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The Best Shoe Inserts

🕚 Updated March 2022

Our feet are the unsung heroes. Their small, working parts make up the foundation of our bodies, helping maintain balance, support, and overall health. Keep your feet (and back, knees, and ankles) pain-free with one of these top-rated shoe inserts.

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  Best Weight Distribution Best for High Arches Best for the Balls of Your Feet Best for Flat Feet Best for the Heels
  Dr. Scholl’s
Heavy-Duty Support Orthotics
Professional-Grade High Arch Orthotics
Metatarsal Inserts for Heels and Sandals
Memory Foam Shoe Insoles
Cushioned Heel Grip Inserts
Our SummaryThe full-length cushion reduces the impact of each step.Get maximum support and natural shock absorption.These inserts provide excellent padding for high heels and slip-on shoes.The ergonomic arch support reduces pain and strain.These inserts cushion heels to prevent rubbing and blisters.
ProsHigh-quality, popular branch, supports up to 300 pounds, relieves lower back, legs, and feet, distributes weight across feet.High-density foam inserts, extra arch support, shock absorption, relieves feet, ankles, and knees, vegan and latex-free.Designed to cushion balls of feet, for high heels, slip-ons, or sandals, highly elastic, extra-sticky backing, medical-grade PU gel, absorb sweat, distribute shock.Memory foam insert, ultra-light, soft, cushion feet and joints, ergonomic design, works on flat feet and plantar fasciitis, circulates air.Gel grip liners, protect from heel pain and blisters, breathable, absorbs sweat, contours to shoe, ultra-sticky backing, helps larger shoes fit, great for kids.
ConsNot ideal for flat feet.Slight squeaking when moving, should wear off.Pads are one-size-fits-all and may need adjusting for larger feet.Thicker than average.Sticky backing allows for minimal mistakes when placing.
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The Best Shoe Inserts

Woman putting orthopedic insole into shoe at home

It’s imperative to tend to your feet, especially as aging bodies lose vital strength and elasticity, breaking down muscles and tissue to bring on discomfort and pain. If you suffer from daily pain caused by issues with arches, heels, or the balls of your feet, inserts are an effective, affordable way to manage pain. Many of us can’t afford specially-fitted orthotic insoles to aid the problem, so we researched and found some of the best shoe inserts offered online at fair prices.

Buying Guide for Shoe Inserts

A woman's feet standing next to blue insoles.

Why invest in shoe inserts?

One way to stop ongoing foot pain, whether caused by low or high arches, achy heels, or pressure on the balls of your feet, is to invest in a quality pair of shoe inserts that comfortably form to your feet and provide extra support exactly where you need it. A good shoe insert will effectively absorb shock, evenly distribute your weight, and support your arches, all of which help with pain-free movement.

What should you consider when shopping for inserts?

  • Different Benefits: It’s important to know your foot woes before purchasing inserts. Do you suffer from flat feet or high arches? Have you been diagnosed with a condition like plantar fasciitis? Are your new shoes rubbing against your heels or under your toes? Answers to these questions will help you choose the ideal insert for your unique situation. If you suffer from a specific condition (diabetes, poor circulation, etc.), check with your doctor before buying.
  • Different Designs: Some inserts are fully constructed from gel or memory foam to help target smaller areas, like heels and balls of feet, while others are designed with gel/foam and plastic to support the entire length of your foot. The design of your inserts, including materials, depends on the area and issue you’re looking to target, whether you’re relieving natural pain or discomfort caused by shoes. For example, if you suffer from pain associated with flat feet, you wouldn’t invest in a flimsier gel insert with no real structure. Also, most inserts work for men and women, regardless of gender-specific marketing.
  • Different Outcomes: As long as you don’t expect a medical miracle, you’ll be happy with your new inserts! Over-the-counter foot products aren’t necessarily doctor-recommended, and they provide users with different levels of support (or, in some cases, none at all). Keep in mind that you’re simply relieving pain temporarily and not fixing the issue at hand, so if you notice more pain, or continue experiencing the same discomfort, make an appointment with your doctor.

Why do shoe inserts work?

Though over-the-counter inserts aren’t custom-made for your unique feet, they can help add extra support and cushioning to different parts of the foot for temporary relief. This is because they’re designed to absorb the shock of your body’s entire weight, especially when walking and running before your feet take on the responsibility; this includes heel, toe, and full-foot inserts. If feet are already in pain, and we continue to use them (and, let’s face it, abuse them) normally, hitting the hard pavement or landing high jumps, we’re risking causing permanent damage and pain, which affects the rest of the body. Quality shoe inserts help prevent this from happening.

Our Picks for the Best Shoe Inserts

Best Weight Distribution

Dr. Scholl's Heavy-Duty Support Orthotics

The full-length cushion reduces the impact of each step.

Pros: These high-quality shoe insoles offered by the famous Dr. Scholl’s brand are specifically designed to support up to 300 pounds of weight while protecting your lower back, legs, and feet from the impact of everyday movement. Though marketed for men, women can also benefit from the specially formulated arch guard, which helps distribute weight across the entire shoe, absorbing shock from long periods of standing, walking, and exercising. They’ll leave you pain-free at the end of a busy day. You can pair these discreet pads with casual shoes and sneakers or trim your inserts to fit your favorite heels and slip-ons.

