The 7 Best Insoles for Shoes in 2023, Tested by Gear Experts

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The 7 Best Insoles for Shoes in 2023, Tested by Gear Experts

NO MATTER what you’re doing, if it involves being on your feet for hours at a time, the right footwear makes all the difference. Long days at work, backcountry hikes, hitting the links, intense gym training sessions—they’re all made better with footwear that balances comfort and support. Of course, good looks and a decent price don’t hurt, either. But there’s one thing that can make even the best sneakers and the best hiking boots better: Insoles.

Believe it or not, insoles aren’t just for your grandpappy or those cursed with flat feet. Many of today’s best insoles are designed for everyday wear by anyone who just wants to feel more comfortable on their feet. For seriously active guys, there are purpose-built insoles for everything from running to hiking to helping alleviate plantar fasciitis. Bottom line: If you’re the sort of fellah who spends most of his time vertical and on the go, you’ll benefit from a good pair of insoles. (Investing in the best shoes you can afford helps, too, of course).

But between finding the proper arch support to knowing which kind of foam is best for your personal needs, shopping for insoles can be tricky. If you’re ready to jump feet first (get it?) into the world of insoles, we’re here to help. We shopped and compared models from best-selling brands like Superfeet, Brison, and Currex to find the best of the best. Here are our top picks for the best insoles worth buying in 2023.

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About the Expert: I’ve spent most of my life hiking, kayaking, camping, and exploring the great outdoors. For more than a decade, I’ve traveled the world, including all seven continents, and covered outdoor and adventure travel, sharing my advice on Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. These days, I personally evaluate outdoor gear, tech gadgets, and sportswear (like the best insoles) for Men’s Health from my home base south of Boston. So, you might say I’m a little gear-obsessed.

Superfeet offers a deep catalog of insoles, from general purpose to specialty (like their fantastic hiker-centric Adapt Hike Max insoles that scored a top spot in the 2022 Men's Health Outdoor Awards). But some of their first—the Superfeet Green High Arch Orthotic Support Insoles—are still one of their best-selling. With more than 27,000 overwhelmingly positive Amazon ratings, including almost 20,000 five-star accolades, these are a clear fan favorite. We love them as “daily driver” insoles that are versatile enough to wear to work, for a hike, or on long travel days. The combination of high-density foam, a high arch design, and a deep heel cup combine to provide all-day support that reduces strain on your back, feet, and ankles. They’re purpose-built to help relieve everything from chronic foot pain to heel soreness to plantar fasciitis.

We like that they fit virtually any shoe with removable factory insoles. With a cut-to-fit design, you can easily dial in your perfect personal fit. These also boast a special odor-control coating to keep the funk off your feet. At more than $50, they’re pushing the high side for over-the-counter insoles. But, considering the thousands of positive reviews and the fact that we can’t find much to dislike about them, we think that’s a small price to pay for premium insoles designed to last up to a year.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 27,000 Amazon reviews, 84% recommend the Superfeet GREEN High Arch Orthotic Support Insoles with at least a 4-star rating.

For anyone who suffers from chronic foot pain (like plantar fasciitis), standing comfortably on your feet for even an hour is almost impossible. As the name implies, Easyfeet’s Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles are purpose-built for helping to relieve that pain. While most insoles rely on ordinary polyurethane for support, these use thermoplastic polyurethane that’s much harder for extremely firm support. The base layer is finished with a thin, yet comfy memory foam layer and a final anti-microbial, odor-neutralizing top layer and built-in air pockets to help your feet breath and keep foot odor at bay.

Many buyers note that the quality and unique design of these are second-to-none, especially for the price—roughly $30 per pair. On the downside, the same design that makes these a winner for plantar fasciitis sufferers isn’t for everyone. Even after Easyfeet’s recommended break-in period, some wearers still find these to be too stiff for their liking. What do buyers say? “LOVE THESE! These inserts helped me more than the ones I bought from the podiatrist!!!!” said one Amazon reviewer.

For anyone who spends long days on their feet, whether standing in place or walking thousands of steps, shock-absorbing insoles can be life-changing. Brison’s Arch Support Orthotics Hard Insoles feature a multi-layer construction, including a shock-absorbing heel pad, a dedicated cushioned forefoot pad, and a thick, anti-slip foam top layer. The result? A firm yet comfortable “ride” that distributes your weight more evenly and relieves stress on every part of your body from your feet and ankles up to your knees and back. Like most insoles in our roundup, these also feature a cut-to-fit design so they’ll work with just about any shoe, sneaker, or boot.

