Most boots aren’t designed with the individual in mind. Sure, boot manufacturers make their products in a range of lengths (and widths, perhaps), but the standard-issue insoles that come with those boots may not be comfortable for all wearers. Boot insoles are made to help counteract any negative consequences that footwear can cause, including pain and discomfort in the wearer’s feet, ankles, hips, back, neck, and even the head. This interconnectivity of symptoms is due to the way the body connects through nerves, muscle tissue, fascia, and ligaments.
The best boot insoles may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but after breaking them in over the course of a few short 30- to 60-minute periods, the feet should feel supported throughout the entire boot. As a result, the boot wearer should also notice reduced pain, discomfort, and symptoms of common foot conditions, like plantar fasciitis or collapsed arches. While not every boot insole is appropriate for every person, the list of top products below is a good place to begin looking for the best boot insoles for your feet.
- BEST OVERALL: Dr. Scholl’s Work Massaging Gel Advanced Insoles
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Rite Aid Memory Plus Work Insoles for Men
- UPGRADE PICK: Timberland PRO Men’s Anti-Fatigue Technology Insole
- BEST FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Dr. Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics
- BEST FOR HIGH ARCH/INSTEP: PowerStep Pinnacle Signature Arch Comfort Insoles
- BEST FOR FLAT FEET: Sof Sole Insoles Men’s AIRR Performance Gel Insert
- BEST FOR MEN 200+ POUNDS: Dr. Scholl’s Heavy Duty Support Pain Relief Orthotics
- BEST ANTI-SLIP: Carhartt Insite Technology Footbed CMI9000 Insole
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Boot Insoles
When searching for a set of boot insoles to help keep feet comfortable during long workdays, it’s important to pay close attention to the material used to make the insoles. The wearer should also consider conditions that affect his or her feet, such as collapsed arches or plantar fasciitis, which is a well-known condition that causes intense heel pain. Those who need insoles for work may also want to think about investing in a shoe deodorizer to keep their work boots smelling great, even after hours of hard labor.
The four most common materials from which boot insoles are made include gel, foam, cork, and leather. The material that’s right for you largely depends on personal preference.
- Gel boot insoles aren’t the best for foot support, but they are comfortably cushioned and help absorb the shock of heavy footsteps on concrete or rock. These insoles are made for comfort, but they won’t be useful in treating conditions like plantar fasciitis or collapsed arches.
- Foam boot insoles are ideal for comfort, generalized support throughout the entire foot, and pressure relief, making them a good choice for most users. These insoles can even help relieve pain and tension caused by plantar fasciitis, collapsed arches, and localized pain.
- Cork boot insoles absorb shock from hard concrete and tile while also providing a substantial amount of arch support. Due to their hard texture, however, they need to be broken in before the insole will form to the user’s feet and feel comfortable.
- Leather boot insoles have a moderate level of comfort and some arch support, but they don’t provide much cushion for the user’s foot while walking on hard ground.
The insole wearer’s individual needs should be top of mind when selecting the best boot insoles for their feet. If a user regularly experiences pain, discomfort, hot spot, or blisters, it may change the type of insole that best suits their feet. Likewise, determine if conditions such as plantar fasciitis, collapsed arches, or high arches exist, which can be alleviated by certain types of boot insoles.
- Pain and discomfort in the feet may be remedied with a comfortable gel insole, which will help absorb impact and shock from hard floors. However, pain or discomfort in the ankles, knees, legs, back, neck, and head may be alleviated by adding appropriate support to the user’s shoes. Insoles can help align and balance the user’s body weight properly so he or she is not leaning, swaying, and tilting with every step.
- Hot spots and blisters can be caused by heel slippage, which is a symptom of ill-fitting shoes. This is a problem that can be remedied by investing in either a new pair of boots or an insole that will cradle the heel and fix both heel slippage issues and painful blisters.
- Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the plantar fascia ligament. This condition usually develops when people wear shoes that don’t properly support their feet, which results in strain to the ligament. Plantar fasciitis can cause severe pain in the heel, and the sufferer may end up with an inflamed or torn ligament if the condition isn’t treated with rigid or semi-rigid arch support.
- Collapsed arches are relatively common—people with collapsed arches have a very low arch or no arch at all in their feet. This condition may not need treatment, but if it does cause discomfort or pain, it can be treated with a supportive rigid arch, semi-rigid arch, or even cushioned-arch boot insoles.
- High arches in the user’s feet can cause pain and increases the likelihood that the user will suffer from ankle sprains. Feet with high arches don’t absorb as much shock with each step as those with typical arches, which places more strain on the balls and heels of the feet.
