The Best Insoles For Running The Roads And Trails

Insoles for running

Running insoles are key to comfort and preventing injury. Our feet were not designed to run on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Learn how insoles for running shoes can add distance and comfort to your mileage.


  • Running, particularly on hard surfaces (asphalt and concrete) puts a large amount of stress on your feet, legs hips and lower back.
  • Repetitive use injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, tendinitis and stress fractures are more common for road runners, while rolled or sprained ankles are more common off-road runners.
  • Shoe choice and fit are critical. Ensure that shoes are roomy enough to prevent cramping, and snug enough to minimize movement and blisters. Choose a level of cushioning to compliment your running style and overall comfort. There are may choices - from minimal shoes with thin midsoles to maximal shoes with lots of cush.
  • Running shoes are built with minimal arch support. No shoe company wants to lose customers because their arches are too aggressive.
  • Firm, after-market insoles will fine tune the fit of your shoes. increase your comfort and lengthen your stride for better efficiency. Tread Labs Pace Thin Insoles are perfect to increase your mileage.



Best Insoles for Running

The less-forgiving surfaces of city streets and off-camber surfaces of the trails mean your footwear needs to have proper structure and cushioning. The first step is choosing running shoes that match your gait and running lifestyle. The next step is to use quality running inserts. The best insoles for running shoes will provide the extra structure and support to help your feet handle shock of running on harder surfaces. Here are the characteristics to look in running insoles.

Running shoe inserts for the road should:

  • Fit Properly: Guarantee strong support and great comfort with a perfect fit. Look for insoles that come in multiple arch heights. 
  • Support Your Arch: Road running is hard and fast. Running inserts need to be built to last. The underlying support should be firm to take the abuse that high-mile runners dish out. Insoles that have minimal structure or are 100% foam just don't have the strength to maintain proper foot alignment.
  • Maintain Proper Biomechanics: Running shoe insoles need to correct your foot's biomechanical irregularities. Firm support controls overpronation and helps relieve and prevent common running injuries like plantar fasciitis.
  • Provide the Right Amount of Cushion: The best insoles are like a high-quality office chair, supportive and comfortable for all day use. Avoid insoles that are all about cushion and shy on support.

Worried that normal running insoles won't fit into your minimalist running shoes or your lighter-weight road racing shoes? Look for a low profile running insert like Tread Labs Stride Thin.

If you're looking for maximum cushion in regular running shoes, Pace insoles are the best running insoles for you.

Running a marathon

On the Road Again

There is nothing like lacing up your running shoes and heading out to log a fast five miles. The quick pace you develop as you push off the street surface means you can run fast. It's easy to get into a groove. Before you know it, you're sailing along, powered by your runner's high.

Running is an incredibly popular sport in the US. There are lots of races – from turkey trots to marathons – all across the country.  Many people enjoy running the roads. Others enjoy the adventure of trail running. Whether you are a road aficionado or love the dirt under your feet, understanding the pros and cons of road running – and how to prevent injury – are key to enjoying the sport.

Understanding The Mechanics Of Road Running

Road running is fast. The flat, level surface of a paved road means that you exert less force to spring off the ground. Compare this to the effort it takes to push off softer surfaces like grass or dirt. There's a big difference.

While harder surfaces mean you can run fast, they can also lead to injuries like shin splints and stress fractures. In fact, concrete and asphalt are what some runners term the "least forgiving" of running surfaces. Repeated impact can give significant shock to the joints of your feet and legs. Luckily, running inserts are available to help prevent these injuries . But first, let's take a look at the difference between the two most common road surfaces:

  • Concrete is ubiquitous in urban areas. It is the hardest material to run on, and it is up to 10x more dense (and less forgiving on your joints) than asphalt. Most coaches and runners recommend limiting the time you run on concrete.
  • Asphalt is one of the fastest surfaces for running. It is significantly more forgiving than concrete. For the urban runner or road runner enthusiast, asphalt has lower shock forces than concrete. Your musculoskeletal system will thank you. Luckily, many urban running trails are asphalt, and most road races allow you to run on the road itself (asphalt) or the sidewalk (often concrete).

While they have some drawbacks, both concrete and asphalt are relatively smooth and regular. When running on grass, dirt, or trails, the uneven surfaces can wreak havoc on your feet and legs. Sprained or rolled ankles and major falls are much more common on softer and uneven surfaces. And some people believe that road running is better for Achilles tendonitis as the even surface keeps the Achilles tendon in a less-tensioned position.

Either way, before you start racking up the mileage, slip in a pair of the best inserts for running shoes to maximize your comfort and help prevent injuries.



Questions? Drop us a line at We're here to help.

Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen

Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.

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