Our only minor gripe is the lack of any odor-resistant treatment, though that’s nothing a good foot powder or spray won’t fix. Plus, given the $30 price tag and more than 7,000 five-star Amazon ratings, it’s hard to find much else to dislike about these insoles. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution to your foot pain woes, these are our pick for the most shock-absorbing insoles to buy in 2023.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 9,000 Amazon reviews, 93% recommend the Brison Arch Support Orthotics Hard Insoles with at least a 4-star rating.

Another top pick from Superfeet, the Trailblazer Comfort Carbon Fiber Orthotic Support Insoles are specially designed with hikers in mind. A dedicated H.I.T. (Heel Impact Technology) pad helps evenly distribute the impact of hard descents and ascents. What sets these apart, though, is the EVOLyte carbon fiber stabilizer cap that delivers excellent support and stabilization on the trail. The cut-to-fit design makes finding the perfect fit for your hiking boots a snap. Plus, proprietary Moisturewick tech helps wick away sweat and moisture, while an odor-neutralizing treatment keeps your feet smelling fresh, even after miles on the trail.

Like many of Superfeet’s best insoles, these are a little pricey at more than $50. It’s also worth noting that these aren’t for everyone. They’re specifically designed for hikers and hiking boots. While they’ll technically work with just about any footwear, these work best off the pavement. If you’re a hiker looking to upgrade their footwear, these are easily our pick for the best insoles for hiking in 2023.

What do buyers say? “I now have two pairs of these and they surf from my hiking boots to my city boots to my sneakers. I'd love to buy these for every pair of shoes I own. They are SO comfortable,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Like hikers, avid runners demand a lot from their feet and their footwear. Currex’s RunPRO Insoles are specially designed for runners of all stripes, from casual joggers to marathon regulars. They’re the only model on our list to offer a variety of arch supports, so you can choose either a Low, Medium, or High version—whichever supports your anatomy and run style. The composite construction provides perfect rigidity with just the right amount of give, neither too stiff nor too soft. It’s a design that Currex promises will last for either 600 miles or up to a year (whichever comes first). Plus, we love the addition of a charcoal-infused mid-layer that pulls double-duty—wicking away sweat and moisture, while keeping foot odor at bay.

At roughly $50 per pair, these are on the high side for OTC insoles (although they are on sale right now). But roughly 3,000 Amazon buyers have given these a perfect five-star rating, many noting how long they last and how comfortable they are for everyday wear. While these are our pick for for running, the design is versatile enough for walking and just about any other activity too.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 3,500 Amazon reviews, 91% recommend the Currex RunPRO Insoles with at least a 4-star rating.

If you’re into a wide variety of activities (beyond “just” running or hiking), you need an insole that’s versatile enough to keep up. Fulton’s Athletic Insole is made for athletes to support all types of high-intensity movement. They start with a cork foundation which is naturally lightweight, breathable, and, most importantly, shock-absorbing to ease fatigue and stress on your feet, ankles, and back. It’s topped with a cushioning foam layer for maximum comfort, which is finished with an organic cotton top layer that’s breathable and specially treated to stave off bacteria and odor. The unique design is made to custom mold to your particular foot, so the arch support is whatever you need it to be. Bonus: Every pair of insoles is handmade in Portugal from green, plant-based materials.

With a $60 retail price tag, these are the priciest in this year’s roundup. But they also offer the most premium design. They’re one of the only handmade insole brands we’re aware of, and Fulton’s commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly manufacturing is second to none. Coupled with overwhelmingly positive reviews, we think these are easily the best over-the-counter insoles for athletes at any price.

What do buyers say? “I put my Fulton insoles in a new pair of hiking shoes- after a short break in period the performance was excellent ! They were light yet provided great support totally molding to the shape of my foot,” said one reviewer.

Spenco has a long history in the insole game that dates back more than 50 years. Their Polysorb Heavy Duty Insole is designed for anyone who spends long hours on their feet, especially on hard surfaces. A proprietary PolySorb foam base layer helps cushion the arch and heel. Dedicated pads at the forefoot and heel add even more protection against pressure and heel strikes. It’s all topped off with a four-way stretch fabric that both prevents blisters and controls foot odor. Plus, every pair comes sized to fit out of the box, so no cutting is required.

