Which Style Of Insoles Do I Need?

Which Style Of Insoles Do I Need?

by Mark Paigen 5 minute read

Regular Insoles? Short Insoles? Thin Insoles? Oh my!

When you think about which insoles are best for you, you're probably thinking it's all about the shape of your feet and getting them the support they need. And while you're right about that, there's something else you need to consider too.

The Basics---

  • When you're buying insoles, there are four big factors to consider - what you'll be using them for, how firm you want them to be, how they fit your arch, and which style of shoes you'll wear them in. 
  • Insoles come in different styles to fit into different types of shoes. You'll need to figure out if your shoes have factory inserts and what type they are so you can buy the right style of insoles. 
  • Buying multiple pairs of insoles to fit all the different styles of shoes you have can be expensive. Luckily, you only need one pair of Tread Labs insoles. The 2-part system lets you swap top covers to fit all your footwear.
  • To get more comfort from your shoes, try Tread Labs Ramble Insole Kit. If you need pain relief, Tread Labs Pace Insole Kit is for you. And if you're an athlete looking to optimize your biomechanics and performance, check out the Dash Insole Kit

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What You Need To Know---

There are four big factors you'll want to think about when choosing the right pair of insoles - what you'll be using them for, how firm you'd like them to be, how they fit your arch, and which style of shoes you'll wear them in. If you don't consider the type of shoes your insoles will go into, you might be setting yourself up for a poor fit that causes more problems than it solves.

Fairfield Podiatry identifies that one reason why people can be hesitant to go all in on inserts is because they feel like they must commit to one style of shoes. “…you don't need to throw out your favorite shoes in order to use orthotics.”

Which Style Of Insoles Should You Buy?

If you're new to shopping for insoles, deciding which ones to add to your shoes can be tough. But once you've determined your arch height, what you'll be using your insoles for and how firm you prefer them, there's just one thing left to think about ... which shoes you'll be wearing them in.

Different shoes require different styles insoles. Take a look inside your closet. You probably have lots of shoes - sneakers, boots, casual shoes, and dress shoes. The one thing they all have in common? They require specific styles of insoles to give you the support you need.

Most, but not all the shoes you have come with a factory insert. To figure out if yours do, just reach inside your shoe and give the foam insert a tug. In some shoes, it may be thick and slip in and out of the shoe easily. In others, it may be thin and glued in. And some shoes may not have a removeable factory insert at all.

So, don't worry. You don't have to toss those sturdy work boots or adorable ballet flats. There are insoles to cover every type of shoe:

  • Full-length insoles with thick top covers are made to fit into running shoes, hiking boots and other types of footwear with full-length removable inserts. They are designed to completely replace the factory insert in your shoe. 
  • Thin, full-length insoles with thinner top covers are designed to fit into low-volume footwear like soccer cleats, cycling shoes and other footwear with  removable inserts that are thin and full-length. 
  • Short insoles, also called three-quarter insoles, are designed for shoes in which there is no removable factory insert, or there is one but it can't be removed. This style of insoles is ideal for dress shoes, ballet flats, boat shoes.

Various Shoes

Why Do Insoles Make My Shoes Feel Smaller?

If you've bought full-length insoles to fit into your shoes and it feels like your previously roomy shoes are now too small, there's a simple fix. Before you add your insoles to your footwear, make sure you're removing the factory insert first.

Insoles are meant to replace the insert that comes in your shoe, so when they're left in your shoes and you add insoles, there's just not enough room leftover for your feet. Tread Labs Ramble, Pace and Dash insoles all have 5mm thick top covers.

According to OrthoInfo, shoes that are too tight can cause foot deformities, including "corns, bunions, and other deformities that may require surgery to correct." 

Do Thin Insoles Have Enough Cushioning?

If you need to add support to shoes that have thin, full-length factory inserts, you'll want to find a pair of thin style insoles. But, you might wonder, will thin insoles have enough cushioning to be comfortable for your feet? In short, the answer is yes. Even insole with a thin layer of foam will give you the comfort you need. Plus, your feet will really feel great when your arches are properly supported. 

One thing to keep in mind with full-length insoles, whatever thickness they may be, is that you may have to trim them to fit your shoes. The best way to do that is to remove the factory insert from your shoe, place it against your insole, trace the shape with a marker, and trim accordingly. 

Will Short Insoles Slide In My Shoes? 

If your shoes don't have a removeable insert at all, you'll want a short (or 3/4 length) insole. You'll get the arch support your feet need without the extra bulk of a full-length insole, leaving your shoes with enough room to comfortably fit your feet. 

For women whose go-to shoe is a ballet flat, short insoles are a must-add. As Web MD points out, “you won’t get any arch support from these shoes. That can lead to knee, hip, and back problems. Poor arch support can also cause a painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis.”

Do I Need Different Insoles For Different Shoes?

Now that you know which style of insole is best for different types of shoes, you may be wondering how much you're going to have to spend on multiple pairs of insoles. Don't worry - we've got you!

Tread Labs Two Part Insole System

Tread Labs insoles are all constructed with a unique 2-part system - a molded arch support and a replaceable, interchangeable foam top cover. The top covers easily detach from the arch supports, allowing you to swap styles for a perfect fit in all your shoes. That means you only have to buy one pair of insoles and a couple sets of top covers and you'll get great support from whichever shoes you're wearing. 

The Bottom Line

You don't have to sacrifice style for comfort. There's an insole made for all of your favorite shoes that will give you the versatility you want and the support you need. 

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