Do Heat-Moldable Insoles Provide Better Support?

by Mark Paigen


Heat-Moldable Insoles

The Basics of Heat-Moldable Insoles

There are a number of insole products on the market that can be heated in your oven and molded to the contours of your foot. In theory this makes a lot of sense. An insole that perfectly matches your foot would seem to be the best way to get optimum support. Here’s how they work:

  • Heat the insoles in the oven - usually to 175 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to burn them. Some have indicators on them to tell you when they are at the right temperature for molding.
  • Carefully put them in your shoes. Make sure they have not bunched up in the front of your shoes. Put the shoes on and stand up straight for a few minutes. They will cool and take the shape of your feet.

The new shape closely matches the bottom contour of your foot. Perhaps it sounds great in theory, but in practice it’s a completely different story.

Do Heat-Moldable Insoles Work?

There are 2 fundamental problems.

  1. Most people have less-than-optimal biomechanics. That is why they bought arch-support insoles in the first place. When standing, their feet are in an overpronated position. When insoles are molded to these feet, the overpronation is built into the insoles, ensuring a poor level of support.
  2. Materials that are soft enough to be molded by heat are not firm enough to provide support. If you take a pair of these heat-moldable inserts and push down on the arches, you will see how easily they deflect. Remember, firm support correctly aligns the foot for a comfortable stride. Look at a pair of custom orthotics made by a professional podiatrist or pedorthist. They may be made from a variety of materials, but they will always offer a firm level of support.

So Why Do Heat-Moldable Insoles Get Good Reviews?

99% of the footwear sold today offers very little support. Thus almost everyone feels more comfortable after adding any bit of arch support, including that offered by heat-moldable insoles. If you are looking for better-than-nothing, most over-the-counter, arch-supporting insoles (see our guide to insoles and orthotics) will feel better than nothing. If you are looking for the best support at a great value - check out Tread Labs Stride insoles.

Insoles With Firm Support Deliver More Comfort

If firm support is the ticket, why don't more companies offer it? Because firm support has to fit properly for it to work. Firm support that is too high will feel like you’re walking on a golf ball. Firm support that is too low will do nothing for your comfort. The perfect solution is firm support and a perfect fit. That’s a challenge. A perfect fit can only be achieved by offering a wide array of sizes.

Size Matters

Great fit can only come from multiple sizes and arch heights. This is where Tread Labs shines. We offer multiple lengths,  4 arch heights, carefully graded in 3mm increments. In other words, our new Stride insoles provide the same level of support as a custom orthotic in enough sizes to fit nearly everyone. Arch supports are molded in polypropylene, and they are indestructible. Guaranteed for life. When the top covers eventually wears out, they can be replaced. Cheap.

The downsides. There are two.

  1. Coming in at $75 a pair, Tread Labs insoles cost more than most over-the-counter insoles. You get what you pay for. More sizes and better materials cost more.
  2. To get the right fit, you may need to try a couple of pairs to find the perfect match for your arches. Luckily, we make that process easy and risk free. Our 30-day fit guarantee ensures a risk-free experience. Try any insoles for 30 days. If the insoles don't improve your comfort and stability, we’ll send you a prepaid label to sent them back and refund your purchase.

How Good Can You Stand It?

Will heat-moldable inserts make your shoes more comfortable? In most cases the answer is yes. However, the more important question is: do you want better-than-nothing? Or do you want the best? We think your feet deserve the best. You depend on them completely. Take the time to get it right. Find the support that will deliver long-term comfort. Invest in quality.


Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen

2 Responses


July 30, 2016

Hi Jacob – Thanks for your comment. We are glad that you found a pair of firm insoles that worked well for you. However, we here at Tread Labs understand that even incredibly firm and durable heat-moldable insoles will build the biomechanical errors of your foot into the very structure of the insert designed to correct those problems. It sounds like you overpronate. Try a pair of our Stride and see how they make your feet feel. They are designed to control pronation. Remember, they have a 30-day fit guarantee, so if you are not satisfied, you can send them back for a full refund.

Cassia @ Tread Labs

Jacob zammito
Jacob zammito

July 30, 2016

I used to walk on sof sole brand oven molded insoles (now discontinued :(. I would replace them every 2 years. I understand the theory of why they should not be supportive but find it does not apply in practice. They had an underlayer that contoured to your foot when heated but got firm and supportive when cooled and gave what i felt to be greatly supporive and firm. That is why i liked them and they made every shoe fit better. And then a thinner upper layer that was soft. But they are fiyrm enough to resist breakdoen for years and last as long as 2 pair of average running shoes. My foot rools inward and my arches fall under pressure however the molding is done at standstill and for me standing on hot soles with no motion does allow molding of hi enough arch to feel it is there and alleviate an otherwise persistent plantars fascietis and knee achs. So i know via experience and i swear by them. But i do agree that firmness and fit are essential, so if these stride insoles advertised here can get a good fit they may be good too. But fit is more thanjust the critical arch height. There are many variations in contoir infeel in the forefoot especially.

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