Boot insoles’ arch support is based on four different footbed types, including rigid-arch insoles, semi-rigid arch insoles, cushioned-arch insoles, and no-arch insoles.
- Rigid-arch insoles usually consist of a single, solid piece of material that doesn’t bend or flex. They provide much-needed arch support for individuals with collapsed or high arches.
- Semi-rigid arch insoles can help alleviate conditions like plantar fasciitis or collapsed arches. Because these insoles are more flexible than rigid arch insoles, they are a suitable option for sports or going to the gym.
- Cushioned-arch insoles offer minimal support to, and correction of, the user’s arches, but they are very good at cushioning the user’s feet while walking. These insoles absorb shock from hard pavement, concrete, and tile so that energy isn’t transferred up through the feet, causing pain and discomfort.
- No-arch insoles aren’t designed to support the user’s foot, but they can be used to provide padding and cushioning to the bottom of the feet. They are best for reducing the pain and discomfort that can be caused by walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
Thickness and Density
Depending on the amount of space they take up inside the shoe, most insoles will be labeled as either high-, medium-, or low-volume insoles.
- High-volume insoles provide significant cushion and are made for hiking boots, work boots, ski boots, and running shoes. They absorb impact damage from hard rock, concrete, pavement, and ice. Those with high arches will benefit from high-volume insoles because they support the arch at its weakest point, encouraging flexibility and flattening of the arch.
- Medium-volume insoles provide a moderate amount of cushion and are commonly used in casual shoes and some athletic footwear. These insoles can work well with a range of arch profiles, depending on the arch support and insole material.
- Low-volume insoles are typical for cycling shoes, skate boots, and some casual shoes, such as low-top sneakers. People who have low arches or no arches will probably find that these insoles work best for them.
Size and Length
The size and length of an insole should be measured against the size and length of the user’s boot to ensure that it will fit comfortably inside the boot—you don’t want the insole pressing up against the sides of the boot or sliding up to the toe. If boot insoles don’t fit properly, they may cause more pain and discomfort than they alleviate.
When looking for the right size and length of boot insole to match your footwear, keep in mind that different brands of insoles may vary slightly in their sizing. If you buy insoles that are too large, they can usually be trimmed to help them fit better inside the boot. However, if you trim too much, the boot insole will be too small, so measure carefully before you take scissors to your insoles.
Some boot insoles do more than just cushion and support the feet—they also deodorize footwear. Those who want their insoles to do double duty should seek out those with carbon or activated charcoal insoles, absorbent insoles, or insoles treated with biocide.
- Carbon or activated charcoal insoles absorb the odor-causing molecules that can accumulate in shoe fibers and socks throughout the day.
- Absorbent insoles are designed for active users who walk long distances, jog, or play sports. The insoles are made with small cotton fibers (not unlike those in a towel) that soak up and eliminate moisture quickly.
- Biocide insoles are chemically treated to kill bacteria and fungus and prevent the growth of additional biological organisms. These insoles are ideal for people who suffer from foot and toenail fungus.
Our Top Picks
This list of the best boot insoles was compiled using the above-noted shopping tips and product considerations. Once you factor in your individual needs and conditions and the size and length insoles you need, you’ll be on your way to finding the best boot insoles to keep your feet comfortable throughout the day.
Dr. Scholl’s massaging gel advanced insoles for work have a textured surface to help absorb moisture. The cushioned-arch boot insoles offer some arch support, but are mostly used for shock absorption, reducing pain, discomfort, and muscle fatigue that is caused by hard concrete, pavement, or tile surfaces. Cooling vents in the insoles keep feet from sweating, reducing moisture buildup and bad odors. Though their textured surface feels comfortable on bare feet, it’s recommended that you wear Dr. Scholl’s insoles with socks.
These medium-volume insoles fit men’s shoe sizes 8 to 14 and should be trimmed to suit the user’s shoe size. It’s easy to trim the insoles, too—simply follow the outline on the bottom of the insole with a pair of scissors.
These high-volume foam insoles from Rite Aid are thick and cushioned to combat muscle fatigue. They absorb the shock of feet falling on hard surfaces before the impact can transfer through the feet and into the legs and back.
Made with an antimicrobial additive to ward off odor-causing bacteria, these affordable cushioned-arch insoles will fit men’s shoe sizes 7 to 13, though they will need to be trimmed to the correct size. When the boot insoles become dirty, simply remove them, rinse them with warm water, and allow them to air dry.
