Finding the best plantar fasciitis insoles can be a somewhat tedious task… I mean, have you seen how many inserts are available on the market? Which one provides the absolute best support while you’re on your feet all day?
Just as wearing proper, unworn shoes benefit your stability and correct your walking motion , orthotics provide the comfort and arch support your body needs. They are a supplement to wearing a good shoe and aid in maintaining a good posture. The added support has been documented to assist in helping with over-pronation and supination issues, which are compounded if left alone.
Benefits Of Wearing Insoles For Plantar Fasciitis
Orthotic insoles offer great value for anyone and not just those with heel pain, Achilles tendonitis or other related foot issues.
You can typically use them in any type of shoe – boots, casual footwear, running shoes and in a variety of arch support slippers. Just take out the old inserts and put in your new ones.
The deeper heel cup in a good orthotic provides comfort, added shock absorption for each step you take and helps to reduce the overall stress on your feet, ankles and knees. This is especially helpful for those with plantar fasciitis looking to improve their condition.
They actually WORK in relieving pain over time, and sometimes very quickly. Many sufferers have documented their experience with the use of a prefabricated (over-the-counter) orthotic and have continued to use them – for decades even.
Depending on the quality of your shoes, they’re typically better than the ones that come standard in your footwear, which probably do very little and may well exacerbate your condition.
Just buying plantar fasciitis inserts will be less than the price of new shoes.
What To Look For In A Good Orthotic
When looking for the perfect plantar fasciitis insoles, you want to make sure that they fit a few certain criteria. While not imperative, there are some tips that you can use to minimize the “buyer’s remorse” of simply picking out any random orthotic on the market and finding out later on that they ended up being worthless as a treatment option.
Here are some things you may want to take into consideration…
Do other plantar fasciitis sufferers use this product? While not a guarantee that it will work for you, it never hurts to listen to the advice of those who have already tried and tested the ones that DON’T work.
You want a name brand synonymous with heel support and perhaps in partnership with qualified podiatrists or chiropractors. Some companies spend more to market to a specific category – such as those people with bunions, diabetic foot ulcers or plantar fasciitis. Insoles like these are designed to treat your ailment.
Is the insert you’re buying specific to Pronators, Over-Pronators or Supinators? Under-Pronators (also known as Supinators) have high arches, and since the majority of people are Pronators, less products are manufactured for Supinators. In any event, make sure you buy the right type of orthotic that conforms to your foot type.
Common Complaints With Orthotic Inserts
1. Break-in period. A few people find that the rigid arch support is not easily adaptable and need a few days to get used to walking around in them.
2. Some can get fairly expensive. Your money may be better spent simply investing in some shoes with good arch support that will last longer (and you can finally replace those dirty old Keds that you’re still hanging on to!).
3. Some reports on durability are a concern. Since insoles are in direct contact with your feet all day, every day, they tend to wear down quicker and you may need to invest in another pair sooner rather than later.
Group Studies And Statistics
A good orthotic insole is one of the first treatment options given to you by your healthcare professional, and for good reason – they work. There have been multiple studies over the years that include the successful incorporation of orthotics in their test groups.
For example, in an 8-week study of 236 patients to test the efficacy of Custom versus Pre-Fabricated orthotic inserts, it was determined that prefabricated inserts were more likely to produce improvement in symptoms than a custom device. In fact, the prefabricated orthotic group out-performed those that incorporated a prefabricated insert AND a stretching routine.
Another study to determine the clinical efficacy of foot orthoses in the treatment of plantar fasciitis concluded that, a group assigned to wear functional (versus accommodative) orthotics had experienced significant decrease in foot pain and an increase in foot function after only 4 weeks. The final conclusion was determined that, although slightly more expensive, having the correct orthotic assisted in returning the better quality of life.
…a group assigned to wear functional (versus accommodative) orthotics had experienced significant decrease in foot pain and an increase in foot function after only 4 weeks.
The Superfeet Blue Insole is one of the most popular inserts on the market. Custom designed for low-medium arch foot types, they rate as the top insoles for flat feet and are less invasive than the more popular Green Model. It might be best to start with the Superfeet Blue if you are new to inserts (and don’t have high arches).
Note: As mentioned, the most popular Superfeet insole by far is the Green model, which was originally introduced in 1977. It has helped many desperate plantar fasciitis sufferers, however, is recommended for those with mid-to-high arches (though the sheer number of customers lends some credibility to overall satisfaction). This orthotic has more shape, thus will fit in less shoe types, especially when factory shoe inserts cannot be removed. The Superfeet Black model has also been recommended for those with flat or low arches.
