You would agree with us that running is an excellent sport that unleashes the power within you. Along with a plethora of health benefits, running even elevates your mood. So if you run you stay happy, which is the only factor that makes it unique from other sports. On the flip side, running has a not-so-good impact on your lower limbs. It is easy to guess that running can strain your legs, feet and if you aren’t cautious, it can even injure you. And believe me, leg injury is the last thing that a runner wants. However, we bring a quick solution to protect your legs, feet from any kind of injury, ache or pain. Shoe Insoles!
Shoe Insoles are a life savior for your legs. They not only prevent leg injuries but are instrumental in providing extra support to your feet and protecting them from further damage and discomfort.
Happy news right?
The whole idea behind insoles is that it should adapt to your feet and allow them to retain their original shape inside the shoe.
A word of caution about shoe insoles. Do remember an insole should make your feet feel extremely comfortable. A wrong one will cause discomfort. An insole is fitted depending on the arch of the wearer’s feet, the foot structure, and the problem that needs to be addressed if any.
Footwear-related Problems that require Shoe Insoles
There are some common footwear fit problems caused by improper or ill-fitting footwear, for which insoles are quite useful. Let’s take a look at some of these problems:
1. Foot Elongation
Foot elongation doesn’t mean an actual increase in the size of the foot, per se. The person’s foot elongates when they are standing, and goes back to its original size when they are sitting.
This condition is also known as plantar fasciitis and can be quite painful in many cases. Insoles help prevent permanent elongation of the foot and offer support when the foot is bearing the person’s weight.
2. Heel Slippage
This is experienced quite often in footwear that’s well-fitted up to the middle of the shoe but not at the heel.
The heel tends to shift and slip within the shoe, causing blisters, hot spots, and in extreme cases, sprains. Insoles can help add extra support and snugly fit the heel in the shoe.
3. Low/Collapsed Arches
Low or collapsed arches and flat feet are a common occurrence. People with these physical traits tend to step inwards (over-pronation), putting a strain on the arch area and causing foot pain.
Insoles lift the arch properly and encourage those muscles to engage correctly by distributing the pressure across the base of the entire foot, as it is supposed to.
Prevent feet injuries by reading on Know Your Feet and Pronation
Different Types of Shoe Insoles
As we said, the type of insole a person will require depends upon the shape and design of their feet. Now that we’ve understood the footwear fit problems that need insoles, let’s look at their types.
1. Comfort Insoles
These shoe insoles are meant for people who experience foot aches and pains from standing for extended periods of time, usually on hard surfaces.
2. Support Insoles
Support insoles are used when comfort insoles aren’t enough. They are made of tougher and harder material for more support and stability. Support insoles are generally prescribed for medical conditions like plantar fasciitis, or flat feet, supination, and misalignment of the feet.
Shoe insoles can be categorized as athletic, gel, memory foam, leather, wool, heavy duty, moldable, orthotic, and kids’ insoles depending on their usage and material.
3. Insole Placement
These days, foot orthotics do not require numerous, expensive trips to a physician. Some of the best foot orthotics brands are now available over-the-counter (OTC). OTC insoles are easy to purchase, save time, and are light on the pocket.
For example, Dr Scholl’s has kiosks in public spaces that give you a close-to-accurate recommendation of the best OTC insoles for you. The machine maps your foot using 2000+ sensors. The sensors analyze the anatomy of your foot, including the arch, structure, and how you stand, arriving at the best insole type for your foot.
When choosing insoles, users are often stumped about what to go for. Hard v/s soft; full-length v/s ¾ length; cushioning and support; an insole with targeted cushioning provides support where needed, for example, structured cushioned insoles.
Structured insoles are excellent for athletes, runners, people suffering from bone misalignment, flexible arches elongation. They have targeted cushioning with a heel cup that works on aligning the heel bone with ankle and lower muscles. Whereas, full-length insoles offer cushion and support to the forefoot, which isn’t found in insoles of ¾ length.
Physicians often recommend a hard insole with a strong cushioning that doesn’t lose its effectiveness after a few wear. Soft-foam based shoe insoles can lose their shape after a few uses. Remember that even the best OTC insoles don’t last as long as a custom-made one.
4. Insole Volume
The volume of the insole changes the space inside the shoe.
High volume insoles take up more space; they’re used in ski and hiking boots, and running shoes. Low volume insoles are used for casual shoes like cycling shoes or skate boots. The insole volume depends upon the size of the shoe.
Along with the insoles know all about Man-made Shoes or Nature-made Soles? Barefoot Running Demystified!
Insole Tips – Fit, Sizing, Care
Fitting and Sizing:
For analyzing whether your insole is fitting you right, you should first stand on it outside of your shoe. Check the feel; is it snug and comfortable? Is your foot well-balanced?
Then put the insole inside your shoe and wear the shoe. Is it still just as comfortable? Does it hurt anywhere or is your foot well-stabilized? If you experience any discomfort, then you should go for a different insole.
Caring for Your Insole
The better care you take of your insoles, the longer they last. Here are some basic insole care tips:
1. Regularly air them out, especially if they have gotten damp from rain, water, or sweat. Leaving the insoles inside the shoes means they will remain damp and enclosed. This will damage their shape and material and render them useless.
2. Wash them periodically using the prescribed methods and cleaning agents. This will keep them clean and free of build-ups like dirt and sweat. Air-dry them or use a hair dryer before putting them back in your shoes.
3. An important part of good and effective insole care is to check them regularly for any abnormalities or changes. If they seem to have worn out beyond any salvageable use, you should consider replacing them.
Shoe insoles are extremely important for people with foot problems and its discomfort. They are not a luxury item anymore; a greater part of the population now uses them. If you are experiencing any foot issues, then consider getting insoles made for your feet.
If you are a current insole user, then feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments section below.