10 Best Gel Insoles Tested & Compared
In what seems like ancient times, runners needing arch support or runners experiencing foot pain were offered one solution to their woes: order super expensive custom orthotics. Then, new varieties of running sneakers with cushioning and gels were introduced, which gave many runners hope that they would have a future of pain-free runs. Although this provided relief to some, there are still many runners that need some extra TLC for their tootsies, plantar fasciitis, or a little extra support when recovering from an injury. This is where the shoe insoles or gel inserts comes in, specifically gel insoles.
10 Best Gel Insoles
Sof Sole Neutral Arch
Regardless of arch support needs, this multi-contoured gel insole provides comfort and stability. The lightweight design provides superior performance without feeling bulky in your shoe.
The dual-gel pads in the heel and toe provide support and comfort where you need it most. Feet will stay dry because of the Hydrologix moisture management treatment applied to these insoles. The multi-contoured design conforms to all arch support needs.
Priced at the higher end of Sof Sole’s product line, the investment is well worth the customization and comfort that these insoles offer. Users report increased levels of comfort and support, and that their legs and feet feel less tired after using these gel insoles.
- Meets needs of all arch types
- Moisture and odor management
- Dual-gel pads
- Higher pricing
- May take some time to break in
Dr. Scholl’s Active Series
This insole is for active runners experiencing a variety of foot- and leg-related discomfort. The deep heel cup, reinforced arch, and ball-of-foot padding provide your feet with plenty of support and comfort.
Cushioning is designed to support your feet while in motion and adjust to the level of impact your foot experiences. SweatMax Technology fights odor.
Priced lower than other insoles (even others by Dr. Scholl’s) makes them worth the try.
- Alleviates common running injuries
- Odor fighting
- Support in heel, arch, and ball-of-foot
- Only available in two men’s and two women’s sizes
- Users noted they are initially firm, rather than soft
Dr. Foot’s Shock Absorption PU Sports
Arch support helps combat foot pain, specifically while running and hiking.
Shock-absorbing gel and a bump-filled massaging surface provide comfort to your feet while active or resting. Composed of medical-grade PU and velour fabric, these are both safe and comfy. Trim lines help users cut insoles accurately for the perfect fit.
With a low price and a one-year warranty, these are definitely worth trying.
- Low price and warranty
- Easily customizable
- Safe materials
- Thick and massaging
- Some users received two inserts for the same foot, rather than a usable pair.
Full arch support not only helps to relieve pain, but also to improve foot strength and balance. An extra-thick heel cushion provides relief from heel spurs and shocks. Excellent choice for hiking.
The soft gel of these insoles conforms to your foot as it strikes the ground, absorbing shock to prevent pain and discomfort. Carbon fibers help combat odors and bacteria, and the material is fully washable.
Low price AND a 100% satisfaction guarantee? Definitely no harm in giving them a try!
- Odor fighting and anti-slip material is beneficial to all athletes
- Low price
- Aims to improve athletic performance
- Users report less arch support than anticipated and are not very effective for plantar fasciitis.
These insoles are recommended for any type of physical activity, especially those that involve heavier foot impact, as the gel construction helps absorb shock across all areas of the foot.
Available in five unisex sizes, these full-gel insoles are flexible and provide a complete foot massage with built-in rivets. All sizes have cut lines to make customization easier.
Bringsine Massaging Insoles are very low priced, minimizing loss (or maximizing value) if you give these a try.
- Very flexible; Massaging
- Users report reduction in pain from flat feet and lower back pain
- Users report some difficulty in fitting these into their shoes
Sof Sole Airr
Geared toward runners, walkers, and cross-trainers, these insoles offer a neutral arch to meet every athlete’s support needs. Available in
Available in four men’s sizes and two women’s sizes, the air bubbles in the heel and arch absorb the impact of ground strike. A COOLMAX fabric covering fights foot moisture and the stinky feet that follow. The gel ball-of-foot provides top-level comfort.
These fall in the mid-range of inserts prices, but positive reviews from users make them worth the try.
- Support a variety of arch types
- Odor fighting
- Users tout their lightweight nature
- Do not appear to be easily trimmed
- Thick heel cushioning takes some time to adjust to
WOBAOS Memory Foam Silica
If you are an athlete experiencing foot pain, are in need of extra arch-support, or a way to improve your balance and foot strength without additional training, this just might be the insole for your boots or shoes.
Memory foam and gel work together to absorb impact and increase rebound, while carbon fibers fight stinky feet and shoes. Foot damage is reduced to a minimum as a result of vibration-absorbing materials.
A great introduction to the world of gel insoles with a low price and user-reported accurate fit.
