People use insoles for many different reasons – comfort, relief from pain, prevention of foot problems and to help achieve greater performance during athletic activities. While runners or joggers benefit from enhanced performance with wearing quality insoles, anyone can benefit as prevention and relief from foot pain enables them to enjoy life and perform daily activities in comfort.
The two key benefits of decent insoles are cushioning and support. The additional cushioning provided by insoles offers greater comfort by helping to absorb the shock that makes feet feel tired and sore. Support helps improve the alignment and balance of the foot. While some insoles offer greater cushioning and others focus more on support, most people benefit from an insole that offers both cushioning and support.
Research has shown which types of insoles are good for the various types of foot arch. And while many people will experiment to see which product works best, there are a few general rules of thumb when it comes to matching insoles with arch type.
Low/Flat Arches are more prone to over-pronation (rolling over) and require something with high support. An arch support with a rigid base is best.
Medium/Neutral Arches are very uncommon as only approximately 15% of people have neutral arches. Those people benefit from the use of an insole that offers moderate support with a focus on cushioning.
High Arches are prone to imbalance and over-flexing which can lead to painful foot conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis. Because the foot predominantly balances on two pressure points – the ball of the foot and the heel – it is best to use an insole that offers cushioning for the arch rather than one that offers firm arch support. This cushioning allows the arch to relax and allows weight distribution over the whole foot rather than just two points. This more even weight distribution results in better balance.