In the United States, the insole market has grown to a multi-million-dollar industry. The two questions many runners ask themselves are: 1) What type of insoles are right for me? and 2) Do I even need them in the first place?
What are insoles?
New running shoes come with a sock liner designed to enhance the comfort. The sock liner is the closest thing to the foot in a running shoe. The goal is for the sock liner to enhance the overall comfort of our shoes. Most sock liners are molded with a 3D shape matching the natural outlines of the bottom of the foot. By doing this, the negative space between the foot and the shoe is reduced. The overall effect is that the heel and arch feel secure while running. Contrary to popular belief, not all insoles are designed to correct for over-pronation. Although some are intended to address pronation, the latest models are built to enhance comfort. In fact, the latest studies seem to show that comfort is the only proven method for preventing running injuries.
Who needs them?
The latest science says that insoles are appropriate for anyone looking to enhance the comfort of their running shoes. This ranges from someone with an injury to elite athletes looking for a legal performance edge workouts and races.
Who doesn’t need them?
If the insoles do not enhance the comfort of the shoe, then they may not be right for someone. It’s important to look for an insole that’s specifically designed for runners. When Comfort is key; pain does not equal gain in this scenario. A zero mm drop is best since they won’t impede the running shoe’s design. The best bet is to visit a local specialty running store, try several options available and chat about how each design will affect how our favorite running shoes perform.
The bottom line is that the latest insole designs are lighter and more specific to running than they’ve ever been. The most recent biomechanics research highlights that comfort is a significant consideration when choosing an insole for either injury prevention or performance.