- Odor fighting
- Impact absorbing
- Users report a great fit and a reduction in heel pain
- Users have reported the insole slipping inside of their shoe, as well as receiving incorrect merchandise from the company
Spenco Gel Comfort
The gel portion of these inserts is intended to relieve pressure specifically from the ball of the foot. The heel has gel and extra padding to help ease pain and discomfort caused by heel strike.
Made of a combination of thermoplastic gel and rubber, this insole provides arch support to combat ball-of-foot pain. Antimicrobial cloth helps eliminate odor.
Priced at the lower end of the insole spectrum, users seem to categorize these insoles as “you get what you pay for.” They are good enough to get you through a rough patch, but aren’t good for the long term.
- Combat pain in the ball of your foot
- Odor-fighting cloth
- Does not provide overall foot pain relief
- Users note they are thin compared to other insoles
The Speedfeet Sports Insole is intended for high impact activities and is constructed of medical-grade silicon and velvet. These were also created for users that are on their feet for prolonged periods of time.
Cushioning and shock-absorbing silicon keeps feet supported, while massaging divots offer extra comfort and relief. The silicon construction is also helpful in preventing blisters during prolonged standing, walking, running, or other foot-based activities.
Very inexpensive, and although they appear thin, users report that they are effective and easy to size.
- Greatest variety of sizes for women
- Cushioning and massaging
- Users report the insoles sliding within their shoes and that they required a lot of trimming down to fit inside footwear.
For athletes or those who spends lots of time on foot, these anti-fatigue, anti-bacterial, anti-slip insoles may be the solution you are looking for if you are experiencing foot or leg pain. Arch support is constructed to help evenly distribute weight and take uneven and unnecessary pressure off of your feet.
Soft gel absorbs shock and cushions feet, and with guidelines, are easily trimmed to meet your sizing needs. This is especially important since these insoles are only available in two sizes.
Another inexpensive gel Shoe insert made worth giving a try with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
- Very soft; honeycomb design increases grip and stability
- Users report feeling pressure in the ball of their feet; only available in two sizes so trimming is most likely necessary
Gel insoles for running are a simple, not-too-expensive solution for runners experiencing pain or discomfort, even with the most pillow-like running shoes. The best gel insoles are even useful if your running shoes are near the end of their mileage, but you just aren’t quite ready to let them go yet.
Criteria Used in Picking out the Best Gel Insole
What is an insole or an inner sole? This is a part of the shoe in which the heel of the foot steps onto, when you put on your running shoes. Most of the time it can be removed and/ or replaced with an insole that has been purchased. They are able to to provide additional cushioning to the feet especially when you go through long periods of standing during the day. Apart from that they are known to assist in treating foot problems and injuries, like flat feet and high arches. It’s important to note that with the appropriate pair of shoes’ insoles you will be able to experience intense reduction in foot and joint pains, improved arch support, a more comfortable foot positioning, less foot slippage and minimal shock while running or walking.
Premium insoles have been known to be a great help to persons who suffer for foot related medical conditions. Idea l for people whom their profession or their daily activities entail walking around, or standing for a long time on surfaces that are hard. Also those who have extra big feet can enjoy extra comfort wit gel insoles. These pair of insoles will be able to make a big difference in one’s foot health & enhance overall comfortability at all times.
In soles can be replaced if they start to wear out but then getting the perfect replacement of your insole isn’t an easy task. When selecting the best gel insoles the below factors were considered.
Types of Insoles
There are several types of in soles and they all serve different purposes with regards to ensuring comfortability and overall good health of the feet. Here are some of the most common types of insoles sold on the market for specialized purposes.
- Insoles for Arch support
The cushioning provides all the benefits you can get from a cushion that is standard premium, and to those athletes who want additional support. The arch cushion has the abilities to enhance your comfortability by adding extra backing in the foot’s arch area. These insoles provide the runner’s feet with ample comfort and flexibility. They also provide a nice natural balance by adding support to the arch. Ideal for people dealing with minor discomfort around the leg arches, or individuals adapting to use of orthotic inserts and need a means of adjusting. If you experience poor support from your arches then these insoles would provide the much needed arch support.
- Orthotic type of insoles
Orthotic insoles are designed to offer the arch with specific support, though they are capable of providing support to the heel and the metatarsal if necessary. The insoles are specifically designed to have a rigged or half rigged profile, for it to offer support. This also enhances the alignment of the foot so that proper control over motion when walking or flexing their feet.
