To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

The best insoles for all-day comfort in 2023

Find the best insoles for long work days, hard workouts and everyday use

Insoles take a good shoe and make it great, and there are a variety available to cater to just about any need, from all-day cushioning to athletic shock absorption and beyond. So whether it’s helping with a foot issue or just adding some extra padding, there’s an insole out there that can provide you with exactly what you need for a perfect fit.

Even if you don’t experience foot pain, there are still benefits to using insoles in your shoes as they can help protect ankles and knees, even hips and lower backs, improving the long-term health of your lower body, whether you’re working on your feet all day, hiking for long stretches or spending hours at the gym.

Choosing the right insoles will depend on your feet and their specific needs, so there are some things to consider before purchasing, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult experience. In this article, we provide a helpful buying guide, as well as a list of some of our favourite insoles.

READ NEXT: The best walking shoes to buy

Best insoles: At a glance

How to choose the best insoles

When choosing the right pair of insoles, there are a number of features you need to think about.

Material: Insoles can be made of a variety of materials, the most common being cork, foam, wool, gel and PVA. Generally, materials such as cork are best for support, while foam is best for cushioning and gel is ideal for shock absorption. The right material will depend on your personal preferences and needs.

Arch: It’s important to match the insole with your arch type – whether you have high arches, natural/medium arches, or low/fallen/flat arches – otherwise you risk further problems with your feet.

Foot issues: There are a number of uncomfortable foot problems that insoles can ease. These include minor gripes such as bunions, hammertoes and calluses, but also bigger issues such as plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia. They can also help correct overpronation and oversupination.

Support level: Your foot issues or activities will determine the support level you need. Rigid support helps prevent overpronation and oversupination, plantar fasciitis and even weight issues. That said, rigid support most often comes custom-made from a podiatrist. Semi-rigid support helps if you’re an active person who hikes, runs or plays high-impact sport. Soft support insoles help with bunions, diabetes-related foot pain, hammertoes and general foot pain.

Activity: Another deciding factor in what insoles will work best is what they’ll be used for. High-impact activities, like many sports, will require different insoles to low-impact activities, such as a long shift in retail.

Other considerations

If you’re experiencing foot pain, it’s important to consult your doctor. If there are serious issues, choosing an improper insole can exacerbate the problem, causing you more pain. You may also need to visit a podiatrist, possibly for custom insoles. If you have plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia or any problems more serious than simple foot fatigue, we recommend you visit your doctor before adding anything to your shoes.

How we test insoles

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the best and most complete information about a product. We personally test all the insoles we review, using them in different types of shoes where applicable and walking in them across various terrains. Where insoles are recommended for a particular arch type or potential foot issues, they’re put to the test by people with those issues to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

When testing, we consider the length of time for which each of the tested insoles provide comfort, evaluating the overall comfort level, quality of the material and stated special features, plus the adjustment period. We also note how well each pair of insoles stands up to the stated activity level. Finally, we confirm the measurements and fit of the insoles on test.

READ NEXT: The best shoes for standing all day

The best insoles to buy in 2023

1. Powerstep Original Orthotics-U: Best overall insoles

Price when reviewed: From £26 | Check price at Amazon

These full-length insoles are a perfect all-around choice for anyone looking for a little extra comfort and support. Potentially helpful for a variety of issues, including shin splints and pain in the ankles, knees, hips or back, they may also help relieve pain due to achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. They have a neutral arch support built in, as well as dual-layer cushioning, providing a balanced experience. And the ultra-thin design means they fit in almost any shoe and are easy to transfer from one pair to another.

Typically, users experience an improvement in comfort within about four weeks, but it’s important to note that first-time users may have to go through a transition period, starting with just a couple of hours a day, until their feet have adjusted.

Key specs – Sizes: Men 3 to 14.5, women 5 to 15.5; Materials: Polyester ethylene vinyl acetate polypropylene; Other key details: Neutral arch support, medium cushion

2. Superfeet FLEXmax Comfort Insoles: Best athletic insoles

Price when reviewed: From £25 | Check price at Amazon

Athletes who train hard find themselves on their feet a lot. It’s important for them not only to keep their feet comfortable but to prevent injury as well. These athletic insoles use a viscoelastic closed-cell foam layer to help absorb impact, providing a more comfortable and supportive experience.

The insoles are also contoured, providing stability and adding extra support to the feet, ankles and knees, while the heels are curved into a horseshoe shape, which cradles the foot while still remaining flexible. This allows the insole to move with your foot, adding to the comfort, stability and support they provide.

