While most sports are demanding on your feet, soccer is perhaps the most challenging. Since players can't use their hands, all of the focus and skill is centered on the feet and legs. Unfortunately, many athletes don’t have perfectly structured feet – a result of anatomy or injury – and aren’t playing at their best.
Foot Health Affects Soccer Performance
Your feet are more important than you may realize. Feet are the foundation for the body and imbalance in the feet can have a negative effect on the rest of the body.
To understand the importance of your feet, think about how much you use them. Over the course of a day, just walking around exposes your feet to tons of force. Add sports and other activities – including soccer – and it’s easy to see how much stress your feet deal with in a day.
The foot contains 58 joints, 26 bones, 19 intrinsic muscles, 13 extrinsic muscles, and 7 ligaments. It's a complex structure. Nature designed your foot to unlock, or pronate, when it hits the ground and re-stiffen as you take a step forward.
Unfortunately, 95 percent of people overpronate. In other words, your arches flatten too much, and don’t re-stiffen in time for effective propulsion. This faulty mechanical function can lead to significant problems. These issues include neuromas, calluses, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, and lower back problems.
Overpronation on the Soccer FieldThe demands of soccer make the importance of foot and ankle alignment even more significant.
“It all starts from the bottom up, a solid foundation translates into positive results and if you're [sic] lower half is weak it affects outcomes on the field,” writes Dr. Steve Rosenberg, a respected podiatrist. “If you're lower half breaks down, it can affect your upper half, resulting in muscle imbalances and overuse injuries."
Overpronation makes soccer players more susceptible to imbalance and lack of strength. This affects how a player plants, dribbles, and kicks. The most troubling part about overpronation is that most young players don’t recognize it. They become used to the way things are and don’t realize anything is wrong. As competition increases, their lack of an efficient stride will impact their agility, their balance, and their ability to excel.
The Role of Orthotic Insoles for Soccer Players
The good news is that there are effective and affordable solutions for both adolescent and adult soccer players who suffer from overpronation. The best solution is a good set of orthotic insoles. These will provide dynamic arch support and control pronation. An orthotic is a supportive device that goes inside your cleats and improves the mechanical function of your foot. These insoles can be used in everyday life and for sports like soccer, running, or cycling.
The correct orthotic can control the excessive flattening of the foot many soccer players struggle with and restore proper biomechanics. A well-supported player will enjoy better balance, strength, and endurance and reduce the possibility of injury.
“The fit of the soccer cleats is also improved by wearing soccer insoles which reduces rubbing that can result in blisters and corns over time,” says Dr. Kevan Orvitz. “A proper fit along with the added support and cushioning also greatly reduces fatigue to the feet, ankles, skins and calves, allowing a player to play at their best for a longer period of time.”
As athletes become more educated about their bodies and how their feet impact performance, we see an increase in orthotic use by professional athletes. LeBron James, considered the best basketball player of his time, wears orthotics.
Once, after a customary tossing of his shoes into the crowd, LeBron had someone make an announcement over the loudspeaker: “Would the people who caught LeBron’s shoes please come to the scorer’s table.”
LeBron didn’t want his shoes back, he wanted his orthotics. Why? Because he knew that his orthotics were critical to his success. Not having his orthotics would greatly affect his performance.
While LeBron isn’t a soccer player, the takeaway is instructive. If top professional athletes depend on orthotics for foot health and performance, then so should you.
Additional Tips for Soccer Footwear
Getting insoles for your soccer cleats may be the most important thing you can do for your feet. Here are a few more tips:
- The right shoe is very important. While an insole will provide appropriate arch support, a shoe that doesn’t fit won’t do you any good. Take the time to try a variety of shoes before you make your purchase. Cleats should be quite snug but not restrictive.
- An overzealous challenge or tackle can leave you with a ripped or split toenail. Trim them prior to any match to reduce the likelihood of a problem.
- Taking care of your feet means listening to your symptoms and treating them. Soaking your feet in ice water after a match can be very helpful.
Tread Labs Orthotic Insoles are Ideally Suited for Soccer Shoes
Tread Labs insoles are based on 25+ years of biomechanical footwear experience. Limiting pronation while allowing the foot to flex naturally is our focus. Features that help a soccer player realize their athletic potential include:
- Accurate sizing and 4 arch heights to give a precise fit.
- Medical-grade arch supports provide firm support without the high cost of custom orthotics.
- Replaceable top covers add value and can be fine-tuned to improve the fit of your cleats.
- Pure, antimicrobial treatment kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and is Bluesign certified.
- Deep heel cups to boost your foot’s natural cushioning ability.
- Our indestructible arch supports are backed by a lifetime guarantee
Tread labs offers a 30-day fit guarantee. Try a pair of Tread Labs insoles. If they do not improve your comfort and performance, send them back for a full refund. We are confident we can improve your soccer experience.
Contact us today for more information. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.