The 10 Best Insoles of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We spent over 5,040 hours testing the best insoles for running, walking, and sightseeing.

Amy Louise Bailey is a freelance content creator and media specialist. Her work has been published in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Condé Nast Traveler, Bloomberg Pursuits, and Robb Report. Size 7 Insoles

The 10 Best Insoles of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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Whether you’re embarking on a hike, exploring a city, or attending a festival, wearing insoles can be a game changer for your feet. But not all are made equal, and the first step to finding the right pair, according to podiatrist Dr. Diana Levin Valencia, is to “figure out what type of foot you have and what problem you have.” 

Dr. John Kennedy, Chief of the Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery at NYU Langone Orthopedic, explains that there are two types of insoles: “Accommodating insoles, made to feel good and support the alignment of the foot, while offering protection from overloading; and corrective orthotics, designed to fit into a shoe and correct the mechanical malalignment of a person’s foot.”

To determine what type of insoles are best for addressing various issues, we tested 20 different products with a total test time of 5,040 hours across a six-month period. Key metrics that were tested for included support, comfort, pain relief, breathability, and value. Below you’ll find the products we’ve selected as our winners based on testing, along with the types of shoppers they're best suited for.

They provide an effective solution for people that want extra cushioning and support, and for anyone who suffers from lower body pain.

They are bright yellow on one side and green on the other – a consideration if you’re planning on wearing them with sandals and want them to blend in. 

While Spenco features twice on this list, the brand’s PolySorb Cross Trainer insoles came the most highly recommended, with top marks across all metrics. For our testing, we inserted a pair into Hoka Rincon 5s for running and Puma’s everyday platform sneakers for daily wear. We found that they worked effectively with each style, alleviating lower body pain, helping during longer walks and runs, and providing ample cushioning and support, enabling the shoes to be worn for longer periods of time. The insole combines shock absorption and energy return from the forefront to the heel and contains a four-way stretch top layer that prevents blisters. Another highlight was how well they fit into different shoes and how easy they are to cut with scissors to customize the fit. Naturally, within the domain of sneakers comes odor, but these feature antimicrobial properties and have a good level of breathability, so moisture retention is minimized. Good value, effective technology, and comfortable cushioning make these insoles the top contender.

The Details: Women’s 5 to 14.5, men’s 4 to 15.5 | Polyester, polysorb polyurethane foam | Medium arch support

These gave us a cushioned “walking on air” feeling.

They have very high arch support, so they may be uncomfortable if you have flatter feet. 

With trademarked technology designed to cradle the foot’s arch, these are an excellent option for people seeking a high level of support. Each layer of the insole provides a different benefit: there’s a moisture-wicking top cover, a fill layer to redistribute shock forces, a support layer for control, and a base layer to provide all-day comfort. Another plus? They have an optional peel-and-stick pad, which is useful if you’re using them with one pair of shoes exclusively and don’t want them to move around. We found that they molded to our feet well, without too much of a break-in period required, and although the arch is high, they never made our shoes feel too tight. We haven’t experienced any aches or pains since using these insoles, which we attribute to the strong level of support that prevents our ankles from rolling in and enhances our posture. 

The Details: Women’s 6 to 12+, men’s 5 to 15 | Barrettex plush fabric, Pedura-HD foam, Plasti-Flex shell | High arch support

These offer an affordable solution for alleviating pain.

They are geared more toward flat feet and are not moisture-wicking.

For less than $20, these Spenco insoles will provide excellent cushioning from heel to toe. We tested them with New Balance sneakers for long runs exceeding six miles as well as CrossFit workouts, and found that they mitigated shin and knee pain, making it possible to travel longer distances. The shape is flat, and for that reason they are better suited to people with lower arches, but even those of us with high arches found them to be effective. They don’t have any standout features, but if you’re simply seeking additional cushioning and support, these are an affordable option that will improve your walking and running experience.

The Details: Women’s 3 to 14.5, men’s 4 to 15.5 | Neoprene | Medium arch support

Not only do these have solid arch support, they also have a deep heel pocket that provides support in the rear end of the foot.

They aren’t the most breathable option.

