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 shoes 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 the part of the shoe that the foot steps on when you put on your running shoes. Most of the time it can be removed and be replaced with an insole that has been purchased. They are able to provide extra 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 correcting foot disorders, such as high arches and flat feet. Though on some really extreme cases of individuals who require intensive correction may need custom-made shoe insoles, often called orthotics, fitted by their podiatrist. However, many insoles are available for purchase by consumers that need help with mild disorders and general discomfort. It’s important to note that a good pair of insoles can reduce back, joint and foot pain, minimize/eliminate foot slippage, improve arch support, facilitate better foot positioning, close toe gaps in slightly larger shoes, help heel spurs and increase comfort among other things.
Premium insoles have been known to be a great help to persons who have a medical condition, spend large amounts of time walking around, work on hard surfaces throughout the day or have abnormally flat or arched feet. These pair of insoles will be able to make a big difference in one’s foot health and enhance overall comfortability at all times. With time as we age so does our muscles and the medial longitudinal arch of the foot can begin to collapse causing the foot to splay forward and causing a host of potential medical ailments.
This is where insoles can have a positive effect on the foot by adding support where it’s needed and alleviating stress and pain on the back, joints and points of the foot that support the individuals weight
Potential medical issues developed over time:
Here are some of the possible medical issues that can develop over time as we grow old.
- Lower back pain
- Heel pain
- Heel spurs
- Knee pain
- Incorrect foot positioning
A good pair of premium insoles can help fill in the gaps where your feet are most vulnerable or in need of proper support so that you can lead a healthier life that is more productive and pain free.
When picking out the best gel insoles the below factors were considered.
Types of Insoles
There are different 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.
- Arch support insoles
If you’re looking for a cushion that provides all of the benefits of a standard premium cushion but you need a little more support the arch cushion will enhance your comfort by adding additional backing in the arch area of the foot. This type of in sole provides the feet with plenty of flexibility and comfort, also they are able to provide a nice balance of adding extra support for the arch. Anyone dealing with any mild discomfort around their arches or for those who are getting used to orthotic inserts and need an interim to help them get adjusted, should definitely get this pair of in soles. If you are constantly walking around with poor arch support or feel as though your arch is not in a proper position, then take a look at insoles that are designed to offer better arch support.
- Orthotic insoles
Orthotic insoles are typically designed to provide arch specific support, however they can also provide support to the metatarsal and heel if necessary. These insoles are designed to be either rigged or semi-rigged in nature to provide support and improve foot alignment so that the wearer has proper motion control as they walk and flex their feet. Orthotic insoles may be offered in full foot and 3/4 options depending on their use case (athletic or causal) and can also come in thin or thick variations with thicker insoles adding greater levels of shock absorption. Because orthotic insoles are often stiffer than arch supported or gel insoles they may feel uncomfortable or awkward to wear in the beginning so taking some time to adjust and get used to these insoles is a common practice among users. Once you get used to these insoles through you’ll quickly come to love them and will definitely notice a difference whenever you wear shoes that don’t have orthotic insoles.
- Gel/comfort insoles
As the name suggests gel insoles are made from a gel material and are primarily designed to improve foot comfort through their extremely soft material, which helps reduces foot shock and absorbs impact against hard surfaces. These insoles are often noted for their softness and can work well for people who have mild foot aches and joint pain as they reduce the hardness and rigidity of walking on cement or concrete floors, however those with early signs of foot problems should see a specialist to identify if they need more appropriate insoles or foot care. If you are perfectly healthy, but want to add a bit more cushioning and softness to your daily walking experience then gel insoles may be the right choice for you.
- Athletic/trainer insoles
Athletic/trainer insoles focus on providing support to the athlete’s foot by having a built in arch, heel and toe design that facilities proper movement during extreme activities. These insoles are made for high impact activities such as running, jumping, cycling or sports such as basketball, soccer and football, so they offer a very different form factor and level of support than low impact insoles, which are typically designed for walking or causal shoe wear. In order to provide the best results athletic insoles may be made out of gel, foam or even rubber material depending on the activity being performed and the level of impact that is expected from that particular activity. If you are an athletic individual and seeking an insole that will support your activities, then think about investing in a pair of athletic/trainer insoles.
- Heel support insoles
Heel support insoles are either sold as partial heel cups or as full insoles and are made specifically for individuals who need a little extra support in the heel area. These insoles can be used to alleviate stress placed on the heels during long days, to prevent slippage in the shoe/boot when an existing heel doesn’t provide proper support, to help fill out a shoe that is a little too large for the individuals’ foot or even as a way to add an additional layer of comfort for those wearing high heels. Both the thickness and softness of the heel insole will vary depending on the type of shoe being worn and the support that is needed for the foot. Since a large amount of pressure is placed on the heel when standing these insoles are ideal for people who tend to support much of their weight on their heels for extended periods of time. If you wear a boot or regular shoe a heel cup may be enough for you, however if you wear high heels than you may want a full insole to protect your foot and prevent you from obscuring your balance. As always it is recommended that you see a foot specialist prior to adding an insole as you’ll want to make sure it is appropriate for your foot type.
- Arthritic / Diabetic insoles
Simply put diabetic insoles are insoles that are designed to aide individuals who are dealing with a diabetic condition. These insoles help those with either insensitive or hypersensitive foot conditions and provide an additional level of pressure relief to make walking easier and more comfortable. Some arthritic/diabetic insoles may be designed with a self-molding material to that shapes itself naturally to the feet as the user wears it and uses the individuals own body heat and weight to help with the molding process. If you’re an individual dealing with such a condition you should talk to your podiatrist or orthodontist to have them recommend an appropriate arthritic/diabetic insole for the best possible experience.
