Insoles can change your life — as long as you have all the information you need to buy the right one, that is!
Insoles, which are supportive inserts for your shoes, come in many varieties and can be worn for any number of reasons. Just like buying shoes, it’s helpful to be well-informed before buying a pair, whether it’s your first pair or your fiftieth.
Discover everything you need to know about insoles below, from whether you should wear inserts to which brands we recommend. Plus, learn where to buy inserts in Milwaukee (Hint: It’s Stan’s Fit For Your Feet!)
What Are Insoles?
Insoles are footbed-shaped inserts, typically made of high-density flexible foam, that can be added into your footwear to enhance your support, comfort, and foot health. While insoles are commonly used in athletic shoes, they can also fit into boots, heels, fashion sneakers, and flats.
Your shoes may already include removable inserts, but they often don’t come with arch support or good cushioning. Replacing them with an insole helps tailor your footwear to your specific needs and desired comfort level. If your shoes lack a removable insert, you can still add an insole on top of the existing footbed if there is sufficient space.
There are several benefits to wearing insoles, the most important of which are:
- Increased arch support: This helps treat pre-existing conditions like plantar fasciitis, and it also improves your posture, realigns your lower limbs, and reduces the shock of impact on your knees and ankles.
- Extra cushioning: This also helps reduce the shock of impact on your joints, plus it helps minimize fatigue.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Insoles elongate the life of your shoes by reducing the wear and tear caused by regular use.
Do I Need Insoles?
While everyone can reap the benefits discussed above, you should certainly consider getting insoles if any of the following are true for you:
- You have a high arch or no arch.
- You have plantar fasciitis or other noticeable heel and arch pain.
- You pronate (roll your feet inward) or supinate (roll your feet outward) while walking.
- You have hip and knee pain due to misalignment in the lower limbs.
- You spend most of your day standing or walking.
- Your feet regularly feel fatigued.
Insoles help treat all of the issues above by providing extra cushion, arch support, and guidance for your feet. They may not solve your problem completely, but they are a big step in the right direction. They also work as an effective preventative measure for new or worsening conditions.
No matter what your feet need, as long as you invest in a quality pair of insoles, you should see improvements in your overall health and well-being, especially in your feet and lower limbs.
Which Brand of Insole Is Best?
The “best” insole for you depends on what you’re looking for. Factors to consider include how high your arches are, what’s causing your foot pain, and what shoes you want to add the insoles into. From there, you can choose between high vs low arch support, full length vs half or three-quarter length, and minimal vs maximum cushion.
Stan’s carries several brands of insoles, the most popular of which are Aetrex and Superfeet. Learn more about these brands below:
Arch support is the signature feature of Aetrex insoles. No matter which style you choose,the arch biomechanically aligns your ankles, knees, hips, and spine to help reduce pain throughout your feet and body.
Another big pro of Aetrex insoles is the antimicrobial lining on top of every pair. This reduces odor and prevents bacterial and fungal conditions, which is especially important for those using insoles in activewear shoes.
Stan’s carries multiple Aetrex styles, including:
- The “Compete” collection, made for active lifestyles and general health.
- The “Fashion” collection, designed for dress shoes that don’t have much room for inserts.
- The “Premium Memory Foam” collection, adapted for feet that need or want more cushioning
Stability is the name of the game for Superfeet insoles. Their Encapsulating Stabilizer System accounts for the whole foot, from heel to toe, by molding to the contours of your feet.This guides your feet as you move, helps absorb the shock of hard surfaces, and redistributes stress away from your feet.
Stan’s carries over a dozen Superfeet styles. Here are three of our most popular options:
- Superfeet Green – Superfeet’s most famous insole, Green offers a deep heel cup for maximum support, a thick layer of cushioning, and odor-controlled coating.
- Superfeet Berry – This insole is made specifically for the shape of a female foot. The stabilizer cap & foam is shaped with a slimmer heel and women-specific arch length.
- Superfeet Carbon – The Carbon is Superfeet’s thinnest insole, so it’s able to fit into tight footwear without losing any support.
How Do I Know What Insole to Buy?
Installed in all Stan’s stores, Albert 2 is Aetrex’s all-in-one 3D foot scanner, giving you custom shoe and orthotic recommendations with easy-to-follow explanations. In just 12 seconds, Albert uses four 3D cameras to capture 3.5 million data points about your arches, foot size, and pressure points. Albert then recommends the best insoles for your feet – It’s as easy as that! Plus, our Certified Fit Specialists can help you use this information to match you with the perfect shoes for your new orthotics.
Appointments to scan your feet are available here, but aren’t necessary; walk-ins are also welcome!
Custom Insoles in Milwaukee
Albert can also use your measurements to model a pair of custom insoles made just for you. Custom insoles are a great choice for those whose feet are slightly different sizes or who have different pressure points and arch heights between feet.
To print your custom insoles, we’ll send the information that Albert captured to a specialized lab. There, they’ll create 3D-printed insoles that match the geometry and pressure patterns of each of your feet, providing truly personalized support.
Make an appointment to get your custom insoles here.
Can I Clean My Insoles?
Absolutely, and you should! Cleaning insoles regularly (about once every two weeks) helps to preserve their longevity.
Like most shoes, insoles should never be fully submerged in water. Instead, use mild soap and warm water to wipe them down in a circular scrubbing motion. Don’t use heat to dry them afterwards; rather, let them air-dry completely in indirect light before reinserting them into your shoes.
If your shoes or insoles are starting to smell, try using odor remover in addition to washing your insoles. We recommend this Odor Remover, which removes (not masks!) sweat odors in your shoes. It is scentless and is safe to use on canvas, leather, and denim fabrics.
How Often Should I Replace My Insoles?
As a general rule of thumb, insoles should be replaced every 6-12 months or 500 miles, whichever comes first. Insoles often last through two pairs of shoes, but this varies based on the frequency and intensity of the activities during which they’re worn. Running or athletic insoles will likely need to be replaced with every new pair of shoes, while insoles worn infrequently or only for low-impact activities like standing and walking can last longer.
Some signs to look for are visual wear on the insoles, including a worn-away logo, discoloration, and tears in the fabric. It’s also a good indicator that it’s time for a new pair if the insole has become compressed; less cushioning indicates that you’re not getting the same level of support as when the insoles were brand new.
Where Can I Buy Insoles in Milwaukee?
All three Stan’s Fit For Your Feet locations carry several brands of insoles, including those discussed above and more. Albert foot scanners are available at Stan’s in Brookfield, Greenfield, and Glendale. You can also visit Goodmiles Running Company in Brookfield and Greenfield to get insoles specifically for running, plus a complimentary gait analysis and foot scan by our Fit Experts. We can’t wait to help you enhance your foot comfort and health with insoles!