, rigid and always dependable, the only problem with foam is its lack of ability to last for a long while. Memory foam insoles mould to the foot shape, which makes them very comfortable to wear.
Some insoles use air to provide comfort and cushioning. They contain pressurised air bubbles inside a supportive foam sole. This is believed to extend the life of your soles and shoes.
Leather is another insole option, usually cowhide leather is used when making insoles. Leather insoles can provide strong arch support, and are tough and hardwearing.
Another popular insole material is gel, which is also encapsulated in bubbles and put into a foam foot bed. These were also made to extend the life of your shoes while also providing more comfort and support. It is the newest material used for making insoles and is soft, flexible and very comfortable. However, it is sometimes more expensive than other types of insole, particularly foam inner soles.
Why Use An Insole?
There are lots of reasons for using insoles, and different types of insole to satisfy different needs. One of the most common and simple reasons to choose an insole is to decrease shoe size, effectively making the shoe feel slightly smaller. Standard shoe sizes can fit differently, and it can often be difficult to find a half size. The best option is to choose a shoe that is slightly too big, then add an insole to fill up a little more of the shoe for a tighter fit.
As well as reducing shoe size and making your shoes fit better, insoles can also help your feet feel warmer. Adding an extra layer that helps you to insulate your feet in colder weather can help your whole body feel warmer. Insoles can also help to prevent blisters, as they will stop shoes rubbing by creating a tighter fit. The reduction in movement between the shoe and the skin should reduce the chance of blisters.
Insoles can be used to help correct problems with the feet and with posture. These types of insoles are specialised, and are known as orthotics or orthotic insoles. They can be prescribed and custom made to provide appropriate treatment for certain problems that affect standing, walking or running.
Orthotic insoles can help with many foot related problems like arch pain, heel pain and pain in the ball of your foot. They can provide arch support where it is needed, and help with problems like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Some orthotic insoles are available over the counter but others must be prescribed by a podiatrist.
Choosing An Insole
Unless you need a specific orthotic insole, choosing the right insole for you depends on the specific fit problems you have with your shoes, and what feels comfortable for you.
If your heel is slipping or the heels of your shoes are rubbing, you may be able to fix the problem with a simple gel heel grip. However, if this isn’t enough to remedy the problem, a half insole could help. They are specifically designed to support the heel but they won’t provide support for the front of the foot.
If there is generally too much room in your shoe, try a full insole for maximum support and comfort. Simply choose the insole size to correspond with your shoe size.
When wearing high heeled shoes, you may feel you need more support on the balls of your feet to stop them from hurting or aching. A ball of foot cushion or metatarsal pad can provide extra comfort by reducing the pressure on metatarsal bones. These pads are also smaller than a full insole so they fit neatly in to slimmer heels or tight fitting shoes whilst still providing relief for your feet.
To keep insoles working for you, you need to take care of them, their useful life could be multiplied if you care for them in the correct manner.
If you have insoles in your daily shoes, they can easily get sweaty and the moisture can get trapped inside. To prevent this, take them out every once in a while and let them breathe and dry out.
You can also wash them, this isn’t too difficult to do, although it has to be done by hand. Just simply wash them with a mild detergent or sports detergent, rinse out and leave them to dry out before placing them back into your shoes.
Insoles can help with a number of issues and problems when it comes to posture, health problems, odour and comfort. They are always handy to have as they help with so much and if you take care of them, will help you to look after your feet. Don’t discard shoes that are a little too big before you’ve tried an insole!