The forefoot of these insoles are ventilated, making them a breathable option that can help keep feet cool, and they’re made with MoistureWick technology, which works to prevent odours from developing. These unisex inserts can be trimmed to fit a variety of sizes for men, women and even juniors.

Key specs – Sizes: Unisex 2 to 11.5; Materials: Foam, synthetic materials; Other key details: 5mm thick, flexible heel cradle

3. iFitna Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Orthopaedic Insoles: Best insoles for plantar fasciitis

Price when reviewed: From £17 | Check price at Amazon

After consulting with your doctor about plantar fasciitis, you’ll need a quality insole to help support your foot. These have built-in support for the balls of your feet and are designed to absorb shock and provide extra cushioning. The arches are designed to keep your foot in alignment, reducing the risk of overpronation.

Similarly, the heel helps keep feet stable through its U-shape design and deep construction. It works with the arch support to ensure the foot’s structure is proportionally weighted. The balance helps reduce pressure on high impact areas by evenly distributing pressure across the entire foot.

The insoles are made of an anti-slip fabric and designed to be breathable. It wicks moisture from your feet, keeping your skin healthy. These insoles can be worn with just about any shoe, making them very versatile. Though, again, first-time users may need to transition, only wearing the insoles for a couple of hours each day to start.

Key specs – Sizes: Unisex 5 to 13; Materials: Ethylene vinyl acetate; Other key details: 30mm arch support, deep U-shaped heel cup

4. Scholl Gel Activ Work Insoles: Best work insoles

Price when reviewed: From £15 | Check price of women’s at Amazon | Check price of men’s at Amazon

For workers who are on their feet all day, it’s important to have something supportive to get you through each shift. Using Scholl’s GelActiv technology, these insoles offer up to 12 hours of shock absorption in an ergonomic design for long-lasting comfort.

The firm gel offers support to both the bridge and the heel of the foot, while the soft gel cushions your feet to provide comfort throughout the day. The fit helps prevent the excessive pressure on your heels, ankles and knees caused by being on your feet for hours at a time, leaving you less fatigued.

The insoles also include odour protection with anti-odour fabric. There are air holes that allow your feet to breathe, keeping them dry and helping to prevent odour. The non-slip grip on the insoles ensures that they stay in place for as long as they’re in use.

Key specs – Sizes: Men 7 to 12, women 3.5 to 7.5; Materials: Ethylene vinyl acetate; Other key details: Dual gel, 12 hours of pressure relief

5. Odor-Eaters Ultra-Durable, Heavy Duty Cushioning Insoles: Best odour-eliminating insoles

PPrice when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Amazon

To prevent bad smells from building up in your insoles, you need the right materials, and these insoles use a combination of three ingredients that are well known for their ability to fight both odour and wetness: zinc oxide, baking soda and super-activated charcoal.

In addition to those three ingredients, these insoles claim to use two odour-blocking technologies, though the company doesn’t specify what these technologies are. The layers of the insoles include an odour blocker to stop smells and a neutraliser to destroy any surviving stink. The activated charcoal layer provides all-day protection and the base layer is a breathable fabric with enough cushioning to support you throughout the day.

The insoles are designed to fit most shoes as users can just trim the insoles to the appropriate size. The heavy-duty construction of the insoles makes them a long-lasting and sturdy choice.

Key specs – Sizes: One size fits all, trim to size; Materials: Super-activated charcoal, baking soda, zinc oxide; Other key details: Draws in moisture from feet

6. Pedag Adult Viva Winter 198 Comfort Insoles: Best cold weather insoles

Price when reviewed: From £16 | Check price at Amazon

You need foot support all year long, but when the winter rolls around, you’ll need to keep your feet warm as well. These full-length insoles are designed not only to be supportive but to retain heat for optimal warmth.

The surface layer is made of pure wool, a natural fibre that holds in heat while wicking moisture, keeping your feet warm and dry. Meanwhile, the inner layers include a high-tech foam designed to insulate heat and aluminium to reflect heat back.

The insoles are also constructed to help provide relief from issues such as plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia – it has a metatarsal pad and a semi-rigid plantar vault support. With a heel cushion as well, the insoles provide support to the entire foot, reducing fatigue and increasing overall comfort. They’re a perfect option for those who want to keep their feet warm, while still allowing them to breathe.

Key specs – Sizes: Men 6 to 14, Women 3 to 8; Materials: Wool, aluminium, foam, polypropylene; Other key details: Semi-rigid arch support

Read more

Best Buys