Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (2024)

Have you ever considered wearing an insole while running? You might choose to wear an orthotic insole if you have flat feet, or if you need more protection from impact-related stress on your joints and bones.

There's a wide range of insoles available for runners that can aid foot problems while increasing comfort and reducing pain. They're an affordable piece of kit, that slip easily into your favourite pair of running shoes to give you extra support.

The best orthotic insoles for runners

Shop our favourite running insoles, at a glance, here. Or, keep scrolling to read more about their features, plus advice from a podiatrist on how to choose the best insole for you.

How do you know if you need an orthotic insole for running?

We asked Stephen Warner, podiatrist and clinical educator at Market Street Clinic, why you would wear a running insole, and how to choose the best insole for you.

Warner says that orthotic insoles may be beneficial in ameliorating pain and fatigue in the feet, legs and back that’s associated with gait, whether walking or running.

‘The efficacy is dependent on the underlying problem and achieving a good balance between the individual via their foot, the orthosis and the shoe,’ he says. ‘Assessing whether or not an orthotic insole would be beneficial requires undergoing a biomechanical/musculoskeletal examination carried out by a podiatrist or physiotherapist, who is able to evaluate your gait and joint functions to assess the best approach to your problem.

‘In some cases, it may be that all that’s necessary to overcome the problem is to advise on stretching and strengthening muscles allied to good footwear. If you are experiencing symptoms, particularly if they are sudden and severe or have been long-standing or recurrent, it is advisable to seek a professional opinion.’

How do you find the right insole for your needs as a runner?

Warner’s advice is clear: the first thing to do if you are having severe problems – including pain in your foot, leg or back – is to visit a professional who can assess your needs.

The result of the visit may include simple advice through off-the-shelf orthotic options or adapted devices, all the way up to custom-made functional orthoses.

‘The type of device recommended should be one that offers optimal control of your foot while keeping bulk and weight to a minimum,’ says Warner. ‘The design should reflect the activity being undertaken as well as your own biomechanics, and a device suited for sprinting may not be as effective if used for middle- or long-distance running.’

How do insoles help your running?

A well-designed orthosis will optimise the mechanical function of your feet and lower limbs, as well as aiding shock absorption and even providing extra energy return.

‘Much is made of the issue of over-pronation, and while this can be disruptive to effective propulsion, the aim of orthotic therapy is to control pronation, not to eliminate it,’ says Warner.

He adds that pronation is an essential component of normal gait that aids with shock attenuation, but re-supination of the foot is required in order to maximise propulsion, and a good orthosis will help to make the transfer between heel strike and toe-off as fluid and efficient as possible.

‘In some cases, this may mean achieving a compromise, as the underlying mechanics may be too extreme to get full control. While this may reduce symptoms, it’s not always possible to eliminate them completely,’ says Warner.

A successful outcome of a biomechanical evaluation should provide you with a plan, which may include orthotic insoles that will enable you to carry on running in comfort. ‘They can help improve propulsion through the foot, reduce stresses on the knees, hips and lower back and improve the efficiency of your running,’ says Warner. ‘However, this is also contingent on good footwear and a reasonable training plan.’

Orthoses alone will not elevate your performance from casual runner to Olympic standard, but they may help you to gradually improve your PB.

The best insoles for runners

Enertor Running Insoles

Enertor Running Insoles

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (8)

Enertor Running Insoles

Featuring impact-absorption technology that the brand claims absorbs 89% more shocks when compared to leading competitors, Enertor’s Running Insoles are thin, lightweight and durable. We've been running in a pair for a while and love how unobtrusive they are (you literally don't notice you're wearing them).

They also provide energy return, helping to propel you on your run for further, and claim to aid in reducing foot problems, as well as pain in the ankles, hips, shins, lower back and legs. This is all due to the PX1 material it’s constructed from, which absorbs impact, spreads the load on the foot and includes extra support under the arch.

Superset Run Comfort

Superfeet Run Comfort

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (9)

Superfeet Run Comfort

Featuring a carbon-fibre stabiliser cap, Superfeet’s Run Insoles provide firm and responsive support, as well as a gel pod in the heel that helps to reduce and spread impact across the entire sole. They also provide medium-to-high orthotic support to lower the amount of stress delivered to your feet and lower leg. They are particularly effective for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Scholl Gel Sport Insoles

Scholl Gel Sport Insoles

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (10)

Scholl Gel Sport Insoles

With a focus on arch support for runners and absorbing impact and ‘micro shocks’ (30 percent more than regular insoles, according to Scholl), these budget insoles help alleviate the pains and problems that come with running. The impact is spread via Gelavtiv technology that’s located in the insole’s heel, arch and forefoot.

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Currex RunPro Insole

CurrexSole RunPro Dynamic Insoles

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (11)

CurrexSole RunPro Dynamic Insoles

These are designed specifically for runners, so you can expect high levels of comfort and support for all distances, whether short, middle or long. They come in three different foot arch heights: low, medium and high, so you can tailor it to your arch’s needs. They are also lightweight and provide high levels of shock absorption.