At around $25 per pair, these are among the most affordable insoles we’ve seen this year. Given all of the above features, they’re also the best value insoles of 2023. Add more than 3,500 five-star Amazon ratings and an unconditional one-year guarantee, and these are a no-brainer pick for anyone looking for a solid, budget-friendly pair of insoles.

What do buyers say? “Insoles often are stupid expensive considering what they are. These are reasonably priced and work better or just as good as the high price point ones. Good value vs performance. Makes a old pair of shoes comfortable again,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Why do good insoles matter? The short answer is that they can add comfort to almost any pair of fresh-out-of-the-box kicks. But, for active men, they can also help lessen and alleviate exercise-induced foot pain.

But, to understand why good insoles are important, it’s worth knowing just how bad cheap, low-quality insoles can affect you. “The problem with most of the materials we see that are used in over the counter insoles, is that they bottom out and lose their cushioning after a while,” says Andrew Shapiro, D.P.M., a podiatrist based on Long Island. The solution, of course, is to spend a little more on insoles with a premium construction. Splurge on thermoplastic over gel which tends to be more supportive.

If you’re on the fence about replacing your old, off-the-rack insoles, consider whether they’ve stopped feeling supportive or are cracking or showing other obvious signs of wear. Even more importantly, is the problem that you originally bought them for coming back? If the answer to any of these is yes, it’s time to replace them.

Over-the-counter insoles are designed to be an affordable solution to common foot pain and other problems. But the wrong ones can do more harm than good. Dr. Shapiro warns that they’re often designed for the “average” person, “[b]ut no person has an average foot.” If OTC insoles don’t seem to work for you, consider visiting a foot specialist who can fit you for custom orthotics.

Insoles seem deceptively simple: They’re basically just foam inserts in the general shape of a foot, right? Well, sort of. But, if you’re serious about supporting your feet, it pays to know what the best insole is for you. So, before you head to CVS to grab the first $10 pair you can get your hands on, here are a few things to consider:

The first question to ask is: What are you buying new insoles for? There are general-purpose insoles. But the best insoles are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Some are best for providing additional cushion and comfort; some are built for extra support; and others can help relieve chronic foot pain. As our list above shows, it’s often easiest to shop insoles by activity type (e.g., hiking, running, working, etc.).

Arch support is usually the biggest deciding factor in how comfortable your insoles are. Without visiting a podiatrist, it can be difficult to self-diagnose your arch height. “A lot of time patients come to me and they say, ‘I have a really flat foot. I’ve always had a flat foot.’ Then I look at their foot and it’s normal or high arch,” says Shapiro. This is best determined by a specialist. But, if you can’t justify a visit to the foot doc right, consider a pair of insoles with “Medium” arch support as a starting point. After a day or two of wear, you should be able to determine whether you need to go lower or higher.

Insoles typically use some combination of cork, plastic, foam, and composite. There is no one best insole material. In general, cork is the most pliable which can offer a more “custom” fit and feel. It’s also plant-based and naturally breathable. Foam is softer, cheaper, and less supportive, while thermoplastic is the most rigid, best for strong arch support and designed to last. The right composite insole combines the best features of all of these materials.

Cost Custom orthotics are always more expensive—sometimes significantly so—than off-the-rack insoles. If budget is an issue, there’s no harm in trying a pair of reasonably priced store-bought insoles first. If they don’t provide the relief from discomfort or foot pain you need, talk to a podiatrist about your options. Sometimes it’s worth consulting a specialist who can point you in the right direction for new orthotics that might help. Even though custom insoles could run north of $300 per pair, it’s a small price to pay to alleviate chronic, and potentially life-altering, foot, ankle, or back pain.

The 7 Best Insoles for Shoes in 2023, Tested by Gear Experts

Womens Fabic Sneakers Shoes Finding the best insoles can be challenging. While they may seem like little more than fancy rubber foot pads, they involve a lot more science than you think. That’s why we researched and field-tested best-selling models from the world’s leading brands, including Superfeet, Currex, Brison, and more. We compared every facet, including overall comfort, durability, arch support, versatility, fit, price, and more to uncover the best of the best. The list above represents our honest picks for the best insoles worthy of your feet in 2023.