Insoles can add comfort and support to any shoe -- from a pair of stunning high heels to practical athletic shoes. While there are insoles to fit any shoe style, the shape of the insole must match not only your foot, but also the shoe. The insoles that fit into a comfortable pair of loafers may not fit into your dress shoes. Choosing the right insoles can provide you with a more comfortable fit and reduce pain and discomfort.
Athletic shoes can accommodate both a traditional and custom insole, whether you're looking for additional support or require a full orthotic insert. For the best fit, choose an athletic shoe with a removable insert. This will allow you to remove the insert that comes with the shoe and replace it with one designed for your feet. Custom or semi-custom insoles are especially helpful for runners and athletes to reduce damage to the feet and legs during long workouts.
Many casual shoes can also accommodate a traditional insert, particularly men's shoes and boots. Women's flat casual shoes may require a smaller-sized insole designed to fit a narrower sole, rather than a full-size one designed for a wider sole or athletic shoe. Some inserts can be trimmed to fit your shoes, while others are made for various casual shoe and boot styles. Inserts are even available to fit open-toe shoes, including some sandal and peep-toe styles. Some low-cut, flat shoe styles, like ballet flats, cannot accommodate a full-size insert. In these cases, arch support pads and heel pads can add comfort.
Many high heeled shoes are quite uncomfortable. They have minimal padding and may have pointed toes. Adding an insole designed for high heels can increase your comfort. Mass-market gel insoles are widely available, affordable and durable. These insoles cushion the ball and heel of the foot, reducing discomfort in even very high heels. High heels cannot accommodate most orthotic insoles and inserts.
If you require a custom orthotic to treat a foot condition or other health care challenge, you should shop for relatively wide, flat shoes. Many comfort-oriented brands offer removable insoles, allowing you to place the orthotic into the shoe. Styles vary, but options include athletic shoes, casual shoes and even some dressier styles, like a feminine Mary Jane or boot.