Pros: The best plantar fasciitis insoles score by the most amount of sufferers – Blue Superfeet insoles low profile fit in a wide variety of shoes – Long lasting – Great insoles for flat feet
Cons: One of the priciest on the market – Takes a few days to get used to – Some sizing concerns – Not cushiony
As far as over-the-counter orthotics go, not many can match the reputation of the Superfeet line. However, the Powerstep Pinnacle comes a close second with plush cushioning and firm support geared to increase comfort while providing maximum stability at the same time. This insert is also ideal for alleviating the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, as evidenced by many satisfied customers.
Pros: Soft padding creates more comfort – Fit nicely in most shoes – Effective in relieving pain
Cons: Takes time to get used to – Several quality complaints about liner cushion separating prematurely
Another Powerstep insert that beats the competition is their ProTech Full Length model. Much like the Pinnacle, the ProTech offers a firm, yet flexible (semi-rigid) arch support with a double layer, shock-absorbing cushion for enhanced comfort. Unlike the Pinnacle, however, the ProTech insert has been designed with an additional heel pad to provide extra comfort.
Pros: Effective in relieving pain – Durable – Comfortable for use in a daily or walking shoe – Fits nicely in most footwear
Cons: Takes time to get used to – Delivering inconsistencies
The Syono Gel insoles were constructed with comfort in mind and come recommended by several plantar fasciitis sufferers. With an obvious blue gel cushioning in the forefoot and heel areas, you can easily envision the kind of support you will receive as a benefit of donning these inserts.
Pros: Helpful in pain management – Inexpensive vs. top brands – Gel feels good on feet and toes
Cons: May not help those with high arches – Flat inserts with minimal arch support – Gel and plastic may separate prematurely – Similar to other gel inserts available at your pharmacy
The Polysorb Total is branded as Spenco’s best replacement insole due to its stability and support. Included in its top-choice design are deep heel cups, semi-rigid cradle, a metatarsal dome, and a forefoot “crash pad” to enhance comfortability.
Pros: Effective for reduction of plantar fasciitis pain – Doubly good for casual and sport use – Comfortable
Cons: Not recommended for wide feet – Metatarsal dome pad is annoying and intrusive – May not provide optimal arch support
During athletic activity, the foot is subject to impact shock approximately 2-3 times your body weight and Dr. Scholl’s realize this is a problem for people with foot and knee pain. Their Active Series insert is specially designed to reduce shock by 40% with their Triple Zone Protection technology, which combines to relieve your foot arch and heel.
Pros: Inexpensive vs. Competitors – Optimal for runners – Durable
Cons: May be tight fit inside shoe – Arch support may be cumbersome to runners at first
Spenco’s Polysorb Cross trainers are designed to improve the athletic performance, while prolonging the life of your running shoes. Ideal for athletic activity, they offer lightweight arch and heel support to reduce heel pain and provide the cushioning you require during strenuous activity.
Pros: Inexpensive vs. Competitors – Beneficial for casual, work and sport – Comfortable
Cons: Might be tight fit inside some trainer shoes – Thick heel support pushes heel out of shoe during activity
The Sorbothane brand is a renowned producer of insoles specifically for the sport market, which means their Graphite Arch inserts have been designed specifically for those that spend considerable amount of time on their feet at work or during activity. Ergonomically designed for comfort and for protection against foot-strike, the Graphite Arch inserts are a great option for your sporting needs.
Pros:Comfortable – Effective for plantar fasciitis pains – Good for work and sport – Long lasting
Cons: Not the best arch support (low) – Expensive vs. other name brands
The multi-use Sof Sole Airr’s have been constructed with shock absorption in mind, while at the same time designed slimmer so as to fit many users in several types of footwear. Air chambers in the heel and arch, as well as Polymer Gel in the forefoot, aid in shock absorption and make this one of the better sport insole options on the market.
Pros: Reasonably priced – Comfortable cushioning – Good for runners and higher impact activities
Cons: Older version image advertised – New thin design with heel bump – May have sizing concerns
As you can see, there are many options available for your insert needs, but these are the ones we rated as the best plantar fasciitis insoles specifically… as well as for related foot issues, like flat feet or high arches.
Hopefully you’ve performed a footprint analysis and know which specific insole will suit you best. Every one of the inserts listed above has been highly rated by other plantar fasciitis sufferers. That gives you the benefit of knowing that other people have already gone through the trial and error of buying insert after insert and recommend to you only the best options.
Lastly, purchasing an orthotic to be worn for the majority of time that you are on your feet should be one of the first things you do. Set yourself up with a quality insert, as what you’re wearing now might just be exacerbating your condition and prolonging your suffering.