Timberland’s PRO boot insoles are made with the company’s proprietary inverted cone foam, which reduces fatigue and provides terrific shock absorption. The insole’s honeycomb pattern also funnels moisture and heat away from the user’s feet, which keeps feet dry and less prone to bad odors.
Another advantage to these medium-volume Timberland PRO insoles is that they are contoured to provide additional support in the areas of the foot where wearers need it most, particularly the heel and the ball of the foot. Though this product comes in specific men’s shoe sizes (including 5–6, 6–7, 8–9, 10–11, 12–13, and 14–15), they may still need to be trimmed to fit inside the wearer’s boots perfectly.
Dr. Scholl’s plantar fasciitis pain relief orthotics are semi-rigid boot insoles with reinforced arches. They amply support the user’s feet and reduce tension on the plantar fascia. The shock-absorbing heel cushions in the orthotics provide immediate pain relief, allowing users to go about their day.
As much relief as they provide plantar fasciitis sufferers, one disadvantage of these insoles is they don’t remove moisture or reduce odor-causing bacteria. As such, they’re not ideal to wear for sports or during workouts. On the upside, these medium-volume boot insoles cushion the entire foot and are sized to accommodate those who wear men’s shoe sizes 8 to 13.
PowerStep’s semi-rigid boot insoles provide firm but flexible support along the entire foot, with focused support at the arch and a dense, shock-absorbing cushion in the heel. A double layer of cushioned foam cradles high foot arches, relieving pain and improving the issue with continued use.
These medium-volume insoles are available in men’s sizes 3 to 16 or women’s sizes 5 to 12, so they might be a good option for young people or adults with small feet. The top layer of the insoles is made of an antimicrobial fabric that helps prevent odor-causing bacteria and fungus, and it reduces heat and friction. These insoles are made in the USA.
This pair of Sof Sole boot insoles offer support where wearers with flat feet need it most. There’s a gel cushion at the ball of the feet—and air cushions in the heel and along the arch—for shock absorption, and a flexible polyurethane footbed to help support the heel and arch. The semi-rigid insoles relieve pain and provide ample support for individuals with flat feet. Sof Soles may also reduce pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
Another feature that makes these insoles worth considering is that they are lined with a Coolmax fabric that keeps feet dry and prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Sof Soles come in a range of men’s shoe sizes from 7 to 14, so they likely won’t require trimming to get them to fit boots correctly.
Dr. Scholl’s heavy-duty orthotics are intended for use by men that weigh 200 to 300 pounds, and they help distribute the user’s weight across the entire foot. These insoles have a cushioned base that becomes wider toward the heel, reducing foot and leg fatigue and relieving lower back and joint pain. Deep heel cups grip the inside of the boot and prevent the insoles from sliding around while wearing them.
This pair of foam boot insoles accommodates those with men’s shoes sizes between 8 and 14. The product will need to be trimmed to size, but there’s a stencil on the bottom of each insole to ensure an accurate fit.
Carhartt’s low-volume insoles are a good choice for active users who head to the gym on the way to work or go for a run in the evening. An anti-slip suede material in the footbed increases the friction between the bottom of the foot and the insole, which in turn increases passive grip and reduces foot fatigue. These cushioned-arch insoles are made of two layers of foam that absorb shock and prevent foot fatigue.
Another benefit of Carhartt’s foam insoles is that they shed moisture from sweaty feet, which helps prevent odor-causing bacteria and foot fungus from building up. They come in several different men’s shoe sizes from 8 to 15, though they may require some slight trimming to the forefoot or the sides of the insole to fit properly inside the wearer’s boot.
FAQs About Boot Insoles
If you have a few more questions about how to use and care for boot insoles and how they can help your feet, read on to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about boot insoles.
Q. Which is better: gel or memory foam insoles?
It depends on individual needs. Gel insoles are designed for high-intensity shock absorption. Memory foam insoles are lightweight and semi-rigid, helping users to correct posture and foot problems like plantar fasciitis while they walk.
Q. Do insoles hurt at first?
Insoles can take time to break in and should be worn for 30 minutes to 1 hour at a time until they feel more comfortable. If the insoles cause significant pain, they may not be suitable for you.
Q. Can I put my insoles in the washing machine?
Insoles should not be laundered in the washing machine because the fibers can be damaged during the wash cycle. Instead, soak them in lukewarm water and then gently scrub them by hand to remove odors and stains.
Q. When do I need to replace my boot insoles?
Boot insoles will typically last for 4 to 6 months of regular use before they need to be replaced.