Size and fitting of these insoles: Different shoe size range needs the different insole size ranges. For instance the full length type of insoles are normally designed to be fitted by trimming (trim-fit). This insole can be used in a wide variety of training shoes with regards to the size of the sneakers. When you buy it, trim off the needed extra length after measuring the correct insole size compared to your footwear. This type of insole is preferred due to its versatility when considering the size. The other type of insole size is the 3/4 type of insole. They do not need to be trimmed and are normally worn on top of the existing insole. The are like ready made kind of insoles
They take time to get used to the feeling and will be uncomfortable on the very first days.
- Gel/comfort type insoles
These insoles are made of gel and their main purpose of the insoles is to enhance comfortability of the soft the foot. This is enabled by the soft gel material. The gel component helps in shock absorption when the feet strike hard surfaces. The gel type of insoles has great softness and works well for athletes with minor pain in the joints and foot aches. They minimize rigidity and hardness when walking on concrete/ cemented surfaces. But if you have early signs of any form of foot problems, its best to consult a specialist so that they can identify the most appropriate foot care or insoles.
- Athletic/trainer type of insoles
Trainer or athletic insoles tend to focus on giving support. The support is offered to the athletes’ foot, by the inbuilt arch and the toe heel design that enable proper foot movement during extreme workouts. The insoles are constructed to withstand high impact sporting activities like football, jumping, running, cycling or other sports like basketball. They literally offer a unique type of form factor with a great amount of support compared to other insoles that are low impact. All low impact insoles are designed specifically for wear with casual shoes or just walking. These insoles are normally made of rubber, foam or gel in order to provide maximum comfortability to athletes. The material depends on the sporting activity the athlete is involved in and the intensity of the activity. They are a must have for many trainers and athletes.
- Heel support type of insoles
These support insoles mostly are sold to act as partial heelcups or like full insoles. They are made for individuals seeking extra support around the heel. They can also be used to reduce the amount of stress exerted on the foot’s heel, to bar any chances of slippage occurring in the boot or shoe when the existing heel is unable to offer proper support, help in filling out the shoe if the shoe is a large for an athlete’s foot or just an additional layer. Both the insole’s heel softness and thickness vary from time to time depending on shoe type worn and amount of support needed by the foot. Since abundant pressure is exerted on the shoe’s heel when someone is standing, the insoles will be ideal for those who normally support most of their mass and weight on their feet’s heels for a long time. It’s always recommended to consult a foot specialist before adding any insole to be certain that it is the most appropriate insole for your feet type.
- Diabetic or Arthritic type of insoles
They are insoles designed to assist individuals who suffer from are diabetic condition, and also those with hypersensitive or insensitive foot conditions. They are able to additional pressure to ease walking and comfortability. Some of the arthritic or diabetic insoles can be made and designed to have a self-molding fabric like material, which naturally shapes naturally to the runner’s feet when worn. The material uses the wearer’s body weight and temperature to mold itself. Diabetic people should consult a podiatrist or an orthodontist and ask them recommend the most appropriate insole that will give you the best experience.
- Corrective type of insoles
Designed to offer correction to the alignment of the foot and also place the runner’s foot into a much more proper position that is neutral. These insoles typically are constructed to have an arch that is mild level with an improved heel support, so that the foot alignment can be improved and prevent any instances of rolling which can occur when running or walking, hence natural cradling of the foot. Those dealing with particular medical conditions can benefit from these insoles as they are designed to have several additional layers (microbial and bacterial layers) that prevent foot odor and chances of fungal infection occurring. The position of these layers can be custom made to enhance personal fit depending on individual’s foot after considering measurements and the doctor’s prescription.
- Custom type of insoles
They are personalized insoles made by tailors after seeing a foot specialist. Measurements are taken and the foot is molded to provide the most appropriate and perfect custom made insole to suit a runner’s particular needs. The insoles mostly are individually designed and crafted depending on the foot’s architecture to guarantee the best supportive structure for one’s foot.
The Insole Sizing:
This is normally denoted and related to the size of your running sneakers. Different shoe size range needs the different insole size ranges. For instance the full length type of insoles are normally designed to be fitted by trimming (trim-fit). This insole can be used in a wide variety of running sneakers with regards to the size of the sneakers. When you buy it, trim off the needed extra length after measuring the correct insole size compared to your footwear. This type of insole is preferred due to its versatility when considering the size. The other type of insole size is the 3/4 type of insole. They do not need to be trimmed and are normally worn on top of the existing insole. The are like ready made kind of insoles.