Cons: These specific inserts aren’t designed for low arches or flat feet—they’re more effective for folks with high arches.

Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with a brand that’s been around since 1906! Dr. Scholl’s heavy-duty inserts are a grade-A way to cushion the blow to your back, legs, and feet, helping keep you comfortable and pain-free.


Best for High Arches

Superfeet High Arch Orthotic Shoe Inserts

Get maximum support and natural shock absorption.

Pros: Stuck with uncomfortably high arches? Superfeet offers a high-density foam insert featuring extra rearfoot and arch support for maximum comfort and natural shock absorption. These supports are cushioned by a closed-cell foam layer, which provides wearers durable, long-lasting comfort to help reduce stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, especially if you suffer from arch and heel pain or have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Superfeet inserts are constructed from natural NTX anti-bacterial coating and are latex-free and vegan-friendly. Plus, your inserts will last at least one year with daily use.

Cons: You may hear a slight squeaking when walking or running with your Green inserts, but it should lessen with time and wear.

Bottom Line: These inserts are worth the price (and the squeak), especially as they’re designed to last a full year before replacing. Stand or walk longer and with little-to-no pain in your feet, ankles, and knees.


Best for the Balls of Your Feet

Walkize Metatarsal Inserts for Heels and Sandals

These inserts provide excellent padding for high heels and slip-on shoes.

Pros: Sometimes, wearing your favorite heels means accepting your painful foot fate, but it doesn’t have to be that way with these Walkize metatarsal inserts. They’re specially designed to cushion the balls of your feet to help keep you on your feet comfortably for long periods of time, whether you’re in heels, slip-ons, sandals, or sneakers. The sticky backing on these highly elastic pads made from medical-grade PU gel securely fastens to the insole of your shoe for a safe, nonslip experience. They absorb sweat and the shock from walking and running, which can lead to long-term pain. And your purchase includes a helpful Walkize Foot Pain Guide.

Cons: The pads are one-size-fits-all, so if you have longer or wider feet, placing them in the center of your shoe might not work. Try different angles before sticking to help ensure the balls of your feet are optimally supported.

Bottom Line: Here’s a quality buy at a great price. You’ll receive two long-lasting pairs of metatarsal pads in separate packs to place in your favorite business-casual or going-out shoes, with no worries about pain.


Best for Flat Feet

Basmile Memory Foam Shoe Insoles

The ergonomic arch support reduces pain and strain.

Pros: Today, memory foam is a saving grace in all types of products, especially shoe inserts. These everyday memory foam insoles from Basmile are ultra-light and super soft, so they cushion your feet and joints from the natural shock of standing, walking, and running. Their ergonomic arch support is scientifically designed to fit the center of your foot, which helps reduce the long-term effects of painful conditions, like flat feet and plantar fasciitis. Simply trim your new insole to fit your favorite shoes or boots, including kids’ sizes. Their mesh surface also offers incredible air circulation to keep your feet cool and the inserts smelling fresh.

Cons: These may be thicker than your average store-bought shoe insert. If they’re too thick, you can try removing the insole from your shoe and just using the Basmile insole.

Bottom Line: Get ready to be on cloud nine with these soft, ergonomic inserts that provide extra support for a multitude of foot conditions. Plus, they won’t break the bank.


Best for the Heels

MATIE FIX Heel Cushioned Heel Grips

These inserts cushion heels to prevent rubbing and blisters.

Pros: Another promising product for your dancing shoes (or any shoes, really), these heel grip inserts from MATIE FIX protect the backs of your feet from painful rubbing and next-day blisters. Their cushioned, suede material is breathable, absorbs sweat, and comfortably contours to your shoe and delicate heel area—simply peel off the ultra-sticky backing, place them, and feel the friction disappear. These grips also help bridge any gaps if your shoes are too big or you have to shop the “between” sizes. They’re also effective for kids, especially in sports and during playtime. The best part? No need for Band-Aids or bandages on your heels.

Cons: These are incredibly sticky, so make sure you’re confident with your placement the first time to avoid the struggle of removing and diminishing the adhesive’s effectiveness.

Bottom Line: No more excruciating blisters with these snug MATIE FIX pads for your sensitive heels. Now, you can buy a size up or easily break in new shoes without the painful consequences.

Final Thoughts

Get your pain-free move on with any of these top-rated shoe inserts that provide extra support and comfort for most feet, including those suffering issues with arch, heel, and ball pain. Simply figure out your foot woes and pick the insert that best supports your everyday needs.

Liana Whitehead Liana Whitehead
For the past 10 years, Liana has worked as a writer and editor for several industries, including newspapers, magazines, ghostwriting, and corporate B2B advertising—she loves it all. Always pushing and challenging herself, Liana has written for grand-scale companies, like Fortune 500’s CoreLogic and 100-year-old Herald Publications based in Los Angeles. Read Full Bio »
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