To test these, we inserted them into a pair of classic Converse Chuck Taylors (which are famously flat), along with running shoes from Nike and Adidas, and found that they worked well with all the different styles. They have a harder plastic base, forming the foundation for strong arch support, and gel pads at the heel and the toe, providing ample cushioning. They also have a layer of rubber for extra bounce and a moisture-wicking fabric to help keep feet drier. We found that standing for long periods became much more comfortable while wearing these and made multi-hour walks more manageable.

The Details: Women’s 5.5 to 15.5, men’s 4.5 to 14.5 | Polyurethane foam, gel, thermoplastic polyurethane | Medium arch support

They protect against rubbing and blisters and they’re also available in children’s sizing.

They have a low-profile design, which isn’t for everyone.

If you suffer from blisters and rubbing, slide these into your shoes and you’re sure to notice an improvement. They feature a carbon fiber heel cap to provide stability and support, and a deep, cradling heel cup to optimize shock absorption. Other highlights include the beveled foam edge that provides a more secure fit and the low arch orthotic support, reducing stress on the lower body during running sessions and high intensity workouts. We found that the construction of the insole encouraged better posture and alleviated pressure points that can become irritated after long periods of standing.

The Details: Women’s 4.5 to 14, men’s 5.5 to 15, kids’ 2.5 to 4 | Carbon fiber and polymer | Low arch support

They are thin and flexible, while providing ample cushioning.

They are not recommended for anyone that has a condition requiring proper orthotic support. 

Known for their sturdy boots, Timberland’s insoles have equally impressive technical features, designed to enhance comfort and performance, even for longterm use. We tested them inside a pair of Nike sneakers and wore them for long walks, running, and commuting to work, and found them to alleviate pain and improve energy. They contain a unique “anti-fatigue” technology, with an inverted cone design that provides support, shock absorption, and maximum energy return. The arch can easily adapt to different foot shapes, and they have a moisture-wicking foam top layer that adds comfort. Overall, they scored highly for cushioning, pain relief, breathability, and value. 

The Details: XS to XXL | Leather | Medium arch support

These podiatrist-designed insoles made seven-year-old Converse sneakers feel brand new.

They could be improved by being a bit longer, as they don’t extend to the end of the toes (which can be useful for open-toed sandals, but is not the best option for athletic sneakers).

We tested these at three concerts and didn’t experience any of the aches or lower body pains that are commonly associated with long periods of standing. They’re a great option if you’re going out and wearing heels or sandals, as they’re slimmer than most insoles and don’t cramp the toes. But they’re also good for day-to-day casual use, providing targeted support with a rear angle that helps to realign the foot to its optimal position. The lightweight, flexible design makes them easy to insert and remove, which is useful if you’re intending on wearing them with different pairs of shoes.

The Details: XS to L | Polyurethane, EVA | Medium arch support

We noticed a reduction in pressure on the legs, hips, and lower back after wearing them.

They have recently been redesigned, and we did notice that the new version feels flimsier and doesn’t provide the same level of support.

This popular insole has been updated with odor control and cushioning pods to provide shock absorption and energy return. For our testing, we tried them with Nike running sneakers for runs and gym workouts and found them to be effective for reducing strain and providing a good level of cushioning, especially for those of us who tend to overpronate. The deep heel cup helped to address our plantar fasciitis, offering excellent support and stability, which is crucial for managing the condition. They don’t occupy excess space either, so they’re a good option for narrower shoes. 

The Details: XXS to XXL | Urethane foam, ethylene vinyl acetate | Medium arch support

They help to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis and calf pain from flat sneakers.

They’re made of cork, which is a tough material to cut to fit into your shoes.

Dr. Valencia recommends cork as an insole material, and these certainly don’t disappoint. They contain custom technology that molds to your foot shape based on how you move, so they’re a good alternative to investing in a bespoke orthotic. They provide stabilizing support for all arch types — flat, medium, and high — and feature antimicrobial technology to prevent odor. We tested these with our go-to summer Pumas and loved how they alleviated the calf and lower back pain we usually experience. These made wearing sneakers without socks a lot more comfortable, which is a good solution for low-cut court shoes (unless you have no-show socks that don’t ride down).