The Insole Placement:
When placing the new insole you will first need to remove the old insole ot of your running footwear. Full length type of insoles are designed in a way that they offer full replacement of the old in sole, though there are those insoles that are added on top of the old insoles and worn together with the old insoles. This types of insole are normally thin and flat. They are comfortable to wear with the existing insoles to enhance cushioning. There fore placement of the insole can be on top of the existing one or acting as a replacement to the existing one. This is dependent on the type of insole you will purchase. the 3/4 insoles are normally placed on top of the existing one, they work together with the current insole.
The type of your Foot Arch :
Most runners have 3 different types of foot arches, which are : the medium or neutral arch, the flat feet or low arches ( also referred to as the fallen arches), and finally the high arches. Each insole is designed to suit the different types of arches, that’s why its important to understand the type of arch you have before purchasing any insole.
The type of Insole Foot bed:
Most orthotic arch support & insoles have one of these 4 different types of foot beds: the rigid support foot bed, the semi rigid foot bed type, the cushioned support bed type and the flat cushion( refereed to as no support foot bed type). The foot bed types are made for different types of running styles and feet anatomy, therefore when checking the foot bed type make sure you get one that will suit the needs of running feet.
Other Important Factors To Consider
The insole plays an important role in the comfortability of the running shoes. In soles can be replaced if they start to wear out but then getting the perfect replacement of your insole isn’t an easy task. When looking for a pair of insoles there are some additional important factors that you should always look out for:
Material of an insole plays a very important role in determining its functionality and durability. The mostly used materials for making insoles are: leather, cork, foam and gel. Each of these types of materials have their pros and cons, and its good to compare all of them before setting down on one type of material. The foam material is perfect for those who want extra cushioning , relief form pressure and added support. Gel on the other hand offers minimal cushioning but with maximum support. Leather insoles, mostly worn with very thin socks, provides cushioning. If you opt for a cork insole then you will get low level of cushioning but with amazing support.
What are the major reasons why an athlete should have a pair of insoles as part of their sporting accessories?
Many people out there have different reasons when buying insoles. The reasons vary from one individual to another. Below are some of the main reasons why people buy insoles and we also offer some tips that might be useful to a potential buyer.
- To deal with Plantar Fasciitis and Arch Pain: a buyer can seek to get relief from pain caused by plantar fasciitis or relief from the pain experienced in the foot arch pain. Such buyers should get an insole that offers good cushioning and offers good arch support. A foam insole that is to provide a good orthotic support of the arch ought to have a foot bed that is semi rigid but the most ideal foot bed is a rigid one. But for the first timers, and have the plantar fasciitis condition should get a foot bed that is semi rigid which will provide comfortability, flexibility and good arch support to the feet. However, for buyers who have previously used orthotics insoles before they should opt for rigid foot beds. An added layer of cushioning (if there is room in your sneakers) will help in relieving the pain. For footwear that has a tighter fit get insoles that are low profile.
- Buyers who experience Over-Pronation: What is pronation? This is the natural inward rolling of one’s foot when running or walking. Over pronation refers to the excess rolling of the feet. This means that the runner’s foot rolls inwards but too far when running or walking. The challenge of over pronation is that it can cause instability when walking or running, this in turn causes foot pain in the long run. In order to deal with this condition, look for insoles that are rigid or semi rigid. The offered arch support will be able to keep the athletes’ feet aligned and also provide the necessary support at always. The great combination of the arch support and the heel support, got from an orthotic support insole offers natural help that plays an important role in correcting over pronation. First time users should start with the semi rigid ones while the elite users should get the more rigid in soles.
- To deal with long hours of standing: If you spend long hours standing be it at place of work or at home then you will ultimately develop foot pains from all that standing ( especially if the surface happens to be made of concrete and is a little rough). In order to avoid having foot pains then one should look for an arch support from added cushioning of the feet. The extra cushioning, will support the foot gently during the long hours of standing and reduce the amount of pressure exerted on the foot from the surface. The ideal insoles for this scenario are the foam insoles, which functions effectively in relieving the pain developed form long hours of standing.
- For people with Metatarsalgia or any form of pain in the ball part of the foot: In case you have metatarsalgia or experience any form of pain on your forefoot, it’s recommended that you get insoles that have metatarsal pads with plenty of cushioning on the top-coat. The cushioned support on the arch is the best option in this scenario. However for people seeking more support offered to their feet then they can look for the insoles that are either semi rigid or the rigid ones.
- Patients dealing with the following conditions (the Hallux Rigidus, the Hallux Limitus, and the Morton’s Toe: The above three conditions tend to cause a lot of pain on the foot which is very uncomfortable. Someone suffering these illness should look for an insole that is very stiff so that it inhibits the toes from any form of flexing. Literally all running sneakers are designed with a toe box which allows the toes to flex a little whenever one takes a step. Therefore you should look for an insole, which will be able to prevent this flexing.