- Corrective insoles
Corrective insoles are designed to correct foot alignment and put the foot in a more neutral, proper position. Corrective insoles are typically made with a mild level of arch and heel support to improve alignment and stop any potential rolling that may be going on as you walk around by cradling the foot in a more natural way. For those who are dealing with specific medical conditions these insoles may also be designed with several layers including bacterial and microbial layers to prevent odor and fungus from occurring. The level and positioning of the layers may be custom tailored to properly fit the individuals foot based on their measurements and their doctor’s prescription.
- Custom insoles
Custom insoles are generally made by seeing a tailor or foot specialist that can take measurements and moldings of your foot to provide an appropriate custom insole for your particular needs. These insoles are individually crafted based on the architecture of your foot to ensure the best possible supportive structure is designed and constructed for your foot. If you have tried numerous insoles sold on the market, but still deal with foot issues or discomfort consider getting a custom made insole. These insoles may be more expensive due to the custom design and additional work that goes into making them, but they can offer you the best fit and finish on the market.
The sizing for an insole is usually denoted as a shoe size range. For example, “Men’s 9-11” (each manufacturer uses different sizing). For most full-length insoles, this is because the insoles are designed to be trimmed before use (trim-to-fit); the insole is manufactured to be used in a range of shoe sizes, and the consumer is expected to trim off any unneeded length from the end of the insole when placing the insole into their footwear. For 3/4-length insoles and other insert pieces, the size range on the product denotes the footwear sizes in which the insoles/inserts can be comfortably used; 3/4-length insoles and inserts are usually not designed to be trimmed in any way. If you are between sizes (you wear a size 9.5 when the insoles are sized “8-9” and “10-11”), you should buy the next size up.
If you purchase a full-length insole, you will most likely need to remove the existing insole from your shoe before placing your new one. Almost all full-length insoles are meant to completely replace the insole you are currently wearing; only very thin and flat full-length insoles can be comfortably worn in addition to your existing insoles. If you purchase a 3/4-length insole, you will place this insole on top of your existing shoe insole. 3/4-length insoles are meant to be worn along with your existing shoe insole. If you purchase an insert piece, you will place this insert either on top or below your existing shoe insole, depending on the specific item purchased (inserts come with instructions for proper placement).
Your Foot Arch Type
The arch of one’s foot usually conforms to one of three different arch types:
- neutral or medium arches,
- low arches, flat feet, or fallen arches, and
- high arches.
Similarly, every insole is designed to work with one or more of these foot arch types. When browsing insoles, you should first identify what your foot arch type is, and only browse insoles that are designed to work with that foot arch type. It’s important to note that, wearing an insole that is not designed for your arch type will likely be painful!
Insole Footbed Type
In general, insoles and orthotic arch supports have one of four different footbed constructions:
- rigid orthotic arch support,
- semi-rigid orthotic arch support,
- cushioned arch support, and
- no arch support/flat cushion.
The type of footbed that you need will be heavily dependent on why you are looking for an insole, and you should be sure that you browse products with a footbed type that will suit your needs.
Other Important Factors To Consider
The four most common materials from which insoles are made are foam, gel, cork, and leather. Each has their advantages, and the material you choose is largely based on preference. In general, however, foam works best for cushioning, support, and pressure relief; gel works well for shock absorption; cork works well for support and slight cushion; and leather works well for cushion and “feel” (especially when worn with thin socks).
Some additional features are available for insoles. Anti-microbial coatings are used to discourage the growth of fungi and minimize bad foot odor. Additionally, many insoles are machine washable to keep them fresh. Some insoles have magnets said to react with nerves in the body to relieve pain. Others have a small motor that vibrates the bed of the foot providing a soothing massage during wear. All of these elements can yield added value to the insole.
Q. When should I use an insole?
A. The gel insoles are made for tired feet. They offer amazing comfort. They can be used for casual shoes, trainers or flats used for walking or daily activities, sport activities and if there is excessive pressure being put on your feet for a long period. They are able to provide extra 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 correcting foot disorders, such as high arches and flat feet.
Q. Why are there different types of gel in the Everyday insole?
A. The dual gel effectively absorbs micro shocks and helps reduce excessive pressure of walking or daily activities. The firmer gel provides arch and heel support and softer gel gives superior cushioning and shock absorption. All this design is made so that there is excellent comfort when wearing your shoes.
Q. Are the insoles also suited for children?
A. There is no age limit for the use of gel insoles. However, the insoles are intended for full-grown people of adult age and should not be used in shoes that are smaller than the size guide on the insoles indicate, so that cushioning occurs in the right parts of the foot.
Q. What material is the Gel made of?
A. The gel is made of a thermoplastic elastomer that is used in a wide variety of products including insoles.
Q. What is the difference to orthopaedic/orthotic insoles? And what are the types of in soles?
A. Orthopaedic and orthotic insoles are designed, among other aspects, for compensation of foot pathologies/position issues and the correction of false posture. They help to control or change the way your foot works, and can add support and relieve foot pain. As a rule, they are recommended by an expert and often tailored to suit the exact shape of your foot. 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
Choosing the Right Insole
Several factors should be taken into consideration when choosing a shoe insole. For generic insoles, it is important to pick the correct size. They are generally sold by a range of shoe sizes and trimmed to fit the shoe exactly. Purchasing an insert designed for a larger or smaller foot can place built-in supports in the wrong area, making the shoes less comfortable or perhaps causing a problem where there wasn’t one before.
It is important to keep in mind how the shoe is to be used when choosing an insole. When most of the wearing time will be spent standing, an insole with superior softness and support would be ideal. For intense activity, an insole that provides support and protection against the jarring steps of running or jumping would make the most sense. The material the insole is crafted from also makes a difference to the choice of insole, affecting the length of time between replacements and the level of support provided.
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, ,