Kalenji R300 insoles

Kalenji R300 Insoles

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (12)

Kalenji R300 Insoles

Decathlon’s insoles were designed by runners for runners looking to increase the amount of cushioning and impact absorption they receive when running. These are low in price, so basic in function, and you will need to cut them to fit your shoe, which can be tricky in some instances.

G8 Performance Pro Series 2620 shoe insoles

Pro Series 2620 Shoe Insoles

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (13)

Pro Series 2620 Shoe Insoles

These are highly adjustable and customisable, hence the hefty price tag. You can actually tweak the level of arch support to one of 11 positions. This means that you can change it if/when your arch requires less or more support. The aim with these insoles is to help align your foot, ankle, knee and hip to increase running power.

FootBalance 100% Custom Impact

FootBalance 100% Custom Impact

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (14)

FootBalance 100% Custom Impact

Now 30% Off

These Custom Insoles can be moulded to each foot's shape at selected Runner's Need stores, meaning that they will hold your feet in a more natural position and help combat any misalignment. Custom-moulded insoles also provide bespoke arch support, so if you're having problems with your arches these could be well worth considering.

Reduce pain and increase comfort with the best orthotic running insoles (2024)


Should you wear orthotics when running? ›

If you are running and getting foot or knee pain, you might need orthotics. Orthotics have been proven effective in treating common running conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, Runner's Knee, Shin Splints, and IT Band Syndrome.

How long does it take for orthotics to feel comfortable? ›

It can take up to a month before you feel completely comfortable wearing your custom foot orthotics for a full day. 2) Know your body. If you are feeling any new pains in your toes, ankles, knees, lower back, or your hips take the orthotics out and start fresh the next day and reduce the wear time.

Do professional runners use insoles? ›

It is estimated that up to 80 percent of pro athletes wear orthotics to help improve their performance.

How long do orthotics last for running? ›

Normal use should mean the orthotics last around 2 to 3 years on average. Again, that's wholly dependent on the stresses the orthotics undergo. Some people manage to get five years or more out of their orthotics, while others, particularly runners or hikers, may be lucky to see a year.

What are the side effects of wearing orthotics? ›

Heel pain is a very common result of poorly-fitting orthotics, but redness and blistering are also possible. You may even find pain occurring in areas well away from your feet, such as your knees, hips or back.

Do marathon runners use orthotics? ›

Orthotics to Prevent Marathon Injuries

The type of orthotic that might be used for a marathoner depends on the biomechanics, foot shape and pathology of a particular runner. Some marathoners do best with a light weight and more cushioned orthotic. Others require more support to eliminate the forces that lead to injury.

Do orthotic insoles hurt at first? ›

Some people start wearing insoles and the only thing they notice is their feet are more comfortable. However, for other people it can take more time. Generally, it takes a couple of weeks to get used to wearing orthotics.

How do you break in running orthotics? ›

Break-in protocol

Wear your orthotics for only 4 hours today, Day 1 2. Wear your orthotics for only 6 hours tomorrow, Day 2 3. Wear your orthotics for only 8 hours on Day 3 4. Wear your orthotics for only 10 hours on Day 4 5.

Why do orthotics hurt at first? ›

During the break in period for your first pair of orthotics, things will feel different day to day as your soft tissue gets used to having pressure in different places and the tissue gets used to being in a more mechanically efficient position.

What is the number one podiatrist recommended insoles? ›

PowerStep Pinnacle® Orthotic Insoles

Podiatrists often recommend our PowerStep Pinnacle insoles specifically for plantar fasciitis pain. These orthotic insoles for heel pain can be worn daily for cushioned relief plus support.

Is Dr Scholls worth it? ›

When it comes to comfort and overall well-being, I believe they are a wise investment. In conclusion, I can't recommend Dr. Scholl's Work All-Day Superior Comfort Insoles with Massaging Gel enough. They have made a significant difference in my daily life by providing superior comfort, support, and durability.

Are expensive insoles better? ›

Doctors also often recommend "orthoses" -- shoe inserts that support the arch and cushion the heel. The inserts range from basic, off-the-shelf supports to expensive, custom-made versions. The evidence, however, suggests the pricey types offer no advantage, said Nadine Rasenberg, lead researcher on the new review.

Should you run with arch support insoles? ›

It depends. While arch support can benefit some flat-footed runners, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Consider the severity of your conditions, running style, and personal preference before buying running insoles for flat feet.

Should runners use arch support? ›

For people with high arches, it offers proper alignment and stability. Runners with normal arch need arch support for injury prevention and shock absorption. People suffering from an injury or pain in lower extremity need it for pain management and recovery.

Should you wear arch supports when running? ›

But even if you don't experience pain while running, arch support is still important. In fact, most runners need shoes with good arch support, says Halloran, (though that could mean using a “neutral” shoe).

Do carbon fiber insoles help with running? ›

Most athletes, casual runners, and even wellness-oriented individuals rely upon carbon fiber insoles for enhanced protection and performance. Because adding carbon fiber not only upgrades their shoes but also ensures safety when they push their limits.


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