- For athletes dealing with Supination: Also known as under pronation (the opposite of over pronation). Supination refers to the outward rolling of ones feet when running or making a step. Every persons’ feet experiences pronation, that’s why people who experience supination are often subjected to plenty of discomfort and also sever pain. In order to prevent this, a buyer should get an insole that is able to offer arch support (the orthotic insole that are rigid or semi rigid), that will maintain alignment of the foot and provide constant support to the feet. The natural method of dealing with supination will be offered by the combination offered by the heel support and the arc support when using the insoles.
- Runners, those who love taking walks or people with Shin Splints: If you are a runners, love walking, or dealing with shin splints, you will often need to have a mixture of shock absorption and flexible support provided by your insoles. Look for arch support that is cushioned or orthotic insole that is semi rigid. Also make sure that they gel construction that is full or have a gel padding on the forefoot and the heel. The cushioned support and the semi-rigid support allow maximum flexibility especially when involved in very active sporting activity, while the gel pad will absorb all the impact shock hence reduce any fatigue that might occur on ones knees and feet.
- Anyone suffering from Diabetes or Arthritis: People suffering from arthritis and/ or diabetes, will require an insole, which is gentle to their feet. The insole will assist with blood circulation and also reduce the impact and shock the feet experience when walking or running. Each day the feet experience high impact from the different surfaces that we walk on, and the purpose of these insoles is to reduce the impact as much as possible. Make sure you consult with your physician with regards to the best insoles that will help in dealing with diabetes and with arthritis.
- In soles for Heel Spurs and for Heel Pain: to deal with heel pain or heel spurs, an insole that offers ample cushioning will be ideal. The foot’s heel should also have added padding. There are many insoles that can offer the needed padding and cushioning that can relieve the heel pain.
All the products listed in our top 10 list are able to cater for one or two of the above reasons that many buyers have when buying or looking for insoles.
Q. What is an insole?
A. This is a part of the shoe in which the heel of the foot steps onto, when you put on your running shoes. Most of the time it can be removed and/ or replaced with an insole that has been purchased. They are able to to provide additional cushioning to the feet especially when you go through long periods of standing during the day.
Q. What are the benefits of wearing an insole?
A. They are able to to provide additional cushioning to the feet especially when you go through long periods of standing during the day. Apart from that they are known to assist in treating foot problems and injuries, like flat feet and high arches. It’s important to note that with the appropriate pair of shoes’ insoles you will be able to experience intense reduction in foot and joint pains, improved arch support, a more comfortable foot positioning, less foot slippage and minimal shock while running or walking.
Q. What construction material is used in making the insoles?
A. Material of an insole plays a very important role in determining its functionality and durability. The mostly used materials for making insoles are: leather, cork, foam and gel. Each of these types of materials have their pros and cons, and its good to compare all of them before setting down on one type of material. The foam material is perfect for those who want extra cushioning , relief form pressure and added support. Gel on the other hand offers minimal cushioning but with maximum support. Leather insoles, mostly worn with very thin socks, provides cushioning. If you opt for a cork insole then you will get low level of cushioning but with amazing support.
Q. What are orthopaedic/orthotic insoles? And what are the types of in soles?
A. They are insoles designed to assist individuals who suffer from are diabetic condition, and also those with hypersensitive or insensitive foot conditions. They are able to additional pressure to ease walking and comfortability. Some of the arthritic or diabetic insoles can be made and designed to have a self-molding fabric like material, which naturally shapes naturally to the runner’s feet when worn. The material uses the wearer’s body weight and temperature to mold itself. Diabetic people should consult a podiatrist or an orthodontist and ask them recommend the most appropriate insole that will give you the best experience. There are different types of in soles to pick from depending on what you are looking and mostly comfort.
- Arch support in soles.
- Custom insoles
- Corrective insoles
- Arthritic / Diabetic insoles
- Heel support insoles
- Athletic/trainer insoles
- Gel/comfort insoles
- Orthotic insoles
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
- A Complete Guide To Choosing The Best Foot Insoles, Consumer Website, ,
- Walking Insoles Guide – Superfeet, Consumer Website, ,
- Scholl GelActiv Everyday Insoles Review, Consumer Website, ,
- 10 Best Insoles | April 2017, ,
- Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Sport Insole: A Runner's Review, Sporting Website, ,
- Amope Gel Activ Insoles Review: Do They Work?, Consumer Website, ,
- Best Shoe Inserts, Consumer Website, ,
- Amopé Gel Activ Insoles -Everyday Heels- Review, Consumer Website, ,