The Details: Women’s 5 to 12, men’s 8 to 14 | Cork, natural latex foam, cotton, cactus leather | Medium arch support

These are an affordable option that provide support, enhance posture, and assist with plantar fasciitis.

They could do with a little more cushioning. 

As the name suggests, these are designed to prevent future issues from arising in the joints, as well as managing existing pain. We tested these for runs, high intensity workouts, and with casual shoes for daily wear, and found that they provided significant pain relief. We also noticed that the additional support translated to a better stance, and encouraged better alignment and stability, enabling us to walk and stand for longer periods of time. 

The Details: Women’s 6 to 10, men’s 8 to 14 | Polyurethane | Medium arch support

These insoles did not make our list of the very best, but still had some admirable attributes that are worth calling out.

Walk-hero Comfort and Support Plantar Fasciitis: We found these insoles to make shoes more comfortable to walk in and provide pain relief for those of us suffering from plantar fasciitis, but they did not provide enough support and seemed to lack breathability, making our feet feel warmer.

Dr. Scholl’s Go Sockless! Cushioning Insoles: We found these to be comfortable and breathable, but they did not offer any support. They come in a pack of three and are an affordable replacement for a worn-out insole.

The T+L team tested 20 different insoles in our New York City lab. After assessing them ourselves, we performed a range of tests to determine key metrics including support, comfort, pain relief, and breathability. We also conducted experiments to gauge maneuverability with scissors and saws to see how well they would fit into different types of shoes and to observe the interior materials.

Additionally, to see how effective they would be long term, we tried the insoles for various situations in the real world over a period of six months: running, HIIT workouts, commuting, and daily walks, and scored each insole based on our experiences, with five being the highest rating.

“Insoles are the lining of the shoe that support the sole or plantar surface of the foot,” explains Dr. Kennedy. “They can [also] be called orthotics and can be off the shelf or custom-made by an orthoptist. For people with a high-arch foot, a supportive orthotic with a lateral heel wedge is often used, while a person with a low arch or flat foot uses a medial posting to help bring the heel into better position while maintaining the arch height.”

Like shoes, your insoles need to be the right size for your foot in order to be comfortable. “The size of an insole bought online or off the shelf corresponds to shoe size — custom orthotics are sized to fit the individual,” explains Dr. Kennedy. 

You may already know that you need proper support, or perhaps you’re simply looking for additional cushioning. But, according to Dr. Kennedy, “this evaluation is best done by an orthotist — a specially trained professional who evaluates the heel position, arch height, and forefoot alignment to ensure perfect alignment.” 

“It depends on the material, but usually a warm water scrub and leaving them out to dry,” says Dr. Kennedy. Most insoles come with an antimicrobial layer of fabric that eliminates the need for this, but you can usually wash them without damaging them if you feel the need for extra freshness.

It depends on their quality and how often you’re wearing them, but experts believe that most insoles will last from six months to a year.

Insoles can add support and comfort to any pair of shoes, alleviating foot, calf, and even back pain. Many podiatrists recommend insoles, especially for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. If you're unsure whether an insole is right for you (or would like further guidance on what style may be best for you), consult a doctor for specific tips and information.

The best shoe insoles for long-term use are the ones that enhance your comfort and alleviate pain. There is no perfect shoe insole for all users, so be sure to select a pair that directly addresses your needs. "We really don’t want something soft; some people think if it’s just cushion [then] it’s going to help, but we don’t want that," Dr. Valencia says. "But then if it’s not custom-made, we don’t want it to be too firm either…you really want a good in-between.”

Amy Louise Bailey has over 15 years of experience working in the fashion industry and an extensive knowledge of shoes and insoles thanks to her background in ballet (which can be notoriously tough on the feet). For this feature, she used her eye for detail to assess the quality along with key metrics including support, comfort, breathability, pain relief, and value from our in-house Travel + Leisure tests. She also spoke with Dr. John Kennedy, Chief of the Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery at NYU Langone Orthopedic to discuss the technical specifications that can make insoles effective, and podiatrist Dr. Diana Levin Valencia to determine what to look for and what to avoid.

The 10 Best Insoles of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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