Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the bottom of the foot and is the most common cause of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This inflammation is a result of many different factors, but runners and people who work on their feet all day are especially susceptible to this condition.
Wearing the correct footwear can help decrease heel pain. This includes shoes for plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciitis socks, and insoles. In this article, we will cover the best insoles for plantar fasciitis.
Benefits of Wearing Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Arch support is one of the key factors to reducing plantar fasciitis pain. Most shoes do not come with the necessary support you need if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. An easy solution to this problem is buying plantar fasciitis inserts for your shoes. Buying inserts allows you to buy your favorite shoes regardless of their arch support. And the best thing about inserts is they will fit almost any shoe so one pair can cover your whole shoe collection.
When buying plantar fasciitis shoe inserts, you should look for an insert that has good arch support. This is often accomplished with “posting” or extra material added to the inside of the insole where the arch is. Some products come pre-molded, and some you can mold yourself. You will also want a wide, cushioned heel to provide shock absorption during foot strike in running and walking. Finally, look for an insert with a cushion at the ball of the foot, the distal attachment of the plantar fasciitis and another important area for shock absorption.
5 Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Superfeet have been around since the 70’s and are one of the biggest names in shoe inserts. They are considered one of the best shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis. Superfeet come in different colors which signify different profiles and volumes.
The green style is high profile and high volume meaning it takes up extra volume in your footwear, ideal if you have narrow feet and for hiking boots, running shoes, and work boots. High profile means these insoles have maximum shape and support, vital for relieving stress from plantar fasciitis.
Superfeet have deep heel pockets and rockered bottoms for maximum shock absorption, and a stabilizer cap that forms the base of the insole and provides stability to the foam layer.
They are made of closed-cell foam which won’t soak up moisture and is more durable than open-cell foam.
Finally, they’re covered in a natural coating that helps to eliminate odor causing bacteria. This means you can transfer them shoe to shoe without worrying about spreading the stink.
- Closed-cell foam is durable and won’t soak up moisture
- High profile for the most shape and support
- High volume means they might not work in tight fitting shoes or shoes without a removable insole.
Powerstep Pinnacle Insoles are great plantar fasciitis inserts because they provide the number one reliever: support. These insoles have medical-grade foot support and a semi-rigid shell to give your arch as much supports as it needs. It has a deep heel cradle that helps to absorb impact without limiting motion of your heel.
Most shoe insoles are made from a single layer of foam cushioning. These Pinnacle insoles have a double layer of foam to give even more cushioning to increase comfort and shock absorption.
The top fabric that your foot makes contact with is anti-microbial and also reduces heat and friction. This keeps your feet more comfortable in your shoes during high-impact activities like running.
- Double layer of foam cushioning for maximum comfort
- Friction reducing top fabric to keep feet from overheating
- May be too stiff in the arch for some users
Orthaheel makes some of the best orthotics for plantar fasciitis. They’re designed by podiatrists to give the same support you’d find in custom made orthotics but for a fraction of the price. The lightweight feel comes from medium density foam, encapsulated by a sturdy outer sole.
The sturdy outer sole uses a firm plastic that is designed to be durable. It won’t start to lose its shape on you after a couple of months of use, ensuring your arch stays fully supported.
Their design approach uses “Tri-Planar Motion” control to reduce plantar fasciitis pain with a three-pronged approach. Stability, coming from the deep heel cup and high arch, and support, coming from the outer sole and heel and forefoot pads. These two, combined with the shape of the orthotic, help to realign the foot back to a neutral position, decreasing stress on the plantar fascia.
One downside to these orthotics is that they can be hard to modify. Their harder plastic outsole and shape make it difficult to maintain its integrity with modifications. The good news is they come in a variety of sizes to help address this issue.
- Designed by podiatrists – the foot experts
- Durable material that won’t lose its shape or support
- Not easily modifiable – must order the right size
These Protechs are some of the best over the counter orthotics for plantar fasciitis. They have a semi-rigid polypropylene support shell, meaning these insoles won’t break down on you after a few months.
The cushioning on this insert is where it really shines. It is made of double-layer Poron® cushioning, a company which specializes in making a cushion that gives you maximum shock absorption for increased energy return. This cushion is used along the length of the shoe, in the heel cradle, and in an additional heel pad for increased heel support and comfort.
Poron® is a mainstay that is used in everything from running shoes to military boots to high heels. It is made to maintain its shape and fit for the life of any shoe you put it in.
The top fabric is made with anti-microbial protection to keep your insoles from stinking up your shoes. It is also designed to reduce friction, preventing the buildup of heat during activities where you’re on your feet all day.
- Made of Poron® cushioning
- Extra cushioning in the heel
- May be too thick for smaller shoes like dress shoes
These cross-trainer insoles are one of the best shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis for athletes. They are built with a forefoot “crash pad” for shock absorption at the ball of the foot, as well as extra cushioning in the heel. Only half of this insole is made of the sturdy outsole, giving it more flexibility during running and jumping.
This insole has a medium sized arch, perfect for people with flat feet who can’t tolerate the high arch support in other plantar fasciitis shoe inserts.
It is also made of lightweight foam. This is vital for athletes and even just those looking to get maximum benefit out of their workouts as it won’t weight you down. They don’t feel “bulky” in your shoes like they’re taking up too much room.
The top fabric is antimicrobial, a standard these days. It is also made of 4-way stretch fabric that helps to prevent blisters during high impact activities.
- Lightweight foam won’t weight your feet down
- More flexibility in sole for jumping and running
- Medium arch support may not be high enough for some users
Insoles are a great way to ensure that all your shoes are giving you the support you need without sacrificing fashion. The products above highlight some of the best insoles for plantar fasciitis and are a good way to get started in choosing an insole that’s right for you.
You’ll want to assess how much arch support you need and how stiff of a sole you can tolerate. It’s best to “break in” insoles for 2-3 weeks, just like a new pair of shoes, to allow your feet to adjust to the new support.
And if you really want to decrease your plantar fasciitis pain, it’s best to take an all-around approach by combining insoles, shoes, and socks.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com.